Prelude The Cause
Bethany College dorms
July 2, 2006
Marvin Smith looked at Wes Wesson. “Did you check your mail?” he asked.
“Yeah, I also got my Pink Slip. Here we are, just turned senior and already downsized out of our jobs. I thought we would not only have interesting jobs until graduation, but be in on the ground floor of a new technology.” Wes moaned.
Marvin shook his head and groaned, “After two years, you would think we would get some severance pay or something, especially since they paid so low. I am going to have to apply at Pizza Hut delivery. I hear they make good money.”
“Yeah, then why are they always advertising for drivers?” retorted Wes.
“Not downsized I guess, strictly speaking, I guess, more like loss of contract. Twelve fucking models and they all melted down. But each time we improved the instrumentation and production time. Just because it didn’t work, this is research! Fucking forty five pound, suitcase sized, room temperature super conductor, energy storage units that can power Cleveland for a year. Spin offs into electric cars, planes and ships. Think of the reduced transportation cost for energy alone! You could build a power generating plant at the oilfield, coal mine or dam and charge the HES. Then you’ll only have to transport the HES to the using site!” cried Marvin.
They lay dejectedly on their beds.
“I checked Dr. Terry’s equations in Differentials class last semester. They checked to the first decimal place. It only took a slight change in input frequencies and base frequency to match perfectly.” groused Marvin.
“Did you ask Dr. Terry?” asked Wes.
“Yeah, he blamed the difference on ‘rounding errors’ in the ‘second order’ equations.” said Marvin. “But I don’t think they have anything to do with input frequencies!”
“Marv, you may have the answer. Let me see that.”
Three and a half hours later an excited Wes looked up from his computer and started writing down settings. “OK! Then setting one . . . and . . . then . . . OK . . . and . . . then . . . start on the ten kilowatt hour scale.” mumbled Wes.
“I just don’t understand Dr. Terry.” Said Marvin “Why isn’t he fighting tooth and nail for more money? He stands to be richer than Hughes, Gates and Trump all put together. Jesus his discovery will change the world as we know it.”
“Yeah he has been dragging it, not like when we first started. Hell he was more gung ho than a virgin bridegroom on his wedding night. I can’t see him just giving up when the money ran out. It doesn’t make sense. Damn, I don’t want to give up.”
“Wes, what do you think went wrong with the tests?”
“He didn’t spread out the input frequencies high enough even I could see that. His total spread was only thirty-six kilohertz from the base frequency; which was too low anyway. Hell I’d have gone a thousand folds from a much higher base frequency.”
“Hey Wes, how much money is still left?”
“Dr. Terry has to sign any checks, but there are just enough parts to rebuild the unit and all we have to do is bake the slurry, its ready, and install the input output controls. Voila! HES/13!”
“What are we waiting for? We did twelve of them the thirteenth should be a breeze.”
“That’s not the problem; the problem is the energy. The dean cut off the projects power supply, as soon as the backers pulled the plug. I wish Dr. Terry had told us who was backing the project. I can beg better than most, just look at my girlfriends.”
Marvin realized that the backup unit for the college had not come on as far back as he could remember.
“Wes, what about a backup unit?”
“What do you mean?”
“What happens if we have a storm here and the power goes out?”
“The backup generators come on, you silly nit.”
“Do you know where they are?”
With a little research they found the backup generator facility on Rt. 67 near the PA border. It was bigger than they had thought, since it handled not only the college back up power but four other buildings as well.
The next morning Marvin and Wes drove by the building and noticed a janitor leaving the building and going to his car. They couldn’t help noticing the car was in poor shape. “Yo! Man! What is that building used for in the mornings?” asked Wes.
“Nuttin, Wha’s it ter ya?” said a cloud of alcohol.
“We’re with the college and we need room for a project.” Said Wes. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
“You wanna khee.”
“Okhay. A bottlea Wild Turkey a dhay in ta baroohm clossett. Thas ma lass ohffer.”
“Weell, umm, OK.”
It took three days. The boys baked the slurry, it tested out within parameters They rewired the guts of the controls, and only had to use work arounds due to lack of the correct parts three times. They did not have the case but did not really need it to test the unit. They made up the new storage unit from scratch. They tried a totally new frequency base and spread much, much higher than Dr. Terry had set for the first twelve HES’.
July 6, 2006
Bethany College backup generator house
During a storm, the boys set up and calibrated the equipment in the backup power building. But they did not start due to lack of time, the lightning and heavy rains in the storm outside. Besides, they were bleary eyed with lack of sleep, during the baking of the slurry, there had been no one to relieve them and it was a delicate business. They needed to be sharp for the testing. They decided to start up HES/13 (High Energy Storage unit number 13) the next morning. They remembered the Wild Turkey.
That night the Janitor, with Wild Turkey in pocket, investigated their equipment set up. Sure enough it looked like a school project. He also noticed that they left a mess of dirty footprints from the rain on his ‘nice clean floor’. He mopped it up. What he didn’t notice was that when he slipped and lurched against the project he moved the stored power gauge scale to the max setting. He thought he replaced everything exactly the same.
