Alternate History

Timeline (1989: Wipe-out)

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November 13th, 1989- A set of crab-eating macaques are imported from the Philippines and arrive at the Hazleton Research Products facility in Reston, Virginia. Unbeknownst to the staff, they have developed a mutated form of the Ebola Zaire virus, that is airborne (but not lethal to the monkeys).

11:00am-- Kyle Jurgenson and Mark McClendon at HRP are infected that first day, and spread it to all of the facility. Jurgenson leaves work, with a headache and upset stomach at 3:00pm; McClendon does as well at 4:15pm. The staff closes up at 5:00pm and most return to their homes.
5:39pm-- Bonnie Wilson, the firm's bookkeeper stops at a local 7-11 and buys gas and a ginger ale, as her stomach is bothering her. She infects seven people, including the clerk. One of those she infects is flight attendant Jessica Mankowitz, who proceeds to her scheduled flight to Paris, departing at 10:pm

November 14, 1989- Kyle Jurgenson returns to work at 8:30am, but leaves again when he starts vomiting. Mark McClendon stays home as his vomiting has gotten worse and he remembers he still has some sick days left. His wife, Renee, was infected the night before, as was their four year old, Emily.

9:00am-- Jessica Mankowitz on USAir Flight 52 to Paris has infected the entire aircraft. By the time it touches down at Charles De Gaulle Airport the following morning, 130 people (including the crew) have the virus and spread out into Paris. Forty of them have connecting flights to Geneva, Moscow, Oslo, and Rome.

November 17, 1989- Rushed to the hospital by his friend Frank Logan (who he infected two days earlier), Kyle Jurgenson is now suffering from severe dehydration and bloody diarrhea. Mark McClendon is as well, as is his wife and child. All three are taken to the Reston Hospital Center. Doctors are stumped by the men's conditions, but spot it as obviously an infectious disease. They are of course immediately infected by the admitting staff who brought the men in.

1:45pm-- Jessica Mankowitz, back from France since the 15th, calls in sick from her apartment in Alexandria, Virginia.

November 18, 1989- Several dozen cases of "fever and nausea" are reported at Washington area hospital emergency rooms. Most are dismissed, and sent home with anti-emetic and anti-fever prescriptions. Paris reports to the French Health Ministry a "surprising increase in fevers" in the Paris metropolitan area.

3:15pm-- Dr. Lawrence Luddens, of the Reston Hospital Center, cuts short his phone call with the Atlanta CDC, complaining of nausea. The CDC Director puts together a team, to fly to Reston the next morning.
5:00pm -- By five o'clock on the afternoon of the 18th, every member of the Hazleton Research Products staff are now admitted to the Reston Hospital Center.

November 19, 1989- Kyle Jurgenson, Mark McClendon, and 4 year old Emily McClendon are now in serious condition. Vomiting has subsided with lack of material in the stomach, but diarrhea continues and some blood is now found in the liquid stool. Jessica Mankowitz is rushed to the Alexandria Virginia hospital by her roommate, when her fever hits 101.

11:00pm-- Paris' main hospital now has 38 cases of "extreme fever and nausea". A local physician and expert on hemorraghic fevers, Dr. Marc LeVoisier, recognizes the symptoms as possibly Marburg or Ebola. He calls the French Health Ministry.

November 20, 1989- Kyle Jurgenson goes into a coma. Upon palpation by an attending physician, it's discovered that his liver is failing and possibly his kidneys as well. In fact, both are. Mark McClendon goes into a coma just before midnight. Bonnie Wilson and three Hazleton staff have fevers in the 101-103 range and bloody diarrhea. Los Angeles, Bonn, Moscow, Stockholm, London, Dublin, Tokyo, Beijing, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and Lahore, Pakistan...all report "strange fevers".

November 21, 1989- Emily McClendon dies at 1:32am. She is the first fatality, but Kyle Jurgenson joins her less than seven hours later. By now, the entire staff at the Reston Hospital Center (as well as some 70% of the city of Reston itself) is infected. Most are still in the early stages, but admitting staffs are now in the isolation ward. Every bed in the Reston Hospital Center is full and attempts at isolation and barrier nursing fail.

