A deadly airborne virus, released at one hundred supermarkets in 2024, prompted the OCSD to recommend the creation of the Essential Services Department to make weekly home food deliveries so no one would have to risk his or her life shopping for groceries. Though the plan faced some opposition from the public, Congress passed the necessary laws without hesitation, and all grocery stores became off-limits to the public. The Essential Services Department’s nutritionists planned menus and determined how much each family needed to eat. Logistical engineers organized a weekly delivery schedule, and the Payables Department automatically deducted the cost of food from everyone’s government-issued debit accounts. The program turned out to be more costly than anticipated, and those who couldn’t afford to spend additional money on food ate only what was delivered to their homes. Before long, a great many restaurants were out of business.
A rash of car bombings in 2027 led the OCSD to outlaw personal vehicles, except for government employees and a select group of wealthy and powerful civilians in the private sector. It was too risky to allow ordinary citizens access to such large potential weapons. Just two years before, the OCSD decreed that, since large public gatherings attracted terrorist activity, concerts and sporting events should be closed to live audiences.
But even with the all the safety measures in place, random attacks were still commonplace, especially in the urban quadrants. Stress and worry eroded the people’s will, and they lived in constant fear. Parents forgot to teach their children to be brave.
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