Would You Like to Hear a Story?

From the moment I leave my shack on the edge of town, I know today will be no different than the last. Nothing is ever different.

I still have to get out of bed in my rusty, dirty shack that serves as a house, find something edible from the night before that I can call breakfast, and then drag my sorry, tired body to work. Every day is the same here in Haletown. It’s the same for everyone though.

I suppose that’s just the way it’s going to be when your ancestors destroyed most of the planet, hundreds of years before you were born. Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not like it was just MY ancestors who pushed a button and ruined it for everyone. Every person did their part. So I guess it’s fair to say that everyone’s ancestors screwed it up for everyone’s kids. Unfortunately for me, I’m somewhere down the line from ‘everyone’s kids’.

I should probably introduce myself: My name is Alastair. My father’s name is Magnus, and my mother’s name was Allison. There are no family names now, I’m just know as Alastair, son of Magnus or, if you’re being lazy, Alastair Magnusson. See how that works?

My father lives in a different town, he’s too important there to leave, or for me to continue living there. I don’t see him as often as I’d like though, the distance is too great to travel often. My mother died when I was 9 so I don’t get to see her either.

The year is 2454. I am 19 years old. Just over 400 years ago, in 2049, the world stopped. The people in the world didn’t stop, but the world itself did. Governments all over the world had decided that they knew what was best for everyone, and no one disagreed. They were all to busy making friends over the internet and arguing about who should be able to marry who to notice that the governments had stripped them of their freedoms and decided to handle everything themselves. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, everything was different. Then people took notice, and as large groups of unhappy people tend to do, they began to try to force things to change back to how it was before. You obviously know by now that it was too late. Governments fought back with their soldiers and planes and tanks. Common people fought the governments with their spies and hackers and assassins.

When it was all over, all that was left was a population a quarter the size it used to be with no place to live because they’d destroyed it all in a matter of months. Since no one was willing to give power back to a group of people anymore, small settlements sprung up all over. They were governed in any way the residents saw fit. It would be years before any ground was fertile enough to grow real crops again.

Years went by, and settlements grew. We still had all the knowledge we’d had from all that time before. Unfortunately for some settlements, not everyone knows how to run a farm or raise livestock. Some settlements are still worse off than others. We all govern ourselves though. Out in The Waste, the area between settlements, there are no rules. The strong kill the weak and take what they want. They’re smart enough not to attack settlements… most of the time.

Which brings me back to where I live; Halestown. Named after our founder, Micah Hale. It exist just south of where the old city of Cleveland used to be, back when this area was still called Ohio. I live in a shack on the edge of town. I don’t like many people so I live near the edge, where the population is less dense. I work in what’s technically a factory, but I mainly work with a small group of people. We’re responsible for trying to improve the technology of Halestown. We don’t exactly work for the Mayor, but it’s not exactly like we’re free to do what we please either.

We dig up whatever old information we can about previous technology, and try to see how it would best benefit the folks of town. I’m both a fabricator and what I like to refer to as an ‘Idea Man’. I claim that I come up with my best ideas while sitting around brainstorming, while the rest of my team says I just do nothing and expect to be paid for it. Not that we get paid much of anything, but that’s a different discussion.

I work under the Head Inventor, our Fearless Leader and team manger, Jacobus the Swift. We’ve been friends since we started school together. He’s a real genius with technology, and he’s not bad at drawing either, but most say he’s a bit off his gourd. We also work with Fenris, our large, able bodied mechanic who manages to build practically anything out of a spring and a few scraps of iron and Kat our technological marvel who doesn’t like people to mention that her looks are more obvious than her brains, and I’ve never met anyone smarter.

I enjoy their company, but recently I’ve been getting restless. Is working in the Workshop all there is to the rest of my life? How is a 19 year old kid with no ambition supposed to make it in the world I live in? Will I ever have more to look forward to in life than the possibility that someone, somewhere might recognize my name sometime?

On that day that was just like the one before it, I was soon to find out that no day after would ever be the same.