1:00pm-- The Director of the CDC and the director of the Army Infectious Disease center meet in special meeting with President George Bush. In attendance are Vice-President Quayle, Secretary of State James Baker, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, the acting Surgeon General James Mason, as well as the CIA and FBI heads and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
The meeting lasts for two hours; President Bush cancelling appointments with Congressional leaders and the Ambassador of Australia. Unknown to all, including himself, Acting Surgeon General Mason is infected (contacted third-hand by a staffer, who had eaten at a Dulles Airport food vendor, who had talked to Jessica Mankowitz almost a week earlier. He infects the entire meeting, including President Bush.
After the meeting, a protocol is initiated to try to contain the virus at Reston, by sealing off the city with Virginia National Guard units. Just before it is put into place, reports from the CIA and State Department indicate that Paris has had its first fatality, a child on the flight with Mankowitz; at nearly the same time, reports are flooding in from half the major cities in the United States. Containment has been lost.
Another emergency meeting is held at 7:00pm. President Bush is advised by SoD Cheney to go on national television, declare martial law, and impose a strict "stay in your home" curfew for two days. The Surgeon General, CDC Director, and USAMRID Director concur. The only way to stop further spread is to keep those not infected isolated. Secretary of State Baker objects claiming it will cause a national panic. He loses the debate as the Surgeon General tells him he has a massive headache and just took his temperature, and it was 99.4 degrees. Congressional leaders are contacted and warned of the impending move. Speaker Jim Wright and Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell concur after hearing the evidence. (Though the conversations were made by phone from the Oval Office, both Wright and Mitchell were already unknowingly infected.)
Hastily drafted, President Bush goes on television at 11:00pm. The speech is serious, but attempts reassurance. He states that a "potentially dangerous flu epidemic" has broken out but that it should run its course in a few days. Until such time as notified by authorities, people were to remain in their homes and avoid all contact with others. Martial law was being declared with a time-limit of the next two weeks. (Horrifically, Surgeon General Mason told the President those infected would likely be dead in 10-14 days and pose no further threat to those uninfected).
(NOTE: Though well-organized and informed, the actions taken by the US Government between the hours of 1pm (the first Presidential meeting) and 11pm (the Presidential address) were totally wasted efforts. In that 10 hour space of time, nearly every international airport in the United States (and dozens of regional ones) had been infected. Between the afternoon meeting and George Bush's address time-frame alone, some 19 million Americans were infected.)

November 22, 1989- Panic ensued. National Guard and Army units (armed with respirator masks) were deployed, but by this time, almost 40% of them had been infected. When they meet with their local commanders to discuss how to deploy, they infect each other and the rate rises to 85%.

Meanwhile, with no supplies, people rush to the supermarkets and hardware stores, furthering the spread. Police were quickly overwhelmed with minor assaults, traffic collisions, robberies, etc. Each time putting more and more of them at risk for infection. 500 people died in the first 24 hours of President Bush's announcement, and all from panic-related events.

As martial law goes into effect in the United States, it appears in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union. Gorbachev (infected on November 21st after a meeting with the Swiss Ambassador) is already showing signs and the Politburo puts local generals in charge of the Soviet republics and provinces. Communicating with Bush, Gorbachev agrees with him, to put a lock-down on the Soviet ICBM force, cutting off underground bunkers from the outside world until the pandemic has passed.

November 23, 1989- Every member of the Hazleton Research Products staff has died by noon of the 23rd. The last, Jamie Kilborn, "bled out" with no one in attendance. Nurses and staff are almost non-existent at the Reston Hospital Center, as most have gone home or are too sick to help those even worse than themselves.

90% of the White House staff and Administration officials are coming down with symptoms. 3/4ths of the Pentagon has, the Chairman of the Joint Chief refusing to leave his office, even as he is wracked with a 104 degree fever and painful diarrhea. (He dies two days later on the 25th in the Pentagon infirmary.)

