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As with all my stories, the first part is very rough, IMO. But there's explosions! I blow up part of Boston! I had to resist making Starbucks jokes when I blowed up some of Seattle too. ;)
Chapter One - In the Not Too Distant Future
In the year 2019, nuclear weapons became obsolete.
Something far more dangerous struck out at the world on that day in March, and nothing was ever the same again.
After one bleak morning in September, many years ago, is when things started to change. Tactics began to shift as security measures tightened.
The world grew darker, although many people saw little change. it was slow at first, in distant corners, hidden labs, buried under so much secrecy, even some within their own governments didn't know such places existed.
These people, these scientists, these radicals, wondered what could be next for humanity. Would we continue to dig our own graves, destroying the planet with our weapons, and petty squabbles? And when anyone could set off a bomb somewhere, when everyone was a potential target, how could would it be possible to be protected in such a world?
These men toiled away in their underground bunkers, far from prying eyes, trying to find that light in the darkness. It had long been theorised that there was untapped potential within mankind. That there were abilities just beyond the grasp of mankind, that could be unlocked, and utilised, creating a better tomorrow.
It was because of fears of just such genetic engineering, and cloning, and every other genetic science, that these experiments were kept secret. If the scientists unlocked something, found that hidden potential buried within us all, and discovered the next rung up the evolutionary ladder, it had every potential to blow up in their faces for trying to play God.
A race was on to find that hidden potential, because whoever could found them, would have a leg up in the next great arms race. In each race, there are winners, and losers, and whomever it was that was able to find a way to create their own living weapons, could very well take the lead as the next, great world superpower.
The trouble with keeping secrets, is the number of people who know about them. Whispers of dark, government projects had been circulating for many years, even before the 21st Century, ranging from aliens, to technology, to pharmaceuticals. The truth was another matter entirely, and maybe in some way, was the source of all the theories, as people picked up pieces and half-heard rumours that could be barely considered the truth.
Imagine the threat a nation - or a group - would pose if they had people, everyday people, that were living, walking weapons. They could go anywhere. They could do anything. No more profiling, no more tracing stolen goods, no more tracing bomb supplies, either before or after they went off. Why would you need to, in such a world? If merely the presence of a person is to have a weapon in the room that could kill everyone there, or take down a building, when they no longer need to aquire supplies, and can do all their damage with their hands, the world becomes a very different place.
And on March 10th, 2019, the world awoke to just such a place.
Even now, the details of what happened that day are sketchy, and yet burned into everyone's memory.
What is known has been pieced together from eyewitness accounts, videotapes from the now-prevalent security systems, and several other factors.
A man in his late 20's, described as being rather nondescript, of apparently American descent - although at the time there were some differing opinions on that front, as some people refused to believe an American could do this to their own country - and wearing nothing more than a pair of jeans a t-shirt, entered a government office in Boston, Massachusetts, shortly after it opened up in the morning.
Security was as tight as usual, and he remained in the lobby for a time. He watched as people came to work, the pencil pushers in their suits, doing the business of making the city run, passing through the large smoked glass doors, the heavy brass frames striking together with a thud that reverberated throughout the cavernous lobby.
The security guards kept a close watch on him, wary of any and every person they saw in this new world order, and since he was remaining outside the main building, just inside the front doors, they did little more than watch.
It wasn't long before one of them decided this man was suspicious though, and stepped past the various security barriers between the lobby and the main part of the building. With his hand on his handgun.
The guard placed his hand on the young man's shoulder, and in the next instant, the offices, the building to either side of it, and across the street were no more, instead replaced with a great, giant fireball. The glass doors shattered outwards ahead of the flames, lacerating the people walking past on the sidewalk before they were burned.
Debris was flung through the air, that which wasn't reduced to molten slag, or obliterated into a fine dust. Some of it fell inwards, mostly from the tops and sides of the buildings furthest from the epicenter, and crushed the people that had survived up to that point, burying the rest in the carnage.
The explosion even flung cars through the offices opposite from the government facility, an IRS office, and back down the streets, causing further damage, taking out cars, and making others crash into the veritable wall of cars that had quickly formed from the cars that had been flung like so much Matchbox vehicles by an angry child.
It took some time for the paramedics, police, fire department, and other emergency services to get anywhere near the blast center, forced back from the large, burning fire that was raging in the heart of Boston, and the ensuing chaos and detrius blocking the paths to the buildings.
Everyone back in there homes hunkered down in front of there tvs to watch the latest attack, as news came in. They called loved ones, to make sure they were ok, or let them know that someone they knew was in Boston that day.
This was far from the worst attack ever on American soil, but the nation had grown complacent. It had been a long time since anything major had happened, and all the changes in security, and freedoms had, arguably, actually made the nation safer.
But this was something new. Something frightening.
Eventually, the rescue services were able to clear paths through the cars, and people, and start taking care of the danger. Once they were able to get to it, it was easy enough to put out the fires, and soon they were.
