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‍Left ‍to ‍Die

‍The ‍socio ‍- ‍political ‍climate ‍of ‍the ‍early ‍21st ‍century ‍meant ‍that ‍as ‍the ‍renewed ‍interest ‍in ‍extending ‍mankind’s ‍reach ‍into ‍space ‍grew, ‍so ‍did ‍the ‍need ‍for ‍the ‍natural ‍resources ‍buried ‍deep ‍within ‍the ‍earth.  The ‍various ‍modes ‍of ‍space ‍exploration ‍diverged ‍between ‍two ‍very ‍separate ‍approaches ‍for ‍the ‍launch ‍and ‍propulsion ‍systems ‍technologies. ‍


‍The ‍predominant, ‍most ‍widely ‍developed ‍and ‍utilized ‍approach ‍up ‍until ‍the ‍early ‍2040s ‍utilized ‍the ‍massive ‍energy ‍release ‍from ‍the ‍fission ‍of ‍the ‍rare ‍Oskaolium ‍compound ‍discovered ‍during ‍the ‍routine ‍decommissioning ‍of ‍some ‍of ‍the ‍early ‍oil ‍fields ‍in ‍the ‍Oklahoma ‍panhandle.


‍This  rare ‍and ‍peculiar ‍compound ‍caught ‍the ‍interest ‍of ‍a ‍number ‍of ‍research ‍arms ‍of ‍the ‍US ‍Government, ‍not ‍least ‍because ‍the ‍despite ‍their ‍best ‍efforts ‍the ‍recombination ‍of ‍the ‍constituent ‍elements ‍proved ‍impossible ‍under ‍normal ‍surface ‍conditions.  It ‍was ‍quickly ‍established, ‍sadly ‍through ‍a ‍devastating ‍accident ‍in ‍which ‍the ‍2400 ‍square ‍foot ‍research ‍lab ‍and ‍administrative ‍compound ‍of ‍one ‍such ‍federal ‍agency ‍was ‍wiped ‍out,  quite ‍how ‍much ‍energy ‍was ‍released ‍in ‍that ‍first ‍accidental ‍fission ‍of ‍the ‍compound ‍wasn’t ‍recorded ‍as ‍it ‍simply ‍wasn’t ‍expected.  


‍As ‍the ‍federal ‍appointed ‍agencies ‍who ‍oversaw ‍the ‍experiments ‍suppressed ‍any ‍acknowledgement ‍of ‍the ‍discovery, ‍they ‍also ‍kept ‍this ‍inadvertent ‍discovery ‍concealed, ‍until ‍they ‍were ‍able ‍to ‍manage ‍the ‍release ‍of ‍the ‍story ‍to ‍further ‍exploit ‍this ‍new ‍fuel.  Within ‍4 ‍years ‍the ‍technology ‍to ‍harness ‍and ‍control ‍the ‍sheer ‍power ‍of ‍the ‍Oskaolium ‍compounds ‍was ‍nearly ‍complete ‍and ‍the ‍carefully ‍managed ‍news ‍of ‍this ‍new ‍leap ‍forward ‍in ‍propulsion ‍technology ‍was ‍constructed ‍and ‍released ‍to ‍the ‍general ‍populace ‍piece ‍by ‍piece.  The ‍public ‍greedily ‍ate ‍these ‍leaps ‍forward, ‍with ‍the ‍promise ‍of ‍increased ‍work ‍& ‍trade ‍opportunities ‍especially ‍in ‍& ‍around ‍the ‍now ‍quarantined ‍pan ‍handle ‍where ‍the ‍incident ‍gave ‍rise ‍to ‍this ‍new ‍advance.  Since ‍the ‍compound ‍could ‍not ‍be ‍recreated ‍through ‍artificial ‍means ‍this ‍new ‍resource ‍was ‍seen ‍as ‍a ‍highly ‍valued ‍and ‍prized ‍material ‍and ‍a ‍number ‍of ‍corporations ‍sprung ‍up ‍in ‍and ‍around ‍the ‍old ‍depleted ‍oil ‍& ‍coal ‍mines ‍that ‍littered ‍the ‍northern ‍Oklahoma ‍and ‍southern ‍Kansas ‍areas.  It ‍wasn’t ‍long ‍before ‍the ‍existing ‍extraction ‍sites ‍were ‍built ‍out ‍and ‍expanded ‍to ‍drill ‍deeper ‍to ‍the ‍9000ft ‍depths ‍that ‍this ‍new ‍explosive ‍gold ‍was ‍most ‍commonly ‍found.  The ‍only ‍way ‍to ‍achieve ‍these ‍depths ‍was ‍by ‍the ‍once ‍controversial ‍approach ‍of ‍fracking ‍to ‍enable ‍the ‍release ‍of ‍the ‍substance ‍to ‍the ‍surface.


‍Few ‍anticipated ‍that ‍while ‍Mankind ‍busied ‍itself ‍settling ‍& ‍terraforming ‍Mars  with ‍the ‍fleets ‍of ‍space ‍ships ‍which ‍were ‍now ‍faster, ‍more ‍efficient ‍and ‍safer ‍thanks ‍to ‍this ‍miracle ‍fuel, ‍the ‍earth ‍was ‍soon ‍going ‍to ‍suffer ‍a ‍hemorrhage ‍the ‍like ‍had ‍not ‍been ‍imagined.


