Chapter 0:



"No one will forget that day. The day that inspired a new fear in the heart of the American consciousness.

Actually, it wasn't a new fear, simply something old; dug up from the ground. It was a fear that was buried so that the world might move forward.

The fear of annihilation.

Ever since World War II, the world has been under threat of the atomic bomb. A weapon that could level a neighborhood in an instant. Only twice had such a weapon been used before, but the ensuing destruction would change the world forever.

The year was 2029, eight years ago. A weapon from an unknown source crash-landed in Times Square, New York City. This weapon claimed the lives of 8 million people, killing close to 94% of the city's population. Much of the remaining 6% still suffer from various physical and mental ailments caused by intense stress and exposure to radiation, which is what leads us to believe that this weapon was a more advanced version of the atomic bomb, the same weapon that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An agreement, the NYC Convention, was signed by most major countries, forcing them to disclose the status and locations of all nuclear weapons in their possession, though it's unlikely any of the countries that signed actually gave away true and factual information. To this day, it's unknown where the weapon, now called the Atom-3, originated from.

Since then, New York City has been rebuilt. The government claims that the radiation hazard has been completely eliminated; several studies confirm this fact. Some survivors who have returned to the city claim that the weapon, which has never been identified or recovered, could still pose a threat to the city, though I think we all know that there's nothing to worry about. Any questions?"

As the teacher, an older man with a grey mustache, finished his lecture, the class sat silently. Every one of the high-school seniors was anxiously awaiting the ringing bell, knowing that its sound meant the schoolyear's end. One student among them had her face resting upon the wooden desk in front of her.

The bell rang.

All of the students but the sleeping girl and a boy in the back corner stood up and walked out of the room, some of them going so far as to run out of the room. Once the room had been evacuated, the teacher walked over to the classroom's sleeping inhabitant.

"Miss Turner" the teacher said disappointedly, poking his student with a wooden ruler, "you missed another lecture."

The girl snapped up and shouted, "I missed another what?!"

"You need to get more sleep" the teacher replied, "how late were you up this time?"

"Uh..." The girl seemed confused for a moment before responding, "4 am..."

The boy in the back corner of the classroom slammed his face into his desk.

"I take it you have to walk her home?" The teacher turned to the boy in the corner.

"Yes, Mr. Campbell." The boy used his elbows to push his head away from the desk. "You know the drill with Lucy."

"Well then, Miss Turner" the teacher turned back to the girl, "you'd better correct your sleep schedule over the break so that your college professors don't have to deal with it."

"I will, Mr. Campbell!" The girl was still not entirely awake.

"Goodbye, Miss Turner" the teacher gestured towards the door; "and goodbye to you as well, Mr. Miller."

"Goodbye Mr. Campbell!" The boy got up from his seat and walked over to put his hand on the girl's shoulder. The girl looked up at him and then stood up as he guided her out of the room.

Once the other student had vacated the room, the teacher sat back down at his desk. "Lucy Turner" he pondered, "I wonder why they came back..."