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TOPIC: The Big Push

The Big Push 5 years 7 months ago #105

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War after war ravaged the Earth, some small and some massive in scale. Nothing compared to that last battle – the Re-Unification War. It was so vast in scope that most of the military might left in North America was present in some form or another. Machines and men clashed in a final, bloody conflict to determine the fate of whoever survived the fallout.

When the smoke cleared, Tirsus Carter, the great general who has orchestrated the Draft and gathered the Great Army emerged triumphant, bloodied but unbowed. With the remnants of his forces he founded a new capital for ‘all humanity’ and set forth the Coalition Government’s plans for the future.
With ruthless, brutal determination, he started to implement a renewed draft, vicious sanctions on the communities and colonies that had dared oppose unity and announced heavy taxes of food, water and resources to begin the rebuilding.

From the Ashes
It was just more than a battered, exhausted populace could take. Less than two weeks after the end of the Re-Unification War, one final shot rang out. In its wake, General Carter lay dead and the Coalition’s grand dreams crumbled with him.
The people were tired of war. Moreover, they were just incapable of giving or bleeding any more than they already had. General Carter’s assassin had inadvertently discovered to key to world peace by killing the only man on Earth with the will to fight any more. In that vacuum of violence, a citizen’s government sprang up in the fallen Coalition’s shadow.

This was an administration of populists, run by community leaders and supported by survivalists across the continent. The only settlements left, the small self-sufficient ones that never came to the attention of the military complex and so were never ground up to feed its war machines, become the foundation of this new era. Self-sufficiency and a reliance on sustainable technologies evolve from fringe ideas to the status quo.

Making Things That Last
Humanity starts to reclaim the world during this time, making a surge against the terrible aftermath of the Exodus. This new era is dubbed the Big Push, taking its name from the populace’s almost fanatical drive to overcome the damage of the past. Old machines are taken apart and refashioned into technologies that work with the environment instead of ravaging it.

This has the enjoyable side-effect of returning industry to the standard of making things with dependability and endurance. Designed obsolescence becomes a thing of the past. Any machine made during this time is created to endure hard use and the abuse that comes from salvage a planet on the brink of collapse. Many devices of this time are created to outlast their users, each new innovation an investment in the future.
Agrarian innovations also come during this time. New plants are cultivated for their usefulness in removing toxins from the soil and pollutants from the air. These ‘scrubbers’ are planted as widely as possible in the hopes of recovering the land and sky for future generations. Planting these recovery harvests is a gamble but with communities already on the small side, not planting feed crops is considered worth the risk.

With environmental concerns finally a top priority, the fledgling government turns its attention to ensuring the survival and growth of its people. Medicine, agriculture and shelter replace defense and bureaucracy as top budget items. With resources turned toward the health and safety of the citizenry, this new populist movement starts strong and continues to thrive. Like its machines, the Big Push seems designed and destined for longevity.

Echoes of Unrest
Unfortunately, the successes of the Big Push are also its downfall. The inevitable result of peace and prosperity surfaces within a single generation. Population levels skyrocket as waves of babies are born to the nation’s productive and protective citizens. Twenty years after the formation of the populist state, its citizenry has grown by nearly ten times.

The gamble with scrubber harvests proves to be a losing one. These environmental reclamation plants have not done their work fast enough, taking decades when they were only supposed to be needed for a few years. There simply is not enough food to sustain the massive population surge. Civil concerns become unrest as the silos start to dwindle and livestock numbers plummet.

The government tries dozens of new initiatives, starting with augmented crops and calorie rationing. The population, having existed in relative harmony for many years, goes along with these plans at first. Drugs come into play, chemical appetite suppressants with wildly variable side effects that make the lower food intake more bearable. While this life is a far cry from the freedom and excesses of before, there is still peace among the populace.

Things Fall Apart
The peace lasts several decades but it is a false one, a calm before the storm. Everything comes to a head at once. Starvation is rampant, the side effects of hunger drugs drive entire settlements into bouts of suicidal depression of violent psychosis and the era’s weaker, less supported law enforcement finds itself completely overwhelmed battling food thieves and maniacs.
Prisons tear open from the inside, disgorging a
bused convicts into a world that could barely support the citizens it had. These newcomers, hardened in ways the people of the Big Push could not imagine, band together and begin pillaging to survive. While the militaries and police forces of larger settlements are able to drive these marauders off, many smaller towns and outposts are completely eradicated before the raiders are routed and forced into the wilds.

Broken and reeling, the remaining cities and settlements have no time to recover before the final nail in the Big Push’s coffin gets hammered home. Environmental concerns banned the use of pesticides early during the government’s decision making. In the short term, it worked and harvests were fine. But with nothing to keep them in check, grasshoppers have undergone their deadly metamorphosis into locusts for the first time since the dust bowl era, pre-Exodus.

Clouds of insects swarm what few fields remain, devouring crops and putting an end to any hope of restoring the populist government to power. Society collapses again and the survivors scatter once more into the distant corners of their ravaged world.
This marks the end of the Big Push and the beginning of the Dark Times.
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