writing chapter 9.7
(insert 9.6 after loving, happy family again: And today he was in a great mood. With the kids being industrious, and Mom back the way she was when they were first married, he was sitting on top of the world. It was out of a feeling of loving, responsible fatherhood that he told his precious baby that he’d get her a good lawyer for her DUI (drugs) charge. But Nuthin was still grounded.)
The storm hit, the largest, strongest coronal mass ejection they’d ever seen. SATCOM was down, radio, television, satellite, GPS, the power grids, everyone’s electronics. Air traffic went down first, voluntarily, with all anywhere near polar flights being rerouted or canceled 30 hours out. They expected auroras as far south as Atlanta.
The current levels started increasing, but the power transmission equipment held, and the grid stayed up. Techs continually monitored voltages and ground currents. Open access sharing went into turbo mode as power transfers were made to cope with equipment failures and capacity bottlenecks. They’d never seen anything like it. Extra High Voltage transformers blew like popcorn all over the grid. Substations melted into piles of metal. Plasma TVs burst into flame. Kitchen appliances burned out and filled living spaces with acrid smoke.
Then the lights started going off everywhere, then the phones fizzled out. Then the computers began to go down and the computer controlled systems that run the world began to stutter to a halt. Then the cars stopped running. Then it was dark. Then it was quiet. And the world settled into a long dark slumber they would wake from some time in the far distant future.
Dad bitched about the TV. Then he bitched about the beer getting warm. They he realized he wouldn’t have to go to work if the power was out. Not so bad maybe.
Back up a minute to the Monday discovery of Kurt’s death. There were enough people still around to see the ambulance, for someone to recognize Kurt’s face, tho twisted in agony and bloated by the water, for someone else to get a cellphone picture from a balcony, and someone else to get some footage of them dragging him out of the surface, and for someone to get a picture of the tow truck leaving with Kurt’s ex-van.
Soon there were rumors flying. People at Dragoncon were not inclined to dismiss Kurt the way investigators and the media did. They saw foul play written all over the scene(s) of death. They saw the hand of THEM at work. Conspiracy theories were born and developed and passed on. Kurt’s kernel, his quantum computer, his unpatented and undocumented software. And the applications thereof. Such a suspicious untimely death.
They were ahead of the officials, of course, on the link between Kurt’s death and the sun’s sneeze. They knew it was something quantum, and huge discussions continued as everybody packed up and returned to their real lives, about what kind of quantum event it had been, or was being, or would be. Would (had) they be blinked into a new universe, and could they tell if they had (were)? Would (had) the reality of the universe be shaken like a wet rag into a new conformation, would it oscillate between states and damp out over time? Or would the sun simply burn them to a crisp over the course of 24 hours? They didn’t wait to see, they backed up everything and printed out the vital things (the supply stores ran out of copy paper and printer ink). Various DIY faraday cages were constructed to shield sensitive electronics (which is all of them). But it didn’t matter – everything fried.
Josh and Anomia were shocked and dismayed by Kurth’s death, and spent a couple of days just sleeping. Their game was over, they couldn’t continue without Kurt’s support, their entire last year was a complete waste. They were both despondent. they felt like their brother died – not that they felt Kurt was like a brother, but they felt an incalculably complex part of themselves being ripped away and didn’t know what to do about the hole. Their sleep was filled with long slow stretched of nothing, broken by violent nightmares of being torn apart cell by cell. And the pain. When the lights went out they thought they were back in the game again, losing ground in the wormhole.
Nobody was actually playing the game when the CME hit Earth. And a good thing, too. The quantum solar magnetic storm did a number on Earth’s quantum geomagnetic field, and classical physics took care of the rest. The Earth glowed with many fires that night. If someone, say Fairy and Snake, had actually been playing the game, they’d might well have been caught up in what happened to Kurt’s newly rewritten Antarctica level.
But Fairy and Snake were nowhere near the game when the Storm hit and the lights went out. Fairy was plying her sugar daddy for next month’s rent, having a pedestrian time of it, county swirls in the ceiling of the hotel they were in. And suddenly she felt a sweetness starting up in her loins. It was never like this with him before, she though as she got into it. And too soon, the feeling built up and sent her cresting over the biggest orgasm of her life. Which went on and on and on. She never noticed the lights going out as endless waves of pleasure carried her to eternity.
And Snake? Nobody saw Snake after the after-session of his panel discussion. Monday came and went, all the other days between Kurt’s death and the Storm, and nobody heard anything from Snake. Maybe nobody noticed. Then the lights went out and nobody cared about Snake. (Insert description of massive catastrophe using as many special effects as possible.)
But maybe it didn’t work out that way. Maybe the magnetic storm fizzled out at the edge of Earth’s magnetosphere and no piles of steaming metal, and civilization didn’t just stop. Maybe something quantum happened. Whatever, the next morning the news was all about the Big Dud, the expected geomagnetic superstorm that wasn’t.