T-Minus 90 Giga-Seconds
Near the core of the stellar object called Sol, eight-hundred billion tons of hydrogen reacted in the pressure and the heat fusing together creating helium and gamma rays. Photons created began the random walk to the surface. Absorbed and emitted, the photons slowly made the way to the surface of the sun.
In the times before the creations of humankind orbited the earth, flew the sky or rolled along dirt roads. Before a man or woman's foot pressed it's image into the mud along a shoreline or in the dust of an arid land. The energy packets as gamma rays struggled their way through the dense interior of the star.
T-Minus 69,379,200 Seconds
Late one night in the year 1880, a woman moaned in pain. Mid-wives walked about as the birth pains continued. William Harley paced outside the door. Few times he dared to pull on the handle to peek inside, only to have his life threatened by the women inside.
One of the three men that stood watch with the soon-to-be father, Rev. Frances Knight patted William on the shoulder. "Will be over soon, by the sound of it. The babe is nearly here."
"It was a good Christmas, this will top the holidays."
Robert Valance joked, "She'll never let you back in the bedchambers Will, less than twelve years and five children. She'll do you such harm as to make a new chapter in the Good Book."
Frances laughed. "I doubt that, Robert, she is a good church woman."
The sound of a crying baby announced the arrival of a new life to the men outside the door.
"Congratulations William." Francis smiled. A moment more...
The Reverend was interrupted by the opening of the door as a woman stepped out with the newborn.
"It's a boy."
William smiled widely. "William Sylvester will be his name. I have named him after myself and Mary's father."
In the growing of the child, he met a young man with a curious mind and an active imagination with the talent to construct objects.
Inventions of fish-line winders were always in the young Arthur's mind. Love of fishing and laughter. The two were best of friends always. Even the times they argued, it always ended up with respect and laughter as they shared their lives and secrets between each other.
Excitement occurred when the boys were standing as a man rode up and down the street on a noisy contraption, a "motor cycle" he called it. The boys were attracted by the sight and sounds of the two wheeled infernal machine.
In years that came, the younger William impressed his professors and teachers of his knack with the engineering skills above many of his peers. A dream from what he had seen with his best friend, Arthur, still lived in his heart.
Together the boys grew into intelligent and daring men and started a company that would inspire heroes and villains alike on the way to becoming legend.
T-Minus 57,290,400 Seconds
Harley-Davidson Motorcycles was born more of a handshake and a gentleman's honor between two best friends than business partners. To this end, they achieved both respect and honors of those that worked for them over the intervening years of two world wars and into the future.
In the war with Pancho Villa, the military purchased some of the boys' machines. A colonel who rode with his troops was greatly impressed by the usability of the motor-powered bikes to get messages from one location to another in a timely manner.
World War I — the Great War, came to the fore. The military with it's long memory ordered thousands, eventually numbering more than fifteen-thousand of William and Arthur's motorcycles with the new V-twin arranged engines.
Life improved as the employees respected the owners and worked to the best that they could to produce the very thing that they themselves wanted to own.
World War II, the war that followed the War To End All Wars and Harley-Davidson were called upon once again to produce the quality of the legend they had before.
William and Arthur were more than capable and happy to oblige. Power of the V-twin was boosted time and again, the iron horse was no longer on rails, but now could be ridden.
Sadly, William did not live to see the end of the war that both saddened him and made his company famous, after a long hard year of making contracts and sure that the contracts were filled. William went to shoot golf to relax after a stressful period since the attack on Pearl Harbor. William Harley never came home, dying of a cardiac arrest before his evening was done, he was 33,274,080 seconds old the time was T- 36,266,400 seconds.
The reputation grew as the power of the engines grew and the nickname of "Hog" that had began as a racing team now became common reference to the large motorcycles.
Returning soldiers found that the freedom of the road was ever more pleasant with the powerful and dependable motorcycle from the once best of friends that dreamed of machines and best of of friends as business partners. Harley-Davidson Motorcycles were the most desired of all the big machines by a generation that had lived with horrors of death and destruction unmatched in history.
In 2008, Harley-Davidson produced motorcycle number 1HD1DJV131Y 584344, the skills of the company were not wasted on the powerful machine. It was perfect when it was inspected by the thirty-year employee, David Oliver "Papa DOK" Kraig. On the computerized display, the power curves that the engine put out were not just within limits, but perfect.
Brakes were checked and this newest of additions to the H-D family was pronounced "Perfect" by Chris "Eliminator" Thanatos. His dark mood on anything that was even close to being out of the testing limits made for many to flinch. When it came to this OCD employee doing inspections — It was perfect or it was trashed.
