Tuesday, November 5, 2013

#1


I found a book today. It was lying on the floor of the 7-11 that we're looting, an odd place for it to be as it was the only book around. I guess someone must have dropped it in a hurry while checking out this place for supplies, just like we are doing now. 7-11, even in the face of an apocalypse, is still the number one convenience store to visit.

We're not in a rush to leave the place, after all we bolted the doors and made sure the store was empty before coming in, so I picked up the book to study it while my companions, Daniel and Julie went on ahead to see what supplies we can take. They were a couple anyway, so I figured it might be good to give them some alone time once a while because after all, I'm like the apocalyptic third wheel in the midst of them. Not that I'm complaining though, having companions, no matter who they are, is one of the biggest blessings one can find when there is a lack of normal humans. It's just that I try to give them some period of what I call "couple normality", from time to time as it is the only thing that reminds me of the simpler days before this mess came about, when we still have time for something called love and dating.

The book itself was more like a journal or notebook, a classy one in fact with its black leather cover and silk ribbon bookmark. I guess it must be the type that executives or important looking people would normally use to take down notes in important meetings, like those where they discuss policies, come up with new ideas and such. There was a calendar section in the front with all the small little boxes to remind the owner of upcoming important dates and another section to jot down contact details for contacts. And behind was a few hundred pages for note taking. A place to write down the date on the top right corner along with line after line to be filled by words, neatly spaced between each of them. At the first page itself was a quote about success by Napoleon Hill:

"Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

I wondered what can man still achieve when we are almost wiped out from the planet but nevertheless, I kept the book. That's how I found you, my dear diary, lying on the floor of a 7-11, all new and all alone, probably forgotten by your previous owner who dropped you there. Maybe he thought that words are no longer needed when we can't even find food but I beg to differ. Our best days as a civilization might be over, but that does not mean that we have to throw away everything that reminds us of it and return to being the savages that we once were. Words and language, I felt, was one of the few remaining links that tied us back to who we used to be, and to discard it away would make us no different from the monsters out there. Besides, if we do get wiped out, at least there was an account on what happened written down. 

Things wasn't always this chaotic you know. In fact, I'm sure you remember the happier days where people worried more about other stuff like Facebook, bags, money and success rather than survival. You were probably born then, I guess. But we never knew how happy we were. In our never ending pursuit of progress, growth and perfectionism, we humans continued to invent and innovate. After all, that what makes us human special I guess. We constantly try to create new things and come up with solutions to address the problems in our environment. We are never satisfied with one way of doing things, instead we continuously ask ourselves if there is a better way to understand and change our environment. That's how we got so far as a species. You, my diary, was also the product of this human process.

But alas, our tendency to always create and change things tend to backfire on us every now and then. Not all of our creations have been beneficial, that I can tell you. I could name a few but I guess you would have known. After all, you came from a tree right? And us chopping trees and destroying the environment is one of the classic examples. It's not to say that the intentions behind all these were not good, it's just that sometimes we just fail to see the consequences of the actions we put in place. Most of the time, it's not until too late only we do we realize that. Like what is happening to earth right now.

It's funny how the incident that is destroying destroying humanity right now was touted as the solution of all humanity's problem in the first place. The idea seemed almost crazy at first, but the entire thing started when a group of scientists claimed that they have successfully implanted the genes that manufacture chlorophyll from into lab rats. Essentially, they are claiming that the lab rats now were able to synthesize their own energy from sunlight, just like plants do. Of course, they will still need water and nutrients from other sources, but the scientists behind the this breakthrough claims that it will be sufficient to keep an organism alive. They say that the animals testing phase of their project was already deemed a success a few months back and their company have begun to pilot test the effects on humans as well around the world before considering a worldwide release.

That of course, caused an uproar around the world. As usual, you have a lot of people discussing about it, all of them trying to give the impression that the point that they have to make is the important one. Looking back, all of them appeared so insignificant now. Because what happened next would forever be remembered as the beginning of an end to life as we know it. The details itself was fuzzy but what I remembered was how many were unhappy with the news itself. The loudest objection to the project itself was how the scientists seemed to play god and before long groups were being formed everywhere to object the project from being implemented on humans. For the first time in history, you see the Muslims and Christians working together in opposing the project.

Despite assurance from world governments and even UN itself adopting a charter to bar the project from being carried out on humans, many were not convinced. Some saw the opportunity to seize power. Protests became more violent, with a group called the Humanity Alliance at the forefront, adopting tactics such as death threats and property damage towards the corporation that scientists worked under. Operating in internet forums and such, authorities were never able to fully stop them. At most one or two will get arrested for committing the acts, but none of them knew who was in charge as they received their orders mostly from the web. The support they received from certain segments of the population, who view them as the fighters against the oppressors, did not help either. Not only that, the Alliance frequently posted videos unto the internet saying how God is going to punish humanity for this transgression. I guess God did in way, no thanks to them.

It all happened a month after the initial press release. The Alliance had just posted an announcement across the internet saying that they were planning something big the next day. They did not have any official channels, pages or website as the authorities have been working hard to crank them down, but they were often able to get things up in internet forums and places like Reddit and 4chan, and the social media will help them do the job in spreading the message. Details were scarce on what they were intending but the next day, at the heavily guarded press conference for the project, even with the increased security, Alliance made their move.

Users were told to tune in to a website's URL which will only be released 10 minutes before their plan, which is scheduled just 15 minutes after the project's press conference started, at 10.15 am UK time, where the press conference were taking place. Not wanting to show the world that they were scared, the authorities and the corporation behind the project gave the go ahead for the conference. A police sergeant even dared the Alliance to make their move on the conference. Bad choice in hindsight.

As the clock struck 10.15, users who now have gained the website's URL from the internet were shown an introduction clip on the project, saying how it is a sin against humanity and that today was the day to make a stand. The video then cut to a view of the press conference itself, meaning that the Alliance has indeed successfully infiltrated the event and before the authorities could do anything, two of the security personnel whipped out their guns and began shooting other security personnel in the room. They were caught off guard by it. Someone from the audience then dashed up to the conference table, grabbed the speaking doctor and put a syringe next to her throat.

In his loudest voice, he shouted, "So you all want to play God huh? Again and again we have warned you all that trying to change the human genes is a bad idea but you wall wouldn't want to listen. So lets see whow the doctor likes it when I inject her with the blood of the chlorophylled mouse that she worked on?"

Now if you ask me, I don't think that is exactly how the scientists intended to infuse humans with the genes from plants, but that's what he did. And judging by how he looked after that, I guess that he probably did not anticipate the results of his actions. Because not only the doctor was writhing on the floor, she was foaming in the mouth too. Then, the body became still. I think the whole world stood transfixed for that few seconds when the video slowly zoomed to focus on the now still body. But then no one prepared for what came next. The body jolted up without warning and in a split second, the doctor sprang to the nearest person and began to eat away at the person's flesh. The only remaining two security personnel in the room was too stunned to do anything and by the time they decided to use their weapon, everything was too late. And that, was how the first outbreak started.

#1.5


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