Below is Chapter 1 of THE UPHEAVAL, the prequel to my sci fi dystopian story THE MOTHER SIEGE, which takes place in 2049.
THE UPHEAVAL starts 20 years earlier in 2029 when the mother protagonist of THE MOTHER SIEGE is age 16 and the world she knows changes in an instant.
2029 West of the Mississippi River
Natalie Klein stood examining her birthday party outfit in a full-length mirror when the soft BEEP of the personal comm unit on her left wrist preceded the holograph projection of her mother’s face.
“Are you dressed?” the holograph of her mother said.
“Yes, and I’m ready to celebrate!” Natalie spoke to her comm unit.
“Your dad is sorry he had to be in New York today. He said to record everything on the Videobook and he’ll watch the party later.”
“Hope our music doesn’t blast him out of his hotel room.”
Her mother’s holograph face laughed
When Natalie entered the kitchen minutes later, her mother handed her a small box.
“My Twitterverse earpiece!” Natalie said. “How did you get it already?”
Her mother gestured to her own comm unit and spoke to it. “Natalie’s birth certificate.”
The requested birth certificate beamed out from the comm unit.
“I convinced a bureaucrat it would be lovely to surprise you on your 16th birthday,” her mother said. “That way you don’t have to go get it yourself.”
Natalie plugged the earpiece into her ear, then wrapped her arms around her mother.
Thirty minutes later Natalie smiled as several teen boys and girls danced to the music broadcasted from the Videobook screen on the living room wall. At the top of the screen a holograph banner proclaimed HAPPY SWEET SIXTEEN and in window in the corner of the screen showed the in-progress recording of the party.
As Natalie danced with her classmate Mark Schwartz, she tapped her ear with the Twitterpiece. He tapped his own ear to show agreement.
At that moment her mother appeared from the kitchen holding a large cake with lit candles on it. The music from the Videobook switched to the “Happy Birthday” song.
As her friends sang “Happy birthday to Natalie,” all lights and electronic gadgets unexpectedly snapped off, leaving the candles as the only light source.
William Colker smiled at the man on his left — Arnold Meister sat at the head of a marble conference table around which ranged several men and women. William knew that, at the age of 75, Arnold had realistic expectations of how much longer he could as CEO control the reins of Global Corp. Wiliam, a year away from his 30th birthday, would sooner or later get to rule this empire.
“You know the end game,” Arnold said to him.
William smiled again and swept his hand over the table, where several holographs projected different real-time scenes. Then he turned to the Videobook on the wall where the face of an Army general appeared.
“I can now report,” the general said, “that the majority of military troops stationed west of the Mississippi are on board for the leadership change.”
“And the holdouts?” Arnold said.
“They have been ‘taken care of.’”
William watched Arnold wave his hand; the Videbook screen turned dark and the holograph scenes projected on the table faded away. He nodded at the people seated around him.
“Thank you for your part in this transition,” Arnold said.
He waved his hand again and the Videobook screen flickered back on, displaying a blank screen, to which Arnold spoke.
“Begin recording broadcast message now.”
In the living room Natalie and her friends stood frozen. Then the lights and the Videobook screen came back on, showing the face of an older man.
“I am Arnold Meister of Global Corp and I am announcing that an Upheaval has just taken place. From this moment the continental land mass of the U.S. west of the Mississippi River is under the protection of the Provisional Government, which I am leading.”
Natalie saw the cake plate slip from her mother’s fingers, the candles still burning. Natalie and Mark rushed over to stomp on the candles as they hit the hardwood floor.
“All communication within the land mass will continue as before but there will be no communication into or out of the Provisional Government’s land mass,” the man said. “There will also be no air flights, train routes, car roads, or bus routes into or out of the land mass. This is for your own protection.”
The Videobook screen in the living room blacked out again although the lights stayed on.
Natalie watched her guests run out of the house, the cake still smashed on the floor and the gifts still piled on an end table. Mark remained standing with her as her mother spoke into her comm unit.
“Larry, are you there? Larry, please answer.”
“Mark, call your mother,” Natalie said. “See if your comm unit works locally.”
Mark spoke into his comm unit. “Mom, are you there?”
“Yes, Mark,” came from the holograph of his mother. “Are you okay?”
Natalie sank onto the couch next to her mother. “What is going on?”
William stood facing the bed, the woman already lying there with the sheets pulled up to cover her breasts. He slowly unbuttoned his shirt.
“Do you have protection?” the woman said.
What an annoyance — he hated this part.
“When I’m in charge I’ll get rid of this irksome necessity,” he said.
“How are you planning to do that?”
He grinned at her.