The Bigger They Are...

The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was the biggest, most expensive, most powerful, and most technologically advanced warship ever built for the United States Navy. The great ship along with its accompanying task force comprised of six escort ships and one Fast Attack Submarine was seventy-five miles off the coast of Virginia when the first day of the harvest began. The ships were hardened against an Electromagnetic Pulse attack and were able to maintain nearly full combat readiness after the initial blasts from the sun. The loss of light from the sun was also not a huge problem as the ships were used to maneuvering in darkness and in storms at sea. They did lose a couple of aircraft and some electronic equipment, but overall they were confident that they were ready for anything. Intel reports coming into the control center were very confusing but it was obvious that the Country was under attack, but by who? Information was scarce because all they were receiving came from hardened military communication systems along the East Coast and it was confusing, one report spoke of large earthquakes happening around the globe, or were those earthquake signals coming in due to the use of some type of superweapon? When the first reports of giant ants came in no one knew what to make of it. Then the task force was ordered to Chesapeake Bay and the mouth of the Potomac River to provide support, and air cover for the immediate evacuation of essential personnel.

The orders and the situation on the ground were confusing and concerning for Captain Sam Prichard who had only been in command of the ship for a little over a month. His first order then was to launch reconnaissance aircraft and for communications to be established with any and every military or civilian police force's on the ground and for them to collect all available intel. He needed to know immediately what he was dealing with, what aircraft should he launch and what kind of weapons loadout would be best suited for the situation. The reports of ants made no sense to him, but after a moment of consideration and a few more reports of giant ants, he consulted with his officers then ordered every available aircraft armed with weapons suited for use against ground forces. All available Helicopters from the task force would be ready to begin evacuation efforts when they were within fifty miles of shore, these would be supported by the F-35C Lightning II's from Strike Fighter Squadron 97.

What Captain Pritchard had no way of knowing at the moment was that the North American Tectonic Plate and all of the other Tectonic plates around the world had begun to decouple and would begin to drift within hours. But large earthquakes had already shaken the mountains and valleys of the deep, and volcanic islands were in the process of collapsing into the sea. Already the first of several giant tsunami waves were heading toward the Task Force at more than six hundred miles per hour. Later even larger waves would form and slosh back and forth as the great Continents themselves moved, jostled, and reformed themselves into a world that would be unrecognizable by any human that survived the harvest.

The reconnaissance aircraft finally gave the task force leadership the intel they so desperately needed, and it was not a pretty picture. An innumerable army of ants was attacking all along the coast and there was simply chaos on the ground everywhere as people ran, hid, and fought for their lives. The skies were full of thousands of birds flying in what appeared to be every direction, they as well as people and animals were all looking for safety. When the ships were in sight of land the birds began to cover the masts, rails, and decks. They were everywhere, and they hardly moved out of the way as the sailors walked and worked among them. Jet aircraft could no longer land or take off because of the birds, the crew tried forcing them away from the ships using firehoses but the birds just circled around and landed again. Marine One carrying the President of the United States was inbound and they were coming on board despite the danger of birds being sucked into the engine air intakes. When the helicopter came to rest Captain Pritchard was already on deck ready to greet the President amid a storm of feathers. It was then that the collision alarm sounded!

Water was rapidly receding out of Chesapeake Bay and the big ship was about to find itself grounded, but Sam Pritchard could already see the wave building in the distance. Motioning to the security detail the Captain grabbed the President's arm and raced toward the closest watertight door. The wave hit even as the locking mechanism for the door was being engaged, the great ship groaned and began to rise rapidly borne higher and higher and pushed inland by the wave. After being carried a little over two miles inland the bottom of the hull began to make contact with land objects that had now been inundated with water. The stern of the ship struck something solid creating a large hole below the waterline and swinging the ship around in a wide arch so that the bow which had been facing North was now pointing Southeast. Then the entire ship ran aground with a bone-jarring finality. It stood upright momentarily and then the ship started to swing around from the force of the now receding water and at the same time she began to roll over on her Starboard side. Men and anything that was not bolted or otherwise secured in place crashed against the inside hull in a thundering crash and to the sounds of grinding and buckling metal floor plates and bulkheads. Captain Pritchard was shaken up but otherwise uninjured. The President had a fractured arm and two fingers on his left hand were dislocated, the Secret Service detail was already trying to move him to sickbay through doorways now laid sideways, they were being helped and guided by a Chief Petty Officer and one of the Flight Officers.

