Bryan wiped his hands on his apron. God how he hated the grease in this kitchen. Up until about a year ago, Bryan had been on a survey crew. With the
economy taking a tank he was laid off and found this job as a short order cook. Not the most pleasant job, but it was money, so he took it. He
couldn't wait until everything returned back to normal and he could get his old job back. He normally worked the morning shift, but the night cook
needed the morning to go to a dentist appointment. Bryan had switched with him and dreaded the evening crowd. "Angie, pick-up" he yelled. Angie was
the night waitress, and although she was kind of crude, he thought she was pretty and would be a real looker if she just took a little better care of
herself. She was a five foot, five inch blonde who probably weighed 95 pounds soaking wet. She had a nice figure and always wore her waitress uniform
a little short. He surmised it was to get better tips from the guys.
"Angie," he said "I'm going out back for a smoke. Holler if you need me". Bryan had started to quit so many times, but each time something always
happened and he kept on to manage the stress. He sat on the stool just outside of the back door and inhaled deeply, enjoying his nicotine fix. He
stared up into the sky since there wasn't much around to look at. He loved how bright the stars were out here. In town the lights blocked a lot of
them out. He flicked his butt and stood up to go back inside. As he grabbed the screen door handle, he thought he saw a flash out of the corner of his
eye. He turned expecting to see clouds on the horizon, thinking it was lightning. But there were none. He shrugged his shoulders and returned to the
Angie was waiting for him when he returned. "I got an order here, make it quick will ya?" she told him. Bryan took the ticket and read the order.
Cheeseburger with bacon, plain and a side of spicy fries. He put the fries into the deep frier and plopped a pattie down on the grill. He glanced over
at the clock and saw it was 8:42. "A couple more hours" he thought to himself. He finished making the order and called for Angie to pick it up. When
Angie came back, Bryan asked her "Hey, isn't it normally a lot busier in here than this"? "Yeah, kinda weird it's been so slow" she replied.
Bryan decided to engage Angie in some conversation hoping to make the time fly by a little quicker.
He learned that Angie had been in college and was headed for a great career in Geology until she met Matt. She thought they were in love, until she
got pregnant. Matt wouldn't have anything to do with her after that, so she came back home to raise her son. She really didn't have much use for men
and spent her time teaching her son things that a father should have been teaching him. How to hunt, fish and make a shelter in the wilderness. Bryan
admired her for what she was doing. His perception of her was completely different than what he had previously thought. He noticed there were only a
couple customers left, and asked Angie if she wanted anything to eat. She was just about to tell him what she wanted when the lights went out.
Bryan immediately got a flashlight and went to the breaker box. No tripped breakers. He asked Angie if there were any candles, so they could get some
light in the dining room. Angie searched but all she could find were birthday candles. "I got an oil lamp in the car" one of the customers said.
"I'll go get it". When he returned, they lit the lamp and set it on the table in the middle of the dining room. "Wonder what's going on" Bryan
said aloud. "No storms that I saw when I was outside earlier, and the sky still looks clear" he said as he looked out the front window. "I don't
see the glow of the town either. Must be a big blackout". They had been sitting in the dining room for about thirty minutes, when the customer with
the oil lamp told them he was heading out. He told them they could keep the lamp so they had light.
Bryan and Angie watched as the customer and his girlfriend went to their car to leave. They both got in, but the car never started. They sat in it for
a short while, and then cam back into the restaurant. "Car's dead" he said. "No lights, radio, nothing at all. It's like the battery is
completely drained. Weird thing is, I just had a new one put in last week before we left for vacation". Bryan decided to check his truck, and found
the same problem. Angie's car was dead as well. "What the hell" Angie yelled. "How the hell can all the batteries be dead"? At that moment, Bryan
felt his stomach sink. "Oh Jesus" he said. "I know what this is. We've had an EMP event. When I was out smoking earlier, I thought I saw a flash,
you know like lightning. That must have been an EMP flash". he continued. "Damn, I bet we are under attack. Angie, check the pay phone and see if it
is working". The pay phone was an old relic from the 70's. The owner had been too cheap to get a new one.
