Armageddon was a term with a definition he knew in the academic sense, but in practice, the destruction of civilization was not a set o circumstances his developing mind could adapt to much less comprehend. Even as he lay in bed playing a game that immersed him in the charred remains of a city infested with bandits and irradiated monsters. This far bleaker reality existed above the layers of rock and steel. The global typhoon of fire immolating the word was the last light on Earth, and once it burned out, all that would be left was the cold dark shroud of nuclear winter.
Besides the move to the underground quarter's world war, three hadn't much affected Justin's routine. Millions of dollars had been spent to build him a room in the shelter that would resemble a dorm room. His on-screen avatar was shot through the head. The camera went into a slowly rotating bird's eye view over his corpse left on the nuclear battlefield.
"Eh fuck this," Justin mumbled, shutting off the game. He let the silence reign for barely a minute before he thought up another way he could pass the time. One of the last innovations of the world Justin began his adolescence in were synthetic people with the sole purpose of satisfying a user's every sexual whim. It never said no, and it never judged, unless of course, that's what you requested of it. The software that animated the silicone body could transform its appearance into anything the user desired. It offered unlimited sexual options that could be realized in mere seconds. It could give Justin the never-ending variety no human partner could.
Even though this technology made any make and model of female available to him, he opted to construct a fantasy that was a bit more grounded in reality. This post-apocalyptic den was a co-ed situation and locked away in the same shelter as Justin was Lisa McDermot, the 19-year-old daughter of his father's vice president. Her physical likeness was easily replicated, but the digital version didn't come with an approximation of the real girl's personality. It was just a shell that mimicked the pliant and subservient girls from the artificial world of porn.
Even as the son of The President of the United States, Lisa had been out of his reach. An army of public relations experts worked day in and day out to conceal Justin's awkward and alienating personality from the public. He was not the confident alpha male figure his father was nor was he academically inclined. Justin's mediocrity made him shy around people he thought were his betters.
Lisa was a star wherever she went. Not just for her flawless beauty but her outgoing and congenial personality. She had boundless energy and was the constant focus of the admiring world's attention. Not for scandalous behavior but because of the tireless work volunteering as well as her social initiatives for the benefit of the nation's children that covered a range of concerns from providing healthy school lunches to purchasing exotic and often useless instruments to help district music programs. Despite her family's wealth as well as her extraordinary position of privilege, her intentions never seemed corrupted by obnoxious pretentious or a narcissistic belief in her own self-righteousness. While her classmates at Georgetown studied finance, she was dedicating herself to the field of social work. They were climbing a glimmering tower to the 55th floor of Goldman Sachs while she was digging into the gritty and festering world of public service.
Now she was crawling around Justin's bed on all fours, presenting her perfectly rounded backside peeking out from under her short plaid skirt. A childhood spent with the internet had sharpened Justin's appetite for depravity, but it had also narrowed his range of interests down to a few cliches, such as the schoolgirl, but classics are classics for a reason.
In another wing of the subterranean lair, a 35-year-old presidential aide named Jacob Brookes was sitting in an uncomfortable plastic seated chair waiting for the President to summon him into the room. He was sitting across from Wilson Belmont, The President's most seasoned secret service bodyguard.
At 6'4 and 240 pounds, Wilson was an imposing figure. His deep brown eyes had a piercing quality that solicited fear in anyone he set them towards. He stood with perfect posture, his broad shoulders never slouched, and his back never humped.
"So, how is the president today?" Jacob asked, attempting to make small talk with Wilson.
"As far as I'm aware, the President is just fine," Wilson responded without so much as blinking.
"Oh, well, that's good," Jake said awkwardly.
Jacob had very few people to talk to anymore, so he was hoping the question might be the catalyst for a little bit of a bitch session among co-workers. Jake was having mixed feelings about nuclear annihilation. As far as he knew, he was the only aide left alive, and that included all of the cabinet members with the sole exception of the vice president who was currently consumed by the familial problems of life in a super bunker. For all intents and purposes, Jake was the chief of staff as well as the President's most senior advisor. It was a career advancement that was as sudden as it was unexpected and unprecedented. Under the circumstances, however, the office of President didn't have the same prominence as it did last week. Far from counseling the President during the greatest moment of peril in the nation's history, Jacob found himself playing butler to a man he was beginning to suspect might himself be out of a job.
