It was remarkably fast, in retrospect. Under 12 years. It was a classic Frog Boil – turn up the heat slowly so no one notices. The chronic irony, of course, was that everyone did. But did nothing.
The salvage boat set off from a hidden dock in the Rocky Archipelago.
The first mate always chuckled at the thought of the Rockies as islands. He was the only one.
It was a terrible night. A storm had hit and they were only really going out for the sake of it. There was no way anyone was diving.
Storms were always trouble, sometimes mines broke free and drifted out into the open sea.
But it wasn’t a mine they encountered that day. It was what came to be dubbed “The First Boy.”
He was near death when they found him, clinging to a smashed boat. The crew stabilized him. His first words, “Am I in Heaven?”
He woke ten hours later. The crew were alerted to this by the screams coming from his room. They burst in to find him in a corner, a broken chair brandished as a weapon.
He figured if he wasn’t dead, and wasn’t in Merica, then he must be in the hands of the Evil Doers. And he wasn’t going to let Them take him. He had God on his side. Presnit said so.
They gave him news feeds, computers, newspapers – even a mobile phone.
All tools of Satan, which he smashed. Merica alone was the Saved Land. Everywhere else was lost to the Flood and the Burning Times that laid waste to the sinners.
He refused food and water and, three days after he arrived, killed himself.
In the years that followed more people were found – some by accident, some rescued. The First Contact teams were trained to keep more of them alive.
Each survivor had a piece of the picture.
The new regime … well, the old regime … declared elections unconstitutional during times of war. And then they initiated “The Change.”
They started with the schools – a new, faith based, curriculum was put in place. Books were burnt, not officially, of course, but by “concerned parent groups.”
Flag waving became the only way to remain safe. There was uproar outside the country but the media – now the Department of Information Dissemination – painted everyone who wasn’t with them as being against them. Each commentator, pundit or anchor repeated these sentiments. These were then repeated on the radio to like minded communities.
No one blinked an eye when the internment camps opened.
The echo chamber sounded loudly.
So the world turned its back on a nation rapidly descending into senility. Albeit a nation with enough power to destroy the world. Why that didn’t happen, no one knew.
And then came the Night of the Burning. The rest of the world burning at the hands of terrorist dirty bombs.
Everyone saw it. Everyone inside the borders.
All communication was blocked going in and out of the country. With nothing to contradict the official version, people got in line. All now believed that the world was now just Merica.
You had to stand together. Anything else would insult the memories of those brave soldiers that lost their lives.
“In the Might of God we Trust.”