Disasters happen everyday everywhere. Some affect hundreds, thousands, millions, maybe even billions for those who believe (rightly) in global warming and look ahead a few years. Some disasters are small – Nobody is reading my blog, AArrrgg! Some are huge – earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes/cyclones.
Disasters come in all sizes, just check under disaster in a thesaurus.
How a disaster affects you, is a personal matter. Of course we all feel for the people of Haiti, but does it affect you more than an accident that requires surgery you can’t afford? How much caring can you spare for flood victims when in order to survive a disease you have to declare bankruptcy and lose your house? Thousands lose loved ones to wars and natural calamities, but if the one you love leaves you, breaking your heart, which tragedy is the one that consumes you?
Potential disasters of global proportions are always waiting in the wings for their entrance. There’s that old chestnut – the asteroid heading right toward us. Not worried about that? Ask the dinosaurs, if you can find one. Global warming is a certainly a threat, but who’s going to worry about slowly rising sea levels after a 50 mile wide asteroid plunges into the ocean ( Talk about your tsunamis!) and causes a new 1000 year ice age. At least the poor overfished fish would have time for a comeback.
The only plague, flu, epidemic, pandemic we (you and me, of course, would survive any disaster) might have to worry about after the cleansing rock from space, or was that from God, would be a Zombie plague, assuming they could swim. I wonder what would happen to the Zombies if they ate all the living people. Would they starve to life? Eat each other until the last Zombie standing raised its boney arms to strains of the Rocky theme? I’ll leave that to the philosophers.
Space has several other misfortunes to offer: Our sun going nova, a distant sun going nova so we have plenty of time to attempt a getaway, aliens blowing up the Earth to make way for a new interspace highway – oops, we already went through that, aliens that want to wipe us out just because we’re here, lots of little asteroids, the pissed off ghosts of all history’s innocent victims tired of wandering around space wanting payback, or the soul of a planet ruined by its inhabitants coming to save the Earth from its unappreciative inhabitants, among other things weirder than we can imagine.
What if the Earth became so crowded, and our (or our alien friends) technology became so sophisticated we could slowly move the moon closer and closer to Earth until it gently touched us. How would you like to be a first settler? How would this affect our orbit, our gravity, our atmosphere?
What if aliens did wipe out all the people on earth, except for you, me, and a small group of miscellaneous others. We had no hope of defeating them so the plan was to somehow steal a ship and escape to…. How would we do it? Would we find alien “friends,” be ignored, be chased to be put in a zoo, be put on display, then using our animal friends, escape? Maybe we’d escape and meet up with enemies of our enemies and help them wipe out the new Earth tenants and as a reward we get the planet back?
Surely there’s room for one more asteroid-is-going-to-hit-the-earth story. Maybe this time there is a secret government project that wants this particular rock to hit the Earth. A CONSPIRACY! Yes! But A rival group wants to prevent the hit. What is the reason for wanting the collision? Who’s idea was it? (All the conservatives could have a field day blaming Obama, no matter which side he was on.) Who prevails and what happens whether it does or doesn’t happen? And what if when the asteroid hit you lived in a lab 50 feet underwater, and suddenly you were 500 feet down and the shock had opened a volcanic vent close to you so you were going to get baked, boiled or poached if you didn’t escape. Where’s Dirk Pitt when you need him?
What if the Zombies did take over and ate everybody? Then some alien researchers arrived and wrote a report titled – A History of the Zombie Occupation of Earth and How It Died (or, How it Thrived)?
What if there was a local epidemic of some kind and the area was domed or force fielded over. Unfortunately you were in the area, fortunately that area covered the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory or JPL or Stark Industries. Unfortunately you were never going to be let out, though you now posed no threat. What’s a bunch of pissed off brainiacs in one of the most advanced laboratories in the universe to do?
What if the disaster was closer to home. Your spouse or child is attacked, gravely injured, maybe paralyzed or dying. They needed some sort of transplant and it appeared that the attacker was the only viable donor. How far would you go, what sort of deal would you make, how much of your conscience would you ignore, what, or who, would you sacrifice to find the attacker and take what was needed to save your loved one? And what would your spouse or child think of what you did?
What if there was a local disaster and the only people available to help were inmates, all set free by the flood, fire, earthquake, at a prison close to a small town. Who would step up, and save/change civilian lives, and maybe their own?
Tragedy or not, I’m off to my bomb shelter in a deep cave. Will you be here when I come out again?