Angie dialed her sitters number, and amazingly it worked. "Rita, this is Angie. What the hell is going on?" she said. The other could only hear one
side of the conversation, but they could tell that something was really upsetting her. When Angie hung up, she turned slowly to the others. "#,
you're not going to believe this" she started. "You were right, Bryan. Everything electronic is out. NO radio, no TV, no cell phones and no
computers. The only reason we got through to town is because our phone system is so old. Rita is going to bring Kaleb out here on her bike. They are
kind of freaked out". The group stood there looking at each other, everyone wondering if this was a natural event, or man made. They decided to
return to the diner and wait for Rita.
After what seemed like an eternity, Rita arrived with Kaleb. Angie ran to him and hugged him tightly, tears running down her cheeks. "Mom" Kaleb
said, "I'm fine, geez". Angie smiled, and let loose of him wiping the tears from her face. She turned to Rita and asked "Any idea what is
happening? Did you hear anything before it all went dead"? "Yes," Rita responded. "You might want to sit down for this one". Everyone sat down
and looked at Rita with solemn eyes, waiting for the bad news they knew was coming. "Ok," Rita started, "So me and Kaleb was watching a movie on
TNT when they broke in with the news. They said we were about to get hit with a massive solar flare, and that everyone should take immediate
precautions because they didn't know what was going to happen. They were just staring to tell you what to do when everything went dead".
The group just at there for what seemed like forever, no one really knowing what to say. Bryan got up and started walking to the kitchen. "Alright
then" he said, "If this is what happened then we need to get a game plan together. Our first order of business will be to see if we have water and
also what non-perishable foods we have. The main thing is to keep our cool and not panic. We should have enough food to last a while until things get
organized. I don't think we should go into town for a while, because I think that panic is going to set in and people will be violent". Angie told
Bryan that the diner had a spring fed well, so they would have plenty of water. Bryan gathered everyone into the dining room.
"Ok," he said "Looks like we have enough food to last for a week or so, maybe longer if we stretch it. We need to figure out what to do for
sleeping and security. I don't want anyone coming out here trying to steal from us". He learned that the customers who had been in the diner were
Phil and Carrie. Phil was an electrical engineer, and Carrie was a nurse. They loved the outdoors and had been on a camping trip. "What kind of
supplies do you have?" Bryan asked Phil. "Normal camping gear." he responded. "Couple sleeping bags, canteen, cook stove, you know. Oh, and a
30-06 rifle". They decided to bring in anything from the vehicles that might be of use, especially any firearms. Bryan had a .44 magnum pistol he
kept in his car, along with a box of shells. Angie had a couple blankets she kept in the trunk, and brought those in as well. They setup some booths
as makeshift beds and decided to turn the oil lamp out to conserve the fuel.
They talked about securing the diner, and decided to take shifts keeping a look out. With most of the group asleep, Angie, Phil and Bryan began
talking about needing other supplies. "You know" Angie said, "We don't have much in the way of first aide. What if someone gets hurt? I think we
need to sneak into town and see if we can get any supplies without being seen". They decided that Bryan and Angie would go to town since they knew
the layout, and also so Phil could remain and guard the diner. It was about 2:00am when they left the diner for town.
The diner was about four miles outside of town, so they knew it would be a while before they got back. The plan was to be back before sunrise. They
hiked for nearly an hour and a half when they came to the outskirts of town. "I think we should go around to the hill on the far side" Bryan said.
"I don't want to make ourselves know just yet". Angie agreed and they circled around and peered above the top of the hill. Angie gasped at what she
saw. Below in town were several military vehicles with soldiers escorting people to troop trucks. They were evacuating the town. "What the..." Angie
whispered. They lay there watching until the last truck had left. They waited for another fifteen minutes to make sure there was no one around before
heading down the hill.
