Mankind was in a state of War. All across Earth, there were conflicts. Time passed and the conflicts did not, rather the conflicts themselves escalated into full blown Wars over the simplest of things. Eventually parts of Earth became uninhabitable because of the Battlefield’s expansions. Not only had the fighting commenced upon the distant plains, it was everywhere, even within the Cities themselves.
Over time, many who were opposed to the War built ships and left Earth but the fighting did not stop, they consumed the World itself within a torrent of flame and famine.
John watched from above in horror. The faces of the Angels beside him scattered throughout the Heavens did not change, they remained ever vigilant. More than a Century had gone by since the remnants of those who once knew him had passed. He was alone, even in the comforts of Eternity.
God’s call for the Day of Judgment had not come. Hanging in the Twilight, many of those who remained in the fragile world developed differently. Their bodies changed through means artificial and often invasive corrections to keep their lives. Some turned to genetic splicing and others simply devolved into a violent horde.
The Battlefield of Good vs Evil had changed once again, the World’s inhabitants became monstrous and the people themselves had become Monsters. Feuding between the creatures swelled after the fall of Humankind on Earth. There was nothing remaining of the once proud people upon the now pale Grey World. Plant Life had all but vanished from the surface, though patches of life remained.
A Hundred years after that, a new ecosystem came into balance. The Humanity which once distinguished Homosapians from the Beasts of the Land were wiped out entirely. The few remaining traces of Civilization had long passed and been forgotten, swallowed by the Demons of the New World Order before they swallowed themselves.
God’s word came down, though there had been no Day of Rapture. There had been no Day of Judgment. Humanity had abandoned their futures, turned to beasts and vanished from the World.
The Angels were free to tend to the world once again.
Like Gravity had never existed before, John felt his body move. It hurled him toward Earth’s Surface. Hitting the atmosphere was interesting to him, his previous life as a Pilot had never afforded him the chance at upper atmospheric flight and ever fiber of his being felt energized.
The pulling sensation wasn’t gravity but a celestial force throwing him to the surface of the planet. In the recesses of John’s mind, he wondered, ‘Why the theatrics? Why did God not simply make them all appear upon the land?’
Random thoughts clouding his mind were instantly dispelled by the drag on his body. Chemical waste clouds filled the skies below as John approached them with ever increasing momentum.
‘Heat?’ John’s mind was racing. It was all so exciting, he was finally free to move or so he thought.
Heat was building up fast. Any Craft or vehicle experiencing such conditions would be in a state of decay. It came as a shock when he passed through the upper atmosphere and broke through the outer cloud layers.
A lot could change in a few hundred years, especially with the absence of Humanity. Cities that were once observable from Space, were overgrown and crumbling ruins. Great Towers of glass and steel were now rusty daggers laying in scattered piles. The back-turn of Nature upon the World was retroactive and aggressive.
The Sound Barrier broke upon reentry, living beings upon the world glanced up to see thousands upon thousands of Angels descending upon the Earth. Concussive Blasts that cleared the Clouds nearby swept out and spanned the Horizon.
A rushing wind filled John’s wings. Like a Chute that had opened, his body jerked slightly in the heave and instinct took over. He reoriented himself quickly, a move he had done countless times in the Night Sky. He could see what was in front of him, the wind brushing his face like a stiff whisk. Plummeting once again after the stall, he picked up speed and hurled himself through the next cloud barrier.
John did his best not to close his eyes as he crashed through clouds, saw the surface and spread his wings to catch the air. Gliding across the Ocean at a few thousand feet there was nothing in the distance, even the Angels beside him had dispersed and gone their own way.
The Time of Man had gone.
Angels, who’d waited for the Day of Judgment, were set free upon the World. John spent two days in the air before he found his bearings. Apparently, he had come over in over the Pacific and had he not noticed the the mutilated remains of Mt. Fuji, he could have taken much longer to locate his position.
As a Soldier, he had always been guided by a directive but none was given to him. He was rewarded the same gift as the other Angels, they were given the Freedom of Choice. Freedom generally sounded good but even in his past, he was always beholden to Rules set by others. However now that there was no one to tell him how to live, he felt he was free in every way.
“It is interesting to be back.” John muttered to himself but was quickly interrupted, he had not been driven to eat in all the time he was hovering over the planet. Almost immediately on the third day, as if hit by a grievance he couldn’t reconcile, his stomach churned and rumbled.
Food was not abundant, there were few plants and most things that could possibly provide nourishment had dubious appearances. In a few hours of searching, only some grubs and a few larger and very unhealthy animals were to be found.
Japan was a system of craters, their decisive battle was a bloody one. At the edge of the Island, there were a number of debris fields. John could only forage for food or kill something but he had no weapons. There was also the lingering question as to whether he would be punished for killing an animal, he was unsure what road to take.
In his previous life John had eaten a lot of Meat, even killed as a matter of his joining the Military. After some internal debate, he rationalized the killing of Animals for food.
“Even Jesus’ mom had a Donkey to haul her around.” He shrugged and knelt to pray. “Dear God, there is no food growing. If I must be here, I must eat. If I am to commit a sin, please forgive me.” Though he had not done anything, he was sure that wrath was a very real part of God’s plan in the future. ‘Why else raise Troops?’ he thought.
It didn’t take long while roaming through the remains of Civilization before John found himself face to face with one of the Mutations that had rooted itself in the Area. What he found was dramatically different from what he expected, the Creature stood upright like a Man.
