2days

In one moment four billion organisms with human XX chromosomes died. All the women died, all the girls died, all the baby girls died, all the girl fetuses died, all the female embryos died, all the female zygotes died. The only people remaining alive on Earth were men, boys and baby boys. All around the world, across all national boundaries and theological dispositions, men were incapacitated by the blow of despair and fear. As the hours passed men and young men began to feel that they had done something to deserve this, and as flickers of intentionality returned to their hands men and young men made plans to kill themselves. In households with boys these feelings dissipated. In households without boys self-destruction seemed logical, appropriate, and just.

__________

 

In one moment four billion organisms with human XY chromosomes died. All the men died, all the boys died, all the baby boys died, all the boy fetuses died, all the male embryos died, all the male zygotes died. The only people remaining alive on Earth were women, girls, baby girls and girl fetuses, as well as female embryos and female zygotes. All around the world, across all national boundaries and theological dispositions, women were incapacitated by the blow of despair and fear. Women and young women believed they were under attack, and as the sense of danger lingered women and young women asked their dead what they should do. Women roamed their streets in search of living men. Young women and girls, focusing their frenzy with sensible resolve, asked their phones what they should do.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

20,955 aircraft fell from the sky.

__________

 

314 aircraft fell from the sky.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

About 174,600 girls were born, 185,400 boys stillborn. Of the 37,600,000 males dead in utero over 3,000,000 required immediate surgical removal but only one-quarter million would be accomplished in the optimal window of opportunity.

__________

 

About 9,000 babies were surgically delivered. All the baby girls were dead but 1,500 baby boys were grappled into life.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Locomotive engineers, on every line of every nation, received radio messages saturated in panic but devoid of coherence or authority. A dispatcher with an unfamiliar voice sputtered that something had happened to the woman who had been manning this console… or the women at the consoles… or the operations chief… or someone’s daughter… she fainted… she had a heart attack… she just died… all the women. Something had happened to all the women, all the girls. A calamity. It was too much, the event was indescribable, unspeakable, and instead of clarification the ad hoc dispatchers could only respond “I don’t know…” News feeds added nothing. Each motorman scanned the perpetually approaching landscape and tried to detect signs of mayhem and riot, scanned the horizon for mushroom clouds, scanned the skies for parachutes. They slowed to a crawl and focused on the tracks ahead for hints of sabotage. Here and there cars were angled into ditches or straddling curbs. He might see a semi rig at rest, calmly jackknifed. Or he might see a car pulled to the roadside in an improbable place, the front doors open, a man giving CPR to a woman or a girl. The engineer might discover a car stopped across the tracks and pray that he would stop short of the terrorist’s explosion, and on striking the vehicle at low speed he would be doubly amazed that no explosion occurred. Or the engineer would observe nothing remotely unusual and would wonder what he was not seeing, his anxiety sustained by the very absence of evidence. Or, as his train crawled through a town with high pedestrian traffic at a level crossing, he would see any number of women and girls lying motionless on the ground beyond the clanging gates; faces had already been covered by wailing men, and he would hold his breath to escape the invisible poison which had killed them. Then the names of their own dead appeared on the motormen’s phones. Inattention to the status of switches and relative speeds led to collisions. Tracks were damaged.

__________

 

Virtually every piece of railway rolling stock which was in motion coasted or auto-braked to a stop, on every line of every nation. There were absurd collisions involving a terminus or stationary stock. There were spectacular head-on collisions where switches failed to activate. There were snarling collisions where locomotives overshot sidings by only a few meters. Tracks were damaged.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Megalopolises with multiple airports were on fire in many places at once. There were few sirens. The fires spread.

__________

 

Megalopolises filled with the sound of sirens in motion. In one-half hour it was silent again.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Within minutes there were many power outages. In the first hour approximately half of the world’s power grids collapsed. In some areas systems failed with patchwork randomness, here and there. In other places the initial power failures led to a rapid cascade which cut electricity to millions in a matter of seconds. In twenty-four hours three-quarters of the world’s electricity was gone.