Friday, July 7, 2006
The boys fired her up; within ten seconds they knew HES/13 was not going to burn its guts out. They were ecstatic; in two years they hadn’t gotten this far, now the unit was at least accepting power. They kept the power going in with increased power every 30 minutes. Wes kept checking the stored power gauge but nothing had registered. After 6 hours they call it a day.
Saturday, July 8, 2006
The boys started real early, repeating what was done on Friday only with more power. At the end of 7 hours they still couldn’t get a reading on the stored power gauge. Marvin and Wes began to worry.
Sunday, July 9, 2006
The power kept going in but still they couldn’t get it to register the stored power. That night Marvin gave Dr. Terry Donahue a call to let him know that the storage unit he invented didn't go bam this time. He got a recording, “Hi, this is Terry Donahue. I am out of town on business. Leave a message and I will call back when I return.”
“Wes and I built HES/13 and have been inputting power, from the college backup generators for three days. By adjusting the input frequencies we got it to accept power, but we are not getting any readings on the stored power gauge.” Marvin said, and left his cell phone number.
Monday, July 10, 2006
They ran the power in high for an hour and than shut down the input.
“Wes, what the hell are we doing wrong? The unit should be showing some stored energy, that needle hasn’t moved once as far as I can see.”
“I’m getting tired of this shit too, but did you notice that the unit is beginning to heat up, so we really know power is going in, lets leave it on maximum power.”
“Ok but the first sign of trouble and I hit the kill switch”
Power was restarted on full.
The storage unit’s temperature, unnoticed by the boys, increased at a rapid pace.
Wes, discouraged, went outside for a smoke. Marvin rechecked, gauge by gauge by gauge by gauge. He saw something and thought ‘what the hell is this! The last meter isn’t set right. It’s off by a factor of 100,000. Shit, I better get Wes.’
He went outside. Wes was sitting under a tree puffing away on his third cigarette.
“Wes, Hey Wes, I found the problem.”
“Ok, sure you did, what was it?”
“Come with me and I’ll show you”
Nuclear power plant on Route 7
Senior Power Plant Technician Mark Philby turned to Shift Supervisor Michael Brown and said, “It sure has been a quiet night, Boss. Not even a blip on the output.”
Brown looked at the gauges, yawned and started to turn away. The background noise of the electrical generators faded. His eyes open wide and he yelled, “Nick, what’s wrong with your power output? Jesus Christ! Will, have you damped the pile? Anybody, why don’t we have any
“Boss!” yelled Philby. “The Eastern and Midwestern power grids report intermittent brownouts and are begging for power. Correction, it’s complete now. They are asking why we’re not contributing any power?”
Bethany College backup generator house
“Ok, Wes check out the gauges.”
“Sorry. I don’t see anything wrong. Give me the settings list.”
“Check the setting on the last gauge.”
“For Christ sake, no wonder we can’t get a reading. It’s set 100,000 times over our original settings. I’m going to reset the gauge to 100 Kw Hours. Oh my God would you look at this power, all of the first four meters have pegged out, and the final meter is reading half full. Do you know how much power that is?”
“Yes, a hell of a lot more than we put in. Why in hell is that?”
“I don’t know. Maybe some other source of energy slipped in along with the electrical input.”
“That’s crap, what other source could there be?”
“I don’t know, the only thing we did different was kick up the oscillating frequency.”
“Marvin did you set the oscillating frequency on 1.2?”
“1.2, your note said 12.”
“Bullshit it said 1.2. You never could read my handwriting. Or are you doing this on your own?”
“Don’t be stupid, why in hell would I do that?”
The room lights blinked.
“What the…Marvin, do you think it’s the generator?”
“No, the lights are on a separate circuit.”
The lights blinked again.
US Airways Flight 89
Climbing after takeoff from Pittsburgh International Airport
“Captain, the instruments blinked.” said the copilot. There was blinding flash of light, the airplane bucked and started a steep dive.
“John! The controls are not responding! I can’t see the instruments! Aw shit! I can’t see! We’re going down! Gi…”
United Airlines Flight 811
Climbing after takeoff from Pittsburgh International Airport
“Captain all my instruments just blinked.” said the copilot.
“All mine did, too.” replied the Captain. There was a blinding flash and the airplane bucked. “Flameout! Emergency Restart Procedures!” There were curses and shouted questions on the radio.
American Airlines Flight 1072
New York to Los Angeles in Pittsburgh control area
There was a blinding light and the airplane bucked. “Flameout! Emergency Restart Procedures!” commanded the Captain.
Bethany College backup generator house
“Wes, look at HES/13, it’s glowing.”
The cell phone rang.
* * *
The power became unbelievable. Even in the storage unit the power was in vibration, when the unit could not sustain the various forms of energy, it pulsed. The energy of time is first released in a series of pulses; land and people are englobed in the time field’s pulses and pushed down thru the ages until finally stabilizing in the year 1497.
Their arrival was heralded with a great flash. After the temporal energy was voided the remaining energy could no longer stay contained, it manifested itself as an explosion of heat. Dirt instantaneously melted into lava for five hundred feet on and below ground. Heat continues to radiate out from the center for another two miles in the air and land but quickly loses its energy; still there is enough to boil the blood of the living, ignite wood, and explode liquid fuels; fire temporarily reigns supreme. After two more miles no people survive their third degree burns, the killing heat is nearly done.
