Alternate History

The Great Destruction

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Part 1: Apocalypse.

September 2nd, 1968.

When autumn began in 1968, the Vietnam War was ending due to the Tet Offensive pushing the US troops back to Saigon. The hippie movement was in full swing, and several prominent celebrities were behind it, including Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Martin Luther King was touring the US, and he was currently in Nebraska. The Soviet Union had tested the Tsar Bomb seven years prior and were working on producing it again. the Cold War was heating up and fast. The world was teetering on the edge of nuclear war. at 10:11 PM, the Soviets announced that they had been sending troops in Vietnam to the North Vietnamese and had been since the beginning of the war. the US responded by lowering its DEFCON level to 3, and readying its missiles. President Nixon warned the Soviets that if they did not pull their troops out of Vietnam, they would suffer the consequences. at 10:59 PM, the Soviets responded by saying they would not stand down, and that they had readied their entire nuclear arsenal, including four 50 megaton Tsar Bombs. at 11:20, the US had lowered their DEFCON rating to 1. The US Army was mobilized. people entered their bomb shelters. At 11:48, the first missile was launched by the US, and it hit Moscow. before the city was vaporized, Nikita Khrushchev gave the order to launch their missiles. Due to a glitch in the programming, the missiles hit random targets across the world, including parts of oceans and seas. Almost the entire East Coast was annihilated, but the West fared better, although several cities were destroyed by missiles. The Mid-West was spared much of the devastation that hit the East and West. England and France launched their payload as their countries were annihilated. Electricity worldwide is cut. The nuclear exchange ends at around 12:18, half an hour after it started. Two billion people died, and the world was forever changed.

Part 2: Aftermath.

September 3rd, 1968.

