30 years ago, the Deimonorum plague started. Since then, 95% of the population has been eradicated. Of the 5% remaining, only 0.5% are men. Women rule the Earth.
Or what’s left of it.
In September 1985 a plague started in the major cities in the world. London, New York, Paris, LA, Moscow, Beijing, Delhi, Sidney, Cairo…
Between 8 and 10 pm, in every capital and major city in the world, the Daimonoi came in. At that time was the first screening of a movie produced by Dario Argio, a second class producer with bigger dreams than talent or means. The name of the movie was Daimonoi. We have managed to establish beyond doubt that the cinemas where the movies were screened became ground zero. We don’t know how it happened, though. We have recovered some films and examined them. There is nothing special about them. We have had women watching the movie to no effect. We had a man watching the movie. Nothing.
Yet, somehow, men at the cinemas were infected and started to kill, or infect, everyone they could around them. A wound, a scratch, or simply some fluid being swallowed or entering men’s blood stream is enough to start the transformation. We know what happens then, but not how it will end.
The horrific metamorphosis takes place in 30 seconds to 2 minutes and he results are always the same; the man transform in a demonic looking beast hell-bent on killing anything -and everything – around him. The shape and abilities of the beast will not be known until the transformation is complete. It would appear that the male’s age has an influence in the abilities, as well as their physique. We suspect the plague uses human DNA to drive the change, but we are not sure how.
Take my advice, don’t be curious. If you see a man getting infected, shoot to kill. No exceptions. The sooner you shoot, the more chances you’ll have to live another day. Reports of men who have avoided the infection by cutting a limb off are indeed true, though. That doesn’t mean they’re any less dangerous, or that you’ll get to them on time.
I have got much ahead of myself, though. Before I continue, let me explain how the plague spreads.
When a Deimonoi wounds a man, no matter how small the wound, that man is infected; no exception. That man becomes inhabited by a daimonoi – that’s how they refer to themselves. Once the transformation is over and the entity has taken over the body fully, it will kill and/or wound anything and everything around him. Animals also become infected and transform, though they don’t last long, a week at most. That doesn’t mean they’re less dangerous or horrific. The deimonoi don’t like living in them. While they are alive, though, animals do go on a frenzy too. They can infect men and other animals of the same kind, but there is no evidence of cross-species infection as yet. You’d think that killing the men would do the trick, but that is not enough. When an infected man dies, any insect or animal that feeds on it, becomes infected too. That includes cockroaches, rats, flies… Eventually those die too, but the devastation a swarm of infected flies or bees can inflict can be truly horrific. If insects lasted alive more than a day or two, life on Earth would have disappeared by now.
We have captured some daimonoi. To our horror, they are not just sentient, they are also intelligent. And they are not from here.
When interrogated, they don’t say much, but they say they are the messengers, but not where from. They inhabit the bodies of those they wound. They don’t say what the message is or why they’re delivering it, though the destruction and despair they leave behind is a pretty clear message. They want us all dead.
They’ve nearly managed that.
In the days that followed the breakout, we lost the cities and there are now only a handful of men not infected, chances of them being found and be under risk of infection are minimised, though. Men are kept hidden in well guarded but comfortable enclosures but under heavy guard. A man in the outside is a man in a fully sealed suit. When one single bite of a mosquito or an ant can infect a man and that man can create an army of demonoi in a matter of minutes, one can’t take risks based on sentimentality. They live comfortably enough and they all have duties to help. Some are scientists, some are communications officers, engineers, inventors, researchers… They are useful and they are keener than we are to find a cure, or a way to defeat those monsters.
Men are not allowed active army duties. Even if they can be brave in battle and work well in teams. The older ones can be a bit of a handful sometimes. Some men still remember life 30 years ago when they ruled society and some still don’t like following a woman’s orders. Disruptive and stubborn, they can be difficult to handle sometimes.
Also men serve a purpose that some think to be less vital with every small advance we make towards flawless cloning and stem-cell research. Reproduction.
