Thursday, 27 June 2019

How Soon Is Now? A novel by Gary Walton: Chapter 16: The Beginning Of A Revolution



Chapter 16: The Beginning Of A Revolution

The Beatles

"Revolution"

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out

Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright, alright

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're all doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait


I sat up sharply, frightened, my blanket was on the ground and I was covered in sweat, another bad dream, they were coming every night now, I told the house-port to turn on the shower and make me some coffee. I threw off my wet boxers and t-shirt and jumped in the shower.
It was early so I decided to let Maggie sleep, after all, she was on holiday.
I went outside onto the balcony with my coffee, it was a sunny day but much fresher than it had been recently, the heatwave had gone, at least for now.

I told the house-port to turn on the wall monitor, while I prepared breakfast for Maggie and me.
The BBC was reporting, in an attempt to stop the rocket attacks, Israeli troops had invaded the Gaza Strip in the south and Lebanon in the north with thousands of troops along with tanks, crossing the borders during the night and the Israeli army had engaged Hamas and Hezbollah, all but wiping out the two terror organisations and proxy puppet governments for Iran, the Israeli air force had backed up the invasion by bombing Gaza city and Beirut. Meanwhile, Iran had fired missiles at Tel Aviv during the night but they had been repelled by Isreal's dome defence.

CNN was claiming, Hurricane Ian, the Category 5 hurricane with winds as strong as 195mph was continuing its devastation and was roaring toward Florida, carving a path of death and destruction through tiny Caribbean islands and threatening the larger and more populous islands of Hispaniola and Cuba. Officials said thirty-three people had died in Puerto Rico and one person died in Anguilla, raising Ian's death toll to at least forty-five in the Caribbean. Ten people died when Ian hit the British Virgin island, including a 79-year-old woman, the territory's governor said, according to Reuters. Damage to the Dutch side of the Caribbean island of Saint-Martin was said to be "enormous," with roofs torn off buildings.
At least eighteen deaths were reported on the French side of the island.
At least one other death was reported on the island of Barbuda, where the prime minister described the storm as a "horrendous situation" of "total carnage." In Puerto Rico, about one million people were said to be without electricity. That is one hell of a storm I thought to my self.

At least sixty-six have been killed including two children after a massive 8.5 earthquake struck off the south coast of Mexico triggering a tsunami. The earthquake was felt across Mexico, toppling houses and shaking buildings in the country's capital amid reports tremors were detected as a far away as Austin, Texas - more than 1,300 miles from the epicentre. A tsunami had already been detected in Mexico after the quake struck at 11.49pm last night, 76 miles southwest of the town of Pijijiapan, at a depth of 43 miles. Terrified residents in Mexico City ran out into the streets after the quake struck, witnesses said. Tremors were stronger than a devastating earthquake in 1985 that hit the capital flattening swathes of the city and killing thousands.
The US Tsunami Warning System said widespread hazardous tsunami waves were possible within the next three hours on the Pacific coasts of several central American countries, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador and Honduras. Seismologists had warned of a tsunami of more than 12 ft.

I took a cup of coffee into Maggie's room, she was fast asleep, I sat on the bed and watched her, she looked so peaceful, like a small child, I bent over and kissed her, she smiled and turned over pretending to go back to sleep, she began to snore comically, I had to laugh, she sat up and pulled me onto her, laughing and kissing me at the same time.
"Good Morning Mr Watson," she said.
"Howdy," I said.
That made her start giggling.
"Coffee," I said.
"Fancy an English breakfast," I asked?
"Do the Dutch wear wooden shoes," she answered laughing?
I started laughing.

The small apartment smelled like bacon as we sat down to breakfast.
"What do you want to do today Maggie," I asked?
"I dunno, the beach is out of bounds, stinking of dead fish," said Maggie.
"Not to mention the flies," I added.
"Urgh, can we talk about something else," asked Maggie.
"I just wanna chill here," said Maggie.
"So be it," I said.
We cleaned up the breakfast dishes and went outside onto the balcony, into the sunshine, it was still early and the sun was not hot.

