The war that never came but regardless we lost everything
The following mustn’t be read. It can be left simply unsaid…
It is often said to understand one’s present situation; one must first understand one’s past. And history is sometimes more alive than we might like to think. Just because it has happened does not mean it is over and its effects can no longer be felt. On the contrary, the more we discover, and the more we learn from the past, through analysis and exploration, the higher its’ effects are felt now and into the future.
2000- Globalisation as an ideology starts to take hold. It is marketed as the best way to control conflicting interests through the sharing of a global market.
2010- Social Media and Globalisation reach saturation point. The illusion of complete freedom now exists when in fact the opposite is true. All private knowledge is now public, whether we allow it to be or not. Global economic forces struggle for control of the markets. In Western economies, governments have lesser power while corporations ever increasingly und insidiously exert their influence over the public. Asian, African and Eastern European governments exert more influence and control over their citizens through control of social media. The influence of corporations on global politics is restricted. Smaller activist and terrorist groups become more established. They maximize their media coverage throughout the world using social media and the darknet. The global networks give these groups a larger platform in which to operate. The clear line that defines the left and the right diminished Terrorist, rebel, patriot, freedom fighter are words that can now mean one and the same.
Early 2020’s -death throes of globalization can be felt. The fear of war can be felt across the globe. The fear of terrorism, migration, and globalization has forced countries to withdraw from the global stage and have more nationalistic agendas.
The mid-2020’s- Societies across the globe are now completely controlled by the government. Everyone, every action, anything that is said and done can be photographed, tagged, documented and released on social media. Control is now paramount in this world. Everyone watches and cares about what they say and do. Truth and evidence of it can now be easily manipulated. People can no longer trust anything presented to them in the media and by their government. Fact is no longer a fact. Reality is no longer real.
Late 2020’S-Countries start to introduce their own purpose-built internets. China comes first, followed by Russia, Turkey, the middle eastern and African states. In the EU the original internet still exists but is heavily monitored and controlled by the individual states. Eventually what is left of the European Union (EU) becomes completely segmented. Most countries struggle with fanatical left and right-wing components further exacerbating regional instability.
2030- America is one of the last countries to maintain what remains of its’ free market and its’ trade principles. There are however no other countries allowing their citizens with access to these markets. The countries of the world have completely cut themselves off from each other using isolationist and protectionist policies. This effectively cements the rise in Nationalism across the globe.
The idea of Globalism is now surpassed by Nationalism. In many countries, Nationalistic pride is considered one of the most important ideas that an individual, a citizen, can aspire to. Media as a consequence is now strictly controlled, and propaganda finds its way into every aspect of social media. Generations are now subject to the wishes and the views of the state. This new philosophy of isolationism is indoctrinated all over the world. It functions better in countries that are naturally isolated due to their geography and weather. Nowhere is this more effective in the country that would soon be formerly known as Australia.
2031- “The War that never came” begins: Also known as the “Never-Never” it is a war unlike any other. It is the greatest of all wars yet to be seen by humankind.
It is believed to have started on the morning of May 6th, 2031. Many historians believe that an EU member state was transferring emergency funds to what was then the remainder of the African Union (AU). This was undertaken via an electronic transaction system. The funds, however, didn’t arrive. In what first appeared to be a glitch in the system quickly turned into something more sinister.
Upon further analysis, it was discovered that a third party had deliberately interfered not only in the transaction itself but the system responsible for it the disruption expanded further to all the communications within the AU. The AU state, in a last-ditch effort, took its systems offline to avoid further vulnerability. The EU member agreed. They would also go offline and then try to re-establish contact. The plan failed. The African Union could no longer be contacted. This turned out to be not an isolated incident. All communications with the Union were cut off. Other countries were asked to try and help recontact the Union. All further attempts failed. It was as if someone had simply turned the lights out.
