Summary: A new world order emerges after an epidemic alters the foundation of life as we know it. The human race is in danger of extinction, but a select few have the ability to propagate life. This is the ultimate survival of the fittest.
Thanks to Stephenie Meyer for the use of her characters.
Dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths... all examples of species selected by nature for extinction. At the end of the twentieth century, it appeared nature had chosen its next victim.
The origin of the virus was never confirmed, but its ramifications were swift and severe. The initial outbreak presented as a flu epidemic, and killed off a quarter of the world's population within a year. Mostly the elderly and the youngest. The most vulnerable were the first to fall.
However, it was the enduring, secondary effects which were even more detrimental. Scientists searched and tested and theorized for reasons behind what happened next, but nobody knew for sure. It was found that the virus had somehow altered the DNA of the population and its progeny, although by what mechanism was unclear.
Instead of half the babies born being male and half female, the ratio swung to widely favor males... at a rate of over four to one. This phenomenon was inexplicable in an evolutionary sense, since biologically women could conceive with only one male at a time, while men could impregnate many different women if need be. The only logical explanation was some kind of forced deceleration of the population.
Lending more credence to this theory—and even more alarming—was the discovery a few years later that most of the females born post-epidemic were found to be sterile. The pundits predicted the extinction of the human race within a few generations if major precautions weren't taken.
Hospitals started checking female infants at birth, sorting out the few babies with viable eggs from the majority of those completely barren. These select few females who could procreate were dubbed The Chosen Ones.
Scientists thought they could manipulate fate, taking eggs from some of The Chosen Ones, fertilizing them and having sterile females as surrogates—trying anything to increase birth rates.
It didn't work.
Only The Chosen Ones were able to carry viable fetuses and deliver healthy babies... even if the same ratio of males, sterile females, and fertile females continued.
Oil, gold, diamonds, money... these sought after assets took a backseat to what became the most precious commodity of all.
The most basic of needs—so deeply ingrained into the psyches and instinctual behavior of humankind since the very beginning—was a continuation of our species.
Once it became clear to the world that females capable of reproducing were scarce, wars broke out. Countries fought to retain their Chosen Ones, using any and all means to prevent them from being kidnapped, smuggled, held captive by enemies. Technologically-challenged third world countries were almost completely wiped out within a few decades. Nations who had the abilities to protect their precious ones—including the United States—made every effort to ensure life would go on, even if their population numbers had been drastically reduced.
A new society was built in America. The Chosen Ones were the new royalty.
Entire cities were cleared out and palaces were built at scattered locations across the nation to house communities of The Chosen Ones along with their families. No more than ten girls were placed together in one spot for fear they would be an even greater target for enemies. These communities were fortified and surrounded by military forces whose jobs were to protect The Chosen Ones at all costs.
These princesses were pampered and trained from birth to carry out the most important function in the post-epidemic society... bearing children. And not only children, but fertile female children. Even amongst The Chosen Ones a hierarchy was established. One fertile female child was a success, two was cause for celebrations to break out across the nation, three was considered a miracle of miracles, and four was unheard of.
Each Chosen One was prepared from birth to be ready for their duty. For the honor of being a mother. For the acclaim of being one of the special ones who would ensure the continuation of civilization.
And this duty began on their eighteenth birthday.
Chapters will likely be short, but I hope to update often.