|The Destruction Of San Angeles|
|IC Date:||01 January 2219|
|RL Date:||01 January 2006|
|Story Arc||Brand New Sky|
It is a singularly perfect day in San Angeles. Generations of humanity will look back on this day and marvel at its beauty; a clear blue sky, moderate temperatures, prevailing easterly winds to bring the salty breeze off from the ocean. The riot of color and sound in the city was at a fever pitch, as the Rose Bowl festivities were well under way.
Over a million visitors have come for the Rose Bowl from around the world, adding their numbers to the 50 million humans who normally work and live in the greater San Angeles area. Here is the greatest concentration of humanity on this continent, rivaling even the great megacities of New York, Neo Arcadia, and Rio de Janeiro. The Reploid population has also reached staggering proportions; almost 10 million Reploids seek their fortunes here. It is hard to imagine that nearly 20 years ago, the city was held under siege by only 6 robots.
On the old campus of UCLA, in a building, locked in an empty room, is a cylindrical object approximately 3 feet tall and eight inches across. The object, surrounded in a thin forcefield to mask its radiation signature, is the most desired object in the entire world. A timer has been placed onto the object. This timer has been running for several hours, anonymously running down while the world continued its affairs.
It reaches zero.
The radiation is faster than the shockwave. An electromagnetic pulse slams outward in the first milliseconds, leaving darkness in its wake as it races in all directions simultaneously. Hovercars go dead, radios go silent, cybernetics shut down, neural nets crash or are erased. It is one of the few mercies of this day that those who would be capable of comprehending the speed of the following events are the first to die. The wave of more directly lethal radiation that follows shortly behind it shreds organic matter into charcoal dust, leaving eerie afterimages on any surface stable enough to withstand it.
The primary explosion hits a half-second later. The sky parts around the blast, even the highest clouds scattering to the horizon. All matter within 5 kilometers of the epicenter in every direction ceases to be, reducing to scattered atoms which are swept forward in the thrust of oxygen that is now forced outward from the point of detonation. Dead hovercars, rendered helpless from the EMP, do not even have the ability to imagine they could outrun the shockwave as they are swept into it and annihilated. A wave of superheated debris rides on the outer edge of the shockwave, sweeping forward to further the carnage from the shockwave.
The shockwave travels outward for an incredible distance, propelled forward faster than the speed of sound. Air races back toward the explosion as the wave grows larger and larger, buildings in its path depressurizing before being destroyed by the resulting thunderous blast. Columns of flaming debris are swept forward with the wave, acting like grinders that intensify the damage.
The intense heat from the explosion causes the exposed fissure in the earth created by the crater to melt, creating a sea of superheated magma. The resulting thermal bloom intensifies the flow of air rushing back toward the epicenter, and when air and heat combine, the particulate matter in the air explodes into flames. A burning column of fire races up and away from the point of impact, the earth’s wound spraying fire like blood in a Japanese horror film.
The shockwave flattens almost all of San Angeles to the ocean’s edge, the superheated air and debris flying across the ocean’s surface. The point of diminishing returns is reached as the air, being pulled violently back toward the epicenter of the explosion, loses its power to carry the flaming debris. A huge volume of flaming wreckage begins to crash into the ocean, sending up plumes of steam and smoke as it thunders against the ocean floor miles offshore.
Within seconds, the earth reacts to being so violently struck by the explosion. Those rare few in San Angeles who were not killed by the powerful EMP, atomized by the sharp blast of radiation that followed, were not incinerated or swept away by the shockwave, or had not met their fate by indirect means caused by the previously mentioned causes now endure the largest earthquake in the San Angeles area in 150 years. The superstructure of the city, crippled, now endures a minute long earthquake that would have sorely tested it when it was at its strongest. Seismic stations around the world register the quake as a 9.6.
Flaming buildings split and tumble. Roads rendered into the consistency of warm gelatin shudder and tumble downward, pounding anything below them with molten slag. The rumbling of the destruction is accompanied by explosions swelling up from within the city’s superstructure as various explosive materials, exposed to the carnage, combust to cause even greater damage.
By the time the rest of the world realizes what has happened -- as their seismic equipment registers the explosions, as they see the intense point of light at the epicenter of the explosion from space, as they see the hole in the world’s communication systems -- almost every man, woman, child, and robot in San Angeles is dead.
The fire at the former core of the explosion is not going out. Oxygen continues to flood in, and the particles in the air left by the destruction of a megacity are igniting as they are swept forward. The resulting swirling, burning pillar looks like something out of Revelations, casting its light across the destroyed city. Air traffic that tries to enter the area plunges as the oxygen simply ceases to be able to maintain anything aloft at the perimeter of the pillar, or is sucked into the firestorm and obliterated within the churning maelstrom.
In the Pacific Ocean, the formation of a tsunami heading outward from San Angeles is detected. The course appears to be directing it toward Hawaii, then ultimately the Philippine Islands.
Adding to the situation are threatening rumblings in the Ring of Fire. The disruption on the opposite side of the planet has placed pressure on several active volcanoes. The probability of multiple chained eruptions is rising rapidly.
On the upside, at least there will be no GNNs about the events in the foreseeable future.