Genesis: An Oral History of the Apocalypse
By A.J. Conte
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Genre - Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi
It was meant to save us all. Now it may well be the cause of our extinction.
This is a log of Project Genesis: the nanites that were supposed to re-write our genetics, end disease, and enhance humans to the next generation. But something went wrong. They became self-aware and turned against humanity bringing us to the brink of extinction. By 2038, the population stands at only a few hundred million scattered people left on Earth. The initial attacks nearly brought about our end, but those of us who survived have rallied against Adam and his android minions. Now we’re bringing the fight to them.
From Genesis Day to the Battles of Detroit and San Francisco to the rebuilding of the USA, this is the story of how we fought back against the nanites that attempted to wipe us out.
AJ’s interest in writing began in the 3rd grade and he has written many stories since then. His focus is on sci-fi and post-apocalyptic fiction with an interest in history. When not writing, AJ is a high school history/government teacher.
Wasteland - 9 Years After G-Day
It’s been nine years since the Genesis Event. Since we thought we’d solved the world’s problems only to find out we’d actually signed our death warrant as a race.
This is a log of humanity’s demise. I don’t know if Adam and the clankers wanted me to find it, or if it was meant for some future visitors. It’s amazing it was all recorded, leaving a story behind of our downfall. Of how humanity tried to play God and failed so badly.
It stretches from the days before the Genesis Event to the final days of humanity. It shows the Panic and the Aftermath. The great attempted resistance and the failure of our last stand. Maybe it’s a simple record, but maybe it’s more than that. Maybe it’s a cautionary tale for anyone as blind as we were. Or maybe it’s a missive of triumph by Adam and his clankers. It provides a surprising combination of videos and written logs, even a few direct interviews and conversations within the halls of power at the height of the Crisis. It shows how we invited our own apocalypse.
I glance back over my shoulder at the small machine floating about two feet behind me. It’s been there for days. It provides an excellent story of human arrogance and a window into our ultimate downfall.
I’ve attempted to present these videos and logs with minimal commentary, but I will on occasion make notes to clarify information for anyone viewing this; however, these records stand as a testament to humanity’s story. How we failed to see our own demise until it was too late and how we fought back in one final stand against those forces arrayed to destroy us. Finally, it will stand as a warning to anyone foolhardy enough to visit this godforsaken rock after we’re all gone.
I glance over my shoulder again. The probe continues to hover and record my every move. It is meant to provide the final message of this log. I punch through options on the strange cylinder in front of me – the last record of humanity. This is our story. This is a warning. This is the tale of how we went from rulers of this planet to stragglers struggling against that that we could not control.
This is the story of Genesis.
News Report Dr. David Albert 2 Years Before G-Day
The first video of the log is from approximately ten years ago. It was at the beginning of what would become known as Genesis. It begins with a news report. A group of men and women in white lab coats are standing around a podium. In the middle of the group at the center of the podium is Dr. David Albert – the man who would become known as the Father of Genesis. His thick glasses reflect light from many cameras flashing.
“At the end of the 20th Century and beginning of the 21st, humanity took a great leap forward with the sequencing of the human genome. This endeavor gave humans an insight into what makes us us. Today, we begin taking our next great leap with an important announcement. We have conducted the first successful test of what we’ve dubbed the Genesis Project. Our predecessors’ goal was simply to understand the human genome, we have taken the first step on the next path, arguably the greatest task of our lifetime – improving upon it.
“In the past, gene editing was a long, tedious and inexact process. I won’t bore you by going into all the details, but much of it was based on random chance. A gene would be inserted into a cell and there would be a hope that the attempted change would take and be reproduced in future generations of the cell. But that all changes today thanks to Project Genesis!”
There are another series of camera flashes reflected in Dr. Albert’s glasses. Hands in front of Dr. Albert can be seen shooting into the air in the reflection as well.
“Dr. Albert, just how will you accomplish this incredible feat?
“Are you stating your goal is to create super humans?”
“Please, please, one at a time!” Dr. Albert says. He cuts off many people in the crowd of reporters who were shouting additional questions, “We’ve only finished one successful test, so we still have many more experiments and trials to be done. All I can say at this point is we have engineered a group of learning nanites that enter into the bloodstream to accomplish the process.”
I’m jarred as the video suddenly cuts in mid-feed at that point to a group of half a dozen or so well-dressed men and women sitting around a table inside of a TV studio. Immediately this group of pundits begins to argue about the announcement. The news report shows each person in a split screen and each one is attempting to talk over the other. Right away, a fierce debate erupts over the announcement. What did this mean for the future, one of them begins to say? Was it an attempt to distract from more important issues, like the border or immigration? The debate continues in the same circular fashion for several more minutes until they go to a commercial break and the feed cuts out.