Passing with flying colors, one of the names that the employees labelled this new chrome and painted horse was "P.H." or "Perfect Hog".
Shipped with care out west. It sat on the sales lot until a young man who William would have been proud of. Russel Fletcher's dark eyes looked over the chrome that William and Arthur's old company had given birth to.
Before the hour was up, Russell was on the road with his prized possession.
A life of glory on the most glorious machine of the year, Russell laughed every night he rode.
T-Minus 46,252,800 Seconds
LucilleMay Adler born to George and Ethel grew up in Chicago on the poorest side of town. George was a warehouseman and had never had time much for his family. A heavy drinker by the time that Lucy was in her mid-teens. He was killed when driving home and drove into a tree. Ejected from his car, the intoxicated driver struck his head on the hard ground and never woke from his injuries.
Lucy and her mother moved to California on suggestion of her aunt Lewellyn where she became involved with a young man who went to school. Lucy was impressed by his clear blue eyes. The young man often would take Lucy on rides in the country as they sat with picnics under his fave trees along the Marin headlands.
Trying his hand at farming, Joshua Sprecks was a failure. Buying the land around the hills in the southern bay area, they fought and struggled for years until a builder spoke with them about selling land so a home could be built.
Pausing to think, Joshua refused the offer. Instead, he spoke with an employee that helped him and in turn they looked into building a few houses which sold quickly.
In the years that followed, Joshua found he had skills in home and subdivision design. With a good relationship with the local inspectors, Joshua Sprecks made his life comfortable for his growing family.
As the first of Lucy's four children were born. Lucy became addicted to Valium in the early years of the drug. Most of the ladies in her church were very much addicted to the benzodiazepine, an active trade developed within the group as the hoarders would sell among the women that needed it at the moment.
Lucy's eldest son was driving her youngest son and two daughters to the store after begging that they would be careful, and Joshua Junior was very careful. But the drunk driver that hit them broadside at more than eighty, had no such guidance. Lucy never quite recovered burying four of her children. Only survivor was the youngest who had to stay home to do homework.
Josh took the next offer of his three-hundred acre ranch and bought in the Lake Tahoe area away from the metropolitan area that was growing around where their orchards were. Joshua Sprecks did not wish to remain in the area where his children died at the hands of a man that paid only a months worth of salary in fines.
It was not fair, it seemed to Josh.
T-Minus 26,805,600 Seconds
Russell Fletcher born of the Texan oil businessman James "Fletch" Fletcher and his wife, Mitsu, in Tokyo, Japan.
A young life that started with his father's business in full swing. Fletch had a knack for turning dying companies into driving enterprises and would then sell them. All his life, he was a fixer.
Russell learned much under his father's tutelage. Graduating college, the young Fletcher started a business of food delivery to the elderly after taking food to his grandparents for the last few years of their lives. The expansion of the food system was explosive, quickly outpacing Russell's ability to hire new employees and get them trained.
Russell met at a meeting, Lluvia "Lulu" DeSoto. Dark of eye and quick of wit. She enthralled him immediately. Well on her way to make an impact in alternate power sources for big vehicles. She was plugging her best friends company. Keeping her on a commission basis, it was a busy life until the company failed and was nearly arrested for fraud. Lulu however was absolved of all wrongdoing and her friend was forced to pay Lulu a healthy sum as the friend had over-reported the expenses paid out by altering the receipts that Lulu had turned in and underpaying Lulu.
After the settlement, Russell Sold his stake in the company he had founded and moved on, starting a new company that excelled in performance once again.
Retiring before the age of fifty, Russell enjoyed his riding with his best friend and now wife for years around the gem of the high mountains called Tahoe.
T-Minus 25,754,400 Seconds
Lluvia "Lulu" was born to Roberto and Delores De Soto during one of the most intense storms of the season. A descendant of Hernandez De Soto she inherited an exploring soul. Never one to back down from a challenge she met each one with a quick wit and a laugh. Beauty sparkled in her eyes as she looked upon the world. As a child she would be found climbing trees — much to the chagrin of her mother that tried to teach this girl how to behave like a girl. But it was all futile with Lulu.
Once when teased by some boys, Roberto heard screaming and knew that Lulu was beyond angry. The father of eight put down his farming tools and walked around the house. There he found that Lulu of the sonrisas, smiles, had been pushed beyond her limits by her brothers.