Rioting has continued for nearly 24 hours. Most stores and groceries have been stripped and resupply trucks stopped or even hijacked on-route. Those who remained uninfected are now behind locked doors at their homes. Generosity and kindness are NOT rewarded, as many take in relatives and friends, unaware that they are already infected, thus dooming the entire household.

Meanwhile at Ft. Detrick, Maryland and the CDC in Atlanta, attempts at creating a vaccine are in high speed. Unfortunately, anti-viral agents are relatively new and those tried merely slow the disease, not cure it. Also staff at those facilities are increasing getting sick and unable to continue to work. (By the 28th, 50% of the CDC staff is dead; 70% of the USAMRID staff at Ft. Detrick dies by the morning of the 29th.)

November 24, 1989- Every person on Jessica Mankowitz' flight to Paris from November 14th, is dead. Mankowitz herself dying on the 22nd; the last, Jerome Klein, dying in a crowded Mt. Sinai hospital ward at 4:35pm today.

Washington, DC and Paris have been hit first and hardest. 1,889,000 people are infected in those cities. Of that, 74,000 have died and 383,000 are in comas and will die within 36 hours. Hospitals are now emptying out, as no new patients arrive, the previous ones die, and there are few staff on hand at the ones still operating.

National Guard units function at about 50%. Most have some infected personnel, but after respirators were distributed and bio-warfare protocols enacted, the rate of soldier-to-soldier transmission dropped to a degree. Road traffic is almost non-existent. Air travel has ended, except for a few private aircraft flown to TRY to escape plague-infected areas. (Thus spreading it further)

New York City and Los Angeles begin to burn. Arson is the culprit, as swathes of the Lower East Side catch fire and few FDNY units respond. It burns for hours, taking out six city blocks before a rainstorm damps it out.

Watts and Compton in L.A. starts to see fires as well. Fed by Santa Ana winds, the fires spread quickly and eventually even metropolitan LA and the Hollywood area is threatened. A lightning strike in the Malibu Hills starts a brush fire, that burns out of control. By early on the 25th, half of the Los Angeles Basin is either burnt or engulfed in random fires.

November 25, 1989- President Bush is now feverish and approaching dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea. Mrs Bush and several family members staying at the White House are all bed-ridden. His personal physician is sick now as well, thus unable to offer much help. Vice-President Quayle attempting to co-ordinate efforts receives a report from Atlanta from the CDC. A person exposed to the showing no symptoms. They estimate that it's possible that 1 out of every million people may be immune. At first taken as good news by Quayle, he quickly realizes that that would mean 280 people in the ENTIRE United States may be the only ones to survive the pandemic.

The CDC attempts to check the patient's family, but information is getting sketchy as hospitals fail to return calls.

November 26, 1989- 70% of the city of Reston, Virginia is dead. The rest, aside from Melissa Chalmers, are severely debilitated or in comas. More than half of Washington DC will be dead by the end of the day; as well as 3/5ths of Paris, France.

As supplies run out, those who remained in their homes are forced to seek out food and water. The infection rate has declined, but spike again as those folks encounter the few ambulatory cases in Wal-marts, Costcos, etc. If they had waited another 3-4 days, they likely would have survived. As it is, the final infection rate in the United States reaches nearly 95%.

Crime drops as those committing the robberies become too sick. Meanwhile, nuclear power plants (ordered by President Bush to enact shut-down protocols) begin to heat up as there are few if any staff to maintain them. The Connecticut Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Haddam Neck, CT experiences a catastrophic meltdown at 11:53pm on the 26th. Most of the radioactivity is initially kept to the containment vessel, but as the slag melts through the flooring and hits the water table, radioactive steam and particle blast from underneath the dome. 5300 acres in Connecticut are contaminated, killing a few lingering survivors of the pandemic by radiation poisoning. Three other reactors go super-critical in the next three days.

