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"Firetongues"

"Firetongues"

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Published by Polaris93
The Eris War, Volume 2: The Dragon from the Isles. Book 1: Independence Day. Chapter 5: Firetongues. The events of July 16, 2022 e.v, the first day of the Two-Day War, and how these affected the Ransdells. No high ground anywhere.
The Eris War, Volume 2: The Dragon from the Isles. Book 1: Independence Day. Chapter 5: Firetongues. The events of July 16, 2022 e.v, the first day of the Two-Day War, and how these affected the Ransdells. No high ground anywhere.

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Published by: Polaris93 on Oct 16, 2010
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01/18/2011

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Yael Dragwyla and Rich RansdellFirst North American rightsemail: polaris93@aol.com9,000 wordshttp://polaris93.livejournal.com/
The Eris War
Volume II: The Dragon from the Isles
Book 1: Independence Day
Chapter 5: Firetongues
Suddenly the scene shifted to one of a street in a devastated city under a smoke-filled sky, a lovelydark-skinned woman in gray coveralls standing in the foreground, holding a microphone. In the background there were men working on what appeared to be a generator, and two more taking awaygigantic batteries from the field-unit’s vehicle. The men had probably just finished changing the batteriesthat were used to power the cameras and the blip-squirter feeds back to the TV station, hence the generator,which they’d have used to keep everything running while they pulled the discharged batteries and replacedthem with fully charged ones. Clearly, at least in the case of this unit, either they weren’t able to tapelectrical lines in the area or, more likely, electrical power had already gone out where they were, acasualty of progressive failure of the national power-grid due to this day’s horrific events.The woman’s pleasant voice answered: “ Yes, George. Ready to go.“Ladies and gentlemen,” she said, now looking directly at the camera as it moved in closer, “hi. I’mElaine Dressler with the KTTV News Bureau in Portland, Or- er, I mean, KTTV Oregon News AffiliatesBureau. I’m . . .” Chewing her lip for a moment, she said somberly, “At the moment, we are not sure whatthe status of anyone in Portland, Oregon is, nor whether I am still with their bureau, because of thetremendous disaster that occurred here in the Pacific Northwest earlier this morning. At the moment, weare unable to re-establish communication with our main station in Portland. When . . .” She bit her lipagain, then said, “If and when we are able to communicate with the main station again, you’ll get their report direct from Portland. In the meantime, we will be interviewing various members of the staff andfaculty of the University of Oregon here in Corvallis, as well as others, such as police, fire department personnel, local citizens, and anyone else able to shed some light on what has happened here. – You there,sir!”
 
Day of the Dragons
By Yael R. DragwylaPage
2 of 11“Yes?” The camera swung around to cover a stocky, bearded, red-haired man in early middle age,who was flanked by his wife and their four children. His wife, who was both older and slightly taller thanher husband, had turned her head away as she fought to control tears. Their four children, who lookedutterly exhausted, had dark circles around their eyes; their expressions were frighteningly reminiscent of those of war refugees from Bosnia or Rwanda. The clothing of all six family members was so smearedwith ash and grit that it was hard to tell what its original colors had been. The man had several small cutson his face, and one of the children, a red-headed, fair-skinned adolescent about 13 years old, clearly muchyounger than his three siblings, had a bruise as gaudy as a sunset that covered the entire right side of hisface.“Cathy, I’m gonna go into the spare room and use your computer to try to get on the Internet. I’ll turnon the little TV you’ve got in there, too, all right?” I asked my wife.“Do you have them hooked up to a UPS?”“Yeah, remember? I did that a week ago, testing that unit. I never took it out.”“Okay,” she told me. “I’m going to fix lunch in a bit, want me to bring it in to you?“That’d be real nice. Thanks,” I told her as I headed for the spare room.Shortly after that I had hooked up the universal power source, had the tiny little color TV we kept inthere hooked up the USB and tuned to the same channel the other one was on, and was booting up Cathy’scomputer to see whether I could get online. On the TV, Ms. Dressler was asking the father of the familyshe’d been interviewing: “Are you – I notice that you and your family seem to have, er, just arrived here atOUC campus. Were you . . . er, do you know anything about what’s happened up north of us, here?”Dressler asked him.“No. I have no idea,” he said, sighing heavily, sounding a little loopy. “We just . . . we were drivingup US 101 from the Bay Area to get back home from a trip we made to visit friends down there. It was stilldark, about 4:45 a.m., I think, not exactly sure, we left San Francisco around a little before midnight. Iwanted to get back here this morning to take care of some business and we couldn’t leave last night, butanyway – there we were, driving up 101, when this huge flaming rock just . . . just fell from the sky, rightin front of our RV. I . . . I was able to dodge it, but . . . we went off the side of the road and onto the vergein the process. Bumpy ride. We . . . we found a side-road nearby, took that – by then, there were giganticrocks falling all over, the trees were starting to catch fire because some of the rocks were so hot, flaminggravel falling all over the place. We made it, though, I guess because there’d apparently been a large stormover most of this state last night, everything was drenched in the area we were driving through, and firecouldn’t make much of a headway there. So we didn’t have to put up with
that 
as well as those damnedrocks falling all over the place . . . I say we made it, but only to here. Our home is actually on SouthwestJefferson Avenue, over in Corvallis, and we haven’t been able to go on from here to see if our home is stillthere because there are firemen all over the place over there and they aren’t letting anyone in. But they toldus that so far, our house is safe, and they think they can keep the fire contained so it won’t get anywherenear it.”“‘Fire’?” Dressler asked him.“Haven’t you
 seen
it, lady?” one of the girls suddenly yelled. “Look at the
 sky
, willya
 
