GROND: The Raven High
by Yuri Hamaganov
Genre: YA Scifi
Release Date: April 2017
In the year 2086, Earth is exhausted. The seas have been emptied, the bedrock and soil stripped of their resources, and the superheated atmosphere churns with terrible storms. Those who can afford to do so live in the limbo of virtual reality, and the billions who suffer in poverty have no work, no clean water, and no security from the chaos.
The only hope for those trapped on a dying Earth are the Changed—the seven bioengineered post-humans who work in their separate manufacturing facilities orbiting high above the planet. Raised from birth for their work and fully matured at ten years old, their genius provides the nanomaterials that have begun to cleanse Earth of the pollutants that have wiped out almost the entire ecosphere.
But for Olga Voronov, youngest of the Changed, the isolation and endless toil are not the greatest of her challenges. Down on Earth there are those who resent and fear her talents—and would prefer that humanity not be given the second chance that only she could make possible …
Buy Link: Amazon
CHAPTER SIX: CHANGED
…Paris. December. But this was not the city whose streets Olga loved to prowl on a motorcycle in her early childhood.
Olga and Arina Rodionovna slowly walked along the central streets. The simulator reproduced the thick snowfall and cold wind with exceptional precision. Their fashionable leather boots squished over the slush as they walked down trash-filled sidewalks and past once-fashionable shops whose windows were covered with steel shields and twined with concertina wire. There were no trees left—they had long since been cut down for firewood. Only one out of every ten street lamps operated since electricity was so costly. Hydrogen powered vehicles hummed down the street. A large column of smoke rose into the sky from a few blocks away. Shots were heard as rioters and the army traded gunfire. A huge line of people stood in front of a government office. Judging by their looks, they had spent many hours in the cold.
“Nowadays you will see a similar picture in all the major cities,” Arina said. “The situation here is still rather calm. The army still has control of the city center, though they steer clear of the outskirts if they can help it.”
“Are all those people unemployed?”
“Yes, and they are seeking food rations. Most of them have never had a permanent occupation. And never will.”
Olga shrugged. It wasn’t her problem.
There was too little work left for Earth’s huge population. Hardly ten percent of them were employed. The space industry with its high efficiency had ruthlessly destroyed most enterprises on Earth. The farming industry had also changed drastically over the pat fifty years, with fully automatic facilities needing almost no personnel.
Finally, there were Olga and other representatives of the Changed from her generation. The symbiosis of the artificial intellect and nanomachines has given them virtually unlimited capabilities. And so the billions of ordinary people had become useless for anything except standing in lines for free rations.
Olga had never felt sorry about that, taking this state of things as a matter of course. Since her early childhood she understood that you can’t stand in the way of progress or progress will crush you. These people couldn’t compete with her, and so in compliance with the omnipotent laws of evolution, they were doomed to defeat and squalor. The sole thing that worried Olga was that sooner or later she too could be replaced. This option was not unlikely either.
“We observe the classical vicious circle,” Arina said. “No work, no money. No money, no trade. No trade, no work. Nowadays to live on Earth, one must be either very rich or very poor. All others have gone to the orbit.”
The sirens howled out their warnings of the commencement of the curfew and the closure of borders between the districts. Olga shuddered as a gust of cold wind hurled wet snow into her face. Even as the rest of the world baked, Europe had frozen with the cessation of Gulf Stream current.
“Well, Raven, have you decided not to return to Earth when your contract expires?”
Olga stopped. Her glance took in the dark streets, barred windows, dismal figures.
“Here? I don’t think so … But where shall I go?”
About the Author
Yuri Hamaganov lives in Moscow. He created the eight-volume GROND series as a present for himself when he was twelve years old. This was the story he had always dreamed of exploring, and when he realized that nobody had written it for him, he set out to do it himself.
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