Greetings again, dear Reader from the Future.
I must apologize for my earlier verbosity… as a trader, I normally must carefully measure my words when convincing some farmer to buy my tools or sell me his produce at a certain price. But when permitted opportunity to expound on things past, I tend to forget any sense of brevity.
Moreover, I suspect I may have troubled you with all the ink and wax spent detailing my inner bothers over our generational gaps and conflicts. I pray, dear reader, that you have been willing to look over that, as here I shall talk of the things I have seen or heard of, rather than those of my fathers or my familial quirks.
On politics beyond North America:
Now I suppose that there is still a Windsor to sit on the British throne, or perhaps a Hohenzollern who would be King of Prussia, though that poor throne had been trampled under foot long before the days of my grandfather’s grandfather; of what happens in Europa I could only speculate on, only to know that a certain pretender has made loud claims to being “Petrus Romanus, the “Lord of the Romans”, and of what remains of Christians. Whatever that means. The only noteworthy thing I ever heard from England was that the moon-god cultists were forbidden from landing in there on pain of death. Likewise, France, and particularly its capital, were once nearly overrun with those cultists, and “Le Front National” may have become the author of atrocities unimaginable against the Mohammedan cultists.
I have heard of similar unsavory things which the German speaking nations of Europe have done to the Turks in their midst, though had heard on the wireless shortwave that rather than slaughtering them outright as the French had done to their population, the Germans had offered a period of amnesty for all the moon-god worshipers to leave their lands, which a good many of them did leave. The Norwegians and Swedes, on the other hand, were unparalleled in their revenge against the Islamic invaders who had tormented their nations with all manner of rapes and beatings pon their youth of either gender, in the years leading up to the Great Purge. As a child, I remember hearing those wireless broadcasts whenever the electricity would work, of the impalements and burnings and streetlight after streetlight lined with hanged Musselmen.
Little is known today of Russia, beyond her use of nuclear weaponry one time to annihilate the Muslim holy cities during their high holy days, sending upwards of ten or twelve million those moon-god worshiping cultists to a fiery hell. They largely keep to themselves, with the Kievans, the Minksies and Muscovites trading largely amongst themselves and the few cities that remained in East Europa after the Plague of 2042. On the other hand, there might be a Russian or Ikrayni sitting around a campfire near his steamwagon wondering what became of the once high-and-mighty Yanks. We certainly do not have the world influence we used to.
The Middle East is mostly depopulated, save for the Turks, who have turned to older tribal gods as the worship of Allah fell by the way. Elsewhere, the old black gold has long since become too difficult to extract, and who the radiation had not killed off, the rest largely reverted to ancient tribalisms or removed themselves to other cultures, where such could be done without arousing suspicion.
This is not to say that Islam has disappeared; it as simply been altered in one place, or made ineffective somewhere else. With out the magical moon rock to prostrate themselves to five times each day, reduced to radioactive slag… their god was unable to protect them or itself.
Moving onward… Africa is what it always has been - a hellhole of murder and mayhem… and we of the once developed world, have largely rejoined them in ancient savagery.
In Latin America, it is hard to tell what has happened there; I suspect things are not altogether different, though much of the market here for their pharmaceuticals has dried up due to the ongoing hostilities with the Aztecas and the MaraSalvistas. In fact, anything coming out of Latin America has to pass through Azteca hands, so the reliability of anything coming up from there is questionable.
Brazil seems to be surviving, as I hear tell that they have a small export market for ethanol, which burns a bit more powerfully than the black slime we used to cook up from the oil shale rocks, or the green slime (also not quite oil, but distillable into a type of bang-juice) we now grow in glass towers. They have an advantage with being in the tropics where sugar cane grows like grass here; but we can grow a lot of green slime which can cook up about 200 gallons of bang juice per tower per year, and is about as good as the Brazilian hooch.