The sun did not rise on the morning of September 3rd until midday. The nights across the planet were now over 18 hours long, as the sun set at 6-7 PM. this was a significant shock to people's body clocks, and for weeks afterwards most people only got around two or three hours of sleep. The people that survived the war were completely unorganized for weeks or months before they managed to find other survivors. Most of the Army had survived, as the government had ordered that all soldiers take cover in bomb shelters. Some did not emerge for a few months, while others emerged a week after the bombs fell. One garrison, outside Farmington, New Mexico, left their shelter to find the city abandoned but in good condition, as it had not been hit by any missiles. The commander of the 30-man garrison, Lt. Seth Baker, led the men to San Juan College, and when they arrived, they set to work fortifying the building, carrying supplies from the shelter to the college, including a radio, and establishing a base out of the college. They accomplished this in 11 hours, and when they finished, after a quick rest, they began taking components and devices from the shelter, such as radios and spare parts. They had done all of this within 15 hours, and then another seven hours to install the devices and use the components. By the end of the second day, the college was a base in which they could live practically indefinitely. The only thing that determined how long they could stay there was their food. they had enough food to last for around three and a half months, but once they had no food left they would be forced to scavenge from dangerous and possibly irradiated cities. They would have to find seeds so they could grow crops. However, they would have to find it in the city, and soon, as fallout was beginning to affect the worst-hit areas. Many would die from radiation sickness in the months that followed, and more would die from starvation when nuclear winter set in and destroyed over half the crops across the world. For the meantime, however, the soldiers at Farmington would find enough seeds for last them for years, and after they had found these, they planted them, and then retreated into their compound, only going out to fetch water or occasionally harvesting crops when the time came. In other parts of the US, marauders were attacking refugees and towns that had not yet been affected by the war yet. in Sacramento, one of the cities not hit by any missiles, chaos reigned. Thousands died in horrific riots, while tens of thousands more died from radiation poisoning as the fallout from the rest of the West Coast spread across the country. There was one hope, however. there were a few neighbourhoods in the city that were civilized and safe. West Sacramento, Arden-Arcade, North Highlands, and McClellan AFB were safe, particularly West Sacramento, as the suburb had a powerful leader in the form of a woman named Rebecca Cooke. Cooke was a police chief before the war, and she was quick to civilize her neighborhood when the missiles struck the West Coast. She had already drawn up plans to civilize the rest of the city, but these were thrown into disarray when over 50,000 rioters crossed the El Dorado Fwy into West Sacramento, attacking the hospitals and police stations for supplies. Many buildings were set on fire in the chaos, and several of Cooke's advisors were killed in the resulting firestorm. The fires spread, quickly, and as Sacramento burned, people from miles away reported seeing massive flames off in the distance. By the time the sun rose on the West, most of Sacramento was burned to the ground. Rebecca Cooke, her entire board of advisors, many police officers and civilians, and almost of the rioters were dead. The ones who survived were hard-pressed to find anything of value in the ruins. most moved on, and only a few remained. in New Orleans, a group of people living on the shores of Mandeville were perplexed to find the water in the bay totally undrinkable. The Gulf of Mexico had been hit by a misguided warhead, and now much of the water in it was radioactive, and also absolutely vile to the taste. The ones who continued to drink the water despite its taste, died. The ones who did not, left Mandeville in search of drinkable water. In Wichita, in the neighborhood of Bel Aire, a group of people came out of their shelter to find most of their city destroyed. in the distance, though, they could see intact buildings. They came to the conclusion that Wichita had only been hit by a low-yield missile. they journeyed to these buildings, to find them occupied by marauders. The entire group was gunned down by these marauders. the marauders were later killed by radiation, however, as the levels were well above the fatal levels for humans. in Brigham City, just outside Brigham City Municipal Airport, a large crowd of people were attempting to board a plane, any plane, to get away from the pandemonium. much of the area surrounding Salt Lake was not aware that the entire US was destroyed, they thought that they were the victim of an isolated nuclear attack. Only a select few got on an airplane, but when the airplanes arrived in airports, all in major cities, all of the people in them died of extreme radiation poisoning. The remainder trapped at the airport eventually dispersed, to find food or shelter. in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the University of Tennessee, a class of students, who were part of the hippie movement before the world was destroyed were attempting to eke out an existence in one of the dorms, well aware that no-one was coming to help, as it was now four days since the first missile had been launched. they were surviving reasonably comfortably, as the river that they got their water from was not irradiated. they also traded with other survivors in Fort Neyland, and were not in any danger from marauders because almost everyone in the city had attempted to escape via Highway 40, and were then killed when fallout from the East Coast washed over the eastern part of the city. These survivors would live for decades after the bombs fell, dying eventually of natural causes. in Seattle, in Eagle Bay on Bainbridge Island, a gang of thugs led by a tyrant, Robert Kublinski, was terrorising the survivors in Discovery Park, and they were getting sick of it. One of the survivors, a US Army soldier, proposed that the next time they raided the park, the survivors would set up an ambush. so, when the thugs landed on the shores of the park; at first they met no resistance. They advanced to the shantytown, and were immediately attacked by the survivors. As they were not expecting the attack, it took them precious seconds to ready their weapons, and by the time they had actually readied their weapons, the survivors were upon them, beating them and killing them. the entire attacking force, over 40 people, were either killed or captured. In future, the gang of thugs no longer raided the Discovery Park. In Sioux Falls, in South Dakota, in the neighborhood of All Saints, crowds of people were having the largest party the city had ever seen. over 80,000 people were perversely enjoying any pleasure they had at their fingertips. Most of these people died after venturing into the irradiated parts of the city, while the rest drifted away. In Medford, California, one of the last bastions of pre-apocalypse civilization was beginning to struggle. They were farming enough food to support their entire population, since the war, most of the West Coast of the US had been inundated with extremely heavy snow. the crops were devastated, and many of the people of Medford were beginning to feel agitated, as several people in the town, such as the defenders of the town, the leaders of the town, and a man named Daniel Mitchell, who had no discernible role in the town's infrastructure, but rather arrived in town on the morning of the third day, became "priority citizens". Upon arriving in the city, Mitchell entered the building in which the town's leaders met to discuss and left an hour later. Eventually, the town's leaders left too, with sheer terror on their faces. From then on, Mitchell became a "priority citizen" when it came to food. a small group of people were on the brink of mutiny, led by a young man named Andrew Parsons. they began a propaganda campaign against Mitchell, saying he was "useless" and did not deserve to be a priority citizen. Mitchell then began to recruit displaced citizens for the inevitable showdown. by the seventh day, there were over 2,000 people involved in the upcoming confrontation. on the morning of the ninth day, Parsons launched an attack on Mitchell's home. Mitchell counter-attacked, and a riot broke out. over 400 were killed, and almost half of the people involved were wounded in the initial riot. soon, more groups in Medford joined the conflict, either on Parson's side or Mitchell's. within four hours, 75% of Medford was implicated in the riot one way or another. Mitchell and Parsons were vying for control of the city, and the result was clear. although Parsons had more people on his side, Mitchell had the guards fighting for him. during the battle, Parsons was gravely wounded. he died in minutes, while his men, without a leader, fell apart. Mitchell had control of Medford. all he had to do was pacify the population, as many of the people in the city were against Mitchell, though none of them were organised. he fully took over the city through brutal violence, killing all those who were not loyal to them. when the "pacification" was over on the eleventh day, 22,000 people were dead. some escaped, to spread word of his slaughter. throughout the world, the war had devastated humanity. there was no unified governments of any kind anywhere on Earth. many people had no survival skills, no knowledge of how to forage food, and no way to escape their current situation. but the dust was yet to settle. and the nightmare was just beginning.

