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Turning the lights back on

July 13, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Robert Hill wrote a book called Alone Together, in which he speculates about what would happen if a natural occurrence, in this case, a coronal mass ejection or a CME, blasted across the earth, leaving the buildings and the beings unharmed, relative to a nuclear holocaust, but completely without their technology: everywhere, everything. So, airplanes would fall, ships would simply drift; all motors, communication devices, electricity, everything kaput.

A long walk to anywhere and, by Mr Hill’s interpretation, dangerous, at least in the town where he  currently lives with his family, Tustin, California, and where, as a typical American town, looting and murder are the first reactions to the shut down.

A 13-year-old boy, like Mr Hill’s own son, tells the story. He learns to deal with no more technology but now a struggle for water, food and safety. How the family dynamics change and the boy grows make an interesting study of this author’s theory. What happens you can discover by ordering your own copy of Alone Together from BookLore.

Still, I wondered, finishing the book, how the authorities handled the situation:

“That damned light’s still there,” said Smithers, Chief Supervisor of solar activity monitoring in Area 99, in the Mohave Desert. This was a secret station buried deep underground, designed to protect the nation’s chief executives and the foremost experts in all major fields. Officially, it didn’t exist.

“Sir!” called out Mallory,  “the auroras are actually overlapping! It’s incredible!”

Immediately, Smithers recognized the danger – this wasn’t war: this was a CME, the mother of all CME’s. There was no time to waste.

“Red alarm!” his voice down the line to the White House left no doubt: “Get the President, his family – no – just the immediate ones – this won’t kill  people unless they’re in airplanes. It’s just a little inconvenience; get him here now!”

He then called a list of the elite to be brought there to safety, where the world could be patched up again. 300 people could live comfortably here for as long as necessary.

Within a very short time, a familiar voice was saying, “Man oh man, I couldn’t have done better than this. Whaddaya say it’s called?  A CME? What the hell’s that? Never mind – it’s fantastic!”

Around the corner came an ugly face with a thick patch of bleached blond hair atop it: the President himself.

He stopped as he reached the monitoring room in which the CME had been identified.

“Wow – where the hell are we?” he turned his water blue eyes on Smithers: “What’s this all about? Are ya the guy who knows it all?”

“Yes,” said Smithers, “sir.”

They sat down on two chairs facing a wide computer screen. It showed a huge swath of cities, their lights blinking off rapidly. Within two minutes, all the lights were dark. Then, the computer showed similar lightless cities, here, there –

“All around the world?!”  the President asked incredulously, “with just some spit from the sun? Wow, we gotta figure out how to control that….” He looked at Smithers. “the Ruskies too?”

Smithers returned the man’s look with a sour glance and turned back to the screen before him. It was pointless explaining the “spit” or the impossibility of “controlling” it.  Nodding briefly, “Even the Russians.” he confirmed.

“But- how come – here, we’re ok?”

Without looking at him, Smithers said, “Area 99 was built secretively, without the actual knowledge of the national executive. It is completely impenetrable and safe. The only other four are in Russia and Europe. As well, China and Japan.”

“Come on, Smithers, give,” the President was leaning into Smithers’ private space. His breath was hot and smelt of something sweet. “How long before one of us takes over the whole damned patch? It otta be us, right? The USA – who else could handle it?”

He grabbed Smithers’ arm, “Whadda about the bombs – they’re okay, aren’t they? Still ready to rock and roll whenever we wanna beat those other bast—ds to the punch..”

Smithers scrapped the president’s hand off his sleeve and told him in icy tones: “An undisclosed agreement was hammered out by all the Generals in the world. We knew about these shelters and they were not, in truth, built as safety from all out war. We agreed to never let maniacal leaders destroy the world for their ridiculous egos. No, this is for a highly predictable natural disaster like this one. As of five minutes ago, every bomb on earth was permanently disabled.”

Smithers stood up: “It’s over, Donald. We didn’t do it but we’re not sorry it came. Eventually, we’ll figure out how to heal it and maybe we’ll do better. Someone will take you to your quarters. Meals will be delivered to you and your family.

“Try to stay out of everyone’s way…”

         

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