The final decades of this century saw economic ruin. The fear of an environmental Armageddon. The impending and long overdue explosion of the Yellowstone caldera. Religious extremism. Bio-terrorist attacks. The ever increasing shortage of fresh water. All of these led to a protracted war with no clear winner in sight.

Unknown to the general population, the governments of the world had started to build vast underground bunkers. Their purpose? To house a portion of the Earth's population to insure the continuity of the human race.

Once the selection's for those who should inhabit the bunkers were made, insuring a viable genetic, skill, and financial base, all that remained was to set a date for the selected persons to enter the bunkers. It was the onset of unexplained occurrences at Yellowstone, and the ever increasing toxicity of the atmosphere that precipitated the entrance into the bunkers. It was only after those selected had disappeared into the bunkers that the rest of the population became aware of what was happening, and massive civil unrest followed. The wars which were fought for water were now fought for the remaining resources. Anarchy became a byword for topside.

Secure in their bunkers, the "chosen" of the human race were unaware of what was happening on the surface. Over the course of centuries, and after the loss of communications twenty years into their seclusion, it became the accepted belief in the bunkers that the human race on the surface had become extinct.

No one noticed, or even cared, that communications between the bunkers themselves was not affected. The bunkers became fully function cities, far beyond their original design or intended use. Indeed, they grew beyond their predesigned limits. They were governed from one specific bunker, under the remnants of New York, because this bunker contained the remaining delegates from the United Nations. These new living spaces eventually became cities, and were no longer called bunkers.

Changes also occurred within the population. The population evolved into two distinct groups depending on their social status. Those belonging to the richer members of this new society, referred to as the "ruling class", or "rueclass", did not draw distinction between race, thus, centuries after the underground cities were sealed, there were no distinct ethnic groups within this class.

There was another reason for this- it became the belief among this circle that racism was one of the traits of the "barbaric" people that had inhabited the surface, the people who's greedy use of the planets resources had driven the citizens of these new cities below ground in the first place, and that mixing the races was the only way to rid this new culture of that particular trait.

Compared to those who entered the bunker, the people of the rueclass were tall, topping seven foot, and thin, with black hair, dark, almond shaped eyes and symmetrical, almost identical faces. They had very little muscle definition or strength due to their sedentary life styles and thanks to the advances in medicine, their immune system was weaker than those who originally inhabited the bunkers. Academically, they focused on law, economics, technology or science related courses. While these areas flourished, art and literature became stagnant. There was virtually no progress in these areas. There was no recognition of social activities. Any interaction between rueclass people had to have some advantage for those involved, other than just merely meeting to talk or have a good time.

The other social group, referred to as the "proletariat," or "proles," were the working class. Like the rueclass, they did not draw distinction between ethnic groups. They looked similar to the humans who entered the bunkers, but they were broader of shoulder, with thicker and denser bones and muscle due to their heavy work load. They had stronger immune systems, better eyesight and better hearing than those in the rueclass. But they were shorter, barley topping five foot two. They worked the menial tasks- working in the factories, power and sewage plants, cleaning the gutters and collecting the garbage. There was no prospect for elevation. Education was for the rueclass.

However, music and the art of storytelling was prominent with this class. Where the rueclass faltered in these areas, the proles advanced. Social activities were a massive part of prole life. A wedding, or a newborn child's naming day, could have hundreds, if not thousands of guests- many just walking off the street to congratulate those involved and to catch up with old friends.

When it came to the surface of the planet, there had been talk among the rueclass for almost five hundred years as to whether or not it is time to return to the surface, but the apathy and the hatred of the rueclass of all things relating to change always meant that such thoughts were almost always dismissed.

"The surface needs more time to recover," was the answer given by the Council, the government of the bunker cities, and this was always accepted. But there were those who were not content with this answer. The dug into old areas of the city, found the entrance used to enter the bunkers, but they were useless. Sonic tests revealed that the tunnels used to hide the great steel doors had caved in, and the doors themselves, while old, were so thick that even after so many centuries, they were still strong, with very little corrosion on the bunker side, and any method they had of penetrating the doors would only have drawn more attention then was needed. To many scientists, it was only a passing phase, a fancy. What would they find? A planet that had hardly recovered. They were wrong.

(On the Surface...)

Things on the surface were not as bad as those in the bunker cities believed, however, not now, so long after the bunkers were sealed. When the ancestors of those who now occupy the bunkers entered them, and those who remained on the surface realised what had happened, there was massive civil unrest.

There were no governments left, and countries fragmented. Wars were fought for the remaining resources, such as oil, coal and fresh water. These wars lasted for about twenty years, with many major cities been destroyed, and infrastructure, including the communications centre linked to the bunkers, left damaged beyond repair.

Finally, two men, an Italian named Alberto De Luca, and an Irishman named Francis Connolly; unified most of what was the European Union, and a large portion of Russia, under their control. Italy and Ireland had managed to remain neutral during the wars, and had a continues, if limited, supply of oil. Their neutrality attracted those scientists and engineers who had not entered the bunkers, and they could work without fear in these countries.

This brought about massive benefits to Ireland and Italy. A substitute for oil had begun development before the evacuation underground, and it was finished in time for Ireland and Italy to mobilise their armed forces and move into Europe. For Italy, it was a massive land grab, for Ireland, it was a matter of defence to the oncoming advance of the Italians. Peace was restored to the occupied areas, though they were still divided between two new states- The Federal Republic of Ireland, and the Italian Republic.

Both these States grew- either through the peaceful will of the people who joined them, or by violent conquest. After nearly thirty years of uneasy peace, however, Francis Connolly died. Albert De Luca, who was now more Emperor than President, tried to influence the government of the Federal Republic of Ireland to pass a motion to join the Italian Republic. He was ignorant of the fact that, as this would dissolve the Federal Republic, and thus its constitution, such a law could not be passed without a two-thirds majority of the electorate, as per section 41 (b) of said constitution. War was threatened, and Albert De Luca got what he wanted- the infrastructure and population not having fully recovered from the previous conflicts. Albert De Luca was now known as "The Father of the New Roman Empire," but over time, he simply became known as "Father." It would be another century; however, before either Ireland or the area formally known as Great Britain joined the New Roman Empire, and by this time, most of the world had been brought into the fold.

The human race had begun to expand to the stars. In 2208, a physicist named Roger Delany made a startling discovery. The Zeus 2 probe, which had disappeared a hundred years before, arrived back at its last known co-ordinates three years after a colony vessel had been destroyed. It was just in time to be intercepted by a rescue ship.

The onboard computer of the Zeus 2 probe had gathered information about a possible spacal distortion, and they also indicated that only months had passed for the Zeus 2, not a century. Dr. Delany had deduced that these "tunnels" could provide a way for a ship travelling at near light speeds to travel great distances, normally century's worth of travel, in a few months. Of course, time still passed normally in the rest of space, but on the ships using these tunnels, the crew on board might age anything from a minute to a day for every year that went by in "normal" space. It was possible, Dr. Delany postulated, that a traveller could use these tunnels for what may be ten years for that traveller, and millennium would pass on Earth.

Military officials were quick to point out that debris from an alien vessel had been found near to the destroyed colony vessel, and they quickly made the connection that this species was responsible for the destruction. There was no other evidence, but public anger, and the "accidental" leaking of classified information relating to other lost ships, led to war been declared against the Tansar species.

Now, two thousand five hundred years after the bunkers were sealed and the Roman Empire emerged on the surface, and two thousand three hundred years after Earth got involved in its first interstellar war, these factions of human society will be re-united.

Authors Note: Please review and let me know what you think. Does it need improving? Working away on chapter two.