The heat pulse finally ends in the next two miles with many survivors suffering various degrees of second and first degree burns. Eleven thousand souls perish never getting to see 1497. When all is said and done three hundred and fifty thousand people in a forty-eight mile plus circle are delivered to this new/old world.
Chapter 1 Brrr…
Jonathan Stone crossed the Moundsville Bridge into West Virginia. A bright light almost blinded him. His car died. He knew the car couldn’t be out of gas he filled it up a half hour ago. He slammed on the brakes, fishtailed around and pulled over to the side facing back across the bridge. He got out. As he started to close the door a very strong blast of air knocked him forward into the car door. It caused him and the car to tilt. As fast as it came the wind stopped. Before the car settled down another blast of air came from the opposite direction and caught him in the door. At first the wind felt hot, then cold. It felt like he was in a snow globe and someone shook it up. What the hell?
Jon’s heart pounded so fast it felt like it would jump out of his chest. He had never experienced a pounding like this in his 30 years of life. He felt disoriented. He quickly entered the car, closed his eyes and took a few moments to compose himself. His mind was jumbled with a lot of questions rushing around. It took a few minutes, but his heart slowed down and breathing returned to almost normal. Damn! Did someone spike the water? Was he on a bad trip? Is he still at home in bed? What the hell?
Jon looked out the window. He saw white where there shouldn’t be. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. Looking more closely, he saw a couple of feet of beautiful white snow lying south of the bridge, on both sides of the Ohio, just past the power plant. He closed his eyes and thought this was July. July God Damn it, there can’t be any snow out there. I’ll open my eyes real slow and it won’t be there, it just can’t be. He closed his eyes and counted to ten and peeked out of one and it was still there. He closed his eye and slowly shook his head and looked again with both eyes.
Jon just stared, Damn, Damn, Damn. This can’t be real. Has the world turned upside down? There has to be a rational explanation for this.
As he continued to glance out the car window, he also noticed it was raining. No… Those were snowflakes melting as they hit the window. In fact the window was now fogged up.
Jon left the car and really looked around. The clear sky was gone. It was now overcast and snowing heavily. But the heat from July melted most of the flakes in the air causing rain, for now. Weird.
He looked to the South. The Ohio River just before it turned west was frozen over. In the distance snow was coming down like a great white wall. It looked funny with the river’s ice sheet sticking up by several feet above his side of the river. How could that be? Then Jon realized that the river was now at different water levels, even as he watched the river was balancing out. Weirder!
To the East, Moundsville looked intact and it was snowing heavy but the hot air kept melting the flakes. The snow line looked just south of the city. People will be getting up and expecting to go swimming but will have to shovel snow instead. Isn’t that a kick in the head?
To the North, everything looked normal for a snowstorm in July. He laughed at this thought. The flakes still melted in the air, but as soon as the air started to cool and he had a feeling that wouldn’t be long coming, flakes would hit the streets and the Ohio River.
To the West, the same, a snowline just behind the power plant, crossing Rt7 and continuing. Somehow a forest had grown up and gotten it’s self covered with snow. Those trees are old. Have those trees always been here?
Jon got his cell phone and tried calling home, but the cell phone wasn’t working, all he could get was static. He knew there was a tower around here. Surely this weather change couldn’t keep it from working. Something just wasn’t adding up here.
Finally the rising goose bumps called his attention to how cold it was. He got a rag out of his trunk, cleaned the windshield outside and in. He started the car, no trouble starting. He put on the heater and headed to his Moundsville residence for warmer clothes. Maybe he would get some chains for his tires, just in case.
Turning around he saw a heavy fog was being created from the snow and hot roads. Instead of going home, Jon went back over the bridge. He stopped just past Con Ed and got out of his car. From there he walked up to the edge of the snow. The snow was two feet high and it sure looked like nobody ever put a chain saw to these trees. He put his hand over the edge of the road into the snow and found that it felt like it was sheared smooth. What in the name of everything that is holy is going on here?
Jon decided to go back to the plant to report in. Techs and supervisors were running around, as the old saying goes, like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to get power back up. It’s times like this that he was glad to be just a guard. The plant manager was in a panic he thought somebody had dropped a bomb. Jon, although he was not sure what really happened told him, no bomb but something big had happen. Then he asked if anyone had looked out the windows. The plant manager looked at Jon, got up and walked over to the bathroom and looked out the window, which was facing south. He looked out for a full minute. It took what he was seeing a full minute to sink in. For a brief moment Jon saw fear in the man’s face.
He then called in some supervisors and told them to check on how many power lines were down, to actually go outside and look. Power seemed to be going directly to ground. He told some other supervisors to power down all the generators, and turn off the breakers on lines that seemed to be grounded.
Jon, being a guard at the power plant, felt secure. After all he carried weapons in his car. A Glock Model 35, a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson, and a Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun loaded with double ought buck. The shotgun fitted perfectly in the trunk of his Toyota Camry. He volunteered to check out as many power lines as possible on the Moundsville side of the river, after he could get a change of clothing and pick up his digital camera. He promised to keep the plant updated on this mysterious event, of course when the phones were working again. He hoped they came back up.
