Author's Note: Hello, and welcome to Ground Zero, my latest work of art. It should be noted that this story is rated M, and therefore, it is your responsibility to judge for yourself if you can read on. There may or may not be sexual content, that of which I am still deciding upon. However, there will be violence, strong language, and mature themes. Now then, a couple of notes about the storyline itself. First off, some of my readers may notice some similarities between this and The Caged Bird Heeds No Call, (another one of my works) this is because Ground Zero is in fact a remake of that story. However, it should be noted that these similarities are skin-deep at best, in essence, Ground Zero is an entirely different version. There is absolutely no need to read any other story in order to understand this one. Lastly, this story is a post-apocalyptic adventure. It is intended for outright entertainment, and therefore, is not perfectly realistic. Please don't nit-pick me about how this and that aren't scientifically plausible, or how some situation isn't likely, I DON'T CARE. I just want to create a fun story to read, the end. Now then, enough with my ranting, time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the story.

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Prologue

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The end began far before Man ever laid its hands upon such brutal abominations as blades and guns. No, the end began in the far reaches of Man's earliest birth. From the very start, His heart was clouded with darkness, a need for wealth and power above all others. And it was this insatiable hunger that would lead Mankind through the ages until, alas, Man's destructive power could be sustained no longer, and by its own hand, the Human race would become its own undoing.

In the year 2121, The Peoples' Republic of China began its invasion of Free Iraq, one of the first of many conflicts that would come to be called the Petroleum Crusades, also known as World War Three. With oil and other natural resources' finite extent finally becoming a matter of international emergency, Man reacted in the only way it knew how, war. For six long years the world slept in flames, its borders torn apart by conflict. But none of the many advances in the field of technology could ever uphold to the devastating power of the atom. In the final years of the war, stretched thin by countless deaths and economic collapse, the United States desperately lashed out if only to save itself from ruin. But it brought upon the world a ruin like no other, a holocaust that swept the planet into oblivion. The Earth was bathed in blood as the rest of the world responded in kind. Nuclear fire rained down from the skies for weeks on end, plunging each and every nation into an abyss of no return. The cataclysm finally came to an end, with no one emerging as the victor.

Whatever remained of the once great nations slowly faded away to the sway of the centuries. As nuclear winter took its cold embrace of the world, the last strands of humanity struggled to survive in an inhospitable wasteland. But Armageddon would not come for mankind, no, it would suffer for a near millennium to come, preyed upon by famine and disease, hunted by horribly mutated alterations of a now nightmarish wildlife. That is, until the Union came into being.

The Phoenix Union, a militaristic movement smug with its own supremacy, started something that no one had ever dared to accomplish. With its access to advanced technologies, the Union swept across what was once America, cleansing it of mutants and monsters. It brought about peace, prosperity, and the last bastion of human civilization on Earth over the ruins of Washington D.C. but above all, it brought hope. In their desperation, the people welcomed the Union with open arms.

By the year 2812, the Union had established total control over its domain, officially establishing the country of New Washington, the last and only of its kind. With it came a new era of knowledge, technologies were rediscovered, civilization stabilized, and an economic system was set up. For many, this was a life that they had only dreamed of, and they came to love their leadership, allowing them into their homes, their lives, and their minds.

The years that ensued were a long lasting effort by the Union to wash over the brains of its disciples. With the promise of its rebuilt cities, food, and comfort, very few dared to go out on their own. Even less dared to rebel. It was due to this credulous nature that the Union was able to establish the one thing none had expected, an iron fisted dictatorship.

The totalitarian rule of this newfound police state did not go unnoticed by its citizens, but by the time they could react, it was too late. Armored columns soon rolled through the streets, special brigades known as Planetary Police were set up to oppress and control the civilian populace. Almost overnight, the Union had become the one thing that people feared more than the wastes outside the city walls.

Even so, none spoke out. Whether it was because they were too ignorant and brainwashed to fully realize the situation, or simply because there seemed to be no hope of resistance, the people laid placid. They would not dare to rebel, and indeed, to many, there was no reason to. Their sheep-like minds could only think of the Union as the people who had saved them, and they hung onto their overlords like the obedient dogs they were. It was from these people that the Union would continue to draw its power, and soon, it adopted the only motto that made sense in this world...

"Peace through power"

And the people would accept it, or so the Union had hoped...

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Author's Note: And that's the prologue, hope you liked it. I'll be posting more soon, so feel free to put me on your alert list if you'd like. Oh, and one last thing, REVIEW PLEASE.