The ships two A1B nuclear reactors had automatically shut down during the shipwreck, but now they were without any electrical power and were laying on their side. If sitting upright then there was the possibility of starting some natural circulation current to cool the hot fuel cells, but since they were laying on their side that was not an option. Ordinarily, the engineering officer would be flooding the containment room to supply some cooling and attempt to prevent a meltdown, or at least to immediately cool any fuel that might escape the reactor vessel, but the engineer was dead, his head cracked open after striking a large steam valve. The ship was aground so they could not simply flood the space with seawater. The crew members that were still ambulatory began working on the problem, it was either find a way to cool those reactors or run and where were they going to go?

The engineering department worked to get the reactors cooled while the Captain and the rest of the crew that was not seriously injured started taking account and checking for damage, especially to the hull. They found the large hole in the aft port quarter and got the compartment sealed off just in time, as they could already see some of the ant scouts beginning to search through the flood zone where the seawater had receded. It had only been a little over an hour and they had just completed setting up a patchwork of firehoses and a battery-powered pump to start filling the reactor compartment when the next wave hit. The big ship groaned again and bashed a path through the debris another half mile inland spinning around ninety degrees while doing so. She was now resting in a wooded area between Cherry Field Airport and Drayden, Maryland.

The primary relief valves on the reactors were opening every five to ten minutes with a loud roar relieving to superheated primary cooling water overboard, minor fuel cell damage had occurred in both reactors so the water was definitely radioactive, but it didn't really make much difference at this point. The remaining men that had not been injured during the second wave now completed the makeshift reactor compartment fill procedure, but it would take all of the onboard water, including the drinking water, to have any hope of filling the compartments. The ants had again returned and the men could hear them crawling over the hull outside, but what the men did not know was that the ants were also listening to them, or at least the vibrations that they were creating in the hull.

Whenever the ants found life in a sealed container, like the USS Gerald R. Ford, and they could not gain entrance no matter what they tried, then they would simply bury the object under a mountain of dirt. There were military tanks, concrete enclosures, underground bunkers, and many other sealed rooms that the ants could not dig through or find an entrance into that had been berried all over the world. If the ants could feel the vibrations of machinery, people talking, or any other indications of life at all they simply covered it over completely even if they had just completed digging the object up. So while the crew worked on the inside of the ship, the ants began working on the outside. Thousands of ants worked tirelessly encasing the marvel of modern naval warfare in a mountain of rocks and loose dirt.

The efforts to prevent a reactor meltdown had worked, but now the men had little water to drink and their supply of fresh air had been completely cut off by the ants. When the crew tried to get out and discovered that the ship was now underground a furious attempt was made to dig their way to the surface. But even if they had succeeded before their air ran out, the ant scouts were up there waiting for any signs of life.

It would be thousands of years before the ship would be discovered again by future archeologists. It would then become a National Treasure for a distant generation, similar to when Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered by our civilization. The big ship would yield a wealth of information about a great disaster that had come upon the earth long ago. Some scientists even believed that this type of disaster was cyclical and might happen again one day, but no one took the research seriously. Stories that had been passed down of a great worldwide disaster were considered just a myth, and discoveries like that of the demise of this huge war machine of the past were blown off as just being some localized event.

Part 1: Prelude

Part 2: The knowledge of the desolate

Part 3: The Beginning of the End

Part 4: Answers Come Suddenly to the Longsuffering

Part 5: WAR!