The Collapse

Unlike previous information, which was detailed through news organizations and publications, the following entry is taken from a journal entered into the official Asylum archives as time went on.

The author is unknown at this point, lost among the first generation of Asylum-dwellers.  What is known is they lived in one of the northern North American Asylums, likely Canada – potentially by the coast, which explains the end of the entry.

I don’t even know where to start on this one.  The beginning, I suppose, right?

The notification went out early in the morning, I remember I was still asleep when my phone lit up and started buzzing frantically.  It took me a minute to realize what was going on. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I struggled to keep one eye open as I wiped the sleep from the other.  I picked up my phone and looked at the screen, a red band with a blurred yellow caution symbol over it. All lethargy and drowsiness left my system as the adrenaline kicked in with the realization of what that image meant.

Some laughed off the warnings, others ignored them entirely – thinking that it couldn’t possibly ever happen.  But I knew to take this threat seriously. Hammond had known something when they started building the Asylums.  I don’t know what it was, or how they knew it, but Hammond knew they’d be necessary.  And soon.

I was out of bed and dressed in ten minutes.  A shower, along with the usual morning rituals, hardly seemed important at the time.  I grabbed a backpack and duffle bag that I’d kept packed and by the door just for this day, and was out the door.  My body was on auto-pilot, a path that I’d planned and walked hundreds of times since I received my assignment, my mind was lost in a sea of thoughts.  The most prominent? Utena, Lithuania.

Before, I couldn’t have told you where it was, let alone why it was important.  But in the last ten years, it became the flashpoint for one of the largest conflicts the world had known, and then?  It was bathed in a sea of fire. As I stood waiting for the bus that would take me to my assigned Asylum, I watched the footage on my phone in disbelief.  Some sovereign nation had done the unthinkable.

They had unleashed hell upon the Earth and detonated a nuclear device over the battlefields surrounding Utena, reducing everything around the city – people, buildings, plants and animals – to ash-laden ruins.  There was a lot of finger-pointing from all sides – both armies were obliterated with no warning. Maybe that was part of the plan? Hammond wasted no time in sending out their calls for evacuation once the launch was detected.  That’s why I stood at the bus stop that morning. It was only a matter of time before retaliations began.

There were a handful of people at the bus stop with me that morning, but I didn’t really notice.  I’m not sure anyone could have told you who they were standing with. A bus, not owned by a municipal or national government – but emblazoned with Hammond’s logo, pulled up to the stop shortly after I arrived.  The driver spoke some words, but I honestly didn’t hear them as I got on and found a seat.  The ride was relatively short, to the edge of the city and a few miles beyond that. Of course, it took longer because after news of the detonation, everyone suddenly took the threats seriously and wanted a spot in an Asylum.

The throngs of people that had gathered in the couple of hours since the news broke made it difficult for the buses to get into the Asylums and unloaded.  I watched from afar, my bus was one of the last ones in the long line – though others were being assailed by people wanting to get on. Hammond was broadcasting a message from what appeared to be a loading bay, but everything was still so surreal I don’t remember what they were saying.  I do remember hearing reports from a gun at the head of the crowd and people scattering. I couldn’t see very well from where I was sitting, but people started to run past the bus as they moved away from the Asylum.  I wondered what could have possibly scared them so badly?

A flash of silver and blue appeared at the edge of the Asylum’s doors, and a few more shots were fired into the air.  The muzzle flash preceded the noise, and four human-sized robots emerged into my field of view. I focused on the one that had fired the shots, [this part of the entry ends here, likely due to damage or omission.]

I’ll finish this once we’re inside – I should pay attention to what’s going on.

Alright.  I’ve gotten settled in to my living quarters. They’re actually nicer than I expected.  Since I didn’t come here with a family of any sort, it’s basically a studio apartment with a bathroom attached.  Bedroom, kitchen, living space, all in one – walls unnecessary. Very little furniture. A two-person table, a couple chairs, a bed, some shelves.  Spartan, really, by today’s standards.

The events outside earlier ended with little fanfare.  None of the people around the Asylum were willing to stand against the machines.  The crowds broke up as fast as they had formed. The buses proceeded as they should have, and we were all loaded onto an elevator that moved down a few miles below the surface.  We were the last group to arrive, so the elevator locked into place. Green lights were replaced with red, and large, metal claws emerged from beneath it and locked it in place. It wasn’t going anywhere for a long time.  I shouldered my bags and walked to where my assigned living quarters were – which I described earlier.

The city – it still feels odd describing it that way… The city is pristine.  No signs of inner workings or the systems that maintain it. Perfection, as Hammond sees it.  Most of the residential areas are set up in rings around the main towers.  Inside those main towers, they say, are everything we need to start again. Seeds, raw materials, blueprints, information.  That’s the most important thing.  Learning, copied tens of times over and stored in each Asylum so that as long as one city survives doomsday, the species can continue.  Everyone who entered the Asylum today won’t see it. But hopefully their grandkids will.

The Asylum’s sirens blared, and everyone stopped what they were doing and looked skyward.  The doors had begun to close, and streaks of white could be seen in the sky high above the Asylum.  My only thought, I’m sitting here as the last glimmer of sunlight vanishes as the massive metal doors close and lock.  No one knows if Humanity will ever see the sky again – we certainly won’t. I guess only time will tell.

That’s all for now, I need to go help others get set up.  This is all or nothing.

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