The Sadness & Joy

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The Sadness & Joy
Or-Else-The-Light-PB.jpg
Title The Sadness & Joy
Anthology Or Else The Light
Published 2020
Length 8 pages
ScottSigler.com Library link

The Sadness & Joy is the third story in the V. Invadens storyline that runs through the books of the Dystopia Triptych. It was published in 2020 in the anthology Or Else The Light.

Summary

Bolstered by a new immunity to the Primitive’s only threat against them, the Enlightened have again reached dominance on Earth, controlling 91% of the world’s population. As the Enlightened send the virus out into space, they plan to completely eradicate all remaining Unenlightened and Primitives.

Setting

Seventeen years after the destruction of the first round of spacecraft being built to spread The Love to other planets, the second wave of ships is ready to send tens of thousands of naturally-born Enlightened out into space to bring the virus to new worlds. The Enlightened have come up with their own biological weapon: Enterobacteriaceae Sekhmet, a modified strain of bubonic plague that goes dormant when it encounters hormones secreted by the Enlightened. The Enlightened plan to infect themselves, then spread the disease to all Unenlightened who attack.

Plot

Jade bids farewell to her 17-year old son Trevor, who will work in the command crew of The Stalwart II, one of four ships that will spread The Love throughout the universe. Though emotionally stunted by The Love, Jade feels regret and sadness that she will never see Trevor again. She leaves the crew to board their vessel and prepares to make a worldwide address.

In the address, she indicates how the dominance of Earth’s population is over 90%, and all resistance is about to be eliminated with the new biological weapon developed by the Englightened that will destroy all Unenlightened. WIthout access to medicine and hospitals, the Primitives will succumb to the ravages of the bubonic plague and completely die out, or be afraid to venture into populated areas for fear of becoming infected.

After her status update, Jade relinquishes the podium and audience to General Ognyan, who outlines the planned military strategy for deploying the weaponized bubonic plague. As a parting shot, she warns any Unenlightened watching that this is their last chance to join the Enlightened and surrender to The Love, or else die a horrible death, infecting and killing everyone they care about. After Ognyan finishes his outline, Jade begins the conversation anew, directing everyone’s attention to the new global economy’s directive to fund and construct the next 200 starfaring vessels to spread The Love.

Characters

  • Jade, an Enlightened PR representative
  • Trevor, Jade's naturally-born Enlightened son and part of the command crew of The Stalwart II
  • Rostov, the Enlightened lead engineer working on The Stalwart II
  • General Ognyan, the Enlightened military leader who coordinates combatting the insurgency and resistance of the Primitives and Unenlightened
  • Jakub, the Enlightened Director of South America, who seeks assurance that the weaponized bubonic plague will not infect the Enlightened.

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. The different colors represent different strains that categorize The Enlightened into working groups suited to their innate talents.
  • 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.

E. Sekhmet

E. Sekhmet refers to the weaponized strain of bubonic plague known as enterobacteriaceae sekhmet. It is used by The Enlightened to eliminate the Unenlightened and Primitives that continue to resist The Love. The Enlightened secrete a hormone that prevents E. Sekhmet from affecting them, while leaving the Unenlightened completely vulnerable.

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