No one knew exactly what happened for some time, as no trace of explosives or accelerants were found, outside of normal building materials, and what would normally be explosive in the area. A gas main was quickly ruled out, and examination of the scene clued them in to where the epicenter was, but they could find no clues, as the explosion and heat had cleansed most physical evidence and people.
Several days of fear passed, as the area was cleaned, and bodies were recovered, as well as pieces of bodies. Many people volunteered their time, and once again, hearts and wallets opened up to support the clean up effort, and families of the victims.
Miraculously, some people survived on the fringes of the explosion, and in protected pockets of collapsed buildings, and no one could point out anything out of the ordinary, and on the survivng security footage in the off-site computer storage showed nothing overly anomalous.
Everything remained quiet for a week. No one came forward to claim responsibility. The nation just sat and watched, waiting, and fearing. Until another, similar explosion rocked a regional FBI office in Seattle, Washington.
Once again, it carved out a neat, perfect crater, and once again, there was no evidence that could be tracked back to anything, or anyone.
It was only a matter of days before another explosion, exactly the same, blew up in Florida.
After the third explosion, people were beginning to become more and more certain that these were not accidents. The first in Boston could maybe have been explained away by just a random freak occurance, but once three very similar explosions and gone off, taking out government buildings each time, the threads of coincidence began to break.
That night, all the major channels interrupted their coverage of the past ten days of tragedies to report on the first people to come forward and claim responsibilities for the attacks.
The video was grainy, but not of a horrible quality, and the room they were in was an average wood-paneled room, with a large, dark knot in the design beside the tallest conspirator's head.
There was three of them on the tape, all apparently males, and each of them dressed in black jeans, and in brown trenchcoats and gloves. None of them held any weapons, and there was no sign of flags, or signs on the walls. Everything was plain, and simple. They didn't wear hoods, as far as could be told by people viewing the video, as they had opted to digitally obscure their faces and voices instead.
"People of the United States," started one of the electronically garbled voices, apparently the middle one, if the movements he made was any indication. "We are the First Strike movement. We have grown tired of your country's imperialistic agenda. For too long, you have thrown your weight around. For too long, you have not acted as the police of the world, but as the tyrants of the world. People shall either believe the way you do, or they shall be destroyed.
"We have learned much from your government. If you continue in your path, we will have no choice but to continue in ours. We will give you time to cease your actions, to withdraw from the sovereign nations you have corrupted to your own agenda, but if you do not follow our warnings, more attacks shall happen, and you cannot stop them."
The camera zoomed in on the blurred face of the speaker, as absurd as that may have been after they had gone to the trouble of removing their visages.
"The clock is ticking," and with that, the screen went black, returning to the news coverage, and discussion of what had just occurred.
Most pundits rightly assumed that the government would not negotiate with these terrorists, and held their ground, believing what they were doing was right. They did exactly that, refusing to give these people even one inch to force even wider a very dangerous door.
The sites of the previous explosions were eventually cleard, and repairs began, while everything else slowly returned to a semblance of normalcy.
After a few months, people began to believe the First Strike group were bluffing, or not truly responsible, and wanting to claim it, seeking to make themselves important. Even more people began to think that maybe they were just all freak accidents again.
However, complacency lead to surprise, when two months later, the entire staff of one of the senators of New York was found dead, without a single mark on them. Another videotape was left behind, inside a circle of dead bodies, sitting on the floor.
The bodies were arranged around it, like guards, or a bullseye outline. They were untouched, and an untrained eye might at first believe they were simply alseep. There was no bruising, outside of a few marks that looked as if they were incurred while falling to the floor, fainting.
When the tape was played, once again on the news that night, the familiar scene of the plain room, with the three men, and the tallest in the center addressing the populace.
"Did you not hear our words? Did you not believe that which we said? We gave a clear warning to one and all. We know you heard it. We know you all heard it, just as you all will hear this. We have struck again. We will continue to do so. Do not ignore us again."
He stepped forward, looking squarely at the camera, or so it seemed. "I realise that it may be difficult to believe us. How can we be doing such things? Such attacks, with no trace? Allow my associates to demonstrate."
The leader moved backwards, more against the wall, and the slightly shorter man to the left stepped forwards, resuming the place his superior had taken. He held his hands up, and several small objects that were out of sight of the camera lense floated upwards, likely from the floor, and circled in the air, arcing in increasingly complex manuevers, before passing closely by the lens, then off camera, and they could be heard clattering to the ground.
That one went back to his place against the wall, and the third man came forward, and leaned over, picking up a small brick, and held it between his hands, and it exploded into a fine powder, and burst of flame, inbetween his hands.
Once he had taken his place beside the other two, the leader spoke again.
"You may dismiss such displays as mere tricks, special effects, but I can guarantee they are real. We are the first of a new wave of humanity. And we will not stand idly by as the United States destroys what little future we may have.
"This is your final warning. If we are not heeded, our abilities will strike again."