Radioactive Armageddon: Prologue
DescriptionThis is post apocalyptic story that takes place in mid west of the United States after a nuclear war in 2068 that sends the remains of humanity into bunkers for generations after. The first part of the story primarily takes place in the bunker and builds around some of the characters. I sincerely thank you for looking at this, because I it is a lot content and take a bit to read. With that out of the way, I hope you enjoy it.
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Prologue Benjamin could feel a fear run through his body and chill him to the bone, making things such as walking straight, a difficult endeavor. “Doctor, are you sure you want to go through with this? Your daughter….” “I do this for my daughter and every other child in this ARK. Jim you have to trust me, if we want to have any future for the residents of this ARK then we have to do this.” He could hear himself say the words, but they felt like they were coming from an entirely different person. “Okay, if you’re sure about it, but I’m just saying after this we can’t put the cat back in the bag after this Ben. If we don’t succeed, then…” Jim trailed off, echoing the same thought he had in the back of his mind throughout the whole time they have been planning this out. “We will succeed, now get that door open.” Said Benjamin trying to sound confident in their plan and push the treacherous thought out of his head. He subconsciously reached down to his pocket and felt for the small shape of the pistol he had fabricated just a day in advance before the plot. He could feel its lightweight polymer body in his hand, tracing his fingers over its sleek black grip which was just big enough to get three fingers around. He shuddered at the thought of using the pistol, he just prayed to whatever creator or force was out there, he wouldn’t have to use it. After a few more moments, Jim was able to override the electronic door controls with his modified ST-200 hologram display bracelet, that now recognized him as a member of security personnel and with that gave him near limitless access to anywhere in the ARK. Everything seemed to be going just as planned, that was until an alert sounded out over the intercom. “What’s happening?” Said Ben looking around frantically as the loud alert seemed to drown out all logical thought. Jim frantically scrolled through code on his hologram bracelet. “Shit! They must have finally incorporated that biometric scanner upgrade into the security. We only have two minutes until security arrives, Ben we have failed.” Ben looked up and down the hallway, then back to his friend. “Give me the bracelet and tell them, I forced you at gunpoint.” “It’s over…” Jim was cut off when Ben pulled the small pistol from his right pocket and pressed it against Jim’s forehead. “You lied!” He loudly announced hoping the incoming security would hear him. “Give me the bracelet now.” Ben hissed under his breath. Jim reluctantly took the bracelet off and handed it over. “Okay now, I’m sorry but I got to make sure this is convincing.” Ben said in a low whisper as he could hear the pounding footsteps getting closer and closer. “Wait, what?” Jim managed to get out before Ben, in one swift motion, socked him in the jaw and knocked him unconscious. Ben then began sprinting at full pace with the small pistol now in his hand, further into the restricted area of the ARK. The pounding footsteps on his heels seemed to pause for a moment, probably stopping to render aid to an unconscious Jim. A door slid open on the right side of the hallway and two ARK security guards armed with their long silver shock batons blocked his path. He kept running toward them while simultaneously raising the pistol and firing two rounds in their direction. The small pistol snapped two times, with a sound that barely rivaled a cap gun. Neither of the rounds hit, but the guards immediately dove out of the way, while frantically screaming into their headset for backup. Ben sprinted straight past them and turned down the hallway that led to the R&D sector of the ARK. There lay the one barrier he needed to destroy in order to finally force the hand of the director and the council to not condemn their civilization to a slow and meaningless death underground. Like a submarine roaming under the ravenous waves above, the ARK had life support systems that made this little concrete box in the ground habitable, and without them they would surely die. That said, the people who designed the ARK, put multiple redundancies in place to protect against one of these systems failing due to a myriad of things including human sabotage. This did not make his job easy as pretty much every system had alternative backups and was designed to be simple and easy to repair. Everything except one very critical thing, the DNA replicator. This was a state-of-the-art system that essentially let them clone not only near perfect seeds for agriculture, but it could also clone livestock such as pigs, chickens, and even cows. The only drawback to this system is the one kink in the system that made everything it cloned sterile and unable to reproduce naturally. This was something that countless scientists over the years tried to fix, but the truth of the matter is that the system was too complex, and