Read Chapter 23 “All Of a Sudden“
Depriving millions of people of the essentials was the way the Corporate Government kept humanity, excluding the 1%, in the gutters for generations. At the same time, the construction of the Above was rapidly progressing. It was the project the ordinary people (make no mistake, these were the people with no financial backing, regardless of how innovative or intelligent they were) paid dearly with their lives and freedom.
The Above was fashioned for only those, who could afford to buy their way out of the misery that consumed the Old World. Some of the essential workers, who kept the 1% going were also allowed to live in the Above, of course as long as they were useful.
After many long years of manic construction, the move finally materialized. But surprisingly, the Above only slightly resembled how life before the revolution looked like. The war and the collapse of society and social norms changed everything; even the lifestyle of the wealthiest and most influential needed altering. What once was “normal” and taken for granted before the revolution was gone for good and never to return to the Old World.
Many who moved to the Above believed the glamour, and obscene splendour would wipe out their consciousness of all the crimes against humanity and the planet the Corporate Government committed on their behalf. So to forget the past, the ongoing party infiltrated every ounce of the Above existence. The well-known old habits quickly took hold of the residents, who in no time started abusing the resources at hand. Without considering how limited and dependent on the Down Below their fragile existence was. The population of the Above didn’t want to acknowledge that their survival was closely linked to the survival of the Down Below.
Instead, the citizens of the Above chose to live in the oblivious bubble, not learning much from the past and the social and ecological catastrophe they propelled. Indeed, the rules in the Above were meant to be much more relaxed then Down Below, and the place was never supposed to be governed with an iron fist. However, pretty quickly, it became clear that people need restrictions and laws around them, otherwise they will abuse their freedom.
At first, the officials were reluctant to introduce harsh rules for the Above, but the longer the party lasted, the less choice the government had. The resources that were meant to last a year were used up within three months. It came as a surprise for the habitants of the Above that the Corporate Government wouldn’t tolerate the abuse of the resources. Unfortunately, those who destroyed Earth strongly believed that their own exceptionalism allowed them to do what they pleased, regardless of future implications.
The Above was built on deeply conservative patriarchal values. Women had no say and no access to education, technology or jobs. Unless they already worked as essential workers before the division of the worlds took place. Those, who were permitted to keep their jobs, had no significant input into the development or growth of the Above.
The Above was a confined space that connected many buildings together by narrow tunnels with no greenery, no animals or natural light. Everything in this artificial heaven for the wealthiest was exactly that – artificial. Since it was built in a hurry, the cracks became visible after only a few years of usage. The natural beauty of Earth could never be replicated and obviously, architecturally, the Above wasn’t even trying.
Since the Corporate Government provided the residents of the Above with everything they needed to carry on with their privileged ways, motivation and growth wasn’t a priority. Very few were ambitious enough to do better or strive for life beyond pleasing their instant whims. The majority were detached from the reality way before the division of the worlds and the revolution took place; changing their ways now was unlikely to happen.
Before the revolution spread like a virus, the wealthiest people of the Old World had enough money to save the Earth for future generations. However, the hard financial sacrifices that were needed to make any visible progress weren’t appealing enough.
Every time Patrick had to visit the Above he could barely breathe, even though he was offered a permanent residence in the Heaven for the richest. The decadence and emptiness of life in such confinement weren’t for him. He preferred the unpredictable, dirty Down Below.
He could never comprehend why so many had to sacrifice so much for so few to enjoy an existence that didn’t contribute anything to the Old World. He tried and failed to understand why the Corporate Government was still willing to protect the millionaires and billionaires of the Old World. The 1% of the 1% was standing on the shoulders of innovators, scientists and the massive army that kept the rest of the population of the Down Below on its knees.
Over the past few years, Patrick grew disheartened with the Old World’s politics. But he never had enough courage to challenge the system he has been serving and protecting all his life. He feared that a shift like this could have crumbled the world he desperately was holding onto.
When Thomas Johns expressed such a profound interest in time travel, it finally clicked for Patrick what the Corporate Government was trying to pull off. All along, the corporate plan must have been to run down Earth to such a state of deprivation and misery that the only way to escape was to time jump for the chosen few.
The Corporate Government must have known that one day they could all disappear, leaving barren Earth behind. Patrick looked at Johns’ strained eyes and clenched jaw. In that instant, he knew that he couldn’t let that happen, even if it meant he was never going to meet his kids, hold them tight and tell them how much he loved them.