Sid sighed as he leaned against the rotting sill below the window, his forehead pressed to the filthy glass, staring at the raging hordes below. It was the third riot this month, although it was proving to be the most violent one since the Columbus Day massacre of 2073.
Fuck, he thought. If Tommy doesn’t get here soon, we’re going to miss out on the decent merch. As if on queue, Tommy burst through the door.
“RIOT, Motherfuckers!” he screamed as he walked in, his fists raised overhead. He shrugged out of his leather jacket, flinging it over the back of the couch, sitting heavily on the end nearest the window. Sliding to the edge of the cushion, his legs bounced with adrenaline.
“Guess what I got for our adventure tonight?” Tommy asked, nodding his head toward the sirens in the distance.
“Nice, douche bag, but no,” he said as he reached behind his back and pulled two Sigma 9’s from his waste-band and laid them gently on the table.
“Guns, motherfucker. We’re not coming home empty tonight.”
A lump forming in his throat, Sid picked up one of the old Smith & Wesson Sigmas and held it at arms length, pointing it out the window and sighting it on the logo of the Federal Bureau of Social Engineering in the distance.
“Why guns?” he asked.
Tommy grabbed the other Sigma, stood up, and began jabbing the gun at the air as he spoke.
“Because every time we go looting, those motherfuckers either get the shit before we do, or they beat our asses and take what we got. No more!” said Tommy, getting agitated as he circled the couch.
“I don’t know Tommy,” said Sid. “This one is … there are Feds on the streets. I got a bad feeling.”
Tommy stood inches from the window, whispering, “It’s because winter is on the way, man. I haven’t eaten in three days. I need something to barter before the snow comes, Sid. Don’t fuck this up for me.” His right arm twitched, tapping the muzzle of the gun on the window sill, over and over.
“Okay, man. Okay,” said Sid, sliding the Sigma into his waste-band. “Let’s get some.”
Quickly, Sid led Tommy down the stairwell, through the front door, melding into the crowds at the fringes of the riot. Sid’s dilapidated apartment complex was located in Quadrant 4, known locally as Q4, within walking distance of the fenceline between the gleaming, new buildings at the core of New Denver and the desolate wasteland that was Old Denver.
Many of the residents of Q4 survived by dealing on the black market, including Sid and Tommy. It was the only way to survive in a society decimated by the MEV-1 plague that wiped out 5 Billion people in 2030. The only survivors were people with an immunity or were fortunate enough, through wealth or connections, to be wisked away to an isolation camps until a cure was found, fifeteen years later.
Many of the camps grew to become the new centers of power, including New Denver. The areas outside the isolation camps devolved into a teaming mass of violence, anarchy, and disease that lead to the death of another quarter of the surviving population.
New Denver, and the Rocky Mountain Province, grew out of the leadership of the United States quarantined at NORAD; much of the new ruling class sharing their lineage with the presidential and senatorial families that ran the last, great democracy on earth.
In much the same way that Kings and Queens ruled the kingdoms of the Dark Ages, the new kingdoms of the earth were ruled over by Monarchies, and just as violence and conquest re-shaped the fuedal lands of Northern Europe, they were starting to reshape the provinces that grew out of the plague. Desperate for leadership, the survivors flocked to the protection and structure of the isolation camps.
Sids great, great grandparents were amongst the first to swear fealty to the Kindom of New Denver, with the promise of title and lands. However, in only three generations they had lost the lands to fuedal conflicts and the titles to indescretion and treachery. Now, Sid was little more than a serf, fighting to make a living at the fringes of desolation.
This started life as a prologue to a fiction book, but it wasn’t quite working. So, I posted it on Ficly.com as a series of posts and may continue working on it here. If I add to it, I’ll just update the date so it shows up back on the front page again.
Last updated on October 20th, 2011