Chapter 26 – The Current Situation

Sea Monster Alliance
ZFX
52 Chapters

Editor: Bubbles

Proofreader: XavierForest


January 9th, 2012, the apocalypse arrived. 

After a total of fifteen days, the magnetic field finally stabilised around the 24th. However, if someone picked up a compass, they’d realise that it no longer pointed north. And the effects of the magnetic reversal of the two poles extended far beyond this. 

Modern society was built around electricity. As the magnetic fields became almost non-existent, all motors, generators, and fine-tuned machinery had been rendered useless. After this catastrophe, permanent magnetism would no longer retain its previous characteristics and qualities. In short, even though a large number of humans survived, civilisation had been destroyed, bringing down social order along with it. 

In the capital, Beijing, the once bustling roads were now empty, with only plastic bags and broken garbage fluttering about in the wind. A military squadron clad in full anti-radiation gear was pulling a large, complicated-looking jar on an old-fashioned wooden cart. 

At the same time, many people were quietly pulling back the corners of their thick curtains and peering outside. 

Without television, Internet, and radios— practically anything powered by electricity, and even phone calls couldn’t be made now— people were terrified despite being in the safety of their own homes. The city center had settled down in the past two to three days, with a rapid decline in blatant robberies and murders. But since food and water were still being constantly consumed, everyone was concerned about the measures taken by the government and military. 

Although, nobody dared to leave their homes. Just take a look at the soldiers’ anti-radiation gear. 

The civilians silently stared at the soldiers walking up and down the streets in frustration; they were too accustomed to the age of the Internet where they could be informed of news around the world without ever taking a single step out the door. Now though, nobody knew anything except for what they could see and hear. Many people had yet to even figure out what was actually going on. 

City-wide blackout? Then why can’t I use my phone? Why are the car engines dead? Even electric motorbikes have become useless… we can only escape with skateboards and bicycles. As for why we’re escaping? Simple… 

While a dead car engine would cause the vehicle to slow to a stop, thus resulting in limited damage through car accidents, it was beyond unfortunate for those who’d happened to be on a subway, train, or plane on the afternoon or evening of the 9th. Countless derailments, crashes, and explosions had set off giant fires around the metropolis, practically turning the city into a living hell. 

There was also the climax of panicked crowds storming through shopping centers to acquire resources… 

Fire trucks couldn’t move… fire hoses couldn’t be used… every police force was sent out… Eventually, even the military was mobilised. Due to mass fear, people started madly breaking into and robbing public and private properties. Truly, too many people had died. 

The fires had kept burning until the evening of the 10th, when administration realised that they couldn’t be put out and the water plants ran out of water. In the end, people had to forcefully tear down the buildings around the burning areas to create wide buffer strips, and only then did they manage to slow down the flames.  

However, before those who’d abruptly become homeless and lost their loved ones even had time to feel sad, a greater disaster struck. 

One by one, people dropped dead in the streets. The cause of death? Fevers, organ failure, sudden festering rashes… 

The bodies from the previous catastrophe had yet to be removed from the burnt ruins… 

This hell on Earth finally frightened people beyond words. They’d run back to their homes, bolted shut the windows and doors, and shivered uncontrollably. Some of them got on their bicycles with their belongings packed on their backs and attempted to leave this once flourishing city behind. They were just heading closer to death. 

The only ones still alive were those that’d remained hidden in their homes from the very beginning; as such, they hadn’t seen the horrifying scenes with their own eyes. 

Due to the lack of communication, not many people knew about the appearance of special ability wielders. The majority of the population was still worried about what kind of disaster had cut off the entire supply of water and electricity for over ten days. Looking outside, the military seemed very tense. By now, even the most unperturbed person would be wondering, is this the end of the world?

They’d waited in desperation for weeks, yet no signs of helicopters and trucks arriving to their rescue ever appeared. This was unimaginable, for they were in the capital of a first-world country! How could there be no foriegn aid when such an unprecedented disaster struck? Who were they kidding? 

