Chapter 35: Incoming
On the surface in the Temple of Tiamat, Dan lay asleep in his quarters when Chris came to his door and knocked loud and long, rousing Dan from his bed. Bleary eyed, he went to the door and opened it, asking, “What is it?”
Chris’ face was steeled and very serious. “Dan, we have a problem,” he said sternly.
Dan rubbed his face as he tried to shake the sleep away, asking, “What kind of problem? Is Jerry doing something he shouldn’t?”
Chris shook his head solemnly and said, “No, it’s not Jerry. It’s much worse. We have incoming from orbit.”
Dan staggered at the words. “Say that again?” he queried, unsure if he’d heard Chris properly.
“Dan, we’re presently tracking a large number of incoming objects coming from space,” Chris said severely. “You’d better get some clothes on and come see for yourself. Some of the objects are over a quarter of a mile in diameter and are on a collision course with the planet.”
That statement got Dan’s attention, waking him fully. “I’ll be right with you,” he said darting back into his bedroom and hastily putting on some pants and shoes. Coming back out to Chris putting on a shirt as he came, he said, “Let’s go.”
Chris led him to the portal chamber where the hologram was on over the console. It showed the Earth and Moon along with a storm of asteroid fragments descending on the Earth, heading for the western hemisphere. Dan looked at the hologram and asked, “Is this real time?”
Tony, who was operating the portal console said, “Yes, Dan. This is real time. We have approximately thirty pieces bigger than a hundred yards across with as many as seven more of them approaching a quarter of a mile across. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of smaller chunks ranging from basketball to house-size and they are coming down in the western hemisphere. From the tracking we’re seeing here, a sizable number of them seem to be heading for the western US and Canada.”
“Good lord,” Dan swore. “How long before they hit?” As he spoke, some of the smaller pieces began to breech the atmosphere.
“A matter of minutes,” Tony replied grimly.
“Where did they come from?” Dan asked.
Tony adjusted the hologram, so that it encompassed the solar system out to Saturn. When he did that, a great red monster of a planet with eight moons and a tremendous field of debris around it came into view on the opposite side of the solar system from the Earth. It was passing just inside Jupiter’s orbit, coming in from below the plane of the ecliptic at about twenty-five degrees to the plane of the Earth’s orbit. Dan’s eyes got very large and he swore under his breath. “Shit, Planet X; I should’ve known,” he growled.
“From what we’ve discovered, the storm originated from somewhere along the rogue planet’s orbit farther out,” Tony stated. “I suspect that it may be just the first bits of debris disturbed by this thing’s tremendous gravitational and magnetic fields.”
“Could be,” Dan replied. “Where’s the first strike going to happen?”
Tony narrowed the hologram to an orbital view and watched for a moment as the first cluster of pieces began to breech over Alaska. “Looks like Alaska will get the first taste of these things,” he reported while narrowing the view farther to allow a good view of Alaska. They watched as clusters of pieces ranging from the size of Volkswagens to trailer-size rained down on central Alaska, most falling harmlessly on the central parts of the Alaskan range. For nearly five minutes, the grievous hail fell in the wilderness. Then chunks thirty feet and larger began to fall in eastern and western Alaska, including the Aleutians. They watched flashes and plumes of smoke and debris rise from the hits. A piece fifteen hundred feet across suddenly breached the atmosphere and stuck Fairbanks. In a brilliant flash, the whole city vanished and the blast felled forests and killed everything for a hundred miles in every direction. Almost at the same time, a nine hundred foot piece fell on the HAARP facility, erasing it completely. They all watched in horror as the storm pummeled Alaska from the Arctic coast all the way to the Gulf of Alaska and out to the end of the Aleutian chain. The Trans-Alaska pipeline was completely destroyed. Enormous asteroid fragments splashed in the Gulf of Alaska, the Pacific, and Bering Seas, generating tsunamis that swamped the coasts and spread across the Pacific and Bering Sea. They watched Aggatu Island crumble into the Pacific Ocean when an iron asteroid fragment the size of the Sear’s Tower slammed into the island. The explosion sent molten rock and ash into the stratosphere as the island literally disappeared into the sea. A colossal tsunami one hundred feet high raced out in all directions at the speed of sound.
“Oh, my god,” Chris breathed, unable to comprehend what he had just saw with the destruction of Aggatu Island. “It’s gone!”
“And with it, the SRWI,” Dan stated. “It seems we didn’t need to do anything about it. The Lord himself took care of it.”
“It looks like it,” Tony agreed as they continued to watch a calamity of biblical proportions playing out in real time in front of their eyes.
