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We Interrupt This Program...
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  1. #1

    We Interrupt This Program...

    <b>August 01, 2002: 3:34 Eastern Time</b>

    John Horne set down his coffee cup and once again addressed his screen. No matter how many times he recalculated the new budget there wasn't any escaping the fact that at least one member of the office staff was going to have to be laid off. Resignation washed over him and he clicked the "save" icon like he was signing a figurative death warrant. A rumble from the window caught his attention and he looked up to see the black afternoon thundercloud so typical of this time of year approaching from the northeast.

    Almost as if on cue the weather radio behind his desk clicked on and he slapped the kill button. "You're a little late to tell me we've got a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, I can see it for myself out the window.", he said to the radio as he turned back to his computer. The opening strains of Copeland's <I>Rodeo</I> flowed from another radio tuned to the local classical music station. Seconds later his concentration on his work was shattered with the following announcement:

    "<I>We interrupt our programming: This is a national emergency.

    Important instructions will follow. </I>"

    The coffee cup fell over and spilled across the budget papers as John leapt from his chair and across the room to turn up the volume. His other hand swept his cell phone out of his shirt pocket, flipped the cover and punched the pre-programmed memory button that dialed his wife's cell phone.

    "<I>This is an Emergency Action Notification. All broadcast stations and cable systems shall transmit this Emergency Action Notification Message. This station has interrupted its regular programming at the request of the White House to participate in the <a href="http://www.fcc.gov/eb/eas/">Emergency Alert System.</a>

    During this emergency, most stations will remain on the air providing news and information to the public in assigned areas. This is 88.4 FM, a radio service of the University of Florida. We will continue to serve the greater Gainesville area. If you are not in this Local Area, you should turn to stations providing news and information for your Local Area. You are listening to the Emergency Alert System serving the Gainesville, Florida area.

    Do not use your telephone. The telephone lines should be kept open for emergency use. The Emergency Alert System has been activated. We will also be serving as a message distribution and relay source to other broadcast stations.</I>"

    He heard the connect on the other end of the line, "Hello, this is Ann!"

    "Ann! It's John. Where are you?"

    Her tone became quizzical when she heard the seriousness in John's voice. "I'm in town at Target with Melinda. We're going to buy her school shoes. Why?"

    A new voice arose from the radio across the room. <I>"Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States."</I>

    John said, "Stay in the car for a moment and turn on the radio to 88.4. We've got some sort of national emergency breaking."

    <I>"My fellow Americans I come to you with word of a grave emergency that has suddenly befallen not only our nation, but indeed the entire world.

    Moments ago I was informed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command that they have detected an asteroid in an intercept orbit with our planet. Unfortunately, it is coming at us from the direction of the Sun which prevented us from being able to detect this massive body in time to give an earlier warning.

    By means of our national technical resources this previously undetected asteroid has been established to have a diameter of 750 yards and is moving at a velocity of fifteen miles per second. This means that it will impact the Earth's surface with an energy greater than all of the nuclear weapons presently in the armories of the United States and Russia combined. As I speak news of this impending impact is being communicated by us to every government on this planet.

    Impact will be fifty miles southeast of Bermuda in thirty six minutes. The first tsunamis will reach American shores approximately three hours after impact. As they approach the shallow waters of our continental shelf the wave will be greatly slowed but will grow in height until it reaches an estimated 900 feet. The first wave will break, recede and be replaced by another wave and then another. Our Eastern Seaboard from Florida to the coast of Newfoundland will be flooded to the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. The coastlines of Europe and Western Africa will be similarly devastated with lesser waves racing through the Caribbean, past the Straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean and around the southern tip of South America into the Pacific. Virtually every coastal nation on this planet will be impacted to some extent.

    As must be plain to you now the three and a half hours remaining to us will not be sufficient time to affect any meaningful evacuation of our eastern coastline cities. Those of you in the Piedmont areas of the Appalachian mountains are advised to leave your homes immediately with whatever you can carry in your hands and head further west higher into the mountains. Residents of the Gulf and Pacific coasts will have a longer time to get away from the coastline and you are advised to do so immediately.

    As I speak the highway patrols of every affected state are clearing the interstate highways and major national highways for one way traffic only in all lanes away from the shorelines. There will be prolonged and severe weather effects following the impact that your local radio stations will advise you about after this broadcast. As your President I ask and pray that you will remain calm, not panic, and to help your fellow man to the best of your ability so that as many lives may be saved as possible. I pray the Good Lord will watch over and guide us all in this time of emergency. I will be making further broadcasts as the necessity arises. </I>

    Dead air for a moment before the local air person comes back and says, <I>"This is 88.4 FM, a radio service of the University of Florida, we are serving the greater Gainesville, Florida area. If you are not in this area please tune to your local station for information specific to your area. Standby for upcoming information on evacuation areas and locations to move towards away from the coastline."</I> Like all Gulf coast and southeastern Atlantic states Florida had a well developed emergency system for coping with hurricanes but nothing ever dreamed of by the state's emergency planners had ever been intended to deal with this.

    John came back to himself and realized he was still holding the cell phone in his hand. "Ann? Ann?!", he said, voice rising.

    "Yes John, I'm still here.", she replied, "What should we do? Will the waves reach us this far inland?"

