Ormond Destalion’s empties changed the world. Societies that had been locked away from one another could no longer be kept apart. The ability to transport goods and services, an industry which had dominated the world economy, became meaningless. Rapid globalization overtook the world. On every continent, restrictive governments collapsed. Instead of figuring out how to get objects from here to there, the finest minds were able to focus on innovation. The value of creativity and imagination were finally recognized.
Then, one day, the empties broke.
No one knew how it happened. It could have been a terrorist attack on Ormond Destalion’s control center, where the millions of daily requests for matter transport were sorted and accomodated. It could have been a simple computer malfunction. It could have been an unexplained phenomenon in the field of matter transport. It could have been Mother Earth fighting back after eons of abuse. No one ever knew. At the moment of transition, every person touching pavement and every building standing on a concrete foundation disappeared. No one knew where they went, and they were never seen again.
Most of the population on earth still lived in the cities that were instantly destroyed. The ones who lived had no idea what had happened. Trapped by the roads, cut off from one another and terrified, many more died trying to escape. Others, despondant over the deaths of their loved ones or wishing to join them, threw themselves wailing on the roads. An entire cult of road worshippers called the “Happy Go-Lucky Club” went dancing and singing into the nether. Society collapsed worldwide. Technological advancements like electricity stopped working. Food, medicine, and the water supply were spoiled, and starvation and disease took further attrition on the few survivors. It was estimated that fifty percent of the world’s population died on the day of transition. Within one year, only five percent of the 7 billion inhabitants of Earth remained, most separated from one another in rural areas without paved roads.
The few scientists who had survived the day of transition realized that the extinction of the human race was now a probability.