Mankind’s search for an inhabitable planet within reach, or at least within a single lifetimes reach, had not been realized.
The two international space stations, the Eclipser and Star 9, had over the last decade turned their research toward their own existence. The Eclipser was named for its size, and Star 9 named for its continual orbit nine hundred miles beyond the outer reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere. Both stations were self-sustaining and no longer required the existence of Earth. Each had its own ecosystem and produced its own biomass fuels.
The Eclipser housed 4,300 crew members along with 3,000 cryogenically stored living embryos; Star 9 housed 2,100 crew members with 1,900 living embryos onboard. These living embryos were to be born through extrauterine fetal incubation as needed to replace aging or ailing crew members.Each station had made many great discoveries in medicine and science, but these discoveries had done little to help the nine billion inhabitants of earth. This had in part caused them to turn their research exclusively to themselves.
Over the last decade the Eclipser and Star 9 had observed a dark cloud beginning to form on the surface of the earth.
This is not the story of the space station Eclipser or Star 9. This is the story of the ones who remained on earth, of the ones who lived and of the ones who died, beneath this darkening cloud called Hunger.
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A disturbing vision of hunger
By John L. Moen
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 John L. Moen
All rights reserved.
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When Vinnini Petrolino was eight years old, while he and his mother were staying at the Hotel De Fleurie in Paris, he had dropped a bowl of fruit with all of the hotel dainties he could find, along with half of his dinner, from the balcony. And watched the brutal battle that ensued on the street below. Even at this young age, having by now seen the countless numbers of seemingly normal, capable people wandering and scavenging, Vinnini wondered, if a person would destroy another for a meal, what would a nation or a species do to another. Since his papa had passed away his mother stayed close to the business of the Petini vineyard in the north of Italy. All of the families that worked at the vineyard had become a part of Petrolino's family, and lived on the estate generation to generation. Those who had grown up and left to become lawyers, teachers or tradesmen returned to the Petrolinos and had been loyal to them and their vineyard. Vinnini had not known need or extravagance in his life because the families of the vineyard, including the Petrolinos, had lived modestly.
Shortly after leaving Paris he had asked his mother why some people had more than enough food while other people did not have enough. His mother had told him that she did not know but that he was young and maybe someday he would know. As Vinnini grew and learned more of the world and its social issues, he had received the same answer later on when he questioned her about the issue of abortion. Both of these issues were very perplexing to young Vinnini and he had taken her answers as an opportunity to begin a quest for answers on his own. His discovery of the vast Petrolino wealth and life beyond the vineyard as he reached adulthood would provide the resources to continue his quest for answers.
Vinnini had known a man named Wang Pong since their teenage years in college and he had detested him since their first meeting in Seoul, Korea. There, on one occasion, Wang Pong had sat at dinner, boasting that he had already produced seven children, five of them boys, and only two by the same woman.
"If a woman gives me good babies then I keep her," Wang Pong said, chewing, talking, grinning, and drinking all at the same time. "But if only one or two good babies, then she takes them and go away. Then you will have lots of people to work for you," He laughed, showing his seven gold-plated teeth.
"Each time I have a baby I get another tooth gold plated, but I think it's important. What about you Vinnini?" Pong had asked him "maybe what's important to me is impotent to you," Wang said, using his accent to make the words sound the same, he laughed again.
Pong's sickening laugh filled Vinnini's head again and again, and brought on all of the thoughts he had had as a child growing up seeing people struggle. After receiving his master's degree in Neuroscience, taking great studies in social, cognitive and behavioral works, he continued to achieve the equivalent in international trade laws with studies in agricultural trade liberalization and its effects on world food markets. At this same time in his life he began to look at the causes and effects of hunger and abortion on the human race as a whole, at first to try and find if the two were in any way connected cognitively, to examine if the fear of hunger was in any way related. The results of his studies showed that in the majority of cases they were not; his early studies showed that the fear of going hungry was a universal human phenomenon hidden deep in the human psyche.
During his studies he had gained the confidence of Professor Janji Daeng who had been like-minded of interest in the issue of abortion's effect on the human race, but cautioned Vinnini on the direction of his research. He had advised him not to seek political, moral or ethical answers to the subject because of its complexities, and had told Vinnini,
"Searching these avenues is a waste of human time, the only way that you cannot waste your time on this issue is to add something positive. In some cultures you have people who fight for their right to keep their child, and in others people fight for their right to destroy it. Also, you have all of the reasons between these two, so you cannot find all of these answers. This is only one part of the five greatest human phenomena, mass starvation in a world of plenty, genocide, mass suicide and war being the other four. There is nothing you can take away from this issue; you can only look to add something that is to the positive."