For everyone inside the presidential bunker, the sealing of the blast doors seemed to mark the end of the war. There had been procedures and protocols set in place for the continuity of government should such a situation arise, but the planners had nothing in place for a scenario where none of those procedures and protocols didn't actually work. The Presidential war room outfitted with the latest command and control systems sat empty, and it's exorbitantly expensive equipped stood idle.
With no generals to issue orders to and no cabinet to meet with, the President took the advice of an informational pamphlet about shelter life and started keeping a vigorous exercise routine. The info lit informed the commander in chief an exercise routine during his downtime was not only an excellent way to remain physically healthy but also to stay sharp mentally. Jake was starting to wonder if it was working.
"Copy that," blurted Wilson holding his hand up to his plastic earpiece.
"You're clear to enter," he nodded to Jake.
Jake quickly stood up, and Wilson opened the door for him. He briskly walked by the bodyguard looking down at this feet. When Jake heard the door close behind him, he picked his head back up.
President Derrick Bell was peddling on a workout bike. He had a towel embroidered with the presidential seal draped over his shoulders. "Hey, Brooks, got any updates for me?" asked the President as he used the corner of the decorative towel to dab away the sweat on his forehead.
At 49, President Bell was one of the younger presidents the country ever had. He also had the distinction of being the most physically fit. When he ran for office as a governor, his campaign touted his experience as captain of a championship football team in college as proof of his leadership abilities. In retrospect, it may have been his overly confident, aggressive approach to life that leads to the nuclear inferno currently consuming the planet.
"Well," Brooks began nervously. "There still has been no communications from the joint chiefs or any commanders in the field, but we're still keeping our ears open."
The President stopped peddling. "So, we still have no idea what's going on out there?"
"No, not as such Mr. President," Brooks said regretfully.
"Oh, is there anything that requires a decision from me at the moment, then?" The President asked, seemingly slightly forlorn.
"There is one thing. The chef says there is no bluefin tuna left, so he wants to know if there's anything else you'd like to have for dinner.
"Christ, we're already out of fuckin tuna?!" Derrick snapped. "Did the fuckin idiots who stocked this place stop and think how long we might be down here?? Did it not occur to them we might need more than five pounds of fucking tuna?!"
"I'm sorry, sir," Brooks apologized.
"Brooks, I want you to take inventory and find out if there's anything we need to have brought down here, and while you're at it, get me a battlefield report I need to decide on our next move."
Brooks was smart enough to know what to pick his battles, and he figured there was no use in pointing out the President's order made no sense given there was no one left alive to bring him more tuna or to issue commands to.
"Yes, Mr. President," said Brooks.
"Also, I want new workout songs. I'm tired of the ones on my phone. See if you can get me Spotify or something."
"You want a streaming music service in your nuclear bunker?" Brooks asked
"Yeah, we must have a special emergency white house account or something," the President speculated.
"Yeah, maybe," Brooks sighed.
"Good, let's do this!" Bell said, clapping his hands.
Brooks left the gym and went to find a place to lay low while he pretended to carry out the President's instructions. The chief executive of the US government had far fewer responsibilities these days. He was a proud but realistic man he faced down the fact he may be in the twilight of his career, but that didn't mean the rest of his life had to be devoid of all meaning. He did still have a son, and isn't that the greatest legacy?
His biological endowment had spent the better part of his waking hours that day between video games and bouts of sexually abusing his animatronic Lisa doll. Justin was enjoying the simulated suffocation noises as he pressed her face down into the pillow. Those Japanese really have just thought of everything. The depleted pleasure center of his brain had been able to push itself a bit further than usual. He was almost there when a hard knock at his door startled him, and his brain for just a second reverted into a fight or flight state. It was enough to derail the much-anticipated climax.
"Fuck," Justin hissed as he extricated himself from the silicone pocket.
There was a second knock. "Go the fuck away!" Justin shouted at the door.
There was a beep followed by the snap of the disengaging lock. Panicked Justin quickly pulled the covers over him and his cybernetic companion
"What the fuck do you want!" Justin screeched.
The presidential dad recoiled at the sight. "Oh, shit, sorry!" he apologized as he started to pulled the door close. "Fuck," the embarrassed boy sighed. The door paused and started to swing open again. "Go away!" Screamed the boy throwing a pillow at the door.
"Is that Lisa in there with you?" The President asked unphased by the barrage of bedside items.
Justin closed his eyes and nodded. A smile broke across his dad's face. He mouthed the words "good for you son," as he closed the door.
