Pluto moved into Aquarius just a little over two weeks after my nineteenth birthday. My father had told me about this day, a day when we would finally have the chance to be free from the chains of our times. As I huddled near the fire, sparks rose into a pitch black night. The sky had been dark for months now, seemed like years. I held my hands closer to the heat. I could see others faces across the flames, faces I had come to love and trust. During the night, not much was ever said. It was as if we were feeling together into the great void of what once was and who knows what the hell would be. The unknown silences grew greater and greater, so unlike the past few years where the thunder and boom came from land and man alike. At first we were at war with each other and quickly, very quickly that turned, as the Earth turned on us.
Well at least some saw it that way.
Me, personally, I think we had it coming. It stepped right in and swiped us off its back like bugs.
Long, shuddering quakes toppled cities clouded in smoke from the fires of our wars. If you were there, chances are that if a bullet or a virus or a rogue drone didn’t get you, a giant pane of glass launched from a buckling high rise at thirty stories could have taken your head right off. And if there was water nearby, one of the thousands of cars that weren’t running could have crushed you in the rising waters of the great rivers.
The cities were mostly dead now. The Earth just made it all happen a lot quicker.
We weren’t safe by any stretch though. Even though there didn’t appear to be any centralized command, the rogue drones and Class Four Spartans, what my father called “heartless soldiers” were still very much on the loose and very problematic. They had been developed to be deployed in the “war on terror.” Everyone thought they would just be used on Al Qaeda or the Taliban. I’ll never forget the first time I saw them in action. We all did. It was live and they made a very big deal out of it.
There was supposedly some cell that was operating in the Sudan. They sent these things in there and it was flipping unreal. First of all, the drones and the Spartans, these were class two, all had cameras. So we could see what the machines were seeing. It wasn’t pretty. The look of horror on those peoples faces was something I will never forget. The machines were merciless. People were cheering. We could hear them across town. I couldn’t believe it. My father wept. Of course they brought them home.
The middle 2000’s were unbelievable. I was just eight during 2012. But I remember so much. We went to war with Iran. At first I didn’t know what it meant. We talked about it in school. They had bombs or would have bombs or something like that. Mostly, I just remember the looks on my teacher’s face. She seemed like she wanted to cry, but tried to teach us something about democracy. It didn’t make any sense. I asked my father and he struggled with words. As I got older, I knew why. He not only wanted to protect me, but telling the truth as I found out later was very risky, not just in the world, but also in ones family.
I remember one morning over breakfast telling my father that he and my mother should have just listened to me and not fought–that if they had just listened to me, they’d still be together. But as I reached my teens, it became very clear why they lived apart. It was like they were occupying different universes and my father’s was very dangerous to certain people. Even I had a hard time understanding things he would let out. But I got it a lot more than I didn’t.
We all thought we had won the war. It didn’t last long–three days I think. Iran didn’t do anything once we launched our attack over some detained inspectors Iran thought were spies. Then, all of a sudden they fired back with a vengeance. They used high speed, low flying missiles and hit Tel Aviv. It was on.
I remember things getting pretty scary. Food was really expensive. So was gas. Then there was riots in the streets in the US because things were so expensive. Some people wanted the war, others didn’t. Russian ships entered the gulf and there was a stand off for a week or so. Damage had been done in Iran and Israel and there was lots of heated talk and a stalemate was brewing. But back in the states, all hell was breaking loose. The war was here.
Barak Obama was president again, but there was no election. They had been suspended and were going to take place once order had been restored, but it never seemed like it was. Iran’s power plant had been disabled and part of Israel’s was as well. There seemed to be an uneasy status quo as the Israelis wanted more, but Russia and China got in the way of that.
Meanwhile there was major shit going down in the US. People were getting killed in riots, which had started out as peaceful, but quickly turned violent. People were hit with live ammo. This time, unlike the other “peaceful” protests, Americans fired back. They were met with swift deterrence and the most sophisticated weapons in crowd control. We’re talking beams that burned, waves that hurt peoples ears. It wasn’t a fair fight in the early times. After those riots, things were never the same again. Tanks rolled through streets. People had to be in their home by 9PM. People started disappearing. And then it happened. In 2014, it was all out war. It was nasty and bloody. I was just 10. My mother didn’t feel safe in California. She wanted to leave and move to Vermont to be near her sister.
My father had actually been detained at one point and then days later, miraculously let go. But he couldn’t travel. Not legally anyway. And they checked, they checked everyone, everywhere. We had these cards. Everyone had them. They had a chip inside them and we used them for money and ID. People didn’t use cash anymore. So if you didn’t have enough credits, you were extremely limited by how far you could go.
By this time, my father was teaching me about the stars. He talked about Saturn in Scorpio and how we would see people in power become exposed. And it happened. Frequently. They couldn’t hold back the tidal wave of shit any longer. It was creepy. Lurid tales of pedophilia, hard drugs, loose cash and murder grabbed the headlines more often than not. Corruption was so rampant that even a ten-year-old could see it, almost smell it.
There was a second wave, then a third, then a fourth of more citizen unrest and violence, Each time, the waves got bigger. By this time, we were in Vermont. My father was trying to get across the states on his own, through back roads and friends, friends of friends. That’s where it got tricky. Someone tried to sell him out once, turn him in. He never talked about what happened that day with me for quite a while. Even after he did, it still made him uneasy.
