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Consequences

     Consequences; such a simple word, is it not? If you were to look up the dictionary definition, you might find something like this: “the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier.” Simple, yes?

     Most people are blind to how their actions affect the world around them, or for that matter how they are affected by their own actions. They proceed on with their lives, blissfully unaware and, in many cases, uncaring of the world around them.

Nations too, can be blinded.

     Such was the case in the early 21st Century. The World, plunged into World War III by the actions of a few individuals, grew steadily tired after nearly three decades of Fighting, Terrorism, Vendettas, Treachery, War and Death. Exhaustion, more than anything else, ended World War III, and with its end, the World put aside its differences. Nations, Corporations, Private Institutions, Universities, Individual Citizens – they all stepped onto a path that they believed would make the world a better place for all of Humanity.

     Knowledge was shared without reservation, ideas were discussed openly for the benefit of all, and the sharing of technology led to a domino effect of advancements and breakthroughs in every field of Science and Technology.

     Advances in Computers improved speed and storage capabilities a million fold and saw the birth of the first Artificial Intelligences.

     Medicine conquered nearly every disease – Cancer, AIDS, even the common cold – while breakthroughs in life extension allowed a person born in the middle part of the 20th Century to live to the latter part of the 21st.

     Cybernetic implants allowed Humans to interact with each other in ways never before contemplated – in a near infinite variety of Virtual Worlds. Cybernetics imbued Humans with abilities once reserved for Comic Book Superheroes. Heightened and new senses, incredible strength and speed, the ability to shrug off bullets, and the capability to withstand deep ocean pressures, were just a few of the miracles of Cybernetics.

     Robotics gave Humanity the perfect worker. Ones that worked without resting, without pay, and could function in environments that would kill a Human, combined with the added benefit of never, ever complaining. For the military, advancements in Robotics provided new weapons for the Battlefield: Power Armor and Robotic Combat Vehicles. Power Armor provided the pilot with the combat capabilities of a World War III Era Army Company, while Robotic Combat Vehicles were nearly a match for an entire World War III Army Division.

      Genetic Engineering has resurrected extinct species, improved Humanity’s immune system, and, for those who can afford it, provided Designer Children to parents who wanted their child to be the next Rembrandt, Mozart, George Washington, or have a certain eye or hair color. Or, perhaps grow up to look like someone famous; there are places where you can see a half-dozen fälschung Marilyn Monroes, James Deans, Barack Obamas, Adam Wrights, Julian Amicis or any number of famous people, past or present. There is even a subculture that has grown up to venerate Royalty throughout the world, with a strong following in Europe. It’s estimated that the King of England has in excess of a thousand fälschungen

     Truly this was the Age of Man.

     A true Golden Age.

     Ah, so many wonderful Scientific and Technological advancements. Yet, for all these advancements, Human Nature has not kept up. It never does.

     Perhaps it never will.

     After nearly six decades, something happened to tarnish this Golden Age. Perhaps it was greed, fear of ones neighbor, rising Nationalism, or just plain Dummheit. Whatever the true cause, the results were immediate. Nations and Corporations slowed their cooperation to a crawl, bringing technological development in every field to a near standstill. Soon, the global economy, driven by the six decade Scientific and Technological boom, came crashing down. Once prosperous Nations quickly found themselves impoverished. Yesterday’s Mega-Corporations saw their stocks plummet and their very existence come to an end. People, out of work and desperate, took to the streets to vent their frustrations, in many cases facing the Wonders of the Golden Age, as they were killed where they stood. Europe and North America have weathered these last 10 years better than most, though they have not been immune to such violent outbursts.

     Already, old animosities, that had been buried during the sixty years of the Golden Age, have bubbled to the surface. Africa, along with Central and South America, has suffered the worse from the worldwide economic collapse, with military coups and warlordism becoming all too common throughout these three regions. Out of this chaos has arisen tribal conflicts, border skirmishes, brushfire wars and ethnic cleansing, that, over this last decade, has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced tens of millions.

     Consequences. Unbridled and unreasonable Hope for the Future, gave Humanity the belief that it could do Anything it wanted. That nothing, neither Science nor Technology, could hold Humanity back from its Grand Destiny. That Humanity could even play God. Unfortunately, such beliefs have their own Consequences.

     Humanity now stands upon a precipice, armed with powerful and destructive Weapons, some of which are far crueler than any Nuclear Weapon could ever be. Will Humanity step back from the breach or will it fall in? What Consequences will Humanity face for it’s Hybris?

The year is 2098 A.D..

Pray for us.

Pray for Humanity.

Karl Rudolph Prosek

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© 2002 Kevin Siembieda; © 2002 Palladium Books®; All rights reserved world wide.

No part of this work may be reproduced in part or whole, in any form or by any means, without permission from the publisher.

All incidents, situations, institutions, governments and people are fictional and any similarity to characters or persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

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