    In a decisive tone he said, "Go straight home - right now. Don't stop for anything, God only knows how long the roads will remain passable once the shock wears off and people begin panicking. When you get there start bracing the place for a severe hurricane. There's going to be a lot of prolonged severe weather after that thing hits. Don't worry about filling water containers, we'll have more than we'll ever want to see again shortly. I don't think the tsunamis will come this far…but I'm not sure - that work was all theoretical. In any event there isn't time to try to make it into north Alabama. I'm leaving right now.

    I love you. Tell Melinda I love her."

    "And we love you John. See you when you get home. Sure hope we don't have to swim."

    The connection broke. John put the phone in his pocket, picked up his kit and left the building towards his car. He saw others with stunned looks on their faces not moving.

    As he left the building he wondered if he'd live to see another like it built again in his lifetime…

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    20,570
    Well you've hooked my attention!

    Wonderfully written. I'll be waiting for more.
    Happy is the Nation whose God is the Lord. -Psalm 33:12

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    1,126
    WOW!!! is all that I can say right now.......What a story (or hope that is all that it is)
    “If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” Winston Churchill

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    nw ohio
    Posts
    1,675
    My DH won't have anything to do with the computer unless...theres a story from A.T.Hagan.

    Is there more?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    28,586
    Dear Hagan:

    I like your story. It's very similar in plot line to that of The End of the Age by Pat Robertson, which also describes a meteor impact, but in his book it's off the CA coast and is not announced by the PTB until a very few hours before impact, even though the observatories had been tracking it for days. His description of the incoming was so frightening, the first time I read it---I was sitting on the floor literally trembling at 3 in the morning, unable to put the book down until I'd gotten through the narrative of the impact. I can't wait to read your version of it.

    By the way, I'm just curious,----did you ever have the moniker "Hagan the Pagan", by any chance?

    Blessings,
    Countrymouse
    Be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled…Let no man deceive you by any means…..
    they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved….for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie….
    Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.


  6. #6
    Hagan the Pagan? No, not me. Used to use "Dunross" years ago back on Usenet but pretty much my real name since.

    I hadn't really intended to make a real story out of this, the idea just popped into my head and I had to write it out to be rid of it! As a writing exercise it seems to have worked. Glad y'all liked it.

    I suppose I could at least take it to the day after impact. Been reading so much asteroid material lately it would be a good way to get it out of my system.

    .....Alan.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    13,671
    I agree it is very interesting and hope you will write more.

  8. #8

    Complete The Story

    A.T., do please complete the story. You write beautifully, and the story would appear to have a number of potential threads that might prove as useful as they are entertaining.

    Thanks for a gripping few minutes!

    Woolly

  9. #9

    Countdown

    <I>This is the Emergency Alert System being broadcast on 88.4 FM, a radio service of the University of Florida serving the greater Gainesville, FL area. If you are not in this local area please tune to a station in your local area for news and information.

    The following is a partial list of emergency shelters being opened by the Alachua County Emergency Management and the Red Cross.

    Gainesville, Bucholz, Eastside, Santa Fe, and Newberry high schools.
    Kanapaha, and Lincoln middle schools
    The O'Connell Center at the University of Florida
    Florida Field football stadium at the University
    The Oaks Mall

    Other emergency shelters will be opened as necessary.

    The following roads have been made one way only to facilitate the rapid evacuation of evacuating coastal residents to the inland counties.

    State Roads 121, 24, and 26. Other local state highways leading inland from the Gulf Coast may be made one way in the next hour.

    Gainesville area residents are requested to avoid these roads to their maximum possible extent while the evacuation is underway. Further news and information will be broadcast as it becomes available.

    At the tone impact will be in twenty four minutes. Beeep

    This is the Emergency Alert System being broadcast on 88.4 FM, a radio service of the University of Florida serving the greater Gainesville, FL area. If you are not in this local area please tune to a station in your local area for news and information.</I>

    At the beep John punched the button for the timer function on his watch and it began telling off the seconds. He then allowed his concentration to refocus on the road ahead of him. By leaving immediately after the initial broadcast by the President he had managed to get away from the University before the roads leading off campus had jammed with others fleeing work for their homes. He'd already seen two sheriffs cruisers putting out cones and he knew that soon the road would be blocked off for the direction he was heading but he could see his turn up ahead. He made his turn and steadily rolled up his acceleration until he was at 65 mph, all the speed that he felt was safe. He passed the turn off for his house and kept right on going. The other end of his county road intersected with U.S. 27, undoubtedly soon to be jammed if it were not already, but it was the country store at the intersection that interested him. He passed several cars moving fast in the opposite direction but encountered no difficulties reaching the store.

    Somewhat to his surprise there was an opening at the fuel pump so he pulled in. Taped to the glass of the pump was a hand lettered notice stating "CASH ONLY". Not surprising he supposed given the circumstances and he was gratified to see the pump price was the same as it had been the day before yesterday. John faithfully followed the "half=empty" rule but under the circumstances having the tank completely full would be a good thing. He also filled the two and a half gallon can he kept in the bed.

    Stepping through the screen door he looked for the balding man behind the register and said, "Hola! Buenas tardes Miguel! I'm glad to see you are open. Have you heard the news?"

    "Hola John!," replied the man, "Yes, it came over the television about fifteen or twenty minutes ago." He nodded at the set high on a corner shelf facing the register. "This is surely the Judgement of God come down upon us! Will the waves come as far as us?"

