Chapter 1:

Chapter 1 "Lockdown"

America Stranded In A Fantasy World


June 15th, 2040: United States White House

“Can someone, anyone, tell me why my red line to Russia just went dead!” John Dresden, a first-term president and having only been in office for six months, yelled over all the personnel in the Oval Office before one of his secret service agents grabbed his right arm.

“We need to get you to the Emergency Shelter now Mister President.” John nodded and followed. Just outside Vice President Harold was also being escorted.

“What the hell is going on Harold?” John walked shoulder to shoulder with him, confusion on both their faces.

“Communications have ceased function along with us losing contact with all of our satellite communication.” Harold stated before fixing his gaze ahead of them as the secret service team opened the doors to the war room. The words hit John hard, had China found out about the deal and is attempting a pre-emptive strike? Surely the Russians hadn’t sold him out… We both gain massive advantages from this treaty.

Inside the war room, the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of the Navy, Director of the CIA, and many generals either sitting or standing around a glass table. Dozens of files were scattered across it, many with red text plastered across them.

“We need to go to DEFCON two and prepare for the worst. I have already scrambled every fighter and setting them up to protect our important structures and dense civilian populations.” One General stated, causing the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to jump in.

“What good does that do if the Chinese or Russians have launched nuclear ICBMs! We need to retaliate with full force--”

“We will do no such thing, Edwards!” John barked, causing every head at the table to turn to him with concerned looks. “I was just on the line with Russia to finalize a defensive agreement before all communications went dark. We will hold off until we can get a firm understanding of what the hell is going on. In the meantime, I want the Navy and Air Force to use every radar installation we have to watch our coasts and to report anything they see. I don’t even care if it’s something that we would normally ignore, I want to know about it. In the meantime get in contact with NORAD and have them on full alert.”

“Mister President, our entire communications array has gone dark, we can’t contact them” One of the aids responded. John’s face contorted.

“Isn’t there a NORAD site here in Washington?” John questioned, the aid simply nodded. “Then fucking drive there and inform them!” He pointed to the doors and the aid sprinted out.

The Emergency Shelter was nothing short of an orchestra of chaos, with people scrambling in all directions trying to get information on what was going on and how the entire US satellite and communication networks went dead. Many hours passed with most, if not all, of the Presidents’ staff sweating bullets waiting for anything to happen. But so far, apart from the complete satellite and communication blackout, nothing else had occurred.

“Mister President!” John turned around to see the aid he had ordered to the NORAD site had returned, panting.

“The NORAD base here has re-established communications with some of the systems but it’s extremely fuzzy. They also stated that they have still not heard from our Canadian counterparts yet, only American. They are requesting we set up a hardline as soon as possible, sir.” The aid forced through heavy breaths.

“Thank you, you look like you could use a break. Go and rest for a bit, we aren’t out of this yet son.” John smiled, shooing the aid off he turned back to the table. “Where are we with the radar screen?” The Chief of the Navy stood up.

“Nowhere near complete sir, the communications blackout has made it near impossible to give out any orders. We are relying upon those who did get the order to spread it by whatever means necessary.”

“Any reports on any attacks or movements by our adversaries?” John shifted his gaze towards the generals and the director of the CIA.

“No Mister President. From what little information we have been able to gather no attack has occurred yet. But we have a more pressing issue sir. We have lost contact with all of our SSBNs. If we can’t get contact within fourty-eight hours they will launch their payloads as protocol states.” With a heavy sigh John’s face filled with frustration.

“Do whatever you need to do to get contact. I am not going to be remembered as the President who started world war three!” Anger filled his voice. Seeing his superior destabilizing from the gravity of the situation, Harold places a hand on John’s shoulder.

“Go and cool yourself off John, I can handle this.” Harold gave a sympathetic smile. Taking a deep breath John just nodded and walked off to find somewhere quiet.

Finding a private office he shut the door and sat down in the leather chair, grabbing a pen he flicked it between his fingers, trying to calm himself down. “How the hell did this happen? And why now of all times?” He muttered. Time seemed to warp around him as he went over scenario after scenario inside his head. Everything from a Chinese hack to aliens finally deciding to invade earth, nothing was off the table to him. “Expect the unexpected”. One of the many things his father taught him.

His train of thought was broken with the sound of footsteps growing louder outside his office door. Losing focus he allowed the pen he had still been flicking to be launched across the office.

“John, how’ve you been coping?” Harold opened the door, holding two mugs of coffee. He handed one to John before resting in a spare chair.

“As well as one can in a situation like this.” John cracked a smile, sipping from the black coffee, he could still hear people running around outside the office. “Everyone still in a panic?”

“Try terror. In all my years of politics I have never seen this place so...chaotic.” Harold sighed.

