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A novel of the future

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What Came First

2077 AD

Somewhere in Kansas, U.S.A.

President Elliott leaned forward, elbows on the lectern, as he counted off the steps taken prior to his election two years ago. He had already been speaking two hours over his scheduled time. “To summarize, we eliminated ninety percent of the prisons’ populations, and reduced healthcare spending by cutting off care at age ninety, no matter the alleged ‘spirit’ of anybody’s granny. We withdrew our forces from all involvement outside of our own perimeters and dropped Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Philippines, Cuba, Alaska and Hawaii along with all our territories. Being no longer reliant on fossil fuels, we removed dependence on any foreign country.” He paused to throw his hands in the air.  “And yet, we remain a third world economy with people dying in the streets from not only violence, but starvation, a situation not to be tolerated!”

Charles Guzman raised his hand and spoke without waiting to be recognized. “But our churches are full, Mr. President. God and righteousness are on our side!”

The other ten men and one woman in the room snickered. The House Minority Leader had become more of a laughingstock than a recognized national leader.

Elliott raised a hand to silence them. “The gentleman is right. However they do not go to church to worship a non-existent god, they go out of desperation for a sense of community.”

“And to keep their names at the top of the food pantry lists,” Vice President Fleming chortled.

“Nothing wrong with that,” the president responded with a smile before turning his attention back to Guzman. “You will have an opportunity to exercise your ideas. You will have your role to play, but you will do it in your own private reserve. We have isolated portions of a former Native American reservation along with one major city for your use.”

Knowing he could intimidate with his piercing glares, Elliott kept his eyes on Guzman several seconds longer than necessary. Once Guzman’s shoulders relaxed, he returned to the topic at hand.

“We have our best scientists, analysts and the military lined up and ready to move. If you have done your homework, everything will go smoothly. I suggest you go in to dinner and then return to your respective shelters for the duration. Keep communications open throughout the event. I shall not join you because I want to be in my new capital before morning, stationed at command headquarters.”

He left the room, collected his bodyguards and strode out onto the runway for his last journey across the United States of America, a country soon to be divided and therefore conquered. He smiled as he climbed the steps into the giant aircraft.

 
                                                          Chapter 1

                                                                                                               Late October 2197

                                                            Central New York Territory

 

Taylor Left Hand Female 8635 stepped from the entrance to the cave that protected the children and lifted off, rising above the treetops, impressed as always by the sight of so much foliage. Whether it was the delicate greens of spring or, like now, the vibrant oranges, yellows and burnt sienna of autumn, the view astounded her. The prognosticators of the past had gotten it all wrong. It was not the trees that were endangered; the population never did go beyond seven billion. Now the trees flourished as did the wildlife; the population of humans existed in a fragile recovery.

Pinging started inside her helmet, her battery pack warning her it required a charge. She checked her hand-held. Sure enough, the orange light flashed. She followed the dirt road. As she passed over the washed-out section, she considered again the thoughts of the powers-that-be, who chose not to repair the roadways to the caves. Since the creation of the hover vehicles and personal transporters, the need for smooth surfaced roads had become a low priority. They believed their road funds were better spent maintaining the highways to the major entertainment centers in order to keep the population happy, because “happy people will repopulate the country faster than a serious and glum citizenry.”

Being neither happy nor unhappy, she fit nowhere. As head of the cosmetics industry, she received enough special privileges that she ought to be happy by anybody’s standard, but something remained missing from her life.

Because of a nuclear accident in the twenty-first century, human reproduction had dwindled, leaving too few people to maintain the systems necessary to run the country. The same powers that caused the accident, created a new government that mirrored the United States government of the twenty-first century, including pseudo-elections.

With fewer than six million people in The North, and only ten percent of those educated in civic studies or law, their elections were a joke. Taylor couldn’t begin to imagine how they used to run national elections with a population at an unimaginable three hundred million across the entire continent. It must have been chaos.

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