Chapter 5: Burst

Several months passed by as Arron continued day after day, doing the daily farm chores in the small sleepy farm town. Everyone he knew was either a farmer of the large plantations or animal herders and breeders. Many of the townspeople held second jobs as shopkeepers, police, or Emergency first responders.

Other than the three black-suited [Office of Reason] agents stationed at the town, the community was closely knit with everyone knowing each other well enough that if something happened they were all willing to help.

New years 199x.

It was only a day after the New Years’ holiday, one of the only two holidays during the entire year. The second holiday was the yearly remembrance of when the WHO normalized the [Troubles], which led to the birth of the [Party of Mother and Father].

As per Arron’s normal morning routine, he was eating breakfast with his parents while watching the news on a first-gen Holo-TV that was nearing 20 years.

This model had been popular due to it being mass-produced cheaply during the early years of the [Troubles]. Its production was discontinued when the factory that produced it had been repurposed for creating war material to protect the old capital.

“In other news, the great economic bubble has burst. According to a press statement from the [Party of Mother and Father], ‘No one should panic as this is only temporary.’ They also referred us to the WHO’s statement,” said the news anchor Pake.

“We don’t want to bore you with reading such long statements, so we brought representative Kommy from the [WHO], to explain everything in greater detail,” said Fela, who sat next to Pake behind the news desk.

The holo-Tv screen widened to reveal a man sitting on a plush couch next to the news desk.

“Thank you for having me on. For all of those watching now or in a future rebroadcast: Let me be clear. This is only a minor setback. Yes, it is affecting every member state of the WHO. 

But~… we are working with each member state including with the [Party of Mother and Father] to form new laws and regulations to Normalize the current situation. The temporary pains will only last for a few weeks. So we of the WHO, ask that everyone sit tight while we take the proper steps to normalize everything,” said representative Kommy.

“This reminds me of the [Troubles]. Back then…” said Fela.

Cough. Representative Kommy interrupted her with a short sudden coughing fit out of nowhere.

The mention of the troubles further reminded Arron of his experiences during the [Troubles]. It was a dark set of years that consisted of war, famine, and natural disasters.

On the news, it was later said that these problems were happening all around the world. Many natural disasters had destroyed whole country’s around the world killing millions and creating areas of great danger for human survivors.

Arron did not know if it was true or not since the only information about the outside world and other countries was closely guarded by the WHO and [Party Mother and Father]. Normally the only thing that would be reported on was when a new member state joined the WHO or when they won some sort of victory in a far-off country that they were trying to liberate and Normalize.

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Arron had been a young boy during the harshest years of the Troubles.

During his mid-teens, the war, famine, and natural disasters disappeared when the country of Nippon joined the [WHO]. The tail end years of the [Troubles] consisted of the WHO convicting and Normalizing those they held responsible for everything.

Soon after the [Party of Mother and Father] was born and started to take control of the war-torn country.

The dark years of the [Troubles] were part of the reason why Arron joined the Nippon branch army, the other reason was for the pay that he would receive and be able to send back home to help his family.

It was only recently that he found out that several farmers he had known were part of a group of people who had been Normalized for crimes against the WHO and the [Party of Mother and Father].

Despite most everyone alive having lived through the [Troubles], It was still extremely rare for anyone to mention it.

Knock! Knock!

“Ah! That should be Mel!” said Arron.

He stood up and walked over to the front door waving his hand over the door’s scanner unlocking the door with a click.

Mel opened the door and walked in. She was wearing a blue and white flannel shirt that was tied at the front while the back was tucked into her pants, reminding Arron of the wild tomboy she had been while they were growing up.

“What?” asked Mel as she looked back at Arron.

“It’s so nice to see you Mel. When are you and my son going to give me some grandkids?” asked Arron’s mother.

“Mother! You know we’re only friends now!”

“We’re not getting any younger. You two need to tie the knot and get started,” said Arron’s father.

Mel with pink cheeks looked towards the Holo-TV that was currently playing PNN news. Trying to change the subject she asked, “Why are you guys watching that crap? It has nothing to do with us out here.”

“I like to try and be up to date on what’s going on in the megacity,” said Arron.

“Mel, have you eaten breakfast yet? If you want there’s some extra food you can eat. I’ve been making more food over the last few months to help freshen up my boy since the entire time he was in the military he was eating that sludge the megacity people like,” said Mother.

“Mom, it wasn’t that bad it had all the vitamins and nutrients needed to keep me fit,” said Arron.

“Thanks!” said Mel, as she sat down next to Arron and began to eat the food offered to her.

Arron turned his attention back to the news.

“…this bubble burst and the coming recession is the fault of the over-regulation of the economy. Some may even go as far as to say the fault lies squarely on the party of Mother and Father for forcing banks to give loans to those that could not pay it back. One bank told me that they were threatened with lawsuits if they did not give out the loans,” said Pake, in a serious and respectful tone.

Arron stopped chewing his food as he heard these words and looked up at the Holo-TV.

This was the first time he had heard such negative words against the [Party of Mother and Father], and it was being broadcasted live to the tens of millions of people who were watching.

The following words coming out of the Holo-TV did not register in Arron’s brain as he watched two sentry bots float into view behind Pake. Their arms outstretched reaching for Pake’s neck and arms…

[Beeep— Temporary broadcast failure! Please stand by as we reboot the system!]

A 2-D holographic yellow emergency broadcast message scrolled across a red background as they dealt with the broadcast failure.

After a minute of waiting the news broadcast was once again brought back live.

A sweaty man’s face covered most of the 2-d Holo-TV screen. Arron had never seen him before.

“We at KNN are sorry for the disturbing false message that you may have heard moments ago.”

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“The [Troubled] person known as Pake was a Non-Believer mental patient who escaped from one of the Re-learning schools. There is no need to worry for us, we are all safe here now that the situation has been normalized.”

“We at KNN all agree that the laws and regulations of the WHO and the party of Mother and Father have nothing to do with the current economic bubble burst. We now bring you back to the normal morning news broadcast with the news anchor Kommy and his co-host Fela,” said the sweating man with a monotone voice and deadpan expression.

“Sorry for the interruption of our morning broadcast. I am Kommy reporting for Kommy news network, and this is my Co-host Fela. There is a lot of news to cover today. But first, why don’t you give us the weather report Fela,” said Kommy, turning to Fela who sat beside him at the floating news desk.

“Uh…the…um… weather?” asked Fela.

“Yes, the weather forecast for today,” said Kommy.

“Electrocuti… I mean severe thunderstorms…”

Arron turned off the Holo-TV.

“They just now realized that guy was a mental patient after 5 years?” asked Mel between bites of food.  

“What on earth were their security forces doing all that time?” asked Arron’s mother.

“By the way, why did you ask me to come over?” asked Mel.

“I need you to take me into town so I can get some parts for the hover-tractor.”

“What? I thought you fixed it last week? Isn’t that thing already over 20 years old?”

“Yep, nearly as old as us. The parts are getting hard to find as well, so I have been having to make do with what I can find.”

“If you have 10,000 Credits you should just go and buy a new one.”

“That’s nearly a full year’s salary! Even If I had that kind of money with this bubble burst I can’t spend it on a new hover-tractor even if I wanted to.”

“Then I guess you are stuck with that old junker. We can both go to town after I finish eating. Lucky for you I also need to go to town to get some things as well,” said Mel.

“What for?”

Mel turned her head away from Arron and muttered, “Our Hover-tractor is having some problems…”


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