These studies and the viewpoints given by professor Daeng had been the guiding forces that led Vinnini to begin research on living embryo storage for reconciliation and the development of a nutritious wafer as a means of staving off what he believed was impending worldwide hunger.
Vinnini had positioned himself well inside of the forming North American Unified Government, which would later become known as the NAUG, including all twenty-three nation states and their territories of North America. He had recognized before meeting Wang Pong that mankind was in trouble. He believed Wang Pong's growing influence and power in developing an Independent Asian Nation Conference (IANC) would expedite these growing problems in many regions of the world. He had studied hard the production and consumption of the Earth's substance, and found that through the latter part of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st, the western world had reached the peak of productivity but had not reached an equal level of consumption. The United States, along with many of its neighbors, was producing more than it could consume, and large amounts of foods were being wasted. The West produced more than enough food to feed nearly the entire world's population, while many other nations had yet to become productive.
He found two of the greatest detriments to world nutrition being sustained, until these undeveloped and underdeveloped countries could become productive, had been the cost in edible grains from agriculture to feed livestock, in addition to the costs of ground and surface water used for irrigation of tillable lands in the production of ethanol.
Vinnini saw that Africa and Asia, the most populous continents, with the exception of China were the least productive of food goods, and during this time the West was throwing away more than it was giving away. He believed something in the nature of mankind had prevented the West, Europe and Russia from sharing enough, even from sharing the technology to become productive. In his early studies of civilizations, from vassals to lords and from nomadic tribes to kingdoms, the dominant emotion hindering the sharing of food appeared to have been greed. But this proved inconclusive, and he began neurological studies of emotions, trying to find a common emotion that led to greed, which was apparent but not universal. These neurological studies using functional neuroimaging gave him conclusive evidence that fear was the primogenial emotion of sharing food. Even indigenous people, when asked to share food with another tribe member, showed signs of fear prior to their decision of generosity.
He believed by eliminating this greatest emotion of fear, by sustained and equal portion, the lesser emotions would be more easily negated. Vinnini believed that ethical solutions to the vast array of current issues were impossible to achieve because ethics was not the driving force behind these issues. He also believed that there was, and always had been, enough food to feed the earth's entire population, he believed as the earth's population grew so should productivity. His studies in food production, distribution, and consumption, beginning with early civilizations to current, had shown him that the inherent fear of sharing food by people of the west had been overshadowed in part by their belief in the government; that they had been more than willing to share because of their belief in their protected state. Religious beliefs by individuals and organizations had also overshadowed this fear and had given way to generosity. He found that because of the diversity of religions in the west, there had been no coordinated effort, and the amount of aid that was delivered by them was also insufficient.
It was the government officials who did not feel this protection and had caused deliveries of good faith relief aid to be hindered, often to a point of spoilage or misdirected deliveries into inaccessible regions. Many of these decisions had been under the guidance of military officials in the U.S. Department of Defense, who, Vinnini believed after decades of military service, saw everyone as the enemy and they had acted in the belief that one should not feed the enemy. Vinnini believed evidence of this fact was in the continued oppression of North and South American native tribes, who were denied lands and resources to reestablish their civilizations.CHAPTER 2
Seeds of the Unions
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Vinnini saw that organized labor had complete control of essential goods and services production from Mexico to Argentina by 2030. High volume but low nutritional value foods were grown, destroying natural ecosystems and replacing them with massive single-crop plantations. Unknowingly, the citizens had joined themselves to these unions in exchange for protection and prosperity, not realizing that the unions were not the employers' but a liaison. These corrupt unions that mobilized into essential markets, although modeled after U.S. labor unions to outward appearance, had been preceded by corruption of government officials and organizers by the growers, to minimize labor and benefit costs. Government agencies had not only allowed the unions, but had assisted them in deceiving the workers, by entering into agreements with growers without the workers' knowledge. The growers had, by removing the workers' habitat along with their resources, created a dependency on them and the government.
Once the governments had taken over the companies which controlled the food and services, the people became government employees no longer drawing wages but allotments and credits. These agricultural agreements were the beginning of organized labor movements that would assist these agencies in taking control of the co-ops that controlled the seeds and the energy needs for farming, thus allowing the government to control the entire food chain. The beginning of these movements came with the North American Free Trade Agreement, which by law did not allow American growers to sell on the U.S. retail markets until all foreign markets had played out and restricting them to sell only to restaurants and government institutions, or export into markets that were selling, not buying. This closure of the retail grocery market sales forced the growers to leave their produce in the field to rot, and receive government subsidies which they did not want, or file bankruptcy.
