Seriously, How The Hell Did We End Up Here?

Part Two

(continued from previous post)

Many cyborgs and mutants also came from the east. For some time there was a United Nations for Asia, with many countries having felt the original UN was too western-centric. Things went well and trade flourished. China and India especially benefited, becoming the top powers of the world, spreading their business and influence far. This led to Russia denouncing both, fearing invasion and building bases. The USA disliked this rise to power, yet needed the trade.

However war might well have been inevitable. China and India had minor clashes, then a full blown war. It went on for some time, and much of Asia became involved to some degree. It was heavily suspected that Japan was a secret ally of India, while claiming neutrality. Pakistan went from neutral, if gloating at India’s suffering, to becoming a full ally of India. This was due to several events, not least Chinese soldiers attacking Pakistani people by accident. Or so it was claimed. Also, spies told that China had ideas on the entire region and its leaders were highly anti-Islamic.

Both China and India had strong levels of technology, much of which was geared towards destruction for some time. Neither looked to nuclear weapons or anything like that, though. Both knew such an act would bring in other nations, and could harm their own soldiers if things went wrong. The war was brutal, yet controlled for the most part, and both governments wanted it that way. It enabled a lot of control over their people, for one thing.

When the Shadow World merged with ours, both sides saw new threats, and while peace was never actually declared, the fighting pretty much ended. Monsters had to be fought. Mutants and machines were quickly designed. Yes, they were made with an idea of being used to finish this war, but only once the new bizarre invasion was dealt with. That never happened, of course. Also, that control both governments enjoyed was soon crumbling, with more and more clamouring for peace, among other issues they had with the authorities. In response, the Terracotta Army had become a real power in China, a movement among the people who stood ready to defend their leaders. Many of these loyal and militant citizens volunteered for programmes that enabled new creations to be born. Willing subjects make progress so much easier.

Two other countries that had benefited from trade, especially with China and India, were Brazil and South Africa. Brazil was blooming as an economic power anyway, but once it and the other two sought to trade, South Africa became the middle man, taking in goods and selling on. It received an influx of investment and immigration. Once the war between China and India began, the trade lessened, yet it never ended, and South Africa continued to build on its position as a trading nation. It was one of the few places in the world where factions weren’t prying society apart, although many would claim greed and superficial living had replaced passion and personality.

Further north, Christianity and Islam were at war, although there were geographical and cultural reasons for violence as well. Yet, when South Africa’s wealth began to spread, as did its influence, this provoked socialist spirits. In many nations where riches and power still stood strong, poverty and oppression were equally pervasive. This led to various movements across Africa, Europe and Asia, most of which united to form three major organisations – the Peasants’ Revolt, the People’s Rebellion, the Socialist Renaissance. All three of these were present in Africa, seeking to hang the rich and ready to gun down those who defended them, just as in the other parts of the world. South Africa kept these enemies out, but they were very aware of the threat.

It has been suggested, but none will ever know, that wealthy governments managed to infiltrate and manipulate the three organisations, which is why they went to war with each other. Either way, what was sporadic violence became full on chaos once magic became real and monsters terrorised both rich and poor alike. Yes, humans united to fight the supernatural foes, and yet so many saw this as a chance to strike at those they had hated for so long.

As for Brazil, it was wealthy at the top, poor at the bottom, just more so. With global order breaking down, the UN ending and world power shifting, Brazil sought to become the dominant force in South America. Obviously, this was not welcomed by the other countries, and yet nothing really went wrong until one president came to power by siding with a renewal cult. These movements were fanatical about change happening, they believed the world was heading for a cataclysmic event, and that life would be better for it. This president made the mistake of utilising this fervour, believing that since no event would happen, where was the harm?

Once in power, the fanatics saw it as their time to make change happen. Acts of terrorism and sabotage were soon everywhere. It spread to Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico and beyond. This sort of thing was occurring in other parts of the world, true, but not with equal enthusiasm. Elsewhere, these cults were persecuted heavily, but in Brazil they had been endorsed, then supported. Politicians allowed them to act long after they should have stopped them, seeking power first, deeply regretting it later. By then, militarised police forces were out in the streets, using the now infamous Fascista carbine. It wasn’t enough. It was also too late. Cultists who could do magic not only tipped the scales, they went beyond it, not realising their new power; many dying, if willingly, as they embraced this changed world, or even sought to force it further.

