The sound of troubled, anxious chatter hushed to a stop when the president walked on stage. Cameras and microphones sprung to life, but what would have normally been excited looks on the media people’s faces were replaced with dread. A sense of foreboding lazed around the room, only amplified by the solemn expression worn by USA’s President. That expression he had was reflected in the faces of millions of men and women around the world. “I’m sorry.”, said the President. In that moment, the world knew of a universal truth. Humanity is doomed.
A middle aged man lit up a cigarette and blew a puff of smoke. He stared blankly at the television, at the President. His hands were around the shoulders of his sobbing wife – the woman whom he shared the last twenty years of his life with. Normally he would be hearing his wife screaming into his ear about using those blasted cancer sticks. How he would have loved to hear her anger just one more time, instead of those screeching wails.
Blissful innocence reflected in the looks of the boy’s eye as he stared up at his mother. The single mother’s solemn thoughts were interrupted with her child’s comment. “Mama, I don’t understand what the man said.” Hearing this, the mother cradled the boy and ruffled his hair. Fighting back bitter tears, she comforted her child by asking what he wanted for dinner. The boy replied Mac and Cheese. Later that night, the boy was soundly asleep in his room with a full belly and contempt happiness. The mother stood by his bedside, a handgun clutched in her hands. Thoughts of her future sin sent shivers down her spine, but it dulled in comparison to the horrors her child would face. She counted from one to three, and then the trigger was pulled.
In the hours following the President’s speech, acts of suicide ran rampant across the world. From the glorious States of America to the People’s Republic of China, nooses were hung and guns were loaded. There were more than 2 billion deaths from suicide alone, and that number was expected to rise in the coming weeks and months.
But there were also those that won’t go down without a fight. It was nothing but a small glimmer of hope, with the odds heavily stacked against humanity surviving the onslaught to come. Extinguish the flame of mankind, and you’ll find glowing embers stubbornly refusing to die. Embers that will rekindle to form a raging wildfire with any chance they get.
Men and woman around the world swarmed to their local military recruitment centers. There was a surge of recruits unlike anything seen before, with both common folk and well established citizens eager to fan the flames of war. For the first time ever, humanity would link arms and point their guns not at each other, but at the existential threat that their species faced. Historians would relate this to the early days of the Second World War, where countries faced thousands of eager, youthful recruits.
Pessimists talk about the horrors that those youths faced. Optimists look at this as Humanity’s hope of winning. But one thing is for certain – at no point in the past had North and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania combine their scientific intellect and military might into the largest armed forces ever seen on the face of this world.
Fan the flames, mould the metal. Start the assembly lines, start the training. Tremble at the myriad of marching boots. Mankind is raising an army, and it’s giving the best shot it has.