The Beginning of the End

This is part one of a multi-section short story about the beginnings of World War Three. It is entirely fictional. Names and character traits are fictional and are in no way intended to represent any living person. Locations are real, but the attacks described are completely imagined.

INTRODUCTION – THE BEGINNING OF THE END

It started swiftly, though no one can agree as to where, or exactly when. No one looked to the clock – time simply stood still. There was no warning, there were no suspects. It just happened. Some say Times Square was first. Others claim it was the Golden Gate. Others say it was the Austin Bergstrom Airport, and still others insist it was McConnel Air Force Base. But one thing is sure, we were under attack. The problem is, we didn’t know who from, or why. We had no way to predict what would happen next…

Wherever it began, the story was the same. Thousands of people huddled together in a single place for an event of some sort. An unassuming, clean-shaven man, well dressed, walks into the very center of the crowd, bows down with his head to the ground facing East, stands slowly, smiles, and explodes. Shrapnel flies everywhere slicing through people all around, and a biological agent is dispersed throughout the crowd. Those who don’t die immediately from the explosion or the wounds die within hours from the toxic biological agent. The entire area is quarantined for a mile radius or more, and cleanup begins. By the time these multiple strikes are over, all FIFTY of them, nearly three hundred thousand people are dead. Tens of thousands more are being treated for an unknown toxin, with more dying every hour.

By the time Iran claimed responsibility for the attacks, it was too late. The damage had spread too far. The National Guard was dispatched to at least one major city in every State, borders were closed, martial law had been implemented, and the entire nation was on alert. But the damage was done. We had over the course of a single hour, been brought to our knees. Iran, however, wasn’t done yet. A second wave became apparent as the nation’s power grid began to suffer multiple attacks through both hacking and physical strikes. Communication started going down. People looked to their cell phones for answers, and saw only “No Service”. In the Northern seaboard States, the elderly began to succumb to the cold, and rioting and looting broke out. The animal nature and selfishness of self-preservation reared its ugly head contributing even more to the terror already unfolding.

The President had been busy trying to coordinate with States and fighting fruitlessly to contain the damage. When he heard that Iran had claimed responsibility, he addressed the nation (those who still had power) via television and radio. Every channel carried his address.

“My fellow Americans, today an extraordinary blow against our nation has been carried out ruthlessly against civilian targets, by an evil regime. They have acted against all established treaties, and have committed war crimes. I will do everything in my power to bring them to justice. I have just called up inactive troops, and am deploying a massive military strike against Iran by air, land and by sea. They will see that America will not take their actions lightly. Our military is poised to strike hard and precise, and we will take out every general, every officer, and the heads of their government…”

Up until that point, he sounded great. Almost like an actual leader. But then came the talk about how we have the best military, the best generals, the best this and the best that… pretty much everyone tuned out and turned their attention to picking up pieces. Tens of thousands of Americans commuted to the disaster zones to render what aid they could. The Red Cross mobilized and set up mobile blood donation trailers. Highways that had been unaffected by the terror came to a near standstill as panicking people looking for family members, aid workers trying to reach the chaos, and military convoys flooded the roadways.

And this… this was only the beginning.

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