Future: Scene 1 2 3 4 .
It's presidential election time. And people are starting to make their plans. But in my favorite universe, the politics are a little different.
You see, this universe has superhumans. And they've been intervening for the good of the world for years now. But the important thing about that is, here the superhumans usually take care to intervene in the name of the United Nations. That way, there's plausible world-level deniability for whatever happens afterwards.
And some of the "regular" humans hate that. God gave America independence to avoid stuff like that, they say. One of the candidates is running with that concept.
And it seems I'm involved once again ... in a manner which makes a good one-act play, in four scenes on the same stage!
Perhaps I should introduce myself. I'm Wyatt Ferguson. Engineer, survivor of inadvertent adventures, frustrated comic book writer... and now, aspiring playwright.
Me 2004 in Comic Books
Picture the Future
Wyatt Ferguson, the Administrator-General of a small engineering company known as the Freedom Engineering Research Group, or FERG for short.
Julie Wolcott, a new high-level employee of the FERG. Julie is former co-head of the Total Conversion Foundation, which is now headquartered in Greenland.
Stephen Wolcott, Julie's estranged husband, and the scientist-superhuman known as "Ellipsis". Now, sole head of the Total Conversion Foundation.
Onslaught, a malevolent spirit from another universe.
NPR, a major source of news from within the present universe.
Computer, a major source of miscellanea from within the FERG.
All scenes take place in the northwest corner office of the Freedom Engineering Research Group, East Douglas, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Wyatt. (proclaiming into the room) Escalation Fergatos Crucifer!
NPR. - NPR morning news, September 30th, 2004.
Wyatt. (interjects, talking to himself) Nice timing.
NPR. Vice-President Bayh says, he fully supports the existing United States policy of international commitment, and will continue it when he is elected President.
Wyatt. Yada yada.
NPR. The Democrats have been in power since 1996 under President Hillary Rodham, but this looks about to change. President Rodham's policy is to work closely with the United Nations and the rest of the world, but there've been some disappointments.
Wyatt. Y' think?
NPR. Last year, United Nations forces intervened in Iraq to protect one of the operatives of their peacekeeping force, the Paxis Directorate.
Wyatt. Yay, U.N.
NPR. The U.N. story on this is, the operative was being tortured with Saddam Hussein himself watching, and all Iraqi combatants in the vicinity were unfortunate casualties - including Mr. Hussein.
NPR. As a result of that power vacuum, Iraq is now undergoing a four-way civil war, among federal forces, Sunni militias, Shi'ite militias, and the Kurdish minority in the north.
Wyatt. Yay, Kurdistan.
NPR. The U.N. says it doesn't have a clear mandate to intervene.
Wyatt. But you already intervened, now clean it up.
Wyatt. Been there.
NPR. Later in the year, for the first time since 1861, parts of the United States started seceding.
Wyatt. (tiredly) Before Willow Farm. Get it right.
NPR. The Aleutian Islands of Alaska came first.
Wyatt. (sarcastically) Much good may it do them.
NPR. Now, some Southern states are threatening to do the same. In April, a Georgia secession movement was broken up by protests from people nationwide.
Wyatt. (tiredly) Been there too.
NPR. Then in June, there was an apparent superhuman assassination of Governor Arnold Wolf of South Carolina.
Wyatt. (tiredly) Been there too.
NPR. American public opinion reacted adversely.
Wyatt. Y' think?
NPR. Lieutenant Governor John Steiger came to power then. He quickly rose to national prominence, to argue against secession but in favor of national change.
NPR. Finally, there came a war between Argentina and Chile, which revealed just how weak the world's reliance was on supplies of beef.
Wyatt. Heaven forbid people don't get steaks.
NPR. Despite the increasing crises, Vice-President Evan Bayh was the obvious Democratic nominee for President. He picked Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as running mate.
NPR. Meanwhile, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah defeated Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana to become the Republican nominee.
NPR. He picked as his running mate, the Republican governor who was most popular in August other than maverick Joe Corrigan of California: Governor Steiger of South Carolina.
Wyatt. (tiredly) Assholes rule.
NPR. The Hatch-Steiger ticket is likely to sweep the elections over Bayh-Kerry. Analysts say, there's a backlash by American public against United Nations domination, since the U.N. is not showing measurable progress toward world peace.
Wyatt. Well then, it's obviously my turn to do better.
Computer. Plague, stressed air transport, global infantry commitment, naval disengagement, weather calamity, superhumans, and ecological survivability. All in this wargame of the future. Earth 2011.
Wyatt. (proclaiming) Analysis against baseline.
Computer. Continental air transport system is under stress from shipping plague victims around the country for quarantine and specialized treatment. Cargo planes have been allocated for shipment of victims which the passenger system cannot support. Delivery of specialized goods is affected.
