Have you ever wished you exactly knew how to accomplish your dreams? Not feeling the slightest doubt anymore? Being aware at any time how every choice, action and decision of yours affects your future? That's what happened to Jake Wilderth and every living being in a futuristic Earth. When a mysterious silver spaceship, popping out from nowhere, delivered to each of them a bracelet containing an AI introducing itself as the Oracle, their destiny changed. What a blessing it would have been if they were the only one profiting of such a gift! But when everyone became equal to face the future, they soon realized no gift comes for free.. =================================== NB: The synopsis can give the idea it is a simple psychological story in a futuristic setting, but you couldn't be more wrong. This story is more about survival, evolution and challenging oneself. There will be a central romance. (But not necessarily only one love interest). At last, don't expect everyone to survive. NB2: I am French and live in France. English is not my native language and I never traveled to any anglophone countries. My English level comes from reading hundred of webnovels and novels, watching series and learning grammar rules. So, mistakes are expected. I would appreciate if you readers could highlight them to me with the right fix in comments so that I can improve myself as fast as possible and edit the chapters with the aforementioned mistakes. Thanks for your understanding. https://discord.gg/d8udP7Q
A lazy human arm blindly groped over the quilt, looking for the wailing alarm. 7:00 am, the 16th of August 2106 was displayed on it.
" Fucking morning." he sighed, his eyes still half-closed.
Usually, he would have gone back to sleep, convincing himself he still had time. Not this time.
It didn't happen often. This should have made him think. This morning, the young man disentangled himself amazingly well from his covers. Raising bare-chested, from the top of his six feet and well over twenty years old; the first thought anyone would have seeing him would be that he was … average-looking.
Even with a slightly heavier physique, he appeared to be in shape with his clothes on. He was basically what modern fitness articles liked to call 'skinny fat'. Someone quite observant would maybe perceive some faint outlines, vestiges from an ancient past when he did have the willingness to work out and moderate junk-food. These days, however, his motivation had run out of fuel.
He had pale skin and dark circles under his eyes. Playing video games too much and working on computers daily had gotten the better of his healthy glow. A little bit of acne, not much, but enough to attest he was straying from the straight path.
A brown mane, never been touched by scissors, and a two-week thick beard decorated all those flattering assets. Fortunately, his face still had some potential.
Fine sharp traits and a smoldering look contrasted with his lack of delicacy. From time to time, a sad melancholic glint would replace it, quickly smothered with a frown.
This young man was named Jake Wilderth. Orphan since the age of three, his parents died in the False Third World War in 2084 as many others. He was 25 years old today. Raised since then by his uncle Kalen with his cousin Anya— his uncle's daughter— his childhood had been a quiet river. Well, almost.
The Wilderths were an old family, not an aristocratic or a bourgeois one, but sufficiently arrogant and demanding to give a hard life to its descendants. Why would you ask? No family heirloom, historical secret or grand cause to defend. So what was it? Pure and unadulterated haughtiness.
The Wilderths all had a common point. They were smart. Not the miraculously smart or genius of the century. It was basically a standard 130 or more IQ. Some would contest the genetic explanation, as recent studies proved that IQ may improve with the right environment. Even more would point out that IQ was not a good criterion to evaluate intelligence. Emotional intelligence was much more useful when it comes to succeed in life.
However, when such a particularity becomes a generality in a big family it changes everything. When a child is mentally limited or retarded, the parents would be much more tolerant, letting them do what they want. There would not be any requirement.
When the child is exceptional, all the contrary to the previous example, parents would become strict. On the one hand, they would not want their child to waste away his talent. On the other hand, they would often transfer unconsciously their own failed dreams to them.
With the Wilderths there was a third consideration. Not bringing shame to oneself. If you were more successful than your cousins, aunts or uncles, it was good, but you could not be less. The mocking born from comparisons would nip any form of happiness in the bud.
That is what happened to Jake. His uncle was kindhearted and his cousin Anya protective. He grew peacefully. Still, whether because he was an introvert or because his early parent's death took a toll on him, he had few friends. Great facilities at school gave him an easy ride till University but never taught him how to cram and work hard.
The sheltered life created an indecisive procrastinator mindset. He had no idea what he wanted to do in his life, the rising pressure from the other members of his family making him more and more uncomfortable. As many asocial solitary nerds before him, he found his way out of reality by reading, binge-watching and playing video-games.
It was not all that bad. As a smart and logical man, he chose to connect his future career with his pleasures of the moment. He then enrolled in a University specialized in programming and informatics.
