Revival of the Past

Leon set down the assault rifle he had been carrying the last hour-and-a-half before sitting down among the debris.  He still had another hour to go, judging by his map.

At the moment, he was in some kind of dam control structure on the Nile, left over from the Golden Age.  Outside, it was lush; the sound of the river being funneled by the dam filled the air.  It was also dangerous out here.  Leon was in Fallen territory; a needless accident – his drop-ship had crashed after being hit hard by Fallen air defenses.

Leon was a Titan, one of the Guardians who served as the backbone defense of the human remnants.  He had been on a mission to rescue a detachment of other Guardians from the Fallen, but on the return trip, they were able to position walkers with anti-air cannons in the jungle, catching the drop-ships by surprise.  Leon’s drop-ship, along with another one in the group, was shot down.  Leon had bailed out and gone into armor lock, but everyone else had been killed.  Taking supplies from the wreckage, he had elected to walk all the way back to base.

For the moment, Leon was safe.  He had encountered several Fallen patrols on the way here, but now there was just the sound of the river to console him.  As he looked about the room, he saw more and more left-overs from the old days:  scraps of paper lying everywhere, a few broken glass bottles, circuitry so rusted and broken it was doubtful one could even budge any of the buttons or levers.

As Leon looked about, his eyes lighted upon one scrap of paper more interesting than any of the others.  At the top was a hole, probably for a pin to attach it to a bulletin board.  Centered on the paper was a picture of a tiny nano-chip on a finger.  Below, a caption read “Ever thought something this small could hold a terabyte?  Now it can.  Introducing the NC-5000 Superchip by Arcosk, Inc. – Life Will Never Be The Same Again.”  Leon reached over and picked up the small paper scrap.  Looking closely, he could see a date near the bottom, in light grey font:  2552 – the height of the Golden Age.

The Golden Age was not well-known to people in the 28th century.  There were artifacts all around, if you bothered to look for them.  In all truth, though, things had fallen apart so fast that much of the real history was lost.  Humanity survived, though beaten.  The past, on the other hand, was stuck on life support – and while things were starting to look up, the old history would never return fully.  Leon did have a general idea, though.

As humanity took to the stars, colonizing the distant regions of the galaxy, social changes continued.  Democracy and capitalism had spread quite far by the 21st century, and it continued to spread for the next three centuries.  Capitalism was particularly virulent, taking hold of much of human kind.  Unlike democracy, it not only spread quickly, but it also became engrained in the roots of society more deeply than anything else.  As the disparate nations of old gradually clustered together to form even greater nations – the European Union, the United Nations of America, the Republic of Africa, and so on – capitalism took an even greater hold over society.  Capitalism became the backbone of colonization.

When nations became defined not by territory, but by the planets, capitalism became even more entrenched – commerce became the tying element between Earth and Mars, between Beta Lyrae and Tau Ceti.  This importance did not fade when humanity became united under the Confederacy of Man in the early 26th century.  Prosperity became ubiquitous.  But when there is no danger in sight, society of course naturally wanders straight into it; for the reforms of Magnentius in the 2560s gave more freedom to the markets than there ever had been previously.  When the corporations become unrestrained, they cannot be trusted – after just two decades, more and more companies realized they could go a little bit outside the bounds of what one might say was moral.  After another three decades, poverty had spread like a plague all throughout the core human worlds.

So when They came, there simply was no contest.  Man was looking to solve his own internal problems – war seemed impossible, but destitution was already there.  War did come, though, in the form of the alien hordes.  The colonies were crushed one by one, until only Earth was left.  Had it not been for the Traveler, mankind would have been destroyed.  No-one remembers what the Traveler was, or even what exactly destroyed the colonies.  All that anyone knows is that the Golden Age was brought to a close by the combination of an economic collapse and a massive invasion of aliens.  By this stage, numerous other species had inhabited Earth and the colonies:  the Fallen, the Hive, the Vex, among a whole host of others.  What relation, if any, they had to the first wave that decimated the colonies, it was unknown.

Leon didn’t have any longer to think of the past – he had to get moving, fast, if he was to have any chance of reaching the base before nightfall.  He checked to see that all his weapons were ready, and walked out the door.

He took the paper scrap with him.


7 Responses to Revival of the Past

  1. WM August 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    I really like the history you’ve made about mankind. Lots of dates and details, many of which paint a pretty grim picture about how humans often treat one another. I noticed the “Armour Lock” usage also, how very Halo Reach of you. Overall I really enjoyed the piece, I’m looking forward to your future works.

    • PerseusSpartacus August 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      Thanks. I wanted to throw something odd into the mix, and the idea that the Golden Age was brought to a close by a combination of external threats (in the form of unknown aliens) and internal problems (in the form of over-extended Capitalism) perfectly fitted this. It also just suited me – I’m into the Capitalist nightmare stuff. And yes, Armor Lock is a notion borrowed from Halo, and while I’ve never played Halo Reach (or any of the other Halo games besides Combat Evolved and H4, for that matter), it just feels right for the Titans, somehow.

      • WM August 20, 2013 at 8:24 am #

        I agree, Armour Lock does seem very much like a Titan kind of skill. I’m surprised that you’ve only played Halo:CE and Four. Imo Reach and Halo 3: ODST are amazing pieces of gaming entertainment. If you happen to spot the pair on sale for a low price I couldn’t recommend them enough. Take Care and keep up the good work :).

        • PerseusSpartacus August 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

          Personally, I’d prefer to stick with Halo: CE. I’m thirteen years old, so I’d have to ask my parents to buy the others, and all in all, I don’t think it’s worth it, especially considering how Halo 4 was a wee bit of a disappointment for me (nowhere near as good as the original). Anyways, thanks for the support.

  2. Jim Stitzel September 5, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    For being just thirteen, this is remarkable writing! You write with a knowledge and maturity that a lot of ‘seasoned’ writers struggle to find. I greatly enjoyed your approach to this, with the clues of historical events hinting at what used-to-be. Great work!

    • PerseusSpartacus September 6, 2013 at 1:11 am #

      Thanks. I thought it turned out good, but I didn’t think it was that amazing or anything – just kind of interesting. Nevertheless, I did find it fun trying to come up with my own little backstory, even if it is absolutely nothing like what Bungie has in mind. I’ll probably try my hand at some more fan fiction soon, though it won’t be action-based, considering as that’s my weak point. If you hadn’t noticed, I prefer following a character’s thoughts and using them as the main focus of the story – action runs smack up against that.

  3. Ragashingo August 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    You have a very different and interesting take on the collapse of human civilization. The details and descriptions were also well written. Good job!

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