Since we managed to establish some sort of civilisation, in-vitro insemination has become the norm for women to become pregnant. Every man is a donor, no choice, and sexual intercourse is only allowed after a request that will bring a series of medical examinations to make sure no disease is transmitted, and that the best chances of a healthy baby are ensured. The reason some think they are less and less necessary every day is because we’re getting some results with cloning that we were not expecting and that could mean we can get an unlimited supply of sperm without the need of a man to create it. Results are patchy, to say the least, and we haven’t been able to create a healthy clone yet. Furthermore, if we thought the result of the transformation into a Daimonoi is dangerous and horrific, what happens when an unhealthy clone becomes one of those creatures is truly catastrophic. Their bodies not just undergo even more extreme mutations, but their blood-thirst is indescribable.
In the instances when a baby is born with any disability, that baby is placed in an intensive training unit. His or her needs are identified and we try to support them as best we can to make sure they also have a productive life. Society is diminishing and people who would have been shunned or ostracised in the past have proven, repeatedly, that they make more than valuable contributions to society. We have enough shit going on around us, we don’t need any of our own.
Men donate sperm once a week, sometimes more if the need is great and there is a particularly fertile specimen. That happens in our island, in other island nations men are not treated that kindly and they’re little else than sperm factories. Sperm is analysed and catalogued. DNA is profiled and then either used, or deep-frozen for future use. Or traded.
Gender selection has become an unpleasant necessity. The tragic truth is that we need more men. IVI has proven to be useful in as much as a man is not needed to conceive a child, but the gene pool is limited and we’ll see more and more birth anomalies as time goes by.
Not everyone agrees, though. Some cities have taken onto cloning techniques to try and reproduce sperm. If they managed to create healthy clones, they will think of men as useless. Because of the tremendous risk that having a man around in the open can pose, it is understandable some would like to see a world populated just by women. Considering that relying on technology alone to ensure reproduction is a terrible idea – no electricity equals no technology – most of us hope that will never come to pass. A world populated only by women would be just as bad as one populated just by men. There are two genders for a reason and if one were to become unnecessary, let it be for natural causes, not because of an out-of-hell invasion.
In the last 30 years, we have lost 90% of all governments. In countries like the USA, China, Russia, South Africa or Argentina, civil war did almost as much to end the status quo of democracy as the daimonoi did. Sometimes I think those demons must have been laughing all the way while we humans did their job for them.The infected world is very different to what you’d expect. Cities have been overtaken by nature and they are in severe decay. They are a rather beautiful sight, if disconcerting and very eerie. Until you find a Deimonorum settlement. They have taken the cities we left behind and created their own structures. They would appear to be organic, but we can’t tell. When we have observed them, the architecture doesn’t seem possible. Shapes that would collapse with traditional materials manage to stand and support what would appear to be great weight. They are mostly black in colour, though they can also have yellow and red areas, and they’re indeed well illuminated. We have no idea what sort of technology those cities hide. They have their own society, but no one can understand how it works. They seem to have a society and they have hierarchies, though. We know that much because they do organised attacks with infantry, ranged divisions and air-borne flocks. And they are very efficient. We also know there are different races within them. Some are strong, some can fly, some can spit poison…
Areas where radioactive refuse was dumped have become uninhabitable for us. It doesn’t stop the daimons, though, who seem to be able to mutate because of the radiation. Some older nuclear plants are starting to worry us. The cores will become unstable and we’ve already had some leaks and explosions.
We still have relationships with the USA, though it’s just by radio and, when we can, some television broadcasting. Y say when we can because it is not often we can establish a connection. There aren’t that many settlements left in the USA. The city that’s managed to survive a bit more is Las Vegas. After the Deimonorum took over the city and it was destroyed, the beasts didn’t know – or weren’t able to figure out – how to keep the water supply into the city. Without considerable knowledge and man-power, the pumps and facilities that drove water to the city fell and the Daimonorum either died or flew the city. The city was re-colonised ten years later and now it hosts a number of humans that is getting close to the 150000. They are in a precarious position, though. Although the constant sunlight has allowed them to create enough electricity to maintain a good chunk of the city going, they have virtually no defence if the Daimonorum decided to come back. It’s not surprising that the the mass of the remaining USA army supplies have reconvened there. I’m not sure they’d be able to withstand a full Deimonorum attack, but they’d certainly give them a run for their money. Or their lives.
