Authors: Sonador Snow
The World After
Copyright (C) 2016 Sonador Snow
Layout design and Copyright (C) 2016 by Creativia
Published 2016 by Creativia
Cover art by
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the author's permission.
An insatiable thirst. This is the main driving force of men. Thirst for money, thirst for power, thirst for love, thirst for happiness, thirst for vengeance. Everything in this world is created just to satisfy someone's thirst.
These were the thoughts that engaged Taylor's mind as he stared from the top of the hill above Happy Valley in Hong Kong at the colorful crowd hurrying up and down between the buildings and the impossible traffic that continued to choke the artificial islands that had composed the backbone of Hong Kong for decades. And what was his thirst? After he willingly left the real world in 2015 and chose the life of a hermit or even a rebel, after all he was officially classed as an outlaw, he was left with just one thirst – a thirst for the past. A past which only he remembered now, or at least he felt that way from time to time.
The year was 2025. Eight years had passed since 2017 – a year in which robots became the norm, not only in factories and industry, but also in people's everyday lives. This was also the year in which the first supermen were born, genetically modified and created exactly here – in Hong Kong, in the Lab for Genetic Engineering of the Beijing Institute for Genomic. But an even bigger change occurred in 2020, a year in which humans en masse and “willingly” were forced to exchange their passports for brain implants. Well, not all humans agreed to that.
Only Taylor knew what it cost him to escape having this extra in his brain, with which the population of the modern world communicated with the robots around them, used their computers, switched on and off their TVs, cars, etc. A PC with a mouse and keyboard could only be seen in museums these days.
Light rain started to fall over Hong Kong. Some things never changed. Despite all the extra pollution and abuse against nature, the climate in this area of the world remained constantly humid and stickily hot. Taylor lifted his head, enjoying the fresh raindrops touching his face. The light rain soon turned into a downpour that steadily washed away into the ocean most of the rubbish gathered on the streets of the metropolis. Taylor looked back down towards the busy city and started walking along Shanghai Road. Taylor Swansea was forty-seven years old with good posture and a strong body. An ex-financial advisor – he lost his job, house and wife during the financial crisis of 2010-2011. He never recovered from these losses; also, the world didn't give him any time in its constant hurry to change.
North America was stuck in a swamp of meanness; Europe was still undecided whether to keep or terminate its European Union; the British Isles became wasteland after the volcanic eruptions in Iceland in 2018. Also, a hopeless struggle had started to force the Arabic and African emigrants back to their deserted and unlivable homelands. Russia was still in alcohol amok. Japan was continually trying to recover from a sequence of devastating earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. And the Pacific? Well, it became the new tacit ruler of the world. China, India and Brazil became familiarly known as the Trinity. And a race of super intelligent children which China started to produce in 2017 was about to end the speculation about who had the leading role in this Trinity.
Taylor continued to make his way down the steep streets of Hong Kong. Hundreds of people with emotionless expressions and from all sorts of nationalities were rushing around him to finish their 'important' daily jobs so they could have 'quality' evening time to spend with friends or family. His red, roughly cropped hair, already all wet from the persistent drizzle, fell over his shoulders resembling a bloody waterfall. His chestnut colored eyes stared at everyone passing by. He was waiting with growing anxiety to meet Jinhun Sun – one true Chinese Han and, most importantly, another person without a brain implant.
* * *
At the same time, many miles away in Sao Paulo's outskirts, agent MacGeady moaned with pleasure. His sweaty body bent into an arc and, purring under him, a chocolate tigress felt how his hot sperm spilled inside her. She opened her lips which revealed her white teeth. MacGeady stood up in the middle of a thrust from the sultry beauty under him without giving any explanation or warning. He grasped for his towel and, without saying anything, went into the bathroom.
On hearing the water, Fabiana said gritting her teeth, “Stupid Americans. They spent ten years in a queue for relief and yet they still think they have God's dick in their hand.” After a minute, she got up from the bed, put her clothes on and scribbled a note, leaving it on the night-table: “
I have to go to work. See you soon.