Part 3: Anarchy.

September 25th, 1968.

The sun rose a little earlier on the 15th of September, as it had done since the war. When it rose on the streets of Grants Pass, groups of uniformed people were patrolling the streets. Daniel Mitchell, the dictator of Medford, had begun to expand his empire. In the ten days since he had taken over Medford, he had already taken Central Point, Rogue River, White City, Eagle Point, and Ashland, as well as other minor locations in the area. He did not have much resistance, as people as far as Bakersfield had heard what Mitchell was capable of. Those who did resist were exterminated. Mitchell now had over 80,000 people under his reign, and he was getting more every day. some sided with him willingly, wanting some form of order after all civilization collapsed after the war.others joined him out of fear, knowing what he had done in Medford. however, in the town of Selma, further along the Redwood Highway, a resistance was forming. they had drawn up a plan to assassinate Mitchell. 10 people would infiltrate his compound, silently eliminate his security, break into his room and kill him. the group traveled to Medford on the 27th, and stormed Mitchell's compound. to the surprise of Mitchell and his army, many citizens of Medford rose up to aid them in killing Mitchell. at around 5:17PM, the group managed to find Mitchell and kill him. soon after Mitchell's death, a power vacuum fell over the region, one that would last for years. Mitchell's army, with no leader of chain of command, as many of Mitchell's army leaders had been killed in the compound attack, rampaged across the towns they had occupied, burning down buildings and killing innocent people. any law and order Mitchell had imposed on them was now gone. when the armies finally left the region for better pickings, there were almost no-one left in any of the towns in the area. the survivors continued to struggle, and the people of Selma suffered reprisals for what they thought was a heroic act. the reprisals continued until, one night in October, the entire town was burned down, its citizens burned with it. the people who carried out the massacre were never found. the Medford region continued to stagnate until the survivors eventually unified into one large alliance. to the south of Medford, in the Klamath National Forest and the surrounding area, Mitchell's former army were inhabiting the forest. they were living peacefully with the other people in the forest, in spite of their crimes in the Medford region. while they were no longer the army of marauders they were, there were people in the nearby Crescent City who had heard of the way they had acted in Medford, and they were not happy. they sent people to spread word of their atrocities in the forest on the 19th of October, three weeks after Mitchell was killed. on the 20th, the people who had been living in the forest before Mitchell's army arrived began a vigilante campaign against the former marauders, killing them and running them out of the forest. when the campaign ended on the 3rd of November, there was no sign that Mitchell's army had ever inhabited the forest. the remnants of Mitchell's army fled far east, to the Dakota states. they tried to settle in the ruins of a town named Spearfish in South Dakota, but they were driven out by marauders. they did not survive for long after that. further south, back in California, in the town of Etna near the Klamath Forest, the people of the town were under attack by a squad of soldiers who had broken off from Mitchell's army, wanting to claim some territory for themselves. the squad were beaten off, though they would be back, as the town's defenders never actually tried to hit the soldiers, and the only reason the soldiers left was because their leader felt they were wasting time. However, the people of the town were getting tired of the constant raids. the next time they raided the town, the townspeople not only did their best to hit the soldiers, they shot to kill. the soldiers lost all but five of their squad, and retreated into the forest again, never to trouble the town of Etna again. Etna would eventually become a prominent trading post along the Klamath Forest trading route. north from Etna, in Fort Jones, there was a small group of former US Navy SEALs, patrolling the area. they had come under attack by an organized band of marauders. these marauders had come from Nevada, and were over 180 strong, if information from a captured member of the gang was anything to go by. the SEALs had no way of getting out of the town without being fired on by the gang, and they did not have enough seeds to grow crops for their whole group. it was decided that they would draw out members of the gang, and then wound them, and then pick off the ones who attempted to help them. the strategy was a resounding success, and they killed over 50 gang members. then, angry at the way the SEALs outsmarted them, the gang leader ordered a banzai charge against the town. all 130 remaining gang members charged the town. the SEALs killed many, and inevitably the gang turned back, but the SEALs kept fired at them as they retreated. of the 130 people that charged the town, 73 were killed, 38 were wounded, and of the 38 wounded, 27 were left behind, and 19 were left unwounded. the remaining members of the gang faced major problems as they fled north, as they had actually come from up north, where they had committed many crimes. the remaining members of the gang faced vigilante squads as they fled, and by the 6th of November, the gang was entirely wiped out. while many gangs were quickly destroyed, some became dominant in the areas they terrorized, like in Bullhead City, Nevada, where seven major gangs in the area unified and became a singular force. the leaders of the alliance ruled with an iron fist, as one would expect a gang to do so. however, the fragile alliance would not last long, as one of the sub-factions of the gang would attempt a coup de d'etat, and they wiped out three other sub-factions before being destroyed themselves. the remaining three would strive to gain control of the city, but none would be victorious, as two were totally annihilated, and the remaining one would have their fighting force severely depleted, and unable to control the city. the city was left in turmoil, and many left to find another place to live. this horrific new world would last for centuries, and even then, as new countries and organizations arose from the ashes of the old world, the world's landscape would remain, forever a reminder of what mankind was capable of, and what mankind had done, what future generations had to deal with. and it was just beginning, as when nuclear winter really started to kick in, most of the day was dark, and no-one went outside. there was no recorded history for this period. it is known as The Great Darkness. the darkness would last for years...

