Once In a Blue Agave Moon

chapter One

Elliott Monroe awoke to the sounds of the generators starting.
As he briefly lay there in bed, he thought about how much the world had changed in the last eighteen months.
Over two years ago, he had read about how cyber-terrorists were launching over thirty thousand attacks against the United States and their allies every month…without success…but…
Much like the theories of quantum mechanics and the origin of the earth, eventually anything can happen, and like the monkeys and the typewriters, eventually they discovered the codes that were capable of deciphering the encryption associated with the operating systems of every computer on the planet; banking, defense, security, even the internet itself.
The consequences were catastrophic and swift.
They had not only managed to withdraw all the virtual monies out of all the North and South American, European, African, Swiss, and Japanese banks in the world, they had also placed a “doomsday” virus into the operating systems that caused them to destroy themselves, and their hardware, as well as all the records of all the accounts.
And when back-up systems and replacement programs were installed, the rest of the internet was so polluted with the Doomsday Virus that they were quickly rendered useless as well.
It took several days for even the best run operations to re-start, only to discover there were no funds in the accounts shortly before they too self-destructed.
Even if you had a printed statement from your bank, they were not being honored because there were no available funds to pay anybody anything.
It was believed that Doomsday was not even a single virus, but rather a series of interlocking programs that spread rapidly through any device that used the internet at all…even if only to use the National Observatory’s atomic clock for time reference standards.
Cars that used Onstar or satellite radio would not even start, or stopped within minutes; some crashed. Planes fell out of the skies all over the world.
Several nuclear power plants melted down. Nuclear missiles went haywire.
Some of the programs had been perfected for years before the comprehensive attack was orchestrated.
It affected the News services so badly that the parties involved had to resort to circulating printed material to even take credit for the attack.
More than ten years earlier, the terrorists had begun a plan that was only waiting for the success of the computer viruses for their initiation. They were in no hurry.
The terrain of the area surrounding the Fort Knox Army base is riddled with underground caverns and streams that permitted tunneling through an area over five miles long from nearby Bardstown to the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox with a minimum of true excavation.
By a similarly ingenious plot, the mazes of sewers, communications tunnels and underground passageways in Manhattan (some dating prior to the revolutionary war) allowed near enough access to the Federal Reserve Bank, the only bullion depository larger than the one at Fort Knox.
Both tunnels ran the last five hundred feet deep below the vaults, working slowly and sporadically to better avoid detection.
The morning of the discovery of the cyber-attacks, at least twenty “dirty” or “salted” nuclear bombs detonated by two stolen B-61 Mod 11 nuclear “bunker busters” and a pair of ten-megaton hydrogen bombs of the Teller-Ulam design from former Soviet sources and several other devices of either Korean, Iranian, Chinese, Pakistani or Indian design under the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox and the Federal Reserve Bank of Manhattan.
Both locations enabled the surrounding bedrock to amplify the effects of the shock waves from the blast and the combined pressure and heat from the thermonuclear blast not only compromised both vaults, but also severely contaminated them with radioactivity.
The heat and pressure was so intense that the other “dirty” or “salted” devices were combined in a chain-reaction not normally anticipated in any previous counter-terrorism models, that assumed conventional detonation of plutonium and uranium, with no concomitant fission or fusion.
The terrorists had no desire to survive the attacks, so no shielding or protective casings were used to contain the radioactivity of the “dirty” or “salted” bombs. It was a suicide mission, which made it that much easier to accomplish.
“All the gold in Fort Knox” (and the Federal Reserve Bank of Manhattan) was now radioactive. The fact that they had been entirely symbolic ever since they had been stored there really had little bearing on the perception of the people of the world.
(Apparently, the terrorists had seen the Movie “Goldfinger,” although they were not interested in any financial gain; after all, within two days they possessed all the net worth of the all major powers of the world.)
They already had plenty of money, but the real point was to take it away from their enemies.
It is estimated that the gold at the United States Bullion Depository (aka “Ft. Knox’) is worth about 175 billion dollars. This is believed to represent 2.5 percent of all the gold ever refined in all human history. The US GDP is estimated at approximately eighteen trillion dollars, and the United States federal budget is set at approximately 103% of the GDP.
The attack was predominately a way of doing severe damage to the confidence of the American people in the liquidity of their government.
After all, most of the net worth of anyone or any entity is based on a combination of faith in what amounts to “virtual money,” rather than cash and the mutual recognition of what constitutes value.
Between credit margins, and speculation, in a cashless society most people rarely ever touch any “real” money. Paper money is based on faith and a promise, but keep in mind that when the economy went from gold to silver certificates to federal reserve notes they no longer bore the promise “payable on demand”.
And let’s face it, you can’t eat gold or silver if you are hungry. The value of gold or precious metals or gems are based on their scarcity, and almost since the beginning of time we have been hypnotized by our desire for them, rather than in any true intrinsic value per se.
And to the radical Islamics, the result of the end of Western civilization was their precise goal. No more Hollywood (or Bollywood), no more televangelism, no more beer or whiskey commercials, no more live lingerie models, no more TV, no more Western aggression; Zionism as a world power would be crushed; no more internet porn and no more Christmas specials on television. No publicly available electricity in the West.
In just two explosions they had bombed the Western Hemisphere into the stone age.
At least, that was the mythology that had become the accepted explanation. Most of the stories that were passed from one person to another verbally were based on speculation, rumors and whatever prejudice, preoccupation, or agenda of the teller.
A few amateur radio operators kept up their own news nets, but no one knew what to believe and if you were smart, you took it all with a grain of salt; after all, no matter what gossip you heard, most of it had no real bearing on your own current state of affairs.
They were all too often just the idle talk of the frightened and the doomed, who would have nothing else to say once the lives they had known evaporated.
