The world went quiet, too quiet.
For hundreds of years, humanity had been relying more and more on technology. They used it to learn, to entertain, and even to live in many cases. Gone were the days of the computers and the smart phones. Most humans had been receiving implants since 2200 to improve their senses, live longer, and avoid diseases entirely. It seemed like society was on the way to perfection and nothing could go wrong.
Until it did.
No-one knows who was truly responsible, but somehow every electronic device in the world was disabled immediately. Over 75% of the population died immediately, another 20% suffered first. The remaining population suddenly was missing eyes, limbs, and the ability to process information at the speed of light.
With no way to communicate the others and realize what was going on, several survivors went insane. Most of the world’s population died in just a few minutes and the rest wished that they had.
In the end, there were less than 5,000 humans left alive in the world that were still somewhat sane. Most of them were spread out and unable to communicate with each other. For a long while it was unsure whether or not the species would go extinct entirely.
They might have, if it wasn’t for the simple fact that they were human. They could be traumatized, they could be separated by millions of miles, but there was a similar trait that all humans shared.
They were survivors, and as long as one of them were alive, they’d fight to the end to live.
In all my life, I’ve never seen something so beautiful and perfect. The baby wiggled in my arms as it attempted to sleep among all the excitement surrounding it and I immediately prepared to catch it. It had her nose and ears, but those eyes were all mine. They were clearer than my eyes, the eyes that have seen grown men break down on the battlefield and body strewn about by the hundreds.
I cleared my mind of such thoughts as soon as I realized I was thinking them and focused on the amazing creation in my arms. I already knew that I was going to spoil this little girl in my arms, Stacy said as much as soon as she saw me hold her. I’m sure about 80% of my friends are betting on if I’ll cry or not when she grows up. I almost feel bad for the ones who bet that I won’t.
“Hey big guy, how’s our little girl,” Stacy asked as she put her arms around my shoulders, her brown hair falling like a waterfall over my head. I pushed it out of my face with fake annoyance and absently wondered who’s hair the baby would have.
“She’s doing wonderfully, just went to sleep actually,” I said as proudly as I could while Stacy rolled her eyes.
“Of course she did. Not even a year old and already a daddy’s girl. Now hand her over, it’s my turn to hold her,” she commanded me with a huge smile on her face. I, like any sane human being, didn’t even bother to argue as one half of my world took the other half and moved towards her friends in our living room.
As I watched them walk away from me I knew that I would do anything and everything to keep those two safe and happy. I smiled softly and moved towards my world, my heart, my soul with one thought in mind. As long as I had them, I would be the happiest man in the world, and heaven help whoever tried to take my world away.
He couldn't remember the last time he had mustered enough energy to utter a word. He had been trapped, bannished?, in the cave for years and had learned a long time ago that screaming was only a waste of energy. In the cave, silence was the only thing that ensured survival. If your prey did not hear you, you received the privilege of food, if your predator did not hear you, you got to live for another hour. Darkness, danger, and silence were his only companions in the cave.
His head jerked to the right as he heard a soft grunt in the darkness. It wasn’t deep enough to be a predator, which meant that a prey had fallen off the walls of the cave and was in his domain. He quickly but silently made his way towards the sound over the memorized route he had walked for years.
When he reached where he believed the sound originated from he could hear it, quick breathing that betrayed his prey’s fear. They could see in the dark, they could see the silent hunter marching towards them. Without a sound, the man’s hands darted forward and grabbed the small hairy beast. It violently trashed in his hands but it was no use, in a few short minutes the prey suffocated and the man swallowed it whole.
He held in a cough and glared futilely in the darkness. He hated the hairy prey, but the hairless ones were protected by the predators and had sharp teeth to defend themselves. He remembered those teeth in his darkest dreams, he remembered a time when he did nothing but make noise and attracted most of the predators in the cave.
He fingered a scar on his arm lightly before following his route back to an edge of the cave hidden away by jagged rocks. He had not walked far before something assaulted his eyes and he couldn’t hold back the shriek of pain that emitted from his throat.
“Whoa! What was that?!” he heard something say, loudly. He held in a growl and softly crept towards the loud creature. The attack that almost destroyed his eyes had left and darkness had once again returned to his realm.
