Radiant Praxis, the bloodless revolution of 2080, abolished all political boundaries and established seven Continental Federations, each with its own democratically elected leaders. Each Federation is represented on the InterContinental Confederation (ICC). One problem remains, however. The horrendous persistence of the Great Plague (GP), which decimated most of the world's population during the 21st century and galvanized Survivors to value life over death.
Until the babies disappeared, the world has been serene and peaceful. No war, no weapons, no competition, no crime, no fear, no greed, no poverty, no hatred, no pollution, no "Get Even" -- problems which had harried earlier centuries. Technology, talents, and natural resources are shared and bartered cooperatively. Journeys between continents and to outer space are routine. The InterContinental Confederation (ICC) assigns the responsibility for finding the babies and their kidnappers to its seven Operational Alliances, coordinated by the Conflict Resolution Alliance (CRA).
When one of the missing babies is found dead, fear begins to contaminate the Earth. Suspicion focuses on The Faithful, a secret cabal of the discredited and ostensibly disbanded multinational corporate industries which had ruthlessly controlled Food, Religion, Technology, Weapons, Governments, Manufacturing, Communications, Chemicals, Health Care, and Finance. But critical questions remain: who killed the baby? And where are the others?
Back in the 20th century, the worst fear had been war between nations, each one fighting for more money, more territory, more property, and more power over the others. In the 21st century small groups of terrorists used religion tojustify their murderous ecapades. Scapegoats were denigrated and attacked. Each group had its own set of enemies. Human beings slaughtered one another with religious zeal, using terrifying weapons of destruction, which grew ever more efficient.
In those dark days, powerful weapons proliferated in the hands of national governments and small groups of terrorists, obsessed with hatred. Weapons were readily available to ordinary adults and children. Life was taken for granted. Suicide was rampant. Killing was easy. Enemies were destroyed because they were "different" or refused to accept subordination or practised their own version of religion or refused to relinquish their property or their national sovereignty.
Monuments to the dead were everywhere. Battlefields were sacred. National anthems glorified political boundaries and their flags and their bloody wars. Some religious wore symbols of an execution device -- a cross -- as jewelry, and they hung the cross with a dying man nailed to it over their beds, around their necks, and on the walls of their buildings. Death in the name of each righteous cause was venerated. Armies destroyed one another and "enemy" populations in the name of their own particular gods or sacred causes. Suicide bombers were glorified.
Various religions touted their own versions of Truth and Morality, always attributed to one or another "God" who allegedly spoke directly to earthly leaders. Religious disagreements often became the pretext for acts of unspeakable violence against non-believers. The superstitious blamed bad Mother Nature for disasters and credited good Father God when their prayers (wishes) came true.
Love, peace, and non-violence were unable to overcome the entrenched power of the self-selected oligarchists -- The Faithful -- who used fear, insecurity, and physical force, including murder, to ensure absolute control by manipulating all economic, scientific, political, educational, military, religious, communication, technological, and