• The presidential palace was highly securized and incredibly luxurious. Apart from the President’s huge collection of masterpieces exhibited on the walls the most impressing was the patio imagined like an ocearium from which Sam Suung and Maa Kintoche could admire beautiful undersea sceneries.
    It bothered somehow Sam Suung when she realized the President would have never gone out his palace to face reality:
    - May I help you? The President’s secretary politely inquired.
    - We have business with the President, Maa Kintoche announced.
    - Wait here I’ll take you to him as soon as possible.
    They didn’t have to wait long. With courtesy the President welcomed them in his main office inviting them to sit. Maa Kintoche did but Sam Suung stepped back when she saw the “Shovel of Death” on the desk.
    - Don’t be afraid, it’s not a trap.
    In spite of his friendly smile Sam Suung was intimidated. Unwillingly, she blushed when he looked strongly at her expecting her to sit according to his orders. She obeyed steadily with resignation:
    - What is the “Shovel of Death”??
    - I ask the questions and you answer it.
    - I’ll forever make you to regret your crime if he died!
    -How dare you talk back to me? Do you know where you stand right now? The President shouted.
    Sam Suung stood up:
    - Don’t twist my words!
    - Know of your place and show more respect to your elders,, we will never be equals!
    - I am who I am!
     -There must be a misunderstanding between us. I don’t accuse you of being a Lonesome, it’s a way of life that fits perfectly your revolted personality. I’m just expecting you to be more mature and more respectful as you’re becoming an adult.
    - That’s not it. Because of you I’ve already suffered so much…
    - Oh my… Someone must have told you but who?
    - Huh?!?
    - Don’t be naïve, with the famous “Mad Hatter” always by your side it was very easy deducing who you are. Now you can’t run away I’ve called the security before your arrival just in case you’d intend anything to escape the palace.
    - We… We were supposed to talk about the “Shovel of Death”!
    - It was a nice excuse to force you to come here. I’d like to make an offer to both of you, he explained looking at Maa Kintoche.
    - What is it?! They exclaimed.
    - Your dearest wish will be granted within three days only if you manage well the following task for me.
    The sea has turned to the darkest navy blue when they finally could leave. They remained silent while they were heading back to Moto Rorola’s mansion. Out of energy  Maa Kintoche called a cab as soon as Sam Suung has entered in the house.
    In the dark she went swiftly upstairs: Moto Rorola and Nokira were already sleeping in the guest room near Sempaï’s bed. He hadn’t fully recovered yet, still bedridden. She gently landed a hand over his forehead to ensure he hasn’t caught a cold.
    - Forgive me.
    His voice was so light and so weary; Sam Suung closed the curtains and sighed:
    - It’s all by my fault.
    - I don’t think so…
    - If I hadn’t let Maa Kintoche to enter in the house, nothing would have happened!
    - In any case, whether he did or not, it had to happen because Al Cartel has been aiming to put us out of harm’s way since he realized I know much more about him than he would ever expected.
    - What do you mean?
    - Let’s sleep for now it was a hard day for us all.
    She nodded:
    - Goodnight.
    The moon was full. Somewhere on earth Ashley went outside the nuclear shelter to walk alone along the seaside beneath the starry sky. From the top of the hill she stared at Society’s city lights shining underseas.
    Unable to sleep Maa Kintoche turned on his laptop and wandered on the Web searching information about Sam Suung. There were only a few matches, mostly classified which intrigued him. One of the fully available pages were a list of her articles. The first one whose title was “Year 0” caught his eye and he clicked on it.

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  • “ Home >> Archived content>> Year 0
    Originally published on July 15th, 2045 in the New World Telegraph:
    It’s been five years since Society was created. The truth has to be told about the Traumatism so let me tell you the story of the end of a world we know. I don’t care if this article will be censored. I can’t shut my mouth when the new world in which we are living is only an illusion of democracy. What do “they” expect from us? Forget everything about “their” shameful state blow? We can’t
    We have everything we could ever wish for but it suddenly fainted into nothing and we weren’t prepared for that to happen. What lingered everywhere were confusion and fear, despair and sadness. And in the middle of our dying homeland there was us, thousands and thousands of refugees as many stars in a night clear sky.
    Back then, was it an apocalyptic prelude for the end melting together life and death in a single hope for survival?
    Fortunately life restarted where it all began, under seas, but how can we create a new world if we deny to look back at our failures?
    In fact history has proved bearing responsibility for the consequences of our failures to manage the changing makes us human and build the foundations of civilization.
    Moreover because investing in dictatorships settled the threatening of a huge nuclear war, the Traumatism was meant to happen.
    If the “Shovel of Death” has blew up, that wasn’t the result of a mad scientist’s experiments. We can’t minimize it to a mere accident; all things considered it was definitely a warning before our precious so called Mother Earth would collapse into ashes again, ruined by the most powerful atomic mass destruction bomb ever created in history using nuclear energy.”
    No wonder if such articles depicted Sam Suung as too subversive in the globalized and normalized world Society was supposed to become.
    Maa Kintoche wondered why she had never been arrested because the President was well known to persecute rudely any opponent to the system.