It’s glaring eyes beamed and it lunged forward. Sharp portions of it’s hide grazed John’s armor. He could feel the impact translate through it’s protection and vibrate along his waist. The impact left a strange sensation, one he wouldn’t soon forget. It sent him flying parallel the the ground, he flew up as soon as he recovered. John thought that he was out the creature’s reach, only to be clawed at once again when it leapt into the Air.
Surprised, he had not ever thought that this would be his first encounter, he hadn’t even found a weapon. After the Creature failed to land it’s attack, it crashed on the rocks below and sent them flying in many directions.
Exposed below was a Passage, a Doorway.
Johns knowledge about metal was limited but he knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that anything lasting a few hundred years, as well as surviving the displacement of the city, would be a good thing. He dove toward the opening. The Entrance was too small for the Creature but it’s claws were still reaching far into the Doorway.
Taking a few steps backward, John triggered a sensor. Lights came on automatically and a Hallway was illuminated.
The Creature was still relentlessly clawing at the entrance trying to grab at him, and so there was little choice in the moment. John chose to go further inside.
‘I hope this isn’t a Tomb.’ A random thought popped into John’s mind and he immediately tried to dismiss it. ‘Tomb’s don’t come with Lights’ He wanted to smack himself in the forehead but gave up halfway when he noticed something on the floor. A transparent key card with a lanyard that crumbled as he lifted it.
Dusting it off, he could read the logo. “Hitsumoto Space Program?” Johns never followed the space program, even before the Fall. He pocketed the card and looked down the hallway.
“The Corpses are still in one piece” John assumed they had died of natural causes, gunshots included.
A few Corpses laid across the Floor in every Hallway, every Corridor. The skeletal remains were still clothed, still in the positions that the previous owner had died in.
‘This place had been abandoned in a hurry.’ John kept quiet, the large creature at the entrance was unable to get inside but that didn’t mean something else hadn’t. ‘Curiosity always killed the Cat, but what about an Angel?’ Joking to himself for a moment, John noticed a firearm on a security guard.
He picked it up but it was rusted shut. Warnings from his previous life flashed in his mind, ‘Unexploded Ordinance covered in rust is dangerous!’ Setting it down gently, John started searching the Corpses in the Hallways. As he looked for keys or weapons, he wondered how strong he was.
Punching the wall was a bad idea. John wasn’t sure how strong he was, he knew he couldn’t possibly be weak; As the Soldiers of God, Angels were heralds of Heaven and on the Front Lines against Evils. John always had more faith than he gave himself credit for.
As he swung his fist through the air instead, he heard a faint snapping noise and paused to look around. The hallways were otherwise empty, though he had not heard wrong. His ears definitely heard the snap and yet, no matter how far he looked into the distance there was no one to be seen.
Staring at his fist, John couldn’t help but blurt out the rhetorical question, “Huh?”
He had been training his whole life before his death but his physical form was never as prominent. “The Gifts of God!” Excited and full of enthusiasm, he struck the Wall in his haste. As if a Sledgehammer had been buried within the Wall, then removed, sheets of the metal bent as he pulled his fist from it and fell to the ground.
‘Metal’ John had been looking for a weapon, a sheet of metal wasn’t quite the same as a weapon but it was a good start. Moments later, he stopped himself from picking it up. There was a lot of area to explore and he couldn’t carry a large sheet of metal around. Even if the sheet was now disconnected from the wall, it was still rather large and to move within the hallway with it in his grasp seemed clumsy at best. With his mind made up, he left it where it laid and ventured further into the hallways.
‘This key has to go somewhere..’ Passing thoughts turned into full blown conversations with himself, John didn’t feel bothered. After a few dozen attempts to access rooms, he was a bit tired of trying to unlock them and instead opted for brute force.
He punched the next Door, separating from it’s hinges and sending it sailing into the room, destroying some of the equipment inside. John noticed the rooms technology first.
Among the many advanced computer terminals was a large flat white screen that flickered with a prompt.
‘Command Station, Hitsumoto Space Program. Launch Ready, Waiting for Priority Command…
<Last seen, 325y, 8 mo, 14 days, 8h9m>’
There was a blinking button on the console, the cover was still shut and locked. Looking around, John didn’t see any corpses in the room, “This seems important, I had better leave it alone for the time being.” Leaving the room, he saw an emergency panel with an Ax still inside.
“Finally, a Weapon!” Having been without a method to defend himself, John was excited once again. He smashed at the glass and reached for the Ax, the handle was an alloy-plastic and in mint condition, to leave it would have been a waste. “Mankind might have fallen but at least some things survived..” It was sentimental and he knew it, but that did not matter.
Walking down the hallways seemed like an endless idea, the littered corpses told a story all their own, no one had survived inside. When John found a Cafeteria deep within the facility, he was dreading what he might find. The thought of rancid food everywhere made him cringe but there was the remote possibility that frozen goods existed, power to the facility didn’t seem to have failed. If it had, John would have discovered the computer having been reset.
The Cafeteria was equally empty. Inside, even the chairs were still stacked in the back as if they had been cleaning the floor at the time when everyone had died. In the middle of the room, a large stain with streaks that led away marked the that violence had taken place.
Nothing had changed, John still needed food. His demeanor was about to change but his stomach began to make more of a disruption, more so, there were only a few feet between him and the doorway to the Freezer.