Chapter 1 –
It was 11:26 exactly. 11:26am two weeks ago today, but it seems as if it could just as easily been a lifetime away. Strange to look back at it and realize that it was an event in history, we lived through history, we’re making history. Well, not everyone has, plenty of folks have already died, too many.
Wow, we were sitting there in church like hundreds of other Sundays over the years, till it wasn’t like any other Sunday. Now it will be considered history…if there will be anyone left to write about this history.
Just seconds before the lights went out, quite a few cell phones made the unmistakable emergency broadcast sound, and truly annoying during Sacrament Meeting. I would give anything for times to be that normal again and to be that annoyed again. But those days are long gone, very long gone. What is that term they used over the last ten years…the “new normal” in regards to anything that had changed, usually for the worse. Yeah, I think that Sunday was the worst of all changes for the last, say oh, 170 years or so.
Oddly, no one screamed when the lights went off. Of course Abby’s baby was crying, or should I say, still crying as she does every Sunday…for the last 5 months. She is 5 months old, quite a set of lungs on that kid. As soon as the lights went out the emergency broadcast alerts on the cell phones stopped. But, the building’s emergency lighting came on, the battery powered emergency lighting. And there was the first clue.
Folks gathered outside in the parking lot, mostly in family groups, young kids darting around between the cars playing some form of tag that I didn’t recognize. In this area of northern Arizona family groups could be pretty large. The big topic of discussion was no cellphone worked, none at all, no bars, no signal. That was the second clue.
A couple of families tried to start their trucks and SUV’s, the operative words being “tried,” clue number three. Although one older Chevy started right up and that family of 6 drove off without so much as a wave. About that time I started getting a really sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Had it been nighttime I would had already known what was happening, but it wasn’t even lunchtime yet. A strange thought popped into my head, I was a little hungrier than normal.
Gary was that final nail, well, technically it was the formation of planes Gary was pointing at. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Gary Click, former Army Sargent, began point up to the sky out to the northeast. After following his shaking index finger I too spotted the formation of four planes, very large planes. Having served in the Navy, and two of those four years spent on an aircraft carrier, I know what a flight of four bombers looks like, very large bombers. Within about 5 seconds 250+ people, including kids, were staring into the sky watching the jets and their rather beautiful contrails flowing out behind them. Those long lines of clouds stretching far back to the west against a bright clear blue sky. Then came the two small, very fast, contrails; those too I knew.
The two jets in the rear of the formation exploded into fireballs almost simultaneously. The two remaining bombers broke right and left respectively. I shouted to the girls and I told Lisa to run to the truck. I prayed quickly and clearly to please let my 2001 Ford start, please!
I was scanning for Lisa’s niece and her friend and I didn’t see them anywhere, I was ready to panic. And of course Lisa hadn’t started for the truck, she was tugging at my arm asking me “What?” I gave her our duress word and told her to get to the truck. She was halfway to the driver side within seconds. But the girls were still not within eyesight, nowhere…fear of those two girls missing swept over me. I remember clearly that at the time it flashed through my head that these were teenage girls and they wouldn’t be doing anything that I would expect.
Well technically, Grace was 12 and Lea had just turned 13 a couple months earlier. And Grace wasn’t Lisa’s niece, she was Lisa’s niece’s daughter, technically a grandniece. And Grace would be 13 in another month. In the “other” world two weeks ago, they were both teenagers to me. Now, they are guards, gardeners, cooks, patrol members, and so much more. I wish they were still irresponsible teenage girls full of giggles and mischief.
I found them a few minutes later in the church foyer whispering and carrying on; teenagers, kids, happy. I dashed that so fast their heads spun. I grabbed both, too harshly, by the arms and told them in my most stern and authoritative voice, “We are leaving now, don’t argue, don’t talk.” Both resisted, I barely noticed and I dragged them out the double glass doors and to the truck about 100’ away. Both were talking at me, I heard neither, I didn’t care what they had to say. We had to leave. Later I realized I had bruised their arms, not bad, but enough to make me feel bad.
Lisa had the truck started, the driver-side door open, the passenger front and read doors open; she stood by the passenger door. That’s where I took the girls. I spun both around, looked them both directly in the eyes and told them something terrible had happened, it was dangerous, and we had to leave right then and there…and for them to please not even say a word till we were on the road headed to the house.
I was thankful that for the last two weeks I had grown close to the girls. We had done a bunch of ATV/UTV exploring, hiked till I should have stopped about an hour before, and of course probably close to 20 hours of rifle and pistol shooting. And they really love to shoot! I am grateful they learned quickly and both were good beyond their years.
As I started to pull out of our parking space Matt came trotting up and he was more panic stricken as I had ever seen him. Actually, I had never seen him even excited let alone panicked. He hurriedly asked me if I could take him, his wife, and his three grandchildren home. His 1-year old company GMC crew-cab truck was now a massive paperweight, dead as a door-nail, but still pretty and freshly waxed. Matt is one of my very best friends, he hadn’t needed to ask. I told him to them to climb in the bed, hold on, and we would have them home in 10 minutes. It was aAlmost comical watching his 50+ year old wife and two of his granddaughters climb over the tailgate into the truck bed…dresses getting hiked up to get in…their Sunday best.
Within 10’ of exiting the parking lot both Grace and Lea both started talking at the same time. Then Lisa chimed in trying to talk over them. I shushed them to preserve my sanity and to help them understand what was happening by giving me a little space to talk. Five minutes later after having explained to them what an EMP is and the danger we were in, it was quiet, very quiet in that truck. As I looked in the review mirror I saw two stunned teenage faces, I couldn’t tell what they were thinking, if they were thinking at all. Lisa, well, she looked like she wanted to throw up. Me, my mind was racing a mile a minute, there was so many things to do…too many things to think about.