no one dare to take it apart in fear of breaking it. It was the only one of its kind in the ARK and the only redundancy for it was the stockpile of nonperishable food that would only last for another twenty years if they were lucky. Benjamin finally got to the end of the hallway where an airtight steel sliding door awaited him. The touchscreen keypad next to the door came to life turning green instantly and with it sliding the heavy steel door to the left out of his way as he casually strolled in like he owned the place. Pounding footsteps came from down the hallway and Benjamin knew he didn’t have much time until they would be right on top of him. He quickly scanned the room, until he found what he was looking for in the corner of the spacious white lab. There sat a large silvery gray machine that was about the size of a washing machine and appeared to be almost out of place in the solid sterile white setting of the lab. “There!” He exclaimed to himself as he rushed over to the device. The sound of pounding boots grew only ever closer. Benjamin stowed away his pistol and withdrew a modified smart tablet battery that would, when inserted, overload the machine and fry it for good. After searching the back of the machine, he was able to find a port that he could jury rigged up to the battery. “Take this wire and…” The door sprang open and several security officers stormed in with rifles at the ready. “STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE!” Shouted one of the Officers as he drove the barrel of his rifle into Benjamin’s neck. Moving very carefully, Benjamin attached the last bit of jury-rigged wiring to the machine before raising his hands in the air. Benjamin heard one command shouted by one of the security officers before he felt the back of a rifle butt hit him in the side of the head, causing him to hit the floor face down, head throbbing, as he felt his hands being restrained. One of the officers quickly patted him down while he was on the ground and found his little 3D printed peashooter. “Well, look what we have here rookie. You nearly shit your pants over a small coil gun.” Said one of the Officers mockingly as he held up the piece. “How am I supposed to know that? For all I could have known, he could have had an actual combustion pistol.” Said a younger officer defensively. The older officer just chuckled at this, before lifting Benjamin to his feet. Once on his feet, he could see that he was flanked by five security officers who were all casually standing around with their rifles now that he had been apprehended. One of them whistled. “Dang, who knew the doctor was a terrorist? Are you going to say, if it wasn’t for you pesky guards, I would have gotten away with it?” Taunted one of the officers. What Benjamin what counting on and hoping for was that these guards would be too stupid, preoccupied, or both, to check the machine for tampering. “What does someone want a Scooby snack now? Please, how you people don’t blow your own feet off during live fire exercises, amazes me.” Said Benjamin with the most stuck-up tone he could muster. It worked like a charm, as that seemed to get under the skin of the officer, who seemed to have a bit of an ego problem. “Let’s see how smart you feel with a couple more knocks to the head doc.” He said as he approached. One of the more senior officers stepped in the way and an argument broke out that seemed to draw the attention of all the officers present. “Perfect.” Benjamin thought as he slowly backed toward the machine. Feeling around with his handcuffed hands he finally found the right button. He depressed the button and the machine came to life for one moment, bringing all eyes back to him. Several officers immediately grabbed him and threw him to the ground away from the machine, but it was too late. With a loud pop. The officers’ attentions were drawn back to the machine that immediately shut off after the noise and a burning rubber smell filled the lab. One of the senior officers began frantically calling into his smart bracelet as the ego driven officer stomped over to him. Using one arm to lift Benjamin up, he spat out. “What did you do!” Before punching Benjamin in the gut before he could reply. “Knock it off! We handle him through the court, damn it!” Barked the Senior officer, but this time the hot head didn’t need to be told twice. Benjamin was then escorted to a cell where he was left, as the ARK tried to access what damage he did. On their way to the cell, Benjamin saw several of his former colleagues along with maintenance staff rush past him without even taking the time to look at him. They left him in that cell, for quite a while, but he wasn’t sure how long because they stripped him of all devices. All this spare time on his hands though, he had nothing more to do than think what he had gotten himself into. Was this all worth it? He was giving up his life, reputation, and most of all a relationship with his one-year old daughter for what? He understood the greater good of what he was trying to do. Mankind, so long as he decided to dwell in his underground utopia, he would be stagnant in innovation and exploration. It had shown over the decades they had been down here. At first pursuit of new knowledge had been vibrant, as the human spirit tried to design