The Story of Robin Browning
A Rosella Tolfree World Story by Seth Underwood
A New and Deadly Influenza Pandemic
By the middle of the Second Age of Humanity, while humanity was experiencing the twin ecological disasters of the polar ice cap melting and volcanic lava traps opening in the middle of the United States, a new deadly strain of influenza encircled the globe. Millions were becoming sick and dying. The disease pushed hospitals beyond their limits. This time, vaccine efforts had failed to prevent serious illness across all ages, with or without comorbidities.
National leaders, with no actual proof, were placing the blame for the pandemic on the coastal flooding from the Great Melt. The U.S. federal government removed people from the coastal areas into refugee camps. Scientists routinely pointed out that seawater wasn’t the cause, and they suspected the origins to be zoonotic. Despite the scientists’ credentials, lack of proof for their alternative hypothesis made it hard to sell. But all this didn’t stop the social media net’s conspiracy shows from saying, “The pandemic was an attempt to kill off people because the Great Melt was economically straining society, especially since the collapse of the United Nations, many nations had become isolationistic and adopted rationing.” The arguments these social media shows made were always circular and made little sense.
Before this point in time, society had changed its opinion on genetic modification of the human species. At the start of the age, many hailed it as paving the path to the end of genetic disorders and suffering. By this point in the Second Age, there were two kinds of humans on the planet. The first was those conceived and born the traditional method via human copulation, usually found in the poorer parts of society and nations.
The second was those genetically engineered through advanced CRISPR technologies, 3-D genetic printing, and large gestation systems. These clones were more common in the upper classes of societies and first-world nations. There were two kinds of human clones: eukaryotic clones, which were more common and had genetic material sourced from two humans; and asexual clones, which were less common and had genetic material sourced from one human. People considered asexual clones to be inferior because they did not recombine the DNA from two sources and could have uncorrectable genetic errors.
Mars Colonization Issues
It was also during the middle of the Second Age that Mars’s colonization efforts came to a near end. All the government backing of space travel collapsed as the Great Melt occurred – this despite the incredible leaps forward in space travel decades prior with quantum gravity and the push-pull gravity drive. The destination that took months to travel to before was now only weeks away, and sometimes shorter. But right before the total abandonment, surveyors on Mars discovered large deposits of silicon. This changed everything. Silicon was a major component in the construction of gravity drives and acted in part as the fuel source, like how oil was for internal combustion engines in the past. But the Martian silicon presented material engineers with an array of issues because of its composition. Refiners could not easily process raw Martian silicon like Earth’s silicon into usable components for gravity drives and systems. It would take someone like Robin Browning to come up with the method that made it usable.
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