That hooch though, is still a bit better than the black slime which we used to make between here and Estes Park (before it was destroyed) from shale, which took almost as much bang juice to cook off the shale rocks as could be gotten from a drum of black slime, nearly a 1:1 exchange … and both are far better than corn ethanol, which everyone older than five considers to be about the stupidest idea anyone ever came up with, short of jumping off of a bridge. These days, ruining a corn harvest will about near get you the death penalty.
The Caribbean, and particularly Cuba, has done surprisingly well. It has become the shipping hub of the Gulf Coast and even into old Republic ports once more, and with them keeping helping the Canal open after the Mayan Revolutionary Crisis along with a handful of Republic missile destroyers still serving well after their original life-expectancy, Cuba is quite the star of the seas, and a major regional power. Apparently, Cuba had long been able to subsist without foreign gas, and though it had shacked up with Venezuela’s Presidente Eternal (some stupid slug descended from the first wretch to hold that title by the name of Chavez) for a few decades, eventually the Castroistas that had long ruled the isle were replaced by a more republican form of government. Their economy is easily on a par with the total of the remaining cities identifying themselves as part of the old Republic, and possibly their northern trading partners in Quebec and the New Maritime States as well, to say nothing of the other lesser Caribean city-states that benefit from Cuba’s success.
And to think I might have had a stake in some of that had I took up that offer to migrate back to the Republic… I could possibly be calling a villa with an actual flush toilet in Havana home instead of circuiting between several sod or wood hovels with outdoor privies. But that would have meant having to survive for a time under one of the petty tyrants that the remnant of the old Federal Government had installed over the remaining cities, or under one of the warlords that “protected” the smaller cities at the fringes of the old Republic, until I had found a way to Havana.
Across the Great Peaceful Ocean in the West, one may hear tales of another empire that once was truly great in turns since antiquity, then fallen during the rise of the Western powers, and once more ascendant in the closing days of cheap and abundant oil fuel, only to finally be broken up into several very angry, and very hungry territories held by warlords with missiles and nobody to really use them on, though Beijing itself had been immolated by one or more rebel commanders seeking to destroy the children of Mao once and for all.
Another rumour had it that the Japanese had in those last heady days of food wars and resource wars turned toward the weapon that had once laid her bare before the old Republic, and used it on China’s Great City as a dread warning not to pillage Japan, but I am not sure if I can accept that: for the Japanese suffered greatly during the Food Wars, their population nearly quartered for want of rice and fish and fresh water, and their cities then clogged to overflowing as their port cities were inundated with meltwater from the poles. More or less cut off from fuel, and with a pacifist principle that was put aside altogether too late, they once more turned inward to isolation, and very little is heard from that land… though, being in part Japanese myself, I suppose one day I might test that whispered rumour that while quite isolationist, Japan still welcomes her sons in the interest of rebuilding her population. You see, when the end of cheap oil and all that came with it finally arrived, most Japanese were well over practical child-rearing age, and actually quite elderly.
It is no exaggeration that the famines preyed quite heavily on the elderly, many of whom willingly starved themselves for the benefit of the younger, but the famines and related diseases also took a far more disproportionate share of the children, and young adults and healthier Japanese as well. I am unsure of how they are, as the Japanese internet has long since been lost by satellite (they fell to the earth long before I was born) and is longer connected by transoceanic cable; I haven’t heard from Uncle Takeo and Aunt Michiko in quite a number of years now, not discounting the time it takes to cross the ocean, much less traffic in mail over several varyingly hostile territories.