Finally, in the Middle East, it could be said that the centuries of its history continued to influence its present. Even as the USA weakened, it remained a staunch ally of Israel, as did other nations. Various political alliances were made, then altered, such as Russia and Turkey’s pact, and also the US of E’s deal with Iran, then later Iran’s trade deal with Egypt and South Africa. Alternative energy sources were growing so dependency on oil was weakening, if not ended, therefore other places meddled less. Europe, for instance, wanted a more stable Middle East to ease immigration concerns, while others sought opportunities to invest. But trouble remained. Some regimes were vulnerable now that world power had altered. There were outbreaks of rebellion against the rich, the previously mentioned organisations growing stronger here by the year, and a number of wealthy families left the region (Jamshid ended up making his life and name in the USA because of this).

Over time, renewal cults, also doomsday cults, grew, as they did in many parts of the world, although often with a more religious aspect to them. There came to be a renewed interest in lost arts and old thinking, in mysticism and faith, and yet also many were looking to the future. Russia and Turkey’s alliance broke and they nearly went to war, yet besides that most nations in the region saw a chance to progress. Weapons sold to the east, other resources to the west and south. Who knows what might have been? Yet once Dylan Winter acted and monsters invaded, the region became a warzone. The holy lands of so many were under attack, and at least it can be said it brought them together amidst the chaos and terror.

As I said in the month old post with the almost same title, the world was fracturing before it was ripped asunder by the Shadow World (not sure I’ve said that enough in this post!). People were agitated, scared, thinking ahead but often regressing too. This can be said of many times in the world’s history; it is usually a place of war, intrigue and suspicion. But this time none of that could be resolved. Where nations competed, where people were divided, where governments were losing control or trying too hard to keep it – all of this was made far worse once, well, you know what occurred. Power to the people was no longer a cry but a reality. Change was no longer sought but here, in brutal truth, as super-soldiers and super-computers served the humans, temporarily. These are just some of the instances and events going on before everything went mad. It was this backdrop that made the Raging possible, and then how the world got to be the way it is now.

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Mutants: A New Type of Humanity

Mutants are mutated humans. It is as simple as that, or at least it should be. They have become their own people. They bear a lasting resentment towards humanity because it was them who designed and moulded the mutants in order to serve them. Not only were the mutants a slave race at the start, but they were born with limitations such as much shorter life spans, and the many cloning methods meant there is often a lack of detail in their physical features, even now. Those born from science were given advantages and yet made less than human, and it was only through acts of violence that they took their independence from their creators. Although, it has to be pointed out, many mutants were not made, at least not via test tubes and growth pods. Others were transformed from humans into disfigured people due to radiation and pollution. These are mutants too, and they resent what the humans of the past did that brought their kind about. It can be suggested they lack the sheer hatred the created types have, or maybe they are less aggressive because they weren’t forged for combat. Either way, all of those humans who were changed, altered and warped are now classified as mutants. But they are far from one simple race.

A quick but important point that needs to be made is the main difference between those mutants created by science and those simply altered by environmental damage. Basically, there is a level of disdain among those made to be better than humans for those who are deemed lesser than them. Mutants who tower over others, are stronger, tougher, healthier, will accept that those humanoids with twisted limbs and misshapen torsos are mutants too, but never that they are equals. Mutts is the name often given to the natural mutants. Sometimes a term used in a casual dismissive tone, sometimes a vile insult. It is a word those mutants resent and rightfully so. Whatever the advantages the superior mutants have, the mutts are the larger number, and they need to be united if they ever wish to take full vengeance upon humanity.

There are a number of types of mutants. The most common, as mentioned, are mutts. Then there are the super-soldiers, the generic-looking improved fighters for a war that won’t end. The aquatics are mutants too, if they deem themselves their own race and keep to the sea.