    John shook his head, "Miguel, I just don't know. This sort of thing has never happened before in all of human history, at least no one has ever lived to record it anyways. There was some theoretical work done some years ago that says not but how can we know until the waves roll in? Until they break over us we'll just have to keep right on fighting the good fight. Have many people stopped since the news broke?"

    "A few, yes, but most I think are going straight to their homes." The hose bell rang, "But I expect that will change very shortly." He reached under the counter and pulled out a holstered revolver on a belt and cinched it around his waist. "My son Ricardo will be here in a minute to help me run the store and watch for the bad ones. Be glad you live down the county road, soon the highway out there will be jammed."

    Nodding his head John said, "You're right." He glanced at his watch - 12 minutes, 34 seconds - and then eyed the sacks of chicken and dog feed in the corner. He briefly considered buying it all with the two hundred dollars of emergency cash he kept in the truck. "I've got nearly a year's worth of feed in the cans at the house and there'll be a world of people short of feed for their animals. I'll leave it."

    He took the money out of his pocket to pay for his gas. Miguel took it from him and asked, "Do you think we'll see it hit?"

    John considered for a moment and said, "I don't think so. It's a long way to Bermuda from here and the curvature of the Earth will block almost all of it from us and the cloud cover outside now will block most of the rest. We might be able to see the immediate aftereffects though when the vaporized sea water hits the upper atmosphere. It will begin to storm very hard not long afterwards. It may stay that way for many days. You should have your family get your house ready." He turned and started walking towards the door, he could see several cars waiting to get to the pumps and more were pulling in.

    "Vaya con Dios Miguel!" he called from the door.

    "And to you as well my friend" he heard Miguel reply as the door closed.

    By the time John pulled out of the parking lot and back onto the county road there were nine cars at the pumps and more pulling in. People were streaming into the store. The truck rolled swiftly towards home.

    As he shot through his gate his watch read 21:30

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Billville where else?
    Posts
    501
    This is great A.T. , hangin' on every word.
    Not sure if I would have stopped to chat with the guy at the corner store tho'.

    Keep it coming!
    TV in America created the most coherent reality distortion field that I’ve ever seen. Therein is the problem: People who vote watch TV, and they are hallucinating like a sonofabitch. Basically, what we have in this country is government by hallucinating mob. J.P. Barlow

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    n. ga
    Posts
    487
    awsome keep it comming it's great!
    What are you? Just a bad idea on the
    loose! Third eye blinds the other two.

  12. #12

    Impact

    The ladder on which John was standing began to shake causing him to miss the nail and deliver a good rap to his left index finger. "Ouch! Goddamn it!", he snarled, then realized that it was not only the ladder that was shaking but the house as well!

    "John!", Ann anxiously shouted up from below where she was attempting to steady the ladder, "What's happening!? Why is the ground shaking!?"

    He'd never had to cope with seismic activity before so it took a moment for him to beat down the reptilian cortex panic reaction he felt and get himself back under control. The shaking wasn't intensifying but it wasn't dying down yet either. "Ground shock from the impact!", he shouted down at Ann, "It moves faster than the tsunami so we're feeling it now! Thank God we're not closer to Bermuda or it might be strong enough to do some damage. If it doesn't get any worse than this we should be OK."

    Almost as if in reaction to his words the shaking began to subside. He could hear the motor sounds of the tractor as his father drove it into the barn. Inside the baby was crying but Melinda was watching her so he knew she'd soothe him. He'd been watching a rising black cloud in the far northeast. They hadn't actually seen the impact, he suspected that anyone close to enough to have seen it clearly would soon be dead. What they could see still feared him with dread as the cloud front visibly grew larger and closer. It looked like an approaching Ragnarok.

    Fear drove him onwards and he readdressed the nail he'd been hammering. He, his father, wife, and daughter had largely removed everything that might blow in a hurricane wind. This late into hurricane season they did not leave a lot lying around so it didn't take them long. He'd become concerned that the antenna mast might not hold if the winds rose above 100 mph so he was running and anchoring extra reinforcing cable to strengthen it. Their livestock was now secure in the barn and his father was moving the last of whatever outside equipment remained under shelter. He thought they'd have the place as secure against violent weather as they could make it and prayed they wouldn't catch a tornado.

    Once finished with his task on the roof they all fell to in the garden and began harvesting everything that was mature or that would ripen after picking. There wasn't anyway to really protect the garden or orchard, it would all just have to take its chances.

    At Impact plus two hours the approaching storm front filled half the sky with a darkness so intense that it made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. With nothing left to harvest he set Ann and Melinda to processing the produce they wouldn't be eating fresh. John and his father Robert set to cleaning, sanitizing, and filling empty barrels with drinking water. No one was sure how long it would be before the atmosphere would clean itself of salt, mud, and other debris and be OK to drink.

    At Impact plus three hours they all went inside and sat down to rest in front of the small household television. Helicopters belonging to many different media organizations were in the air watching the East Coast. Most of the best roads in the Florida peninsula run in a north/south direction - the better to move tourists and freight. What east/west roads there are were never intended to handle even a remote fraction of the traffic that was trying to use them now. State, county, and municipal emergency services and road departments were going to heroic efforts to keep the traffic flowing. Where ever a car stalled it was quickly pushed off the road by others behind it and the stranded occupants divided among the remaining cars. Heavy equipment had been moved to bridges and overpasses to push stalled vehicles over the side. Anything to keep the traffic moving. A network feed showed a veritable armada of boats of every sort of description going to sea from the Florida Keys. The larger craft were heading out into the open ocean to ride out the wave in deep water while the smaller were making for the mainland Gulf coast as fast they could make it - which wouldn't be fast enough for many. The approaching storm front grew ever larger.