‍In ‍the ‍spring ‍of ‍2073, ‍on ‍a ‍brisk ‍morning ‍the ‍husbands ‍and ‍wives, ‍sons ‍and ‍daughters ‍working ‍at ‍the ‍Oskaolium ‍Foundry ‍Resources ‍Inc ‍plant ‍set ‍out ‍to ‍work ‍& ‍play ‍as ‍they ‍would ‍any ‍other ‍day.  The ‍mild ‍mid-morning ‍tremors ‍only ‍lasted ‍a ‍few ‍moments  and ‍bore ‍only ‍the ‍slightest ‍foreboding ‍of ‍the ‍of ‍the ‍disaster ‍which ‍was ‍set ‍to ‍befall ‍the ‍industrial ‍town, ‍and ‍subsequently ‍the ‍central ‍region ‍of ‍the ‍USA.  That ‍afternoon ‍the ‍whole ‍world ‍would ‍come ‍to ‍a ‍sudden ‍realization ‍that ‍the ‍path ‍they ‍had ‍trodden ‍on ‍to ‍extend ‍human-kinds ‍reach ‍into ‍space, ‍would ‍bring ‍about ‍the ‍destruction ‍of ‍the ‍united ‍states ‍with ‍the ‍repercussions ‍echoing ‍around ‍the ‍globe.

‍At ‍3.53 ‍on ‍the ‍afternoon ‍of ‍the ‍5th ‍of ‍May ‍2073 ‍a ‍sudden ‍and ‍devastating ‍collapse ‍of ‍the ‍earth’s ‍crust ‍and ‍underlying ‍tectonic ‍structure ‍would ‍engulf ‍the ‍whole ‍of ‍Oklahoma ‍taking ‍with ‍it ‍Kansas ‍& ‍most ‍of ‍Nebraska ‍to ‍the ‍north ‍causing ‍massive ‍fissures ‍to ‍tear ‍from ‍the ‍edge ‍of ‍the ‍rim ‍as ‍it ‍would ‍come ‍to ‍be ‍known, ‍all ‍the ‍way ‍to ‍northern ‍Canada.  Texas ‍would ‍be ‍reduced ‍to ‍a ‍sliver ‍of ‍the ‍former ‍state ‍tracing ‍the ‍southern ‍border ‍of ‍the ‍state.  To ‍the ‍east ‍Arkansas, ‍Missouri ‍and ‍Iowa ‍transformed ‍into ‍a ‍volcanic ‍sea ‍of ‍lava, ‍and ‍Wyoming, ‍Colorado ‍and ‍most ‍of ‍New ‍Mexico ‍would ‍be ‍humbled ‍and ‍brought ‍low ‍and ‍close ‍to ‍sea ‍level ‍with ‍much ‍of ‍the ‍land ‍mass ‍toppling ‍into ‍the ‍hole ‍that ‍was ‍once ‍Oklahoma.

‍Unlike ‍any ‍other ‍disaster ‍in ‍the ‍history ‍of ‍man, ‍the ‍sheer ‍cost ‍in ‍human ‍lives ‍lost ‍was ‍estimated ‍to ‍be ‍in ‍the ‍hundreds ‍of ‍millions.  This ‍impacted ‍the ‍global ‍aspiration ‍to ‍explore ‍space ‍transforming ‍it ‍to ‍a ‍desperate ‍race ‍to ‍relocate ‍mankind ‍to ‍the ‍now ‍safe ‍haven ‍which ‍the ‍Martian ‍outposts ‍now ‍provided.


‍Mankind’s ‍efforts ‍to ‍settle ‍the ‍planet ‍now ‍exponentially ‍increased, ‍and ‍within ‍20 ‍years ‍would ‍see ‍not ‍just ‍the ‍bulk ‍of ‍the ‍remaining ‍United ‍States ‍relocated ‍but ‍most ‍every ‍other ‍nation ‍fleeing ‍the ‍now ‍dying ‍earth.  This ‍exodus ‍was ‍further ‍warranted ‍when ‍in ‍the ‍early ‍years ‍after ‍The ‍Rupture, ‍strange ‍creatures, ‍mutations, ‍demonic ‍recombination ‍of ‍the ‍dead ‍whether ‍human ‍or ‍animal, ‍began ‍to ‍claw ‍their ‍way ‍out ‍of ‍the ‍Oklahoma ‍pit.   These ‍horrific ‍and ‍disturbing ‍monsters ‍recombined, ‍reanimated ‍and ‍possessed ‍by ‍the ‍twisted ‍newly ‍irradiated ‍ancient ‍bacteria ‍which ‍the ‍deep ‍level ‍mining ‍of ‍the ‍earths ‍secrets ‍through ‍fracking ‍and ‍penetrating ‍deeper ‍than ‍mankind ‍ever ‍should’ve ‍ventured ‍started ‍the ‍Culling.  As ‍these ‍monstrosities ‍began ‍to ‍claim ‍the ‍former ‍states ‍the ‍last ‍few ‍surviving ‍outposts ‍fled ‍to ‍the ‍outer ‍borders ‍of ‍the ‍country ‍to ‍await ‍evacuation.  Unfortunately ‍not ‍everyone ‍made ‍it ‍to ‍the ‍27 ‍extraction ‍sites ‍established ‍around ‍the ‍coastal ‍regions.  Where ‍they ‍didn’t, ‍they ‍either ‍fell ‍to ‍the ‍plague ‍of ‍horrors ‍advancing ‍on ‍them ‍or ‍fled ‍before ‍the ‍ensuing ‍hordes.