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Dispensing Justice - Chapter 6 - 1947A

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When high school freshman Michael Gurrick's father is killed by supervillains, he takes up his father's supersuit and seeks justice (or will it be vengeance?) against his father's killers. (e)

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Chapter 6 — 1947A

Thursday, May 3rd, 1984 (13,603 days post Supernova 1947A)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Where should I begin? I am tempted to start with February 3rd, 1947, when the supernova wavefront first reached Earth and, if I might editorialize, the comfortable seclusion and self importance of Earth was shattered. Without the intervention of the Galactics, every major flora and fauna extant on Earth would have been wiped out. Without the least bit of prejudice. But the Galactics did intervene. What we have come to call the Shield, which was in actuality a massive array of gamma-ray and neutrino 'sterilizer' shields, worked. Mostly. But what you may not know is that complications occurred.

I am still unclear on the details of what went wrong, particularly as to the source of the Shield failure. But without Galactitech, stopping the neutrino damage would have required more than a light year of lead. With it, the Shield 'flipped' the supernova's flood of neutrinos to their sterile, non-interacting form long enough for them to pass harmlessly through the Earth. What I do know about the Shield's failure is that at least one of the Galactics' ships collided with part of the array, and a portion of the deadly melange of radiation and 'unsterilized' neutrinos slammed into Earth. The swiftness of the Galactics' response to this disaster was a clear indication that they had been prepared for the eventuality. Or perhaps it would have been necessary to drop the regenerative nanotech in the form of a cometary rain in any case.

Despite the Galactics' revealing themselves as long time observers of Earth, they have remained remarkably close-mouthed about what went wrong on February 3rd, 1947, when Supernova 1947A impinged itself on our quiet Galactic neighborhood. I should add that they have said little about what went right. As you are probably aware, if you have been paying attention in your history class---and I won't hold it against you if you haven't been, as I have trouble staying awake in Ms. LeGrange's class myself---is that not everyone, nor everything, was saved or cured by the Galactics' nanotech. Life on earth was decimated, literally. Ten percent of the human population died, as well as a similar percentage of every other species---more or less. Some species and ecosystems are more robust than others. Then there were the mutations, many of which turned out to be positive through the miracle of Galactic nanotech. Life changed. Particularly for my father's generation. Which isn't to say that those who were born before 1947A didn't personally benefit from the Galactics' intervention by more than simple survival. Many diseases were simply wiped out, and cancer has become nearly unheard of during the last thirty-seven years.

All of which is pretty much ancient history for me. Seven months earlier, May 3rd of this year to be specific, is the date of a far more significant and personal change. And for me there is a painful symmetry between February 3rd, 1947, the day of the supernova, and May 3rd, 1984, the day when my comfortable existence was terminated with prejudice.

When I came off the soccer field at the end of freshman practice that day, I was trembling, sweat soaked, and dripping gobbets of mud. Luckily the rain had stopped just before my final class of the afternoon, staying away long enough to let the scrimmage proceed as planned, returning intermittently to ensure an interesting quantity of mud. The game had been just what I needed to take my mind off the looming, monstrous event of the day. I chugged water from my formerly frozen milk jug while I watched Kinnison checking text messages on his cellphone. I had deliberately turned mine off, and despite the craving to check for texts, email, or voicemail, I was keeping it off. He looked up, noticed my stare, then looked back down at his inTouch.

"Hey, Gurick," he said, staring at the small screen and thumbing furiously away, big splattering drops of rain drawing muddy rivulets down his cheeks. "Did you hear about what the Demolition Squad did to---"

"Yes!" I said, way too forcefully, "Yes I did!"

He stopped texting and looked up at me again. "Hey, sorry man, I should have guessed you'd know. He was one of your idols, wasn't he?"

"Yeah. He was." I heard a familiar car horn from the street and turned to see the family mini-van. I turned back to Kinnison. "My ride's here."

"See you tomorrow, Gurick. And, for what it's worth, I know what you're going through. When Turbocharger was killed, I couldn't watch the news for weeks."

But he so didn't. Which didn't mean that I didn't appreciated his lame attempt at sympathy. "Thanks, Kinnison. Tomorrow."

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