    A knock on the front door proved to be from his neighbor Mike who was standing there with his wife, brother and three teenaged children. "We thought we'd see if you needed help with anything getting ready.", Mike offered, "Looks like you're pretty squared away though. You've got a better rig than I do. Heard anything about the tsunami yet?"

    John invited them all in. "No, not yet. We just finished a little while ago and sat down to watch it. Y'all come on in and join us." As everybody was getting settled he took down his best bottle of ten year old bourbon and a tray of glasses. He poured a good shot into each then handed them out including Melinda and Mike's boys who took their's wide eyed with wonder. John said by way of explanation, "In the Gaelic from which the word 'whisky' comes to us it translates as 'the water of life.' If we are to be overcome by the waters of the deep I thought it only fitting that we who have come together here should share, perhaps for the last time, a taste of the Water of Life. As we drink it and it burns deep within us let us remember that Life too still burns within us until the waves roll over us."

    A helicopter borne television crew caught the wave with a long distance lens as it suddenly erupted from the ocean depths and climbed skyward. John reached up from his chair and took down the King James bible from its shelf. The rapidly approaching wave overtook the Jacksonville skyline and washed over it. Another taste of the strong whisky and John began to read aloud -

    <center>"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters..."</center>
    Last edited by A.T.Hagan; 07-28-2002 at 07:46 PM.

  13. #13

    Yes, A.T.!

    This is how we should all respond in crises. Keep it coming A.T., you are doing good!

    Woolly

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Northeastern California
    Posts
    522
    I want MORE!!!

    But, honestly, how many of those "state, county, and emergency road crews" would stay on the job? Wouldn't most run home as fast as possible - or at least join the wave of people heading west? How many heroes will there be in a situation like this?

    I'd LIKE to think there'd be many who would subsume their self-protective impulses for the greater good -- but even on 9-11, how many firefighters, police, port authority workers, etc would have stayed the course, raced up stairways, etc. if they had known the towers were doomed? It seems the guys in this story pretty well know they are toast out in the open....

    Am I too cynical???


  15. #15
    Sehr gut!

    Can you insert *zog* into the story line somewhere?

    The characters' reactions seem very calm compared to what I thought you would develop regarding outright panic.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    S Texas
    Posts
    1,509
    You've got me hooked! I can't wait to see what happens next.

    "Please sir, I want some more".

  17. #17
    Undoubtedly some of those emergency services and road crew personnel would cut and run. In any grave situation you will see the full range of posisble human emotions. Some will cut and run, abandoning their fellows while on the other end of the scale you'll see those who'll stay to the last. We see it in every war.

    I'm trying to keep this more or less in the short story format so I'm unable to concentrated fully on all possible reactions. Within the limited format I'm working with I've chosen to emphasize the positive - the folks who keep their wits about them and who will fight to keep them and theirs alive until they just can't anymore.

    You may safely assume there are a good many at this point in the story who are well and truly losing it. This is why I emphasized the necessity to get moving *soonest* before the rest of the herd stampedes.

    Do let us keep in mind that once John left the university campus we have actually seen very few people - namely Miguel, John's family, and his neighbor's family. You can bet that everyone one of them is scared shitless. Nevertheless, they all know there wasn't enough time for them to get far enough northwest to reach an area of known safety from the tsunamis so they're hoping and praying that the waves won't make the sixty miles inland where they're at. For the vast majority of the population of Florida hoping and praying is all there is left to them. It's either that or surrender oneself to panic and despair.

    More coming.

    .....Alan.

  18. #18

    Darkness falls

    CRACK!!!

    A flash of lightning out the window and a near deafening blast of thunder but hardly anyone notices anymore. It had been raining continuously for hours in the most intense downpour that anyone could remember ever having experienced before. The storm front had overtaken them moments after the tsunami had struck the coast. In minutes the daylight gave way to black night punctuated with rapid fire flashes of lightning and howling winds. The precipitation was muddy and full of salt gradually giving way to still salty but clear water. The noise of the downpour and thunder was so great that even with the television turned to its maximum volume the watchers had to sit close to hear.

    With the intense rain and winds the airborne television crews were soon forced to abandon their coverage and race away in search of safety. The last moments of footage they were able to provide showed the wave collapse into a frothing chaos of foam and debris. It had penetrated just ten miles into the interior of the Florida peninsula. The majority of the land mass of North Florida would be spared a salt water bath but ten miles was enough to devastate Florida's coastal cities from Jacksonville to Miami. Property loss would be reckoned in the tens of billions of dollars and the casualty rate would be in the hundreds of thousands possibly millions of lives. It was the greatest disaster ever to have struck the state.

    There was no word from north of the state line.

    Ann leaned over towards John and asked, "The news said there would be multiple waves. If the first wave made it ten miles how far will the following waves go? We're sixty miles from the Atlantic side, do you think they will come this far?"

    John replied, "I don't know. The tsunami study that I read said except for Miami they wouldn't make it very far inland and with the first wave only making it ten miles I'm inclined to think the rest won't make it much further, but I don't know for sure. All we can do is hope and pray."

