Three, two, four, one. Three, two, four, one. Three, two, four, one, zero. A man calculated something while hidden away in a vault. The same story repeated itself countless times in many other places. They were in a race to find a cure. For years humanity suffered from what became known as the sundering plague. A sickness that slowly crippled everyone. Remedies were put in place that could merely lengthen the lifespan of the person. Thousands of scientists volunteered to seal themselves in vaults in order to avoid getting sick. Lately they discovered that the sickness was not a simple disease but a genetic defect. This defect grew each generation, eventually it affected everyone. An environmental trigger caused the populace to begin feeling the symptoms almost immediately. Slowly humanity’s numbers dwindled.
In the vault the scientist continued to extract his own blood and seek out a cure. He pushed his wheelchair around the lab hoping that someday he would walk again. His partner, a historian who was still able to walk, scoured medical records and genetic archives. For years they had been arguing about a historian’s usefulness in an issue that seemed strictly genetic. They would eventually find out that a cure existed centuries ago. A country that existed in a land that was highly desirable. The people there were exterminated. No trace of them was left. Other wars broke out over the region, destroying any hope of ever finding anything that could possibly save them now. Although the historian continued her search, it was in vain. There was no genetic history, because by the time the records were made the people that held the key had been extinct. A variation in the genetic code. One that would take even more centuries to find, especially considering the scientist did not have a clue as to what to look for. So they stared at each other in that vault, thinking how their past had finally caught up to them. How the violence they once sought against one another created a rift that would destroy them.
The geneticist and the historian emerged once again from the vault. By now most people had died off. The historian was now bound to a wheelchair as well. An eerie emptiness surrounded the city. Power was failing, the remaining lights flickering in the night. They moved together through the city and found one of the few parks that still remained. An automated system kept it pristine. That too would one day fail. At that moment, the pair simply held hands and watched as dawn approached.