tagSci-Fi & FantasyPeers Ch. 10

Peers Ch. 10

byjjcole©

In retrospect it was where the asteroids hit that caused the biggest problems. Although most did hit water the bigger ones did not. One about the size of two-story building hit just south of Lake Tahoe and triggered the massive eruption of volcanoes from British Columbia to Central California.

Mount Mazama by itself produced an eruption that was heard all the way to New York State. It buried the land from Wyoming to Maine under tons of cinder and ash. All the shelters inside former missile silos in Wyoming and Montana collapsed. All the above ground shelters and many of the underground shelters near Omaha, Chicago, Denver and Santa Fe collapsed from its shock wave.

California from Baja to San Francisco split away along the San Andreas Fault from the rest of the continent and away from the erupting volcanoes.

Krakatau erupted as violently as it had over a hundred years before but still paled to the Mt. Mazama eruption, however just those two covered their hemispheres with ash. Add to their ejecta the ash and cinders of hundreds of volcanoes and the planet soon became dark.

Most of the shelters inside the Appalachian Mountains survived the eruptions until two large meteors hit around where St. Louis had been and triggered an earthquake that produced a rift from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The rift drained the Great Lakes and Earth had a new Grand Canyon.

The eastern section of North America soon separated from its western section from the Gulf of Mexico to Hudson Bay. The western section began to move away at the rate of two meters per month causing major earthquakes each week. The shelters on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains collapsed but those on the eastern side survived.

One of the largest asteroids hit just west of the African Rift and its volcanoes buried The Middle East, India and Australia under tons of ash. Kilimanjaro exploded burying most of Africa under ashes. North Africa split along its rift. The Nile River ceased to flow.

The other mountain-sized asteroid hit central China and triggered the largest earthquake ever registered. Most of the millions that had sheltered in the thousands of caves there died when those mountains collapsed. Dozens of massive aftershocks continued for a year killing a billion people. Earthquakes above nine on the Richter scale became once a day affairs for months.

Fires erupted in every forest and every city.

The asteroid bombardment lasted just three days, most fires lasted six months although the three largest lasted until the three large asteroids struck eleven months later. The violent volcanic eruptions lasted a year before they began to wane. Earthquakes continued with great intensity but less frequently.

Cel's and its dome had been shaken and battered but had escaped intact although the shield was covered in ashes and was having a difficult time clearing itself.

Marc reminded all in Cel that the three big tsunamis were coming and its shock wave and the sea would clear the ashes off the dome. He also pointed out there was little to see, the atmosphere was full of dust and ash and there was no sunshine.

Fortunately they had powerful artificial lights to simulate daytime and keep the forests alive. The forests provided their oxygen and used up the carbon dioxide.

The islands electricity was a direct current harvested by rods circling the island from depths of ten to a thousand meters. The electricity was generated by taking advantage of the differences in temperature and chemistry of seawater. The rods met coils at a generator buried deep in Cel and the current was transmitted from there. It was the power system used by the other planets.

The water supply was desalinated seawater that was pumped to the crater atop the mountain and spilled out from there to form six rivers. Generators within dams then harvested electricity and that joined the underground grid. When they were not needed the dam generators where shut down and the dams became magnificent waterfalls. Lighting the entire island and maintaining the shield used just a third of the available energy.

Every month Marc got on the visuals and gave a state of the planet overview to all on Earth then reminded them to stay inside their shelters, the air was poisonous.

He warned everyone again the day then the hour before the big three asteroids hit then counted down to impact for each. The first tsunami to reach Cel was the third and largest as it hit nearest them. Most of its energy had been diverted around the island, outside the outer reef the seafloor was six thousand meters down, still the ocean rose as high as the third terrace up, nearly four hundred meters. The next two were smaller. The shield held up nicely. Everyone in the shield control building relaxed until they heard Hu say, "Oh, oh."

"What?" asked Claudia.