The hotel occupied by the two lovers was a shit-hole in one of the poorest suburbs of the rapidly growing megapolis of Sao Paolo. Crumbling pieces of fascia the size of a car flapped in the wind outside, while the interior once upon a time painted in lemon-yellow could only be described as a thick layer of brown-reddish dirt that was conveniently replaced on the ceiling by broad patches of mold. MacGeady's bosses would have approved bills from the most expensive and ridiculously comfortable places in the city during his visits, but he always preferred to keep low key. He didn't mind the fact that the rooms were small, decorated with a single glass coffee table, small sofa and a bed; he was there only for the animalistic sex and nothing else. MacGeady wasn't a gentle lover. Once his own hunger was satisfied, he didn't care about his partners. He didn't have feelings for Fabiana; he wanted to shower, sleep and then, when the time came, fly back home for his next assignment. For an ex-solider, who by the time of the dissolution of the old American Army as such was shooting people for fun, this was the perfect job. Constantly occupied, traveling a lot, with bosses not bothered if he tortured or even killed someone in order to complete his mission.
When agent MacGeady came out of the bathroom, he wasn't surprised that Fabiana had left for the musical studio where she worked. Their purely sexual relationship had started almost a year ago. When he was assigned missions in Sao Paulo, they fucked almost every night; and when he was away, they didn't even speak on the phone. This kind of relationship suited him perfectly.
MacGeady's muscular body could hardly have looked in better condition, but he knew that the countless wounds and injuries he had during his time in the agency left no mark on him only because of the nearly god-like medical procedures which were provided for all field agents. Despite the incredible healing techniques used, MacGeady still felt pain inside. He let his towel wrapped around his groin drop as he rubbed his left shoulder, where the last bullet fired at him had entered. He flinched feeling a stabbing pain even though the surface of his skin was smooth and soft to touch. To shake off the pain and stress of the last few days, he groped in the pockets of his trousers and swallowed the last two of his pain-killers. MacGeady made a mental note that he had to go and visit the agency doctor once back in the States.
He had just finished putting on his linen pants and hemp shirt, the only possible clothes that stopped you sweating like a pig in the awful climate of Brazil, when he felt something. His instinct triggered straight away and he immediately jumped from the bed and reached for the gun on the glass table in the middle of the room. He was too late.
Suddenly, glass from the balcony's window spattered all over the room and wooden splinters from the front door exploded around him. MacGeady hid behind the bed in a fraction of a second, but he was still able to feel a piece of glass or wood stabbing his left leg just under the knee. Two youngsters, obviously Asians, burst into the room. Their thin bodies were dressed in black elastic overalls; their faces were not covered by masks and hardly bore any unique features. MacGeady had no choice. He stood up and confronted the one coming in the door. His skills in hand-to-hand fighting were some of the best in the Agency for Tracking the Untraceables, but after the first two kicks he had to deal with, he realized he was too slow for the lightning movements of this Asian.
His twist and roll over to the cover of the bed saved him from a steel rope passing just a few inches from his face. So, it was clear they were not there to catch; they were there to kill. This thought gave MacGeady new strength. His breathing slowed and became steady. The time stopped; he controlled it. MacGeady stood up from the cover of the bed and widened his position, ready to confront the two men. The simultaneous attack from the two that followed didn't surprise him, and he managed to escape it with a roll to the right. With another lightning move forward, he grasped his pistol. Immediately, he aimed it towards the corner of the room where the Asians were supposed to be, and with this action he quickly realized his mistake – the attacker that came from the window had followed his movements and now the steel rope with hundreds of fish hooks on it tightened around his wrists.
One harsh pull and, together with blood drops and flesh, from his mouth came a scream worthy enough of a very talented opera singer. The pistol dropped between his legs. The Asian wound the rest of the rope round his neck while the other took out of his pocket a long and very sharp tool, looking more like an icicle than a medical instrument, which, in fact, it was. He neared the helpless MacGeady, pointing the sharp end towards his right eye. His face broadened into a grin as he pierced the soft tissue of the eye with ease. The loud noise of Sao Paolo's busy street traffic that filled the room through the broken window deafened MacGeady's scream. His brain switched off as a defense to the enormous pain as he lost consciousness. Broad smiles appeared on the faces of the two Asians.
Main building of Agency for Tracking the Untraceables
At the same time:
The chaos in the conference room was something that occurred very rarely between these men; they had trained for many years to hold back their emotions. But this particular debate was far more passionate than usual. The room was an elongated, modernistic feature of a tall oval building placed right where Dallas' biggest mall once stood, and the half a dozen men in their fifties inside persistently tried to shout over each other. Their cleanly shaven faces and smart black or dark grey suits shouted power and money, an impression stressed even more by the fact that, in front of everyone, there was a glass filled with crystal clear drinking water, a commodity reserved only for the top classes since 2021.
