ERA of the Apocalyspe

We do not judge the apocalypse. The apocalypse judges us.  

“I didn’t cause an apocalypse. Or rather, I didn’t know I did.

To restore Earth, I joined Earth Rejuvenation Activists. ERA consists of diverse professionals. I work with agronomists who study soil and crops, botanists who study plants, cytologists who study cells, and meteorologists who study the weather and climate.

ERA is doing everything we can to improve the quality of life on Earth; we brainstorm ideas twice per day and encourage the public to apply for ERA. 

We will restore the Earth. 

When this happens, we won’t need to wear masks due to polluted air and we won’t rely on rations. Thank you,”

My speech concluded and the representative next to me began theirs. 

I could tell they were from the Genetics Cohort whose representatives didn’t tend to socialize. 

The public was alerted the future would forever change, they had no clue how. Technology wasn’t supposed to end the world. Geneticists genetically altered themselves to gain physical and mental advantages. Inventors increased the number of greenhouse gases in the air while making a profit. 

The elite revealed these facts to shift blame. Then they’d buy their way to other planets, scientists could sustain life almost anywhere; they were eager to abandon the growing chaos on Earth. 

My cohort, inventors, and the Genetics Cohort felt guilty in this situation, as did the general public. Though most didn’t have the opportunity to redeem themselves.

The representative concluded their speech and the directors, who sat at opposite ends of our long conference tables, exchanged glances.

One spoke, “That concludes our practice session.”

With a mask on, I left the conference building as the sun sank. When I arrived at the inventor’s sleeping quarters, the stars gleamed. Or, so I assumed. Stars were impossible to see. Perhaps for the best, no one wanted to remember those who abandoned us for new lives on other planets. 

Those on Earth were stuck with borrowed time. 

But you wouldn’t know it from the amount of food laid out on the snack tables. In their respective trays lay everlasting Jell-O cups, raisins, jerky, twinkies, hardtacks, and energy and granola bars. 

Not everyone had access to unlimited food and water; families were given rations if they functioned in society. The minimum being to seek housing; everyone else would have to fend for themselves.

That, I never understood; in the life we created, it was too challenging to be alone. Even in ERA, I ran through routines with people and comfort. 

I decided against food, took the stairs to my room, then collapsed into bed. 

The morning alarm rang and the news turned on.

I got ready for the day as I heard the announcements.

The government official encouraged anyone with a high school education or higher to apply for ERA as well as anyone with a previous job or internship. 

They restated, the country should use hydro, solar, and wind-based energy to limit its greenhouse gas emission. 

They concluded by saying, “An overwhelming amount of citizens have died from destructive flooding, heat strokes, fires, air pollution, and more. We need to unite. Era is working on solutions to decrease sea levels, lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, ensure access to clean water, and provide a stable food source for the general public. We must continue going forward. Though, our world has fallen victim to climate change and genetic mutation, we are not in danger if society can be composed and kind-hearted.”

After breakfast, I arrived at my Morning Brainstorming Meeting.

People entered in groups; meetings required two representatives from each cohort who tended to walk together. 

We sat in silence for a moment, a director wrote down the topics we were assigned. “Unstable Sources of Food, The Amount Of Carbon Traps Air Pollutants.”

“Any ideas?” they asked. 

“Shelters could have plants to provide suitable oxygen and food to tenants,” one representative offered. 

“We can’t spare water for plants, though.” another said. 

“What about where there’s an abundance of water?” I asked, “The Midwest gets flooded often and rice might grow in those conditions.”

“I’m from the Botanics Cohort. This could be a good idea. However, there’s a chance there’s too much rain and the plant dies or doesn’t produce as much as it should.”

“We can collect some of the rain water and use that where it’s needed.” I suggested. 

Finally, an idea to propose. Planting rice would supply food and help decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, nothing grand but still a start.

The news played at lunch, for the second time I saw a government official announcement. 

“Law Enforcement apprehended a variety of geneticists. Those who abused knowledge to alter their own genetics; they mutated themselves to become advanced both intellectually and physically. Though, they do not have an advantage; many are on the run and the rest are in our custody.” 

The official paused.

Then continued, “The government’s priority is to help its people. Thus, we’ve decided to bring individuals who have been genetically altered to ERA Headquarters.”

“Visitors and ERA will not share housing. The Geneticist Cohort will be observing or operating until these Geneticists revert to what they once were. Law enforcement will accompany and patrol these individuals to protect those at ERA Headquarters,”

I would have walked away then, but I saw the genetics representative from before. 

“What do you think about resetting people who were altered? Is it possible?” I asked. 

They turned to me. 

“I think in this world, we need to level the playing field; no one should have an unfair advantage. It’s possible; tools we used before were confiscated but not thrown out. Just because we live in an apocalypse doesn’t mean all is lost.”

“I suppose not,” I said, “If we didn’t have anything, we wouldn’t have an opportunity for redemption.”

When the apocalypse bears judgment, it is based on nothing other than the roles we play.

Naomi (Nox) Rodriquez

Fenwick Academy – DMSF