Computer. Navies are stationing themselves in remote areas to avoid biological weapons contamination, but some infantries are scattered around the world. Cuba now garrisons most mid-Atlantic points including Greenland.
Computer. There are storms and radiation, due to radioactive materials dumped offseas or otherwise misused. 10% of superhumans and 20% of the general public have taken casualties.
Computer. An unknown number of nuclear warheads are unaccounted. Major sources are suspected to be North Korea, Iran, Kazakhstan, and South Africa. These nations seem to be weapons-mongering, to counteract their isolation from the regular world economy.
Computer. Missile defense systems have been 90% effective in counteracting rogue missile impacts at ground level. The missile launchers have adapted, with aerial explosions. Civil defense drills among the target nations are preventing major loss of life, but industrial capacity is shut down with each explosion due to ElectroMagnetic Pulse effects.
Computer. National governmental authority remains degraded in North America and Western Europe. The United Kingdom has officially devolved into its four constituent kingdoms.
Computer. The Kingdom of England has deployed a nuclear weapon to repel a mass migration of armed European immigrants. Due to aberrant weather conditions, the battle was resolved with irradiated snowballs.
Computer. In North America, the United States remains a government in name only. True authority now rests in alliances of states, primarily the Nehemiah Covenant in the southeast, and the Domination of FERG in the northeast.
Computer. The Domination of FERG has expanded its control from southern Virginia to Charlotte, North Carolina. Incursions of protesters were repelled. Under United Nations regulations, no additional force is permitted.
Computer. Domination of FERG command post has been relocated from East Douglas, Massachusetts to Speedway, Indiana, due to prohibited substances attack against Massachusetts.
Computer. Governmental authority remains degraded in other parts of North America. The Governor of Texas has resigned his office. He now flies an ultra-light aircraft in rescue missions to save infants from gang incursions at industrial parks.
Computer. Also in Texas, camels are becoming more popular as petroleum becomes more scarce. Travellers prefer female camels which they can milk during transit, because stores are becoming less reliable for food supplies.
Computer. A freelance crew of glider pilots is patrolling the world from Fargo, North Dakota. Technology allows them to circle the Earth indefinitely, and shoot down re-entry vessels over the Atlantic Ocean while on station over the Pacific. A great-granddaughter of U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt has joined this effort.
Computer. Ecological crises are increasing. Much of Manhattan Island is underwater, though the island remains functional due to creative use of landfill.
Computer. Horror stories abound. On one battlefield, a predator ate a woman's flesh. She was offered the contents of its stomach when it was killed. She accepted.
Julie. (looks at screen, then tiredly) Still playing that game, Wyatt...
Julie. (double takes, then looks at screen again) Hey, those are our superhuman files!
Wyatt. Whaddaya mean, our?
Julie. Those are Foundation files!
Wyatt. (tiredly) Oh, you mean your files.
Julie. I never released those files!
Wyatt. Must've been that Ellipsis guy then.
Julie. Stephen? But some of our secrets are on that file! He'd never let that slip!
Wyatt. Oh? I thought he believed in open source, free transfer of information, all that good stuff.
Julie. Not when it's his! He must be up to something.
Wyatt. Like fixing the election?
Julie. He's already doing everything he can on that, short of using a time machine...
Wyatt. Good thing the U.N. controls the time machines now.
Julie. ...It's just not working.
Wyatt. How about another war? That Tierra del Fuego war of his seems not to have worked out...
Julie. It wasn't his war!
Wyatt. Yeah, right, he just couldn't control that Antarctic peace plan of his. Some mutant supergenius he is.
Julie. You've played that game, you know the stakes! The Earth really could go to hell in a handbasket that fast.
Wyatt. By 2011? That fast?
Julie. We've run the simulations, it really could. That's what we always wanted to prevent.
Wyatt. Well, yeah, but he's only helping get it there at this rate.
Julie. (shaking her head) I told him it wasn't worth it. I'm just sorry I had anything to do with it.
Wyatt. At least you're out of it now. My ladyfriend's just starting.
Julie. ... Oh, right, Judy. Have you heard from her?
Wyatt. Nope. I guess e-mail doesn't work in Greenland...
Julie. The hell it doesn't... Were you close?
Wyatt. As close as I ever get with anyone. We didn't quite go through hell together, but it was close enough sometimes...
Wyatt. And now she's found another way to get there.
Julie. You never cry, do you?
(Author's Note: Earth 2011 elements added from 12 Apr and 1 Jul 2005, 11 Feb and 14 March 2006, and 25 April and 15 October 2009. See Scene 4 for other credits.)
Onslaught and Malice are copyright by Marvel Comics. John Steiger is a character created by Paul Fontaine. All other characters in this fiction are copyright © 2009 by Eiler Technical Enterprises.