Daytime Talk Show Dr. David Albert; Kelly Pearson 2 Years Before G-Day
The next item in the log comes from the day after the press conference according to the timestamp on it. The video begins with a woman with platinum blonde hair and a dark blue top smiling at the screen. The set they are on resembles someone’s living room, with plush armchairs. The camera cuts to her live studio audience showing a full crowd before cutting back to her as she begins speaking in a bubbly voice,
“Welcome back! For those of you just tuning in, our guest for today is the one and only Dr. David Albert, the head scientist for the controversial Project Genesis,” The camera turns to show Dr. Albert sitting in the armchair across from where the woman is sitting. She continues, “Doctor, in the past twenty-four hours there have been numerous accusations leveled against your research by people across the media and political landscape. How do you respond to their accusations that you and your team of scientists are attempting to ‘play god’ with this project?”
“Thank you for the question, Kelly. I would say to those individuals that many great scientific achievements have had the same accusation leveled against them. It gets tossed around rather often whenever science takes another step forward. It’s one of the most common human responses when we’re confronted with something we don’t understand. But all it takes is some time and understanding for people to see that this is no more an attempt to ‘play god’ than genetically modifying crops to be drought resistant or provide greater yields of food that have improved the lives of so many people.”
“But what about the ethical implications of your project? Have you thought about what could go wrong? After all, you’re arguing about altering peoples’ genetics. Have you considered whether or not that’s right from an ethical standpoint?”
“Well, Kelly, I think what you, and many others, are ignoring are the ethical implications of having this technology and not using it. After all, technology will be developed regardless of whether or not people agree with it.
“Think about it for a second. This technology has myriad uses, so many that they’re nearly infinite. With this technology we can help veterans or cancer survivors regrow limbs that were lost or amputated. We can cure chronic illnesses like diabetes, so people won’t have to spend the rest of their lives constantly monitoring their health. Formerly incurable diseases like HIV/AIDS or cancer will be a thing of the past, letting people live full and happy lives. And we can remove the need for long organ transplant waiting lists and save countless lives. Ultimately, these people deserve this chance.”
“You speak about the project with such certainty, but how do you know there won’t be unintended consequences with this dramatic project, Dr. Albert? What are you and your team doing to ensure that this will be safe and accomplish what it says it’s going to?”
“Well, I’m glad that you asked that because I want to address something very important. My team and I are taking steps to make this the most transparent treatment available. Really, it’s unprecedented what we’re doing to ensure the safety of this project. We’re getting approval from both the FDA and CDC, both of whom will be looking over all of our data and running a battery of their own tests to ensure that everything about Genesis is known and that people can take it with the peace of mind that there are no unknown adverse side-effects.”
“Well, with that explanation, let’s hear from some people around the country. You can call in now at 1-800-TALK-NOW to speak with Dr. David Albert about his project Genesis. One more time that’s 1-800-TALK-NOW. We’re eagerly awaiting your questions.”
Many individuals call into the show all of them with various questions about the project. They ask what Genesis is and what it does. Dr. Albert answers the questions about how it works and why he believes that it will be a perfectly safe procedure.
At this point, I’m compelled to insert my own thoughts, which I will find a way to note for any readers in this case and all future ones. If only those people knew what would happen a few years later in Detroit and San Francisco. The Battle of Golden Gate showed that humanity had made a huge mistake and we were dealing with something we had no idea how to fight.
The video ends shortly after Dr. Albert answers a few more questions when Kelly cuts to a commercial break
Action Report Jennifer Wexton; Victor Rock 2 Years Before G-Day
As the video begins, white words appear on the black background. They read – “Action Report on P. Genesis – CDC and FDA; 6/27/27.” It reminds me of old newsreel footage from the 1940s.
A woman who appears to be in her mid to late forties is looking into the camera. She has curly red hair that has been pulled back into a messy ponytail. She adjusts the camera and then begins speaking,
“We are here for Trial 14-7-PGC on Project Genesis Nanites. Goal for today is examining the properties and side-effects on a human test subject. This is Dr. Jennifer Wexton and the date is June 27th, 2027. Our test subject for today is a volunteer. Cpt. Victor Rock, who served several tours in Iraq before retiring from service after losing his left arm in an IED attack five years ago. This is the third clinical trial that has been conducted with Cpt. Rock. We have been slowly increasing the amount of nanites in the bloodstream over his past two visits. Today we hope to find the critical mass needed to activate gene-editing properties.”
She moves the camera slightly so a tall, dark skinned man with a bald head can be seen sitting in a chair behind her. His left arm has been amputated at the shoulder. She turns to face him,
“Cpt. Rock, how are you feeling today?”
Cpt. Rock responds in a cold, even-toned voice, “I’m doing fine. Arm’s been tingling a bit lately, but nothin’ else.” He practically grunts his answer.
“I’ll be injecting you with fifty ccs of nanite solution today. Then we’ll be observing the results. Any questions on the procedure before we begin?”
“No, let’s cut to the important part.”
Dr. Wexton walks over to Cpt. Rock and feels on his good arm for a vein. After she does, she takes an alcohol pad and rubs it on the spot.
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