Being upset for something that happened in the past isn’t as exciting as being upset for the things that are going to happen in the future. – XVALA

The “Information Age” that is what we called it. Those of us who were born by the seventies grew up in the glut and spoil of over indulgence of information. Where one little thought could trigger hours of endless searching online for articles, opinions, pictures, videos and music clips all inspired by a single topic as small as a fish being found in a lake where it has never been seen before. And that is something that at least could be interesting, yet the majority to look at the information would never have been affect by an invasive species of fish in a pond hundreds of miles from their home and further would not have left their computers to go and do something about it even if they were. It became worse at looking at the lives of celebrities or brand labels. The wealth of information our minds could feast on bloated our egos because all we took in was junk food for the soul.

And we took for granted that the information would always be there. We stopped putting our facts and data into books and stored it all online and into digital formats. The age of the Internet with its famous but over used phrase information super highway. We were the enlightened who left the dark ages where books information became stale by the time they went to press. Ours was the age that killed the print of the Encyclopedia Britannica, 244 years of history and tradition lost to digital format alone. It made sense, because the cost of the book was out run by the updated format of a digital version not to mention the competition of outsourced materials found on Google and places like Wikipedia. Then there were the dead.

One by one the lights went out and the servers stopped spinning out their webs of information. Communication was cut and we, the lost, were left huddling in buildings and wondering where to start in the rebuilding. Look it up online, but there was nothing to be found. The web was gone, the strands cut. And then in the dark came the CVC. A pirate broadcast that reached out and started to gather in the lost sheep. Information was exchanged and despite the cost of talking, communication within the Global Network continued. Survivors traded secrets, advice or sometimes just insults depending on the individual and the topic at hand. In the swell of tide came voices of reason, one such individual known by the handle Pinkersnitch was always there to give advice and console the broken. Others seemed to exist simply to break down the survivors and work on their fragile self esteem by destroying the hopes of their victims. And many like myself and those in my safe house existed to observe and comment on occasion.

We built our safe house within a school. We were never short on computers or computer parts, though the budget of the region was obvious in the age of the machines around us. Still Malkoris’ schooling came to the fore and we soon had working machines running on our new generators which we traded supplies with Rite Aid to gain. We picked up the signal and began to broadcast, listening to the voices of others. Listening was free, only talking cost money. At twenty credits for a hundred chat tokens the cost could add up if you got chatty, but given that Malkoris and Beebles primarily let me be the voice for Terry Fox Safe House we kept our costs down. Allies were being gathered and other safe house locations notified. But that was not the greatest gift given to us by this chatter. Suddenly in the dark we were not alone. Despite having some faces with us, that lack of distraction we had become so accustom to before the crisis had made the quiet more tomblike. There was nothing new to take in but deaths, near deaths, and fighting to live. That was enough to feed the paranoia and depression but not nearly good enough to build one up and seek if only for a few moments joy in the world again.

Suddenly we learned to laugh again. From the stupid antics of those talking smack to one another, to the rush of fellow feeling when many took the time to aid new survivors who had stumbled into our network we saw humanity and not the dead. From all ranks and safe house groupings, we gathered together to act normal in a world that had gone far beyond abnormal into obscene. The CVC network, especially the Global Chat location has become a beacon in the dark. If this last location goes dark on us, I fear for all of us. I think without contact across time and space, which this network provides, many of us will lose any meaning in life and the loneliness that will result will kill us faster than the virus.

In Memory of Encyclopedia Britannica and the Printed Page: We will never forget the experience of holding a book and absorbing thoughts, memories and experiences from your pages. Tonight a candle will be lit in your memory.

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