The Hubble was the first to notice the phenomena. Something large was moving in space. So large that it blanked out the stars as it passed. Based on the blanks and reappearances speed, size and direction were plotted by advanced computers. At first there was no cause for alarm for the mass seemed to be heading for another quadrant in a neighboring galaxy.
Steven Chang was the first scientist to see the change. He turned to fellow astrophysicist, Bill
Wagner excitedly and blurted out, “Hey what is this?”
Wagner looked over to the screen where Chang was pointing starring to grasp what the man was excited about. “What do you see?” He asked perplexed cause after long hours he did not see a difference.
“It changed direction.”
Wagner starred at the screen. “Holy crap” he stated rather unscientifically.
But there it was. Not only a change in direction but a change in size?
Both men at four in the morning with a ton of coffee in them took a look at each other. They both thought the same thought. Whatever they were looking at was something new. They had no idea what it was but in their collective knowledge they knew paths do not change unless something affects them.
“We better contact Ed” Wagner said reluctantly. He did not look forward to waking his boss at this time but it was protocol and Ed was a stickler for rules and regulations.
He picked up the phone and pressed the button for Ed Wilson and waited for the “What the hell do you want” from the other end.
“We picked up something in space and it has drastically changed direction in less than a minute.”
“This better not be a clinch.”
“No we checked it a few times and ran the computer”
Ed was quite for a second as he yawned and wiped his eyes. In the back of his mind was the movie “Independence Day” which he had seen recently for the hundredth time. But of course that was impossible. What would invaders want from us unless they are collecting stupidity and putting it in a bottle? Back to the business at hand. “I will be there soon. Keep looking at the monitor and see if it changes again.” He hung up the phone to get dressed. His wife was still fast asleep so he moved quietly but she could sleep through a nuclear detonation without arousal.
Wagner hung up the phone and joined Chang to start plotting out the course. They had the change of direction at a thirty three angle and then Wagner entered the room. He looked a little disheveled but he was now wide awake. “Any other changes?” He inquired.
“Not so far.”
“Are you sure of the first change?”
“It was over thirty decrees. Quite a bit of a veer and nothing we can think of could have caused it.”
“Has the computer figured out where it is heading?”
“It seems to be heading to sector nine.” In the back of his mind that was where they had discovered a planet similar to earth only recently.
Sector nine was far enough away as to be no threat to earth. This was just a scientific dream to view the action without having to worry about implications to earth. As of now it was watch, record, calculate and observe. With no threat Wagner went for a coffee mug and started to pore himself some needed java.
The next few days the staff of Lab 17, a small group of committee members who oversaw them and a head of a department in the white house were they only ones who had knowledge of PIS 245. That was the code name assigned to the project in space which was now monitored continually. It seemed to go in a straight line and posed no threat. Then at ten o’clock Tuesday morning it veered again. A sixty decree veer. Tensions in the room of the now twenty staff members went up accordingly. It took the computer a few minutes to digest the new information. Meanwhile everyone in the room including Wagner, Chang and Wilson had a deep negative vibe that this was not something random. Everyone kept it to themselves waiting for the computer but now the usual chatter turned quiet. Ed Wilson was given the data and in seconds his face turned slightly whiter. “It seems to have changed course again, and again for no apparent reason.” Everyone in the room waited for the shoe to drop. “It seems to be heading for our solar system”
In the room were professional people with brains yet every one of them had a feeling of urgency and yet there really was nothing they could do about the information. There was a possibility of another change of direction and even if the thing or whatever it was came close it still was not a threat. But in the back of their minds those movies of alien invasion still seemed to linger. Each person had their own movie reference but for most “Independence Day” or “The Day the Earth Stood Still” were the most prominent and that gave them anxiety. Wilson made the decision and now the joint chiefs were
Brought into the circle of knowledge of PIS 245. Still it was wait and see only soon the probability of other countries and even some really good amateurs with really excellent apparatus could note PIS 245. Now was the time to slowly come up with PR on how to handle the situation. The world population needed to be left out of the equation because they could not digest the information properly and a few nut jobs could cause panic which would result in chaos. Right now the situation was in hand and the less people knew the better off the world would be.