Other cities have also managed to survive in deserts, like Dallas. Hawaii is also being recolonised, though being so far away from the coast makes it a very difficult and dangerous endeavour.
Canada wasn’t so lucky. All their cities fell and people flew to the forests. We think there are a number of human settlements struggling in the forests, but after 30 years, it is unlikely. We hope there are, though.
Mexico has more cities than the USA. Being such an arid country, they have more than enough cities in the dessert for the Deimonorum to find them uncomfortable. They are not safe, by any means, but they’re not a priority for the Deimonorum either.
Central America is deserted. Every single one of those countries disappeared. South America didn’t fare much better. Some pockets of desert land in Brazil have survived, but they are close enough to the Amazon forest to make it easy for the Deimonorum to strike and retreat. Relentlessly. Life in the Amazon came close to disappearing completely. Too close. After establishing communications with the survivors, we learned that some 80% of life in the Amazon forest was wiped out by the Deimonorum infection. They feared after that it’d be the end. Indeed it was for plenty of plants and other wildlife that was already endangered, but it didn’t stop the forest. By the time the infection reached the centre, the outer areas of the forest were starting to rebuild themselves. Without human intervention to make things worse, life took its course. Now the Amazon forest is thriving and the Deimonorum seem to be uninterested in it. We doubt any of the tribes would have survived.
Africa suffered a similar fate. All the major and minor cities fell. Everything. The Sahara dessert remains unclaimed by either human or Deimonorum. We presume wildlife has resumed and continued as it was without human intervention. Truth is we don’t know. We haven’t had any communication from South Africa since 2003. Mombasa since it fell. We know there was a small settlement of less than 200 people in Abu-Simbel. That was 3 years ago. We haven’t heard anything since. Whatever human life is there, it is now a collection of warring clans and self-proclaimed governments, still more worried about maintaining power than uniting for survival.
Europe is no longer there as a collection of countries. They were all obliterated. Cities were first and it was quick. The denser the population, the quicker the infection spread. We lost London within a week. Paris took days. Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Vienna, Moscow… gone. The Canary Islands were also decimated, though La Gomera managed to survive because they didn’t have a cinema at the time of the invasion. They were invaded three years later, though.
Russia fought long and hard. The government went as far as throw a nuclear bomb over Moscow to eliminate the Deimonorum. Needless to say, it didn’t work.
We are not sure what state India is in. We haven’t been able to establish any sort of satellite communication with them.
China was a complete disaster. When the invasion started, North Korea was isolated from the world. They watched as it happened and started to panic. They decided to believe it was a rouse from the Americans to help South Korea to invade. They released three nuclear weapons over Seoul. China, the only country with good diplomatic relations with North Korea, exhorted North Korea to stop. King Jun Ill, far from that, attacked China too for fear they’d be in cahoots with the USA and South Korea. China retaliated. What was North Korea is now a nuclear wasteland. Radiation spilled into China, though and that alone destroyed a huge percentage of the population. The Deimonorum did the rest. Currently China is in complete chaos and we truly have no idea what the numbers are. We only know billions died. We estimate there are less than 5 million uninfected human beings in that country. That means there could be a few billion daimonioi there. We won’t try to find out.
The situation in the Middle East was even more desperately impotent. Despite being a land used to hardship and war, their women were caught unprepared, both physically and psychologically, and most of them didn’t know how to fight. Or didn’t dare to. Opposing men was not something they were used to. It cost them dearly. We will not repeat that mistake again.
New Zealand, the Philippines, Australia… We have no idea what’s going on there.
Island nations were a bit better off, but not by much. Eventually we established small nations in those islands. With the equipment we could salvage, we kept in touch as much as we could. TV and military satellites served the purpose well enough. We did incursions to smaller villages and towns to get supplies, so we managed to obtain computers and machinery, usually at the cost of some casualties when we were spotted by the daimonoi. In the middle 90s, the BBS system of communication that was used by computer people to share information in the 80s evolved somewhat. Although limited in functionality, it offers a much quicker and wider bandwidth than the old BBS and we can send larger files with photographs, plans, etc.
There is an island free of the infection that you should know about; Malta. That is a place you don’t want to go anyway. Trust me.
