“Okay, we’re here. What is so urgent that I had to wake up before noon on a Saturday?”
The rest of Pete Carmichael’s friends weren’t as vocal but no less confused as Keith. Jane and Kasib each got the same urgent text from Pete this morning asking them to come to his apartment. He didn’t offer much in the way of an explanation, but knowing Pete as well as they did, they made their way over as soon as possible.
He got right to it. “So I assume that you guys are all watching the news?”
“Unfortunately”, replied Jane. “That’s all anybody is talking about. They even interrupted the game for some update last night. You didn’t call us all here to talk about that did you?”
“Kind of”, Pete answered. “At least it’s related. Am I the only one getting really nervous about this situation?”
“Of course”, Keith said. “Who isn’t? Mombozi and that clown Jacobsen are a dangerous combination. Something has to be done.”
Pete wasn’t so sure that something could be done. Not in time at least.
“Something bad is going to happen. How bad is the question. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.”
“You’re kidding”, Keith interjected.
Pete ignored the sarcasm and continued. “If things get really bad, I haven’t heard of anyone planning for what happens afterwards.”
“After what”, Kasib finally asked.
“After the world ends.”
His three friends now exchanged worried expressions. Pete was always a little different. It was one of the many things they loved about him. But what was he talking about now?
“My point is that if the worst-case scenario happens, and nuclear bombs are going off everywhere, there is obviously going to be a lot of destruction. Not to mention the lives that will be lost. We could be talking about millions of people wiped off the face of the earth. That in itself is going to be tragic. But when those people go, they’ll be taking with them all of their knowledge and skills. Now imagine if the carnage is really bad. Hundreds of millions of people dead around the world. And billions of dollars worth of property and equipment. With so much of the worlds data being automated and stored digitally, centuries of information could be wiped out. Now imagine an even bleaker scenario. There’s so much death and destruction that no corner of the earth is left undamaged.”
“My God Pete. This is getting depressing”, Keith interrupted.
Pete kept right on. “Now imagine this. Most people know how to operate computers, drive cars, etc. But how many really understand how to build one from the ground up? Everything is automated. Even coding is done by computers now. People perform upkeep on the machines, but the computers are doing all the work. If that infrastructure is wiped out, there might be a handful of people on the planet that would be able to get it up and running again. That is if the equipment that they need hasn’t been destroyed too.”
This time it was Jane who spoke up. “But what if those handful of people don’t make it?”
Pete smiled slightly and answered, “That’s why we’re here.”