Then there are lesser but important types. Morphoids are fairly rare, a brilliant creation that can change shape into the likeness of others they encounter. The Bestials are animalstic beings, made in the experimental processes of bringing about a superior and deadly hybrid. That hyrbid are Hounds, which look far more human but clearly still canine in nature. Serpentines are a similar breed, with flexible forms, but found in more than one place.

Goons are a form of mutant made to be slaves and nothing else, and are not far from that still, with squat, sturdy bodies and obedient natures. Thals are much larger than other mutants, bearing four arms, and of much lower intelligence yet with savage intent. Finally there are the Ultras, superior to super-soldiers, their location a guarded secret.

To go into this in a little more detail, we have to break the super-soldiers into groups too. Most are simply tall, grim looking and solidly framed beings who have a fierce and ready to fight nature, who don’t think on too many levels, who heal fast and hit hard. But among this breed there were developed variations to try and make better super-soldiers, except they never replaced the standard model.

One thing they wanted was to make some capable of thinking more intelligently, especially in terms of tactics. These are deemed commander types. Then some they made as slimmed down versions, with quicker reflexes and agility. These are commando types. There have been attempts to cross-breed these two in the past, for obvious reasons. Then some have been made to be broader and more solid, as well as stronger. These are grapplers. Then we have berserkers, who are usually physically the same as standard types but made highly aggressive, if not outright ferocious. This final type is the most rare, as often it backfired on all concerned.

Another quick point that has to be made here is that for all the careful planning and scientific methods of bringing these mutants into being, natural procreation among themselves, and among others too, has meant there are plenty of exceptions to the rules. Especially in terms of behaviour.

To return to the other and more different types of mutants, I can quickly say that the aquatics have their own entry on the blog. That’s how different in nature and community they are.

Speaking of this, I’m sure these types will get their own entries in due time as well. For now, we can cover some basics to help generate a fuller picture of the world according to mutants.

As I hinted before, Hounds are only in one place, a vast, thick forest area in Western Europe. Here they live in a valley, ruled by Bestials. This is not a happy relationship and the latter live in fear of the more ferocious, more deadly creatures turning on them. Hounds, as said previously, are the end product – strong and fast, agile and with acute senses, as well as incredible claws that can cut metal. The Bestials broke free of the labs that had made them, but they are mostly misshapen monstrosities, and even dwell in the dark most of the time. They were failed experiments and missteps along the way to the Hounds. They fear humans, they manipulate the Hounds to keep the forest their domain, but their grip is slipping.

When it comes to the Thals, they are focused in the Crimea area. They are basically Neanderthal beings, usually armed with crude blunt weapons, fighting each other more than anyone outside their territory. That has changed recently. They have become more organised, better armed, yet remain violent and aggressive. Groups nearby are keeping an eye out for a potentially devastating advance.

Mutants can be found in many places, often in their own groupings for safety. Some are in Africa, others in the Baltic region, and many are in parts of the former USA, warring with humans from base to base. But there are large concentrations of them. Not far from the Bestials and the Hounds, in the area of Normandy, is a large community of mutants. This is a very varied and integrated society, with many being warriors or hunters or adventurers, and they often go around Europe, selling their skills. In Eastern Europe are many mutts, living underground for the most part, oppressed by the humans and their helicopters from the Carpathian Mountains. Again, not far from them, is the mutant army that lays siege to Eden. Stretching from their base at Constantinople to Eden itself, the soldiers run things, while many villages and towns of mutts contribute as best they can. A long way off is Trade Island, and outside it is a mutant nation, led by a mutt president in name and commanded by the military in truth.

