Answers Come Suddenly to the Longsuffering

Due to the alert level being raised to orange for the start of the WPPC plan for saving civilization, every participating organization around the world had convened emergency meetings that were all connected via conference calls. The order to raise the level to red and begin the evacuation must be a unanimous decision and all stations must start in unison or it was believed that a delay might panic the population at large and derail their efforts. Transportation for those having been selected to participate was being readied so that the process could begin at a moments notice. There was a frantic effort underway to finalize last minute preparations, accordingly all underground access points were opened and supply trucks were bringing in loads of last minute items openly, many box store employees were seeing the secret openings to the vast tunnels for the first time and wondered what could be happening.

Cover stories had already been sent to every major network news outlet about the possible immanent threat of alien invasion, and videos of strange objects entering the solar system were being beamed out to televisions all over the world. Don't panic was the mantra, these intelligent life forms may be friendly but the governments of the world are taking precautions against the possibility that they may be hostile. Non essential employees everywhere were then given the rest of the day off and sent home to be with their families. In some cases employers even gave their employees a gift bag loaded with some emergency rations or other supplies. We must all stick together they said, don't worry we will get though this and be back to normal in no time, they proclaimed.

The big think tanks full of the worlds great minds argued the merits of starting the evacuations immediately verses the danger of jumping the gun and starting too early which would certainly throw the entire world into a panic destroying the very cavillation that they were attempting to save. So far they had reached no consensus, about forty percent wanted to begin the evacuations immediately while the majority wanted to wait for further confirmation.

The Atlantic Gulf Stream had all but stopped, and ocean currents everywhere were showing major perturbations. Giant storms had formed in both the Atlantic and the Pacific but thus far they were not posing a threat to any major land masses. There were earthquake swarms being reported both in areas where they were known to be frequent, and in areas where there had never been any such swarms reported in the past. There were reports of strange booming sounds and groaning noises like the earth was in pain, scary yes, but was this enough to launch the massive planned evacuation?

While the debate raged in the Think Tanks and within the halls of the various Governments, Gary Johnson was dealing with the reality of the situation on the ground. He had a backlog of underground storage rooms to inspect and seal, and the list was growing by the minute as truck after truck arrived trying to unload fresh supplies. Word had come to him that the Southwest tunnel between Greensboro and Charlotte was blocked on both ends by some kind of a cave in, which made no sense at all since these tunnels were constructed of reinforced concrete. It was possible that some kind of earthquake tremor had collapsed one end of the tunnel, but extremely unlikely that both ends could have collapsed. He arrived at the Greensboro side right after lunch and could not believe his eyes. The tunnel was sealed all right, but with fresh dug earth! It would have taken at least a couple of hundred large dump trucks to have hauled in that much dirt, but what was really weird was that it was not completely loose dirt. The red clay dirt had been rolled into small balls from the size of marbles to the size of basketballs. Gary caught himself staring at a baseball sized ball of clay that he didn't even remember picking up. He took out his phone to call it in, but what was he going to say, who would believe this?

What Gary didn't know at the time was that it was not just him and not just in North Carolina, the same scenario was taking place at locations all over the Country. As the doors had been opened to bring in the extra supplies before ordering the beginning of the full scale evacuation, it was discovered that many of the little used tunnel sections had been mysteriously blocked off. This should have sounded alarm bells ringing at the ongoing emergency meetings in progress, but instead local crews were ordered to handle the problem and an emergency call for excavating tools was issued. Frantic engineers ordered crews to work non stop to clear the tunnels and get the steady stream of supplies being trucked in stored away as soon as humanly possible.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world across parts of Europe, India, and China, rockets with attached living pods were being fueled and prepared for launch so that they could be ready at a moments notice. The Chinese delegation who had been pushing to advance the alert to red and begin evacuations were already secretly moving their crews to the launch sites. In China the Government kept a very close eye on what was happening on the ground in every district, and orders had been given to Party leaders to report anything unusual no matter how minor it seemed to be. For over twelve hours they had been receiving alarming news from outlying territories of marauding insects, mysterious cave closures, animal disappearances, and multiple earthen dam failures without any known cause. It had also been reported that contact had been lost to several remote communities and rescue teams sent to investigate had failed to report back.

All military units from every Country had been put on alert against a possible alien invasion. American Naval Officers were very skeptical of this news since most of them knew that stories of extraterrestrials were simply a hoax to get greater funding for military projects in space. This was a common tactic by military brass, they loved to create an enemy and then beg Congress for the money to defend against the threat. What better threat than some evil creatures from outer space? No matter what these young men and women leading America's modern Navy thought of the situation, every seaworthy warship was hurriedly loaded, manned, and sent to sea with vague orders to patrol waters greater than fifty miles offshore. It would make for a good drill they thought, but it sure did put a crimp in the shore leave time of all the enlisted sailors. The officers would then have to deal with poor moral and the grumblings of the young sailors whose carefree in port lifestyle had been cut short. The whole alien story would be the perfect cure for that, they would just play along with it and give their crews something to take their mind off of their misery.

