You Only Die Once
Chapter One: It Starts with an Earthquake
The earthquake struck at 2:34 in the morning in some far-off country Sheldon wasn’t entirely convinced was a real place and not just an elaborate con by geographers. Lemuria, or maybe Liplodia. Or nearby Diplodia. He heard about it on the 6 AM news while drinking his morning coffee–scientists had recently determined that the net health benefits of coffee outweighed its downsides, so he drank the recommended one cup a day of bitterness.
The pink-haired news anchor began weeping beautiful tears as footage of children being pulled from Diplodica’s ruins rolled in. “With the Aplodican hospital system overloaded and little hope for the people still buried in the wreckage, officials estimate the death toll will top a million by nightfall. 15 million people are now homeless; 45 million have no water or electricity. 10 million children–”
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