By the time Jon had changed and gathered up his camera, the winter breezes had cleared most of the fog off the roads. Jon traveled up Ohio route 7, the road terminated 8 miles past Steubenville in wilderness. What in the hell? Jon decided to take a picture at all road ends and record any downed power lines. This should help the workers locate the problems quickly. He went back down Rt. 7 to Rt. 22 and headed west to East Cadiz, once again wilderness. He turned around again taking Rt. 22 all the way to Pennsylvania where Rt. 22 and 30 crossed, still the same wall of wilderness but here he saw the power workers cutting and sealing the downed lines which would help bring power up quicker. Backing up a little he took 980 to Rt. 79. He stayed on this past Washington to Rt. 40. Route 40 ended short of Scenery Hill, and it looked like the power crew had gotten everything under control here too.
Reversing again to Interstate 70 he turned west to Wheeling. He stayed on Interstate 70 just past St. Clairsville, Ohio. It was still snowing hard and just beginning to lay on the road edges. Yep, it’s a big Circle. He decided on one more side trip, toward the center. Going east he was waved back to the normal westbound lane by a soldier. He saw a passenger jet on the eastbound lane with the passengers getting out through the emergency door slides. There were a lot of soldiers helping them and a lot of army hummers parked off the road. Back to Wheeling and North on 2 to 88. Following 88 he began to see damage to foliage, then burnt paint on houses. He saw a bunch of army tents setting up in a shopping center parking lot. There was a long line of burned people outside one tent and he saw army vehicles arriving with others. He then saw no houses or buildings just rubble. He watched a great big cloud of steam he had noticed as he was approaching. Whoa!
He stopped the car at the edge of the steam cloud, got out and touched the road, which promptly burned his hand. He got back into the car and backed up fast. After a couple of hundred feet he stopped again and tested the road, hot but it wouldn’t damage his tires. To be sure he went back another fifty feet. For a brief moment a crazy thought popped to mind, Hell came for a visit.
This time he got out, camera in hand and walked forward until the heels on his shoes started to smoke and his socks were burning the soles of his feet. Quickly, dancing from foot to foot from the heat, he snapped pictures of the road, the edge of the steam and some shots left and right to give a size to the steam cloud wall. Dancing back to the car he snapped pictures of the damaged houses and then remembered the pictures taken after the bomb fell on Hiroshima. There was so much destruction and loss of life. Then it dawned on him Radiation, having no way of testing for it, he could have just killed himself. He needed to be more careful in just walking up to things. Needless to say Jon made like a racecar driver and got the hell out of there.
On the way to the Army Hospital, Jon realized they would be overwhelmed with burn victims and his hand was so trivial. Are they equipped enough to handle a mass of hurt people? He knew it would be a mad house there. What could he do to help? He had no medical training at all. He just would be in the way. With so many seriously burned people would they even have time to check him out for possible radiation poisoning? Oh, hell’s bells, what’s done is done just leave it for now. He waived at the soldiers as he passed the tent hospital.
He headed back to the power plant to report in and down loaded the pictures into their computer. Then he needed to go check on his family and friends.
Chapter 2 This is great, great magic
North bank Ohio River
“Darwana, I haven’t seen Windwalker for several days. Do you know where he might be?” said Hilvangona.
“No, I haven’t seen him, either.”
“Pass on to his brother, in your longhouse, that the town council meeting is tomorrow and I need to see him. Maybe he knows where his brother is and can remind him.”
“Yes, Matriarch Hilvangona, of the Hawk Clan.”
“Thank you, Matron Darwana, of the Turtle Clan.”
‘Some times I wonder if our appointing him to the Erie Tribal Council was such a good idea. After all, he is still a bachelor and we would lose him if he married and moved to join his wife’s clan longhouse in another town. But I am borrowing trouble, unmarried shaman have the most powerful visions. It is potential problem enough that the other council members tell me he rarely speaks even if his opinion is asked. Maybe Shaman, don’t talk much or he has had no visions. But we must know if we are favored in the spring campaigns.’ thought Hilvangona, Matriarch of the Hawk Clan Longhouse in Hilvangona’s Town.
Windwalker, of the Hawk Clan, added some powdered pyro and than some sage to the small fire he had built in the center of the medicine hut. For two days he had been having visions, although none had answered his questions. His dreams told him of an impending great change, the pressure was almost in the air. Windwalker relaxed and watched the smoke rise out the top of the hut. His arms and legs started to feel heavy, almost as if he were sinking into the ground. Some patterns were appearing in the smoke. Windwalker had had visions of flying before, but usually they had been short.
But something was different this time. As he watched the curling swirls of the smoke he felt his mind become one with the smoke. Soon his body joined the smoke as it danced to the beating of a distant heart. He knew he had finally reached the level on which he would be given what he sought. Rising above the hut, there was a pull to the South even the heavy snow didn’t effect his vision. His speed increased along with the pull. Suddenly a great light and a new land quickly appeared. Winter had gone and summer had arrived.
