In 2037, an old NASA researcher (and secret end-of-times apologist) discovered an errant asteroid spiraling towards earth at the blinding speed of 31 kilometers per second, a speed which indicated the asteroid was much closer to the sun (and to earth) than predicted. Shortly afterwards, New Testament and Book of Revelation scholars from Liberty, BYU, Sacred Heart Theological Seminary, and Bob Jones universities as well as retired members of Jehovah's Witness Governing Body and several Kabbalah scholars from Tel Aviv University all predicted a cataclysmic blaze would soon infect earth like a global inflammation. Our warming planet was going to explode into a million particles of thermal magma just like second-generation dystopian YA novels claimed it would. Suddenly, there was no time for love.
Before leading astrophysicists were given full access to the trajectory data, however, evangelical, white nationalist, conspiracy theorist, Neo-Nazi, Jehovah's Witness, illuminati, IS, Heaven's Gate, creationist, and e-Fox News affiliates began leaking information on the intranet/interplanetary supranet about the Asteroid Apocalypse. The Asteroid, known as Bad Boy, was the ultimate swan song of both the apocalyptic and reality e-TV genres in addition to being the kiss of death to human civilization. Government spokespeople in Firster nations couldn't get in front of this story because they couldn't get their hands on the sealed data (until the NSA and NASA had completely vetted and peer reviewed the impact calculations and then recreated them using complex simulation programs). Global hysteria soon spread from continent to continent like a cultural Rude Golberg machine. Suddenly, the world was preparing itself for ontological amnesia, for the death of human civilization and cultural memory, and for the dramatic but random end of all creation myths. Suddenly, v-applications to the underfunded and tiny lunar and martian colonies (known as the * colonies) increased a million percent in twenty-four hours, even though the Department of Aeronautical and Colonial Affairs had been slowly phasing out civilian colony development since the last Libertarian presidency cut NASA's budget by 60%. Suddenly, everything about human life was sacred, because everything that ends is sacred, which also simultaneously destroyed the sanctity of life since there would be no survivors, nothing to look back at, nothing to be excluded from, nothing to long for, nothing that would remain. It was a strange time/space of moral polarization and cosmic uncertainty to wrestle with. Suddenly, death became a profane calculus derivative, a mathematical exercise of divinity that no longer needed organized religion or hard science for guidance. At least, not in the beginning, anyway.
"There was no time for pretending anymore, certainly no time to fall in love, which was the most common and most self-aware performance of all."
Suddenly, there was no time anymore to worry about another bio-terrorist jihad in Jerusalem, about passing a third Paris Protocol, about expanding NATO to Latin America and Oceania, or even to appreciate Russia's changing role as a humanitarian superpower in the African A1, major non-proliferation advocate, and vocal critic of Chinese hegemony. There was no time for pretending anymore, certainly no time to fall in love, which was the most common and most self-aware performance of all, anyway. People spent the precious few days left left bawling their eyes out and tearing their clothes in secular Keriah, they prayed out of anger and a sense of betrayal at the creator, they quit their mechanistic jobs, they dropped out of college (and then enrolled again), they chainsmoked hydroponic, high-grade o-weed, they fucked in rush-hour metro shuttles in broad daylight and in overflowing automated parking lots, they set electric churches on fire in protest and hurled smartboards through the windows of police drone warehouses and automated state senators, they smashed porcelain vase heirlooms and inherited bone china with generic floral patterns against virtual kitchen walls, they skydived without nano-parachutes off the balconies of serpentine skyscrapers, homeless hotels, and elite skyburbs, they screamed at friends, neighbors, and family in EMOS conference calls, they swallowed handfuls of SX-3 and then participated in 48-hour digital orgies inside old subways in the A1, they cursed pathologically about every broken object in their life because global hubris, historical amnesia, a tolerance for cyclical xenophobia, racial scapegoating, perpetual white self-centering, delayed climate change ratification, appallingly low voter turnout in pivotal American elections, and neoliberal cultural liquidation, all of those things had brought human beings to this critical juncture before in 2016-2017, 2020, 2026, and 2030, but now, THIS WAS FUCKING IT, the moment that SF authors had fantasized about for sixty years, the moment that religious extremist groups had salivated about, the moment that doomsday cults had falsely predicted at least a hundred times before, but at long last, THIS WAS FUCKING IT. After looking their executioner in the eye and somehow postponing the destruction of civilization for thousands of years, human beings were finally about to lose their last game of Paper, Rock, Scissors with Atropos to an errant asteroid. Eschatology clubs like the Soldiers for Christ, The Anarchist Punks, and the Society of Sensualism, were created to help people cope with the end of the world, with the education-resistant strands of viral chaos, self-destruction, and racial animus, and with the possibility of mass suicide, rampant drug use, and spiked rates of civil disobedience and hate crimes that always follow both real and imaginary crises (so absurdly human, so quintessentially human), all of which made the expiring search for meaning now both impossible and mandatory.