The asteroid impacts then began to move southward into Canada and within twenty minutes, the rock storm rained chunks of iron and stone on the continental US. One of the larger pieces a quarter of a mile in diameter struck Seattle, decimating three-quarters of the city and killing three hundred thousand people instantly. A fragment eighteen hundred feet across fell in the Cascade Range between Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier, causing both mountains to explode violently. The impacts caused the Cascadia fault line offshore to rupture with a 9.6 Richter quake, generating a two hundred foot tsunami that utterly destroyed the coastline of British Columbia, Washington State, Oregon, and northern California. Between the impact, the volcanic eruptions, and the giant tsunamis sweeping in from massive asteroid fragments splashing in the ocean, the western half of the state of Washington was completely devastated. They watched as the asteroid pieces fell repeatedly on the cities of the western US. The storm followed a track that started in Alaska and moved down the spine of the Rocky Mountains into Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, then into eastern Mexico. Every major city in the path of the storm received moderate to severe damage. Three pieces a quarter of a mile across fell on the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, completely obliterating it. A chunk two thousand feet across hit the Johnson’s Space Center in Houston, destroying it along with the rest of the city.
The path of the storm stopped in the Gulf of Mexico and a secondary storm fell on South America in southern Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and the northern half of Argentina. As they watched the second wave fall on South America and move toward Aconcagua, Dan, Chris, and Tony became very concerned for the welfare of Hannibal, Selina, Harry, and Nathanael. But the pieces with the second wave were not nearly as big as the first wave that pummeled the US and Canada. The pieces didn’t get any bigger than forty feet across, thus not causing as much damage because of their falling in the high mountainous reaches of the Andes. Some fell on villages and cities, causing considerable damage where they impacted, but it wasn’t nearly as widespread as the damage of the first wave. Chris finally had to turn away, sickened by the destruction he was seeing. None of them knew what the casualty count would be ultimately. The whole storm lasted about forty minutes before the skies cleared. As the last pieces fell in Argentina on Aconcagua itself, Dan had Tony zoom in as close as the portal would get. Most of the pieces that struck the mountain did absolutely no damage to it. As quickly as the pieces started to fall from the sky, they ceased. Tony pulled the hologram back so they could see the western hemisphere. The scars from the asteroid storm were evident, especially in the US and Canada.
“My god!” Tony breathed. “How many people do you think died in this?”
Dan shook his head solemnly, saying, “I have no idea but I would guess tens of millions.” He looked at Chris, who had turned ashen pale, sickened by the ramifications of the terrible meteor storm. Tears streamed down Chris’ cheeks as he wept softly because of what he just witnessed. Dan, who was also shaken and upset by the event, hugged Chris as he wept for the loss. “It’s all right, Chris,” Dan said softly, choking on his own emotion. “We must remember that this is the Lord’s doing. America’s time has come. Their soul is being required now. This is just the beginning. Just give God the glory.”
“I know,” Chris cried. “The Lord is just and right and it’s obvious this is His doing. Still, it’s difficult to see such destruction take place as it happens.”
“Shhh. Hannibal is going to be all right,” Dan cooed. “You can go back to your quarters if you want.” Chris nodded and Dan, grieved as well by what he saw, said, “I’ll drive you. Tony, are you all right?”
Tony wiped a tear from his eye and replied in a stressed tone, “Yes, I’ll be all right. I just need a minute or two.”
“All right,” Dan said in a calmer tone. “We’re going now. Let me know if something else comes up.” Tony nodded and Dan drove Chris back to his quarters, then went back to his own quarters to pray.
High over the Pacific, the archangel Gabriel watched the punishment of the US by the asteroid storm with great sadness. Several other angels were with him. He looked to the west toward Southeast Asia and saw the Dezarcus and the Prince of the North readying their troops for battle in the spiritual realm as well as in the physical. The Chinese were readying themselves for the attack on Taiwan and the North Koreans were poised to swarm the DMZ in a matter of hours. The Russians were moving their people and equipment into position for the sacking of America. Gabriel shook his head sadly and said, “It has begun.” Then to one of the angels with him, he said, “Go to Michael and tell him the battle is joined.” The angel nodded and swiftly flew away on a mission. “May you get all the Glory, Lord,” Gabriel murmured with a troubled sighed.
The news of the terrible destruction of the asteroid storm spread like wildfire. Within hours of the end of the storm, the US economy collapsed. The US President declared a state of martial law nationwide and a twenty-four hour curfew, especially in the impact zones. The Russian, Chinese, and Indian ambassadors sent word to the US State Department that they stood ready to assist in any way they could. The President rejected their offers of assistance, opting instead for assistance from Australia, Japan, and the European Union. It was suggested in the high circles of the US government that the War on Terror be scaled back in the face of such a catastrophe. The President crushed the idea ruthlessly and ordered American naval power to seize control of the Straits of Hormuz, the Dardanelles, Hellespont, and Bosporus in Turkey, and the Suez Canal while they massed for invasions of Iran, Syria, and the Egyptian Sinai. The Russian, Chinese, and Indian governments were offended deeply by the outright rejection of their offers of assistance, saying this was no time for the US government to be obstinate in refusing assistance. A calamity of this proportion should bring the peoples of the world together and not separate them. However, the US government retained its belligerent stance in refusing help from Russia, China, and India so those countries began to encourage nations in opposition to US policy like North Korea behind the scenes to ratchet up the pressure in order to draw out the US military and spread it even thinner around the world.