The Great(er) Die-Off of the 23rd century

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The Great(er) Die-Off of the 23rd century

Post by Majestic_12 on Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:50 am

This terrible period is brought up a lot in this story. The massive die-off of humanity

and I mean, the second one, the one that shrank the world's population to 4 billion

had many definite causes, but the biggest cause was not the disease, famine, or even rolling infertility epidemics that caused the previous, more minor 22nd century die-off. No, those problems only managed to halt humanity's population growth at nearly 10 billion. The factors in the 23rd century that slowly reduced the human species back to late 20th century levels, were not related to resource issues or plagues at all.

What nearly ended the human species was that it became tired of itself.

The last two hundred years leading up to the last Die-Off were marked by a worldwide trend of surveillance states and escalating class warfare; mass exploitation of the poor by the rich, of the rich by the poor, of the rich by the rich and of the poor by the poor; rampant and unabashed acts of hate, between races, religions, ideologies, and even movie fans; bullying; and a total loss of trust in the entire concept of authoritarian hierarchy, which is itself the bedrock of families and even civilization itself. Humans, freed from the binding power of authority and hierarchy during the relentless march of technological progress, became individually self sufficient and began to move apart from one another. Marriages dropped in number and so did childbirths. Humans drifted apart and the loner lifestyle became dominant. The Cassandroid sex robot craze of the 23rd century (which lured countless men away from the company of real women) was just the spark that lit the catastrophic fire, turning an already global trend of negative population growth into an absolute population implosion.

Then the Cassandroid was banned. Production ceased and world militaries shut them down remotely or gunned the sex robots down in person.

Instantly, human men were dragged out of their hermitages and forced to deal with each other and women as well.

Humanity's hatred of itself, however, would not be quelled by force of arms. Instead, in the 24th century, we had the outbreak of World War III, almost on the first year that the world's population began to grow.

Then the societal authoritarian hierarchy tried to conscript males into battle, and that became the spark that ignited near-Armageddon. Draft riots exploded into total armed rebellions in China, Russia and the United States, and these three civil war supercells dragged the rest of the world into an all-out, balls to the walls rebellion against anything that held any semblance of power. And so, World War III was swept away by the holocaust winds of the Global Civil War.

The message was made clear literally in oceans of blood: humanity would not tolerate a forced re-marriage. Humanity would bring about its extinction in an orgy of fire and blood if they were not allowed to die away in peace and solitude. The harder the armies of the world fought to get control, the worse the rebellions became. Unable to obtain biological or nuclear weapons, the Global Civil War raged from street to street in every city around the world as practically any minor disagreement over something as trivial as wedding arrangements resulted in a bloody conflict. Society, which had barely hung on during the Great Die-Off, finally collapsed. The world burned. Literally - fires from multi-city urban conflicts could often be clearly seen from space.

Then came the mages - almost all women - and psionicists, almost all men. They, too, were prepared to settle their differences with blood. Had the Cypress Lake Combine and a handful of centrist "manaki" psi-mages not stepped in, there may indeed not have been anything left of the star system but an angry sherbert nebula of hot gases by the 25th century. This is exactly what happened when they cut loose upon the Grue in one particular star system, decades later.

It was the apocalyptic wrath of the Psi-Mage War (that almost was), coupled with the simple miracle of humanity getting its sanity back, that created an atmosphere of pending peace and calm that, ironically, needed only one spark to give it true life: the hanging of a U.S. President by his own citizens. This symbolic execution of the Old Hierarchal System led to the brief years of peace that led up to the Grue Wars.

But the demons of violent rage, blind fearlessness and seething hate still flow beneath the surface of the human psyche, like magma flowing under a recently erupted supervolcano. And this is what the horrifying Grue Combine discovered: while almost all other species in the galaxy fell before their voracious wrath, the magma flow of savage rage erupted forth within the human species.

The humans met the Grue with a ferocity such as the likes of which had never been seen in the history of the galaxy.

Or had it?


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