    The big pine tree in front of the house is struck with lightning blasting sparks and bits of bark across the yard. "Of course," John observed, "we'll still have plenty to worry about even if we don't take an ocean dip. I hate to lose any source of news but I think it would be prudent to unplug the television before the lightning gets it. I'm not sure how long we'll be able to take this sort of pounding. Another day of this and the garden will be finished and the orchard will be damaged. If this goes on for months we'll lose all agricultural production for this year and next year's won't be so hot either."

    John's dad nodded towards the living room bookshelf and asked, "Son, you've read about impacts. How long do you reckon this is going to last?"

    "Dad, it's hard to say. There was never a lot of this kind of stuff written and most of what was modeled was for bodies one mile or larger in diameter. This asteroid was under a half-mile in size so it had a great deal less mass than was stipulated in the studies. If NORAD had the velocity right it wasn't moving as fast as it might have been. I'm hoping there will have been a great deal less dust and water injected into the upper atmosphere than the models predicted would be with a larger strike. If there was then the weather effects we'll suffer as a result of the strike should be correspondingly less. Hell, for all we know maybe the tsunamis won't have washed away the whole East Coast either. I think we may have a good chance of making it if we don't get hit with a tornado but it may very likely get hungry before the end."

    BLAAMMM!!! The blast was so loud that John's ears rang. He'd just opened his mouth to speak when the house shuddered and a loud crunching sound was heard. "Aww damn!", he shouted towards the back of the house. "I think that was the oak tree off the back porch and it's just fallen on the house!"
    Last edited by A.T.Hagan; 07-28-2002 at 10:03 PM.

  19. #19

    Elizabeth Morgan: The question you raise is interesting

    My daughter-in-law is a senior engineer for a state Department of Transportation. Last week she was called into a meeting about turning an interstate that cuts diagonally across our state into a one way in order to facilitate the evacuation of a major city in an adjoining state. Ostensibly this was to be undertaken 72 hours in advance in the event of an approaching hurricane. This issue was not well thought out and she did not mince words with them about the matter. As most know who must deal with hurricanes, you really don't know which direction they are going to take 72 hours in advance. In this case, the evacuated population might just be running into the path of a hurricane, and crossing the paths of our own population moving away from the coastal area.

    Her task would be to 'guide' the evacuation from the north bound lanes across the median onto the south bound lanes (for the one way) when the traffic began to build up. However, the PTB were asking her and her staff to stand out there in a largly rural area, unarmed and without provision for food or drink or potty) and enforce these decisions. Thanks to her efforts, I think the proposal may have gone back to the drawing boards.

    However, as I began to meditate on her report somthing just didn't feel right. The people supposedly coming up with this proposal (the emergency management people in the state with the major population center) are not dummies, and know that a 72 hour lead for a hurricane is not realistic. Something smelled fishy.

    As I mulled the matter over, the light bulb went on. Reports on this board had FEMA creating vast relocation cities to handle Americans displaced from their homes in the event of the expected WMD attacks on our major cities. If our intelligence was good, we just might know 72 hours ahead of time that such an event was scheduled, but not know with precision just where in the city it might go off.

    In such an event, would FEMA et al try to evacuate the population before hand? I think they might. In which case, they are prepared to turn my daughter-in-law into dog meat if it would serve their purposes.

    I haven't discussed the matter with her yet, but I'm prepared to suggest to her to just get the hell out of the way. If that population of several millions actually begins to move under those circumstances it will be akin to a cattle stampede. Short of a battalian of tanks nothing would slow them down or produce an orderly evacuation.

    People in a panic are very dangerious, even to those trying to help them.

    Just the view of a selfish father-in-law.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Near acres of clams&down bythe Gorge
    Posts
    2,107
    Thanks, Al. This is great stuff!

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    In CLE again
    Posts
    53,350
    Elizabeth, if you look at the faces on any of the firefighters in the videos and news shots as they go TOWARDS the building you will see a prescient resignation on their faces, and in their body language as they hitch up their pikes and head on in.

    I suspect that many of them knew that they weren't going to get back out.

    Chuck, who has gone TOWARDS the rolling, flaming car, just by duty reflex more times than he can count.....


    Alan, You really SHOULD quit your day job. You are SO much better than I am I get humbled as I read your work.

    CR
    RULE 1:
    THEY want you DEAD.


    Athens, Tenn.
    Remember WHY?

  22. #22
    Oh, this is a suspenseful e-book!

    Graphics! We need graphics! Somebody please import some stormy lightning pix!


  23. #23
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    dinosaur did you have to post your 666 post on a thread that is reading almost like the end of the world


  24. #24
    <i>Alan, You really SHOULD quit your day job. You are SO much better than I am I get humbled as I read your work. </i>

    Well, I have this fondness for regular meals and making the mortgage payment so I reckon I'd best stay *regularly* employed for at least a while yet. I've never sold a word of fiction in my life and suspect that it's a tough field to stay afloat in.

    I am discovering I like writing though. Been repressing the urge for years but I'm finding it's a form of release to bang it out on the keyboard once in a while when the inspiration hits me.

    Thanks everyone for the good words.

    .....Alan.

  25. #25
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    Great story, Alan. Your talent has yet to find it's limits. More please.

    Spear

  26. #26
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    Woolly:

    As I remember back from my undergrad transportation planning & design coursework, the Interstate Highway System is designed to allow traffic to flow one way for both sides of the roadway in the event of an emergency.

