I want to kill bugs, sir!

     

 

 

Physics is the operating system, Chemistry is the programming language, and Biology is the development environment.
-- The Compulsive Splicer

 

The Grass Is Always Greener -- Reported 1999-01-14 00:45 by Lenny Tuberose

It didn't look like much from the outside--a rundown diner in a rundown neighborhood, the dilapidation of the former mirroring perfectly the decay of the latter. The windows were streaked and greasy. One window had been broken years before and replaced with a clumsy patch of corrugated cardboard and newspaper. The headline was still legible on the yellowed newsprint: July 9, 2006--VATICAN LOOTED IN ROME FOOD RIOTS. Uri's lips pursed in a disapproving scowl. He remembered those riots well--they had popped up all over Europe like lethal dandelions. They had flared like lightning-fires in the prolonged storm of the worldwide food shortage that had begun before the millennium. Africa was first to experience the crushing despair and aching emptiness of mass starvation. Millions had died, either victims of starvation itself, or of the waves of violence that had followed as the refugees had struggled to break out of the desert that Africa had become. The international community, in a rare exhibition of co-operation, had sent more than a million soldiers to cordon off Africa and turn back the waves of desperate souls that sought salvation in self-imposed exile from the land of their birth. Censorship ensured that none would ever know whether hunger or bullets had taken the greater toll.

Asia and South America were next to feel the burden of burgeoning population and shrinking resources. A dramatic shift in weather patterns had confounded agriculture, turning productive farmland into deserts and swamps. The concentration of wealth in the hands of the few had hastened the collapse of civilization as coups and counter-coups fragmented nations into collections of rural baronies ruled by brutal warlords. The West had watched in rapt and morbid fascination as civilisation disintegrated around them.

It wasn't until the disastrous crop failures of the Great Plains of North America in the first decade of the twenty-first century that the West began-- too late--to recognize the precariousness of their position as the last bastion of civilization. Europe had been cut off from the granaries of North America, and panic had overwhelmed its peoples as they saw that their allies and kinsmen in North America were prepared to sacrifice them. War had been declared, but Europe no longer had the resources to take the war across the Atlantic. They had contented themselves with the wholesale butchery of those North Americans that had been unwise enough to be travelling in Europe when the crisis had come to a head.

Uri had escaped to North America via the polar route in 2009 when it had become painfully apparent that the fledgling democracies of the Republics of Russia and the Ukraine would be unable to defend their burgeoning prosperity against the starving and desperate hordes of Asia and Europe. His father had been shot dead during the escape; his mother had died of hunger and exposure during the arduous trek across the barrens of Northern Canada. He had been left an orphan in a time that did not welcome children, in a place far from the land of his ancestors. The terror and despair that had descended upon his wounded spirit like vultures and carrion crows had left him so numb that he had thought that he might never feel anything ever again.

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Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

xandria@pigdog.org


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