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It was the year of robots. It was also the year of war.
The United States of America bickered. Things were so bad some states wanted to secede. The economy was nose-diving hard and fast.
The arguing got worse. It escalated into physical fighting, especially when the government tried to quell the chaos. Soldiers basically deserted and fought for their home states. The government was furious, naturally, but no one cared at that point. Everyone was furious with the government.
Some states began "teaming up," and eventually all the states except Alaska and Hawaii had grouped up with others. Neither of them wanted any part in the fighting. They were far enough away from the mainland that the fighting didn't reach them, so they were smart and kept out of it. Unfortunately being so far from the mainland they were targets. Canada took over Alaska, and China claimed Hawaii without much of a fight. The mainland was too busy to do anything to help.
This "teaming up" tactic would help create the new countries of the United States. It started in the west, when California and five other nearby states created their own country.
This sparked everyone into action of the same kind. States were scrambling for nearby border states to form a country. It was so crazy in the States the government just kind of flung its hands into the air in hopeless exasperation and didn't bother trying to fix the situation. Everyone was panicking as the states drew up their own kinds of Declarations of Independence and modified versions of the Constitutions. England jokingly called it "the biggest national game of musical chairs. Once the music stops you'd better find yourself in with your mates."
The rest of the world kind of just sat back and watched. Nobody really wanted to try helping for fear of what it would do to their own nation. So America was on its own, struggling to control a nation of panic and musical chairs.
Things did settle down eventually. States calmed down, happily nestled into their countries with nearby states (for example, West Virginia, Virginia, and both Carolinas became one country), and they felt secure and safe. The government had been effectively shattered with this huge change in the now shattered country. Instead of one country, there were now ten.
This of course changed the whole world, but things were settled without as much war and bloodshed. Things were calming down. The new countries were happy. They hadn't entirely merged. They had provinces, named after the state they used to be. For example, the story you are going to read takes place in Ohio province, in Cincinnati.
But while things have calmed down years and years later. Nothing is entirely better. Secrets are kept and lies are made. These things never keep a country happy, not for long. Sooner or later, new disturbances will be discovered.
And this time, they're discovered by kids.