As the fighting grew more fierce, the Army brought in the drones and early Spartans to squelch the uprisings. Machines were programmed to not only sense but smell, yes smell the citizens. You see humans emit a scent when they are afraid and the machines could easily determine who their prey was by simply “smelling” their fear. Once humans found out about this, they had to develop their own strategies against the machines; become fearless. You either overrode your fear or get cut in two by a burst of tracer bullets.
It took a while, but the machines pushed us beyond our fear. It turned out to be not just a major turning point in the battle, but also in the consciousness of humanity. We became fearless, because we had to.
Most of the drones and Spartans had been de-fragged once they couldn’t determine who to fight, but some stayed active and in fact, they were mostly autonomous, being run by computers, not humans. Something happened in 2020. My father called it the “singularity.” It was when machine intelligence surpassed man’s intelligence. Once it did, they went after humans, didn’t matter who they were or what they smelled. You’d think that humans would stand together at this point, but they didn’t. So much bad blood had been stirred up. There were foreign troops here–they didn’t like us either. It was insane.
There were all kinds of other things going on in the mid 2000’s. People basically stopped caring. They felt like the world was ending. There was wild parties that would last for days, sometimes weeks, with copious amounts of drugs and all kinds of sex. They didn’t give a shit anymore. The world to them had ended. On the other end of the spectrum, other people became deeply religious. Rigid. I think Saturn was in Sagittarius then. That’s what my father said. Religion was like the law. It was strange and cruel. The harshest parts of Christianity were used and glorified–smoting and eye-for-eyeing. There was lots of death that happened from a new and even more virulent type of AIDS. It made AIDS seem like a low-grade-flu. It afflicted the generation just ahead of me. The “millenials” they were called. They were the ones driving week-long-orgies. They called this new virus “The Blackout Plague” because for days, even weeks at a time people lost track of space and time, they operated at a sub-conscious level which is why they could just check out. The virus attacked their short-term memory and they were capable of anything. Madness became a collective disease onto itself. Many of us recoiled in horror and out of this sex, insanity and death, the new religious right rose, harder and more cruel than ever before.
Many of my generation participated. We either strived to become free or we succumbed to a fascistic sort of piety. Judaism and Christianity had merged minus Christ. People were on the hunt for a different savior, one that had no problem burning thousands of bodies raging with disease. Well if the savior wasn’t on time, his followers were and they were more than happy to burn the stain of humanity off the face of the Earth. Their time didn’t last long.
As we fought each other and then the robots, the Earth had had enough. A small asteroid hit the planet in 2018, triggering massive quakes that were reshaping continents, almost overnight.
Death Valley became a beach.
The great drought of 2013 led to the privatization of water. It was more profit from misfortune and fueled the fires of rebellion. It all seems like a bad nightmare now, fading. Thankfully.
There’s a lot less of us–a lot less. We’re cut off from the rest of the world here, but every now and then we run across someone that can reach Europe by computer. It was worse there. Simmering hatred and deep racism that had been brewing for decades could no longer be contained. It got very, very ugly. But we were focused mainly on our own survival, which was slowly getting easier. We had to watch out for the rogue drones more than the Spartan Fours, but we could disable them.
There was a group out of Olympia, Washington that had been working on a small device that could take resonant sound waves and concentrate them into tight beams that would literally disassemble anything it came in contact with. The machines had no clue as to how to stop this. This same group had also developed these boxes that would literally amplify energy, so that if you had 5,000 watts at your disposal, it could give you 25,000. It was a time of radical application of new technologies on an individual level. Uranus in Aries my father said brought the fire of the gods into man’s hands. It was the great leveler. He always thought it was ironic that this technology came out of “Olympia.” Now, as long as the machines don’t sneak up on us, we’re fine. We can handle them.
Something new was emerging on this planet though. Something profound and mysterious. Most of the electrical grid, but not all was down due to the solar flares of the 2017 and 2018. Commerce still occurred even though money was useless. Seeds had become like gold.
There was a new consciousness moving through everything. Well, maybe not new, but new to us.
It was exciting and terrifying all at once. It was like it was breathing into our awareness, deeper and deeper with every passing day. There was a feeling of all things being sacred and connected and out of which we had a deepening respect for it all.
Many of us are young, under thirty. If you are over fifty and still alive, you’re considered something of a marvel and treated with a certain regard after you were called a “fucking fossil” more than just a few times.
My father? I’m not sure what happened to him. He went off with a group of olders to lead the machines away from here. That was a year ago. We haven’t heard from them, but we haven’t dealt with many robots either.
I miss him.
When the skies clear, we have maps of the stars and ephemerides, but we’ll likely use them more for navigation than anything else.
Its a different time, a new time, a time of beginning again. If you could read this from the past, I could tell you that it all works out, but not without a price to pay. Our world is less convenient than ever before, and yet, we’ve never been more free. Could it have been avoidable? I don’t know. I’m not sure we care now. There is too much at stake in our moments, our present.
There’s been talk of ships landing. Spacecraft. Rumors on the winds, but we haven’t seen them. Tonight we focused on roasted rabbits and root veggies and gave thanks for all that we had. When we did, we got a clear sense that this was happening all around the planet in various small places. We could feel our gratitude grow in the space around us, with them.
Pluto in Aquarius had become our time in a world now devoid of time. We called this time, “Mystory.”