__________

 

Within minutes there were a few power outages. Within a few hours most were back online. In several isolated places power stations were completely abandoned and tens of thousands were without power for days.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

... The White House’s team of national security advisors and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have thoroughly briefed me and the Vice President pro tem on all possible threats to our safety. Their collective assessment is that the United States is not in imminent danger. As Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces I firmly believe that we are not experiencing an ongoing threat. There is no ongoing existential threat here in American, nor anywhere else in the world. In those few places in the world where US armed forces were involved in active conflicts, hostilities have ceased. The only way to honestly describe this calamitous event is with a single word: inexplicable. No one anywhere on Earth has even begun to understand this universal event. However, I do believe that the event is now over. …

__________

 

… I have been assured by my national security advisors that

1week

Engineers abandoned unrecoverable power stations and converged on major stations where they could do the most good. Within a few days every still-functioning plant which consumed fossil fuels had exhausted its reserves. Most engineers were too stricken to pursue other options. Those that held their heads together traveled to hydroelectric dams, nuclear plants, wind and solar facilities, provided they had enough gas in their tanks.

__________

 

Public utilities struggled to predict how plummeting cash flow would affect their ability to sustain the infrastructure.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Survivors buried their own dead or waited patiently in line at crematoria. Word spread that for at least a week corpses are not an immediate health risk. Civilized regions were able to maintain order at ad hoc graveyards. People volunteered their backs and backhoes to those who couldn’t manage it. Some of these honorable gestures led to broken utility lines, which in turn caused entire neighborhoods to be deprived of water, sewage, electricity or natural gas. There were far fewer accidents in places where government agencies quickly posted underground utility maps. Nonetheless, the rate of digging mishaps was far beyond normal for several chaotic days. Escalating problems required the immediate attention of countless armies of mechanics, technicians and engineers. These armies had to attend to their own dead and their own children. They were overwhelmed. In some regions indifference spread like a flu and infrastructure repair nearly came to a halt. But the indifference never persisted for long. They had jobs to do, so they remained in motion. They gained momentum. There were few protests when men brought their boys to active worksites to see how it’s done.

__________

 

Bodies were dragged into the garage and into the yard. Bodies were dragged down the stairs and onto the sidewalk. Most would never be buried correctly. In some places there were panics to burn the dead, and further panic when it was discovered that gasoline does not reduce a body to ash. Dark homes were surrendered to the dead.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A wealthy woman in Belgium ordered her Algerian housekeeper to dig a grave and bury her dead husband and two sons. The housekeeper had never used a shovel before but she worked to exhaustion digging a grave three feet deep. When the bodies were dragged into the grave there was not enough space for them to rest shoulder to shoulder. The bodies had began to putrefy so the decision was made to rest them somewhat on their sides and somewhat overlapping. The wealthy woman was satisfied that her servant had done her best. But the resulting mound of dirt was not enough to dissuade roaming dogs and so the wealthy woman nearly beat her slave to death with a small hammer.

__________

 

A wealthy man in India ordered his slaves to build a mausoleum to contain the remains of his dead wife. The slaves had their own wives and daughters to bury. The wealthy man’s bodyguards had their own dead to bury as well, so the slaves swarmed and killed their owner. The story spread furiously across social media platforms. Within a few days slavery in India, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia was nearly obsolete. Economies in these regions began to collapse.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If your house was in a lucky spot, and if various valves and pumps ceased working in a lucky configuration, gravity provided an uninterrupted water supply from elevated tanks and reservoirs on hilltops. Even if the pressure was so low that barely a trickle came out of a home’s faucets and spigots this was enough to suggest normality, enough to suggest that the calamity was survivable. It was assumed, by those lucky few with constant water, that of course the electric company would solve its problems as well. As long as this precious, life-sustaining resource kept trickling it did not seem wise to risk walking away from it. Those who were not so fortunate assumed that there must be water over in another neighborhood, or in another town. The desperate majority converged on these areas, even as the flow diminished, hour by hour. In places where the natural watershed provided a continuous downhill flow engineers were able to maintain an essentially perpetual supply of clean water within a given area. In watershed regions populations swelled and food quickly disappeared.

