The Pieces (Chapter 1)

For my passion project, I wrote a novella called The Pieces It is now coming to blog posts…

Chapter 1

The Pulsar

I hovered in the levi-pod, bracing myself for what was coming. The wind blew calmly, and birds soared across the sky. The sun was burning and the clouds were floating. It was as if nature was oblivious to what was about to happen. It seemed like a normal day, but this was the end of life as I knew it.

I had always been a happy city kid perfectly content with life in Australia. I grew up in the heart of the city itself. My family owned a nice place on the roof, near an artif-jungle. We never got to go into the artificial habitat, but just looking at it was enough. We had all the room we needed.

I have this wonderful little brother, named Sam. Within our apartment, we always found ways to play. We played with holo-figures together and watched holovisia class television every weekend. We were the best of playmates, thanks to all the amazing things that my home provided.

Near the apartment, I went to this little school, that, thanks to the low budget, had human teachers. But that was okay. My school was one of the best places ever. I made so many friends, above all, my best friend Sophie.

Sophie’s family lives old-timey style. I mean, they still use electric lights! And they named their daughter Sophie, a name that died out over two hundred years ago. But Sophie doesn’t like doing stuff old-timey style. She loves computers. That’s what makes her so awesome.

In fact. we met playing with computers in my school’s tech lab. Sophie was fiddling around with something called a “connector cable,” which could transmit signals from one computer to another. She couldn’t figure out, though, how to use the connector cable. So I sat down at an adjacent computer to Sophie and asked “Uh… want any help?” “Sure!” Sophie responded.

Working together we got the connector cable to download classified files of some sort. It seemed like fun to us at the time. It turned out what we downloaded wasn’t so “fun”. Even though the contents of the files were terrifying, we couldn’t tell anybody. It was a big secret because if anybody found out we stole classified files from Project Landfill — the group currently running all of humanity — we could be thrown in juvie for “Inappropriate and Unpermitted Hacking of the Highest Order.

So we kept it a secret between us. To represent our oath of secrecy, we each took half of the connector cable that helped us download those files as a “friendship charm”. We have been best friends ever since.

But old-timey or not, everything I love and know will be gone in less than an hour! I looked over my shoulder and asked “Emo, how long till the pulsar starts?” “Five minutes and thirty-two point five seconds,” Emo replied.

Emo is awesome. Emo is a model 7B2 helper-bot. Complete with levitation and everything!

I heard Emo’s voice ringing in my ear. “Two minutes and thirty seconds till the pulsar starts.” I pressed my hands against the round air resistance field of the levi-pod. I scanned the city. Big glass buildings coated in boron nitride expanded to the horizon. But soon, this port would be history. Australia’s biggest city would soon be gone. Then, I spotted it! The pulsar machine. A small box of reflective boron, no bigger than a techno-bot. But death and destruction lurked inside.

“Emo. Please scan the city. How many living beings remain?” I asked. “Over 1,000,000,000 life forms,” replied Emo. “No, I mean animals and plants only, not bacteria and fungi!” I sighed. Emo was smart, chock-loaded full of bio-quantum tech, but it always took questions very literally.  Emo replied “30 animals, including human beings, and 126 plants!” I was shaken. Project Landfill said that no plant or animal lives, especially human lives, would be taken. Bah! I knew Project Landfill would never keep that silly promise.

Before I could think my next thought, a towering hologram flashed over the city. It was a timer. A mechanical voice announced “Remaining citizens, you have one minute to evacuate the city, 59… 58… 57…!” NO! Project Landfill was happening. I sighed, and gripped the controls of my levi-pod. With a few quick turns, I maneuvered out of pulsar range.

“38… 37… 36…” droned the hologram. Everything I loved was about to be destroyed. I looked out at my school, my home, the remnants of the artif-jungle, and my apartment.  “20… 19… 18… 17…”. I didn’t have much time! I said a silent goodbye to the city. “10… 9… 8… “. Without thinking, I surged against the field of the levi-pod pushing my hands into it, longing for my home. I bounced off, and landed on the floor of the levi-pod. “3… 2… 1… Begin!”. The whole levi-pod shook as if a whale had hit it. The pulsar had started.

It was hard to see through the vibration of the levi-pod. But as the pod stabilized, I could make out scarce purple lines weaving through the city. The first things to fall were the artificial habitats. The lakes, pools and simulated plants began to shake. Then, their resistors were destroyed, and the sim-trees crumpled to the ground. The artificial lakes slowly turned brown, then evaporated. After a few more seconds, the trees were vaporized.

Next were the roof apartments. I pinpointed in on my apartment, watching it fall to its doom. First, the holographic windows flickered and went out. Then, our resistors began to shake. I couldn’t believe this was really happening! The roofs melted into the roof apartments, turning them to mush. I watched my very own roof apartment get vaporized. My eyes were on the verge of tears. A few seconds later, it was a waterworks pouring from my eyes. But I snapped out of it when I noticed something I had been dreading. The buildings.

It didn’t seem like much at first. The resistors blocked most of the pulsar waves, so it was just a few cracks in the glass. But I knew what was to come. The cracks widened and reached the boron nitride. The boron nitride was thermally stronger than diamond, but it too began to crack. Pieces of glass began to fall off the buildings. My school, not being reinforced with boron nitride, was looking horrible. The roof was already starting to melt, and the rods of diamond merged with the glass. I glanced over at my apartment building. It was in better shape, but not by much.

Within a minute or so, all the building roofs were starting to disintegrate. The roofs crumbled, cracked and turned to dust on the way down to the ground. Glancing back at my school, it wouldn’t even be called a building. It had shriveled up into a ball of diamond and glass. Steam poured out of it. Then, before my very eyes, it turned to dust.

Looking back at the big buildings, they were already on their last legs. The foundations were crumbling, the glass was gone, and they were roofless. As I watched the boron nitride melt away, I felt too overwhelmed to think. It just got worse as my apartment building, along with most of the other buildings, crumpled to the ground. No! I looked back out of the levi-pod and saw twisted wreckage. Then within a few more seconds, it was all dust. The pulsar box gave out one last purple wave, leveling the ground perfectly, and it was over. My home, destroyed. All thanks to Project Landfill!

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