Sadly, he was soon bored. The learning volume was incomparable with the working amount in high school. Even for him, it required some efforts. The pleasure of playing video-games and the one from making them were as distant as they could be. The consequence of this was that he dropped out.
He tried a few curriculums like management, or cybernetic, but the boringness was still as strong. He still got out with a bachelor in cybernetic and programming, his uncle discreetly making use of his circle to
save this sinking boat of a nephew.
This educational background could have seemed strange at the beginning of the 21st century, but not the 22nd one.
Quantum computer technology was mature. The predicted limit for transistor miniaturization from Moore's law was solved. Computer performance rapidly improved again.
Artificial intelligence and bioengineering had made immense progress. Nano-cybernetic was also on point. Earth successfully created its first colony on Mars more than 40 years ago. 3D printing was perfected, allowing even organs to be duplicated or recreated by using cells from the donor as ink. And yes, medicine developed a lot too.
Lucky for the earthlings… You could still feel the ravages from the False Third World War everywhere. Even 25 years later.
After 2070 geopolitical tensions became really strong. Earth was counting more than 10 billion inhabitants and drinkable water access was not guaranteed anymore. Global warming accelerated the melting of sea ice, causing the disappearance underwater of many well-known coastal cities along with a bunch of ocean islands.
Rich countries like the USA or China easily adapted themselves, doing the necessary investments to protect key inshore cities like New York or Shanghai. Poorer states had to delocalize a part of their population inland, enduring a net loss of territory.
Petrol, water, precious metals or stones; while the entire world kept draining fossil energies, their market value continued to soar. Naturally, conflicts happened more and more frequently.
In 2084, the Third World War was on the verge of breaking out.
14th May of the same year a terrific war indeed broke out, but it was nothing close to what it should have been. Even to this day, the mystery has yet to be wholly unraveled.
To sum it up in one sentence: Every city and town over 100 thousand residents was annihilated in a single day. Moscow, Tokyo, Paris, Washington, London; any capital cities' names you could think of had been erased from the surface of the Earth. No explanations were given. Not any adventurous war reporter broke through the military cordon cutting off the civil access to these zones.
Indeed, many people testified having seen dazzling nuclear mushrooms blooming on most of these cities. Yet, many incongruities soon manifested through millions of odd testimonies.
No government could utterly silence its people's voice.
The first anomaly was that any contacts — regardless it is through phone or internet— had been cut off a few days before the nuclear missiles were fired. Some family members, friends, and lovers that were having a phone call with people living or working in these big cities just heard a loud static noise before helplessly hanging up.
After communications were lost, no one came back. Even these days, the governments had not yet given a satisfying justification to the victims' relatives. Add to this the weird evidences via photos or phone videos of psychedelic rainbow light coming from these places, or the few pictures of uncanny airships.
People didn't need more to speculate and go with a theory of their own.
The terrorist or Third World War theories were, in fact, the less popular. The dominant one was the alien invasion. Not on account of the rare peculiar ship pictures or government silence, but because an Earth Government saw the light of day soon after.
If you once had in your life any interest in history or politic, you then probably know that even if there was a clear loser from either side, negotiations should have taken a long time. Months if not years before agreeing for a consensus. Especially in the theoretical case of a Third World War in which many countries would be involved.
However, it happened. The Earth Government or United Earth Government. Created in barely four days, every religion and power speaking out from the same voice.
Understandably, this new Earth Government couldn't give no response at all either. They chose a rarely seen solution in politic: temporize. Two years after the 'False Third World War', as it was called now, the stabilized government made an announcement to pacify the mobs. It was rebroadcasted so many times that Jake could recite it by heart, in spite of his young age back then.
"What happened on the 14th May is so unprecedented that it can't be resumed in a few words. Regrettably, we can't tell you the truth of what happened right now. We are investigating at the present time, and the bit that we know is so tremendous that most people wouldn't be ready for this.
"In the years to come, the way we live will change, but you will put up with this. You will adapt effortlessly compared to what is to come. The day of no return will be two decades in the future. In about twenty years from now, something will happen on a very particular day. Even we can't say when it will happen exactly, we could be off from a few months to several years.
"But it will happen. Then our lives will not ever be the same"
It was twenty-two years ago. They were two years off.
Jake, that was now brushing his teeth, didn't know that this morning when he woke up, his life would take a turn he could never have imagined. The day everything changed.
The 16th August 2106.