Matt and family climbed out of the truck, I shook his hand through my open window and we looked at each other as if we would never see each other again. Almost simultaneously we told each other to, “hang in there brother, hang in there.” I pulled away…would I ever see them again? That would be answered later.
We pulled out of his road to the roar of two A-10 jets screaming low about 5 miles to the east, they were as fast as I had ever seen a jet go and beyond loud. They looked as if they were going to land on the mesa that rose about 200’ above our valley’s floor directly in front of them. But they weren’t going to land and they evidently weren’t faster than the F15’s chasing them, certainly not faster than the missiles that hit both A-10’s one right after another. The F-15’s peeled away and took on the look of two missiles going straight up into the air. Both started spewing flares and what looked like a ton of tin foil in a cloud behind each. One of the F-15’s turned into a fireball the other disappeared into the high thin clouds.
That sick feeling that I mentioned earlier…yeah, I just wanted to throw-up, I knew what was happening. It was then I realized that Grace and Lea were crying and screaming at the same time. Lisa had a 1000-yard stare. I tuned everything out, stepped hard on the gas pedal, and headed for the safety of home. Home was the only chance we had to be safe and I knew no one was coming to save us. This man-made disaster had been building since Uncle Joe had been elected President two years earlier. Now the United States was at war…at war with itself.
There was a note stuck to my gate, I could see it from 150’ away before I even turned onto our road. But there was no way I was going to stop and retrieve it, that would be a perfect way to ambush us. No, everything was different; I have to be different. We have to become more primitive, more survival oriented, more situationally aware…the world had changed 30 minutes earlier. The real question at the time was…how bad had it gotten? Now, two weeks later, we know, I wish I didn’t know.
We pulled into the parking area of our “glamstead” and I turned off the truck. I wondered at the time when would we use the truck again and would the next EMP disable our truck. Obviously the EMP that struck less than an hour earlier was high enough in the atmosphere and far enough away that we only caught the tail end of it…kinda like the left overs. At least that is what I hoped. The solar system would tell the real story for us, and whether we would now be back in the 1850’s or not.
Lisa and the girls headed for the house, I headed to the utility room praying the solar system was operational. Habit took over and when I was walking into the room I just normally and without thinking flipped the light switch on…LIGHTS!
So the fact that we had lights meant the solar system was operational…thank goodness! Within 60 seconds I had looked over the system, scanned the 5” computer screen on the Victron Color Control…everything was performing as if nothing had happened. And that told me a bigger story.
Since the power went out in town, just 5 miles away meant the EMP strike was close enough to hit utility company power lines somewhere in the state. And that mega-voltage traveled to the substations and transformers in town blowing them up and killing power. I don’t know for sure but I imagine that the outage was wide-spread enough, but I don’t know the extent of it. However, I did know that it would be months at the earliest before any power was coming in through the utility company again, maybe much longer…as in years longer. But I knew all that speculation would have to wait…time to work the problem…go over the checklists and get geared-up was the only thing on my mind. Well that, and a wife plus two very scared teenage girls.
Other Short Stories –
- more coming
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So, how quickly is the Victron Color Charge Controller able to shunt the EMP surge?… I guess I missed any discussion of the shunting speed, although I believe you alluded to having access to a beta version you were testing, per a previous installment of your installation of your solar system. Any more details you can share?
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AH: Great idea, great story!! Lots of room for plot growth several different ways, perhaps even simultaneously!!
I recommend 11:26 am for ANYONE to read, caveating only that parents should always monitor what their child is reading, and guide discussion afterward. No, some young kids aren’t mature enough yet for this kind of story — parents should exercise discretion for younger kids.
I also recommend AH Trimble’s followers/readers take the time to find/read some other excellent EMP scenario stories f.
>> Lights Out by David Crawford (2010). Available on Amazon, about $20.
>> One Second After, by William Forstchen (2011). You can buy this at Amazon as well, BUT, if you have an Amazon Kindle subscription, you can read it for FREE.
For both books, I recommend using a notebook to record the considerable “how-to” portions that both books implicitly include.
One Second After is probably the scariest science fiction I’ve ever read…because it is all too real a scenario, and it is possible TODAY, not at some unknown point in the future. The scientific literature makes clear that EMP attacks are quite possible…and there was a Defense Science Board analysis in the early 2000-something that made clear there was a real and present danger of such threats.
Let’s be blunt: the Chinese and Russians have been pursuing EMP weapons for a couple of decades now…with the very clear intent to use them as “equalizing weapons” against the United States.
I’ll close here…I’m sure other readers of this blog will have their own comments and recommendations.
Don’t just endure…survive and thrive!
One Second After is a definite “Must Read” for anyone seriously considering installing a whole house solar system, or even maintaining a significantly-sized emergency solar system.
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Well you’ve gone and done it. I hope you’re happy with yourself. You done scared the living hell out of them ladies in your truck, why did you go and do that?
AH you know if more folks knew of such things possible/probable they. On second thought no they would not, as they would have to accept that its all been a big lie. This entire system we live under is a lie.
This is Tom McDonald, Get past his looks, this man is spreading information. https://youtu.be/OshNahVo9-c
Hopefully he is using a method to reach a younger crowd.
But what you are doing with 11:26 is fear porn. For the older crowd of Gen X, boomers, and such. I think it’s too late.
Do we get to see/read more?
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Not YOU!!!! Nope, you ain’t getting to read another word of 11:26am…no sir!!! Nada, zip, zero, zilch…not another word for you.
Why??? Because you are spreading scardie cat porn 😉
Yeah, I could have handled it better in the truck…duh! But you know, I am prone to panic and fear and just being a turd.