Civilian aircraft had been grounded and replaced by constant fighter aircraft overflights and fleets of helicopters tasked with searching the area around military bases and major cities for any unusual activity. Armor units were being dispersed to strategic locations where there were stockpiles of fuel and ammunition. Non essential civilian auto traffic was also ordered off of all Interstates and four lane freeways in order to keep these free for rapid troop movements or evacuation routes. Citizens sat scared in their homes glued to the news networks or connecting with family and friends online searching hungrily for any new information. Keep calm was the mantra from the White House and capitals everywhere. There is no need to panic, everything was under control and the people would be informed of any new developments.

But everything was decidedly not under control, the red light for evacuations had still not be lit and when the decision was finally made it would be way too late to do any good.

There are always regular preppers scattered among the people, these are the skeptics, the conspiracy whisperers, those who have read about surviving an apocalypses and who have put in hours training and a little money each month toward stockpiling emergency supplies. Preppers everywhere began to implement there various bug out or bug in plans. Some hid in their underground bunkers, some moved out of the cities to the countryside where they could be surrounded by family or neighbors and defend themselves against whatever happened. Some simply boarded up their homes and huddled in their basements or safe places. These were the first besides the military to take action and they would be some of the ones to survive the first day of the harvest.

In the middle of the debate on whether to evacuate or not and while all of the final preparations were still being made, those on earth's sun facing side observed something not witnessed before in modern recorded history. The sun blinked several times in rapid succession, each blink was associated with a massive X class solar flare followed by a coronal hole stream more energetic than any ever observed. On the final blink the sun remained dark except for the occasional balls of fire representing large coronal mass ejections around the edges, those mass ejections that were directly aimed toward earth were invisible to its inhabitants as were the steady stream of energetic particles heading their way. Within minutes circuit boards were fried everywhere that faced the sun, and the resultant blackouts and communications failures grew as the world turned on its axis. Darkness was quickly settling in and with it came confusion. But it was not just the darkness that led to the confusion, the bodies of mammals, including humans, and the birds also, felt the electromagnetic pulses disrupting their own internal electrical circuits and processes. Many humans and large mammals died of heart failure over the next few hours, others could not think clearly and they wandered in circles or collapsed into quivering balls of one epileptic seizure followed by another.

The sudden burst of energy from the sun also started changes deep within the earth, this would become much more intense over time as the slower moving energetic particles began to reach the atmosphere and cause huge bolts of white hot lightening that would melt rock down to the mantle itself. Over the next few days the crust would break into it's various pieces and begin to float freely, the displaced land masses would bump against each other, turning and twisting as they did so. Eventually every land mass area would be relocated, the oceans would slosh back and forth during the process drowning millions of living creatures. In the end these oceans would become smaller than before, and the land masses would now be larger and flatter with much less pronounced mountains. The new high point on earth would be a mere fifteen hundred and seventy feet, and in the end a person, if any remained, could find water almost anywhere within six to ten feet from the surface.

The world was only an hour into the first day of the great harvest, an hour that saw many of the immense efforts of humanity to survive wiped out in one quick and totally unexpected moment. The great rockets filled with fuel burst into flames or toppled over during the severe earthquakes that came with the sudden shock of energy. People everywhere were dazed and confused, those who had been chosen to enter the shelters now began to get themselves together and try to make their way to one of the staging areas, no need to wait for a signal now. Most of the people that had been sitting at home watching the news believed that earth had been struck by some powerful alien space weapon, many armed themselves and started preparing for an invasion.

But deep in the caves and caverns, the armies of ants began to exit their hiding places by the billions. They varied in color and size but they were all single minded in purpose. They were driven by instinct to hunt, to kill, to forage, and to bring their queens and the newly hatching eggs of phase three food from the great harvest. How convenient that humans had stockpiled high energy food in underground tunnels, tunnels that the ants had hijacked and used as part of their launching pads for the harvest. They swarmed out of hiding and began the assault destroying everything in their path. Large worker ants carried grotesque body parts of farm animals, deer, and humans in a never ending stream back to the hive and the queen. Foragers stripped the land of trees, grass or anything else that could be pulverized into pulp and digested or used as building material. Whenever a large body of water was encountered the ants simply gathered anything that would float and constructed ships using debris locked tightly in place by those underneath it all who had sacrificed themselves in order to advance the harvest to some distant shore. The ants paid no attention to the sun nor to the earthquakes or even the multitude of volcanoes that were spewing hot lava and ash. They simply worked around all these obstacles and problems and kept moving and harvesting as they went. Most of the people did not know who or what their enemy was, they were just seeking shelter and trying to survive another hour. Later, on day two, the military and some of the civilians would band together and put up a fight, but day one was a day of confusion, panic, and disorientation.

The Great Harvest (Part 1)

The Great Harvest (Part 2)

The Great Harvest (Part 3)