November 27, 1989- The situation in the United States reaches its apex as the population is now 55% dying by the end of this day, 25% bed-ridden, and the remaining 20% showing first symptoms. At 4:35pm, President Bush dies. As no judge or Justice is allowed into the sealed-off White House, Dan Quayle has the Acting Attorney General swear him in, almost immediately Quayle's legs give out from under him and he is forced to stay on the sofa in the Oval Office. (His tenure as President would last 16 hours.)

In the nation, total anarchy reigns. No police forces remain intact, and only two battalions of National Guard and Army units are more than 50% active. Fires burn out of control in forty different cities. Some, who had escaped infection, die in the fires or the firestorms that are created. The population of the greater Los Angeles area is approximately 50,000 (from Malibu down to Marina del Rey). Chicago burns as it did in 1876, with the Sears Tower a giant torch lighting up the night-sky visible from the other side of Lake Michigan.

Across the world, chaos is the rule rather than exception. In the Mid-East, the Israeli Army collapses, as do the Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian forces.

November 28, 1989- World deaths reach the billion mark. Paris is now 90% dead or deserted; Washington, DC is 95%. London, Moscow, Beijing, Mumbai, Singapore, Tokyo are all at 95% infected, 70% dead. Fires burn out of control in most of the major cities of the world; power and water systems have failed in most as well.

Isolated villages in South America, Africa, Asia, Siberia, northern Canada, and Australia are untouched by the virus. Given the die-off of the infected, within a few days most will remain uninfected. Other problems will emerge.

With no industrial and agricultural base to draw on, many of these areas will suffer critical losses of medical supplies. Those capable of it will produce their own food, but at subsistence level production.

November 29, 1989- World deaths reach the 2.5 billion mark and continues. No one remains in Washington, DC, Paris, London, or Moscow. The immune now total about fourteen million world-wide; uninfected total about sixteen million, for a total of 30 million. The remainder of the 5.67 Billion people on the Earth will be dead in less than 48 hours.

December 1, 1989- World deaths reach five billion. There are some sixty people in the whole of Europe unaffected by the virus. (40 immune, 20 uninfected). Asia has only 3500 people, mostly Mongolian tribesman and isolated villages in western China. There are approximately 40 people unaffected in the United States (20 of these are USAF aircrew in Minuteman missile silos, isolated since the outbreak. They will finally abandon their posts on December 3rd, five days after their last communication from the Pentagon.)

Meanwhile an explosion of insect life has occurred, primarily the necrophagous insects such as blow-flies, carrion beetles, and mites, which feed on human corpses. There will be (at the end of the pandemic) some 350 Million TONS of human flesh (5.67 Billion people X an average weight of 125 lbs) for them to feed on. (In addition to dogs, cats, and cattle...all victims of the pandemic as well...adding another 100 million tons of flesh.)

December 2, 1989- Alberic Kasavubu of the town of Elipa, Zaire is the last victim to die of the ironically named "Ebola Zaire" virus that has encircled the globe. Kasavubu watched his entire town die over the past three days, including his wife and two children, and then succumbs himself at 5:32pm GMT to 'bleed out'. Exactly 19 days have passed since Kyle Jurgenson and Mark McClendon were infected at the Hazleton Research Products facility in Reston, VA.

Sixteen million people survived to this point. Though 30 million escaped infection, 14 million of them proceed to die from other causes. These include things like appendicitis (untreated with no medical facilities or doctors), other diseases (some springing off of the mass of corpses, including cholera), and various and sundry accidents, illnesses, etc. There are some 70,000 suicides; people either despondent at the loss of family or friends or convinced that they are alone in the world, they end their lives. There are even 300 murders; people attacking other survivors for food and water (typically among the uninfected villages and towns).

The population of the Earth hasn't been at this level since the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt and start of the construction of the Pyramids....approximately 2500 BC.

December 9, 1989- Every nuclear reactor on the planet has now gone super-critical and either detonated (creating local "Chernobyls") or melted through their containment floor hitting the water table below, with much of the steam being released into the atmosphere. In Europe and the Soviet Union, sixty of the 500 survivors in those areas die within two weeks, from exposure to radioactivity. Another 600 world-wide will die from radiation poisoning as well.

