UE: 3001 AD
The small boy pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose as he studied the vine; his white uniform showed signs of rummaging, soil stained the sleeves. If the Wolves catch him wearing a dirty uniform he will most definitely be beaten and forced to wash blood stains out of the cloth as well.
He sat in the small room holding the plant, books and mechanical debris scattered throughout. He used an old, steel, examination table as a desk. Set on top were numerous biology, botany, medical, and physics textbooks with chemistry and ballistics manuals opened and sections of text underlined. Steel and lead components of discarded fire arms were sorted and arranged. The boy sat on an old bar stool, he turned to the side holding a flashlight behind a leaf observing the complex veins of the life form. The vine was planted in a cracked coffee mug, roots navigating through its natural soil matrix. He cupped the mug in his hand and continued the examination. His over sized glasses slide down his nose a little farther. He turned off the flash light and set it on the desk. He repositioned the spectacles with his newly freed hand and turned to look at the wall clock. It was now 7pm, curfew time. The alarms sounded throughout the corridors, the dogs marched to each living quarter and knocked on the doors. This routine was the same every night. The dogs walked into the main quarter of each unit and ordered all inhabitants to assemble so he could see them. He identified each of them visually, by scanning their faces with the UE brand data-corder, and genetically with the DNA profile program of the same device. The dog exited and started the process over again at the next unit. The family went their separate ways, the boy returned to his room. He once again studied the vine and then glanced at the clock again, 7:20pm. He threw a green robe over himself and lifted the secret hatch. He climbed down into the sewers.
The vines grew abundantly throughout the subterranean community. The tunnels were originally used as garbage chutes by the ancient surface dwellers. Their descendents took to the tunnels to escape the burning sun. As the sun matured, it released higher levels of radiation. Scientists noticed that the ubiquitous vines created a safe retreat from the radiation and blanketed the nearby space with fresh oxygen. The inner workings of the vine still remain a mystery.
The year was 3001 AD, the planet Earth. Governments from each country formed the United Nations which acted as a global government in the years 2100 AD – 2201 AD. This system changed and was gradually taken over by United Electric (UE) in 2201 AD. Top executives from the mega-corporation assumed high ranking positions in the United Nations while retaining their positions in UE. The company grew exponentially with the changing sun; the amount of light increased over the years and so did UE’s solar electricity sector. The company recruited strong men for their secret police and experienced military officers for enforcers. The ruthless soldiers were nicknamed, by the citizens, dogs and wolves, respectively. Citizens live as small families within identical housing units organized in the tunnels. Passages from the housing sector to the gathering hall were kept spotless. The additional passages, which were unused, were piled to the ceiling with mechanical debris and other refuse.
The lights throughout the corridors were dim, despite UE’s vast resources, and sunlight was scarce. The citizens were given food rations and only one uniform to wear every day. Beatings and torture were common. There was an ongoing conflict between UE and the underground resistance. The resistance was often defeated; members from captured party were publicly executed in the gathering hall, the resistance leaders were better at evading authorities. The inequality between the two sides came down to one major difference, weapons. The resistance was poorly equipped, they had bats and lead pipes, but few guns.
The resistance emerged from a small group of rebels who believe strongly in a democracy run by citizens. The current form of government is a totalitarian dictatorship, with Barney Locke, CEO of UE, exacting boundless control. The rebels fight for freedom and human rights, their ranks grow consistently. Public execution rarely deters resistance members, the price of individual lives is small compared to what is at stake if they give up and conform to UE law. The boy has been keeping track of resistance activity; he sneaks into secret meetings and listens intently.
He wasn’t going to a meeting tonight. The boy often sneaks out past curfew and rummages through the trash piles. He studied whatever pieces of fire arms he could find. He rummaged through the refuse rooms and salvaged the best items. His goal was to find a new form of weapon that could give the resistance a much needed advantage. While immersed in a rummaging fit, the boy lost track of time. Dogs and wolves increase surveillance past 8pm, which has been noted as a time of high resistance activity. A young dog slowly marched through the corridor, sweeping the area with his soulless eyes. The boy ducked behind a rusted sink, pushed his glasses up and brushed his hair away from his ears. He sat silently, the dog continued patrol. The boy hid for a few more minutes until the sound of the dog’s footsteps faded into the distance. More foot steps approached, the stranger walked carefully, soft foot wear padding across stone. The boy was familiar with the sound of UE issued foot wear, which these were not, and stood up. A tall, thin man stopped suddenly, and stepped back carefully.
“I’m sure you know what time it is. You may be small and easily concealed, but you might not be so lucky when the next dog walks by. He should be here in three minutes.” Then the man spoke softly and held a tiny device. “This displays their nightly patrol. If they change anything, then we’re in trouble.”
The boy looked at the man, his large glasses comically magnifying bright eyes. He pointed to a vine growing in a corner and then looked down at the mechanical mess in his hands.
“There is something curious about those vines. I’ve been studying them myself. Have you ever heard of neutrinos?” He looked down at the boy while he moved his fingers through the air, simulating particles traveling at high speeds.
The boy nodded then looked down the corridor as steady foot steps approached.