She had her four brothers treed! Roberto laughed! Four older brothers had pelted Lulu with fruit as she had come home from school in her new dress. The result was a temper that never broke without reason, this day did. Like the tornadoes that wrecked havoc across the middle of America, she had bloodied the nose of one brother and all had ran for the tree they had been picking fruit from.
Lulu had knocked the ladder down and was now carrying an ax to the tree where her brothers were trapped with murder on her mind. The elder De Soto called Lulu over and calmed her. Mother De Soto was going to be furious with her when she got into the house, Lulu cried on her papas arm.
"Mi bebé, I shall take care of that now, your brothers will pay that penalty. Just do not cut down this tree, please? It produces fruit for our crops and it would be years before a new one I would plant to reach a productive age."
Lulu laughed as the boys were made to learn how to sew and created for her and her three sisters dresses that matched. Sewn to the exacting standards of Delores De Soto, it took the four boys a year to get it right.
The brutal teasing the brothers got from their friends over the punishment lasted longer than the year that they learned to sew. "Like a girl."
Carlos, the middle brother, became a well known clothier and designer of fashion as he grew up.
Lulu entered college, the first of the siblings, with some challenges in her grades she did not get into the colleges she wished for. Learning to learn at the local college, she met a girl that became one of her closest friends. CarlaAnn was an ever dreaming, plan making and rule bending exciting girl to be around.
Together they got in occasional trouble but never serious enough for the police to ever press charges. Only once did the girls have to sit in the police station and wait for their parents to come pick them up.
Whispering to Lulu, CarlaAnn laughed quietly. "That was awesome!"
All Lulu did was laugh, even being grounded for a month, setting the fire alarm off in the town's hotel, driving patrons out in various stages of undress was totally worth it.
Lulu and Carla began to start businesses together until CarlaAnn met Jack, an older boy with tattoos and a ring in his ear. Jack helped CarlaAnn start a business for motorcycle racing and rodeo clothing, with Lulu being the representative. Lulu met with many racing teams and became successful in promoting her friend's company. Sometimes it seemed that CarlaAnn shorted Lulu or would be very late in paying her expenses.
On occasion, CarlaAnn would slip a roll of hundred-dollar bills into Lulu's purse and whisper. "Don't tell Jack. Please." Occasionally, a slight discoloring of CarlaAnn's face would not quite be covered by make-up would worry Lulu, but her best friend would never let on what happened.
At one rodeo, Lulu was sitting with a horse owner talking about equipment that the company was seeking to get into. Barrels, saddles. Many saddlemakers had been lining up when the rumor (started by Lulu herself to test the waters) that CarlaAnn's company was moving into distribution of more equipment at a reasonable price.
Speaking with the horse owner, Harold Stepkin, a handsome young man was invited over by Harold and introduced to Lulu. With sparkling ebony eyes and an exotic look to match his mind, Russell Fletcher attracted Lulu right away.
Two weeks later Russell bought Lulu dinner and they talked long hours after watching the sun set. The restaurant closed around them and they were the last to leave with the employees.
The legal battles that were caused by the mismanagement by Jack took a toll on CarlaAnn. Lulu was reimbursed by the government through the lack of apparent payments by CarlaAnn's company. Jack had not authorized payments and had instead kept the money, spending it on smuggling and other illegal activities.
Quietly, the rolls of hundred dollar bills were returned to CarlaAnn after Jack had been convicted of embezzlement and CarlaAnn acquitted of all charges. Jack had used the resources of the company and was found to have a substantial roll in corrupt activities. The company was seized by the government with very few employees paid what was owed them.
Lulu and Russell were never apart more than an afternoon in the years that followed. The following spring, Roberto passed away hours after watching his bebé marry the boy with almond eyes and a winning smile. The bittersweet day would be remembered by both families for generations.
Seven years later, Mama Delores married a green eye'd Celt with quick wit and a voice like distant thunder.
Once again the family was whole after a wait that wore heavily on her mother.
Settled in, children were born as the lovers and friends started their family. Russell had moved the family to the high desert area south of Reno. Loving the visiting, but not living in, the snows of Tahoe, he took Lulu often to ride around the jewel the mountains.
One summers day, on his beloved Harley-Davidson, Mister and Missus Fletcher enjoyed the weather of the midsummer's offering. The children were being watched by a neighbor as they spent their anniversary on the back of an iron horse and freedom in their hearts.
T-Minus 500 Seconds
On the surface of the sun, photons finally freed from the surface began to travel through space at full speed. A blue/green and white marble that orbited the star that was left behind the electromagnetic energy as it the energy reached it's full speed of three-hundred thousand kilometers-per-second.