__________

 

Due to the sudden reduction in demand water pumping facilities had to recalculate daily profiles for pressure and flow rates.

1month

Ninety-five percent of the artificial lighting on Earth was extinguished. Virtually every accessible petrol tank on Earth was empty.

__________

 

In civilized countries government agencies proposed legislation to manage the drastically lower demand for energy resources. Problems were mitigated by a strict embargo on the importation of fossil fuels, despite the objections of a handful of indignant billionaires. In uncivilized countries petrochemical tycoons were driven into private fortresses to avoid the embarrassment of impromptu assassination.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

The government of each industrialized nation created an agency whose sole purpose was to propagate the human species. In the United States and most other democracies frozen human oocytes were declared a national resource. All fertility clinics and laboratories warehousing eggs were placed under military supervision and protection. There was a brief flurry of enthusiasm as the loud and the powerful loudly and powerfully announced the urgent need to identify inter-sex individuals with uteruses. Every politician, preacher and keyboard pecker who had ever openly vilified a non-heterosexual person suddenly took an interest in locating these instruments of God’s New Plan. They eventually learned that inter-sex men are quite rare and their uteruses are non-functional. Plans based on science were set in motion. Working groups were formed to determine which method of reproduction could be accomplished and eventually carried out on an industrial scale: artificial wombs, ectopic pregnancy or some combination of both. A sizable fraction of national budgets were poured into genetic and reproductive research. In non-democratic countries frozen human eggs were traded as a commodity, rapidly escalating in value. A Finnish cabinet minister was forced to resign after covertly starting a bidding war with China, Russia and United Arab Emirates for 17,000 liters of frozen breast milk stored at a research lab in Helsinki.

__________

 

People continued to make their way to fertility clinics. At some clinics a technician had the foresight and the decency to put a sign on the door, such as this:

              NO MORE

   All supplies stolen or SPOILT

or this:

      DON'T TRY

      GO AWAY

or this:

       everything is dead

3months

As winter temperatures dropped in the northern hemisphere layers of clothing kept pace with the creeping season until that night when the temperature dropped an extra ten or fifteen degrees, too much to endure. If one’s home had no fireplace perhaps there was a barbecue grill. Where there was no hearth perhaps there was a hibachi. Most of these were prudently ignited outside. When the billowing yellow flames subsided the hot coals were dragged inside. About half of the adults who did this knew that their children would feel the warmth of life return to their fingers and toes, then they would be pulled into a deep sleep, and then they would die of carbon monoxide poisoning. In some households girls understood this but did not tell their huddled kin.

__________

 

As winter temperatures dropped in the northern hemisphere people began to consolidate families under one roof. Friends and relatives worked out the most advantageous strategy for abandoning a mortgage. Homeless men became permanent guests. Conflicts arose when utility authorities locked down the water mains and circuit breakers of abandoned homes despite the objection of owners, but these measures were necessary to avoid millions of burst pipes and to gain a true picture of future utility demands. All over the civilized world the anatomy and physiology of civic infrastructure became a common topic of conversation and typically took the lead on news platforms.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

For the few radio hams who owned a generator and fuel, the irony became almost unbearable. They could ask someone over the horizon if they had enough to eat, but could not locate someone within walking distance who owned a spare parka.

__________

 

The primary function of social media was suicide intervention.

6months

The global population of humans was three billion.

__________

 

The global population of humans was two-hundred million.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Money was money.

__________

Tampons were money.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

One pregnant woman was enough to insure the cooperative survival of a clan of up to two hundred.

__________

 

Democracies began to fully nationalize their privately held oocyte resources, typically under the rubric Human Egg Treasury.

9months

Four thousand boys were born. Each mother typically had a circle of about twenty-five friends who were allowed to attend to their boy child. They protected him with martial ferocity.

