Chapter One: City of Towers
| Authors note:
This is a story about the tragic events of 9/11/01. It is my attempt to tell the story without causing controversy, and it is inspired from a conversation with my teenage son earlier this year. He seemed confused about the reasons behind the attacks. The events of 9/11 had a profound effect on me personally, so I asked myself some fundamental questions. Do I write about this? If I do, will I be able to finish the story faced with the harsh criticism from readers? Finally, if not me, then who would?
This story is rated 13+, as a result of mild language and mild graphic dialogue. While my target audience is teenagers, the story also appeals to adults as a reminder of the savage attacks that shook this nation to the very core of its essence. A great deal of research has gone into the dialogue. While I have written this story as fiction, testimonials from actual witnesses and transcripts of actual accounts have been used to keep this story historically accurate. I have added some humor throughout to provide needed breaks from the graphic portions of the story. Quick links at the end are provided for the next chapter if you wish to continue reading the story.
I would appreciate any comments from my readers.
Ruins of The Great Library
by Larry Appleton
Monday July 15, 4127
Eirelav Forsyth, an archeologist and historian working on a research project at the University, is digging at the ancient sight where the Great Library once stood. She was born naturally into the New Order, a rarity, since most of the human race was hatched from the cloning farms. This entitled her to special education opportunities in her community. She was afforded higher education normally available only to those who were genetically engineered for the learning process. Eirelav grew up keenly aware of the stark difference between her and the rest of the community. Her long auburn hair and jade-colored eyes set her apart from the blond, blue-eyed females born from the farm. Furthermore, her slender build and bronze skin is much different from the shorter, fair-skinned female clones. In Grade School, other cloned children teased and made fun of her, calling her green-eyes. This became worse in High School with the local boys avoiding her and considering her ugly. However, Eirelav had one advantage over the other students. She was smart. Even the instructors, noticed the difference between her and the other children. This compounded the isolation she had to endure through school and caused her to be somewhat shy and timid.
When not studying, she often finds herself daydreaming about love and adventure. Her thirst for knowledge is quenched only by reading as many books as she can get her hands on. Eirelav needs only to look to her backyard for the material she needed for the insatiable desire she had for history. The community she lived in is built near the ruins of an ancient city and within these ruins lays the remains of a great library. It would be this library, where she would devote most of her time discovering secrets buried long ago. She is now in her second year of college at the Community University. One of her desires is to find and restore the literary works from the dark ages.
Eirelav, leading the excavation at the site, determined that this site is the remnant of an ancient library. She is disappointed that most of the books had been destroyed when the nuclear weapons fell on the city. Of those that survived, most had rotted away over the last two millenniums and were impossible to restore. Some however, survived and were now being discovered under thick layers of debris.
Drake Lowe, supervising the crew at the site is called over by one of the workers. "Mr. Lowe, Mr. Lowe. Please come quickly, we have found a relic from this quadrant!''
Eirelav, hearing the excitement surrounding the workers, followed the Supervisor to the location of the find. "What have we got?" she asked.
"See for yourself. It looks like it is a human skeleton," replied the Supervisor.
While moving some of the rubble, she found a human skeleton clutching two books and a manuscript. To her delight, they were in relatively good shape. As she gingerly dusted the books, the words began to unveil themselves. The trilogy was titled, “Legends of Legion.” Parts of each book were damaged, and the manuscript was hand written. However, Eirelav was confident that she could restore all three. She gazed in amazement at the first book, “The 17th Son.” Her excitement grew as she read the titles of the other books, “The Butcher of Babylon,” and “A New Order.” She simply could not wait to restore these books.
Eirelav returned to the studio apartment she rented near the University, Passing through the hallway, indirect lighting would automatically began to illuminate her way. Energy was scarce, and motion detectors are used to efficiently control its use. Eirelav began the arduous task of restoring the books. Her apartment, although small, was filled with books. With the exception of her kitchenette, every wall was filled with hundreds of books she had collected. These books were different from the books she was finding in the ruins of the city. The books in her personal library had been handed down from the generations of her family and described only current history or simple stories. Interesting as they were, she especially cherished the ones that she found from the ancient past Retiring to her bedroom she carefully set the books down on the bed table beside her. While inspecting the books, she noticed something odd. All of the names and places were censured, blacked out for some unknown reason. Eirelav found herself filling in those parts with names and places of her own while staying within the context of the story. She began with the first book, “The 17th Son.”
Legends of Legion
The 17th Son
The City of Towers
** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
It was a beautiful and crisp September day as Glen made his way toward his new residence in the City of Towers. Fresh out of college he was looking forward to his new job as a journalist for the local newspaper, "The New City Times." Glen grew up in a small rural community, and loved the outdoors. Camping and fishing, are some of his favorite pastimes and Glen especially enjoyed the scenic beauty of the country side. Glen would have to leave all this for his new job in the city, and he did not know how he would make the adjustment. Glen dreaded thinking about working in a big city. He would probably be cooped up all day in some small cubical, typing editorials on current events most of the day. But the bottom line was the money he would be making at a larger company would allow him to move forward with his life.
Glen decided to travel by land vehicle by way of one of his favorite roads leading to the City of Towers. This country road took him over some small hills that overlooked vast green pastures, dotted with Black Angus cows. In the distance, a large great Oak tree, stripped of its leaves, stood naked against the clear blue sky. Glen marveled at its beauty. As he approached a winding creek, he reflected on a broken tree house, abandoned long ago. He wondered how many fond memories this place had made for the children who once played there. Further down the road, he managed to startle a flock of starlings that immediately took to the sky. There must have been hundreds of them. It looked like some black ominous cloud, darting this way and that, in an intelligent uniform flow.
