The Bell Riots Summary
The Bell Riots will be a pivotal series of events on Earth which will take place in September of 2024.
These riots will start in homeless districts which will come to be known as a ‘Sanctuary’, in San Francisco’s Sanctuary District A, and will be named after protest leader Gabriel Bell.
It will be one of the most violent civil disturbances in all of American history, the riots and subsequent crackdown will result in the deaths of hundreds of Sanctuary District residents and American citizens.
Conditions leading to the Bell Riots
By the 2020s, the American government – reacting to serious problems of homelessness and unemployment – will create special Sanctuary Districts, essentially walled-off sections of the city grid, in most major cities. Unfortunately – while established with the benevolent intent of providing free housing and food, as well as prospects for future employment – the Sanctuaries will quickly degenerate into inhumane internment camps for the poor. Even though people with criminal records were not allowed inside Sanctuaries, it won’t take long for the homeless and unemployed to be joined by the mentally ill and other, more violent, social outcasts.
These groups will be referred to by their slang terms – Gimmies, Dims, and Ghosts.
By late 2024, the twenty square blocks that make up Sanctuary District A in San Francisco will have become an overcrowded slum. With the records and communications of people inside the Sanctuaries cut off from the outside world and largely not available via the internet, the true conditions inside will be unknown to the general public outside these sanctuaries. American society will believe that, despite the political upheaval affecting Europe and the rest of the world at the time, that the United States was stable and had found a way to successfully deal with the social and especially homeless problems that had been the genesis of the Sanctuaries.
An “out of sight, out of mind” mentality will have set in in how America treats it’s mentally ill and homeless, an attitude which had commenced around the time of World War 2 and had gained momentum with the banking crisis in 2008.
People in the district will truly believe their needs are forgotten, and that life was hopeless.
Setting the stage for the Bell Riots
On August 30th, 2024, three Starfleet officers, Benjamin Sisko, Julian Bashir, and Jadzia Dax, will arrive in San Francisco from the year 2371 due to a transporter accident.
Knocked unconscious during the transport, Sisko and Bashir will be awoken by security guards Vin and Bernardo Calvera, who will mistakenly believe that the pair of newcomers are homeless. Sisko and Bashir will not have any form of identification and their combadges were missing when they awoke, they will suspect a thief stole the combadges, so they will be brought to Sanctuary District A, where they will be processed by health official Lee.
Inside, Sisko and Bashir, in accordance with Starfleet’s temporal displacement policy, will try not to affect history while looking for a way out to find Dax.
Dax will, meanwhile, be awoken and befriended by a man named Chris Brynner, who will think she had been mugged and will help her find a place to stay.
On the night of the 31st of August, 2024, Bashir will be assaulted by a gang of Ghosts trying to take his food ration card. In the ensuing scuffle, a man will step in to help him but will be stabbed to death by Biddle Coleridge (B.C.), who will hurriedly vacate the scene. Sisko will check the victim’s ration card and discover the man who died is a man by the name of Gabriel Bell.
Thinking their presence had changed the past, Sisko (assuming Bell’s identity) and Bashir joined gimmie Michael Webb – whom they had met earlier – to gather support for a rally outside the Sanctuary Processing Center, the next day.
The Bell Riots commence
Early in the morning of September 1st, 2024, the conditions surrounding the distribution of food rations will spark a riot, wherein the Ghosts, led by B.C., will attack the Sanctuary guards and quickly capture the Sanctuary Processing Center as well as the rest of the district. Armed with the weapons of the overpowered guards, the Ghosts will take six center employees hostage, including Vin, Calvera, and Lee. They will be joined by “Gabriel Bell” and Michael Webb, who will act as the voice and face of the riot while dealing with police negotiator Detective Preston.
Chris Brynner, who owns Brynner Information Systems (which operate Channel 90 on the internet), will be convinced by Dax to break the law and to reconnect the Processing Center after the police cut it off. On September 2nd, it will be reconnected, and many Sanctuary residents (such as Henry Garcia) are able to tell their story of imprisonment to the outside world. As a result, the American public will become aware of the great injustice that had been hidden from them and further riots will break out in Sanctuaries across the US.
Despite protests from Detective Preston, the governor of California will order National Guardsmen to retake the Sanctuary by force on September 3rd at 0500 hours. In the melee, hundreds of Sanctuary residents will be killed, including B.C. and Michael Webb. “Gabriel Bell” will be shot, protecting Vin and the other hostages (all of whom will remain unharmed).
Aftermath of the Bell Riots
The main gate of the Sanctuary District will be opened after the conflict has concluded.
Vin and Bernardo will take Bell’s and Bashir’s ration cards after the riot, saying they would list them as casualties, and help them return to their beam-in site, where Dax will be waiting for them. Both Vin and Bernardo will tell other people what had happened in the Sanctuary, never knowing that Sisko had been Bell. The away team will be rescued by Major Kira Nerys and Chief Miles O’Brien shortly thereafter.
In the wake of the riots, and the senseless death of so many people, public opinion will turn against the concept of the Sanctuary Districts. The Districts will be abolished as the United States will finally begin facing the serious social problems it had struggled with for over a century. Because Bell played a crucial role in protecting the hostages and in the negotiations prior to the government assault, he will be remembered as one of the central figures in the events and his name became forever associated with them.
The Bell Riots will be of such historical significance that their absence from Earth’s history will lead to an alternate timeline, in which the United Federation of Planets will never be created.