LEAVING SOON

Mark Johnson
4 min readMay 4, 2023

With the world being pushed to a new understanding and its people forced to live unlike ever. Debiase wanted his last night as a civilian to be memorable or at least live it as a reminder of what life was like before the orange fever 20.

He’d be leaving soon, shipping out to enforce the new world order. To where was yet to be determined, but as the orders were being processed, Debiase and others trained like him were told to say goodbye to their family and loved ones as they may never see them again.

This mission, broken down into three phases, was of significant importance. No one should expect to be coming back anytime soon as Debiase recalls that part of the mission in his head, questioning his resolve to do the job as soldiers were heading out stacked like sardines in all-terrain vehicles. An even better question came, as it was too late to change his mind.

The question was, what would he do with his remaining time before he became the property of the World Senate? He needed to get off base and in amongst the people to figure that out. Luckily there was a shipple leaving and headed to zone 201, or what used to be known as downtown L.A.

He hopped aboard dressed as a civilian facemask, green-ray glasses, cloak, fixed gloves, and magnifying systems. His systems card was loaded with over $5,000 credits, a stipend given to all making the long journey, making whatever he wanted possible before shipping out. On the base, it was easy to forget what had happened, but in the shipple, the sign of rust-colored dust could be found.

As the shipper steamed through the saddle tracks, Debiase looked out the window at the desolate urban landscape of the now nearly unrecognizable L.A. skyline and the city covered in that rust-colored soot, a bi-product of the Orange fever 20. Time and tragic events like the orange fever 20 had been unkind to the world as all around the world, as they were told, looked like how L.A. currently did.

L.A., once a habitat for humanity now a place so wrenched. Debiase wondered how people still had a wish to live there. With soot everywhere, it made it hard to breathe without a mask or breathing equipment. It hit home about what he wanted to do as the shop was leaving its first drop. Debiase then looked upon his systems device, the nearest history machine finding one-two drops ahead. He then pulled up his files and prepared them in the remaining minutes till they dropped.

As he did this, he looked at the glum faces and body language of the other passengers in the shop, wondering where they may be headed. The supple ride was bumpy and seemed like t would fail at any moment, yet it pushed on. Then it finally came to his drop and hovered. Debiase rose from his seat and hopped down to the street. The history machine was a short walk from the station drop, so he masked up and went through the dusty littered streets.

On either side of him were vendors hocking their salvaged goods, people without homes, bounty seekers, those time left behind, and those just looking for some way to survive. It was like this day and night as groans of people living their lives out in the hope of a handout, an opportunity, and a cure.

Debiase made his way through, noticing the loss of civilization firsthand as he navigated the streets. Some were well at once, but as time passed, they became ill. It always started with a cough, then a hard time breathing, and once in the lungs, life would change drastically. Up ahead, Debiase could see the glowing neon pink light of the history machine. It was a sight to behold amidst the thick dust and total desolation.

He rushed inside the building, scrambling for his I.D. chip, scanned it, and his name popped up, Debiase Leonard. He was then asked what memory he wanted to relive. Debiase removed the green rays from his eyes as that prompt came up. A sparkle of anticipation sparked in his eyes. And without hesitation, Debiase typed in on the toggle board on September 23, 2018. The machine began to process his request, with the total for this memory coming to 5,000 credits, the whole amount that was stipended him for the new world order soldiers. Without a second thought, Debaise slid his card, and the memory was created.

The memory that brought Debiase all this way and of all the memories in his life and all that his credits could buy, he spent it on another reliving of a moment with his girlfriend, Angelina. This was back before all of this, when life was good, and everyone seemingly had a reason to live.

It was his birthday in their apartment back in Sacramento, California. As the moment was loading up, a tear rolled down Debiase’s cheek into his filthy mask. As the request was delivered, it was like Debiase was really there, standing in front of Angelina, clear as can be. “Awe, why are you crying?” Angelina asked, Debiase whipping the now tears from his face. “Because it is always so going to see you, my love.” Debaise replied, and Angelina smiled, a smile that warmed Debiase like the morning sun of another time.

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Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.