The Frank Reynolds Observatory in Australia was equipped well enough that they reported the first worldwide report. Of course their observation went viral. Within a day the entire connected earth knew of the approaching entity. Speculation went rampant. Could this be the first encounter? It was still far enough away but the anxiety level was going up and crazy stuff was being said. A month passed. No veer and now the back of the hair of humanity was standing erect. Whatever it was, it was heading to our small space in the cosmos. The scientific community was doing their analysis. The military was attempting to figure out what to do. Then it vanished. Somewhere around Saturn this huge thing disappeared. We even had a probe on the launch pad to send out and record it. Now it would be sent out but picked up nothing. The world sighed and television shows had a field day with scientist trying to explain what happened. Books were published quickly to satisfy the curiosity of the masses and make publishers rich. Yet nothing seemed plausible. Something that large just does not go away.
Unfortunately it had not.
It was a typical day in Manhattan. People commuting to work. The population on the island was close to ten million. Ten million people scurrying around in cars, subways, trains, cabs or walking down streets with names like Park Avenue or Thirty Third Street. It was half past eight.
Edward James had just bought his morning coffee, a bagel with a smear and sprinkled donuts from Dunkin Donuts. He was just exiting the store to go to work at the security exchange when he collapsed to the pavement. As he collapsed approximately one million fellow New Yorkers also fell to the ground. Chaos reigned as people around the affected people called 9-11 to aid their fellow commuters. Some of the affected were in the process of driving cars. Mohammed Ari was one of these people. He was a hack driver who collapsed while driving down 45th Street. He crashed into the car in front of him injuring himself badly. Susan A. Bailey was in the tub. She slipped under the water when it hit her. James Baker was on a skyscraper scaffold when he was hit and fell twelve stores to the pavement. One out of ten New Yorkers collapsed at exactly half past eight. Chaos was everywhere. Yet no one was affected outside of the Island of Manhattan. Ambulances scurried to the downed people. The EMT’s did their initial check. Blood pressure normal. Breathing okay. Pulse normal. Yet each person lay there unconscious.
Yet and curiously still those who were in dire situation, the cab driver Ari, Susan under water, and James on the pavement were alive. Susan was especially noted on the following news casts for she was under the water in the tub for hours and yet she lived. James should be dead. His injuries included a crushed skull and numerous broken bones from his fall yet he was still alive. All three were sent to New York University Hospital where they were given rooms on the same floor. They were kind of lucky because even the corridors of the hospital were crowded with people on gurneys waiting to be seen by overworked doctors who were distraught because some of their colleagues were part of the unconscious group and they could not figure out what they were dealing with. Within twenty four hours thousands of New Yorkers fled the island of Manhattan scared out of their wits for they feared something else could be coming. As they left in mass they passed the brave rescuers entering the city to take care of the fallen.
Exactly twenty four hours after the incident, now referred by the media as “The Collapsing” the people affected came to. Over a million people all opened their eyes at the same time. They acted as if nothing had happened. Rumors spread like wild fire. Was this the rapture? Was this a Biblical Warning? What was next? People were frightened. There was a certain wave of paranoia centered on this miraculous group who were now termed “The Fallen” People started to stare at them. There was no reason for it. They acted just as they had before. Tests were made on many of them.
Doctor James Moore worked for the CDC. It was his job to interpret the data coming in for the many field units who worked with private doctors started the huge task of monitoring close to one million people. Of this group twenty seven stood out. Technically they should have died and yet like Susan A. Bailey they survived. There seemed to be nothing special about these people before or after the incident.
It was Moore’s assistant Phil Barkley who noticed an even stranger thing. It was now two months after the awakening and there a semblance of order settled the chaotic times. As Barkley went over file after file he started to read about miraculous occurrences in some members of “The Fallen.” Some of the group who had aliments now were free of their problems. There was Willy Freeman, a twelve year old, who had a bad case of asthma and had to carry around his puffer now seemed to be free of the aliment. Now weeks after his unconscious he did not need his medication anymore. His doctor could not explain how or why but Wiley’s lungs were clear. In other patients of the group diabetes seemed to
Be erased, blood pressure problems gone, kidney stones dissolved and even more puzzling overweight problems were faced and those with extra flab now worked out and watched their diet. None of this made any sense but it had a negative effect. It further distance the group from the regular population. It flamed a prejudice that real or not was getting a lot of attention from the media. There were now even hate crimes against the group. Barkley found these facts disturbing but his scientific mind started to list the group as to get a handle on what was going on.
Based on the influx of information there was 652,432 people known who were affected by the phenomena. The race did not seem to be a factor. Male and female was approximately even. Age did seem to be a factor. The majority were between twenty and thirty. There were a small group of children, teenager and older people. But in the past two months one thing stood out. None of the group had died. In fact the group was extraordinarily healthy. Those who had probable seemed to have them corrected or where making a concerted effort to correct the situation. The group as a whole eat better and became interested and practiced physical exercise. Even gyms noticed the increase in their new enrollments. The problem was the group was shunned by the regular members.