We both heard a commotion coming from the street below, below on the boulevard, a young mom was shouting at her child, the child was screaming but the woman was dragging him by his arm and smacking his legs and shouting at him, the ugly scene continued until a man intervened, the woman let go of the child's arm and faced up to the man and shouted a barrage of obscenities at the man who immediately slapped the women across the face, two drones dropped from the sky with Police insignia, after the woman had recovered from the slap she grabbed the mans hair and pulled him to the ground kicking him in the head, a drone fired off a taser into the woman who screamed and fell to the ground, the man jumped up and started kicking the woman in her head, he was tasered by the other drone, the whole ugly scene had erupted in seconds and the poor child was horrified, after a couple of minutes the cops arrived and arrested them both.
"Now how on the earth did that happen," I asked Maggie?
"There sure is a lot of hate out there," she answered.
“The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” Said Maggie.
"People these days just explode, tell me, it wasn't always like this was it?" I asked.
"I know what you mean, people are on edge, ticking time-bombs just waiting to explode, tense, anxious, angry and stressed all festering away inside," said Maggie.
"People are finding ways to destroy their lives like never before," I said. 

"Yes, I know, suicide, drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, eating disorders, mental health issues, you name it, it was always so, I know but, people nowadays have etched it up several notches and are finding ways to kill themselves in record numbers," Maggie added.
Maggie went on, "it's estimated that more than two billion people worldwide have a substance use disorder in 2024."
"And the worrying trend is the number of kids dying," I added.
"People sleeping rough has also exploded, since 2010 the number of people sleeping rough has grown by almost 500%," said Maggie.
"Crime too, murders, sex crimes, knife crime, gun crime, violent crime, all appear to be increasing at an incredible speed, like a snowball rolling down a hill, out of control," I said.
"According to the International Poverty Line, people are considered to be in 'extreme poverty' if they live on less than $1.90 per day. This is the definition used by the World Bank and many other international institutions. That means more than 1 billion people in the world live below this low threshold. And about 5 billion people (more than half of the global population) live on less than 10 dollars per day," said Maggie.
"The wealthiest 1 per cent of the world’s population now owns almost three-quarters of the world’s wealth, according to a Credit Suisse report, in 2024," I added.
"Oh that is so offensive," cried Maggie.
"Did you know Maggie, if every country in the West cut their military spending by just 1 per cent, poverty could be wiped out forever across the globe," I said.
A yellow and red DHL drone flew by with a package hanging beneath it.

Maggie and I had decided to take a stroll, the bars and restaurants along the boulevard were as full as ever. Across the road we could see bulldozers and diggers clearing the dead fish further north on the beach, the smell was just about tolerable. we walked south away from the dead fish, over the road a large crowd had gathered in front of a tv monitor in one of the bars on the boulevard.
"I wonder what is going on over there," I asked Maggie?
Maggie looked at me, "let's go take a look," she said.
We pushed our way through the crowd. The tv was showing actual footage from the Iranian capital Tehran, hundreds of thousands of people had taken to the streets to protest about the Ayatolla and his government's handling of Iran's massive sanctions, which had left the average Iranian citizen having to endure hardship and hunger. The Revolutionary Guards had over-reacted and shot and killed some protesters. This was the straw that broke the camel's back and the protest had now become a full-blown riot, Revolutionary guards were now being targeted in the capital, government offices, shops, buses and cars were being set alight, supermarkets were being looted for food as the people began to try and take control from the military. Many people watching the tv were clapping and cheering the Iranian people on.
"This is special, the people are taking back control," I said to Maggie.
"Those poor people, this will end in tears," said Maggie.
A news video showed a tank pulling onto one of the main streets of the capital, the machine gunner at the back of the tank for some reason started shooting into the crowd, panic and fear caused the crowd to disperse leaving people dead or wounded lying on the road.
Maggie gasped, " what did he do that for," she asked herself horrified?
The machine gunner started to fire again but luckily for the civilians his gun jammed, almost as quickly as the gun jammed people jumped onto the tank wrestling the gun away from the soldier, he was pulled off the tank and disappeared under a scrummage of people.
Other brave people pulled out the driver and another soldier and threw them into the crowd, people began cheering, the three tank personnel were stripped naked and beaten to death.
Another video showed a group of Revolutionary Guards ambush another group of Revolutionary Guards and shoot them dead.
"Its chaos," said Maggie.

"Come Maggie I have seen enough bloodshed for today," I said.
We walked outside into the coolness of the afternoon shade.
"Will this now prevent the war with Israel," Maggie asked?
"That is hard to say, Maggie," I answered.
"I suppose it depends on how far the people take it and how hard the leaders come down on them, and they will come down hard believe me," I explained.
"We will see, in the coming hours, she said.

