The Story of Cory Sheppard
A Rosella Tolfree World Story by Seth Underwood
This story contains graphic and social elements that some people may find distressing. Like all my stories, it’s recommended for mature audiences with open minds. In no way as an author am I endorsing what I mention as morally good, but these writings are to show the darker side of society where things can go wrong. As always, if you, or someone you know, are seriously contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (US Only).
Taking place during the middle of the Second Age of Humanity, the world suffered under the grips of a twin ecological disaster. The Great Melt and New Madrid Traps in Missouri (a massive flow of lava near the city of New Madrid, Missouri) were occurring at the same time. The sea levels are rising at a rate faster than expected. The global surface temperature on average was around 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The whole of the Earth’s weather systems is changing as the large-scale atmospheric convection cells, Hadley Cells, merge into one giant cell from pole to equator.
The U.S. suspended Federal elections through the adoption of a rushed constitutional amendment. Many coastal states are flooding, and evacuations have begun with the use of military force. Riots in protest of these actions have been occurring, the Moon Riots in Texas among them.
Years prior, humanity invested in human cloning, cybernetics, artificial intelligence, bi-pedal androids, and slowly colonizing Mars since the discovery of how to control quantum gravity. Now new mineral discoveries on Mars are opening a potential revolution in quantum gravity space drives to propel humans further into the universe.
But with this odd dichotomy of high-tech development and ecological disaster, a division in society was developing between the governments of the peoples and the corporations that control technology. The global ecological disaster would prove too much for the governments of the peoples, but a boon for the corporations - a division that would reshape all of society in the next ages to come.
Years of Social Justice
The U.S. in the First Age of Humanity went through many years of social justice changes, included the end of slavery and the end of the separate but equal doctrine. But its greatest change was the passing of the Minority Race Economic Adjustment Amendment. This amendment was the most socially impactive piece of legislation since Congress adopted the Reconstruction Amendments between 1865 and 1870. The Minority Race Economic Adjustment Amendment changed various aspects of Federal representation, but its most impactive social effect was the codification of affirmative action at the level of the Constitution. Congress narrowly defined African American under this amendment to mean only those who could trace their roots back to original slaves, including genetically. By the time of the Great Melt and New Madrid Traps, it was common for those families who could afford it to mix African American heritage DNA into their cloned children. This allowed their children to gain social advantages. When it came to the courts about this mixing of non-parent DNA, they saw no difference in this DNA being added as any other process used in cloning. Because at the start of the process the biological parents suppled their own DNA to make a eukaryotic clone or even one parent supplying their DNA to make an asexual clone.
The most common expression of this heritage DNA with clones is in the nose, as noted by the study by Ziqing Zhuang, Douglas Landsittel, Stacey Benson, Raymond Roberge, Ronald Shaffer, entitled Facial Anthropometric Differences among Gender, Ethnicity, and Age Groups, published in The Annals of Occupational Hygiene, Volume 54, Issue 4, June 2010, Pages 391–402. “African-Americans have statistically shorter, wider, and shallower noses than Caucasians.” It’s one of the known giveaways that a person may have heritage DNA in them when it doesn’t match up with their skin tone and other racial features. Only genetic purists care about this issue in the United States. Fortunately for America, these people are few in numbers, despite their growing political reach.
Current Condition of California
For years scientists had predicted global warming would take over 1,000 years to melt all the ice on the planet. But with the New Madrid Traps expelling tons of greenhouse gasses, the Earth’s mean temperature rose at an even faster pace than expected. What was to take forever was now occurring now so fast that sea levels were rising at a rate of two feet per year. By the time of this story, the ocean waters are currently 98 feet higher than what was normal in the early 21st century. At these levels, the ocean has totally flooded the Sacramento Valley of California, much of San Francisco, and parts of Los Angeles and San Diego. The areas of Los Angeles currently flooded include Irvine, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and as far inland as Compton, Hawthorne, and Buena Park. State and Federal governments ordered forced evacuations for impacted areas. Those unaffected, or wealthy, have not been evacuated to refugee camps in inland states, like Nevada. Any wealthy affected have been free to move out on their own. Those stubborn individuals refusing to leave are simply being left behind as there are no resources to mount a recovery later. Ironically, those who are still living in the dry parts are trying to carry on as if there’s nothing happening, as if rapid flooding was just another normal everyday event. This attitude is in part the direct result of the Social Media Net shows downplaying the severity of the catastrophe hitting the nation and world. Some Net shows even push the government’s propaganda that going to a refugee camp is an act of patriotism.
