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04/16/2004 8:12 PM

Christmas Eve, December the 24th, 2004

A television screen is on and a news program seems to be opening. As one gets a better view of the screen they can see a very well dressed news woman shifting through a few pieces of paper before her. Her blond hair is a bit messy and her eyes seem a bit tired but other then that she seems well represented. She takes a deep breath before turning to the camera and begging the telecast.

"The political situation between the United States and the Peoples Republic of China has all but fallen apart. We have received word from newscasters in Beijing that Americans have been ordered out of the country and the American embassy has been bombed. No death total can be counted as any American that resists deportation is dealt with brutal force." the newswoman said as she continues to sift through her papers. Her voice is a bit shaky, but you can tell that she is doing her best to try and keep her cool.

"Here on home soil the situation is not much improved. A thin line of storm troupes is all that keeps a rioting mod out of the United Nations where there is being held a closed security meeting. The Chinese ambassadors have long fled their own embassy and the building is now in flames, believed work of an unknown arsonist."

"The Surprise Weapons testing in Chinese airspace that started this political crisis continue. Though there is little detail as to what the weapons are designed to do it is believed that they are an effective means of disabling ICBMs, giving China a failsafe against nuclear attack. The UN's General assembly has issued a forum of protest against China for this aggressive act, but we have still received no word from the Chinese government. Political annalists fear a coup has taken place and one of the Chinese army Generals as ceased command."

"The fear of course really started yesterday afternoon when both political and commercial satellites spotted Chinese nuclear warheads on their launch platforms and fueling. When no official word came from China the United States began fueling its own missiles, though it is not known how effective they will be."

"For more news on this growing crisis, stay tuned. For CNN, I am Alexis Hammelton, wishing you a good and safe night." The woman said, as the TV station cut to break.

04/16/2004 8:30 PM

Jason Norway, age eighteen, was watching the news with his family as the broadcast went out. It was everywhere on TV, no matter which channel you turned to. All of his life, Jason couldn’t think of another time everyone was so alert. He didn’t know what to make of it, but everyone seemed to think that Armageddon was coming. Jason hoped not, and trusted that the government would be able to think it all out. After all, even he voted them in this time.

"It's funny really." Jason said to himself, "Everyone is fighting over a defensive weapon. Why not just build one ourselves?"
"Well it's simple. All these countries signed agreements not to. It was supposed to keep another World War from happening, through fear off Nuclear Winter." Jason's father said, taking another gulp of coffee from his mug.
"And now China doesn’t have to worry about that?" Jason commented, not really making it a real question. He already knew the answer.
"That’s the idea."

Jason sat there for a long moment thinking about all of this. Eventually, all the thinking just made his head hurt. After all, he didn’t want to dwell upon it anyways. Yawning, Jason ran a hand through his ear length black hair and stood.

"Whatever, I'm going to bed." Jason said.
"Ok son, just be quiet, your sister is already sleeping. Don’t want to wake her up and miss 'Santa' eh?"
"I guess not." Jason laughed, moving for the stairs.

He walked up them and went into his room. He fell into his bed and without even undressing he fell asleep. After all, his boss was a b*tch and he had to get up really early tomorrow on the holidays to go to work.

But when he awoke the next morning it was instantly clear that wasn’t going to happen... When Jason woke up he found himself in complete darkness, and his entire body hurt. It was so dark he couldn’t see anything and he was having a lot of trouble breathing. There was a lot of dust and soot in the air.

When Jason tried to get up he found he couldn’t. After a few moments of attempts he figured that something had fallen on him and he began to worry. Pushing harder and harder, whatever had fallen on him began to give way and crumble. Soon, Jason broke through and stood up.

His eyes were covered in dust and dry tears, so he tried to clear them to try and see what was going on. However when his brown eyes meet the landscape he saw nothing but a black sky and miles of debris.

It took him a full ten seconds to discern what had happened...

04/17/2004 6:50 AM

Heather woke with a start... the baby was crying... Blindly (like most mornings) she moves to get out of bed and pick up her nine-month-old daughter, Serenity. Almost immediately she realized something was horribly wrong... Reni’s cries were hoarse, filled with terror, a scream she had never heard out of her daughter. Struggling to get up, she realized that her home, the tiny one bedroom apartment she called home anyway, was demolished, only a tiny bit of the roof was intact, and that was right over her bed.

The crib was adjacent to the bed, and several beams had fallen over it, and she could still hear her daughter screaming inside. Now crying as hysterically as Reni, Heather pushed and pulled the splintered wood off of and away from the crib. Tears flowing now she picked up her daughter, checking the baby over for injury....

