I have had a lot of names. The one I use now is Chuck; Chuck Capper. I live on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. The last of us live here, us being any human still clinging onto life. We have managed to destroy our home planet Earth and our neighbor Mars. It feels like eons since we lived on Earth, and it is close to it. I have lived through all of it. The destruction of Earth, moving to Mars, killing that planet, moving to titan and now here we stay. “How could we do that?” I hear you wonder.
Back on Earth I was only a boy when we saw the signs that Earth was not going to last much longer. But as humans have always done, we did not care. A few of the greatest minds humanity had to offer; we rallied up and tried to find ways to protect the world. We never could do much at all, the big corporations that were killing the world would crush us every time we found a foothold. We kept ourselves small so that we could creep into power; no more than five hundred. None of us were interested in money; which made us smarter than the rest of the populous. While coming up with a new plan our division of biologists stumbled upon a discovery. Something that changed everything.
Humans have known why we grow old for a long time. We always sought to prevent that thing that would always be our downfall. Inside of every cell there is a time bomb. If you die of natural causes then to many of those time bombs went off and then you died. What we found was a way to get rid of that time bomb. When a patient is given the procedure they cease to age. We then took that treatment and filled it as much as we could; we made ourselves stronger, smarter and unable to get sick. At that point we became something other than bunch of scientists trying to become relevant; we began to change the world. But just as the world wasn’t made in a day, the world wasn’t changed in a day. We failed; we failed twice. While on mars, we paved the way for success once we got to titan. Sadly though , at that point, we had lost many of our members. We are immortal not invulnerable.
I never had much sway in what all of us did or did not do. I was more the pawn who interacted with the mortals. Steven Stern though… he was the powerhouse. He was the one who made things happen merely because he was allowed. Once things started looking bad on Mars, he showed up and he flew up the ranks. All with his “small but strong as a team” slogan. It referred to the human population, all he really wanted was there to be few of us so we were easier to control. He managed to make it a successful propaganda by scraping together a bunch of data that supported his statements.
Stern started a company called Hard Tech, at least that's what the populous thought. In reality, it was all of the remaining five hundreds pooling together so we would not have to move planets again. Stern was originally meant to just be the face of Hard Tech and the rest of the 500s would tell him what to do, who to talk to how to say it. Then, out of nowhere, a large portion of the leading 500s were shuttling together from Mars to Titan and the oxygen scrubbers failed. When the pilot landed the welcoming party opened the bay doors and a rush of air flooded out of the compartment and they found the smartest 75 people of all mankind dead in their chairs. Quite convenient for Stern. He was credited with owning the mega corporation Hard Tech which was set to rule the world. Stern sat as heir to the throne of the only organization that really did work. Hard Tech was born on the idea of getting as close to a utopia that we could. But Stern broke one of the main philosophies of being a 500. He became fixated on making money.
One of his first moves as ruler of Titan he made “Narvik treatment” mandatory. What that meant was once a cycle, which is 29 earth years, Hard tech “Randomly” selects roughly 20% of the population, give or take, depending on how much the population had grown since the previous cycle. Those selected were then publicly injected with the Narvik-A Virus which spreads throughout the body within an hour and turns the host into black sludge. Every cycle there were more and more people selected. Stern claimed it to be necessary for survival and because there was so much time between one narvik treatment and the next he never really had to worry about public opinion.
Stern managed to set himself up on a pedestal by slowly killing off the remaining members of the 500. I survived by taking my name off of the two pieces of evidence that connected me; when I joined and when they immortalized me.
When you live as long as I have, you begin to see patterns in the things that happen throughout the world. The first thing I found was that the greater your pocketbook the smaller your chance of being selected for the Narvik Treatment were. The next piece was that every cycle, Stern would increase the percentage of people to be killed. This also meant that it would cost more to not be selected. Until someone Stern needed could not pay then all of a sudden the percentage would go from being closer to 40% of the people than down to 10%. Most people wouldn't catch on to this, of course, because you were lucky (or unlucky) to live to see three Narvik cycles.
Then there was the cycle that I was dug out of hiding and selected because Stern doesn't like when people evade the Narvik Treatment. He takes cheating death as being cheated out of money.