In fact this shunning was happening everywhere and the people who were “The Fallen” now tended to become more reserved and stayed away from those who had not been affected. This caused problems between husbands and wives, parents with their kids and even co-workers on the job.
Three months had passed. Things were taking a same old, same old attitude as the humdrum of life continued on. Yet none of “The Fallen” had died. Not even the older ones. Susan stopped giving interviews. How many times could she say the same thing? Yes, she should have drown but she did not know why and there was nothing special in her physical evaluations.
John Hardy, FBI agent, assigned to the “Fallen Group” project was a central hub. Information came in from all the field agents and he reviewed their findings. He noted most of the people who had jobs, still worked them. Unknown in most circles the FBI now traced all the bank accounts of the group. There was influxes to these accounts which seemed to indict that members of the group were getting extra money from somewhere. Hardy assigned a few agents to a few of these people to tail them and see where the money was coming from. Within a week the mystery was solved. Of the ten people selected to be followed all of them were betting on the lottery and winning. Nothing large but $500 was not uncommon. Each of the ten hit that amount at least once and four times a week hit $200. The average of the ten was over a thousand dollar a week. That would be enough to raise eyebrows but even more intriguing was the fact that they went to different locations each time as if they were avoiding being known. Hardy started checking many of the group in the twenty to thirty year old and noted they all were now lottery winners of substantial total amounts. It was just too much of a coincidence. Then one of the tagged members, David Wright, an electrician, single and twenty six years old took a small trip to Indiana where he bought a mega ticket on Friday. Saturday night he won the mega, worth one hundred and ninety million dollars. He elected to pay his taxes up front. It still left him with a small fortune. The Indiana lottery plastered his name and had him interview with the television channels of the area. It was as if he were reading a script. He would buy land in this fair state of Indiana were he could live peacefully and not be bothered by people. The reporters mentioned
That he just came to Indiana from New York and he was one of “The Fallen”. He tended not to dwell on that but did mention he had a dream with the numbers he selected and on a hunch bet on those numbers. True to his word he bought a huge section of virgin land in a remote area of the state. Later in his television interviews he noted that many of “The Fallen” found it difficult to be accepted as just plain folks by fellow New Yorkers. He invited them to join him in Indiana where he would build a town where acceptance would be the rule. On hearing this many of the group, especially the single men and women packed their bags, got into their cars and pulled up stakes to resettle in Indiana.
Three days after David Wright’s invitation to Indiana and the western trek of many of
“The Fallen” an incident happened which hit the newspapers. One of the group, a Mr. McDougal, 66 year old and going strong died. He lived with his children and grandchild in the Bronx in a brownstone. His room was upstairs. His grandchild, Timmy was bringing him some tea and was outside his door when heard a buzzing sound. He entered the room and saw his granddad in his favorite rocker with his head leaning forward on his chest. A mist, or at least that’s what it looked like surrounded the old man’s head and then it scooted out of the open window to his left. His grandfather was dead.
Within days there were other incidents all resulting in the death of a “Fallen” Unfortunately Susan was among this group. She became totally despondent since her miraculous survival and one day just walked into the ocean at Coney Island. Her drowned body was discovered on the beach that morning.
In all over a hundred people who seemingly were indestructible now were dead. In some incidences the mist was noted but in most cases the dead died alone. Of the original group three thousand had headed to Indiana. Of the rest some were now dead and of the others there seemed to be a relapse to old habits. Those who were overweight were back to their bad habits. Asthma in the young which had disappeared now reappeared. It was if the remaining group who had not moved on to Indiana were back to original before the incident. Of those going to Indiana it was now hard to track them.
Wright property called “New World Eighty Two” or Newt for short had placed a perimeter around the acreage and hired a vast security force from entering the area. Reporters were stopped at the barbed fence that now surrounded over one thousand acres of rather desolate land. The over three thousand people inside built houses for living quarters and a huge warehouse facility. Surprisingly no schools were on the drawing board, no police station, no fire houses and no recreational facilities like movie theaters or bowling alleys. There also were no hospitals and not even doctor clinics. The group comprised the twenty to forty year old population and even though one might think this would be a productive group of child rearing capacity there were no reports of pregnancies. This was even stranger for there was no drugstores in the small community and no birth control preventives were being sold in the town.