Anyone who wasn’t an idiot had long arrived at this conclusion: Not only Beijing, but the whole country— no— the whole world must be in a state of chaos!  

Of course, what these people didn’t know was how lucky they were. The city they lived in was still relatively in order, with an intact government and military. There were plenty of countries around the world that were much less fortunate. Places that were in war to begin with or had several political powers separating the country couldn’t collect themselves and care for the civilian lives at the beginning. After figuring out that the plane crashes weren’t terrorist attacks, different parties argued and wrestled, but no one could conclude a working plan. Everyone had their respective powerful families and monopolies standing behind them, so the benefits were split amongst them. In the end, they had no other choice but to move to the emergency underground nuclear defense barricades. 

The remaining brilliant presidents or other leading political figures futilely tried to preserve their respective countries’ elites and classified information. With all communication and transportation being paralysed, humans could only walk so far on two legs. They attempted to mobilise the army, giving their all to control the chaos without much success. At best, they ended up like Beijing, with somewhat stability in a single region or city.   

Even though communication had been severed and nobody could find out what was happening elsewhere, all the governments realised this calamity to be worldwide after three days of waiting. The only upperhand they had in comparison to the civilians was that they at least knew the cause. 

“Didn’t they say that the diminishing magnetic field and reversing of the poles were natural phenomena? Then how come suddenly—” 

In an underground base beneath the suburbs of Beijing, almost all machinery had broken down. While designing the place, only things like nuclear attacks, meteor showers, and tremendous earthquakes were taken into consideration. Though all of the systems were linked with solar or nuclear generators, the newfound loss of permanent magnetic materials had turned all the delicately-orchestrated attack-defense systems into empty shells. 

Even the current ventilation system was made by the Academy of Science within the last ten days. Since the model couldn’t utilise any fine-tuned electronic components, it was very cumbersome and ineffective. The air around the base was filled with smoke. Everyone who sat around the long table had their jackets draped over their shoulders, looking dejected and red-eyed. 

Due to the printers and photocopiers becoming useless, all documents were now handwritten. But the thing was, pens and pencils could no longer be produced either; the Academy of Science was already researching traditional paper-making methods— if none of the machines could be employed again, people would have to write with traditional brushes. 

“The magnetic fields have been diminishing since the 1900s! What were they doing all this time?!” An old man dressed in a uniform slammed a fist on the table and let out a heavy sigh. 

Currently, only the most rudimentary materiels1Materiel refers to supplies, equipment, and weapons in military supply-chain management, and typically supplies and equipment only in a commercial supply chain context., such as guns and grenades, were usable; everything else, from missiles to tanks, had become sitting lumps of metal. The country had lost about a century’s worth of military prowess overnight. Basic guns and ammunition could be made by hand, but what about the machines that made the molds? The better the firearm, the finer the details had to be for different parts. If everything was made by hand, then firearms would become a rare treasure of the military. Were they now supposed to fall back to the era of cold weapons? 

“Lao-Zhao2“Lao-XXX” is an informal way to address your acquaintance or friend. Usually begins with “Lao” and followed with the last name of the person you are addressing. , calm down! No one could’ve foreseen these things. The magnetic fields have only lost about fifteen percent of their energy over the past a hundred and fifty years. Who could’ve guessed that within a few days—” Exhaustion was evident on the face of the old man sitting at the head. “What’s happened is done and over with, so there’s no point in pointing fingers. What we need to do first is to figure out how we can sustain the population and bring back order, food, and clean drinking water. If we give up hope too, then the real doomsday will have arrived. What’s left for our people would be nothing but death!” 

“Looking at the compass, the poles have completed their reversal. Given the radiation levels, the magnetic fields have stabilised as well. Theoretically, all of the machinery should’ve returned to proper operation too! Except it hasn’t!!” 

