At the conclusion of One Second After, the arrival of General Wright and his column of US Army troops and equipment sparked a wave of hope among the survivors in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Wright explained that he was leading his men to Asheville where he would assume the duties of military governor of Western Carolina. While his men distributed rations to the citizens Wright took Matherson aside and explained the situation both at home and abroad. It turned out to even worse than Matherson had been led to believe by the limited news that reached Black Mountain over the previous twelve months.
The number of deaths nation-wide was in the hundreds of millions. The pulse essentially turned back the clock in the US by over a century. Electrical grids were fried, most aircraft, cars and electronic devices irreparably damaged. People dependent on medications and other types of medical treatment to live soon found their days numbered. Next came the famines and illnesses which did the most damage in the Eastern US. Estimates were that only 10% of the pre-war population remained in the east. Florida was practically depopulated, the majority of residents there dying off in the early months. Major cities such as New York and Washington DC were now empty and burning. Conditions were slightly better in the Midwest and out west. Smaller populations in the Great Plain states and more readily available food meant that in many cases over half of the pre-war populations of towns and small cities survived. Yet this was of little consolation to John Matherson. As a former Army officer and history professor, he was aware that the United States as he knew it was finished.
Internationally, the situation was as bad as he expected. North Korea and Iran were responsible for the attacks and both had felt the wrath of American vengeance. US forces were also engaged in a number of small wars that brewed up as a result of the EMP, though most military assets that had been abroad were now home. Along with the detonations over the US, missiles also exploded over the Western Pacific, blacking out Japan, and Eastern Europe. Practically every major country in the world, with the exception of England and China were affected directly. Amid the chaos overtaking the world, China moved 300,000 troops into the Western United States, ostensibly as a relief mission. They pushed out to the Rocky Mountains, and it appeared that the Chinese were in the US to stay. Mexico then moved military forces into the Southwest, claiming it was done to counter the Chinese presence in California.
The story put forth by William Forstchen was a glimpse into the worst-case scenario. Whether it is realistic or not will hopefully never be known. EMP is a mystery in many ways and its effects on modern electronics are unknown. There are many theories and redacted information from military tests available for people to read and study. Many folks who worked with strategic forces in some manner during their service careers have a fairly good idea about EMP effects, but even then, its just speculation. Unless a nuclear warhead is detonated at the edge of space, we will never know for sure if Electro-Magnetic Pulse is as bad as some people believe.
I was going to go farther with Part II, but time is becoming a factor. So, I’ll put off talking about the EMP Fiction genre until another time. D+22 primer entries start going up tomorrow night. Get your Ray Bans and sunscreen ready. 😊