I sat on the tattered couch, flicking constantly between channels. Nothing good was ever on the afternoon, so I resorted to watching CNN in a jealous fugue. I had been a on-site reporter once, but with the death of paper media, that had gone down the tube faster than GM. The stock market remained in the dark depths of recession, unemployment was hovering at roughly twenty-five percent, and the geopolitical situation was getting worse by the second.
The economy, oh God, the economy. It was almost a joke these days. Within six months of the start of the recession, people had been smiling and saying it would be over soon. Five years later, after a complete global financial meltdown, the collapse of a dozen economies, the death of Wall Street and riots in Detroit, I'd say it was only beginning. The stock market had plummeted; entire blocks of suburban housing gathering dust, eerily reminding viewers of a nation stricken by a plague.
This week's news in geo-politics was even worse. Following a terminated nuclear exchange last week, Israel and Iran were both shifting troops to their borders. The UN PeaceKeeping Station in the Middle East had over a hundred thousand troops and over three hundred surface-to-air missiles in case of another salvo of missiles. Iraq, following the United States troops pulling out, had plunged into a civil war between warring religious factions. It had been this way for three years, constant suicide bombings and shootings no longer a thing even comment worthy. Afghanistan had been occupied by Taliban forces, fighting back NATO forces with constant ambushes and guerrilla warfare. It was a dangerous country now, with extremist, twisted, Islamic law being the only law there was. France had plunged into civil war over the massive class divide, with the unemployment rate skyrocketing, the poverty level rising, and earnings for the middle and lower classes plunging. I got to watch a few nice videos of rioting Frenchies throwing Molotov cocktails at barricades put up by the French Army and policemen wearing body armour beating back the dirty mobs of destitute citizens. There was some good news, however. Mexico had destroyed the drug cartels inside its borders, ending a brutal five-year war between the government and the drug establishment. That was sadly the only good news there was to hear. Russia had absorbed all of its little satellite countries, and is putting its sights onto Ukraine. The Chinese are showing off by testing a new missile that would be able to hit Washington from across the Pacific next week. Russia and China have grown close, which makes the current Administration extremely nervous. The terrorist group Martyrs of Islam threatened London with nuclear annihilation if the current Prime Minister(who had been strongly campaigning for a tougher fight against terrorists) did not resign within a month.
A domestic terror group called Sons of Liberty has cropped up in the United States over the past five years, finding an endless supply of recruits in the angry and the desperate. Hell, they kidnapped the Vice-President and cut off his fucking ear. If that isn't pissing in the face of authority, I don't know what is. Ah, yes, another spree of commercials. More time to think before the Top Story of the Day. Where had everything gone wrong? Where had everything started to fail? I fished out another cigarette from the pack that was laying on the end table, and casually lit it with a flick of my lighter as I watched a commercial for something called Chocó Fun Cereal and tried to answer my own question. Finding no answer, I watched as the blare of the commercials faded out and the news anchor reappeared. Today's top story was the newest attack by Sons of Liberty: the destruction of the National Bank, the method used a cold calculating injustice to the common man. A citizen had stepped into the National Bank with a jacket of explosives on, apologized frantically, and asked for thirty million dollars. The bank promptly handed over the cash, and the suspect took out a match and lit the money on fire, screaming, “The game is over, come on, pull the fucking trigger!” The jacket promptly detonated, levelling the block. Overhead footage now, holy shit, Grand Avenue is gone! Not just the bank but the whole bloody stretch! City Hall gone, the Robinson Courthouse gone, the National bank gone. All three were smoking craters with emergency services crawling over the smouldering remains. Jesus Christ, this was bad. I needed a break, so I got up from my chair, shrugged on a coat, and left my dingy apartment for some fresh air. Realizing that I had already sold my car, I decided to take the subway downtown, maybe visit Carl or James, two of my friends from the magazine days. I walked down to the crowded platform, hopped on the I-3 after purchasing a ten-dollar ticket, and dozed as the subway flew through the tunnels.
I was ripped out of sleep by a gunshot. I kept my eyes closed for a moment, merely thinking we’d hit a bump in the track. Hell, the subway system was practically falling apart. What really woke me up was somebody crying. Opening my eyes revealed that there was now a man with a belt of what looked like High-Density Impact Charges(HDIC) although I couldn’t be sure. The man with the explosive belt was holding a man with blonde hair, and had a gun to his head. They were both frantically whisperingto each other. Everybody else on the subway was on the floor, so I decided to join them. Might as well. As I slowly bent down to the ground, I checked my ankle holster. The gun was still there, and now seemed like a better time than ever to use it...