Sliver: Chapter 1 (The Cullings)

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NGC 5907 galaxy
NGC 5907 galaxy

Somewhere around the turn of the 21st Century, the world of man imploded. From what I gather, it had been intent on doing so for the better part of two centuries, which is how humans depicted chunks of time that consisted of 100 years, a year being 365 days, a day being 24 hours, an hour being 60 minutes, a minute being 60 seconds and so forth.

Growing up, I wished to know what life was like before our time. All permanent records were lost, but not the impermanent records in the minds of the very ancient ones.

But they would not speak of that time. The story of man was no longer passed down from generation to generation.

A generation of people who knew the stories of the time that came before silenced themselves for the sake of those of us who came after.

Oh, it was all a grand sociological experiment to see if forgetting the past might create different results for our future, but an adage I found in some literature from hundreds of years ago suggested that those who forgot the past were, in fact, doomed to repeat it.

The time that came before was never to be spoken of, but I am an official record keeper for my zone, so I’m allowed to know bits and pieces of information, which only increases my curiosity.

I’m expressly forbidden from telling anyone about the small discoveries I’ve made over the years, and while my superior knows that I know some things, she doesn’t know that I’ve created a very small tapestry of the past, against which I can now view the present.

I am dangerous.

The past is not totally revealed to me. I see it in shards and slivers. And I make guesses as to what happened and how we got here.

If they knew what I’m thinking, they would never let me keep the records. Because my thinking is in line with other record keepers who have also created their own views of what was before. And we talk to each other.

We’re a small society of thinkers who meet under the pretext of estalbishing better organization of official records as well as an unofficial watchdog for subversie ideas.

It’s the perfect situation for us to compare our tapestries and to debate with each other based on any new information that comes to light.

And lately, we have been discussing  a particular piece of information that has come to light about what led to the great extinction.

We call them the cullings.

Purposefull killings to reduce the population in light of a mixture of disease, famine and power.

At least that’s what we agree on.

The things we don’t agree on are too many to list here.

From what we can tell, the cullings began in their year 2049 and lasted more than 10 bants of our time, which equates to almost 50 years going by their numbers.

By 2100 (TTCB), the number of people living on earth was 700 million. The number of people living on Mars was 21,000, and the number of people on Europa was four million.

We know this from the records.

What we don’t know, is if there are still humans alive on Mars or Europa. Our society lost contact with them hundreds of years ago, and our scientists doubt that those new civilizations flourished with no resupply.

I know of one astronomer who claims to have heard a radio signal, a primative form of communication from the time that came before, from Europa within his lifetime, but he’s used a lot of bants and his own dens to try to rediscover it with no luck.

The ancient ones do not want us to make contact with anyone outside the world. They wish the knowledge of the past to die with them.

If only they could die.

Somewhere in the time that came before, someone was obsessed with the concept of living forever. They created solutions to aging that allowed humans to live for hundreds of years. Some of those humans are the ancient ones here with us today.

The rest of us live relatively normal lives, I’ve come to discover. Our average lifespan roughly corresponds to 150 years in those counted in the time that came before. Whereas those who lived before the cullings lived an average of 79 years.

It’s strange to think of people living such short lives.

The cullings were the most significant event to ever ocurr to the human race, as near as we can figure.

From the limited fragments of information in our possession, the human population had grown to around eleven billion at the time the first plagues began.

The most common theory among those of us who keep the records is that the plagues gave way to famine, gave way to cullings.

We don’t know if some people killed other people because they were sick, because they were a drain on resources or simply because they were afraid.

All we do know is that the dead eventually outnumbered the living, and humanity bottle necked, giving rise to the silent times, which eventually gave rise to the time we currently live in.

The life we live now is all we know. There is no history. There is no precedent. There is nothing so frustrating as knowing a fragmented view of the past, for it will keep you from understanding the present.

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