Apocalypse Later – Chapter 1.

They always said that if there ever was a God then He must have had a cruel sense of humour. Anything that would give free will then punish its use could hardly be rational. To know everything yet constantly test His children. To be all loving yet let children starve and die. To be all powerful yet never cast out evil. Yeah, that guy is a real joker. A joker, a sadist or a fraud.

We, as a society, cast Him out of our lives. I guess you could say that He had the last laugh though. Do you want to know the punchline? He passed his mantle down to us and gave us all of the power that we could ever dream of. We could have saved the world.

Instead we destroyed it.

It was a time of gods and madmen. Of chaos, death and destruction. Battles were fought which made history’s greatest wars seem like playground drama. Lives were forever changed and we had nobody to blame but our own human nature. 

It all began on a day like any other. Cliché, I know, but that’s how it is. All days are normal until something extraordinary happens. It was early Spring, one of the first warm days of the year. It was also a Thursday, if that’s important to you, in the year of our Lord 2019 AD. 53,567 people had already died that day. That’s nothing though. Over double that die every day on Earth. Makes you think, right?

All of that isn’t to say that people were not aware that it was a special day. The media were everywhere. At least, everywhere if you zoomed in your view to a large building with a wide plaque above its door reading Central Institute of Scientific Research and Advancement. It was a modern building filled with the height of current human technology. The smartest men and women in the world called it home.

Intelligent people tend to be a double edged sword. They create new medicines and technology to improve life but they also design guns, nuclear missiles and the like. Though, that in turn results in greater advancement of protection and medicine. It’s a funny old cycle really. 

These particular people of intellect would soon become the instigators of the end times. To be fair to them though, humans would all die sooner than they would have liked even had the scientists found a safer project. Think of it as going out with a bang rather than becoming too fat to move and ironically dying of starvation. 

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet. Focus in further, beyond the building’s walls, to a large room packed to bursting with machines and white coated scientists. Screens cover almost every surface. History was in the making, or breaking, as it were. 

“Today is a proud day. A day that will be remembered down the generations,” announced an important looking man without any of the irony that foresight would have offered him. “For years now, we have been working on a project that will change the very foundations of science as it is known.”

Despite his looks, the man was actually not that important. He did like the sound of his own voice though and could brush off questions with a skill to match any politician. He was a scientist in the sense that he had built up public relations into a science. His speech to the press was quite long and boring but luckily for us we can skip to the meat of the matter.

“First we were able to harness the Higgs Boson. With the God Particle under our mastery, we here at CISRA have finally been able to tap into the realms of Anti-Matter and have created the Elgen Deus.”

The crowd cheered and applauded on cue. The speaker took in the admiration smugly as though it were aimed at him then dived into explaining just how great an achievement this was. In brief, the Elgen Deus is able to reconfigure the core components of matter. The thinking behind this was that lead could perhaps finally be turned into gold. Our PR friend here would have told you in more detail but it would have taken at least a page worth of rather large words.

In theory, all of this is correct. Theories have a nasty tendency to not work in real world settings though. Creating something that is designed to make chain reactions yet not expecting chain reactions to occur beyond your wishes really says a lot for humans as a species. 

These very intelligent people wanted to take the Elgen Deus and only apply it to certain materials. They didn’t bank on it affecting the very air. Neither did they expect it to pass on its properties to any particles that it altered. This is exactly what happened. Quicker than sound, every atom began to change in a spreading tide across the earth.

This is all but a prelude to set the scene. Our story began hundreds of miles away in a small room. There was a single bed and a window that looked out onto a courtyard. That was all. The most defining feature of this room was that it sat inside the confines of a mental hospital. 

The room belonged, in the loosest of terms, to a young man by the name of Peace Lenrow. He was there because of a series of self harming and delusional behavior. For such a troubled soul, the irony of his name was not lost on him. 

At the time of the very important scientific experiment, Peace was laid out on the bed with his arm stretched out toward the white ceiling. Light from the window danced across the latticework of scars that wound their way across his skin. He stared with emotionless eyes at his hand. Through his head ran a stream of curses aimed at himself and at the world in general. 

In humans there is a circle of knowledge about life. They say that ignorance is bliss and, for once, they are right. If you don’t think about things then they will rarely trouble you. These people see life as a day to day activity. They work jobs they hate and will never make anything of themselves in the grand scheme of things but they don’t care. They work hard and make money to support their families and to buy fashionable clothes and gadgets to fill the hollowness of life but they don’t look at things that way. They simply do what they need to do.

Then there are those who are too self aware for their own good. Peace Lenrow fell firmly into this category. When everybody in your youth tells you that hard work will get you anywhere that you want only to find out that this is in fact a lie, it can leave certain people rather cynical. Natural talent, personality, and who you know trump hard work any day of the week. These people work jobs that they hate but they acknowledge that they hate everything and that they will die miserable, worthless and probably alone.

Peace’s personal philosophy followed the lines of; why work a job you hate only to earn money to buy food to keep you alive for another day which in turn needed to be spent at work to repeat the cycle? If you don’t enjoy something then why do it?

But then there are those who complete the circle by being even more self aware. Life isn’t about enjoyment or anything specific really. Humans are only animals with over-inflated egos and so share the exact same prerogative of living, attempting to breed then dying before being forgotten. Why worry when you are so positively worthless whatever you do?

By now, the ripples of the Elgen Deus experiment are about to reach the mental hospital. It appears to the human eye as a shimmer in the air like on a hot day only more sparkly. It passes through walls without slowing before emerging into Peace’s tiny room. He doesn’t move. The shimmering wave passes over him, warping his vision for a second before returning to normal. 

His body tingled pleasantly. His eyes felt sharp and his ears caught faint sounds that they had missed before. His mind felt somehow…bigger.

These small things were what Peace observed. What he didn’t know was that his very genetic makeup had been altered, erasing flaws and unlocking hidden potentials that evolution had never quite been able to get its head around. 

These changes were not reserved for Peace alone. Every man, woman and child on the planet was affected similarly. Mankind had evolved without knowing it, their bodies taking on powers beyond the capabilities of their minds like a child magically given the body of an adult.

A hoarse laugh rasped from Peace’s throat. It was the first sound that he had made in days. It grew and grew until his lungs hurt. He didn’t know why he was laughing but something was clearly the funniest thing that he had ever known.

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