At sea, nuclear vessels (often scuttled by dying crew to the bottom of the ocean) break their containment and spill several hundred tons of enriched uranium and plutonium into the oceans. Though thousands of fish are killed, due to the large size of the oceans, the effects are minimal and quickly dissipated.

December 1989-March 1990- Winter hits the Northern Hemisphere, particularly strong in Europe in the month of January. Sixteen survivors succumb there, killing all but 24 remaining (another 20 died from illnesses and accidents before the end of December). From Portugal to northern China, some 4000 die that winter. At this point there are places from Europe to Asia, where there may be ONE person for every one million acres. Individuals isolated from larger groups face a low likelihood of survival, even with tons of food and medical supplies available for scavenging.

March-June 1990- Spring arrives. Most of the corpses have been picked clean by insects and other carrion feeders. Out of control fires consume many of the towns and cities that survived, and temperatures are coolish as a sort of "post-pandemic winter" hits from all the smoke and ash from those fires.

Meanwhile, plant life and wildlife are now encroaching on the previously inhabited areas. In the US, deer herds move into Boston, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Memphis, etc. Antelope herds move into cities in the West. Deer populations will spike enormously this spring as hunting and herd culling no longer exist. By 1993, the deer population of North America will be FOUR times what it was in 1989.

Rats now over-run every large city and even some smaller towns. Feral cats, who survived infection, feed and multiply off them, but the rodent populations are on an order of magnitude by 1990. Four survivors succumb to rat-based diseases or bites during the Spring of 1990. The rats will eventually begin to die out in the early 90s, with no food trash being created. Rodent populations drop to pre-Pandemic levels by 1995 and lower levels in the following years. Cockroaches too, deprived of human wastes and garbage, begin to drop in population after only two years.

Cracked pipes and faulty seals (damaged from the harsh winter and no repairs) open up tons of chemicals and toxic wastes in the industrial centers of the world, from the US Northeast and Midwest to the Soviet Union to India and China. Dioxins and other poisonous compounds are released, many into water tables, rivers, and lakes. This kills another twenty-seven people world-wide and induces cancer in forty-eight others that will prove fatal in less than 10 years.

Petrochemical plants leak as well, and several are caught on fire due to lightning strikes. That effect is minimized though as most of the material has seeped into the ground. The areas are still polluted though for decades.

1990-1995 - Of the 30 million who survived the Pandemic of 1989, almost 2/3rds are dead by the end of 1995. The world's population is approximately 11.5 million. This is approximately the population in the year 4000 BC.

Of that, some 5 million (nearly half) exist in groups of less than ten. Mostly survivors who have found each other, and small villages that have weathered the non-Ebola diseases, winter starvation, and various medical emergencies. Sixty thousand babies are born in 1990, 40% survive the first year (only 63% survive labor and almost 20% of the mothers die in childbirth). Fifty thousand are born in 1991 and fifty-eight thousand are born in 1992.

Technologically, many things from the 20th Century are still useful. Firearms, if properly maintained, continue to be useful and ammunition supplies (from both gun shops and Army depots) is plentiful. This aids in hunting. Generators work, but gasoline and diesel supplies are running short by the mid-90s, with no further refinement. Medicines are rapidly degenerating and proving useless, but still in good supply. There are fifteen automobiles being operated on the entire planet Earth.

1995-2005 - The Earth's human population is now stabilizing at about 10 million people. The largest contingent is a village in the upper Amazon region of Brazil, Manicore' on the Rio Madeira, with some 1300 people. Next is the village of Hatgal, Mongolia with 1140. Both have subsistance level farming and herding (one goat, one sheep and Bactrian camels).

All but four of the last sixty North Americans arrive at a campsite near Riverside, IA. Organized by three survivors who met in Riverside, they set up automated radio broadcast stations across Iowa and Missouri, alerting any fellow American survivors to meet in the town. By 1995, 56 of them have settled in the town (only partially destroyed by wildfires) and are gradually making a go of it.