 – there’s smoke
everywhere
, and over that way you can see it’s all orange and red!—” he told her, waving to indicateeverything north, east, and south.“Er, and, er, may we have your names?”“Oh, sure, I’m sorry, I’m just so . . . wiped out,” the man said. “I’m Ian Turnbull, and this is my wife,Kathé.”“Pleased to meet you,” Kathé Turnbull told Dressler, her voice low and subdued. She sounded bone-weary, and looked it, her gray hair, matted and filled with ashes and soot, straggled about her face as if ithadn’t been combed in days.“And these are our four kids, Waldy” indicating the youngest, “Tesfaye—” – a boy of about 12, theone who had spoken before – “—Mestowet, and Asnacech—” – two girls, the first perhaps 18 or so, theother maybe 16.“I – they’re all . . .
 yours?”
Dressler squeaked. Her expression was a bastard cross between a crookedsmile and wigged-out astonishment.“Of course they are!he snapped. Then, collecting himself, he said, “I’m sorry, it’s just that I’mGoddamn’
tired 
. Yes, they’re all ours.”
 
Day of the Dragons
By Yael R. DragwylaPage
3 of 11“Tesfaye, Mestowet, and Asnacech are from Somalia!” Waldy volunteered proudly. “We a
dopted 
’em!” he said, looking over his brother and two sisters with a proprietary air. His siblings grinned back athim fondly.“Somalia – oh, they’re
adopted!”
Dressler said, her expression changing from totally confused torelieved, as if someone had just told her that nobody had slipped LSD into the punch, after all.Holding up a dark hand, Tesfaye said belligerently, “You got a problem with that, lady?” With all thedignity of outraged adolescence in defense of his parents, he put a protective arm around his father, who,with a fond look at Tesfaye, grinned broadly.“No, no, of course not!” Dressler said, chuckling weakly. “Just – it’s not a situation I’m very familiar with.”“What – adoption?” Tesfaye asked her, rather meanly.“No, uh, well . . . Uh, anyway, Mr. Turnbull, was it very difficult to make your way here fromHighway 101?”“It wasn’t too bad . . . We’d just passed Yachats, going north on 101, when that . . . rock came downout of the sky and I had to dodge it. When we were able to get back on the road again there, everything had begun shaking and the ground was rolling under us. For a minute there I thought I was going to be seasick,it was so bad.”“I
was
seasick,” one of the girls said quietly. “It was
awful!”
“Yes,” Mr. Turnbull said. “Anyway, about a quarter of a mile up there was this logging road that took off east from 101. I managed to drive back onto 101 north of the rock that had come down and make it thatfar without getting hit by anything, and we took the logging road and followed it up to where it connectedwith State Highway 34. When we got to Alsea, though,
another 
rock came down in the middle of the road,hitting when we were about 200 feet or so from it. I wasn’t going very fast at that point – so much crapwas falling from the sky by then that the road was covered with it, lots of loose rubble and that sort of thing, and I couldn’t make very fast headway. So I’d slowed down, gotten into first gear, and was takingthe bumps as easily as I could – you see that bruise there on Waldy?” he said, gesturing to indicate the red-headed boy He got that when I was coming off 101 onto the logging road at top speed, to get away from arain of hot rocks that started coming down all over the freeway there, and hit a pothole. We were lucky Ididn’t roll the RV. Anyway, poor Waldy was thrown against the side of the back compartment, where hewas sitting then, and that’s how he got that bruise.“But there was another road that took off from 34 there, going north, in the general direction of Corvallis. We took that, and when it didn’t turn east, we found another road that led off east from the firstone, and took that. By then, we were out of the worst of the bombardment, and made pretty good timegetting to the university. Like I said, when we tried to go home, the firemen directed us here.”“How long ago . . . when did that first rock hit, when you were driving up US 101?”“I . . . don’t remember. Maybe a couple of hours. Or more. Or less. I just don’t know,” he saidwearily. “From what some of the people here told me, it was probably about two-three hours ago, becausethat’s when they think that whatever it was happened up north, you know, in the Seattle area.”“How do you feel now?”He looked at her, his eyes narrowed. “Now, how the hell do you
think 
I feel, ma’am? I’ve beendriving for 2-3 hours straight, trying to save the lives of my kids and my wife, not to mention my own,from a flaming hell that suddenly fell on us out of nowhere! A rock went through the windshield and I gotglass cuts all over my face, and we don’t know if we’re going to have a home to come back to yet! Oncewe all had to get out and push the RV over a giant hole in the road somewhere, which is why we’re allcovered with soot and grit. And I haven’t had anything to eat since last night, and neither have my wifeand kids!”“Mr. Turnbull – Mr. Turnbull, I’m so sorry,” Dressler told him apologetically. “Uh – they’re settingup a mess tent over that way, next to the physics building” – she pointed – and they should have coffee andsoft drinks and something to eat for all of you by now.”
Good!”
he snarled. “God, I could eat a whole Goddamn’
rotten mule
by now, I’m so hungry! I coulduse a nap, too – so could Kathé and the kids.”“Mr. Turnbull, why don’t you go over and get something to – oh, hello, Chief Barnes.”Striding toward them was a tall man, his face covered with soot and grime, wearing the uniform of thechief of the Corvallis Municipal Fire Department.“Ian!” he called out as he came up to them, a wide smile on his face.

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