    However, I do not believe that the TPTB, FEMA, etc., will give any more than a few hours warning at most, having previously evacuated those deemed most important to national survival. The rest of the sheeple will be left to slaughter; those that survive expected to bow and scrap before the authorities as they troop out of their bunkers to "rebuild" the world.

    BL

  27. #27

    BL, I Think That Is Correct

    The problem is that someone has to make the decision to divert traffic into opposing lanes. The physical facility is clearly present, but someone must remove the blocks that would permit it to happen.

    I agree, something is fishy in the 72 hour proposal. No doubt, those with pull will be alerted and perhaps even flown out if there is risk to the destruction of the city from whatever cause. But the PTB want the DOT staff of another state in place 72 hours before a 'hurricane' (once the policy is in place whatever the announced purpose) to be ready to facilitate the switch. The issue for me is are they likely to try to evacuate a city in the face of a significant threat of WMD.

    There is a similar situation in the City of New Orleans that might be faced by a city faced with a threat by a WMD. The City of New Orleans is below the level of the Mississippi River. The city is protected by a system of levies and massive pumps. Under certain circumstances during a hurricane water might be pushed up the Mississippi river from the Gulf of Mexico and over run the levies and overwhelm the capacity of the pumps to evacuate the water. In this circumstance the entire city would be underwater well over the height of most buildings. If the population was not evacuated the death toll would, like that that would result from the triggering of a fission weapon within any city, be catastrophic.

    In this light, would the authorities make the effort to evacuate? Vulnerability on this scale would, in my view, almost make such an effort mandatory. But, then what?

  28. #28

    Through rain and storm and dark of night...

    August 08, 2002 - 12:00 p.m.

    Sheet lightning played across the sky and the resulting thunderclap seemed to shake loose even more rain. The wire slipped in the pliers and a barb penetrated both John's glove and his left thumb. "Son of a bitch!," he cursed, "I am sick and tired of being wet! If I have to fix this god damned fence one more time I'll just shoot the damned goats and eat them!" He pulled off his glove and critically examined his thumb. "Damn glad I had a tetanus booster last year and I'm FURTHER damned glad that Ann can't hear me or I'd get yet ANOTHER lecture on my damned language and its impact on the development of my children. Thank you Jesus for sparing me that!"

    He grabbed the broken strand of barbed wire with the fence pliers again giving it a savage pull and wrapped it around the post and held it so that his dad could nail it in place. "This rain's getting to me too, son," he admonished gently, "but we've just got to tough it out. You need to get a grip on your temper. This last day or two you've been putting the wind up Ann and the kids. This rain can't last forever."

    "Well, why shouldn't the wind get up them! It's for dam… uh darn sure getting up everything else!", John retorted. Feeling embarrassed he continued, "OK, OK, I'll work on taking the edge off my tongue. It'd be a lot easier if I could ever feel *dry* again. Seems like we spend so much time out in the rain it's about washed all the coping out of me. This is the fourth time we've had to fix fence since Impact. And the porch roof, and the barn roof, and hen house, and work shop, and Mike's house, and his barn, and Ed's house and just as soon as we get inside it'll be some other da… doggone thing that has to be attended to right away. Might as well go naked for all the good wearing any kind of rain gear does." He let the rest of his frustration out with a long sigh.

    The fence once again fixed the two men picked up the chain saw they'd used to cut up the tree that had fallen across the wire and the other tools and slogged their way across the pasture to the gate and then on to the workshop. It was Impact plus seven days and it had not stopped raining since. The salt rain had ended on the first day and what was now coming down was fresh. Sources at the University of Florida reported that forty six inches of rain had fallen during this time along with high winds and intense lightning. Rainfall, wind speed, and electrical activity were slowly diminishing but no one could predict when normal weather would return.

    Back in the workshop they cleaned and oiled the wet equipment then made their way back to the house. Smoke rose from the stack and they could smell coffee. When they had shed their slickers on the back porch and stepped through the door Ann handed them both steaming cups. "Bless you!," John cried, "You are surely a queen among wives!"

    Ann smiled and said, "Lunch will be ready as soon as the cornbread is done. The news just came on the radio if you want to listen."

    John and Robert walked over to the Sony on the kitchen table and turned it up as they sat to the table.

    <I>The U.S. Geologic Survey released a statement today that it has now been firmly established that the tsunami of last Saturday was indeed caused by the slippage of a large section of the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands along a previously known fissure. Experts feel this slippage was induced by the shock of the initial impact of the asteroid followed later by the tsunami it produced. Damage and casualty levels of both tsunami series are still being determined with work being seriously hampered by the still violent weather resulting from the asteroid strike. Preliminary casualty figures for the state of Florida are projected to be 1,200,000 with the majority being in the greater Miami area but authorities caution this figure may be drastically revised up or down as more complete data comes in.

    The public affairs officer of the newly established East Coast Rescue and Recovery Command reports that the preliminary aerial survey of the tsunami stricken Eastern Seaboard have largely been completed. Initial reports indicate the tsunamis did not reach as far as was initially feared and in many areas penetrated inland to only a distance of 200 miles. Major river valleys were more seriously stricken with most showing damage all the way to the piedmont areas. This smaller area of devastation has raised hopes that the nationwide casualty figure may be kept to 40 million deaths or less. Rescue and Recovery commanders emphasize that a full and complete survey of the damage and casualty figures will take months.