Lucy got into her car, now approaching ninety years. Joshua had passed away years before. Lucy just went and donated time to charity work and her church.
Long passed her addictions of prescription medications, Lucy now drank her bottle of wine each lunch time and was looking forward to today's lunch with her friends. Edna supplied more wine than any of the lady Druids.
Lucy was certain she would convert the heart of Edna to the true path of Christian religion. Then a sudden memory!
"I forgot my bible!" Sighing Lucy pulled over and double checked in her oversized purse. It was not there, nor was the passage she had copied out for Edna to read. She was going to have to turn around and go back.
T-Minus 300 Seconds
Riding along at the speed limit, Russell and Lulu had spoke of having lunch at the north shore of the lake.
Russell had his open-faced helmet on so the conversation was easier from his end. Lulu wore a full face helmet with a stout chin guard with a gem-light just above the eye line. The light would allow Lulu to read map sections she would tape to the back of Russell's helmet. A very expensive and light helmet made from such materials that a fighter pilot or NASA would be envious of.
Laughing at a joke, they passed a state patrol car who was sitting along side the road doing paperwork. Russell like everyone else on that section of road checked their speed at that moment. Lulu laughed at her husband, he was just doing the speed limit anyway.
"No need to slow down old man!" Jabbing him in the back with her thumb. "You drive like a grampa anyway!" Her voice clear in the electronic mini-earbud built into the helmet that in turn was connected to the motorcycle's system.
Two miles ahead, Lucy found her bible. she had tucked it into her blouse pocket. She did not have to make the ten-mile trip back home and be late for lunch after all! Edna would not have to be kept waiting to be saved, or at least Lucy would TRY to save her soul — again.
Pulling over, Lucy let the big trucks pass. The next place to turn was another three-miles, this would be good enough of a location if she just did it quick.
Traffic was a pestilence as Lucy waited. Wine was waiting for her in large enough amounts to improve the day for even the dour Katarina Kurk. A German woman that was hysterically funny when she had a half-bottle of wine in her.
Once an actress and comedian in her old country, Katarina had retired to California then to the Nevada side of the lake.
T-Minus 60 Seconds
Lucy was getting impatient, traffic was stacked up and unbroken for a few minutes — too many. She was getting impatient and irritable. Not for the first time she swore at the numbers of people that were around the lake that Joshua loved and ultimately died in while fishing.
A break in the traffic in the opposite direction showed itself. Lucy was going to take it. Coming at her from in front, she timed the arrival of no cars in the direction she wanted to go.
Space — Photons crossed the orbit of Venus, speeding on the way to Earth. Much of the energy would be spent on dust, debris and even reflected off of satellites before entering into the atmosphere of the only planet to have been absolute in the discovery of life on its surface.
T-Minus 15 Seconds
"Next time we come, let's stay the night at the village?" Lulu asked. Russell knew the place she was referring to. A bed and breakfast house. Clawfoot tub in room. A huge fireplace with wood stacked by the workers and an expansive view of the lake.
A hot tub on the balcony to watch the sunset over the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It was the perfect spot to spend time away and to themselves.
The very thought of it made him smile.
In space, photons were leaving the orbit of Venus behind and approaching the orbit of the moon. A this distance, the moon would be barely more than a bright spot near the blue disk of the earth.
T-Minus 5 Seconds
Photons were as far from the moon as the moon was from the Earth. Racing at full speed with nothing in the way, the fates guided the intersection of energies.
On the highway, Russell had a passing thought of lunch on a beach view terrace. The smell of smoke was light in the air from the wild-fires seventy-miles away. The scent of pines filled the senses as they rode on the rumbling Hog.
Lulu looked out to the left, over the sapphire blue water. Water so naturally pure, that as it sat in the lake, open to the sky it would pass any tests that a government body could perform.
Those that sailed on the waters of the lake were known to have occasional attacks of acrophobia, a fear of heights. Such was the clarity of the lake called Tahoe.
T-Minus 3 Seconds
Alongside the highway, Lucy saw the opening in the traffic and took her foot off of the brake if her trusty car and pressed on the throttle. Spinning the wheel she pulled out across the lanes.
AND STOPPED! A car turning in — she had not seen the turn signal. Looking down the traffic, she looked back and a motorcycle was close! Too close!
Russell was just checking his mirror, a large group of riders was behind him. At least ten riders judging from the headlights. Looking ahead again.... CAR!
T-Minus 2 Seconds
Photons struck the paint and chrome of Lucy's car. Instantly redirected by reflection the photons passed through the air at only ninety-meters per second slower than in a pure vacuum. Some colors absorbed by the paint and then reflected all other colors.