Little by little, once the initial shock of the Asteroid Apocalypse wore off like a potent cultural Novocane, GC's (global citizens) became more pragmatic with their small window of time remaining. They began asking themselves the same question because it was the only one that truly mattered to them now: "Where should I spend the last days of my life and who should I spend them with?" And when they ran into friends and family in abandoned streets, in ISC global v-shopping malls as avatars of themselves, and in intranet/interplanetary supranet virtual cafés, they asked each other the same question over and over again:
WHERE WILL YOU BE WHEN THE WORLD ENDS?
世界が終わる時には、どこにいますか。Kde budeš, když svět skončí? Wo wärst du, wenn die Welt endet? 当世界结束时，你会在哪里? Che, donde vas a estar cuando termine el mundo? Uzoba kuphi lapho umhlaba uphela? Où serez-vous quand le monde finira? Bạn sẽ ở đâu khi thế giới kết thúc? Dünya bittiğinde nerde olacaksın? Πού θα είναι όταν τελειώσει ο κόσμος? On estaràs quan acabi el món? Ki kote ou yo pral lè mond la fini? दुनिया कहां समाप्त हो जाएगी? Di manakah anda berada apabila dunia berakhir? أين ستكون عندما ينتهي العالم؟ איפה תהיי כשהעולם יסתיים? Non izango zara mundua amaitzen denean? Որտեղ եք լինելու, երբ աշխարհը վերջանում է: Saan ka magiging kapag nagtatapos ang mundo? ಪ್ರಪಂಚವು ಕೊನೆಗೊಂಡಾಗ ನೀವು ಎಲ್ಲಿರುತ್ತೀರಿ? Gdje ćeš biti kad svijet završi? Waar zal je zijn wanneer de wereld eindigt? Где вы будете, когда мир закончится? Kie vi estos kiam la mondo finiĝas? Çaxê hûn ê dinyayê bibe? Ku do të jeni kur mbaron bota? სად იქნება როდის დასრულდება მსოფლიო? Ble byddwch yn pan fydd y byd yn dod i ben? Kust sa siis, kui maailm lõpeb? Onde você estará quando o mundo acabar? Missä olet, kun maailma päättyy? 세상이 끝나면 어디로 가겠습니까? Hvor vil du være, når verden slutter? જ્યારે વિશ્વનો અંત આવશે ત્યારે તમે ક્યાં છો? Осы дүниенің соңы қайда болады? ia ke ao nei welau a Mahea e oe e? دنیا کب ختم ہو جائے گی Cumu serà quellu chì u munnu finisci? Di mana Anda akan berada ketika dunia berakhir? Ku do të jeni kur mbaron bota? ప్రపంచం ముగుతున్నప్పుడు మీరు ఎక్కడ ఉంటారు? Onde estarás cando finalice o mundo? Qhov twg koj yuav thaum twg lub ntiaj teb no xaus? உலகம் முடிவடைந்தவுடன் நீங்கள் எங்கு இருக்க வேண்டும்? Hol leszel, amikor a világ véget ér? ዓለም ሲጠፋ የምትሆነው የት ነው? Var kommer du vara när världen slutar? Utakuwa wapi wakati ulimwengu ukamilika? Hvar verður þú þegar heimurinn endar? Ebe ị ga-mgbe ụwa na-agwụ? Kje boš, ko se bo svet končal? Nuair a bheidh tú nuair a thagann deireadh leis an saol mór? Dove sarai quando finisce il mondo? পৃথিবী কখন শেষ হবে আপনি কোথায়? Unde vei fi cand lumea se va sfarsi? O fea o le a ia te oe pe faaiuina le lalolagi? Ubi tandem erit tibi cum mundo? ਤੁਸੀਂ ਕਿੱਥੇ ਹੋਵੋਗੇ ਜਦੋਂ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਖਤਮ ਹੋਵੇਗਾ? Dünyanın sona çatdığında harada olursunuz? Hvor vil du være når verden slutter? Къде ще бъдете, когато светът свърши? Waar sal jy wees wanneer die wêreld eindig? Kur tu būsi, kai pasibaigs pasaulis? संसारको समाप्त जब तपाईं कहाँ हुनेछ? Fejn ser tkun meta tispiċċa d-dinja? Wêr sille jimme wêze as de wrâld einiget? Dunyo qachon tugaydi? Дзе вы будзеце, калі свет заканчваецца? Ngendi sampeyan bakal nalika donya ends? وقتی جهان به پایان می رسد کجا خواهد بود؟ Gdzie będziesz, kiedy świat się skończy? Xaggee baad ahaan doontaa goortii dunida dhamaado? ကမ္ဘာကြီးကိုအဆုံးသတ်သောအခါအသင်သည်အဘယ်မှာဖြစ်လိမ့်မည်နည်း