My under standing of the ____Punk genre, is that it consists of a world where the main source of energy is ____. I’m not sure if I’m wrong in this or not–but oh well.
I came up with this ‘SolarPunk’ story set in northern Alaska in the middle of winter. The scarcity of sunlight leads to conflict in the city of Barrow.
Under the Barrow Darkness
“We enter here on point C at 2:00 a.m. on the dot. They’ll never see what hit them,” Alex said. Point C lay on the south entrance to the Artic Outpost in the northern Alaskan town of Barrow. “We take out whoever stands in our way. Our primary focus is the generator bay—which I hear is held in the basement. If we can steal a few solar panels from the roof for the summer months, that’s great too. Just don’t kill yourself going after panels that will be useless for the next two months. They say the darkness will last an extra week this year.”
“I don’t know if I can go through with this,” a soft voice called out from behind. The fifteen men and women armed with assault rifles and small explosives turned around to see who had second thoughts. All eyes eventually rested on Aimee. “Dad, I’m not sure I can kill,” the sixteen year old girl said to her father.
“It’s either that or watch your brothers and sisters freeze, honey,” Alex said. He spoke in the calmest, most soothing voice a father could possibly muster when conspiring to kill the political elite. “Did our government consult with us when they used up all of the gas and expected us to live off solar power in the winter months here in Barrow?” Alex gazed around the room, this time not only addressing his daughter but everyone. “Enough is enough—too many are freezing to death. Did they let us in their doors? The answer is no. They’ll pay with blood tonight.”
Inarticulate mumbles of agreement filled the room. Soon, the mumbles transformed into loud shouts, screaming and raving.
Alex raised his right hand to quiet the crowd. “Let’s go get it. Let’s take our heat back.”
More shouts followed this drowning out Aimee’s shouts of protest and reluctance.
The mob left the covered trench they dug just outside of the outpost the previous summer. The group ventured out into the bone-chilling cold to take their positions.
The dark winter’s night didn’t produce the blizzards one would expect to see in one of the most northern points of Alaska. The still air felt eerie. Alex’s senses tried to detect the force of resistance the group would likely face as they approached point C, but he heard nothing. The only sounds available in the still air were the crunching noises of every footfall. He couldn’t smell anything—the bitter cold air seemed to wipe out all odor—perhaps freezing the smells mid-air before they had the chance to make it to the willing nose of a human being.
Before they reached the stone wall of the Artic outpost, Alex raised his right hand in the air, making a fist to halt his troops. When he again heard nothing, he waved Aimee over. She slung the backpack from her shoulders and took out the handful of plastic explosives. They knew they only had once chance at this, so placement had was critical.
Alex stuck the explosives into the crack in the wall just outside of what they knew was a bedroom.
Aimee thought of the sleeping children that could be on the other side of the wall and grimaced.
When the group was far enough back, Alex detonated the explosive. The makeshift bomb exploded in what sounded more like a loud cracking noise than a bomb. Aimee later realized it was the wall crumbling to the ground.
When the dust settled, loud cries of, “Go, go!” echoed throughout the dark winter’s night. The small militia entered the dark bedroom of ruin.
They flicked their flashlights on, only to see empty beds and even emptier living areas. Everything seemed to be missing from the room.
One less problem, Alex thought. He motioned his men to advance through to the hallway and down the stairs.
Aimee hung back in the room because she already had an idea what they’d find in the basement. Without as much as a warning to the rest of the group, she took off running back into the winter wilderness outside. She learned at an early age that when her precognitive powers sent her an image, she should never hesitate. She figured she could make it back to her family’s place before she froze to death in the sub-zero temperatures.
When the main group made it to the basement, they were met by what looked to be dozens of generators—surely more than they could reasonably fit on their snowmobiles. Alex strolled next to the one closest to the stairs to see how much power was left. He pushed the ‘charge’ button on the side, and watched the LED screen on the generator’s front side light up.
The twelve inch white screen had three things flashing on it. The first was the phrase “Danger: Unauthorized User.” The second was a picture of a skull and crossbones. The third—and most terrifying—was a small video of the emperor, elected fifteen years before in 2213, laughing at them. It was then that Alex realized it was another trap.
Aimee looked back while running through the snow only to see what looked like a nuclear explosion go off behind her. Her feeling was correct—another trap. This one ended the lives of her father and a few cousins.
A tear ran down her face as the flames turned night into day. Back to the drawing board, she thought. Despite the deaths of loved ones—her mind went back to the question of how she would stay warm through yet another winter in Barrow.