The Masked: A "Dead World" Tale

Prologue:

In a future where World War Three brought upon the use of highly advanced weaponry and a highly flawed mandatory draft that caused the death of nearly four times as many soldiers and civilians as World Wars One and Two combined, the loss of skilled workers swept poverty across the world like dirt under a global rug, the rise in orphaned and homeless children was far too much for the government to cope with, and all sense of stability in the land was lost.

The rich got richer by profiting off the problems of the poor, which was nothing new, but the rate at which their wealth increased and the size of the growing rift between the classes was alarming. The more well-off rose in power and eventually an aristocratic group of multi-billionaires replaced what was left of the world's government altogether.

The loss of inhabitable land due to the effects of nuclear warfare caused immense overcrowding, even with the gargantuan loss of life, and soon enough skyscrapers were being built virtually right on top of what used to be slums. And so the old served as a foundation for the new, and the poor supported the rich in more senses than one. The damage was irreversible, and this new Earth became known as the Dead World.

In this world of negligible law and order, small gangs of orphaned children wreak havoc on the slums of the cities, the rich get away with murder, literally and hourly, and science flourishes without the normally imposed legal and moral boundaries to restrain its progress.

And, in a match made in hell, the three of these factors combined as the fatcats funded a scientific experiment into bio-hardware; artificially enhancing the ability of a human to take in, store, and use information, effectively giving them a bionic mind. The optimal test subjects would be humans, and could be humans, without any frivolous laws to stop them. With the streets overrun by parentless children that no one would miss, the choice seemed obvious.

The experiments were a success, eventually, but they made a mistake when they captured one of the most vicious of the orphan children, a young teen named Ollie, and gave him a new brain. Far from being grateful, Ollie lashed out at his first opportunity, seeking vengeance for the torturous experiments he had undergone.

Shoddily-armed guards and scientists stand little chance against an angry street kid with a hardened body and a sharp mind.

In the fracas that ensued, Ollie let his gang into the building and in what was the most violent attack by an orphan gang in history they killed everyone in the building. Ollie used his new-found ability to learn at a lightning pace to memorize the schematics and intricate workings of the entire brain-enhancing process, and soon enough his entire group of fellow orphans were outfitted in the same way he was.

In a short amount of time, the charismatic young man had organized all of the orphans in the Dead World's largest city into a group that functioned as one, with promises of a better life for all of them. All the orphans were fitted with cheaper versions of the same intellect-enhancing headgear that Ollie had, and they all embellished them headband-like contraption with a plain red plastic mask with naught but two eye-holes on it. For this reason, they came to become known as the Masked.

Fearing trouble from this highly organized group of children, the higher-ups had Ollie assassinated, and with their fearless leader gone, the group quickly fell apart.

However, the children were far from giving up their dreams of greater glory. Many smaller gangs of children sprouted up, led by the most ambitious of Ollie's original gang. They each had their own plans for the future, and they each had their own masks. And every last one of them had the ability to learn more than any other human had in their entire lifetime.

Our story takes place shortly after The Fall of Oliver Stone. The violence between the gangs of children has reached a feverish pace, and the children own the streets after dark. To go out at night is to be caught in the fighting; it is as good as a death sentence.

Into our story comes Kyle Stone, Ollie's younger brother and the leader of the last remnants of those who stayed loyal to Ollie's ideals. It is up to him to either succeed in bringing some semblance of peace and order to the city, and reunite the Masked, or to fall prey to the vicious ordeal that is life in the Dead World.

The End

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