Vampire Apocalypse: A World Torn Asunder Online - Derek Gunn
The Beginning of the End
The town slept. A shroud of darkness lay heavily over everything like an impenetrable blanket except for the occasional glow of dull light from oil lamps that dotted the scene and seemed to mirror the pinpricks of light in the sky above. The massive turbines that used to pump out power for the whole state had ground to a halt more than a month earlier as the last reserves of fuel had dried up. The few wind- or water-powered plants were already overloaded and their use was rigidly restricted to emergency and local authority use.
Jack Newton sighed as he watched over his dying hometown. He had been born here, gone to school here and, except for the time he had gone away to train for the Police, he had always been here. He would most probably die here he realised.
The town had been in decline even before the war and way before the energy crisis but there had always been hope before. Now even that seemed to be gone. States with nuclear power stations fared much better of course, but they no longer fed the power grids of surrounding states, unless those poorer states were prepared to pay exorbitant prices. These power states had already begun to grow more dominant, placing guards on their borders to prevent mass migrations. It wasn’t that they didn’t allow people to relocate, but that they wanted to choose those who would be allowed to do so. The talented, those who would be useful in this new world, were welcomed and all others were “encouraged” to leave and left to scrape a living in the poorer, dying states.
The Central Government had quickly lost its influence as local militia were called in to protect each state’s assets. A once proud, united nation rapidly fell into a feudal system where few were rich in the new source of wealth: power. Or at least, power that did not require oil to run its turbines, natural resources, and most importantly, a plentiful supply of food. Many waited as other states were forced to give up what valuables they had - their brightest people, fertile land or mineral rights - in order to receive a trickle of power to keep their people warm for the coming winter.
It hadn’t taken long for an advanced civilisation to regress to such a state. A brief but vicious war in the Middle East had laid waste to the world’s oil fields and left what remained under a cloud of radioactivity that would take decades to dissipate. Millions had died. Whole countries had been wiped off the map, and agreements between countries had stretched and then broken as accusations and blame were tossed around in the aftermath.
Europe closed ranks against a resurging Russia and a dominant China. America, fearful of loosing its foothold in Europe, had sided with the new Franco-British alliance, expending huge amounts of precious resources, both in materials and manpower, in skirmishes that threatened to escalate to total war but always seemed to stop just in time.
The massive drain on stockpiles along with a change in public opinion at home as rationing became widespread, eventually took its toll and America was forced to pull back and allow the sheer numbers of the Russian/Chinese alliance to swarm over a ravaged Europe. Six months it had taken, from the first shot, to redraw the world map and change an entire civilisation. Nations that were once poor because of their lack of technical advancement now reigned supreme in a world where sheer numbers again counted for more than technological advancements that were no longer viable in a world without the power to operate them.
Newton pulled his sheepskin jacket tighter around him as the cold sucked greedily at his body and left him shivering. He could see a glow on the horizon where the neighbouring state still pumped power to its towns and cities from their nuclear plant. The lines that connected his city to the plant were still there, but the power that ran through them was strictly rationed and paid for with everything of value that the state had.
They had already sold off all usable land around their borders in advance to cover themselves for the minimum power requirements to see them through the coming winter. But God only knew what they would do then. They had already lost their top researchers in their chemical and steel industries. He couldn’t really blame them; they had families to feed and the offer