“Hey, that’s why I wanted to keep you here. You showed the public during the last administration that you can lead and take charge when needed. We’re gonna need that now more than ever once this mess is fixed.” Harold couldn’t help but smile at Johns words.

“I only broke a tie-breaking vote! I still don’t understand why people are so--” Harold stopped when he saw John choke on his coffee.

“Wh-what the fuck do you mean you don’t understand? You broke nearly thirty years of bi-partisan voting and kept both sides working together! You managed what a lot of our predecessors couldn’t. Take some pride in your work for once.” John replied, trying to stifle a coughing fit.

“Well, I could say the same about you, John, ever since the pandemic, the world’s economies have gone to shit and we've suffered hard from it. Sure the past administrations tried to fix it, but you wrapped a chain around it and in four months pulled it back! Granted it’s still not pre-pandemic levels but it is better. Now with war looming, the end of the Second Great Depression may just be how we win.” Harold simply stated, raising an eyebrow as John laughed.

“Ahh, the good ol’ military-industrial complex. The backbone of America’s might and wealth one could argue. And it seems it’s about to be tested, for better or for worse.” As the two laughed, faint but frantic footsteps grew louder before reaching their door.

“Mister President, Vice President! We have just received an uplink request from one of our satellites!” One of John’s many aids practically threw open the door leaving John and Harold both startled and relieved with this news. Wasting no time they leaped from their seats and ran out of the office to join the rest in the Emergency Shelter.

“Mister President, we are starting to reconnect with our satellites and Edward is right now on the phone with some of our off-shore bases. We will soon have everything back online but…” The aid paused, taking a quick glance at the massive monitor on the wall that gave a display of all their satellites both online and off. “We can’t find any other countries’ satellites or the ISS.”

John raised an eyebrow at the statement. “What do you mean you can’t find them? Do you think they all just decided to de-orbit their satellites? He chuckled before Edwards marched into the room still on the phone.

“I need you to be absolutely clear and repeat what you just told me as I now have both the President and Vice President in front of me to hear this.” Edward places the phone into a speaker device in the center of the table and turns it on. “This is one of our primary Military installations from Germany.”

“This is Major General Walter of Ramstein airbase. Just before the communication blackout every soldier, myself included, experienced being temporarily blinded by a bright white flash. After that I sent a bird into the air and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, every building outside of Ramstein is gone.” Silence filled the room with some of the members going chalk white and sending the Joint Chief sweating.

“W-what do you mean gone? It was bombed? Nuclear strike?” Harold knew it wasn’t the last one but his mind was working faster than he could process what he was saying, like many here, he thought the three-way war had started.

“No Vice President I mean in every sense of the word ‘gone’. It’s either forest or the occasional open grassy field. I have recon-craft in the air conducting a 500 hundred-klick circle patrol around the base, so far none have found any settlements, foreign radios, or anything other than--hold on one moment please.” The call went silent for a few painful minutes before Walter came back.

“I just received word from one of the recon-craft and they have spotted a village approximately one hundred klicks from the base, they are attempting a closer inspection, I’ll call you back once I have something.” With the call ended, heads began to wander around the table.

“So is this the same for the other bases?” John crossed his arms, shifting his gaze from the phone to the satellite monitor.

“It would appear so Mister President. The bases that we have contacted are all repeating a similar story. A white flash followed by the base being suddenly surrounded by familiar albeit unknown territory. So far none have made contact with the respected host nation or anyone apart from Ramstein.” Edward’s breathing was heavy, this had to be the worst security threat his department ever had the privilege of dealing with.

Half an hour passed with more bases and satellites being reconnected while the President and his fellow advisors were either sitting or standing watching the phone. Finally, the phone began ringing, Harold practically slammed his right hand on the answer button.

“Please tell me there is some good news about this shit show Major.” John sighed. It was a long shot but maybe, just maybe there was.

“I-I don’t know what to think of the situation Mister President, let alone speak about it. I’ve sent the video and images the recon team gathered and...Lord help us all…”

A horrible chill went down everyone’s spine while the video from the aircraft circling a village and enhanced images were posted to the side. Audible gasps were everywhere in the room as many tried to process what they were seeing.

“Why does this look ripped straight from a medieval setting? The clothes and tools in the fields…” Harold questioned

“Try fantasy.” John interjected. Pointing to one of the many humanoids who had stopped what they were doing to watch as the aircraft circled their home.

“By God are those...Animal ears?” One attendant questioned. Murmurs and quiet conversations began filling the room.

“Edward, push that DEFCON order to every base we have contact with. Call up the reserves and have the national guard on high alert. I hate to say this but by the looks of it, we are no longer on any identifiable location.”