Now, though I promised not to prattle on about generational issues, I must pause to reflect on the differences in culture: the Asian cultures, and especially the Japanese, tend to honour age with a far greater degree of esteem than we do here in the West. In no more case was this evident during the early years of the Great Downturning, where many of us set ourselves to the butchery of our elders, and then to those not of our ethnicity near to us, the Asians (particularly the Japanese) did no such thing. Rather, the elders there took it upon themselves largely to sacrifice themselves by taking no food that the youngest children might live, and then also for the survival of nursing mothers and young fathers, that they might have food enough to try to earn a living such as could be had. This I learned from Uncle Takeo whom I mentioned earlier, before we lost contact; our great grandmother’s family had taken them in before Japan had closed her doors to all outsiders, when cousin Ryuunosuke was but a baby (I was about three or four myself at the time)… and confirmed when I finally met Ryuunosuke some fifteen years ago when I had dealings with the fishing fleet he works for. Her sacrifice allowed Uncle Takeo’s family to survive.
Aside from the Japanese, most other Asian nations have done quite poorly, or in the case of those nations which were already quite poor, their situation has hardly changed for the better. Though I suspect that if the Chinese were to pull together again, they might be able to resurrect their polluted land; that, and the Chinese were always a fecund lot, still having today about 900 millions, or about half the remaining population of the world. Too bad that they cannot see eye to eye toward reuniting their land.
Yet, the same might be said for North America, of which I may speak in much more informed detail: here is where two once-great nations now lay divided. I shall now briefly tell you of the outcomes of these two nations.
“Canada” still exists as a rump nation with very, very little central authority, coming out of the very impoverished capital at Ottawa; it has little means to press her authority it in the swath of communities in what used to be the provinces of Alberta to what is functionally still Ontario. As a side note, the Royal Mounted Police are folks you’d rather not have dealings with: they are and have been pretty much judge, jury, and executioner in Ontario. That said, they have very little influence or reach outside of Ontario, though the rare story leaks out about the Mounties lynching some poor idiot who runs afoul of them in the badlands between cities. In the city states outside of Ontario, and especially in the Quebecois parishes, when they are foolish enough to go into the Frogs’ territory, it usually the Mounties who get lynched.
The Mounties claims to power all over old Canada are about as laughable as the old Republic’s attempts to reconquer Colorado or West Texas from the Aztecas, much less quell the African rebellion on their southern borders.
What used to be “British” Columbia broke off from Canada in my teen years, and joined the nominal republic of Cascadia (which consisted of the former states of Washington, most of Oregon and two or three northern California), and any idea of Canadian integrity seems to be further and further from reality as individual city states like Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw flirt with joining the Rocky Mountain Union, another nominal “republic” of most of the towns and cities in the former Montana, parts of Wyoming, parts of Nebraska, parts of the Dakotas, and a small stretch of Minnesota. These confederacies are mostly in name only, and exist to repel encroachments from the still-hungry Aztecas (who arguably fought very bravely for their land, but it is a brutally hot land, and utterly worthless for the type of subsistence agriculture most of us have been reduced to). In the case of the above named “Canadian” cities, they also face encroachment and raids from militant gangs formed from the surviving Metis tribes that since the Downturning have made much ado about the joining their cause with La Raza Azteca. This is of lesser concern, since the Aztecas have more or less accomplished their generational goals of reversing the effects of the ancient Guadalupe Treaty which old Mexico signed with a much younger, much more restive Republic some 240 years ago. That, and the Aztecas really, really hate things like “winter” and “snow”, and mountains… which supposedly are gateways to the hells inhabited by their old tribal gods.
And then there is Colorado, which has some arable land, but now has fallen to squabbling amongst the “repatriated” Native American tribes and the Aztecas, as well as the few hardy farmers holed up in the mountains and high passes where even Azteca braves think twice about venturing into, and some of the northernmost counties which were well within artillery range of the Wyoming Guard and the Nebraska Defense Militia, to say nothing of the harrassing the Aztecas got from the Lakota Nation foraging parties. Arguably, these militias are the axis upon which the so-called Rocky Mountain Union turns; the other towns and cities are far enough removed to elect not to have their own militias, and they make a minimal contribution of men to these units - some by agreement, and others under the unspoken but well understood notion that it would be good to have some men trained in the use of arms should things break down between the member cities of the union.