Windwalker was stunned and let his mental guard slip. Without his noticing, a door was opened to his soul from elsewhere.
This was great, great magic. He must have it. He must! He continued to observe, but was too swiftly pulled back into his body.
Normally Windwalker’s face showed very little emotion. After this vision, he could be renamed Stone Face. Even his brother who knew him the best could no longer read his facial expressions.
The other five town council members, Hilvangona’s Town was a new settlement and did not have longhouses of all nine clans, were surprised that evening when Windwalker reached for the Speaking Stick.
Before speaking, Windwalker slowly looked at the faces of his fellow sachems. “I have news of a new people to the south. They have taken land from the Pegua Shawnee and us. They are a large and very rich tribe. Their Magic is very strong and unknown. We must make war this spring, before they can get established.”
“How many people are there in this new tribe?” asked Tonnial, of the Bear Clan, the only warrior of the group.
“Go to the great lake, stand on the beach and count the sands. But rather you should ask how many warriors? They have fewer than the Pegua. We must prevail before more of their tribe can arrive.”
The council member’s faces changed as worry gripped their souls.
That night, runners went forth to all the towns of the Erie. The matriarchs asked that the Tribal Council be called early. It was only a week or so early. Most of the
winter hunting parties were in their longhouses.
Baliro’s curiosity got the better of him, with all the runners being sent out. Something was in the wind. It all seemed to be centered on his brother. He decided to visit his brother’s hut.
“Windwalker, I come to visit.” Baliro, of the Turtle Clan, heard no sound from the hut. Everyone normally lived in the longhouses of their wives’ clan, or of the town bachelors, but as a shaman Windwalker had a separate hut. He announced himself again. Entering he found Windwalker sitting in front of a very small fire. As he neared his brother, he saw from the small fire’s glow a flickering expression, the like of which he had never seen on anyone in the Nation. Later he described it as laughing death.
Jan 1497/July 10, 2006
Near the Harding family farm Pennsylvania
Swift Turtle, of the Erie Turtle Clan, had been having a poor hunt. He and his hunting companions had not been able to catch many food or fur animals. He was stalking a beautiful fox when there was a flash of light he was disoriented and was pushed this direction and back. He saw an extremely large lodge in a summer landscape. He fell behind a handy tree and watched the lodge. There were people going in the lodge. He slipped back to the hunting camp he shared with his companions.
“Hurry! Hurry! Get your weapons! There is a new tribe in the summer land before us! They have no palisades! They are just waiting for us to raid them!” exclaimed Swift Turtle, almost incoherent with excitement.
Everyone was very excited. Most of the hunting party were young and had no experience at war. They were looking forward to it. Lone One made him slow down and he told the story from the beginning. After he’d heard the story, Lone One agreed to lead the hunting party against the large lodge. He assigned three young hunters, including Swift Turtle, to move in from the north. He led the other two around to strike from the east. They quietly approached the house until the dog started barking. One of them shot the dog with his bow and arrow. When the dog had started barking, a young blond woman had come to the door. She was shocked when she saw one of the men dressed as Indians shoot her dog. She closed and locked the door, hurried to the phone but there was not even a dial tone. Her husband had a CB radio in his pickup truck. She got on the CB and said “Red Gander, come back.”
Red Harding answered back “White Goose what’s going on.”
Jean Harding said “Red we have men dressed as Indians in our yard. They shot Sassie. They’re on the front porch banging on the door.”
Red Harding said “Jean get the shot gun loaded with double ought buck, if they break in shoot them. I’m on my way back and will be about twenty minutes. I will hurry as fast as I can.”
In the meantime, Swift Turtle’s group found the back door. It was not locked. They tried to sneak up on Jean but with the loud fumbling at the door, the unfamiliar furniture and squeaks on the wooden floor, she heard them.
When Swift Turtle stuck his head around the doorjamb she fired. She dropped the shotgun in disgust when she saw that she had not hit Swift Turtle. She grabbed the pistol, which she was more familiar with, and fired again. His friend Runs in a Crouch was in the wrong place and took a round to his head. Jean hesitated, aimed lower and fired again. Swift Turtle fell clutching his thigh. The third member of their party exercised the better part of valor and snuck away to Lone One.
Lone One and his party found the French doors from the patio and entered the house. Lone One heard a child crying in a room. He went and picked it up. He showed the crying child in the door before he entered. Jean the mother dropped the pistol and ran to Pamela, her three year old. The two other members of Lone Ones party grabbed Jean and the fight was over. Lone One grabbed the pistol.
Runs in a Crouch, was dead. Swift Turtle had a pistol shot through his thigh but the bone was not damaged. Once the bleeding was stopped, Lone One bandaged it and told Swift Turtle to suck it up. He was going to have to walk home. They ransacked the house. They allowed Jean and Pamela to dress in their cold weather clothing. They put one pack with loot from the house on Jean’s back. They swiftly made packs for themselves, put a lead rope around her neck and left.
When Red Harding arrived, there was blood all over the living room. The house had obviously been ransacked. And his wife and daughter were gone. He had seen the tall forest with several feet of snow that had appeared in the north pasture. When he took the shotgun, and investigated it, he walked the forest line until he saw tracks going into the woods. He wisely did not follow them by himself.
