When the armies were disbanded, the nuclear stockpiles disarmed, cheers went up across the countries. It was finally over, peace had been achieved. People cried in the streets, not even knowing they were celebrating a lie.
War never ends. Like energy it can’t be destroyed, only changed into another form.
The new wars were fought on the stock markets, economic super-powers fighting for supremacy. The wars had started before the disarming had even begun, but now they got vicious. The global economy was an entirely different arena. There were no rules of engagement there, no war crimes, no juries and judges. Death was bankruptcy or worse, the undying death of a debt so deep you could never escape, the pull greater an infinitely more terrifying than that of the greatest black hole.
Sure, the economists could have resorted to more conventional means. After all, a nuke in an opposing power’s agricultural powerhouses would cripple them economically for years to come. They never did though, they were too smart for that, no matter how tempting a target was presented. Peoples lives and livelihoods were pushed around like pawns on a chessboard, trying to draw out a military attack but no-one was stupid enough to fall for it. The bankers didn’t get their massive bonuses for nothing. Marketing was the new propaganda and anyone guilty of causing that much death and destruction would never be forgiven by the people. Every target was a trap, a sacrifice urging their opponents to commit economic suicide on the altar of popular opinion.
People power, money, consumerism these were the new weapons of choice. No-one could tell if the next blogger was sincere or another corporate shill, perhaps a double agent working their way in, gaining trust and then turning around, their loyal followers coming with them to the other side. Wars were fought in a single tweet, a hundred and forty characters of manipulation spiralling out into corporate genocide. People only knew what they were told, what they wanted to know and the marketeer-psychologists made sure you believed in your own choices, when really you were just other cog in the economic war machine.
When the apocalypse came it wasn’t a nuclear winter like everyone imagined. It wasn’t bio-terrorism, wiping out the food-supply. It wasn’t even meteors from space or any of the other equally plausible but never really believed in possibilities. As the war fought on and the stakes got higher and higher, the war gave birth to a new super-weapon. In fact, it wasn’t even new, it had happened before, by accident, throughout history but this was the first one to be weaponised, targeted, specific. They didn’t even realise it, but they’d primed the field, made things ready for years to magnify its effects. People believed anything, people trusted in themselves with utmost confidence but their thoughts weren’t even their own, instead carefully planted there, cultivated by the greatest generation of marketeer-psycologists until they took on a life of their own, sprouting like weeds.
When the the first side launched their greatest offensive yet, a weaponised recession, it didn’t just stop at the countries boundaries, not that geography even mattered any more, the boundaries existed only in economic terms, a dimension of numbers and figures entirely alien to the physical world. The recession spread like wildfire through the barren, brittle landscape of cultivated consumerism and reckless, mindless spending.
Within barely days, years to the economists though even then they were powerless to stop it, the world had a global economic collapse.
Supply stopped and demand soared wildly, the people not knowing any other way. Riots broke out and soon war, the old kind, was back in business but even that couldn’t survive the new world. This new landscape was toxic to it’s resurrection and it faded away to nothing. Shopping malls became churches, temples to the old way and factory worked became messiahs. Those that adapted, that began to create and became self-sufficient were viewed by some as gods, by others as freakish monstrocities. Murder forces formed, hunting down those that could fend for themselves or worse, would help other with that sickening quality known as altruism. Each death they collected a payment to their imaginary shop keepers for the promised product of salvation.
How do I know all this? Well, I was there when it started. I was in the room when they pressed the button and sent the world to hell. I was marketeer-psychologist but now I’m something more, a prophet selling my own brand of salvation to whomever will buy it. There can be another way, the Altruists have that right, a new economy of giving and sharing. Of understanding.
I wander this wasteland, preaching to those that will pay me their patience to listen, using the dark powers of my past to build a new future. Something is coming, I’ve seen it on the horizon, something wonderous and terrifying both.
My name is Job, I have seen the errors of my ways and I am the Prophet of the Loss.