It was only after she assured herself that her baby was more scared than hurt that she stopped and looked around her... Mother and Daughter stood alone in the ruins of their home... and she realized her husband was gone... She remembered that he had gone to a friends last night, and a quick inspection showed that only their car, or rather what remained of their car was sitting in front of the demolished apartment.

Blindly she searched through the rubble till she found enough clothing and un-ruined diapers for the baby, as well as the bottles that weren’t splintered and cracked. Reaching under her side of the bed, she pulled out her only weapon, a Taurus Millennium .45 Auto pistol. She had gotten the gun four months ago, and had also her carry/conceal permit, and she slipped the shoulder holster in place. She had two spare clips and each was loaded. Filling a compartment of the diaper bag with spare shells, she loaded the .45 and then walked out of the rubble to stare at the ruin around her.

She still had no clue what was going on... she hated to watch the news or even read the newspaper... She didn't even have cable, so she rarely even watched T.V. Last night she watched Disney's Brother Bear with her daughter....and then woke up to this...

"What has happened?" She wondered, holding her baby against her shoulder, as Reni began to cry again.

04/17/2004 7:34 AM

If it had taken him 10 seconds to understand what happened to his house it took him a fraction of a second to panic. Slowly moving through the debris Jason made his way to what he though was his sister's bedroom. Of course now it was only a pile of rubble. The air was dirty, and he could hardly breathe it. There was a thick cloud of dust everywhere. Jason's lungs were on fire and his eyes tearing. He could hardly see two inches in front of his face, forget much anything else.

When he came to what looked like the ruins of a bed, Jason began to franticly search for his twelve year old sister, Nicole. He couldn’t find anything and when he found a piece of her bedspread covered in blood he began to search more franticly. Suddenly, Jason heard a small crackling off in the distance. It didn’t sound as if it was too far away. In fact as he listened to it more he realized it was so close he was surprised he didn’t hear about it before. The crackling was unmistakably the sound of fire. Jason hated fire.

Fear ran through Jason's veins like a while fire. Adrenalin pulsed through him right after it. He knew that if he didn’t find her soon, he would have to flee the ruins of his home. Turning over pieces of fallen beams and wood Jason began to think he wasn’t going to find her. Then he heard a small and weak moan from over the corner, under the charged door. He ran over and pulled the door off what turned out to be Nicole.

"Nicole! Nicole, are you ok?" Jason asked, trying to clear as much debris from her as possible. At first it looked only as if she had a few cuts and scrapes, but then he looked downward and saw that both of her legs were charred and mangled. Both were broken, the bones piercing out of the skin. She would have been bleeding horribly had the burns not, sealed the wounds.

All Nicole could manage was a weak moan and a bunch of tears. Jason could hear the crackling getting closer and closer. He didn’t want to risk it, but he had no choice, he had to move her before the fire got here.

"Ok, Nicole listen to me. Try and breathe as much as possible and stay as still as you can. The place is on fire and I have to move you. It's going to hurt, so try and stay focused on me." Jason said, and he moved to pick up his sister. When he did she screamed in agony, but he could stop. He did his best to try and comfort her and calm her down. As he picked her up he realized one of her legs was only attacked by the skin.

Jason ran out of the ruined room to find fire in his face. Bouncing back into Nicole room was the only way to keep from getting burned himself. He looked around chaotically, trying o find another way out, but the only one he could find was the window. Putting Nicole down for a second he opened the window and looked around. He couldn’t see anything with all the smoke and dust. He couldn’t see the ground either. From memory he knew that it was only five-six feet under but he wasn’t sure now. The fire was close now, and Jason had to decide.

Picking up Nicole again, and taking one more glance at the coming fire, Jason pushed them out the window onto the small ledge outside. Taking a deep breath, he jumped from it.

When he landed it was in a pile of rubble. His body had taken the brunt of the fall, protecting Nicole, but it hurt like hell. He screamed out it pain. He guessed his ankle had broken judging from the pain in his foot. The pain was numbed though by adrenalin. When he tried to stand with a whimpering Nicole in his arms he knew his ankle was broken. He grunted in pain, and hobbled slowly toward what was the road.

There was still a lot of dust, but the black smoke from the fire had eased back a bit and Jason could see. All the buildings on his street were on fire, and what should have been the morning sky was blacker then night. In the distance he saw burning houses, stores, and even an apartment building. There was rubble everywhere. Jason's ankle soon gave out under both his and his sister's weight and he sat upon the rubble covered pathement. Nicole had fallen unconscious, but was alright as far as he could tell, which was not that far.

What were they going to do?

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