That brings us to the Ultras again. It is presumed they are in one place, but none can say for sure. For many mutants, the Ultras aren’t even known by this name. They are the servants of Gilgamesh, their god. They believe he will arise and claim the world; his servants are active but waiting for him. While this isn’t the exact truth, the Ultras are looking and waiting. It must be mentioned, however, that the reason the Ultras went into hiding is because other mutants feared them and betrayed them to human attackers. Ultras aren’t just improved fighters or weird alterations. They are stronger and faster, true, but they were made to think, to improve, to progress, and to live long. They are humanity’s replacement. As such, perhaps they want the other mutants on their side, but perhaps they won’t be needed. Maybe they view themselves as separately as some mutants do from others. For all its differences, mutants are still humans at heart, carrying the same prejudices and suspicions. It is a major reason why they remain as scattered and struggling as everyone else.

 

This short features mutants both lesser and much improved:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/543796

Our Saviour

The rocky terrain slowly disappeared and soft earth took its place. Not much, but enough to support life. The damage from the past had not reached here, perhaps due to the arc of mountains that formed about it. Whatever it was, the wilderness was behind and prospects were ahead: supplies, communities, information.

Straker stopped and looked about him, wary of threats, also looking for life. He wasn’t sure what type of being he would come across, but he was confident in himself; there wasn’t anything he couldn’t evade, outsmart or overcome. Even so, he took his automatic rifle from his shoulder and checked it over. Hardly his weapon of choice, old and troublesome, but he had carried out enough repairs on it to know it would do its job. He checked his ammunition in his backpack as well; three more magazines, plus only two grenades – he would have to try to get more if possible. He had a long knife strapped to a thigh and a small one tucked in a boot, plus he could kill with his hands, yet some problems needed an explosion to solve.

He continued his purposeful stride. Tall, muscular, but not bulky; he was a sculpted figure on the landscape. His hands were rough and his face was grim. His green eyes flicked about as he walked. He hoped he met humans or mutants here; he could pass for either, although in time the former would probably detect his superior abilities. Even so, as long as he was brief and careful, he could get what he needed and be gone before suspicion arose. As for mutants, they would revere him or possibly hate him on sight; some were jealous of perfection.

Sounds came to his sharp ears and he dropped, smoothly and suddenly, lying on the grass with his rifle ready. Then beings appeared, not too far away, climbing out of the ground, looking up and around before hurrying in one direction. Straker stayed still, watching, as over twenty figures stopped at a patch of upturned earth and rooted through it. Straker had already noticed a number of such patches about the area. There were also trees and bushes. Some individuals broke off to a nearby cluster where sacks were being filled. It was clear what was happening, but the sense of urgency was mysterious.

Then there was panic as the group heard a whirling noise. Straker had already heard it and seen the dots in the sky when they could not, but they seemed to know what these were and ran for their safety. The fleers were of all shapes and sizes, several moved awkwardly; Straker knew they were mutants and so rose.

“Quick, get in,” he urged, running for the hole in the ground himself, using the situation to gain entrance. They reeled in surprise but never stopped running. He aimed his weapon skyward. “I’ll cover you, hurry up.” The flying objects were closing in. Straker had never seen the like, but the mutants had and fled underground, the last closing the hatch, disguising the way.

“Who are you?” someone asked Straker, who had slipped in with the last few, not giving them a chance to shut him out. “Are you a human?”

“No, he’s a super-soldier,” another, a middle-aged woman, replied for him.

“How do you know that?” asked Straker calmly.

“You look too good to be human.”

The tall fighter grinned at that and rubbed his close-cropped black hair as he dipped his head to her. “My name is Straker and, yes, I‘m a mutant like you.”

“Not like us,” a young man noted, holding up his crooked arm. “Also, your skin and speech is different.”

“I am from far away, the other side of the world, in fact. I don’t know much about my lineage, after all, it no longer matters, but racially I am Hispanic. I believe you live in what was once Eastern Europe.”

“How do you know such old names?” yet another asked of him.

“I was told them.” Straker just shrugged, none of it was important. “But who are you and what were those things?” That mattered.

“Helicopters,” the youth spat. All in the tunnel looked hateful. “The humans use them. We can’t live up there, no one can, but even after forcing us underground they raid us for our food.” He hefted his sack.

“Then destroy them,” proclaimed Straker, fist raised.