__________

Hundreds of research centres and hospitals began announcing various strategies for creating pseudo-placentas and grafting them inside men. Gestation was limited to several weeks, after which embryos were thoroughly examined for genetic and developmental defects. It was universally agreed it was essential to detect all possible defects to insure subsequent fertility, to insure a reproductive life span free of disease, and to insure that nothing which limits reproduction be carried to future generations. After a thousand or so trial surgeries the mortality rate was around 20% and some degree of permanent injury was certain. When full term gestation trials were announced millions began answering extensive questionnaires. Tens of thousands would visit hospitals to be analyzed and biopsied. Thousands would be selected.

2years

Girl 1 was born at Rosie Hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, England. Her mother named her Amelia, which means work or strive, in recognition of the striving efforts of so many to bring the baby to life. Ten minutes after looking at her, he died.

 

Girl 2 was born at the North Carolina Women’s Hospital, Chapel Hill. Phoebe. On the day of the calamity her mother’s wife had been nearly due. Their three-year-old daughter Chloe had addressed the baby in mommy’s tummy as Phoebe, having learned the name from Fearless Phoebe, a thrilling cartoon. She wanted their names to rhyme. Despite a spinal infection which led to tetraparesis and loss of all finger and thumb control he began dictating a book to document his experiences.

 

Girl 3 was born at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. Her mother named her Dawn after Dawn Upshaw who sang so beautifully in Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, which had kept him alive until his final minute. He named her before the surgery knowing that he would probably die due to complex arterial entanglements with the biliary tract.

 

A second wave of volunteers numbered in the tens of millions.

__________

 

Clans driven to the edge of madness allowed themselves to be mounted by others species, convinced that there should be, must be, will be a miracle.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Tribal leaders tended to be tall lesbians.

__________

 

After months of evolving debate over the oocyte and sperm donor selection process the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany led the formation of the Coalition for Democratic Eugenics. The initial consensus had held that any effort to search the private medical histories of egg donors would be highly unethical. However, failing to identify likely carriers of heritable genetic disorders would also be unethical. It would also be unethical to allow the rebirth of the human species to be cursed with psychopathy. This gave way to a flood of independent efforts demonstrating the speed and simplicity of searching social platforms for signs of criminality and disease. This, in turn, led to the United States’ swift passage of the Oocyte Data Survey Act which effectively nullified all medical and legal privacy laws for deceased egg donors. The social platform databases for all females were nationalized, first in the United Kingdom, then in the United States, making it illegal to destroy information relating to an egg donor’s medical and legal history. The Coalition for Democratic Eugenics was strictly limited to 27 countries which met two criteria: 1) Advanced medical research, public and private; 2) High ranking on various indices of freedom, such as Freedom in the World Report, Democracy Index, and Right to Science Indicators. The Coalition excluded Russia, China and all theocracies.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Seven leading obstetrics researchers working in Canada, the United States, the Netherlands and Ireland were lured to their birthplace of Iran. Each had been informed that a close relative was being held on charges relating to sexual misconduct or blasphemy. Once within Iran they were prevented from leaving. Their countries of naturalization were informed that the Iranian physicians and scientists wished to establish a gestation program within their home country. Iran had never in its post-revolution history conducted any medical research of any value, thus there was nearly uniform agreement that the seven scientists were being held as hostages. The governments of Canada, the Netherlands and Ireland officially protested Iran’s obvious act of kidnapping by subterfuge and demanded the return of the researchers. The United States immediately condemned the three protesting countries, accusing them of unfairly judging Iran, one of America’s closest and most trusted allies in the Middle East. Two days later, at 0200 UT, there were three nearly simultaneous terrorist bombings: the White House Pub in Oxford, England; Nefertiti Jazz Club in Oslo, Sweden; Zone Bowling and Laser Tag, Melbourne, Australia. These public venues were, respectively, within a few kilometres of: the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics; University of Gothenburg, a locus of stem cell research; the Gynaecology Research Centre at the Royal Women's Hospital. Two people were killed, seventeen wounded. Member nations of the Coalition for Democratic Eugenics signed a Statement of Condemnation accusing Iran of using kidnapping and terror to compel western countries to include Iranians as sperm donors in gestation programs. These governments also affirmed their belief that Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi clerics were behind the plot. The United States strongly opposed this Statement, insisting that its close ally The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could not possibly have had a role in the acts of terror, and affirmed that they would assist the seven Iranian researchers in building their own gestation program within Iran.