We had to flee our cities. The density of demons was too overwhelming. They adapt to any weather, so no matter what latitude your city is in, you’ll be affected. However they need water. They are not fond of desserts and we presume there are still some oasis that haven’t been exterminated, but this is just speculation. Islands are the places we call home today, and only a few. Bigger islands like Sicily, Corsica, Ireland and similar, are still infested with those creatures.
Fleets of ships dot the oceans and the seas now. The big oil tankers make perfect floating towns. The biggest we know of is in the Mediterranean. It consists of 15 tankers and containers and it hosts 25000 people. The conditions are not the best, but they can purify enough water and catch enough fish to eat. They also trade with other islands, including Malta, in order to get fruit and vegetables in exchange for fish. It is rumoured that they also trade in men, but we don’t know for certain.
We have some helicopters and airplanes, though they’re not very numerous. Since the chaos started, one of the main issues that have created incredible conflict has been the struggle to control the sea-based oil extractors and refineries. Operating an inland oil refinery is impossible. Most sea-based extractors and refineries remained untouched by the plague. They knew what was going on. They all had satellite television since the very beginning, and good enough communication capabilities to stay in touch with other bases and land.
Although reaching them is not easy, they couldn’t defend themselves. They were boarded and a lot of people died in those factories. Of course the people were replaced and the machines kept running. In thirty years things start to go wrong, though, and if you can’t replace old with new, eventually you’re just going to have a pile of junk.
When you read this, we are still located in the Isle of Jersey and we haven’t had a Daimonoi incursion in three years.
The main churches have fallen. The gods have left us. There is no more Islam or Orthodox Judaism. There are a handful of women from the Anglican Church still preaching and, mostly, being ignored. It has to be said, though, they do work hard to instil faith in others. They might not be followed, but they are respected in their beliefs.
Paganism has taken foot in the few cities and settlements left, though, and it is popular amongst those who need something to believe in. Atheism is the most common philosophy, though. No one wants to believe in gods that are inflicting this upon us, or who are letting this happen anyway. And this is a time for pragmatism, not idealism.
The Catholic Church though… that’s another story.
After the cataclysm, the Vatican fell like any other men-populated location. Nunneries were less affected though. It didn’t take long for some crazy bitch, Sister Anna, to start preaching that God had abandoned men, but not women. That God is in fact a goddess and that women have been chosen to be the inhabitants of paradise on Earth. But there cannot be paradise while there are men and thus they strive to bring as many men as they can to the messengers to receive divine justice. They have their base in Malta, where they have managed, by gathering a rather powerful army of loyal followers, mostly from the USA, Brazil and other strongly Catholic countries, to cleanse Malta of infection and set their base there.
By our estimates, they have close to 100.000 women and 300 men in the island. They have one major city with schools, hospitals and commerce. Farms are kept very much working and they are also very productive. We know the Balearic States trade with them, usually recycled junk, plastic and metals, which they can’t mine in the island, in exchange for seeds, pulses and grain. From the outside, and if you’re a women, everything looks wonderful. If you’re a man, or if you dig a bit deeper, though, the truth is nearly as ugly as the daimonoi themselves.
The fate of men in the island is nothing short of nightmarish. Think of geese being cultivated to get foi-gra. Livers swollen to the point of bursting, force fed so they reach the maturity needed for harvesting.
That is the destiny of men who end up in Malta, but it’s not their livers that are worked to extermination. The process of sperm collection is not by masturbation, but by testicular draining. Men live in a jail-type environment where they have no freedom or means to escape. Hormones are administered to the males to enhance sperm production and it’s reported some men end up with testicles the size of footballs. The testes are drained by invasive procedures, needless to say, extremely painful. Damage of the testicle is inevitable, and, eventually, they become useless. When they can’t produce any more sperm, men are put on a raft, given 3 days food and set to sea. That is the way the new God has to say thank you. Any other man found in the island is killed on the spot. Breeders are let go as a good-will gesture. Few men have ever reached the coast of another country. If the weather doesn’t kill them, the lack of water and/or food will. The nearest inhabitable land near Malta is two weeks from the island.