“We can’t,” the older woman complained. “They live on the mountains, thousands of them, and they’ve blocked off every route possible.”

“Clever,” commented Straker, his companions’ plight forgotten as his military instincts kicked in. “With those flying helicopters they rule this area while no one can touch them.”

“It also means they have little food, that’s why they raid us,” someone added.

“How do you survive?” wondered Straker.

“We barely do, but we do,” declared the youth.

“This land doesn’t look like much but it produces quite well, it has learned to do better than it ought to, like we have,” the woman went on. “It’s the raids that do more damage; the humans brutally keep us down.”

“Maybe you could help us,” suggested a young woman.

Straker shrugged. “We’ll see. We should move from this hatch, in case they see it and try to come in,” he advised, and together the mutants headed down the tunnel.

#

“So you’re a super-soldier,” remarked Orlock, the hunched old man sitting cross-legged before Straker. He was the eldest of the mutants and so an unofficial leader. They were nothing more than a convergence of huddles and gatherings that had come to this habitable space before being united by their cruel neighbours. The pair were in his home, a small cave with a wooden door that was moved in and out of its place for entry, but Straker couldn’t care less; he was eating and he would learn more from his host than any other. “You don’t look like a super-soldier.”

“What?” This made Straker freeze – that was the last thing he expected to hear. “I don’t understand what you mean.”

“I haven’t seen a super-soldier since I was young,” mused Orlock, “and you don’t look right. No, sorry, I use the wrong word, you don’t seem right.”

“I’m strong, yet agile. I’m not deformed like you,” Straker said without venom. “What else can I be?”

“I don’t know that, but I know other things. I know that super-soldiers are taller than you. They come in many shapes from around the world but all were made well over six feet. You look just over. I know that because of cloning in the past most super-soldiers have a blandness about their features, yet yours are sharply defined. Also, you seem so… independent. Super-soldiers live by their nature. They are very aggressive, they were made to destroy; even now they are war-like. You, however, seem calm, alert and also calculating. I hope that doesn’t offend you.”

“Not even slightly,” Straker said with a grin, but his look was intent on the old man.

“Super-soldiers were made to be clever at war but not much else, the humans only wanted them for fighting. You look like you could thrive in any situation.” Orlock had tilted his head as he studied his guest and his lopsided face sat straight and normal. “You have come to me to talk about our enemy, which makes strategic sense, but you have sat calmly, eating, patient as I tidy my room. What is your focus really on?”

“Very well, you deserve the truth,” confirmed Straker, but he locked his steely gaze on Orlock. “However, if you spread it any further I will spread you out amongst your people, piece by piece.” Orlock nodded quickly. “Then let me ask if you know about the geography of the world, that this area is part of a huge landmass that spreads in three directions? Well, almost opposite this there is another landmass, a long one that stretches down the world, and I am from the northern part. Actually this landmass was cut in half long ago, but that doesn’t matter.

“You see, my tale goes back to the beginning, when mutants were born and the human race was smashed apart. In that northern land mutants were made, super-soldiers, and also other creations – many experiments were carried out. But then they rebelled. The super-soldiers found that they had shortened life spans and had been secretly cloned. They were human volunteers but had been betrayed, so they struck back. Yet they did more than most mutants. They captured the eight head-scientists who had done so much to them and subjected them to the same.

“Only they liked it. These individuals were intelligent, imaginative and ambitious. They saw potential in their new state so continued experimenting on themselves, killing two, but the survivors became super intelligent and used this to improve the super-soldiers. We have already mentioned the limitations of these beings; the scientists had been ordered to ensure they had some to protect humanity. Now they could seek perfection, eradicate every flaw and explore any avenue they desired. They succeeded. They created the ultra-mutants.”

“You?” questioned Orlock. But he knew the answer, it explained everything.

“I am second generation, even better, but yes, I’m an ultra. We are stronger and faster than super-soldiers, and more intelligent, as you’ve noticed. We aren’t as tall, so we can fit in easier with others, yet we are more in control of our bodies; what we cannot overcome through strength we defeat through skill and cunning. We are all from the same mould because ultras were only made in one place. We’re all six two, lean and muscular. But none of us have been cloned; we are varied, racially and facially. The Brainers foresaw the problems the super-soldiers would have with similarity.”