He tried the phone but it did not work. He tried the CB and finally was able to get their neighbors the Gruber’s CB. As the phones were down and no one could contact the sheriff, a posse of local farmers gathered at Red Harding’s house. ‘Sweet Little Willy’ Gruber, as the locals called him, on leave from his Ranger unit, led the way. He insisted that farmers move out to each side as far as they could see as flankers. He assigned the best hunter and his buddy the same distance in front. They did not follow exactly in the footsteps, hoping to avoid any ambush. After about an hour, the right flankers surprised two men who fired an arrow and fled, causing a flurry of shots to be fired. The men got away, but there was blood on the snow. Then they found a gully that looked like it had recently been caved in. They checked and found Runs in a Crouch. Shortly, the tracks broke off in all directions. The party turned back when the snow covered the tracks and the flankers were lost in the thickening snow. Even Red agreed that they had no chance of catching the culprits. Thereafter no one called Sergeant William F. Gruber, US Army Rangers, anything but Sergeant or William, to his immense satisfaction.
They carried Runs in a Crouch’s body back to the Harding house and found the telephone working. Red called the Sheriff but there were no deputies available immediately at the local substation, and they couldn’t contact any one else for backup. That night Red Harding sat on his couch, looking at the family photo taken that spring at Sears, and cried.
Chapter 3 Wind doesn’t change direction like that
The Paul’s Residence
July 10, 2006
"Mom, common mom wake up." Pleaded Crystal, Mary's 8 year old daughter.”
"Honey, mommy was out late last night, give me just two more hours of sleep and I'll get up. Let grandma know."
“Well OK. But I want to go home.” She went to the kitchen.
“Grandma, grandma I can’t get her up, she said she needed to sleep two more hours.”
“Ok honey, I’ll get her up later. You go start packing your suitcases, and then come back in the kitchen. I’ll make your breakfast.,” said Julia Paul.
After two hours Julia went to her daughter’s bedroom.
“Mary get up, it’s 7 o’clock. Crystal has had her breakfast. She is all packed and ready.” said Mrs. Paul.
Mary managed to sit on the edge of the bed.
“Damn mom, are you in a hurry? I was hoping to get on the road by 6am but Billy had other ideas. Damn I’m glad I didn’t marry him. He is just plain sneaky. Toss me the clothes on the chair, please.”
“Did you have fun though?”
Mary struggled to get into her clothes, and then answered, “Yes, except he wouldn’t drive me home on time. He kept trying to get me drunk. I ended up driving him home and then I had to walk home. He never could hold his liquor.”
“I’ll let you in on a secret, dear; your father couldn’t hold his liquor either… Men, can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Maybe your being a single parent was a good idea after all.”
Going into the kitchen Mary said. “Mom, Crystal and I live together on a boat. Sometimes it gets so I want to strangle her, but it’s worth it. I can’t live without her.”
“I swear you’re going to make a seadog of her, just like your father did to you. Do you want any breakfast?”
“Just toast. Would that be so bad? Dad made his money in shipping. At least you don’t have to work.”
“It wasn’t the money he made dear; it was what I invested it in. I had it in computer stocks and dot COM’s. At the right time just before 2000, I changed to mutual funds in medical supplies, real estate and banking. All together it was multiplied one hundred fold. We made thirteen million. Your Dad had wanted to invest in Steel and Transportation but I said no.”
“Is that why you’ve got all those computers in the play room?”
“Honey I’m a widow. It’s church work, civic duty, or studying to keep myself busy. You know I was a librarian before I married your dad. Then once I started buying computer stock. I just had to try each computer out. I have over 4000 CD’s on just about everything you can think of. I’ve been storing books and historical data on my computers and CDs. I guess Librarians don’t just fade away. When dad wanted you to get your Masters License on sails I bought the CD’s for you. Remember? I even picked up some other Master courses in case you wanted to upgrade on something else. Why did he want you to get the Masters License on sail anyway?”
“Dad… He wanted me to get it because the price of oil and gas could only go up. He figured we’d be going back to sailing ships in a big way. He always used his special saying with me. “Daughter you just mark my words we’ll be a sailing nation again, you’ll see”.”
The lights went out. There was a bright flash of light.
“What the hell is-“
The house shook from a strong gust of wind, a few moments later it shook again, this time the strong wind was from the opposite direction. They were confused and disoriented.
“What the hell is going on, that’s impossible. Wind doesn’t change direction like that.” said a bemused Mary.
Rushing out the front door, she glanced at the sky. Hell it looked ok, but a bit overcast for a summer day. She turned to go back in and a very cold rain started to hit her skin. She started, what the…? Again she looked at the sky. Again it looked normal but seemed more overcast than before. The neighborhood looked dark with all the lights out. She went back inside.
“Mom, see if the phone works.”
“No dial tone.”
“Mom I checked the cell and its making noise but I couldn’t get a dial tone.” said Crystal. “Grandma, are you cooking?”
Julia glanced at the stove. The flame was out under the pot she’d been heating.
“Mary I’m going downstairs and check the pilots on the heater and furnace. If they’re off, I’ll turn off the main gas valve to the house.”
