6. Petty Differences
Posted on July 10, 2011
“It takes effort…”
Britain looked tired. The dark, heavy bags under his eyes appeared to be pulling his eyelids closed.
“…More effort than most men can muster.”
He was talking to the greenest, wettest and sorriest looking selection of engineers he had ever laid eyes on. There was not a single man among them, near as he could tell. Skinny, spotty boys the lot of them, fresh off their wet-nurses tits and he was fairly certain he had been landed with a few girls to boot. He had been very specific in his staffing request to the overseer. He wanted able-bodied men. Limp wristed girls were about as useful to him as a smacked arse.
“You will work harder than you have ever worked before.”
He cast a withering eye over the assembled recruits.
“We are maintaining a gateway that, to date, has been open for exactly one week.”
His clipboard blipped a notification at him and he paused to clear it.
“For one week” he continued, “We have managed to keep a door to the Southland open. The sun itself is doing everything in its power to shut this door. Your job is to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
This was the single largest engineering project he or anyone had ever been involved in. The European Nation States had taken 700 years to recover from the cataclysmic events that now bore the moniker of ‘The Purge’. The North American and Asia-Pacific Nations were all but obliterated. Through a simple quirk of geography, namely the open Sahara and Mediterranean basin, Europe was spared the full force of the initial firestorm.
Many of the more northern population centres managed to survive with some of their core infrastructure intact. Scandinavia, Great Britain and a few of the North Eastern European States became a loosely connected conglomerate of techno-feudal city states known as the Northland Kingdoms.
The building of a tunnel through the Firewall had been the dream of many in the Northland Kingdoms. Many myths and legends had spread about what had happened to the Southland survivors after the Purge but this was all hear say. The Firewall completely cut the two hemispheres off from each other and no one could say what had befallen the nations that called the southern hemisphere home.
Work had begun on the construction of a Gateway when it had been determined that the Northland eco-systems were gradually shutting down. Of the many proposals for projects to ensure the continued survival of the human race, the Gateway had been the most radical and hotly debated.
Many considered it to be a waste of time and precious resources, after all there was no way to know what lay on the other side of the firewall. This had been put to rest once it had been demonstrated that the firewall could provide a practically limitless supply of energy. The great city states had put aside their petty differences, pooling scientific and engineering talent and the project had effectively unified the Northland, giving humanity a collective purpose and a glimmer of hope for the future. It had taken nearly four hundred years of work before this return on investment was realised and the cost had been severe.