    On the West Coast California emergency services authorities continue to dig through the rubble of the 7.3 earthquake which struck Southern California last week within hours of the Impact. Seismological experts state that the ground shock of the asteroid striking the Earth is responsible for the quake but emphasize that stresses had been building along the southern San Andreas fault line for decades and that it was near to releasing on its own. Casualties attributed to the quake are moderate at 157. Twenty seven were reported dead from the tsunami that struck the next day as the hydrological pressure wave made its journey across the world's oceans. Missing persons from both disasters are reported to be 321 with many feared to be remaining in the stadium collapse rubble.

    A spokesperson for the Midwestern FEMA region states that casualties for the 6.1 earthquake along the New Madrid fault line have been moderate with 23 dead, 46 missing. All Mississippi and Ohio river bridges remain closed as safety inspections are carried out. Emergency water releases through the Tennessee Valley Authority dams continues to relieve stress on the dams possibly weakened by the quake as the record breaking rains continue to fall. Residents along the affected waterways are being evacuated as water levels rise.

    Locally, Gainesville Regional Utilities report that both of their generating plants have been inspected and found to be in safe working condition though only the coal fired Deerhaven plant is running due to the disruption in the flow of natural gas pipelines. Frequent local outages will continue for the duration of the violent weather but spokesmen stress that repair crews will be on continuous duty to restore power as necessary.

    There will be more news at the top of the one o'clock hour. This is Classic 88.4 FM, a radio service of the University of Florida."</I>

    John looked at his dad and said, "Well, it's the worst disaster in recorded history but it seems the Union still stands, what's left of it anyways. That cornbread sure smells good. Ann's really gotten the hang of that woodstove."

    The overhead lights flickered and came on. Robert smiled at the sight and said, "Maybe it'll stay on long enough for us all to get a hot shower. We'd better get the batteries on the chargers while the power lasts."

    The rain droned on.

  29. #29
    OK folks, I'm at a crossroads here so I'm going to conduct a poll.

    What would you like to see:

    #1 - more of the immediate aftermath of the strike in a wider area, e.g., how the rest of humanity in the area are coping or not coping as the case may be.

    #2 - a more long distance perspective in time, e.g., one month after, a year later, and so on.

    #3 - an epilogue to wrap the story up and bring it to a close.

    I always have a problem with these things about half way through. Let me know what y'all think.

    .....Alan.

  30. #30
    Join Date
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    Alan,

    Can we be greedy and say "1, 2 AND 3 - in that order"? Awesome work, btw!
    Treat each day as one of limitless potential and promise.

    The challenge in life is for HOPE to overcome that sense of fear. For GOOD to overcome evil.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    n. ga
    Posts
    487
    yea 1 2 3 4 5 6
    What are you? Just a bad idea on the
    loose! Third eye blinds the other two.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    Great writing again. I'll vote for option 1 for a couple of reasons.

    You've apparently done some research and you've picked your local environment which I can understand. Your most recent segment has incorporated wider "earth effects" caused from the initial impact.

    I'm curious what you have read about other impact sites and how they would be better or worse for world distributed effects. (Experts saying let it hit my neighborhood, just don't let it hit ...) or does the research point to no difference in impact area (doubtful)?

    Chap

  33. #33
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    West central Georgia
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    17,315
    I agree with Deb, "1, 2, and 3" Great work! I am totally hooked and avidly waiting for more. Thanks for writing!
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    784
    You have a gift Alan, this is publishable material!!!

    Deb Mc is right.........#1, #2 and #3....are a natural progression.....

    Don't stop now Alan.....go with the flow.....

    John

  35. #35
    I wouldn't begin to pass myself off as other than a layman about impact phenomena, but I do have an interest in the field.

    A great deal depends on the size of the impactor, its composition, and the velocity when it strikes the Earth. GENERALLY speaking for one the size I am using in the story you'd rather it hit a landmass than the ocean. Yes, it'll throw a hell of a lot of dust into the air but it'll be less than the amount of water a comparable ocean strike would put into the stratosphere. Unfortunately for us, 70% of the globe is covered in water.

    For those who may not have seen it already there's a concurrent thread that Fisher started at:

    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...threadid=36886

    whic is interesting. DebMc posted a really neat URL in that thread - http://personals.galaxyinternet.net/tunga/ which is about surviving an asteroid/comet impact. He even gives little story snippets to illustrate some of his points.

    Do keep in mind though that his impactor is an asteroid 3.6 miles in diameter - which is about seven times the size of the one I used. The effects of such a strike would be far more severe that what I'm illustrating. There likely wouldn't be any survivors east of the Appalachian mountains at all and the casualty figures west of the mountains would be staggering. Some of the affects he gives I think are a little overstated but taken as a whole I think he has understated the devastation such an impactor would cause. The strike popularly known as the Dinosaur Killer is theorized to have been between five and six miles in diameter and it killed 50% of all the <i>species</i> of life on Earth. A rock 3.6 miles in diameter likely wouldn't cause quite so massive a die off but it would almost certainly be enough to kill off civilization in the Western Hemisphere and maybe even in the Eastern Hemisphere.

    A rock the size I used would be most survivable if it struck land and you were hundreds of miles away. Even a water strike would be survivable if you weren't in the tsunami danger zone and not in an area where the severe weather effects would do you in. Above a certain size though it won't much matter where you live. When the Dinosaur Killer struck it would have largely incinerated everything in the southern half of the North American continent, Central America and a fair part of the northern part of South America.