Melissa Chalmers, a UVA graduate student from Reston, Virginia, who was working on her genetics master's degree is one of the leaders of the community. Aiding with basic sanitation and medical needs, she soon realizes that "genetically" the group has little chance of survival long-term.

There are only sixteen females of child-bearing age in the group. (34 total females, but 18 of them are over 45 years old). To keep a group from inter-breeding and developing long-term genetic abnormalities, they are going to need at least another dozen fertile females at least. Though some in the group show little concern for the matter, several others realize that they've got to try to contact other survivors in North America, if not the world.

The four not at Riverside, Iowa are:

A woman in the hills of Kentucky near Barbourville. She dies of exposure in February 1999, when she breaks her leg while gathering firewood and freezes to death before she can drag herself home.
A teenage boy in Yakima, Washington eats a can of soup on May 9th, 2000 and dies three days later. The can had been microscopically pierced while he was scavenging it from a local store and he died from botulism.
In August 2001, actor David McCallum of "Man from U.N.C.L.E." fame, who had survived the Pandemic and the destruction of Los Angeles, dies of radiation poisoning from fallout from the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant. McCallum, 68 years old, had not seen another human since 1989, but had heard a broadcast from the Riverside Survivors and had started to make his way across southern California, when he travelled through a mass of radioactive debris in Kern County.
Maria Lourdes Lopez, living on a farm outside of Nuevo Laredo, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, died on April 5th, 2003 from tetanus received while adding old wooden boards to the side of her house.

January 2008- As the 20th anniversary of the Pandemic approaches, the Riverside Survivors are continuing to try to contact other survivors but with little luck. Short wave radio is set up and a survivor in the Vancouver area, Larry Jessup (who was not immune, but had been isolated while doing research on tern migration in Alaska) was contacted and reached Riverside in May of 2006.

Melissa Chalmers continuing to point out the "genetic" danger the group was in, had organized a "breeding schedule". Though embarrassing and cause for not a few internal arguments among the group, fertile females were impregnated on a rotating schedule by different males in the group. By late 2007, sixteen children had been born and survived to late childhood. The fathers were categorized and to prevent cross-breeding, some men were no longer allowed to have unprotected sex with some females.

Chalmers herself had five children in the space of ten years with four different men. Larry Jessup was the last and he was her lover until her death on January 17th 2008. She died in childbirth, with the infant (a daughter named Melissa surviving). An uncontrollable (by the midwife available) hemorrhage was the cause. Of the original population in 1989, she was the last surviving citizen of Reston, Virginia.

In the rest of the world, life proceeds, much as it did 6000 years earlier. Small villages grow with small spikes in their numbers. Diseases often destroy a village, as children die of many things treatable before the Pandemic and none are born to replace them before the adult women go into pre-menopause. Sixteen thousand people's communities will simply disappear in the next 40 years.

Others prosper. Materials begin to be scavenged from abandoned towns and cities. Tons of fertilizer and herbicides/pesticides still exist and remain useful 20 years after their manufacture. Unlike the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age (which had the equivalent population), many villages are familiar with ideas like crop rotation, irrigation, and even things like saddles for horses. This greatly aids in the development of their agriculture.

Hygiene and sanitation too are better understood to these remaining humans, as well as germ theory for disease, thus eliminating many ineffective "home remedies" and theories about contraction of illness.

Inter-community communications are almost none existent. The closest surviving villages are in northern Asia/Siberia, with two towns within 500 miles of each other. Trade and exchanges of marital partners will help them over the next decades in both growing as well as keeping a diverse genetic stock.

Pollution from the pre-Pandemic days remain. Primarily radioactivity and petro-chemical/plastic pollution. Areas around and downwind of destroyed nuclear plants will be uninhabitable for centuries. Petroleum and toxic waste will eventually break-down, but will pollute nearby water tables for decades to come and give rise to cancers in those who drink from them for as long or longer. Aside from radioactive "hot spots" though, in less than 200 years, much of the Earth's ecology will be as it was before the time of the Pharaohs.

Using previous history as a basis, it is unlikely that the world will again achieve a 20th Century level of technology AND population until at least 6500 A.D.

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