PART 1 will post 1 page at a time
All stories must have a beginning and typically, so does this one, although somewhat ironically, it starts at an end. Our story’s prologue itself is set shortly after the collapse of the communist superstate that had taken over most of Europe. The Europeans themselves- tired of the tedious and, rather pointless laws that were imposed on them- decided to do what could only be described as the most impressive, and painless revolution of all time. Marching upon Central Hall where these un-electorates ruled their lives the only thing to stand in their way was the rather unfit and bored collective army of this collaborated nation’s capital. Weary of all the time their generals spent deciding the wars that didn’t concern us, which side were the enemy and which were the downtrodden, the mass of people snuck past them and into the main chambers where, as no-one had actually been elected in the first place and no-one knew exactly who was who, they managed to get a majority vote to have the state broken down.
Unfortunately this had a rather negative effect on the newly separated Europeans- even less people than before began to take them seriously as they were no longer an “independent superstate.” That was when it happened. As an act of spite the French sent a nuclear weapon of mass destruction (code name “Bardot” *) over to America. No one knows exactly where it landed but American intelligence pinpointed exactly where the missile had come from. And with that the counterstrike was launched, and, in a dazzling display of accuracy, hit Iraq dead on (in the middle of Iran).
The nuclear barrage that followed awakened the anti-missile system that the Europeans had put in place to stop any missiles being fired at all (running just a few billions euros and a couple of years overdue). As the missiles impacted in the lower atmosphere the resultant radioactive “rain” wiped out 4/5 of life on the planet. A select few were taken into various bunkers throughout the world (except in America were they were seen as rare and national landmarks and, as such, 1000’s of people ran to them, only to stand outside taking photos). The rest of the populace were wiped out over time from the nuclear winter that the world was plunged into. The world had split into two, with the best of the best surviving in these “vaults” and the lowest of the low surviving topside. Many years passed and with no cases to solve, the lawyers that had survived topside** slowly started to diminish in number until they were nothing but a few villages scattered here and there.
*Aptly named after their number 1 weapon of mass distraction.
**Over prolonged periods of time of having stuff thrown at them lawyers slowly began to evolve, and grew a hardened carapace that acted very much like Teflon, allowing nothing incriminating (or anything else for that matter) to stick to them
And soon (well, after the first 300 years) the insects were the only unified force above ground. The vaults’ numbers swelled, waiting for the day that they could return to the land they had once known. This is a story about one of these vaults.
In a true show of foresight and knowledge by the British government shortly before the amalgamation of themselves into “Greater Europe”, one of these bunkers was created in the middle of what was considered to be one of the greatest areas of our time for scientific, physical and above all, their outstanding phonetical prowess.
The vault at Romford in Essex had a rule, once every 150 years somebody would endure vigorous training, being subjected to blinding lights and scorching UV blasts as well as gaining a heightened physique so that they could venture to the outside world to see if it was… more hospitable than when they left. The first couple of tries the people were fried to a crisp instantly (once again being 1000’s of euros over budget and 2 months longer than planned) and then, slowly but surely the world seemed more and more tolerable. It was with the selection of one man in particular on this day that our story begins.
* * * * * * *
As Dominic Sanders awoke something dawned on him. He was dead. He sighed as he looked at the doctors rushing around beneath him. He had been the last person to venture into the outside world and currently had had his heart stopped while the medics frantically tried to expunge the radiation from his body. On the plus side if they did manage to de-radiate (or “de-rad”) his body that would mean that there was a very good sign that the earth was becoming less radioactive and, in turn, more hospitable for his people. True this little out of body experience meant that he probably wasn’t going to survive. But at least he will have done what he was destined to do. He was a hero- a martyr. So why was something nagging at the back of his mind? It had been 1500 years since the war shouldn’t he have been able to get further than outside the cave that had developed around their vault? Then it dawned on him. He was still here. He may be dead, but there had been nothing to collect him. No heaven or hell, no grim reaper, nothing pulling at him for reincarnation. He waited for a few minutes as the doctors ran a number of Geiger counters over him, he had in fact been considerably less radiated than the previous “hero” but he was still in fact, dead. Dominic let out another sigh. Waking up dead had lead him to believe one thing. Today was going to be a really bad day.
Some people said that Kelly Jordan was a particularly gifted individual. This was not actually the case- Kelly just had this particularly useful knack of being at exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
Usually. However, unbeknownst to Kelly, the family line of Jordan’s seemed to have a rather unfortunate affinity of seeing things exactly as they were. People, as a whole, have a tendency to brush things over with a bit of gloss. Optimists see the glass as half full. Pessimists see the glass as half empty. Jordan’s, on the other hand, see the glass and ask, “what’s in it”, closely followed by, “is it poisonous?” and, “so why are u asking me these questions? Is this some sort of test?”
Some can imagine the surprise that Kelly felt, just walking down one of the many dingy hallways that trailed throughout the vault, and then seeing what looks like a perfectly normal person drop through the ceiling, mumble something to himself and proceed to walk through the unopened to door to its right. Kelly, being a naturally curious person, did what any normal person would.
Dominic had finally mastered walking. You’d think moving around would be easy, but when you don’t actually have any mass to push yourself off of the floor with it’s very easy to get carried away. By the air-conditioning units. Or draughts. Or people Breathing. He’d mastered this art after hanging around his body listening to the doctors trying to determine what was wrong with him. Well, apart from being dead. Unfortunately if he’d been around his body when it was announced that his genetic makeup had been altered slightly by the direct radiation and that it was as if his body was an empty husk rather than him being dead- he would have pieced together as a first thought that he was, in fact, still alive, and just existed in this slightly different form. That is definitely what he would’ve thought if he been there. Unfortunately as a second thought, him being an upstanding member of vault, a vault wide hero and all round good guy he did what came as second nature to an incorporeal being that couldn’t be seen. As he made his way to the women’s only luxury spa on the second level he felt some pangs of guilt at the back of his mind, however, while being alive he had never done anything to feel guilty for and so just put them aside as strange, wondrous new feeling one associates with being dead. After a few minutes Dominic realised that he could float through solid things such as walls and floors and so on. He even remembered this old film when a spirit walked into someone else and possessed them. But, when Dominic tried that, all he got was a weird, icky feeling that people generally felt when they see inside someone’s body, feeling the heart beat that isn’t your own, and seeing the brain pulse gently. After trying to throw up and realising, once again, having no mass or muscle structure meant that he was unable to do so, he allowed himself to float through to the next floor.
“Ah,” Dominic said aloud, not worried anyone would, or could, hear, “just a few more rooms to go.” It was at this point that he heard a scream come from outside the medibay he currently occupied. Dominic, temporarily forgetting his new self, rationalised that the girls would be there whenever he wanted and turned his attentions to the hallway.
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