Justin was relieved his dad believed that. The door stopped just short of closing again and started to push open. Derrick was standing in the doorway. The grin on his face had faded into a slightly skeptical scowl. "Wait, is that actually Lisa or just your weird little robot?"
"Fuck, you get the hell out of here!" Justin snarled.
"Eh, shit, I should have figured," Derek said, throwing up his hands.
"Well, if you think she's so great, you fuck her!" Justin snarled.
Dereck approached being a father the same he did being a political candidate. He rolled up his sleeves to show he meant what he said and rearranged his face to simulate a look of genuine concern.
"Are you having trouble asking girls out?" Dereck asked.
Justin scoffed at the question. "Son, there's no reason to be ashamed," His father reassured him.
"A lot of guys get nervous when they want to ask out a girl. Especially a girl like Lisa, but you can't let that fear stop you from trying. You don't get what you don't go for and what you don't go for you will always regret." Dereck emphasized the end of his message by standing tall and clenching his fist.
Justin was stunned by his dad's vote of confidence. "What do I say to her?" He asked with sudden humility.
"Go to her room, ask, ask her how she's holding up. Then open a bottle of champagne and just let open up. Look concerned and attentive but keep what you say short and to the point. Let her do most of the talking."
"When I make my move?" Justin asked.
"Well, test the waters you don't want to jump in. Be gradual, dip your toes in first maybe with a touch on the shoulder maybe try sitting next to her. Then once you've managed to do that, I'd say just wait until she runs out of things to say."
"You make it sound like it's just that easy," Justin said cynically.
"Son, I believe you can do this," Dereck answered solemnly. "You might literally be the last boy on earth if that doesn't work in your favor, then I don't think anyone can really help you."
Dereck had Jacob take a break from issuing emergency executive orders on his behalf to dead people to grab a glass of bottle champagne from the galley.
The honeycomb of concrete corridors that linked luxury living facilities with state of the art command centers and simple storage closets was a genuinely vast installation. The distances between the various wings could be so enormous that it came stocked with an official presidential golf cart branded with the majestic seal of the office. The current inhabitants hadn't come to grips with the permanence of their new situation, that this was a shelter designed for a lucky few to live out the rest of their natural lives even after the planet had been set upon the pyre. It was an insurance policy though that had a fatal contingency. It was built on the assumption those who needed to use it might have some competent and coherent organization in place that would ensure the atomic sanctuary with being stocked with sufficient provisions to last several lifetimes. Two dozen people, including support staff. Deep down Dereck had to know he would eventually have to implement the plan outlined in the shelter's welcome kit to get the all non-essential personnel to slowly kill each other off for the meat. It was a prospect that made him shudder, but he was still able to dismiss it as being way off in the distance. They'd have an alternative solution figured out by then, surely.
As President, Derek Bell was used to being shuttled from windowless room to windowless room inside a jet or a large SUV with deeply tinted windows. So he was handling the confinement ok and Justin, the antisocial sex-obsessed teenage boy, never much cared for leaving his room. So in some ways, this was a welcome change, but the radiant outgoing Lisa was feeling the pressures of a new life under incarceration. The longer she spent out of contact with the friends and colleagues she loved, the more and more she understood just how lonely a life this was going to be. She had started penning long goodbyes to the many people that had been dear to her both to the dead and to her mother and father, who were still alive.
She was had been typing furiously when she suddenly had to shut her laptop to grieve for a bit before getting back to finishing her sorrowful labor. A knock that sounded like rapid tapping on the door lifted her out of the crying jag. She wiped away the tears streaming down her scarlet cheeks. "Just a moment," she called to her uninvited guest.
She took a deep breath and forced herself to at least put on a friendly if somewhat thin smile. She was surprised to see Justin standing in her doorway, holding a bottle of champagne. The smell of cologne instantly assaulted her senses. "Hey, Justin, what's up?" she asked weakly.
Justin hesitated for a moment. "I just wanted to see if you were all good over here." he stammered nervously.
Lisa wasn't quite sure how to answer that inquiry. "I guess I'm getting along," she replied.
"Oh, ok, that's good to hear," blurted Justin moving his hands around, hoping she'd notice the bottle in his hand. "Yeah,' she nodded, still standing in the doorframe.
"Um, I got this pretty good champagne want to have a glass?" he offered. Lisa was hesitant.
"It's a bit of a ride back to my room, and I'm kinda bored," said Justin.
