In an era where Earth has become a distant painful memory, the descendants of those fortunate to have fled had taken with them more than just their lives memories and pain, war followed them.

For the tragedy of Earth was but the first chapter in an ongoing struggle for dominance over the minds of Humanity. Mining bases have gone dark, squadrons of warships carry out wargames while the droning masses are fed a copious diet of propaganda.

Beings beyond imagining, some pawns in this great game, are waiting for the coming collapse. As pieces move into place, whisper turns to rumor as thoughts become reality, zero hour approaches. In the chaos and mass confusion the Jupiter Sector orders the thawing of a young woman from stasis.

It is her first day awake since the war. It is the year 2412, and nothing will be the same, again.

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Excerpt from Jovian Eclipse © Copyright 2023 Asher Farlow

The sweet aroma of cherry blossoms in spring bloom gave little comfort as a swift gust of wind blew in from the coastline chilled an already icy heart. Swaying herself side to side, she could not escape the horrors endured, let alone partake in. It was to be her last midday stroll through the garden of her childhood home.

A foot-wide cobblestone pathway snaked up to the small pagoda, its edges lined with tiny lamps. Serene hills cut by roadways, their tops crowned with cell towers.

The cold subsided as warmth returned to her, giving a sense of excitement as she slowly approached the house. Never could she have imagined a return to the past, memory is but a fickle thing, and some are best kept as such, a memory. Small vestiges of yearning for a return to the way things were, the way things ought to be, the way they should be. Politics was never something that had interested her, let alone a blue-collar working family on the outskirts of Osaka. They were simply too preoccupied with the mundane, with family, and work. When her brother was killed in a car accident, her innocence as a young girl began to slowly fade over the next fifteen years. At the age of twenty-two a unique offer was presented, the Defense Force. Excelling in athletics, martial arts, and coding, she had the beginnings of some sort of a career. Nothing was certain, and with no better option, she accepted. Soon she would be sent off for basic training. That was until everything changed.

With a bright flash and little to no warning, a fourteen-megaton nuclear warhead struck the base. Luckily for the recruits, a steep rocky hill shielded them. It was also by a stroke of luck that they were in a peculiar zone of safety. One kilometer outside the blast zone of the base, and ten kilometers outside of mount Yoshino.

The river further northwest began to boil as vapors slithered into the sky whilst a backdrop of the mushroom cloud burned everything within ten miles around ground zero.

She thought her life a nightmare, a family burned away from reality. Japan had suffered such an attack during the Second World War. Such things are of course sick and disturbing in their irony.