__________

 

A tribe of fifty women in North Carolina specialized in hunting pigs which had been freed from the state’s horrific Confined Animal Feeding Operations. They called themselves Charlotte’s Knife and hunted along the Cape Fear River south of what had been Fayetteville. Other tribes in the region gravitated to the river’s resources of fresh water, waterfowl, fish, and pigs. Charlotte’s Knife bartered pig meat and pig hunting expertise for anything of value, including the increasingly believable rumors that a tribe in the region owned a two-year-old boy. They tracked this unexplained miracle despite having no idea what they would do if they found it. As they neared the Atlantic coast they joined up with a tribe called the Frowick’s which was also intent on finding such a boy. Charlotte’s Knife earned their trust by teaching them how to catch birds. The Frowick’s believed that a boy was kept on one of the islands in the widest part of the Cape Fear River estuary. When they found an island which showed signs of life they had to travel miles downriver to the cape to find small boats, then laboriously haul them upriver. They discussed how best to cross the river to greet the tribe in a non-threatening manner and agreed that smaller women should row across first. Four of the Frowick’s rowed towards the wisp of smoke rising from the island. When they were thirty yards from shore a hail of gunfire cut them to pieces and sank the boat. The Frowick’s were unaware that on the previous night two girls on the island had been kidnapped.

3years

One evening a starving, roaming tribe of eleven adults and children followed the smell of food. They discovered a much larger tribe, camped beside the Manatee River, equipped with two dozen efficiently harnessed pull-carts and wagons which were loaded with provisions. About seventy adults and children were cleaning up after a meal and preparing for the night. The starving tribe assured the wealthy that they were not murderers and had no intention of using their hatchets and guns. They only wanted some food, and as a fair exchange they offered the services of an astrologer and a tarot card reader. The starving were given several cans of vegetables and told to fuck off. The starving retreated to a building that didn’t stink, ate the food and formed another plan. They sharpened their hatchets and counted their bullets. At the next dawn they discovered that the wealthy tribe had left the river, leaving nothing behind but the smells of fire and food. The scent of bacon, fresh and immediate, pulled them down a barely discernible path through thickets of arrowroot and seagrape. As the scent grew stronger their will grew stronger. A clearing opened to reveal the wealthy tribe’s caravan tucked between sand live oak trees, beneath cascading Spanish moss. At first is seemed to be deserted but here and there scuffling feet were visible beyond the wagons. In the middle of the clearing there was a small campfire, a pan, and one-half strip of sizzling bacon. A mockery of bacon. The starving lined up, assumed a fighting stance and made their weapons visible. The leader of the starving stepped forward. “Ha, fucking, ha. Very funny,” she bellowed with piratical ferocity. Several toddlers within the caravan howled with terror into the breasts of soothing voices. “You know, we could have snuck up on you at night and taken what we wanted.” She held up her pistol. “But we didn’t, did we? We are women! And we can make you stronger! We invite you to invite us to make you stronger…” The leader of the wealthy appeared from behind a wagon and, keeping a safe distance, asked, “How many of you are there?” “Eleven hearty souls! I know we don’t look like much but…” “Drop your weapons and we can talk.” The starving courteously set down their weapons and turned their attention to the half-strip of bacon, wondering if it was too burnt to eat. The leader of the wealthy did a quick head count, then shouted to her caravan, “Ready! Fire!” After the meat was fairly distributed throughout the tribe they pulled their carts and wagons back to the river. The next morning marksmen returned to this spot and shot the dogs chewing on the bones.