"Harmonics. There are no major landmasses left to stop the tsunami's journey around the planet but there are enough to slow them down. The second and third waves will catch up to first and join it. When they return the tsunami will be much bigger. They may also collide with the waves traveling west close to us making it bigger still, may even cover the island."

"How long do I have? Le asked.

"About thirty hours, maybe less."

""I will begin to increase the strength of the shield now and it should be strong enough by then."

"We need to warn Cel," Akira said.

"No, if the shield fails there is nothing we can do. Lets invite everyone to come out and watch the event," Marc said.

"The tsunami drawback will expose the shields ring. Will it keep on working? Natalia asked Le."

"Yes, once the shield is up it does not use any ambient water to stay up but I will not be able to increase its strength once the ring is out of water."

"OK, lets make it a spectator event then," Jordan pronounced.

It was definitely a spectator event; the entire island was completely under the sea for five minutes. They saw several ships being dragged along by the tsunami including one that looked like a triple hull submarine.

Le immediately asked Natalia to tag it with a marker and she did.

No one had time to ask Le for an explanation and soon forgot about it.

Hu said, " The harmonics will not survive their next trip over where the Arabian Peninsula used to be. The collision between the east and west waves has also flattened them down. I am very happy they met three hundred kilometers east of us; the collision itself was dramatic spinning off a typhoon that also luckily will pass north of us. That one was the worst of it, it has been a good day."

All clapped and kissed Le

"How long can you keep the shield at this strength?" Marc asked.

"Indefinitely."

Marc said, "Jordan, lets keep it up at full strength. The comets shock wave will test it again."

"Make it so," Jordan said to Le. She pushed one button then stood and was kissed again.

Ashel flitted down and kissed her passionately. Both looked at the curious smiles of everyone there and asked, "What? You didn't know?"

Both were soon in the middle of a kiss typhoon.

The tsunamis had put out most of the Earth's remaining fires so the soot and ash in the atmosphere began to wane. The tsunami also covered many volcanoes, which caused them to explode violently with steam, and that steam eventually came down as rain further clearing the sky.

Five months later Le asked Natalia if she could find the ship she tagged. "I had forgotten about it and haven't looked. Come with me and let's find out."

The ship was now at the bottom of the Coral Sea at less than two hundred meters down.

"What's so special about that ship?" Natalia asked.

"It may or may not be from an ancient race. They were gone before any of the Federation planets had evolved higher forms. We may have just discovered the most precious artifact ever or it's just an experimental ship from your past. Either way please have your computer keep up with it."

"Can do," Natalia said and punched it in.

Two months before the comet arrived Marc reminded all on Earth of its approach. He did so hoping there were people outside of Cel to hear him. Many shelters were just at four hundred meters of elevation; they would have been under the tsunami three times. All they could do was what they were already doing, assuming all in shelters were safe.

Cel was aware of the loss of life on the planet; they knew that most living things were now dead. However most people in Cel were just bored. Plans for what everyone was to do when the sky cleared were rehashed and rehearsed over and over. The equipment was checked over and over. The construction of new above ground shelters continued. Seeds were separated.

But they were to the point where the impact of the comet would be welcomed.

And of course there was the sex.

Babies were being born in the hundreds every day it seemed. In the three years of its existence Cel's population had increased by twelve percent, easy to do when many where having twins.

Recreational sex had become common and although it had resulted in some confrontations all were reminded that violent behavior was punished by exile. All knew that would be a death sentence so peace was restored quickly.

Jing Li was in bed with Marc and Natalia often, she now had two sets of twins. A soon as Natalia learned Jing Li's children would not inherit the title of Barons she promoted her to Countess. Natalia considered Jing Li's children as her children.

Marc and Natalia's and Claudia and Hu's first set of twins were about to orbit their new planet. They were going to map it and choose landing sites. They would likely land on it about the same time the comet hit Earth.