The photons traveled the distance between the sudden obstruction and passed through the iris of Russell's eye in twenty-five nanoseconds — 0.000000025 — striking the light sensitive membrane in the back of Russell's eyes.
Neuro pathways picked up the information of the reflected photons and processed it to his occipital lobe, in the back of Russell's head.
T-1.9999955 seconds. Photons streaked past Russells head and entered the lens of Lulu's right eye as she looked left. The nervous system transmitted the image at two-hundred miles-per-hour to the brain of Mrs. Fletcher.
Russell's brain transmitted the image to the frontal cortex. One-point-six seconds it took to have the one-hundred billion axioms to recognize the threat, the mind of the son of his father organized into a reflex action.
T-1.99925 seconds. Fifty-miles per hour they traveled towards the immobile car. More than seventy-three feet per second — Already they had covered more than a third of a football field.
T- 1.5 Seconds. Lucy saw them coming, her eyes processing the closing motorcycle and her mind was locked up. All was needed to avoid this was press on the gas-pedal. But in that moment, she did not know what to do.
Russell's brain processed information at the speed of three super-computers. The most intelligent man on earth was not needed to know that the exit routes were:
Oncoming traffic in front of the car — rejected. Death was all but certain.
Forest with big trees, bushes and large pointy rocks: — rejected.
Hit car — poor choice, but the debate in the mind of the man was defaulted to impact. There was no more time for evasive maneuvers.
T- 1.25 seconds. BRAKES! The mind screamed! Russell took a deep breath.
T- 1.20 seconds. BRAKES! The mind begged. The entire world was silent, his ears were deaf to all sounds.
T- 1.1 seconds. BRAKES! The mind commanded. No bumps, no sound of wind.
T- 0.9 seconds. BRAKES! The mind ordered. The engine was inaudible.
T- 0.8 seconds. A voice sounded through the earbud of the motorcycles comm system.
T- 0.5 seconds. BRAKES! The foot finally responded and jammed down on the rear brake.
T- 0.4 seconds the brake pads built up pressure.
T- 0.15 seconds, the friction pads moved into contact with the rotating mass of the brakes and began to engage at seventeen feet away.
T- 0.10 seconds. Russell tensed up. Impact was imminent. Pressure in back brake had built to prevent the rotation of the rear tire as the weight of the motorcycle shifted to the front. The shock absorbers on the motorcycle compressed as the big bike did a nosedive.
The rear of the motorcycle began to yaw to the right with Lulu adding more weight to the pendulum. Out of control from the skidding tire. The dynamic forces that caused the tire to lock up. The heat of friction melted rubber, reducing the material to liquid that lubricated the tire and reduced the wished for friction to stop the inevitable.
Sideways on, "Crossed up" as they yawed towards the car, they moved with Lulu thinking of prayers and begging that it was going to be all right.
It was not going to be all right.
T- 0.05 seconds. Russell could see over the top of the car, the road was clear on the far side of the obstruction.
He could see the eyes of the little old lady who was looking like a deer in the headlights with saucer sized pupils.
T- 0.02 seconds. Photons made shadows on the ground. Shadows that merged as the front tire was bound down as tightly as it could be without locking up. Speed was dropping rapidly. On a graph, it would chart as nearly vertical on a second by second chart.
T- 0.01 seconds. Russell could calculate his speed was still greater than...
T- 0.00 seconds. Impact! The photons that made shadows, now only made one as the front tire hit slightly ahead of the rest of the Harley Davidson.
The force of the energy ripped the grips of the big bike from Russell's hands, launched by the impact of the vehicles, Russell skipped over the top of the car and landed, sliding and rolling down the asphalt. Russell came to a rest on his back. His face hurt, but he was awake.
T+ 0.50 seconds. Russell laid there, taking stock of his limbs. Pain was not overpowering but there was no question he was hurt. Movement at the periphery of his eyes made him turn his head. The car was on the move, the car was leaving!
T+ 1.5 seconds. He whispered, "Lulu..." She lay on the ground, partly under the motorcycle. Unmoving, silent. her leg bent in ways that was unnatural.
T+ 2.0 seconds. Pounding of feet, a heavy "Thump-thump" of a huge motor pulling up next to him. A huge chopper with an even larger rider looking down at him.
"We caught her. Brother, hang in there, help is on the way."
"Lulu? My wife?"
"She's alive. Hurt, but alive."
"Where is the rescue?"
"Station is right there." The big biker told Russell. "They'll be here in seconds."