The End of the World

It has been announced - rather abruptly - that an asteroid is going to strike the Earth in three days' time, and that the human race is, to put it bluntly, doomed. The asteroid itself really is very small - the astronomers have predicted that it'll be about the size of a softball once its done barrelling through the atmosphere, but its components are something very toxic and, instead of perishing under a dust-blackened sky, all air-breathing life is going to be poisoned out of existence.

Reactions are varied: all they way from denial, to bland acceptance. Myself, I'm doubting that the NASA boys have got it right. I believe that the asteroid will probably miss the planet, or not be made up of that toxic material, and all will be well, but a slight voice of doubt is nagging away, inside my head.

My friend James has a plan. He believes that the asteroid will strike, but that the odds of surviving are better than what has been stated. If we band together, arm ourselves (in able to go raiding for much neede supplies that can't be bought for love or money right now) and hie off to a remote spot (to get away from the inevitable chaos) and simply wait, mankind's need for order (and desire to rule over the less fortunate) will assert itself, and a new post-asteroid society will quickly form in the aftermath and order will be restored. It's an interesting theory, and certainly less defeatist than the "If it happens, it happens" philosophy that I'm now pursuing. We part ways to find friends who will join us in our temporary retreat.

That night, power is shut down after sunset - don't ask me what the utility companies were saving it for - and candlelight vigils are held in many cities across the world. The next day, I see a photo of the North American continent taken by an orbiting satellite, in which golden smudges of light around Washington DC, New York City and San Francisco can be clearly seen and for a moment, I can't helping thinking If impending disaster can lead to a sight like this, it can't be all bad and I start to hope that maybe humanity will survive.

I meet with some friends of mine, hoping to convince them to join me, James and assorted others on our retreat. These friends of mine are pacifists, and are not keen on the idea of joining an armed group, one that is willing to go looting/raiding if need be, in order to survive. I'm not keen on it either, but I believe that to hope otherwise would be foolish. "Look at how much disorder there is after a court decision, or a local team wins the Superbowl," I point out. Unfortunately, my friends decide not to join me, although we have a very nice Italian meal while we chat - those people who are still running their businesses have quit charging for whatever they offer - and I leave to go find Alex so that we can join James. There's two days until impact, and we want to equip ourselves and get the hell out of the Bay Area...

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