In a few minutes, Julia came back up and said, “You could smell it in the air, I cut off the gas coming in.”
“What is going on, no phones, no gas, no electricity and no water pressure?” said Mary.
Crystal looked outside. “Mom its snowing out.”
“Crystal that’s not funny.”
“Mom it is.”
Mary and Julia went over to the window.
“Sorry Crystal, I shouldn’t have doubted you.”
“Crystal do you have a battery radio?”
“Grandma got me an I-pod last year, so my old Walkman is around here somewhere.”
“Mary I’ve got at least a dozen radios down in the cellar. I just can’t throw away anything electronic that might still work.” Said Julia.
The three ladies went down the cellar steps led by Julia with the flashlight. For Mary and Crystal it was an adventure. Mary hadn’t been in the cellar since she was 17, just before she left for college. Crystal never was there. The cellar was split into three sections. One section was obviously for laundry and the heating units. The second section was a large workbench, which would be John Paul’s area. But the third was a large locked room about 20 by 30 feet.
“Well girls you’ve found out my dirty little secret. I’m a numismatist.”
“Gee Grandma is that dangerous?”
“Ah… no honey it means I collect coins for a hobby, mostly gold and silver. Remember I said we are rich. Nobody but John knew I had this room. It’s a lot more secure than you can see. Behind the wooden walls are welded steel panels. Also there’s a safe to hold the really precious coins. The silver by weight is worth four million and the gold two million. But that’s not what we’re here for.”
Opening the footlocker on John’s bench Julia rummaged through and pulled out two pocket radios.
“The AA batteries are upstairs.”
“Two batteries apiece and all we get is static.” said Mary.
By now it was eight o’clock and getting cold. The snow was not laying but the air had become very cold and windy. Kind of late but the ladies managed to close all the windows, and dressed in warm clothes.
Four hours later there were five neighboring families in the Paul’s large living room. They were standing around the wood-burning heater that John Paul had insisted be installed for ambiance. Mary said, “Ok let’s review what we all know. Some of us have electricity, most of us don’t. Water pressure is low and the water is muddy. Some don’t have water at all. Still no gas and a couple of miles up the road there is a wilderness that wasn’t there before. The Radio station is now working on a backup generator until they run out of gas or get power from the electric co. The Station also said they couldn’t make any contact with the rest of the world. And of course, it’s snowing in July. All of which leads me to believe we have moved in time. Does anybody else have a better explanation?”
“No, Ok the question now is what to do…?”
Chapter 4 stared . . . . In awe
John and Bill were catching up with the convoy from the 9242nd United States Army Reserve School. They were supposed to have been part of the convoy but had received permission to use John’s Privately Owned Vehicle (POV). They were late because they had been invited on a television program discussing their specialty and it’s relevance to American life. They had taped it in the wee hours, when the studio was available. It would be broadcast at 0800 Sundaymorning.It was obviously not that important a program.They were military historians. They had been given this permission, because of the hoped for good publicity for the Army and the school.
They were not even close to Saint Clairsville, Ohio on Interstate 70, when they slowly passed their first military vehicles and the congestion they caused. Military convoys were always slower than regular traffic. They were from the 49th Special Forces Group, nope, keep going. As they approached Wheeling, West Virginia they started passing vehicles of the 849th United States Army Reserve Hospital, with its attached M.U.S.T., the post Korean War designation for a MASH unit, standing for Mobile Unit Surgical Transportable.
They were well into Pennsylvania, passed Washington, when they saw the school pulled over at a restaurant. They were taking the exit when there was a blinding flash in the rearview mirror, the car motor died, and they were buffeted by heavy winds. John, disoriented, tried to gradually put on the brakes. Unfortunately, he ran off the road into the ditch. Bill hit his head on the doorpost and split open his scalp. When John recovered there was blood all over the expensive cloth interior of his Lincoln Town Car. Head wounds always did bleed excessively. Then he noticed that he had not gone into a ditch but rather into snow covered forest. The exit road just stopped. John got out, assembled a ball from the clean snow and gave it to Bill to stop the bleeding and pain.
When they could not find a way to drive, John, Colonel John Lederer, Commanding Officer of the school, led Bill, Major William Odom, Assistant S-3 of the school, by foot to the restaurant. As they approached, they saw that the rear of one bus had been sheared off and one corner of the restaurant. The school, after distributing the baggage and passengers of the destroyed bus among the other buses, drove five miles back towards Washington to get on the interstate and drove towards Wheeling.
Doctor Stanley Livingston Warren M.D., the head of Immunology at the BSK Laboratories, and Commanding Officer of the 849th United States Army Reserve Hospital, turned to Captain James Fay, the Medical Service Corps commander of the hospital convoy, and asked “Aren’t we a little spread out?”
The Captain reached for the microphone and said, “All Lizzie Borden units, close up. Acknowledge by bumper number.”
A flash of light, dizziness, and motor problems afflicted the whole convoy. It was a miracle that there was only one “rear ender”. There were personnel staggering – wandering all over the side of the highway. Then First Sergeant Menendez started roaring like a lion. In short order every one was assembled by their vehicles, on the opposite side from the travel lanes.
