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In the many preceding decades, the extreme consolidation of money and of power had resulted in a very small percentage of the world’s population owning or controlling almost all of a country’s, and then the world’s, wealth. Alliances between these corporations and extremely wealthy individuals had existed only for the benefit of those players. Corporate ownership had been narrowed to only the very few who could afford to buy ‘shares’ in what really had become personal businesses. But there was no concern for profit or return or appreciation anymore; what was wanted was just a piece of the action. And the action was now food and water and security.

What they wanted was one last chance for life. So, those with power and means had generally banded together and built protective compounds in which to live and house supplies. These compounds or ‘groupings of members’ were often built in mountainous regions near water sources, near areas that could be defended easily, and in areas away from the coastal regions that were now the scenes of climate catastrophes.

Damian picks up his fork and begins eating. The day has been long and the hunger and fatigue now come to the foreground. He eagerly eats, digesting the food and the just completed work day. He is concerned about subtle comments that he is hearing from superiors and wonders if there is a potential threat or problem on the horizon for him and his staff. Lost in thought for a moment, Damian looks up from the table to his wife. She is sitting idly, stirring the food on her plate. “I thought you were hungry,” he says. “Aren’t you hungry?”

Sarah sighs and puts down her fork. Her dark green eyes peer up at him from behind the strands of curly brunette wisps of hair that fall down her forehead. She gazes at her husband but no words come from her.

“What’s wrong, Sarah, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know,” she says. “Everything, I guess.”

“What do you mean, everything?”

“Just that, I mean, what isn’t wrong today? What is left that is good or is fun or is meaningful? No wonder Christopher gets so disillusioned and disappointed all the time. If this is what living is going to be for the rest of his life, what is there to look forward to really? We’re like prisoners here.”

“It’s not that bad, we have food and water and each other. We have much more than others and at least we have a chance to keep on going and maybe things will get better someday. Maybe things can still change and everything will just return to normal again someday,” he says.

Looking deeply into the eyes of her husband, Sarah then says, “You know they’re not going to change, Damian, and you know they’re not going to get better, just stay the same if we’re lucky or get worse probably. We’ve had a life but what’s in it for our son, a chance to live in a Grouping for the rest of his life. What kind of future is that for a child?” she asks him.