The long fought battle to disarm the civilian population in case of an uprising against these agreements and takeovers, that began in the United States and in what was still separate nation states of North America, was expedited near the beginning formation of the NAUG Offering incentives for firearms surrender so enticing they were too many people beyond refusal. These incentives, such as permanent employment and free housing, were offered openly as well as to tipsters, which divided families and communities alike.
It began as a great social safety program known as Gun Free in Twenty Three Still Alive in Twenty Five. To show all was in good faith the combined efforts of the North American governments began moving against gangs which held many city neighborhoods and border towns under their control. They began a campaign of destruction against the gangs by surrounding and taking over sections of major cities without regard to the rights of residents. It was determined that the loss of life and property suffered by residents of these communities in an all-out war to end gang violence was no greater or less humane than allowing the gangs to remain in control. It was further upheld that the gangs had forfeited their rights by non-registration to gun ownership. At all costs, and preferably without undue hardship, death or injury to innocent citizens, all guns would be confiscated. This process would take seven years. With this showing of good intention and force, the incentives became very effective, and millions of firearms were turned in and destroyed in trade for secure government housing and employment with the NAUG. Once the NAUG constitution had been ratified, Vinnini moved quickly to offer similar incentives for voluntary sterilization; complete non-reversible sterilization having the most rewards, such as lifetime housing and employment with full benefits. Lesser temporary sterilization would provide housing and employment with protection but in a more transient way. Eventually sterilization by injections of styrene maleic anhydride in men and hormonal injections in women would be required before admittance into the controlled areas. Developments in these two means of sterilization had achieved thirty years' sterilization for men and twenty years for women.
These findings had created and fueled Vinnini's intentions of watching and waiting for current political systems to collapse. Knowing the current systems were based on fear, they were irreparable regardless of his power and influence. As these systems collapsed they disrupted the world's food chain along with them. Many countries had become dependent on imported foodstuffs and did not have the ability to sustain their populace once the chain was broken.CHAPTER 3
SUMMIT OF THE STARVING
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Vinnini and other major world leaders had arranged a summit meeting at the NAUG Headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to address impending world starvation. With the abolishment of separate nation states' governments the governing body of the NAUG, heavily influenced by Vinnini, had chosen Calgary as the location of the headquarters. Many nations' capitals, including the White House, had become guarded museums of archives. These guarded capital museums were not visited but remained under guard by the NAUG out of respect as historical monuments. Several countries had been in disagreement to the capital of the NAUG being in the former United States capital and this had worked well in Vinnini's favor. He had studied the continent's hydrological cycle and had chosen the remote location of Calgary because of the confluence of aquifers in this region, although gravely diminished from irrigation and drought they would provide much needed energy resources. It would also allow Vinnini control over the use of these aquifers once they were restored.
It was difficult for Vinnini to address many leaders of IANC neighboring countries because of their fear of retaliation by Wang Pong. Many of these countries' leaders had sought help from China, who had refused to supply commodities, but had sent a diplomat to the summit meeting to make the needs of these countries known. Uninvited Wang Pong and his entourage entered the meeting from the east wall of the NAUG compound in Calgary. Thirteen naked women accompanied him, the first two just behind him connected to the larger group by gold chains. Individual chains then ran throughout the group of women, each having gold chains connected to piercings through different parts of their bodies, all moving simultaneously. Some were pierced from the web of their fingers to another's ear or from their lip to another's lip or belly. They danced and moved together licking and rubbing against each other, bending and twisting together in motions that resembled a great ball of snakes moving across the floor.
Wang Pong walked slowly using a long staff that towered above his head as a cane. A jade-eyed dragon's head half the size of his own topped the ivory-inlaid staff. The women stopped moving forward once inside the meeting chambers, but continued their dance of hunger. Licking and sucking on each other, squeezing and pushing each other's flesh, their bodies pierced and chained together but moving as if in oil. Wang Pong, by fear, took a seat from a man at the end of the long table and watched as every eye was upon the women, engrossed in the spectacle. The women stopped moving and stood up perfectly straight for a few seconds then laid down where they stood, exposing a very beautiful woman in their midst. The woman was bound in gold chains but not pierced. The two women who had been behind Wang Pong moved to her as she slowly fell to her knees, her neck stretched forward with her mouth open reaching out with her tongue. One of the women began to unchain her as the other began reaching down her throat. The woman in the midst began to gag and retch as she tried to swallow the woman's hand and forearm. When the young woman's arms were free from the chains she reached and pulled the woman's arm farther into her throat. She began to shudder and writhe as the woman pulled her arm from her. As the woman in the midst of them collapsed, the ones pierced and chained together immediately arose, went to her, and began licking on her.
Excerpted from Draw Box by John L. Moen. Copyright © 2016 John L. Moen. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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