He also looked forward to visiting his good friend, Mayor Rudy, whom he had known since childhood. After topping the next hill, he could see the city in the distance. Something was terribly wrong. Smoke billowing from the two main towers within the city. Could they be on fire? He hoped not because these two towers were home to many workers and he feared for their safety. What Glen did not know, were the peaceful years that Acirema had enjoyed, was now lost along with its innocence. Glen was horrified by the sight of the two towers ahead of him. Each of them had large holes in them and was burning furiously. As he got closer, he could see the Fighter of Fires and Peace Officers racing toward the buildings, their sirens wailing along the way. Glen saw debris falling out of the holes and windows of the towers and shreds of paper were falling all around him like confetti during a parade. Citizens of the city stood frozen, staring with terrified eyes at the two burning towers. When he got closer, he realized in disbelief that the debris he saw falling were actually citizens jumping to their death, trying to escape the intense fires. Approaching a Peace Officer, he was immediately directed to a command station, closer to the towers. The Command center was in total chaos. Leaders of the Firefighters were scrambling to organize the evacuation of the towers. This was no easy task because both towers were more than one hundred stories tall.
"What the hell happened here?" Glen asked.
"With all due respect sir, I am trying to evacuate more than twenty thousand people right now. You may want to speak to the Mayor about this; he is over near the communication center." He had a frantic look about him and disappeared back into the chaos, spitting out commands over his radio and cursing at the bad reception. Glen found Mayor Rudy, operating one of the many telephones at a table in the back of the room. As soon as he saw Glen crossing the room, Mayor Rudy quickly finished what he was saying to the other person over the phone and had a deputy take over.
“Glen," he shouted over the noise, "we need to talk.” Mayor Rudy and Glen walked into a private room. “Mayor, what happened?”
“You’re not going to believe this but I believe we are under attack.” The Mayor replied
“We’re under attack, by whom?”
The Mayor began explaining the events leading up to the disaster. He told him that about nine o’clock this morning, an air transport plane had crashed into one of the buildings. At first, everyone thought it was an accident. However, about ten minutes later another plane had hit the other building as well. To the witnesses, it looked intentional. He added that every measure was being taken to evacuate both buildings.
“Is there anything I can do for you?” Glen asked.
“I’ll take any help I can get,” replied the Mayor.
The Mayor tried to use his cell phone to call the State Department, but all the lines were jammed. Trying one of the emergency phones, he managed to get through to the Department of Defense. A General Powell answered the phone.
“Departments of Defense, this is General Powell speaking."
“General Powell this is Mayor Rudy, what in hell is going on?”
The phone line went dead and after several attempts to reach the general. The Mayor walked outside of the Command center and began observing the two burning towers. Glen followed the Mayor’s gaze at the two towers.
Both towers had gaping holes in them and were now fully engulfed in flames from the impact area, to the top of the buildings. Glen was about to get the Mayors attention when he heard a low rumble coming from the direction of the towers. Looking back, he was awestruck as one of the towers began to implode from the top down. It was almost as if he were watching the event unfold in slow motion, as floor after floor disappeared from the skyline. A thick white cloud of dust began bellowing up from the ground around the tower and expanded outward toward them. Glen heard the Mayor yelling at him to get back inside the Command center.
He and the Mayor barely had time to get back into the Command center when the white cloud of ash rushed past them. Almost immediately, the bright sunshiny day had turned to eerie twilight, as the ash began to settle. The noisy command center was now completely silent. Citizens outside began to straggle and stumble into the center from the streets. They looked like ghosts. Their entire bodies turned white by the ash cloud. Other citizens, in shock, wandered aimlessly outside. Still others had injuries, and the command center immediately sprang into action setting up a triage for them. Glen could hardly believe the insanity of it all. Daylight began to return as the dust cloud dissipated. He went back outside to see if any citizens needed medical attention.
Glen was relieved to see the other tower still standing, but still burning, sending a thick black plume of smoke high into the sky. Glen remained outside, peering at the second tower. He felt helpless, unable to help in any sort of way. He thought about all the citizens that may have perished when the tower collapsed. Returning to the Command center, he located the Mayor.
“How bad is it?” asked Glen.
“We don’t know yet. I do know that many Fighters of Fires and Peace Officers were in the building at the time of the collapse and I don’t know their status at this time.”
“Very well. I’m going back outside to see if I can help out. Let me know if you get any more information on casualties and rescue efforts.”
Glen went back outside. The scene that unfolded before him was staggering. People were running away from the towers as fast as they could. Many were screaming, terrified at what they had just witnessed. White ash that fell like snow flakes covered everything, cars, trucks, buildings and anything else that remained unprotected. Most citizens covered their mouths with cloth to avoid breathing in the ash.
Gazing back at the second tower, the unthinkable happened. Again, a low rumble preceded the collapse of the second tower. Glen watched as the radio antenna on top of the tower sank down. Floor after floor disappeared from the skyline. He felt sick as he ducked back inside the control room. The falling tower created the same conditions as the first. This time it was worse. The white ash cloud was thicker and completely blotted out the sun, turning day into night. More citizens ran into the Command center and it was becoming crowded, and chaotic.
All communication was now down, except for the radios that the Fighters of Fire and Peace Officers used, and even those did not work well. Glen quietly said a prayer, and waited for help to arrive.
Glen realized that this was his first big story, and decided to write everything down. Meanwhile, similar events were taking place at the Octagon in the Capitol city.
After restoring the first chapter of "The 17th Son," Eirelav began to realize that the story was familiar somehow. She remembered reading somewhere about tall towers during her classes in secondary school, but couldn’t quite put her finger on the exact book she read. In any case, she did know that the author’s description of the plant, and animal life during that period of history was going to be invaluable to the Botanists at the University. Little is known about the animal and plant life of the dark ages before the war.