The future of women is not much better, either. Any and every woman is forced to have a child every two years from the moment when they have their first menstruation, regardless how young they are. Children are separated by gender. Girls are looked after communally by the mothers and closely scrutinised by the nuns, who will identify potential warriors to help defend the island. Boys are taken away from their mothers and reared by the other men, they will never know their mothers and every man will be their father. When they reach the age of 14, they are tested for any illnesses or DNA imperfection. The “lucky” will become breeders. The rest will be either killed or send to see on a raft. Most of those boys haven’t even seen the outside of their jail when they’re thrown on the rafts.
Such is the message of the new God.
Fuck that god.
How we survive? As we can. LIfe is far from easy. We have farms that are looked after, we have cattle, though our diet has gone more and more vegetarian in recent years. No other reason that plans are immune to the infection but animals are not. As far as we know.
This is not to say it’s an easy life. A year of bad weather can destroy our crops and that means famine. That also means we have to organise more incursions into the mainland, which is never a good idea.
The banking system disappeared too. We don’t have an economy as we used to. There is a monetary system, though is very basic and regulated by a council of elected members. We keep calling it Pound and works in a similar way. You work, you produce something and you sell it. You pay taxes and you can either pay in money, or pay in goods. Can’t say it is free of corruption, but we are a small-enough number that corruption can be found out fairly quickly. The produce given as tax payment is then distributed to people who need/want it. Poverty has been eradicated this way. You want something? You ask for it. If it has been been given as tax payment, your needs will be taken care of if they are genuine. Incredibly, it works. Probably because one never knows if one will see another day, so material possessions are only as relevant as their usefulness.
We have good doctors, though, and scientists, who work with the little equipment we have managed to recover. Ironically enough, a huge number of illnesses have disappeared. The few people infected with Siphillys, AIDS, Hepatitis C and other lethal conditions, died long ago. Since sexual contact is screened before it happens, sexually transmitted diseases are not spread.
Biggest problem we face is emotional. There are not enough men for us to develop meaningful relationships. Jealousy crime was an extremely serious issue and it is not punished by death.
Something else has happened, though. In the last 30 years, many have survived the wounds inflicted by the Deimons. The children of those who have survived started to show abilities beyond human capabilities. Tremendous strength, psychokinetic abilities able to turn objects into deadly projectiles, the ability to predict the future are some of the incredible feats these women can perform. A few have been known to be able to obtain glimpses of the Deimonorum’s home. That comes at a cost, though.
As much as we are getting civilisation together, we can’t manufacture or create everything we need from scratch. Fairly often, we organise expeditions to the big Island from time to time. When we need supplies we can’t manufacture here, we send a group of soldiers and explorers to recover what we need. Not all the women return. Needless to say, men are not even considered for those missions. The army, like the government, is women-run and women-led. Don’t get me wrong, we do ask for the advice of the few men who were in the army when the infection hit and have survived to tell the tale, but we can’t afford the risk of having a men in such close contact with daimonoi. We fear, they could also get the memories of the men they infect. We don’t know this for sure, but secrecy has worked well to our advantage and we need it to continue that way.
We know very little about the Deimonoi. The samples we have obtained from either dead bodies or from the few specimens we’ve managed to capture have given us little information. They seem to be organic, but we can’t make up cells like we can on any other animal or plant on Earth. They seem to mutate and change to be fit for purpose, as if each cell could serve every purpose needed at any given time, but that doesn’t explain what holds them together or determines what cell does what. We can’t find any DNA, but we have very limited equipment, so we could be missing something.
We suspect they can change shape or abilities to fit in their environment, but we haven’t seen that in action. We suspect that’s a process that takes longer than what anyone can remain alive near those beasts. None of the creatures we’ve have displayed psionic abilities, but they have proven vulnerable to ours. A psychic attack on those creatures can be devastating, though, so we know they have a brain, and we know it hurts them. However they also seem to be able to detect psions from a distance, so any incursion that has a human with psionic abilities will encounter more resistance. A lot more.
Great to know they have an Achilles heel. Shame we have little means to exploit that weakness!
I can’t say I’m optimistic about the future, but I can say we have a fighting chance. And if we don’t, at least we’ll die fighting. They have made their message very clear and we won’t be any less so.
What everyone wonders and no one wants to ask is, if these are the messengers, who is sending the message?