North Korea had very little to lose; their governmental leaders lived lavishly, but the mass of people lived in squalor, in silence, and in the dark. Previous satellite photographs of the island of Korea showed a brightly lit south at night, but above the thirty-eighth parallel only a few scattered lights showed anywhere in North Korea.
India and China were similarly affected, but to a lesser degree. For the desperately impoverished masses who had so little to loose, it was a zero sum game.
And perhaps most importantly, No country seemed to have much need to muck about with the rest of the world, which for the most part had lapsed into complete isolationism.
Or so it seemed, until each of the countries participating in the attack on America and its allies tried to double-cross the other. They quickly rendered each other helpless and crippled with a combination of nuclear and conventional weapons.
First it was Russia and China, then India vs Pakistan, and everybody versus Korea.
The Moslems were not bound by national boundary lines, but religion and culture, and initially they stood together. In fact, it was later estimated that the Moslems had actually instigated the conflicts between the other countries with feigned mutual acts of sabotage.
But eventually even the Moslem-ruled countries turned on each other. The same mind-set that had sabotaged Thomas E. Lawrence (of Arabia)’s effort to unify the mid-east was still in effect.
Malaysia was the first to fall; they were the weakest, and the least unified as far as Islam. Once that chain-reaction started, it would have been very difficult to tell who “won”.
Gandhi had stated that “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind” but obviously, he was wrong…because…
“…In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king”…and that last guy with only one eye could easily escape the last blind guy…(but if you are surrounded by radioactive glass everywhere you look with that one good eye, it’s not much consolation).
Perhaps even more fortunately each had sufficient intel about each other as to quickly and almost surgically attack each other so as to limit any counter-attacks by anyone, so other than some very localized fall-out, it had almost no effect on North America.
Perhaps ignorance is bliss…border disputes in Eastern or Western Europe or Asia had no real affect on someone living in Idaho…or the Florida Everglades.
Elliott had heard stories of people who still chose to live in the cities, bloodthirsty cannibals, burglars, rapists and bandits feeding like vultures on a rotting carcass that was already nearly stripped to the bones.
The trick was to find a place where only certain individuals could survive, and even thrive in the midst of world chaos. The desert, the mountains, the deepest woods, the most isolated coastal regions and their islands as well as the few swamps in North America…and the Florida Everglades, which were really more like a flooded savanna, hence the Seminole expression “River of Grass”.
Virtually all of what constituted an economy was now based upon barter, trade…and theft.
One thing that had not changed was that all too often keeping what you already have can be more difficult than getting it in the first place… “the same as it ever was….”
Those who had something of useful purpose as well as those who could do or make because of what they knew faired much better than those highly trained aristocrats whose careers and knowledge or training were so specialized that they had no survival skills at all.
It was a very bad time for lawyers, public officers, (like judges or government officials), CEO’s, any level of vice-president of much of anything, travel agents, airline stewardesses, motivational speakers, fitness trainers, life coaches, investment bankers, stock brokers, event planners, and pretty much anyone dependent upon performing services for someone else.
State governments were fucked, but the rich and privileged swine who had manipulated them all along just by virtue of what they still possessed; as long as they could continue to barter their influence over goods and commodities, at least had a chance.
The police almost immediately took over most of organized crime, and split what they couldn’t steal outright with those whose mutual interests might similarly prosper in deference to outright gang warfare, which nonetheless still flourished on a regular basis.
Our military forces faced mass desertions, but those who remained managed to maintain a small elite group of forces who operated much like Mosby’s Rangers during the Civil War, ‘’requisitioning” food and supplies as they deemed necessary. All the armed services bases that remained open had to become self-sufficient by hunting, plowing, planting and farming almost every inch of their surrounding land near their bases, including the livestock they now tended.
Elliot was fortunate enough to have worked out a deal with a group of similarly minded individuals who owned a large tract of land that bordered on the Florida Everglades; mostly dry and wet savannas with patches of scrubby timber and wooded areas.
They all had hunted wild hog and deer on those lands together at various times throughout the years. They all possessed and represented a wide range of useful skills. Most of them were what had been called “trades people”.
Most people would have derisively referred to them as survivalists.
Although they themselves had no idea what would precipitate what some would come to call The End of Days, they knew that eventually, something would happen.
They were essentially autonomous, and lived relatively well in an otherwise dystopian and dangerous world.
It was as if the tables had been turned.
Most city-dwellers as well as most suburban commuters not only could not survive outside their protected communities, but they would have little desire to live without the conveniences and trappings that had already enslaved them.
If you can’t seem to get what you think you want, learn to love what you have.

Chazz Vincent

March 19th. 2016


2 Responses to “Once In a Blue Agave Moon”

  1. Goldfinger…
    And perhaps a touch of Philip K Dick. 🙂

    • Yeah…that was a little bit embarrassing. I was not a fan of Ian Fleming’s novels, or the James Bond movies. I never saw any of them, even on TV. I didn’t know that I had “borrowed” that aspect of the plot until I was in the middle of researching something else and stumbled upon the faux-pas by accident.
      I’m still not sure about using it, although I had already figured out a much more likely and plausible plot for executing the plan before I realized the co-incidence.
      As it is,my research has already given me pause to consider that with the way the government is snooping around the internet and generally violating our Constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties in the name of national security, I’ll probably get raided (or at the very least investigated) by some three-letter agency before I’m through.
      My desire for authenticity is at least as strong as my idealism about our rights, liberties and freedoms, and as you will see, it is something of a central theme in this next venture.
      Thanx for reading it.

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