The Love

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The Love
Ignorance-Is-Strength-PB.jpg
Title The Love
Anthology Ignorance Is Strength
Published 2020
Length 16 pages
ScottSigler.com Library link

The Love is the first story in the V. Invadens storyline that runs through the books of the Dystopia Triptych. It was published in 2020 in the anthology Ignorance Is Strength.

Summary

An alien pathogen has made its way to Earth and has infected more than 95% of her inhabitants. A worldwide coalition of the infected majority struggles to bring the remaining uninfected minority into compliance. The uninfected continue to live off the grid and engage in guerilla tactics in hopes of banding together and defeating the infected's plans.

Setting

The Love has spread to Earth, the sixth world in a chain of planets to which the pathogen has traveled. The pathogen infects a world’s primary inhabitants, affecting them physiologically and turning them into a groupmind referred to as Homo Hypnos. The infected then build the means to travel off the planet, heading off in multiple directions with the objective of spreading the pathogen and increasing the number of infected throughout the universe.

On Earth, the infected, known as The Enlightened, have eliminated the concept of country, government and any form of individuality. All Enlightened work together for one common purpose, having converted 100% of the world's industry to the production of interstellar spacecraft. A small militant contingent is charged with locating the uninfected, referred to as The Unenlightened and infecting them when possible, thereby sharing The Love, or eliminating them.

Plot

At a progress meeting of The Enlightened, Jade gives an update on the status of the fight against the Unenlightened. After Jade's presentation, an Enlightened named Liam shows signs of rapid recidivism, and becomes a threat to all Enlightened present. Malik terminates Liam, but all Enlightened present must be quarantined for a week to ensure Liam’s regression was natural, not contagious. Jade and Malik agree to reproduce after having been quarantined following Liam’s regression.

After a number of months – long enough for Jade to conceive and give birth to Malik’s child – the Unenlightened have organized themselves, and concocted a virulent amoeba, which can break the connection from the brain to the fronds attached to the temples of the Enlightened's heads. Though there is a natural form of recidivism (like that which claimed Liam) that rejects the physiological changes and reverts an Enlightened back to what is referred to as a Primitive, a weaponized infection of the amoeba viridiraptor invadens (known as V. Invadens), spread by Primitives through biting or injection, forces the same physiological change and regression.

Jade is visiting The Stalwart, one of four ships being constructed to bring Earth’s Enlightened to the stars and onward to the planned seventh planet in the chain. As she discusses progress on the construction with Rostov, the Enlightened Lead Engineer on the project to construct The Stalwart, he informs her the Indian spacecraft Aasheervaad has been destroyed by a coordinated Primitive attack. Jade is quickly contacted by Malik, who insists she leave and find safety, as there is an anticipated attack on The Stalwart as well. Jade initially disregards the threat, but soon sees Primitives swarming the launchpad. As with the Aasheervaad, suicide bombers destroy the support structure of The Stalwart, causing it to collapse in on intself. The spacecraft is destroyed and the Enlightened’s timetables are set back 30 months as they plan to rebuild.

Characters

  • Jade, an Enlightened PR representative
  • Malik, an Enlightened logistics operator
  • Liam, an Enlightened operative who is summarily terminated by Malik when Liam’s recidivism is discovered.
  • Trevor, Jade and Malik’s infant son. A natural-born Enlightened.
  • Rostov, an Enlightened lead engineer working on The Stalwart

Spacecraft

Spacecraft are being created all around the world, with the global economy redirecting all resources towards their construction.

  • Cape Canaveral, Florida - The Stalwart
  • Baikonur, Russia
  • Houston, Texas
  • Satish Dhawan, India - The Aasheervaad

The Viruses

The Love

The Love refers to the virulent pathogen that traveled to Earth from the sixth planet in the chain of infected worlds. Infection with The Love manifests physiologically in a number of ways:

  • Different colored fronds grow from the temples of human heads.
  • Emotions are suppressed and viewed with suspicion, as regression or counter-infection typically manifests first with emotion
  • The ability to sense when other Enlightened are nearby

V. Invadens

V. Invadens refers to the weaponized amoeba viridiraptor invadens. V. Invadens was developed by The Unenlightened to combat the The Love physiologically. V. Invadens attacks the bridge cells that connect the brain to the temple fronds, effectively severing the groupmind connection and regressing The Enlightened to the state of a Primitive, which typically manifests with anger and fury from having been oppressed by The Love.

Short Stories by Scott Sigler

Bag Man • The Case of the Haunted Safeway • The Case of the President of Hell • Chuckles Mulrooney, Attorney for the Damned • Complex God • Dale & Mabel • Dangerous Prey • Dear Diary • The Fifth Day of Deer Camp • The Final Blow • The Great Snipe Hunt • The Hate • Hero • The Hippo • The Hippo II • Iowa Typhoon • Kissyman & Screamin' Jesse Dupre • Kissyman and the Succubus •  Kissyman & The Last Song •  Lady and the Wolf • The Last Child • The Love • Mister Double-M • Nosferatu, Brutus? • Number One With A Bullet • Passenger • Public Domain • Red Man  • Sacred Cow • The Sadness & Joy • The Seventh Day of Deer Camp • The Sixth Day of Deer Camp • Splashing Contest •  Those Gaddam Cookies • Throwdown • Vacation • Victim with a Capital V • The Wolf