himself out of his current predicament, but as new generations were born underground, that waned. Why study the stars, when all you see when you look up is concrete and steel? The people had grown accustomed to this new life and had no aspirations for better. Though a few didn’t hold these beliefs and wanted better, it was hard to get anything approved when you were fighting a majority in a straight Democracy. This left him with only two options, lay down and surrender, or do what no one wanted to do for the greater good. He of course has heard the statement, “The path of Hell is paved with good intentions.” Good thing he didn’t believe in that religious crap because that put a hindrance on his work. After what felt like an eternity, there was a small knock on the door of his cell before without warning it slid open and in stepped Doctor Schmitz. Schmitz stepped in and looked him up and down before scowling. “Goddamn it, Ben, what did you get yourself into?” “You and I both know why I’m in this cell. I believe we have had long conversations about this very scenario except, I actually went through with it.” “Ben, you know how I think about this, but I can’t justify terrorism. This is the type of accelerationism that leads to despotic regimes. Did you think of the possibility of there now being a witch hunt for more suspected terrorists or…” Ben cut Schmitz off. “Do you ever think of the big picture, Schmitz? Do you think that Ulysses Grant would have won if he concerned himself with the death of every soldier over victory? The answer is no, there will be hardships, but that’s just part for the course if you want to win.” “Ben, I can’t help you.” “I know, this is my own hardship. I only request that you keep an eye on my daughter and help where I can’t.” “Damn it Ben, you know these kids don’t actually have parents legally, that’s the state, and I would have to…” “Schmitz, please. This may as well be my dying wish after they figure out what I have done.” Schmitz let out a sigh. “Fine, I’ll do my best to try to look out for her.” “Thank you.” “Your welcome. Now they sent me down here to tell you the verdict of the court.” “Verdict? I wasn’t even there?” “I know, terroristic threats and acts don’t really require due process. See what I’m saying about the despotic regime thing? Anyway, you have been sentenced to exile, which I highly doubt is coincidence.” “Dang, well, at least that's better than firing squad.” “Yeah maybe, but…” Doctor Schmitz was cut off when the loud booming voice of a security officer announcing his time with the prisoner was up. Schmitz sighed before begrudgingly leaving the cell, the door sliding closed behind him. Several more eternities passed, as Benjamin tried to rest on the uncomfortable cot, before he was woken once again by the cell door sliding open and in walked a security officer. “Get up, you're being moved permanently.” He ordered. Benjamin knew what was coming next. He was led unceremoniously through the hall by the two officers that escorted him at gunpoint. It must have been nighttime, or what the ARK called nighttime because there wasn’t a soul insight. They eventually got to an elevator at the end of one of the hallways and stepped in. Out of all the dozens of buttons he could have pressed, the security officer pressed the number one on the touchscreen, which was the closest level to the surface and where the entrance to this sprawling underground city lied. The doors opened, and he was once again led through a system of hallways before they finally came upon it. The door that led out of ARK 17 and unto the surface. The door itself wasn't too impressive with the same look as the ones in 1950’s cold war bunkers. And there, Benjamin saw the Director himself, standing off to the right side, flanked by two security officers. “Doctor, why did you have to do this? Do you realize that your actions almost sabotaged the food supply for the next three generations?” One word of that question nagged at Benjamin at the core. “What do you mean, almost?” And to that, the Director gave a slight smug grin, before saying. “You almost fried the DNA Replicator, but luckily for us, you didn’t have enough power in that small modified battery to do it.” The blood drained from Benjamin’s face as he realized, all he had done… It had been for nothing. He wanted to spring across the room and knock the smug look from the Director’s face. To hit the undo button on this decision. To return to the machine with a fucking sledgehammer! To…. He sobbed quietly. To see his daughter, grow up… This was what he really wanted, but he threw it away on failed radical ideas! The anger burned within him, so hot that he felt that he could melt the hardened steel cuffs binding him. At last, he remained silent as the Director read off his sentence slowly, as if he meant to torture him furthermore with his failure. “And that is I sentence you, Doctor Benjamin…” He droned on. Finally, at last, when he was finished reading his script, Benjamin was free to execute his sentence. With only a small pack of food and water that would hold him over for a max of three days, and a small set of survival equipment. Benjamin at gunpoint, walked through the blast door’s opening and into the cave system concealing the bunker. Never to return to his home, again...