The Agency for Tracking the Untraceables was established in 2016 as part of the second stage of induction of Novus Ordo Seclorum (the New World Order). The idea was to force almost full control over the Western societies, who had been prepared for that for many years prior. The Agency's main goal was to track and possibly eliminate, or at least put into prisons, people without brain implants. Of course, even in 2025, there was no country that had a law with which to force its citizens to have such implants. But, at present 2025, ninety-seven-point-two percent of humankind could be tracked pretty easily. Credited with the success for this huge amount of people with brain implants was the Agency and its tireless director – Shimi Levy.
The first of his many tasks was in the autumn of 2012. He had to intentionally organize mass strikes and demonstrations all over the world. Active financing of dozens of radical nationalist organizations and political parties led to many brutalities and over five million people were killed. By the spring of 2015, almost every company that was manufacturing electrical appliances had started mass production of all kinds of equipment controlled only by the mind.
So, as a result of the well-planned financial crisis in 2010-2011 and the aforementioned events, on the day before Christmas Eve in 2015, all countries who were members of the UN at that time declared that every citizen who wished to have a brain chip implanted in order to secure his/her safety and to be capable of using the newest technologies was at liberty to do so. It seemed that the plan was successful because, by the summer of the following year, seventy percent of the Earth's population already had implants. And the other thirty percent, what about them? Well, they were the task of Shimi Levy and the Agency. Their orders were crystal clear – force them to implant or eliminate them. Of course, there was the acceptable ten to twelve percent of those living in isolation and remote places around the globe, which were not a target of the Agency anyway; but every person within industrial countries simply had to have one.
Many lives and destinies were decided in the Agency's conference room, but it had been a long time since it had witnessed such a hot dispute as the one going on now. The four directors of the Agency and their operative managers had a meeting that clashed with the interests of men more used to bathing in power. The organization had one director for each of the four continents: Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Years ago, there was nobody left without a brain implant in North America and the FBI was taking care of any problems on the continent. The Agency's operative managers were responsible for agents on each of these continents; they reported only to their direct bosses. As the four big men called them, they were their watchdogs.
The dispute was about Australia and New Zealand. Director Levy, the highest ranked director and direct boss for Asia, wanted to transfer responsibility for Australia and New Zealand to director Jackson, who was in charge of the Agency's affairs in Africa.
Shimi Levy had great trouble finding the untraceables in China, Mongolia and India, and he was short of men for Australia. But the arguments of Neyton Jackson that he had the smallest number of agents were also reasonable.
Director Jackson was an ex-marine in his late fifties; he was renowned for his brutality and ability to control his agents with an iron fist. Despite being credited with a few allegedly killed civilians during interrogation, he was in a different league to the more brutal and determined Shimi Levy. The mastermind of the Agency had outlived three murder attempts in the space of a decade and also managed to help the two ex-directors that tried to overtake him in the hierarchy of the Agency disappear. Levy's tall, slim figure made him look slightly ill, a fact helped by his grey-white hair and face scarred by the fire he barely escaped two years earlier when a group of activists fighting against the very essence of everything he represented set his home on fire, a fire he escaped without his late wife and twelve-year-old daughter.
Levy's stone-cold eyes fixed on director Jackson. “Look, I understand your concerns, but this is not an open discussion. I already made up my mind.”
“You can't be making decisions like that on your own. The last time I checked, it was a majority vote that was needed. I haven't been in Africa for that long but you obviously turned this Agency into a tool for your own wars.”
Levy straightened up his shoulders and, just as his mouth opened to give the response that was going to end this conversation, they were interrupted. The alarm on the video wall started beeping. This meant a message with Code 17. Shimi Levy used the chip in his brain to start the incoming video stream on the big flat TV on the north wall; all eyes in the room fixed on it. It was hard to remember when the last Code 17 was issued, but they all knew that it was a long, long time ago. On the screen appeared the chaos in the hotel room of agent MacGeady in Sao Paulo, and a murmur filled the room.
* * *
Jinhun Sun and Taylor Swansea were on the deck of one of the thousands of fishing boats in Hong Kong's harbor. They stared at each other under the heavy pelting tropical rain.
“So, what do you think?” the Chinaman asked, fixing his dark black eyes on the forehead of his brother-in-doom.
“How many people know about this plan?”
“With you, six hundred and sixty-six.” Jinhun smiled at him. “This is an interesting number for you Christians, isn't it?”