    Exhausted Maa Kintoche switched off his laptop and went to bed. His heart ached with guiltiness and melancholy so much that he couldn’t sleep. Sitting on his bed in the dark he closed his eyes and cried.
    Behind his eyelids, all that appeared was his sister teary face when “they” forcibly separated them by kidnapping Alys and buildings exploding everywhere.
    It made him to cry even more as he imagined what great woman Alys could have became if only she was not dead.
    He chose to ask for a meeting with the President the next morning to leave officially the government.
    A cup of coffee in one hand, her cell phone in the other Sam Suung looked at the sea over the guest room’s balcony with mixed emotions. It was impossible to decide: either she denounced Maa Kintoche to the President or decided to bear all the responsibility they wouldn’t ever be able to reunite.
    Doubting she stayed awake all the night long, unable to find an issue to this impossible dilemma.
    At seven the sun rose up and the heat too. It woke up Sam Suung who had slept less than an hour. She realized she hadn’t to rush because she was unemployed. It bothered her because she knew she would never find a better work than the position of daily journalist she held at the New World Telegraph. It was well paid. Most importantly she could slip into the Official District to spy the government, under the protection of Sempaï.
    Rightfully she looked at him. He was still pale but seemed to have miraculously recovered enough to be considered out of danger. She dressed up, addressed to Sempaï a small note to reassure him and left discreetly.
    At eight she was surprised to find Maa Kintoche walking hastily back and forth the presidential palace’s hall, most likely waiting for a private meeting with the President. He looked nervous and worried. When he saw her he calmed down and sat on a chair.
    She was going to greet him when the President’s secretary appeared in front of them to take Maa Kintoche to the President.
    “ If he’s going to denounce himself I hope he knows what he’s doing…” Sam Suung thought.
    Two hours later, Maa Kintoche left in tears the President’s office. Sam Suung was puzzled.
    - May I ask why do you come here for? The President inquired.
    Sam Suung didn’t answer and looked around.
    Maa Kintoche wasn’t to be found.
    The President had a lot to do and confined himself in his office without a word of goodbye.
    Rushing among the crowd Sam Suung wandered all around the Official District looking for Maa Kintoche.
    Finally she found him standing before the unending no man’s land the planet Earth had became outside Society.
    He noticed her and swept his tears with a hand, troubled
    She simply walked by the space between them and embraced him inside her arms:
    - You can’t be forgiven for what you did but I don’t hate you. You used to be more than a friend in my heart.
    Maa Kintoche stepped outside her arms:
    - You can’t understand my pain.
    - I’ll wait for you… Mick.
    Ashley went on sail aboard her submarine, an old one previously property of the government that she had repaired and customized. She switched on and configured the control panels. Entitled as the representative of the few refugees that have been still living on earth since Year 0, she had a diplomatic meeting with the President.
    The submarine arrived safely nearby Society and slipped into the air bubble that rounded the city to let life to be possible.
    She parked her vehicle nearby the city on a wasteland.
    As she was wandering around she could eavesdrop murmurs:
    “Is she an outsider?”
    “ Do you think so? Why does she come here for?”
    “Who knows, she’s scary!”
    She felt an urge to find where was located the presidential palace before more rumours could have been spread about her.
    Moto Rorola found out the note left to Sempaï by Sam Suung. It felt weird that she didn’t tell him where she has gone.
    “ Where is she?” she asked herself looking by the window to the streets of the Official District.
    She remembered their first encounter ten years ago.
    Everywhere buildings were exploding. Cities had collapsed into ruins. With other healers she explored the wrecked houses and skyscrapers in search of wounded or dead people. They were told to manage the Evacuation fast driving as much people as they could to the submarines.
    It didn’t seem to scandalize anyone but it was obvious there weren’t enough ones to save everyone.
    Most of them had already gone on sail although they were almost empty.
    So the priority was to save before all women and children.
    Exhausted after hours spared on searching Moto Rorola and her comrades were about to give up when they heard someone crying.
    The sound came from a completely destroyed house. Drawing aside pieces of rock, wood and glass they found out a red haired little girl who cried even more when she saw them, frightened.
    Moto Rorola was the first to react when she noticed the child was holding something tight blocked by the rubble.
    It was not something but someone: with bravery she continued to dig out the ruins and discovered the body of a red haired teenager who was probably the girl’s big brother.
    - Take her. He has already died and there’s no way we can reverse that. We should better leave, the building is about to explode, someone commented behind her among the healing squad.
    Most of her comrades agreed and left.
    - Do as you wish but you’re stupid cowards, all of you! Moto Rorola uttered.
    Where are your parents? she asked to the girl.
    - I don’t know… We lost their trace and…
    - Don’t worry I’m here to help you. First of all, is he your brother? What are your names?
    - My name is Alys. He’s Mickael, my big brother.
    - I’m sorry Alys but we should go. If only we had more time, I would have tried to save your brother’s life but…
    A submarine approached the wrecked building:
    - Hurry and come aboard! someone yelled.
    Her and Alys were forcibly dragged inside the submarine. It was still the beginning of the end.
    Moto Rorola took a deep breath and closed the window. Back then this was the real shame of the Traumatism. People struggled to survive at any cost. Even though it implied to leave behind the weaker men. Even though it shattered families.

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