“Get an NBC survey team to the site of that explosion immediately. Be sure they have MOPP gear.” Snapped Colonel Warren to Captain Fay. “Make sure the rest of us are ready to move as far forward as safely possible.”
Staff Sergeant Thibodaux called in as soon as he confirmed that there was no radiation or other contamination. “Lizzie Borden six this is Lizzie Borden H36, all clear on radiation but we have multiple serious burn victims. Location BETHANY map sheet 837378 over.”
The convoy left Interstate 70 and went north towards BETHANY. Staff Sergeant Thibodaux was waiting on the side of the road and motioned the convoy into a shopping center parking lot. The hospital had hardly started setting up when the first burn victims showed up. But the triage section was ready at the first tent that had been setup.
The theory behind triage was that when faced with mass casualties that were more than the hospital could handle, the victims would be graded. The first group was the lightly injured that could safely wait for treatment. The second group was so seriously injured that immediate treatment would prevent their death or crippling. The third group was those who were too seriously injured for immediate treatment to help. Callous maybe but the most people would be saved this way.
There were so many burn victims that triage had to be applied rigorously.
Staff Sergeant Thibodaux and his team directed traffic and guided casualties to the correct place. He was surprised when the Camry, coming out of the disaster area, passed them with a wave.
One of the hospital’s ambulances moving around to the west of ground zero, found a complete housing project damaged by the impact of a passenger airplane. They found many non-burn injuries in the area and called for additional ambulances.
Colonel McCumber, the Commanding Officer of the First Battalion 49th Special Forces Group, was proud of his troops. They had moved off the interstate and set up a perimeter in the woods by 0720 hours. Unfortunately he only had two of his companies plus a team missing one of their humvees. He heard a radio report that the front of the missing humvee, from the windshield forward with one of the driver’s legs, was sitting in the middle of the interstate. He also had an orphan Civil Affairs Company that had appeared between the serials of his command. He ordered the rear two teams to conduct a reconnaissance of the deep woods that had appeared right across Interstate 70. The snow in July was perplexing and unexplainable.
Captain Morton appeared with the three detainees that he had radioed about. They wore fur robes, skins and moccasins and carried bows and arrows and stone headed axes. “They did not respond to any of the languages tried by members of the headquarters group. They just stared at the soldiers and vehicles in awe.” Reported his S2.
The Air Force Liaison with his battalion headquarters started excitedly motioning him over to his humvee. When he reached there, the captain said, “Colonel, we have been receiving these strange signals on our air radio channels. My radio operator localized it on the civilian emergency air channel. There was a commercial jet trying to contact us because he had to land and needed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 cleared in an area past St. Clairsville. He had been unable to contact the state police, so when he saw our large group of army hummers he tried to contact us. Do you hear that airliner Colonel? That’s him.”
Colonel McCumber picked up the directions from the Air Force officer and said, “Major Meier get Alpha Company and the first four teams of Bravo Company saddled up and moving east on Interstate 70. Have one team establish a roadblock at the second overpass past St. Clairsville. They are to allow no one on eastbound I 70. The rest of the teams are to continue at least two miles clearing all the cars and trucks off of that stretch. If they are broken down on the side of the road tow them out of that stretch. We want no obstructions to a civilian airliner landing. If there are any entrances, setup a roadblock as far from the travel lanes as possible.”
It was an awesome sight. The airliner landed almost perfectly. Of course that was almost. It was breaking on the cleared stretch when one landing gear went off the side. When it caught in the dirt, it collapsed and the airliner slid in a quarter circle on its wing. It stopped facing diagonally across the road, when the other landing gears collapsed from the uneven strain. Ladders were deployed and the passengers started climbing out of the airliner. The army vehicles approached rapidly and the soldiers piled out and directed the escapees well away from the airliner in case of fire. Ambulances and fire trucks arrived from St. Clairsville. They were able to treat the three sprained ankles, one bumped head and innumerable other bumps and bruises. Once the airplane was secured and they were sure there was no fire danger the cabin staff passed luggage from the overhead compartments and under the seats and sent them down to the passengers. As soon as the passengers had their belongings they were conveyed to St. Clairsville. By this time it was getting very cold and they were not dressed for it.
As passengers exited the aircraft, a man in flight officers uniform ran up to the soldiers. He said, “I need to talk to the commander, immediately.”
He was directed to the battalion command post. “There is a flight returning from Indianapolis. For some reason he can hear your transmissions but you cannot hear his. He is very short on fuel. We were counting on him landing behind us on this stretch of road. I think we messed things up when we went off the road and blocked it. Are there any other symbols corrections of road in this area?” he asked the colonel.
A St. Clairsville fire chief at the command post said, “Route 22 near Steubenville has a long straight four lane stretch. Is there time for them to clear it?”
“I think he’ll buzz it once quickly and then land. Can you have someone with flashing lights at the end of the clear space?” asked the copilot.
The fire chief quickly called the Steubenville fire department on the radio and arranged for the flashing lights.
It was like listening to a ballgame on the radio. Everyone was gathered around the fire department radio. They listened to the play by play intently. By this tim