“Everyone wearing the same face, enough to drive… The Brainers?”

“The mutated scientists,” explained Straker.

“An apt name, no doubt,” Orlock remarked wryly. Straker’s nod was firm. “Now I understand you…”

“You do not,” cut in Straker, making the old mutant flinch. “That was just the beginning. A nation of mutants, instructed by the Brainers, with their ultras leading the war against the humans that surrounded them, and just as the super-soldiers had overthrown their inferior masters, so did my kind decide to claim their destiny.”

“Destiny?” asked Orlock.

“We are ultras, the best humanity has become. I’m sure you can see what our destiny is,” Straker said, yet quickly went on. “The rest of my story will confirm it. The Brainers sided with the ultras but still sought perfection: the ultimate mutant. A being not merely without flaw, but unable to be surpassed in any way. Have you heard the name Gilgamesh?”

“Once,” Orlock whispered, “and in such a way…”

“He is a giant, five times my strength, yet fast and with genius crafted by the Brainers themselves, as well as all the knowledge they had gathered, and still have; that is why I know so much. The Brainers and ultras worked together and made him, and the super-soldiers and mutts, uh…”

“Natural mutants, I know the term,” Orlock said darkly.

“Actually, to us, the term has come to mean all mutants not genetically improved. As I said, many experiments were conducted, but there was nothing natural about their results. I understand that in this part of the world radiation was released on people to test theories, that’s why there are so many mutants here.”

Orlock gave a shrug. “I only know we are here,” he replied.

Straker nodded, liking his pragmatism. “Anyway, the other mutants were afraid, and they knew the humans were too, so made a pact and then fled as they attacked. Gilgamesh was complete, about to be born, but the humans came too soon. The ultras fought their way out, with the Brainers, yet Gilgamesh was lost.”

Orlock sat up as much as he could. “Lost?”

“To the humans, a pre-packaged, military and technological expert as well as an unstoppable titan. They chose not to destroy him because, if conditioned differently, he could lead them to victory, as he was meant for us. Only they couldn’t, none can outwit the Brainers. Yet they hoped and kept him in storage. Then others came along and bought him, seeking to use him too, failing as well, and since then the ultimate mutant has been bought and sold around the world, a walking war machine none dare activate. Except us.”

“You? What happened to your people?”

“We were crippled but alive. We went into hiding, knowing how feared and envied we were, and now we wait, or most of us do. Some of us roam the world in search of Gilgamesh, and when we find him we will be able to take what is ours,” Straker now declared.

“He is that powerful?” questioned Orlock, doubtful and yet hopeful.

“We were driven out about a century and a half ago, in that time we have grown strong again. But yes, he is.”

“And…” Orlock paused. “What of us mutts?”

“Super-soldiers were made to destroy monsters. Ultras were made by human-hating mutants. Humans are our enemy and so are monsters and machines, the latter especially because they believe they are the superior beings. We aim to win the world from them all. We do not count mutants as our enemies, although whether they do is another matter. But, to be truthful, the superior must be above the inferior.”

“Funny, I expected you to preach lies to me and even the truth sounded flatly honest, not a proclamation or boast,” said Orlock before grinning oddly. “Do you believe in what you just said?”

“I believe it to be true,” confirmed Straker.

“Not what I asked, but never mind.” There was a glint in Orlock’s eyes now. He also fidgeted. He was nervous about this stranger yet exhilarated by his tale. “So, now we come to it. Why are you here? No, wait, Gilgamesh!”

“Correct.” Now Straker grinned at the other’s shock. “I have a name of a recent buyer, perhaps the latest, and maybe you know it too. The humans on the mountains seem a military people, who leads them?”

“Air Marshal Blitzkrieg.” For a moment Straker was still, then he smiled slowly. “What do you intend?” asked Orlock.

“To have another talk.”

To Be Continued…..