Now it should be understood by the reader that these territories (notably the RMU, Cascadia, and that unraveling patchwork of a “nation” that calls itself Canada) that enforcement of laws between city states is sparse, and that there is yet much banditry in the badlands between them. Justice, when executed, is very local, and more often than not, is very swift and severe. What used to be enshrined as protection from cruel punishments (and still is, in some city codes and even in the RMU constitution) is a byword in this harsher world. It is safe to say that in our cities for the most part, egregious or gratuitously violent crime is rare. Similar policies seem to be the rule of the day across the Great Missi River in the old Republic, and I hear even the once very humanistic city-states of the New Maritime States and those in Quebec have laid hold of these basic concepts.
There are exceptions, of course. That old haven of vice and perversion, SanFran, and its sister city of Shao-Tien (a Chinese-populated city whose name literally means “Little Heaven”, though you’d might consider it to be a fetid patch of buildings amidst so many other burnt-out buildings - beauty being in the eye of the beholders, I expect) have done well in holding back the Aztecas, who are repulsed by the rampant sodomy of the SanFranites and the able fighting ability of the Chinese.
Although I expect that the sodomites and the Chinese have worked together to hold the Presidio, which commands a nice height from which to drop artillery shells onto anyone desiring to storm the cities, they seldom have much to do with each other, aside from any “recruitment” the sodomites may undertake of any curious young Chinese who want to see the strange men across town.
The Great Quake of 2067 razed much of the ancient architecture, and much of the ruination was transformed into vineyards (SanFran’s other great export beside catamites) and other farmland.
There isn’t much to say about the Southwest - now the territory of the Aztecas, who cleaned out any non-member of “La Raza” with ruthless efficiency. It has been said that in the space of the ten years it took for the old Republic to realize that it was not going to win a battle of attrition without resorting to massive nuclear war on its own continent, at least 54 million people - mostly white “Americans” were butchered in grisly ways, with some help from the Mexican Army, until the Republic finally resorted to nuking Mexico City and Nuevo Leon, taking some 25-30 million of them along for the ride, and using biologic weapons throughout the wider part of the border region - a germ that specifically killed livestock and the corn that fed them to induce famine throughout the region.
So even if the Southwest could be reconquered, it would be rather useless for trying to raise any food or livestock on any large scale - it has been only in the later part of my lifetime that food raids have more or less stopped, or at least slowed to a barely noticeable level; perhaps they are growing more of their own food now. Or they could be squabbling for more Mexican land on their southern “borders”.
The Neo-African South still revels in its utter barbarity, and one wonders how long its many fractious city states will keep from devouring each other. Though that wretched rock in Mecca has long since been reduced to radioactive slag (surprisingly through the agency of the Russians) many citizens in that once proud Southron region still follow that cult of the moon god, and various interpretations of his law are cause for much bloodshed amongst themselves. And the laughably small and impotent “Revived Confederate States of America”, consisting of a large handful of counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and a wee sliver of South Carolina that had majority white populations, exercise no small amount of brutality - especially against roving bands of raiders from further south who venture into their highly fortified areas. Florida was quickly separated into its coastal communities of either white or (mostly) Cuban population, most of which is slowly finding its way back to Cuba for the better fortunes that island nation is having. In its more wild state, Florida is actually rather inhospitable, particularly with the coastal flooding that has inundated the once prized beaches, and the inland swamps are hatcheries for all manner of vile plague-bearing insects. Only Pensacola, Miami, Rocket City, and Disni Fortress, along with some naval bases held by the force of the old Republic remain.
