It was four years before, actually. Those were the days before the crisis when, if one wanted electricity, he could just buy it off the grid instead of generating his own; when sugar was an everyday commodity instead of a luxury; when the world had nations with governments that, with varying degrees of success, kept the law and paved the roads; when everyone was connected, if not by internet, then by phone, and in worse case scenario, there was always snail mail. Those were the days of space tourism, of travel-by-jet or high-speed train, of robots to do housework, of Made in China, of factory-made cheese-product extruded into flat squares and packaged in plastic (No Refrigeration Required!).
Ravi MacKerlich and Catriona Evans (soon to become Catriona Samuelson) were by then just over a year out of college, and Benjamin Martinez had just graduated, and he and his extraordinarily high IQ were quickly snapped up by a tech company based in Taiwan. Ravi elected to go with Benny, which meant missing Cat’s wedding, which understandably led to a bit of a falling-out between them. They hadn’t spoken since then up until the point at which Ravi found her in the cemetery.
There was a bit of a snafu at the airport. Suffice to say, Ravi got himself taken off the plane in handcuffs—although, to be fair, it was not entirely his fault.
Benny bailed him out. Ravi told him he could go on without him; he’d meet him there after he’d gone to court and completed his sentence. Benny refused.
“I’ll stay here with you. That’s what you would do for me.”
Ravi could not contradict him on this.
“Hey,” remarked Benny. “We could even go to your friend’s wedding now.”
He grimaced. “Yeah…no. I don’t think that would go over well.”
“You’re probably right,” Benny conceded.
Benny ended up getting a job in Silicon Valley, programming holographic computers and suchlike. Ravi was sentenced to community service. However, only a few days into it came the Crisis, and then there was nothing. No more government, no more electricity, no more jobs. No, not nothing—there was panic for a while.
Slowly, some sense of order was restored. People banded together to some extent to help each other, and a hospital was restored to functioning, and volunteer police and fire departments formed. But it was a short-lived glimmer of hope, for only two years after the Crisis, the death-knell of civilization fell upon them.