“Shhh! We don’t know what’s in here. No-one has left here alive in a hundred years, there has to be a reason,” a deeper sounding creature whispered. That one sounded like a predator, but not one he had ever heard before. Something in the back of his mind was screaming at him to remember, to understand, but he ignored it. That part of his mind had led him into more dangerous situations than he cared to remember, he hadn’t listened to it in a long, long time.
When he finally reached the sound’s origin, a strange sight awaited him. His underused eyes attempted in vain to focus on the previous attack that was originating in a strange rock inbetween two mostly hairless creatures. Light, the back of his mind reminded him. He didn’t understand the longing that filled him, why would he want something so useless? He was sure that ever predator in the cave was closing in and every prey was running for cover.
They made more noise than he had ever heard just by opening their mouths and the man knew that they were dangerous to him. Only predators made that much noise, and only when they killed their prey. They were vicious creatures with nothing to fear, the beasts in front of him did not fear anything by the looks of things, when they should fear everything. They were prey, and the man was a predator.
He would show them exactly why silence should be a creature’s best friend...
A New Home
When they left his home, he never thought they’d make it to the new planet. Now that he actually looked at it, he wished that he had been right.
Where his planet was green, this planet was brown, where there were oceans, there is nothing but pits covered with salt. They say that people lived here once but he just couldn’t see how that was possible.
He didn’t know how he had ended up as one of the “lucky” few to be transported to a new planet. He knew why people were leaving in the first place, just not why he was one of them. His planet was dying, there was no easy way to say it. Some sort of machine or another was malfunctioning and everything was going to Hell. The ground was turning red and barren while the air was toxic to anyone who was unlucky enough to breath it.
“Fred! Stop gawking at our new home! We need to get ready to land!” Fred’s best friend, Garry, yelled from down the metal hall. Fred simply rolled his eyes and headed towards the main doors, he didn’t know if it was fate or divine hatred that put Garry on the same ship as him.
It wasn’t much longer before the ship landed on the dust dunes of this new world. The entire crew was silent as they left the relative safety of the ship to traverse the landscape. Almost as soon as Fred stepped off the ship, he kicked a strange metal slab that had strange runes on it.
“Great... so there’s junk and dust here. Can’t imagine anything fancier,” he grumbled to himself as he stepped over the useless slab. The sun was scorching as he kept walking forward. Seconds turned to minutes and minutes to hours as nothing changed before him except the sheer amount of dust.
Finally, his eyes caught sight of one of the strangest sights he’d ever seen. As he looked upon the molten towers of steel he realized they were telling the truth. This planet was all that remained of the famous Earth.
"Grandpa, why do you sell this nasty water? Why don't you sell coffee like everyone else?" My idiotic grandson asked me this one day. I haven't spoken to him since. It's been eleven years.
My name is Franklin T. Bag and I am the last person on earth who sells the magnificent liquid that is tea. People like my grandson don't understand the importance of tea, they think it is simply bitter water. They would rather have one of the new modern coffees that they see on the television, as if they need more energy.
They don't realize that tea has started wars, bankrupted nations, and has been a very important part of human culture since the first cup. Every day I get new people coming to the shop and asking for coffee, every day I am disgusted with the disappointed faces of this generation, every day I ask myself if it is worth it, if remaining the last bastion of tea is worth the bills and the ridicule.
Of course it is, I am reminded of this fact every time I see a grateful face walk into my shop, a smile shining through at the lack of coffee on the menu. As long as there are still people on this planet that enjoy tea, I will be here with a smile and a steaming cup of delectable liquid.
For I am the Teaman, and I will never fall to the likes of the coffee drinkers.
When was the last time I trusted a stranger? When was the last time I felt free? When was the last time I laughed for no other reason but to laugh? I realize that I don't know and that fills me with more despair than I thought possible.
Because it means that I lost my innocence, and I don't even remember when...
The world of Heatstrike was supposed to be a new beginning for humans, a place to recuperate after the failure that was Earth. Sure, a desert planet was not the most welcoming home, but it was stable, safe, a perfect place for humans to renew their domination of the galaxy. At least, that was what the survivors believed... until one day something moved beneath the scorched sands.