__________

 

Air Force One landed at King Khalid International Airport, followed immediately by an atypical escort of two F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters. The imposing VC-25B (a modified Boeing 747-8) came to a stop squarely before the reviewing stands filled with a thousand-or-so members of the House of Saud, all wearing their finest white thawbs, and the King himself in gold. The fighters taxied, parked and idled wingtip to wingtip on the far side of the VC-25B, facing the taxiway. Many of the assembled hosts assumed that the fighters idled because of some imminent threat, probably Israel. The American E4-B airborne command post affirmed that the President of the United States would not be on the ground if there was the slightest possibility of danger. Nevertheless, several dozen of the Kingdom’s F-15’s were scrambled skyward. Boarding stairs were rolled into place and the forward door opened. But Secret Service personnel did not appear. Instead, the pilot and first officer popped out and jauntily bounded down the stairs, tipping their caps to the packed reviewing stands and to the dozen or so ministers of this-and-that lined up directly below. To the amusement of all, the pilots were wearing civilian TWA uniforms, circa 1965. The captain handed Prince Somebody-or-Other a vintage TWA carry-on tote bag and whispered, “Don’t open it yet, we have something very special planned!” The pilots posed for a couple of witty photos with the prince and ministers, then they scurried under the belly of Air Force One and quick marched toward the fighters. The Super Hornets began to taxi even before the canopies were closed, were wheels-up in fifteen seconds, were out of sight in thirty. All the hundreds of princes shielded their eyes from the climbing sun and stared up at the open door beside the proud livery of the Presidential Seal. After a couple of minutes the slackness of this American protocol began to seem like an affront, so the prince with the tote bag nodded to his King and began to climb the boarding stairs. This staircase was, after all, property of the House of Saud. When he leaned into the forward door he expected to shake hands with someone in a nice suit or perhaps Marine Corps camo. Instead, he laid eyes on the first practical deployment of Project Burning Bridge, an idea conceived in 1965. The cabin had been stripped of all seats and paneling. Nine cylindrical tanks, each 16 feet long and holding 1000 gallons of propane, were anchored end to end down the length of the cabin. The prince with the tote bag asked himself: What am I looking at? A linear shaped-charge detonated, tearing a 150-foot-long gash in the fuselage just above the windows. The propane tanks, also rigged with linear shaped-charges, were ripped open a fraction of a second later. A massive cloud of propane vapor and mist blasted horizontally from the fuselage and reached out 200 feet to shadow the reviewing stands. At the appropriate millisecond, canons within the aircraft discharged ignition rounds into the cloud. As the burn-front swept through the cloud an expanding shockwave of tremendous energy accrued. When the blast hit the reviewing stands it tore the bodies to shreds as uniformly as a million shards of steel. Minutes later the Royal Saudi Air Force discovered that its five E-3 early warning command post aircraft – built by the same folks who built Air Force One – could not leave the ground. They were bricked. The Ministry of Defense was still searching for an enemy when a barrage of cruise missiles struck every power generation or transmission facility supplying Riyadh with electricity, specifically targeting major components built only in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan or South Korea. The thirty-four Saudi fighter pilots already in the air flew to Pakistan. The next morning, as the Kingdom’s small fleet of launch vehicles carrying Chinese DF-21 ballistic missiles were being readied for use, they were all destroyed by the Israeli Air Force. That afternoon one-hundred-thirty-eight people were trampled to death at the Great Mosque in Mecca. Four days later Pakistan and India began a non-nuclear war.

7years

 

In all of the world’s megalopolises and developed cities fewer than a thousand people understood how to use the hand-operated spinning wheels and looms pulled from museums, antique stores and living-history towns. In regions which had been densely populated but lacking in infrastructure one million people continued to use this technology.

__________

Governments established agencies to significantly fund the preservation and mothballing of the world’s stagnant technology, greatly expanding efforts begun by corporations. They compiled written and video instructions so that future generations could relearn and restart the machinery of civilization.

 

2spears

© Conrad Spoke