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How the World Ends: a Story

I’m writing this letter to myself. I need to talk to someone, even it is only my own self. I need to believe that what happened was real.

All that I know of the past was learned by word-of-mouth histories from those who came before me and those few historians who remain now. Some matters I know directly. We don’t talk much anymore to each other because it takes too much physical effort. It has been tiring to write this letter by the dim light available to me either in or outdoors, day or night. But it helps to distract me from the situation everyone is in.

I was part of the BMR or the Baltimore Metro Resistance. I was part of the BMR when I was young and I guess I still am a member now. My parents migrated to Baltimore from Virginia. They are gone now, killed in fighting by bullet, blade, bomb, artillery or missile. That’s what I was told. I often wish now that I would have died with them, such are the circumstances these days.

There were other resistance groups in the former United States of America that I know of: Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Saint Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Charlotte (North Carolina) and Miami. Millions flocked to these locations in hopes of defending themselves from the brutal federal and state militaries; para-military security forces and mercenaries, and local police.

When I was very young, I became a courier in the BMR transporting everything from letters, food, ammunition, tools, medicine, water. I eventually became a competent, adaptable fighter with about an average talent for writing. There were so many thousands of us that were BMR fighters but only about 100 of us at any one time had the responsibility to compose three page letters that would serve as a narrative of the day or night’s activity. The letters included stories of combat, the details of terrain, retreat or advance, stalemates and casualties, poems, puzzles, trivia, anything that could be read for a few moments of escape. Once composed the many letters written by all of us went into a zip lock plastic bag, and circulated throughout our metro area for reading.

War

War does funny things, I suppose, like bring people together or tearing them apart or both. In tearing apart the United States, the government, clearly not intending to do so, brought people together, at least in our case. Our BMR was made up of black, white, latino, asian, and mixed race fighters, young and old, LGBTQ, anyone who accepted our cause. History, race, ethnicity or class no longer mattered to any of us. Sure, their were leaders and order necessary for operations, everyone below a leader was trained in how and when to fight and with what. Tactics and strategy did not belong to an elite particularly since no one could afford to be located at a central command post.

The only reference points in time I have for a starting point for the emergence of the resistance groups, or I suppose city-states, is 2020 to 2045. Beyond that, I don’t know whether it is now late in the 21 St Century or early in 22nd Century. Our oral historians told us that, at least in the then United States, martial law was declared during those years and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights were suspended. Government pensions, medical benefits, food assistance, environmental protections and every form of civilian aid were suspended apparently in about 2025 by presidential order. Elections were also suspended with the president appointing those who he thought should represent the people. Tribunals took the place of courts. A few other presidents came and went, I was told, but the die was cast: the allure of power was too much to for anyone to care about the general populace.

These were frantic times in the BMR as everyone knew an attack by government forces was imminent. But with the number of metro areas offering refuge and armed resistance, plus the ongoing wars the government was waging overseas, there would have to be careful planning by the enemy military leaders. Our strategists and tacticians reminded us that high ranking government military commanders were plodding, conventional thinkers bound up in the false promises of technology.

I learned that during the initial setup of the BMR, major food and clothing chains, drug stores, camping and fishing outlets, boats docked of any type, fuel from gas stations, water sources, weapons of all types from gun shops and ammunition all took part in emptying their shelves and stocking all the goods at various hardened sites in the BMR. Bank vaults, below ground parking garages and wherever there was a below ground facility were stocked. Prepositioned stocks of weapons, ammo and food were stored outside the Baltimore City limits. Shipping containers loaded with canned goods or plastic water bottles were submerged in the Baltimore harbor.

Tunnel construction began in earnest, tiered defenses were setup for BMR’s inner, outer and suburban areas. Choke points were set that would funnel attackers into kill zones. Booby traps, crude land-mines and even crossbows were used during the fight. Bicycles and skate boards were put to good use since fuel was severely rationed. Methods of communication had to be devised that would not emit heat because they would be detected by electronic warfare packages on enemy aircraft. We had to devise a low flying drone defense and we had to find a way to hide critical weapons and stores from satellites. Again, we lucked out because a lot of satellite and drone time was allocated by the government forces to their overseas conflicts.

Advantages

We had the good fortune to have in the BMR Johns Hopkins medical and research personnel on our side along with most of the air and space staff moving in with us from Goddard space flight center not far away. Many from nearby Fort Meade and some from the former National Security Agency joined us. I am not sure of the functions of many of those people but I know that doctors, technologists, space researchers and weapons developers were among them. We were able to develop our own drones that were used for reconnaissance.

I have heard that nearly 40 percent of those forces joined the resistance bringing with them weapons, munitions, vehicles and, more importantly, training. I learned too that a some Virginia Class Submarines, three strategic ballistic missile nuke submarines, a handful of AEGIS warships, and even one Carrier Strike Group joined the resistance too.

Of those, two Virginia Class attack submarines joined the BMR along with two AEGIS warships. Initially, no one in the BMR was sure what to do with this firepower but it didn’t take long for the technologists and military personnel that came ashore to suggest good use of the Navy vessels.The one SSBN that was aligned with the BMR may have served as a deterrent to the government nuking us. But it and one of the two Virginia attack class subs would have to take to the deep ocean to be effective. I did not learn of their fate. We were not nuked, I know that.

The other attack submarine that stayed with us had a nuclear power source. I don’t understand how they did it (though we did have some pretty smart people in our camp) but they were able to move the nuclear power source to a facility deep within the BMR. I guess the idea was to use it to power a BMR of the future. I’m not sure what came of that effort though in the end it didn’t matter.