The parents communicated with their children often. Their second and third sets of twins were living in Cel and were at their parent's house often. One set had married Jim and Mizuki's twins and the other Carlos and Moesha's twins so when they were visiting a parent parties ensued. Still, the Peer ladies all wished they had their own small children running around the compound.

Pre-K teachers were being overwhelmed so parents had to go to the schools to teach. The parents found that they loved teaching and that crisis was averted. Teachers were now the single largest working group by far on Cel.

The people that were to contact the shelters every two weeks continued to have problems achieving contact with them. They preferred to write that up as equipment failure and check again three days later.

Eventually the comet hit. They had not seen it since the week after the big asteroids but all knew where it was in its path past Earth, around the Sun and into Antarctica. There was a camera placed on the comet when it approached Earth the first time, another camera pointed skyward on the South Geographic Pole, and a third camera sat atop an Andes mountain pointing south. Everyone saw the impact on their visualizers.

Even though it was before dawn soon every person on Cel was outside watching the dome. They felt the whole island shiver then felt the shock wave approach. Suddenly the shield was askew towards the north as supersonic winds whipped past. The dome cleared and the atmosphere cleared and for a few minutes and they could see stars. The sonic boom made the shield shudder then it settled and suddenly there was an eerie quiet.

Marc's voice over speakers startled everyone at first but they listened to him say, "That was the first shock wave, we expect seven more over the next twenty four hours. As soon as those are past it will begin to snow and continue to snow for perhaps two years but the air should be OK to breathe soon and I will advice the shelters when it is safe to open them up a little.

The average temperature for the planet has gone down twelve degrees Celsius in the last year from lack of sunlight although the volcanic steam eruptions slowed down that trend. It will be ten degrees cooler than that in three days and that will take our temperature to minus 2 C. We will remain below freezing until the sky clears.

In our first projection we thought the planet would freeze completely, every ocean turning to ice. But minus two C is not enough to freeze a planets worth of sea water, Of course the further north and south you are get the colder it will be so I imagine you may soon be able to walk from North America to Asia and Europe over the sea ice. The waters around Cel will be very cold but still liquid.

For those of you worrying about our reef, Le has advised me that the shield can be set to allow some water to flow through it and warm it as it does. When conditions are right we will build a heated buffer zone between the sea and the reef to replenish the waters on our lagoons.

The upwelling pump into Rapa Bay is still running and its water temperature is now the same as the ambient seas. We will still have deep-sea monsters there for a while so we must caution all about going there to fish, you may find yourselves being the bait.

A secondary wave is hitting us about now." Marc said.

That time they saw the dome shudder and the sky become gray.

"That is fog," Marc said. "The next shock wave will be the original and be bigger than the last one but not as dramatic as the first. We may be able to see the first sunrise in over a year this morning before it all become dark again when the black snow begins to fall.

"Those of you waiting outside until morning please be considerate and ask those around before you begin your sex, it's good manners. Of course there are hundreds of places you could go to out of sight of others."

That reminder came too late for several couples but no one around them seemed to care.

"The Queen reminds you sex is not permitted where children are present so please don't. She has also declared the next two days as holidays although half of all restaurants will be open each day. Please check to see if your favorite is open before heading out.

The Lady Moesha has announced that there will be no transfers or births the next two days. Everyone's scheduled time has been moved back accordingly.

Lord Hu will now explain why all the clocks all turned to zero a few hours before impact."

"Thank you Lord Marc. We have just abandoned the twenty-four hour day for a hundred-centon day. Noon will be at the fifty-centon mark, midnight will be at the one hundred/ zero mark. Each centon is divided by one hundred millicentons for those that need more accuracy and each of those units is also divided be one hundred smaller units. Athletes and scientist will note that the divisions go on ad infinitum.

If you want to meet someone for lunch you may say I'll meet you at the Italian place in Felicity at fifty-point two five.

All the clocks on Cel have now switched over to the new system including the computers and your communicators. You will find you will not really need an adjustment period for that change and now our timekeeping matches the rest of the Federation. Her majesty has a few announcements."

