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Midwasteland vFinal

Midwasteland vFinal

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Published by TimothyGeigner

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Published by: TimothyGeigner on Sep 28, 2010
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05/01/2014

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MidwastelandPrologue
In the year 2149, long after the Great Atomic War, the small shambles of city-states that still populated the land investigated newborn children vigorously. Most of the children tested were wellwithin the boundaries of normal human life. Sometimes, however, the scans turned up somethingdifferent.So it was that the first face most American children ever saw was that of a governmenttechnician rather than their mother or father. For years it went this way, ever since the doctors began tonotice the anomalies.The children gave off a heavier level of radiation, often times enough to kill their humanmothers. About the time they began speaking new symptoms would appear: uncontrollable rage, hair loss in the males, and the ability to manipulate the radiation that was still in excess levels since the war.“These children are the single greatest threat to humanity as we know it,” declared Juan Nortooga, theSecretary General of the United Nations.The world community had turned their back on the UN after the war, but to matters of international health they still took note. So when the UN released a report recommending that all suchanomaly children be quarantined and euthanized, the governments of the world that remained agreed.Some small pockets of resistance sprang up, populated either by remote communities that endured fewof the anomalies and thought they could control them, or by groups of anomalies themselves inenclaves outside major population centers. As long as these resisting communities remained small, thegovernments of the world were reluctant to take action against them. But it was decided that theresistance could never spread beyond those small pockets. And above all else, was one law.The anomalies must never form an autonomous government of their own.
 
Chapter 1
As we don't know yet what biological course these anomalies might ultimately take, it would besupremely foolish to allow them to propagate. As members of the human race, these nearly identicalcreatures that have arose from a mutation in the evolutionary path might seem like our brothers andsisters rather than rivals, and perhaps they are, but we must never take the risk necessary to find out.They give off a high level of radiation, of that much we are certain. So high, in some cases, thatthey disintegrate the womb of their hosts as they are born. Imagine if this symptom were to proliferatethroughout the entire world population. It would change the way we live, the way we function as asociety. It would destroy the very concept of our family structure. Children without mothers andgrandmothers. Husbands without wives. When we have to take extreme steps against these anomaliesin order to preserve our way of life, it does not mean that those anomalies are victims. It means that weare.--
Michelle Arencebia,
 
Surgeon General of the United NationsUnknown date and location
The Church family was known to be sympathetic to the anomalies, particularly Shawn, whoworked for the Chicago reclamation plant and was quite popular in his neighborhood. He talkedincessantly of civil rights, arguing that the UN recommendations were not unlike the laws that persecuted other minority groups throughout history. Shawn preached about it often, probably toomuch, unaware that those around him were listening.The Chicago Anomaly Affairs inspection team was made aware of Shawn's disposition before being dispatched to test his newborn child. They traveled in the company of the Chicago SecurityService, who flipped down the visors on their helmets and drew their weapons, bracing themselves onthe porch of a shabby home near the city walls. The City Inspector knocked on the front door.The sound brought Bonnie, Shawn’s wife. She looked haggard, as though she hadn’t yetcleaned up since giving birth. After eying them suspiciously she called to her husband and he came tothe door. “What do you want?” he asked sharply. Several of the armed men, hearing Shawn’s tone,stiffened and raised their weapons. Metallic clicks sounded as safeties were turned off.The City Inspector took a step back and silently handed over the document authorizing thetesting for any and all genetic anomalies in the Church's newborn child.“So,” Shawn said after glancing at the paper and handing it back. “You’ve come to see if mychild is a monster. Unfortunately for you, you are required to perform the test at the time of birthing.As you can see, my wife gave birth some time ago.”The City Inspector stepped back up onto the stoop. As he did so, the Guardsmen raised their weapons higher and trained them squarely upon Shawn’s chest. It used to be that parents would resistthe testing, but not anymore. People had long ago lost their sense of dignity. Still, Shawn was a powerful man.The City Inspector said, “You know perfectly well why the testing must be done, just as youwere aware of your obligation to inform the City once your wife had gone into labor so that anInspector could be on hand.”Shawn sighed. “You'd find that people would be more welcoming if you left your guns athome. You can do your damned test,” he said, and then pointed to the Guardsmen. “But they are notallowed inside my home.”“They will not allow me to enter without them,” the City Inspector said, shaking his head.“And the test must be performed.”“I will not allow weapons past the door,” Shawn insisted. “If your soldiers must accompanyyou, they have to leave their guns on the porch.”
 