They arrived at the drugstore, and went inside to get medical supplies. As they had walked through town they were unnerved by the silence. It was
surreal to see the town so empty with no sound at all, not even a barking dog. They gathered up supplies, and decided to see what food they could
carry from the grocery store. They were in the back of the store when they heard a loud bang from the back room. Startled, Bryan readied his pistol,
and slowly entered the back room. He heard a door click, and figured it must be the door to the walk-in cooler. He slowly opened the door, and kept
his pistol aimed. Inside he found two teenagers, a boy and a girl, apparently scared to death. "Don't shoot!" the boy yelled. "Shhh!!" Bryan
responded. "I'm not going to shoot you, but you need to keep quiet. I don't know if there is anyone around or not. Any idea what happened
They boy, Eric, explained that him and Lisa were in the cooler making out when he hear a lot of noise. They got scared and hid behind some boxes. They
overheard men talking about gathering everyone up and getting them to camp. They were terrified and stayed in the cooler until they thought everyone
was gone. That's when they had heard Bryan and Angie in the store. Bryan told them they were coming with them, and had them gather as much canned
food as they could carry. He figured they didn't have much time before the military made it's way to the diner and gathered everyone out there up as
well. They headed out of town and back to the diner jsut as the sun was beginning to break the horizon.
They arrived at the diner, and found everyone awake and very jittery. Bryan told them about what they had seen, and what the teens had told them. He
told them they needed to find somewhere to hide, and pretty quick because he was sure the military would be back to look for stragglers. He told them
they should put the diner back in order so there would be no indication they had been there. "I know where we can go" Phil said. "It's a bit of a
hike, but I think we can make it. We should be safe for a while there". He told them of an old mine that was about seven miles to the south. The
entrance was hidden on the side of a creek bed, and not many people knew about it. They gathered up their supplies and headed for the mine.
As they traveled to the mine, they tried to keep to low terrain in case vehicles were around searching. They talked about what they were going to do,
and how long they thought they would be in hiding. They arrived at the mine entrance, and proceeded down the main shaft. they followed the tracks for
what seemed like forever, and finally arrived at the main junction. At the junction, there was a supervisors shack and four more veins that spread out
from the main shaft. Bryan decided to look around and see if there were any old supplies that might be of use. As he was checking the lockers on the
wall, the last one he opened had what appeared to be a military radio. "Look!" he exclaimed. "Maybe we can get it to work. I read somewhere that if
you were far enough underground, your electronics would be safe from an EMP. They opened the radio and saw that it took D cell batteries. Phil emptied
his flashlight and put the batteries into the radio. Bryan cautiously turned it on. The radio worked. They could hear static. Bryan and Phil decided
to go back to the entrance and see if they could get a signal. The others were to stay put and wait for them to return.
Angie was about to give up and go looking for Bryan and Phil when she heard their footsteps. "Well?" she asked. "Did you get anything"? Bryan and
Phil sat down and she could tell by the look on their faces that it wasn't good. "We're alone" Bryan said. "You mean there's no one around?"
Angie asked. "There's no one anywhere" he replied. "We picked up military talk, and it's bad. They have declared martial law, and rounded up all
civilians into intern camps. They have lists of people who they have deemed as a threat and are executing them. We were also able to get
communications on another band. There are other pockets of people like us that have found hiding places. It appears the worlds militaries have been
planning this for quite some time. It is a coordinated effort world wide to control the population and instill an new world government". They all sat
in silence, absorbing the news. "So what the hell are we supposed to do now?" Rita asked. "How are we going to survive? We can't live in caves, we
don't have enough food or clothing or anything"! Bryan slapped Rita to stop her panic. "Calm down!" he told her. "We'll certainly not survive if
we go off the deep end". We'll wait until later tonight and see if we can contact others out there to see if there is a plan.
As the days rolled into weeks, Bryan and Phil were able to keep up communications with other groups. he directed them to their hiding place, and it
became apparent to him that this was going to be a new city, but underground. Unknowingly, he had made himself the leader, and felt responsible for
those who stayed in the mine. He decided to call this home New Freedom in honor of the people who were determined to remain free. Only time would tell
if they were strong enough and smart enough to survive. His fear would always be that if they were discovered, the military would exterminate them.
New Freedom would become a new staging ground for a revolution that would change the course of human history. Bryan and Phil would become legends for
their roles in founding New Freedom. Their legacy would live on and see mankind once again free from tyranny and oppression. They would learn from
their mistakes and form new governments that put human dignity and rights ahead of all. Man would survive, free and humble.