The Virginia attack sub arrived to us loaded with cruise missiles and a couple of Navy SEAL units. The SEALS would push back an attack by other Navy SEALS dispatched by submersible from pro-government submarines to infiltrate and terrorize the BMR. They were essential to our defense and raiding/scouting efforts.

Cruise missiles were fired from our Virginia attack sub and I think they found their way to artillery and tank emplacements that initially surrounded us. The AEGIS warships managed to fend off some aircraft and missile attacks but ultimately succumbed to anti-ship missiles homing in on their heat signatures. The sub was eventually sunk by torpedo, I think.

Lucky

We figured we had a fighting chance against our opponents but make no mistake: it was because events were taking place outside the United States that might make our struggle successful. It is one thing to quell an internal rebellion, quite another to succeed against 100 million resistance fighters tucked away in metro areas while trying to win wars in foreign lands, on and below the world’s oceans, and in space. We figured that our opponents would eventually run short of fuel and munitions with so many to fight and we, luckily, were right.

Still, like all the other resistance groups around in the former United States and around the world , we lost thousands and thousands during the relentless barrages from air, sea and land. We started out poorly in defending the BMR on the ground but after fits and starts managed to push back our enemies. We learned that the Miami, Florida and Charlotte. North Carolina BMRs were defeated. Both Florida and North Carolina had a heavy government military presence and even with the help of those in the military that came to the aid of the resistance it wasn’t enough.

We celebrated the cessation of fighting for a short time. We all were skeptical that it was really over but our scouting parties found abandoned tanks, vehicles, artillery pieces and a lot of dead and decaying bodies. The peace was short lived. Then nukes came. And then the planet rebelled.

During some short time period, some fateful decisions were made by the former United States, Russia, Pakistan, India and China.

Who knows the sequence but the end result was horrifying. I guess the first thing to say was that China decided that US Pacific fleet forces, the three Carrier Strike Groups there, were vulnerable. China decided to take on those forces with their conventional forces and suffered badly. The Chinese surface, subsurface and air forces were largely destroyed. Given that hundreds of millions of their own people were fighting their Peoples Liberation Army within their own borders the vaunted advantage of PLA ground forces vanished. With their naval forces destroyed by the United States and Pacific allies, they decided to launch nuclear weapons at Japan, Okinawa, Guam and Taiwan where the US fleet had a presence. The same weapons were launched at the three carrier groups in the China area of operations with the result being the elimination of US forces.

At the same time. Russia decided that the time was ripe for moving further into Ukraine, the Baltic’s and Europe, into a barely armed Germany. Meager NATO forces supported by sacrificial US support units were no match for the Russians. Seeing defeat, the US launched scores of tactical nukes to stop the onslaught. At the same times, India and Pakistan decided to settle their scores by launching their stock of nukes at each other. Nuclear warheads flew between those two countries and around the globe. We learned that Newport News, San Diego, sub bases on the East and west coasts of the United States were destroyed by nukes. Washington, DC, Houston and New Orleans were also eliminated. Ground based missiles anywhere in the world, in our case in the Northwest, were cratered by nukes turning those places into radioactive no go zones.

The Nukes Time ended. Our skies were psychedelic with colors that defied sense. Orange, gray, blue, yellow, black colors would appear each day. It was getting cold as the sun seemed to fade into the distance. Our Geiger counters registered high but tolerable radiation. But many of us started feeling sick.

We learned, thanks to our telecommunications, internet and satellite technicians that the scene was the same all over the planet. Populations of the former United States, Russia, China, India, Pakistan Europe, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico Indonesia, the African nations, were all now displaced moving by sea or land in hopes of surviving somewhere.

After the Nuke Time there was another calm period. Many of us were worried about this. We had all forgotten about Climate Change and planetary disturbances.

Earth Revolts

I remember one day waking up in the BMR thinking that the Earth had fallen away under me. I learned that the West Coast earthquake had finally come putting Los Angeles and the West Coast of the United States into the Pacific ocean. The volcano that was said to be dormant in the Pacific northwest exploded sending soot and tremors throughout the former United States. It was undeniable that the Earth said Enough! There were earthquakes and subsequent Tsunami’s everywhere. Volcanic eruptions around the Earth were so severe that the sky turned black.

Snowflakes made of ash fell from the sky. Respiratory distress was the norm. People coughed so hard that they vomited blood.

Probably the worst image of the times was picked up by a couple of our drones roaming over Ocean City, Maryland. Marine life started to appear on the beaches dead or dying. Thousands of people mauled each other and the dead, beached creatures for something to eat. The video was awful particularly since we knew that anyone eating the toxic meat from the oceans would have convulsions and vomiting with 24 hours and would die. The worst thing we saw from these video feeds was that people slaughtered each other for what they thought was good food.

All the coastal cities in the world are gone, sunk into the oceans. The oceans have turned into some viscous polluted mass. The seas and vicious weather pursue us up into the high ground or wherever we go.

I am ending this letter. I will drink a pint of vodka, take many opioids and go into the black. But before that, I will put this letter into the zip lock bag and bury it somewhere.

****

Sir.

Yes, what is it.

Our sentient droids scattered around and above this planet have uploaded our data for analyses into the primary ship.

Good.

Make sure that all the sentient programming on this planet is upload back into the bio machinery There is much to analyze.

Of course, sir.

Sir, one of our archeo devices has come across what appears to be a first hand account of the demise of this planet.

Good, construct it, translate it and send it to me.

Yes.

Are you ok ,sir?

Yes, this narrative is very sad, moving even. Well, put this in the archives with the other data retrieved from this planet.

Again, do not leave any of our sentient programs in this place. Send out warning satellites outside the ring of debris that surrounds this planet. Send out a warning using universal Planck communications that this place is toxic.

Let us move out of this solar system.

More articles by:

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at captainkong22@gmail.com

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