    With the surveillance programs slowly but surely coming into place we'd probably see a Dinosaur Killer coming far enough in advance to do something about it. Probably even for the 3.6 mile rock. The rock that's less than a half-mile in diameter like I used (750 yards)would have a very good chance of not being seen until it was too late for us to take any effective deterrence measures and maybe before we could even do much about evacuating people out of the danger zone. Even in just "local space" a mere 750 yards of dark colored, not very reflective rock, is a damn small target. Still big enough to wipe out a fair sized nation entirely or knock one the size of the United States flat on its ass.

    If you've just got to survive an asteroid or comet strike then the slogan of the day will be "NOT IN MY HEMISPHERE!"

    .....Alan.

  36. #36
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    Ditto what Deb said. 1, 2, and at some time in the distant future, 3.

    Thanks, Alan. This is wonderful.

  37. #37
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    Alan,

    A couple of questions for you here:


    1. I've been reading the "Dinosaur Killer" asteroid was between 6 - 10 miles in diameter. What do you think is the most accurate measurement?

    2. The survival website made mention of possible asphyxiation (sp?) and that the matter had not been fully addressed. How far out would the oxygen depletion extend?

    3. Firestorm issues: Do you think the firestorm's reach would depend on its initial mass? I have a hard time believing that a 300 meter asteriod would have the same firestorm potential that the "Dinosaur Killer" did.

    Thanks!
    Treat each day as one of limitless potential and promise.

    The challenge in life is for HOPE to overcome that sense of fear. For GOOD to overcome evil.

  38. #38
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Billville where else?
    Posts
    501
    I'm for 1, 2, & 3 in agreement with Deb, JPM & John. If you can't do them all then 1, 3.
    Great stuff, look forward to it! I think you've got to have some 'survivors' start turning up on his doorstep with close encounter type stories. Maybe a little conflict to turn up the heat - this family is altogether toooo ideal. (course my story brain has been trained by hollywood and may be way out of touch with what would really happen in a life threatening scenario like this).
    TV in America created the most coherent reality distortion field that I’ve ever seen. Therein is the problem: People who vote watch TV, and they are hallucinating like a sonofabitch. Basically, what we have in this country is government by hallucinating mob. J.P. Barlow

  39. #39
    Originally posted by Deb Mc
    Alan,

    A couple of questions for you here:


    1. I've been reading the "Dinosaur Killer" asteroid was between 6 - 10 miles in diameter. What do you think is the most accurate measurement?
    Somewhere between five and six miles in diameter, keeping in mind it was almost certainly not a spherical body, is what is usually cited by sources I find to be credible. A ten mile in diameter body would likely produce an event closer to the much older Permian Extinction impact which killed off 95% of all species then extant on the planet. That one would simply be finis - not survivable except by the pure Grace of God.

    2. The survival website made mention of possible asphyxiation (sp?) and that the matter had not been fully addressed. How far out would the oxygen depletion extend?
    Outside of the area where blast and other effects would kill you outright in short order I'm having a difficult time with this one. When I can get the time to do some real research I'm going to check on it.

    3. Firestorm issues: Do you think the firestorm's reach would depend on its initial mass? I have a hard time believing that a 300 meter asteriod would have the same firestorm potential that the "Dinosaur Killer" did.

    Thanks!
    He made a lot of qualifications about the firestorm issue. A land impact of a 300 meter rock would set fire to anything flammable for miles around, both from the blast as it impacts, and the column of superheated air such body drags along with it as it journeys through the atmosphere. You really wouldn't want to be within fifty miles of it, better still to be even further away. An ocean impact would probably have no fire worries but there would naturally be a tsunami problem.

    Wouldn't matter where a Dinosaur Killer hit - land or water - if you're within a couple of thousand miles you're in deep trouble.

    It's the rocks a mile or less in diameter, particularly the ones less than a half mile in diameter but larger than 200 yards that most concern me. Huge destructive potential but survivable if you're not in the immediate blast area. The really big rocks...well, there is no absolute security.

    .....Alan.

  40. #40

    A.T., Opportunities, Opportunities, Opportunities

    If you select option 1) You would be able to explore how the 'family' managed from day to day, and how they managed as their preps began to run out. The convenience store owner's experience could be woven back into the story if you've kept him and his family alive. How does he recover, and what about the business? How is he able to replenish his stock of groceries and fuel?

    The risk of this approuch is that you might bog down in the detail. However, the family will undoubtedly face lawless bands on the prowl, and how they handled that matter, if they were able to handle it, would make facinating and instructive reading.

    Option 2) Would permit an exploration of how FEMA coped with 1.2 million dead, and some number several times that size injured. Martial law would likely be declared. Most people have no experience with martial law, so an exploration of how the military acts in such circumstances would be instructive. Would they, for example, seize the food stuffs and supplies that the prepared had put away at great expense, to take care of the unprepared?

    And then there are the politicians who may be standing by wringing their hands as tax revenues fall away because economic activities have been disrupted. What kind of draconian legislation are they likely to come up with as they endevor to 'share the pain'?

    Would such a strike change the political makeup of America i.e., would the coastal states continue to exist, or would they simply become a federal territory? The is the opportunity to paint a picture with a very broad brush if choosing such and option.

    The behavior of the 82nd Airborne in Bosnia and Kosovo implimenting martial law decrees would be instructive in fleshing out the picture should you choose that path for your story.

    In the final analysis this is your story, and only you can write it. So far you've done very well. Follow your heart, and you'll be OK!

    Best,
    Woolly

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