"Yeah, ok, one glass is fine," Lisa said, suddenly feeling a tremendous amount of pity for the lad.
They popped the cork, and each of them took a swig of the bubbly libation.
"Pretty good," she said
"I would never bother with the low shelf shit," Justin said in a tone that had taken on an abrupt arrogance.
"Oh," said Lisa dismissively.
Justin took another large gulp from the bottle. Lisa stood quietly until he handed the bottle back. It seemed she didn't have anything to say, so he reasoned this must be the time to strike.
Sean Gibbons was another minion who had been given the dubious privilege of being entombed with his Pharro. There weren't many security risks in the top-secret subterranean super bunker, so he and the rest of the security detail spent most of their time "patrolling." Unending hours were spent shuffling silently through the barren, empty hallways. They had gone to the bunker with 12 agents now there down to 10. Even though there were no assassins to thwart, it turned out their duties did carry with them a fatal hazard. Sean found the first one tucked away in a utility closet. He was sitting on the floor in front of a blood-splattered cinderblock wall. The bullet had gone straight up and lodged itself in the ceiling. Gibbons suspected this might happen, he had even correctly guessed which agent, but like his colleague fisk a sense of duty kept his sanity intact.
He turned a corner and saw the presidential golf car parked outside Lisa's room.
"Oh, boy," Gibbons muttered.
As he approached, he could hear screaming and crying. His training kicked on, and his response became automatic. He drew his gun and rushed to the door. He swiped his key and the door unlocked, he burst in gripping his Baretta and had to take pause at the scene.
Lisa was trying to hold her torn top together with one hand while holding a bottle of mace up towards Justin, who was standing in the center of the room, crying pepper tears.
"The fuckin bitch maced me!" he whined.
As if being qued by an off-stage director, Lisa's father, the VP, had arrived on the scene with his own security detail.
"What the hell is going on here!" he barked.
"Dad just tried to kiss me, and when I pushed him away, he tore open my top!" she explained, still holding the torn cloth over her chest.
"What the fuck are you doing in my daughter's room, Justin!" The vice president roared.
Absurdity was in the driver's seat of events that day as, by some outside chance, Justin's father and his security detail had also been close by.
"Alright, what's going on here!" he barked, bursting into the room.
The room went quiet, and everyone looked to everyone else. "Mr. President," Lisa's father, began
"Justin tried to rape me!" cried out Lisa cutting off her father's sentence.
"Justin tried to rape you? Is that what you said?" Dereck repeated in a way that suggested such a far-out notion was at least mildly amusing to him.
"Yes!" she shouted in frustration. "He tore open my top and tried to push me on the bed!"
"Dad, I was just doing what you told me," Justin whimpered.
"Gibbons, bring this little shit to the brig," McDermott commanded.
"Woah, Woah, let's just hang on a minute." President Bell said stepping between his son and the bodyguards. "Now I'm sure this is just some kind of misunderstanding. Justin was just trying to tell his girl he likes her."
"He said he was going to force it up to my ass, then make me taste it," Lisa said, gritting her teeth, her body trembling with rage.
"Well, I don't know what datings like these days, but if that's what the kids are doing, that's what the kids are doing," Bell said diplomatically.
"Mr. President, I don't think you're hearing what my daughter is telling you," McDermott said with slow, deliberate anger.
"Hank, let's just talk this out in private just you and me," Dereck suggested calmly.
They locked eyes. Everyone held their breath until the vice finally blinked and backed down. "Alright," he muttered.
Lisa's jaw had dropped. "Dad, are you just going to let him get away with that?" she asked with fresh tears welling in her eyes.
"We'll talk about this later," her father said as everyone followed him and the President out of her room
That incident gave Lisa the last incentive she needed to escape from the cavernous sarcophagus. Now it wasn't only the total isolation and an existence devoid of any future. It was her new position in the world as the last known surviving fertile young female. With a jagged piece of broken glass, she resolved to end the demented charade of survival. She bled out over her letters and let the flowing crimson fountain flood away her words. With her went, the future of at least two dynasties locked inside the fortress would now have to face up to what the end of the world truly meant. They had gone so far as to bury themselves to hide from the consequences of their actions. Lisa hoped it would be the point she was never able to get across in life.
If you like my work, please consider making a donation. I one day hope to have enough to hire some artists to work with and adapt some of these pieces into graphic novels. In the meantime, though, most of the money will probably go towards pot and coffee.