As nasty as Florida otherwise is, there are a few noteworthy places. The Disni Fortress is a rather odd place; apparently it used to be a playful place to bring one’s children. Grandpa once told me of his trip he made there with his parents as a child; he disliked the experience rather intensely for the crowds that pressed in on him, but he told me that it was set up on the worship of a giant mouse and his friends. Apparently, people were willing to spend large somes of paper money there, and the surrounding areas were like a paradise. In my father’s day, it was a last redoubt for the defenders of Orlando when the Brotherhood of Nubia and its allies from the Marasalvas (a gang aligned with the Aztecas) had stopped slaughtering one another long enough to try to destroy the naval bases used by Republic Littoral Ships from shelling the life out of their coastal settlements. For some stupid reason, they over extended themselves, and most perished in the swamps and swamp/jungle reclaimed farmlands between Orlando and Disni. Apparently, the defenders still stand guard, looking for anyone foolish enough to take their lands they are trying to reclaim for farming.
Rocket City is notable if only for one very large building, which I am told once housed great missiles capable of going to the Moon and even to Mars, and back. What a futile exercise that must have been, and a horrendous waste of fuel. I do not think very many people live there, and I have no intention on trying to find out with my own eyes. Miami is on the decline, with half of it underwater, and the other half overgrown by vegetation and inhabited by crocodiles. This is one of the few east-coast cities I have seen pictures of, and it is one of the few cities worse off than New York City: it gets flattened a bit more each passing decade by the seasonal hurricanes, without people interested in rebuilding it.
Perhaps we should be aggrieved for the apparent loss of our once-treasured security from such harsh treatment, but I said earlier, these are harsh times for most folk.
Now of the believers, I can only say that many were looking to the return of the Saviour, as they always have throughout the generations. And where some tried setting dates, as always, they were proven wrong. One cannot discern His return merely by judging how truly rotten the world has become, beyond His warning that it would be “as it was in the days of Noe”. Nor could anyone say for certain that technology or the transmission of information is a qualifier; we still have an internet, however sporadic and expensive it may be, and even less reliable as a purveyor of either good news or truth, and there still remains the shell of the old Republic, much smaller and still shattered, though as a tablet of marble thrown to the ground - the pieces still lay very close to each other.
Other pieces were irrevocably thrown apart, as are most of the city-states today are separated by wide swaths of dusty or weed-choked lands once prized as a “breadbasket for the world”, only to be crossed at great peril and expense. Few indeed, save for the extremely wealthy and well armed dare to take their chances on the great roads which are fast reverting back to grassy trails for lack of use.
On a happier note, bison - or the descendants of domestic cattle and bison - are coming back in bigger herds each year. They more or less manage, and with the rising wolf and mountain cats that hunt them, along with the Lakota, I don’t see them getting to a point where they start foraging in human settlements any time soon. The down side to them over domestic cattle is their tough texture; the upside is one need not worry about someone poaching them as you might with your domestic heifers, and they feed themselves.
I have heard that things are a little better east of the Great Missi River, where the old Republic still has some power… most of which was used to seal its southern borders from the Neo-African separatists who made a big slaughter of the minority populations there. Of course, the Republic’s soldiers were no saints either, in cleansing their ethnic African population for fear of them acting as a fifth column. The fires of the revolution were still smoldering when I was born, more than half a lifetime ago; that land is all but impassable now, and the rumours persist of much savagery, cannibalism, and other barbarity which supposedly would make the every day barbarity between (and even among) the Western City-States and of “reclaimed” settlements of La Raza Azteca to be all but but sweetness and light.
Now that is something I can relate to, having myself fought in many of the border skirmishes and knowing firsthand of the Sack of Denver as a youth; say what you like of those Azteca brutes, they are determined fighters, and have almost always fought to win, or died down to the last man. One might say the same of the defenders as well, but very few survived, particularly in the opening battles of the War of Reconquest. There are no prospects, at least that I am aware of, for any of the city states to attempt to liberate the Reconquered lands; the Republic is too tired and weakened after 70 years of international wars, and then another 80 years of domestic ones.
I must now retire for the night. Perhaps on another occasion I will write more, but I have to prepare for a trip to Boy-Z, if I am to get there before the month is finished.
- Ryuuichi Johannson, 8d.5m.2082A.D. (presumed)