The EU, America, and Russia quickly engaged their military resources as a first response. They turned their satellites towards the affected country to see if they could shed light on what was happening. The endeavor failed. All satellites reaching a visual range of the state found themselves deactivated and offline. They had simply vanished from all communication systems.
The next day an emergency meeting of the UN was convened to tackle the problem only to find that now the communications problem was not limited to the AU. Two other countries in Asia had followed the same fate. Rumors had started to spread that a rogue state might somehow be involved.
Drones from the neighboring countries of those that had been affected were sent over the border to conduct reconnaissance. Upon crossing the affected zones, they too also vanished. No one knew how this was happening, and no one knew why. Paranoia gripped the world. Military units across the world were put on standby. The social media erupted into a frenzy of conspiracy theories. States across the globe became unstable. Protests broke out. It was anarchy.
As a last hope, the UN adopted an emergency measure in which all nations started closing down and isolating their communication networks from the rest of the globe. It was assumed that the communications problem could have only been caused by a computer virus. As a further precaution countries sent their armies and defense units to their respective borders in preparation for an attack from an unknown threat.
By day three, the 8th of May the UN was now in disarray. 40% of the nations were now off the grid. The UN convened to declare this as an official act of war. This would prove difficult as there was no clue as to who might be behind the assault. The UN agreed to send in Special Armed Forces the borders of the affected regions. Upon arrival, the units found themselves being set upon by artillery and arms fire.
Those countries who no longer had communications naturally thought they were under attack from those forces assembling at their borders. This picture was emerging across the board. Countries that had been disconnected were now isolated, alone, afraid and paranoid. Skirmishes were starting to break out across borders. Meanwhile at the UN, the remaining countries still online were accusing each other of somehow being responsible. They assumed that the responsible party had to be from a country still with access to their communications network.
As Day 4 arrived, and the UN found that only 30% of countries remained connected. Russia, America, and China all agreed to dissolve the last of UN communications network as a final fail-safe. They couldn’t risk their countries being infected or vulnerable to whatever this was. As it became clear that the entire world would be soon offline from each other, a new emergency systems communication was to be employed where human emissaries were to be sent to all nations to establish viable communications in the future once the grid failed.
Then on day 4 at 21:32 all communications were severed and the world cut-off. The planet went dark. All emissaries were immediately employed to re-establish a global network. This would remain a slow process. The process to completely rebuild the networks would however take many years. The world went dark.
2036- 5 years after the “blackout.” Communication between the larger nations and bodies was able to be continuously established. The picture of the Earth that emerged was one of devastation. What had taken place in the last few years had sent most of civilization back a few decades. The UN re-established itself as best as it could. It attempted to make a head count of all the countries across the planet. The EU and Russia reported that most of their smaller neighbors had fallen to civil unrest. In Asia and Africa, regimes had formed with no wish to further communicate or interact with the outside world.
Several countries had gone to war with each other over resources. Some countries still had no access to direct communication. America and China fell further into isolation and protectionism during this time. Their societies were now only concerned with internal matters. Other countries, however, came together during this phase of instability. Australasia became no longer a geographical area on a map. It established itself as a block of countries including Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. These countries had merged during the crisis and now were governed as one body.
Globalization and the progress made in the twentieth century ultimately had failed with the advent of the war. The concept no longer existed. Global power had shifted. Old trading partners and practices no longer existed and would be hard to renew. Nationalism was now the way of things.
2041- After a further 5 years after reestablishment, most of the larger nations and groups of nations had reached a sort of normalization. The War that Never Came became commonly known as the ‘Never-Never.’ Because although the communications blackout was over, most people feared that the war was not truly done.
The name ‘Never-Never’ itself evolved from a question. When people were asked in the media if they thought the war was over, the popular reply was ‘never say never.’ It gained traction. People would whisper it behind closed doors. ‘Never Say Never.’ It was like the expression ‘Touch Wood.’ When someone would refer to the war being over another would immediately say ‘Never-Never.’ The expression would be burned into the minds of a new generation.