The City Inspector held a brief discussion with the nearest Guardsmen. “We’ll agree to your request if you give us your word that you will be peaceable.”“You have my word,” Shawn replied. He stepped to the side to allow the City Inspector andGuardsmen through the door.The City Inspector tried to soothe Shawn as they were led through the house. “I’m sure youhaving nothing to fear. There have been very few anomalies in this area and your first son testednormal. It is likely that your newborn will be normal as well.”It appeared to work, as Shawn’s voice had less of an edge when he responded. “It is not fear of any results that causes anxiety in me.” He walked them through a grungy kitchen in which dishes werestrewn everywhere. “Will you sleep soundly tonight, knowing that you have helped violate people’s basic right to procreate? Some of the others don’t think you people have any conscience at all, but I do.I think that it eats at you, even if you won’t admit it.”The Inspector refused to fall into the trap. What was he supposed to say, that he had long agoset aside his morality when it came to his duty? Would it be better to tell this citizen that of course heknew what he was doing was wrong, but that right and wrong had no bearing on following orders? Hehad seen what happened to those that questioned the Mayor. According to the history books,Americans had turned the threat of communism into a witch hunt after World War Two. The GreatAtomic War had produced similar results. And just as in those times, everyone was suspicious of everyone else.Shawn seemed to recognize the City Inspector's reluctance to answer.“Now I see,” Shawn said. “It isn't that you don't have a conscience. You're just afraid to let itshow.”“What I'm afraid of is that allowing misguided emotions to drive our decision-making willresult in the end of the human race as we know it.”Shawn stopped in front of a closed door and turned around. “If these anomalies are sodangerous and we’re the victims, why is it that we’re the ones doing all the killing? What is it about being human that gives us a right to live while their lives are taken away so quickly?”“We don’t murder the mothers that bear us.”“In some cases we do,” Shawn persisted. “And not all anomaly births injure or kill the mother,as you well know. If they did, you wouldn’t need to do this ridiculous test. So tell me, what gives youthe right to kill anomaly children that have done nothing wrong?”“Our government.” The City Inspector pushed past Shawn and walked through the door.Inside was Bonnie and a young boy, Silas, Shawn’s first born, seated upon a filthy couch.Cradled in the boy’s arms was the infant. Bonnie rose immediately to position herself between the CityInspector and her children. In one swift movement Shawn moved from behind the guardsmen to standwith his wife. They held a brief whispered conversation, throughout which Bonnie appeared to becomemore and more upset.The City Inspector sighed. “Step aside and hand us the child so we may get underway.”It took less than twenty minutes to complete the test, though the tense silence blanketing themall made it seem longer. First they had to take Geiger counter readings of the entire room, to get a baseline. Then they took readings of the family, to make sure there would be no chance of anyinterference creating a false positive. By the time they finished scanning the child, the unfortunatereality was clear.The child was an anomaly.Despite Shawn's promise, both parents launched themselves at the Guardsmen when they took the child outside. For all of his caution, Shawn Church obviously didn’t know much about the fullarms detail of Chicago Guardsmen. They had their secondary weapons out in an instant and cut thecouple down in a flurry of gunfire. The eldest boy cried out, but he smartly stayed seated on the couchand watched his parents bleed to death. The City Inspector made a mental note to send along someone

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