Ever and Always
Chapter 41: The Fall - Tuesday June 10th 2025
Copyright© 2015 by Banadin
In the next twenty-four hours as planned over ninety percent of those outside the gates made it back. When the gates were closed there were one hundred and eighty four people not inside. All but one was accounted for as in transit.
The missing person was on a rock climbing holiday according to his family and out of cell phone contact. It was hard to believe but even in this day and age there were still some spots on earth that didn't have cell coverage.
The reports out of India kept getting worse and there was a definite pattern in the reported cases worldwide. In the next three days if one overlaid the new cases to a map of the air routes it was almost a one hundred percent match.
The mass media was still reporting the story as local out breaks. The Internet was awash with information, some of it even accurate. A few families and groups declared that TSHHTF and hunkered down in survival mode.
Most still were at the, "I'm watching it, but I have got to go to work," stage.
By the fifth day, all of their outsiders were back with the exception of the rock climber, and he was on his way.
On the sixth day, it really did hit the fan. Cases were reported in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta. All major gateways for foreign air travel.
As usual, the American government was in gridlock. The Executive Branch wanting action out of Congress while Congress wanting action out of the Executive Branch.
Behind the scenes, all the phone lines were in use by special-interest groups. These ranged from the travel industry not wanting a costly shut down to the 'Close our Borders, America isn't for newcomers' crowd.
At this point, it was too late to keep the disease out. The CDC was being overwhelmed by reports by this time, but they were able to extract patterns. The most frightful was that the virus was showing no signs of natural attenuation. It wasn't mutating to a weaker version and there were no signs of resistance in the general population.
With most viral outbreaks, some part of the general population would have a natural resistance. This hadn't emerged so far. Also like the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918 it was concentrated on the healthy. Most viruses were hardest on the young and elderly, but this wasn't the case in this outbreak.
On June 15th, the CDC declared a Pandemic and recommended that all interstate travel be halted. This wasn't implemented because the US Federal government was in disarray. The President, Vice-President and their families and most of their staff were all out ill. Continuity of Government plans were attempted but at this point the spread of the virus was quicker than the plans.
Now on all the news, the recommendation was to stay home. People tried this for several days; then they needed food. They would go to a store, and it might or might not be open depending on the local staff. When a store was open, the crowds were unruly and looting broke out.
By June 19th, the major cities were out of food and no more was coming in. Now it turned ugly. This scene was playing out in every city in the world.
One country, Israel declared Madagascar early on. Because of the walls they had erected, it was relatively easy to close their borders. While the Palestine's residents were dying, ill in such numbers they couldn't attack Israel, even if they had wanted to; an Ultra-Orthodox Jew stated on his blog that this was God's Will, and that he was wiping out all but the anointed people.
This blog gained worldwide circulation with the End of the World crowd.
Unfortunately, it also gained circulation in the Muslim world. Apparently, someone in power in Iran took exception to this thought and ordered the launch of their nuclear arsenal on Israel.
While in its death throes Israel counter launched on all the major Muslim cities in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
This pulled Pakistan into the fray; they in turn launched against all their perceived enemies, including India. India countered against Pakistan and China. China hit Russia and the United States.
When the United States answered from their remote land, sea and space sites, it was over. The Russian launch took out the major European cities. In the space of ten days, the world population was reduced by sixty percent.
In the next wave of starvation, looting and rioting; the population was cut in half again. Then the winter of 2025 set in. The world population was cut in half again.
By the summer of 2026, it was reduced again as cancers from the bombing took their toll. The pandemic had burned itself out.
There were many stories of tragedy and grief. Few in the world were unaffected. There were stories of triumph over great odds. Mostly, it was human misery and suffering. Since the devastation was so great there was no real record of the events except in the Valley.
There they called it the Dying. Later, Historians would call it The Great Death. Some would claim it was a blessing, in it gave humanity a chance to start over and be saved from its own self. No one alive during this event would agree with them.
With less than seventy-five million people left alive in scattered locations, the very survival of the human race would have been in question, except for the Tennessee survival center. It was a microcosm of twenty-first century civilization. While far from perfect in its resources both in material and personnel it was enough to become a true center for the restructuring of society.
While these worldwide events were unfolding the actual events became less knowable to those living through them. Their concerns were local and immediate. Communications were breaking down everywhere, only much later was the timeline of events unraveled.
Even that would be controversial like any historical reconstruction. James Garner in the movie, "Sunset," said it best, "That is exactly how it happened, give or take a lie or two." What destruction occurred was fact. The order of occurrence and triggers would always be debatable.
On this fateful day, Rick and Marsha were in the immediate now of the Valley. When the gates were closed, and the refugee centers opened they repaired to their stations. Rick to the Valley Command Center, Marsha to the gates to help with the refugee inflow.
It became quickly apparent to Rick that events were cascading out of any control, and that he was watching the end of a human era. As attributed to Stalin, a human death is a tragedy, millions of deaths a statistic. That day and those that followed the statistics became unbearable billions.
During this time period, for some reason, Rick kept thinking of a day long ago in a jungle where events were also overwhelming and the only way he got through it was to keep moving.
He changed the Valley Survival Center status from a drill to Level One their highest emergency status. It put the entire Valley under Martial Law. As the area commander, he was now the government.
Everyone on the Valley Council now had a role to play in the emergency government, but Rick still kept the civilian government as an official body. They would meet weekly to discuss what the effects of Martial Law were having and how they would transition back once the emergency was over.