2042- The Australasian Block of countries dominated on the world stage. A weakened global order had allowed the group of nations to influence a considerable amount of power across the planet.
Living in the Block was however no party. Living standards in the main cities were suboptimal. The ‘M,’ as it was commonly known in the Australasian block had now become a social backwater. In part because of the Never-Never. In part, because the Block’s government, the Democratic Non-Elect (DNE) had helped make it that way. The M like its’ sister city, the ‘S,’ had evolved into quasi-city-states. Using the latest in surveillance technologies, they had effectively imprisoned the population within. And to made sure it stayed that way, both cities built a wall around their borders for good measure.
In the M, nothing went in, and nothing went out without being subjected to the strictest of controls. Surveillance and control were everywhere. The social media or SOM as it was abbreviated to, was used in complete disregard for the protections that one in a free society might usually be afforded. People were policed by the government and the SOM. If you committed or crime or it was simply perceived that you were guilty of a crime, then you were safer to turn yourself in. Better to be arrested for a crime you did not commit then to be given up to the masses. Peoples’ justice was the justice of the latter half of the twenty-first century. Social media would place judgment, and then it was only a matter of time before someone on the street would take the matter into their own hands.
What the ‘M’ lacked, regarding a free-thinking state, it made up for it in social engineering and technological know-how. The city had seen a large boom in the population in the mid-2020s. This had led to a shift in fortunes in favor of the city. More money was invested in research and the technology sectors. This allowed the city to be one of the first to come under the complete control of an Artificial Intelligence system. The M was designed by its original founders in the early eighteen-hundreds as a city built up from a system of grids. That is, it was built up block by block in a system of squares. All blocks were relatively easily connected and integrated with each other. That made it easy for the artificial intelligence system to coordinate the daily functions of the city and made it one of the most forward-thinking cities in the world.
Even during the Never-Never, the cities of the Block were able to communicate relatively rudimentary with each other. It was enough to secure the borders and supply its’ citizens with enough food for at least the first year. Eventually, the distribution of wealth had started to cease. After a year with no imports, food and other utility products had started to become scarce. Rationing was to be enforced. At the end of the second year, with only limited contact with the outside world, poverty began to set in. Each state started to refuse to distribute its goods and food to others in the Block. Discontent set in, first among the states, then the cities themselves.
Before the Never-Never came to an end, the cities had isolated themselves off completely. They remained under the control of the Australasian national government but barely. The M had adopted the most extreme measures. Based on the grid principal it could effectively isolate itself. That, and the fact that it had an AI system operating the city. At first, the M isolated itself by restricting the highways that connected it to the rest of the country. Then came the freeways, then the outer regions and roads until finally, the entire city closed itself to the rest of the country. Fences were installed. Then came the walls. They stretched around the entire city with a radius over 50km. The city’s AI used a combination of cameras, drones, and sentinels to cover and secure the city. The M was the state within the state.
The city had developed into one of the most controlled societies in the world. Regardless of poverty, the technology within the city had protected itself from the outside world during the Never-Never. After the war, the government, the DNE, took control over the M. Using the expertise from the M, the government was now able to spy on and effectively control all its citizens. With the mass poverty within the block, it remained a backwater civilization, but it was probably one of the most advanced backwaters inexistence.
The M became globally renowned for its technological know-how. Using that notoriety, it proposed a way to avoid a planet-wide blackout in the future. The M’s researchers suggested that there was an only way true way to remove any further disruption to global communication in the future. And that was to remove the source of communication off the Earth.
A defunct international space station was given a second lease of life. It combined with a system of satellites formed a communications array allowing all nations to communicate with each other. The station was protected via a global defense network and its location controlled by the AI of the M. No one would be able to know the station’s exact location except for the AI. Once the station was active, it was decided that back up stations were to be set up across the planet in Earth orbit. Should one fail, another could be started and so on. The station was the M’s masterpiece in technology advancement.