"Thank you gentlemen. First, if any of you see my son please send him home. He is likely petting some creature.

Le and Ahn have just told me our shield has just withstood the worst event it will ever have to handle, the coming tsunami will not be as bad as the previous three we already had. We are safe and will remain safe."

Carmen allowed a few moments for all to cheer that announcement.

Our thanks go to Le and Ladies Natalia, Claudia, Mizuki, Labiba and Akira. They provided all the data Le would need to control the shield.

The not so good news, Lord Jim has advised me that all communication with the shelters ceased before the secondary shock wave passed. He is assuming it is an effect from the impact and suspects the Earths magnetic field may have reversed. We will try to communicate with all for as long as it takes.

One last note for those that have volunteered to go with the rescue ships and provide supplies when conditions permit. Your training begins in ten days at forty centons on Akira Island. Thanks for volunteering.

You may now entertain each other; the next shock wave will be in ten centons. Good Night."

Rock music suddenly emanated from the performance shell. It was still before dawn but all citizens were awake and outside. Those not on Clara heard the music on their visualizers and most decided to watch it from there but many boarded the train to Clara.

The King and Dukes were playing mostly British classic rock. The seats and hillside filled quickly and people began to sing and dance. Sex was common at the top and back of the hill.

Natalia, Claudia, Mizuki and Moesha came up and remained on stage as backup singers. Ruthie, Bree, Edie, Sean and Allen joined them later and did some of their numbers.

The sun rose to tremendous cheers. The band played Here Comes The Sun then every song about the sun they could think of. It lasted until mid-morning then everything turned gray. Sounds of disappointment spread across the crowd until the ladies sang, "Chirp-chirp." The band played the song for ten minutes and the last chirp-chirp was as loud and as enthusiastic as it had ever been. Everyone went home singing and dancing.

Jordan was carrying Nigel who was sound asleep and had in fact slept through the entire concert. That next evening it began to snow but before it accumulated on the dome the next shock wave blew it off. Many marveled at the glowing moon that had whizzed past the snow covered old one. They smiled when they saw that Earth was again accruing a ring.

Much to everyone's delight they saw the sun rise again the next morning amid the gently falling snow. The remnants of the shock wave were still bringing strong winds so the dome was clear. They would see the sun throughout that day, and the moons that night then not again for six months.

The planets recovery was agonizingly slow for the citizens of Cel but it was happening a lot faster than predicted. The sea around Cel never went below minus 2C and after six months the light of the sun began to penetrate through enough to warm the planet a bit. There were bright snowy days for six months, which told them, the sky was clear of dust and ash. It stopped snowing and hazy days with short periods of sunlight followed.

Akira and Labiba advised the queen that the meteorologist had noted a quick diminishing of major storms and that at that moment there were none in their part of the world, only fog. It was exactly one year and six months since the comet hit.

Carmen sent out all of the ships to see if they could find the shelters. None had communicated with Cel since the comets impact eighteen months before.

The results were grim; the above ground shelters had collapsed making them very unlikely to have any survivors. The rescue teams instruments showed no warm-blooded creatures within. Most of the cave shelters had also collapsed. A week went by before they found anyone alive.

Their instruments found three family shelters intact and went down to check on them but only one had warm bodies in it. That shelter had a family of six barely alive. All were unconscious so they were evacuated to Cel and all survived. Everyone celebrated the discovery of living beings outside their island.

One large shelter in China had evacuated its people and they were now in tents above ground. Their cave had become unlivable because there were too many people in it at the start. Eighty percent of the original three thousand were now dead.

Cel brought them three pre-fabricated housing units that had homes for fifty families each and food for a year. The homes formed a circle with a gate that they could lock to keep marauders away. The ground around and inside the shelter circle would be planted with the seeds that were left with them. The people of Cel made an older woman the Representative of Akkad and Cel and gave her a communicator.

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