“And you truly believe that six hundred and sixty-six people can change the destiny of all humankind?” Taylor mopped rain water from his forehead.
“I think that even one man is enough to change history, but this is something else. For now, I just want to know, will you take part in this?”
“Good.” Jinhun bent down, hugged Taylor and kissed him on the forehead. After that he said, “In that case, you have to leave all your possessions and follow me.”
“I don't have anything, just memories.”
“OK. Now go down and change your clothes, because we are leaving for Arunachal Pradesh and, more specifically, to Itanagar.”
While disappearing into the belly of the boat down the tiny steps, Taylor tried to recall what he knew about Pradesh. He was knowledgeable enough at geography to know that it was a mountain region in India which for many years had been a contested zone between India and China. He also knew that letting foreigners in had been very strictly regulated for centuries. His curiosity, after Jinhun's revelations, was aroused. He wanted to find out exactly what they would do there as soon as possible, but he knew he wouldn't discover that before their arrival. After finding out the hard way many years ago how pointless it was to bash your head against a brick wall over problems you can't solve yourself, he just shrugged his shoulders and went into the room straight in front of him.
The space was so small that, sitting by the door, Taylor was able to touch all four walls, and also he had to keep his head slightly to one side in order not to hit it every time the boat swayed. He spotted on the bed, that looked big enough only for a ten-year old, a black shirt and pants made of silk and decorated with a red motif of twisting dragons. He removed his wet clothes and changed into the new ones; he felt light as a feather.
Taylor sat on the bed for a minute after he was ready and tried to organize his thoughts. The journey from Europe to Hong Kong had been extremely difficult and challenging, but it couldn't compare to what lay ahead of him. He had been a loner for too long, living off the radar and in a few remaining remote places around Eastern Europe and Turkey. But now he had to do something he hadn't done in a decade, he had to trust other human beings. Occupied by these thoughts, Taylor made his way back up on deck.
He looked around. Jinhun was standing on the square front deck of the boat staring towards Hong Kong. Taylor joined him. The tropical storm had passed, and the rain was ceasing.
“Where do you think the Agency spies are now?” Sun asked.
“I feel they are everywhere. I tried to live in dozens of poky and godforsaken places and again, sooner or later, they appeared there.”
“You are wrong. Only three people are needed in one super modern computer hall to keep an eye on the whole of China. Since 2014, when the new satellites giving 4D pictures were taken out into orbit, they are able to see virtually everything.” Jinhun turned. “We have been detected.” At that moment, Taylor heard the piercing sound of sirens; two police cutters were just coming out of the harbor.
“Put this on.” The Chinaman managed to cry louder than the noise and threw a diving suit towards him.
* * *
Agent MacGeady was lying face down on the fresh grass. It was colored red by his blood. His two attackers sat next to him eating sandwiches. Behind the nearby tree, a squirrel stared for a few seconds towards the strange intruders disturbing her harmony and ran in the opposite direction.
“Are we supposed to take him to Itanagar now or after we decode everything?” the younger of the men asked.
“For now, we will wait here. Fabio is trying to decode the brain implant we took out of him. If he doesn't succeed in two hours, the Agency will delete all the info from it and we won't have any other options.”
“How long will it take you to send a signal to India with this antediluvian thing?” the older man asked, pointing at the radio transmitter from World War II, ten yards away.
“Just exactly how long it takes you to piss Wong Wei.” The youngster smiled at his own joke.
The moment they mentioned it, the radio transmitter crackled and came alive.
“This must be Fabio,” both Asians said in synchrony.
* * *
Shimi Levy sat silently in his chair. The stillness in the room was heavier than iron. It was obvious to all that Agent MacGeady had been attacked. Also, it was clear that the best thing that could have happened to him was to be killed.
Just a minute after the video started, director Levy made a phone call in which he ordered the procedure for switching off and deleting all the information from Agent MacGeady's brain implant. He also gave permission for an electrical impulse to fry his brain and to lead to immediate death. He knew that the procedures were complicated and would take about an hour and a half.
“Director Grant, we are leaving for Brazil in twenty minutes,” Shimi Levy said to the director personally authorized for South America and direct boss of all agents there. “I want to look at the paperwork from the missions of Agent MacGeady over the last six months on the plane.”
“Understood, sir,” William Grant answered.
“I want everyone to make contact with their agents that are on missions and to announce attention Code 4,” Director Levy added before leaving the conference room.