Part 4: Emergence.

2nd September, 1973.

on the 5th anniversary of the great nuclear war that destroyed the world, the clouds started to clear. finally, the nuclear winter had begun to subside. people slowly began to leave their temporary homes, to reclaim their old ones. the garrison of soldiers in Farmington, New Mexico, were one of the first to re-emerge, and immediately they began to restore their compound. their equipment, though very dusty, was still functional. the radiation was somewhat dissipated, because it had been five years since the war had destroyed the world. and though most people largely took to their shelters when the Great Darkness began, some did not, and they suffered the consequences. they were now mutated in different ways, such as blindness, mental deficiency, psychical difficulties including extra digits, skin lesions, and even mild necrosis. many of these people died within a year of developing these mutations, either from poor decisions or by complications from their psychical difficulties. some survived, however, to tell the tales of what life was like during the Great Darkness. Seth Baker, the leader of the Farmington garrison, met one of these unfortunate souls during one of his scouting missions to Morgan Lake, in a cabin. the one he met did not last long, dying shortly after he met him. however, he told Baker about the horror of the witnessing the war first-hand and also having severe defects, as the person was also suffering from defects suffered from radiation caused by the war, so the person had already survived some time, though the defects did not show for at least a year, according to the person Baker met. the person he met had come east from California, and that he had just made it to Morgan Lake when his mutations started to become debilitating, though the person did not become entirely bedridden until around a week before Baker arrived. Baker never learned the person's name, as it seemed that amnesia was another mental defect caused by the radiation. the person then died, which, to Baker, probably came as a relief to some extent, as the person made it clear during their conversation that they were in severe agony. Baker then returned, after getting water from the un-irradiated lake. after a conversation with his fellow soldiers, he sent out a radio signal to anyone who might still be listening. within a week of the 5th anniversary of the war, 25 people had shown up to the college, hoping for refuge. the soldiers could easily take them all in, as Farmington was not irradiated, and the farm provided enough food for all 55 people. some had also brought seeds, which increased the length of time the group could be sustained. the soldiers then increased the size of the farm itself, meaning more people could be sustained. soon, as more and more people showed up, Farmington was once again inhabited. though the population was only 200, much of Farmington was now busy again. a market was founded, and people bartered for what they needed. Baker then decided to reopen the airport to the people, but found the planes to be rusted and unusable. but this did not trouble the people, as it was not the planes they needed. rather, it was what they were made of. the metal they stripped from the planes made excellent barriers for the town. within a month, Farmington was thriving, at least by post-apocalyptic standards. and it would need to be, as the marauders and bandits roaming the post-apocalyptic US were now much better armed, and much more courageous. some were US Army remnants, and they had access to the best weapons. however, there were a few towns that were still peaceful. Fort Etna, populated by US Navy SEALs, was still non-violent for the most part, only using violence when directly threatened. Sacramento was now inhabited, if only slightly, as Sacramento Metropolitan Airport was now housing around a dozen people. they were the only ones though, and the rest of the city was still ruined. Medford was now abandoned, its inhabitants killed off by radiation sickness or cold in the five-year nuclear winter, like much of the region. Selma, the town destroyed by reprisals when a group of people from the town killed Daniel Mitchell, was now being lived in again. it was now called Shawslack, and a farmer, Brian Landers, from Arizona had founded it again after being chased across Arizona and California by bounty hunters. though the town was occasionally harassed by the organization that wanted Landers dead, within a year it was doing quite well for itself. it was one of the towns that would help bring life back to the Medford region after a few years. Mandeville in New Orleans was now under control of two corrupt former US Army lieutenants, who killed anyone who opposed them. They had plans to take over all of New Orleans, but that would prove impossible, and pointless, as New Orleans was heavily irradiated and totally uninhabited. They sent many scouts to go across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway to search the area for valuables/survivors. All of the scouts who were sent either were shot by the several snipers who were along the bridge or died of radiation. The two Lieutenants, instead of having more futile attempts to retake New Orleans, began to consolidate their hold on Mandeville, actively attempting to stamp out dissent, unlike their previous policy of simply executing them when they were found.

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