“Alright, alright, that theory has been overturned already. The newest assumption passed by the Academy of Science is that the reversal of the poles is just Earth’s natural progression. The reason for such devastating damage is due to abuse of modernity. Permanent magnetic materials have been too extensively used; from interstellar instruments to handphones, they’ve allowed human civilisation to rapidly progress, but at the same time, also enabled it to collapse overnight.” 

“Then will we never go back? In one year? Maybe ten? Humans have invented generators! We can create a different model based on the current magnetic waves! We can prosper again and everything would work out in the end!” 

Just when something akin to hope began spreading through the base, someone sighed. “No, the astronomical radiation has disappeared, but the return of the magnetic fields also brought back electromagnetic radiation. Though not deadly, its destructive effects are tremendous. Taking the Academy of Science’s calculations, the entire Earth is currently shrouded in a giant geomagnetic storm. If we’re lucky, then it might gradually calm down over the next few centuries. If not, then it’ll still exist by the time us humans become extinct and new organisms have appeared!” 

“Goddammit!” General Zhao swore. “What’s the source of the electromagnetic radiation?! As long as it’s not the sun, we’ll destroy it!” 

“…There were already theories and insights pre-apocalypse that any object with an internal temperature greater than absolute zero could discharge electromagnetic radiation. However, nothing on Earth has a temperature equal to or below absolute zero, so everything around us is sending out electromagnetic radiation, even the table and chairs!” 

“Fuck!” Someone couldn’t contain themselves and slammed their hand against the conference table. 

“And the appearance of ability wielders…” 

This topic was clearly a heavy one, immediately turning the mood strangely sour. 

“With the lack of quality research conditions, there’s no way to confirm how these special abilities appeared. The only known data is that they are those who were lucky enough to survive the radiation; in terms of age, gender, and health, they share nothing in common. We don’t know if the cause of special abilities is astronomical or electromagnetic radiation. There are currently seventeen ability wielders that have been discovered in Beijing, and there is an immense discrepancy in the types and strengths of these powers. Twelve of them are military or government workers who have participated in rescue missions. Similar ability possessors should’ve appeared nationally— no— internationally. They should be the greatest threats to order, but could possibly be the most valuable assets in establishing the new civilisation.” 

Everybody’s breathing quickened a little, yet none offered any objections to the opinion. Thus, the conversation took a final turn. 

“Before the disaster struck, satellites captured abnormal images in Antarctica, the Atlantic Ocean, and the South China Sea…” 

“Is this?!” 

“Yes, sea monsters. The things that the West has been diligently studying since the beginning of time. For more than a decade, it’d been almost impossible to capture any footage outside of the South China Sea… Of course, nothing is valuable anymore in the apocalypse.”   

“Chairman, I don’t think this is strange at all. Animals naturally have better instincts and sensitivity than humans.” 

“But here’s the problem: Shouldn’t they be hiding in the deep sea if they’re running for their lives?! The Mariana Trench is their lair! Aren’t they exposing themselves to the danger of astronomical and electromagnetic radiation when they float to the surface?!” 

“Also, the weather has been unusually hot. Beijing is nowhere close to the ocean, but we must send someone to the Bohai Sea to check what’s happening with the sea levels. Hopefully, we won’t be facing those horrifying scenes you see in movies. Humans have already been stripped of our high-tech weaponry, and if those sea monsters…” 

The room was silent as people grew increasingly frustrated. Many wanted to have a smoke, but were forced to subside their desires due to the already-terrible ventilation. 

“Do we not have a single bit of good news?” 

The old man sitting at the head paused from massaging his temples. His lips curled up into a familiar but weak smile. “Yes, we do. For example, we’re still alive! The country is still standing! There’s still hope for humanity…”

  • 1
    Materiel refers to supplies, equipment, and weapons in military supply-chain management, and typically supplies and equipment only in a commercial supply chain context.
  • 2
    “Lao-XXX” is an informal way to address your acquaintance or friend. Usually begins with “Lao” and followed with the last name of the person you are addressing.

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