While the nation and states deal with the grips of sea-level rise, an influenza pandemic is occurring. Already the pandemic has killed millions in the undeveloped parts of the world, and the new migration occurring due to flooding is causing the pandemic to spread rapidly. At the time of this story, the pandemic has reached the shores of the U.S., and the Governor of California has imposed a mask wearing ordinance in public and curfews on public gatherings after 5pm, all to deal with a new deadly global influenza pandemic that has no vaccine. vaccine secondary to the larger disaster of global flooding. All the while on the current Social Media Net shows, a very vocal group of epidemiologists are preaching the doctrine of creating herd immunity in the general populace through natural selection.
The economic impacts were being felt by both catastrophes. The mandated early closure times have financially impacted many bars and restaurants still in operation. This is causing a ripple effect through the local micro-economies as people are now spending less money, and the forced evacuations have physically removed sources of cash for sales. The business bankruptcy filings have increased.
The mask wearing ordinance has upset some people who found the masks ill-fitting because of their facial features. In the west coast states, there have been occasional demonstrations in the streets about the racial nature of masks, but the current Social Media Net had no commentary or news about it. The demonstrators claim that mask designers have failed to incorporate suggested anthropomorphic racial features to ensure well-fitting masks, and in doing so they are putting people at risk. Mask manufacturers deny these claims.
Cory & Krystal Sheppard
Cory Sheppard is a fully Caucasian cloned human who works as an auditor for the firm Byers and Bray Accountants in Los Angeles, California.
Cory and his wife Krystal have lived in the Los Angeles area known as Koreatown since they got married fifteen years ago, when she was only 25 and he was 37. Koreatown is an area about 150 blocks west of Downtown Los Angeles, which has changed from the 21st Century. Koreatown became more upscale, with condos replacing older buildings. Parts of old Koreatown were preserved, but as a tourist trap for the city the locals don’t visit this part of Koreatown unless they have out-of-town visitors.
Cory had met Krystal in a downtown bar two years before their marriage. Prior to Krystal, Cory had suffered a long and awkward string of dating rejections since online high school, and Krystal was the only girl who hadn’t pushed him away immediately. He became totally smitten with her. They saw each other off and on until Cory proposed to her. She was hesitant to accept until later the night of his proposal when she looked up Cory to see what his earning potential was as an auditor.
Cory grew up in a two-parent middle-class family in Los Angeles, but Krystal had grown up in a multi-child divorced family. She was one of five cloned girls living in the bottom level of the high life in Hollywood. They were rich, but not rich enough to play with the Hollywood crowd. She always blamed her parents’ divorce for this problem, even as an adult. Krystal’s parents would use each daughter against the other to get them to obey or con them into doing something. As a result, she came to resent her entire family.
Unlike Cory, Krystal had African American heritage DNA mixed into her. Although she has blond hair, blue eyes, and a white skin tone, her nose is distinctively African American. Being six feet tall and thin, she could have easily worked in the modeling industry. Cory was as plain vanilla as you could get. He had brown hair, brown eyes, and a six feet height build. He wasn’t particularly rugged-looking or classically handsome. He was average, like a mid-grade self-driving car.
While Cory had a master’s in accounting fraud, Krystal had earned an online bachelor’s degree in social work and landed an administrative secretary position with a local religious non-profit.
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