We arrived back at the apartment late in the afternoon, we had worked up quite an appetite.
The house-port ordered a Thai takeaway and I opened up a nice bottle of Bordeaux. Maggie was in the shower so I decided to check my emails.
Hurricane Ian had finally made landfall in South Florida and was still a dangerous Category 5 storm with the Florida Key's taking full brunt. Ian’s eye made landfall on Cudjoe Key and the storm was expected to move northwest up Florida’s Gulf Coast. More than a million people were already without power in South Florida, and dangerous flooding and tornadoes had hampered rescue efforts. Ian has restrengthened to a Category 5 hurricane, with maximum wind speeds of 195 mph, according to The Miami Herald.
After blasting the northern Caribbean, deadly Hurricane Ian was now moving into Florida spreading destructive winds, flooding rain with inundating seas. Unfortunately, there is no way the United States was going to avoid another catastrophic weather event.
Hurricane Ian would be the worst single hurricane to hit Florida in 57 years.
Ian was currently bringing severe and life-threatening impacts to all of the Florida Keys and South Florida and was spreading those impacts farther north across the Florida Peninsula. Cities at risk include Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples, Sarasota and Miami. The NWS office in Key West warned of "swaths of tornado-like damage" possible in the eyewall that is currently hammering the Lower Keys. Storm surge in Key West has already topped 4.5 feet and should rise as water continues to pile into the Keys around the eyewall of Ian. A weather sensor on Big Pine Key east of Key West clocked a 220 mph wind gust.
Meanwhile, As Ian had left Cuba and directed its 200mph winds towards Florida, authorities on the island were assessing the damage. They warned of staggering damage to keys off the northern coast studded with all-inclusive resorts and cities, as well as farmland in central Cuba. There were no immediate reports of deaths in Cuba, a country that prides itself on its disaster preparedness but authorities were trying to restore power, clear roads and warning that people should stay off the streets of Havana because flooding could continue.

Just a day after the massive X-16 solar flare exploded on the sun, New Mexico state's Sunspot Solar Observatory, home to one of the largest active solar telescopes in the world, has shut down and all personnel and evacuated the building. The FBI was on the scene almost immediately. Employees and the public have been indefinitely banned from the premises, and the observatory's website now reads: "TEMPORARILY CLOSED". The Sunspot Observatory was closed and evacuated due to an undisclosed security risk. Federal officials aren't saying why it was closed, and the silence has led to international media coverage and plenty of speculation. But authorities are remaining tight-lipped. A  fast-moving stream of solar wind is approaching Earth but was still at least a day away.
"What the hell have I just read," I muttered to myself.

Super Typhoon Maemi now slammed into the northern Philippines with violent winds and torrential rains, as authorities warned millions in its path of potentially heavy destruction. The massive storm, which forecasters have called the strongest typhoon this year, blew down trees, tore off roofs and knocked out power when it made landfall on the island of Luzon in the pre-dawn darkness. As it barrelled west toward China across the disaster-prone archipelago, the storm's gusts strengthened up to 330 kilometres per hour but its sustained winds had weakened to 185kmh. An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people. Thousands of people fled their homes in high-risk areas ahead of the storm's arrival because of major flooding and landslide risks.
Authorities hiked the storm alert on Friday to its second-highest level in northern Luzon provinces and mobilised rescue teams. The elevated warning level carried risks of "very heavy" damage to communities hit by the typhoon and a storm surge that was forecast to hit six meters in some areas, the weather service said. Residents had started lashing down their roofs and gathering supplies days before the arrival of the storm. "Among all the typhoons this year, this one Maemi is the strongest," Japan Meteorological Agency has claimed.

We had dinner on the balcony and watched the world go by, sipping wine and holding hands, in our perfect bubble.
"Tomorrow night you are in for a once in a lifetime event," I said to Maggie.
Her big green eyes looked at me, "howso," she muttered.
Can you remember the large X16-class solar flare the strongest solar flare in more than 20 years," I asked?
"Yes," Maggie answered.
"Well the solar wind will arrive tomorrow lightening up the Earths magnetosphere, the size of the storm should give us a chance to see the aurora borealis, this far south in Europe," I said.
"Oh really, we should have camera's at the ready," she said.
"I'm on it Maggie, I'm going to buy a tripod tomorrow, I can film the event."
"Yeah, we can have an aurora party, we could invite some friends, maybe," she said.
"It will be a small party if we are to fit everyone on this balcony," I laughed.
"I will invite a few special friends tomorrow," said Maggie.
And, as if by magic, we both saw a meteor streak across the sky.