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Author Topic: Survivor Stories [The Emergency Dispatcher]  (Read 476 times)

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Offline markusTopic starter

Survivor Stories [The Emergency Dispatcher]
« on: November 12, 2017, 11:25:49 AM »

“We had very little idea of what the problem was at that time. No one did. It was all very chaotic, everyone trying to get through to everyone else. There were dozens of messages going around, and you just didn’t know which to consider and which to discard. And I think what took everyone, all of us, off guard was the speed at which events unfolded. I mean we went from a few scattered cases on the first day to a state of near anarchy by the end of the week, when they started bombing the worst affected areas. I used to work in one of the emergency dispatch offices; we used to handle what were the old 911 emergency calls. By virtue of my position me and a few of the other operators had this birds eye view of... the outbreak.”

“When did I know that things were bad? I think around the fourth day. There had been two nights of incessant ‘riots’ in the downtown areas. And the police were really struggling to cope. They kept asking for more reinforcements. At first they were kind of able to keep things under control but I think towards afternoon of the fourth day we knew things were getting very serious. This was about the same time that the first reservists were arriving on the scene. Around three in the afternoon one of the operators, Charlotte I think was her name, said she had to run home for a short while to check on her kids, so she took off and that was that. I never saw her again. I was the second person out. I do recall someone calling out my name as I left the room but I didn’t turn back and no one stopped me. I made it to the garage and set out.”

“Umm... well driving down the streets was an eerie experience. There were a few scattered demonstrations here and there, I passed a few fire engines which went full sirens blazing, and there was at least one shopping mall which was beset by looters. I passed the street leading down to my neighbourhood and I remember there was this middle aged man sprawled out on the road unmoving and I was getting really bad vibes from that, so decided against going back home. In hindsight turns out that was a good idea because home was fairly close to the center of town where some of the worst violence was taking place. Stopping at a fuel station to gas up was definitely high on my list of priorities but turns out everyone had the same idea, and the serpentine queues at some of the stations I passed led me to discard that line of thought. So I took the main road leading out of the city proper and again there was this steady stream of cars heading out of the city. Not the gridlock which came a day later, but there were definitely more vehicles on the road than you’d see normally at that point of time. As I was heading out of the city I could see trucks of soldiers heading in. I think some of them had face masks, gloves, these full body hazmat suits you see at disaster areas, but most not even that. Thats how little we knew at that point. There were radio stations on still. Most had by then started saying the same thing over and over. Stay indoors, stay away from windows, sit tight, the authorities have the situation under control etc. Of those who choose to stay put I’m not sure how many made it. Especially if one was living in one of these large cities. Those places soon became death traps and no go areas.”

“Where did I go to? I can tell you where I didn’t go. I didn’t head home, didn’t go to a train station, airport, hospital, stadiums, or for that matter anywhere where there would be a large gathering of people. So initially at least I was focussed on getting out of the city real quick. I figured it was some kind of terrorist attack, or a chemical spill, or an epidemic of sorts. Turns out the last option was the closest but uh.. turning out I was right never felt like much of a win. I took the main highway down south till I lost my car, then I picked up a ride with this family heading back up north. The woman was most reluctant to let me take a ride but the man was comparatively more open minded. In the back seat there was me, the son (who had his ears wrapped around some rap album or the other), and the daughter who like the mother gave me the cold shoulder. I travelled with them till Portsmouth where as luck would have it I managed to hitch a ride on one of the Navy ships which had just finished undergoing refit at the naval yard there.”

“Why Portsmouth? Well as I said I started by going in the wrong direction. I was heading south past the airport, down towards Lawrence but quickly realized the situation there had potential to be worse. I mean you had Lawrence and Haverhill, both decent sized settlements, 60,000 plus souls in fairly close proximity. It was not as bad compared to where I was coming from but it was getting there. I think thats also when I realized that this was all over. This was not something which was restricted to a certain town, city, probably the entire eastern seaboard, the entire country was affected, and that was a troubling moment. After Lawrence I wandered around Salem for a while then headed up towards Kingston National Park. There I came across a gas stand on the highway. Stopped to get a refill, check out the drug store, visit the rest room. And by the time I was back someone was fast taking off with my wheels. This was around 6 in the evening. Luckily I ran into that family at that very same gas station. They were heading north towards some lighthouse. I don’t remember the name exactly. It was a camping trip or so they said. Did I tell them what was going on? I didn’t know much myself. But yes I told them to stay away from the major cities, that there were riots going on, that the National Guard had been called out. They didn’t seem all that concerned. I got down at Portsmouth, where the situation was better than Lawrence but again going downhill. I headed towards the Naval yard which was under lockdown. Military police were deployed all over the place. Luckily they were taking a select number of civilians who would be expected to work on a ship undergoing refit. I put my name up, thankfully got selected, got a berth on the Port Royal and have been there since.”

“I think the fact that I avoided the major population centers early on kinda contributed to my survival. I also did not pause to pick up anyone along the road, which I do kinda feel guilty about now but back then...I guess I was a lot less trusting of people in general. That I ultimately got safe passage on a ship heading out to sea was also a very decisive factor. Had I decided to head home, hunker down, wait out the storm, or for that matter, chance a visit to the airport, or had I not managed a berth on the Port Royal, or any of a dozen other scenarios, I dunno whether I’d have made it. I'm extremely fortunate, and thankful to be here.”

“My name is Reuben James and you've been listening to my survivor story.”
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 11:30:37 AM by markus »