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You ready? It's New Year's Day 2014, and as a result, I have the first part of JER's Tournament: The Compressed Edition.
The final check-ups were finished. The machine was ready.
"Everyone, take your positions," Yesare ordered. "We're about to begin."
All the workers in the lab were at their stations, starting the multiple programs necessary to activate the machine. Numerous acts of start-up noises were uttered by the machine, culminating in an array of transmitters sending off light-beams into a steel doorway. Atop the steel doorway, a light turned green.
"We have contact," one of the workers confirmed.
"Our destination?" Yesare asked.
"Alternate Universe 2680," another added. "Earth, equivalent to ours from AD 2015."
"Good," Yesare answered. "We still have time."
Just like that, the doorway slowly opened to reveal a mountainside, with an ocean view. Yesare stepped toward the open doorway. "Valice, Anderson, follow me."
Two scientists came up and followed Yesare through the doorway. The three ended up on the other side, feeling the cool breeze upon them, as Yesare took a brief look back to see the doorway back into the lab, and nothing else except the surrounding scenery.
"Location?" Yesare asked.
"Santa Catalina Island," the man with gray hair said, checking on a handheld device. "Off the coast of 21st Century California."
"And that?" Yesare pointed to a city glistening with buildings, miles away across the ocean.
"That would be Los Angeles," the man answered. "Second largest city in the Former American States."
Yesare sighed. "Finally... We get another chance. How long until global temperatures have increased by 2 degrees Celsius?"
"2040," the woman with brown hair answered. "We'd have to act quickly if we are to survive."
The three return to the doorway, as Yesare tells those inside the lab, "Prepare Phase Two." Once they're inside, the doorway shuts.
--(three months later)--
It was a casual day throughout America. People were walking about, getting to their jobs, or stopping by for breakfast, or just getting up, depending on the time zone. Suddenly, every powered-on television screen in the country turned to static. The Department of Homeland Security, the FCC, the White House, everyone was put on high alert for the few minutes of static that continued.
"Yes, I am aware of the problem," the President answered on his phone at the Oval Office. "We have tried to get an explanation, but we have no way to fix the system."
"We do have a bright side," the Chairman of the FCC answered on the other end. "Radio's still active. If you wish, we can schedule a nationwide Address in a few minutes."
"Do it," the President ordered, then preceded to the next call.
--(ten minutes later)--
Soon enough, the staff had set up for a radio broadcast in the Oval Office, with the president ready for the prompt. In 3, 2, 1...
"Good morning, people of the United States of America. This is the president speaking on behalf of an overwhelming issue taking place across America and even beyond its borders."
The millions who were listening to the radio began getting the President's address. This resulted in a chain reaction with many people calling others to turn on the radio, and soon enough, in the first two sentences, over 50 million Americans were tuning in, and the numbers continued to skyrocket.
"Fifteen minutes ago, every television network in America collapsed, resulting in an event now being dubbed 'The Static Curtain'. The assailant to this devastating outage of information is as of yet unknown, but let us be assured that multiple organizations across the continent and around the world are working to fix this issue."
The numbers have grown to almost 300 million, as the spread of information by any means necessary took hold. Soon enough, the BBC caught on to this issue, as its executive board agreed to share the President's message through every one of their outlets.
"These issues are not confined to the United States alone, however. Canada and Mexico, our two partners alongside our borders, have also experienced a broadcast shutdown. At this point, most of North America is under assault by this incident."
With the BBC endorsing the coverage of the President's address, more broadcasting corporations follow suit. Now, almost 800 million people across the world are listening via radio, Internet, or if outside of North America, even television, though only the audio could be presented.
However, outside of a diner in Canada, one person overhears the President's address and rushes in. He takes in a few words, then murmurs to himself, "So, it begins..."
The President continued. "I ask for you all to bear with us in this troubling time. We will return television broadcasts over the airwaves as soon as we find the problem. In the meantime, we ask that you continue your daily tasks, undeterred by this incident. These are the times that test an American, in order to prove his worth."
By now, over 2 billion people around the world are listening in, and still more are hearing about this incident through other means. The man in the diner in Canada listened with intent.
"So please, forget about television for a while. Continue to live. Continue to thrive. We will get through this, as a nation, as one race, the human race. We wish you a good day ahead."
With that, the broadcast ended, and billions of people have caught on to the news the President reported: America would be out of the dark soon. In the Oval Office, the staff applauded the President for putting America's minds at ease. For a moment, it seemed like the President has made history, and embedded himself as an American icon.
Unfortunately, fate had other plans.
As the radio's broadcasts across the continent gradually eased America back into a sweeter, simpler peace and time, now radio was interrupted by static, sending everyone back into a frenzy, and forcing all U.S. government institutions to analyze the problem as it happened. The President was on call once more, but with no radio, and rumors of all Internet servers across America no longer working, the country was in an information freeze, helpless for the first time in years.
The President picked up the phone as it rang. The chairman of the FCC was on.
"Yes?" the president answered.
"We've lost all means of broadcast," the chairman answered. "Only the telephone lines are left, and they can't contact anyone outside of the continent."
"Is there anything that can be done?" the president asked.
"We're trying to fix the network," the chairman replied, "but no effort as of yet shows any promise."
As the thought set in on the President as to the possible collapse of America, a new voice came up on the radio: "Welcome, all North Americans, to a new state of being."
Just as that happened, even more pandemonium occurred across the continent, with some places even featuring fighting in the streets. This grew worse for the person in the diner once he recognized the face showing up on television. "Oh, no..."
"I am Yesare Dernes," she introduced herself, now appearing over video and/or audio in every U.S. outlet. "I hail from the future. Your future. You destroyed the entire world and returned us to the Dark Ages, and for that, my forces are here to stop you."
At this point, riots started up across many major American cities, and the authorities have only begun the aim to rectify the situation. Members of the BBC tried to access any American broadcast they can, but their failure was beginning to dawn on them.
"Furthermore, all of North America is sealed up in an energy shield, so there's no getting in or getting out. North America is to surrender, and a new leader is to be appointed. We are currently setting up the selection process for such."
At this time, a group of officials dressed in gray showed up to the diner, stopping right behind the person affixed to Yesare's message on television. "Are you Tyson Vera?"
The person known as Tyson Vera stopped watching the message to look at their faces. "I know you guys..."
Yesare's message continued. "These 48 individuals we will select will go through the most rigorous test of their lives, and only one of them will serve as the leader of the new North American nation, and as my successor."
As the message played, one of the gray-clad officials said, "You know the deal. Yesare needs you."
Tyson nodded at what the official said, then answered, "...like I'm ever going back with you guys!"
He picked up a wooden stool and smacked across the interrogator, as a result breaking the seat into pieces, and the interrogator fell back as the rest grabbed him steady. One of the diner patrons got off his seat and faced the officials.
"Listen here," the patron addressed, capturing their attention. "If you're the reason we're being invaded, I ask you to let the kid go and go back where you came from."
"We don't want any trouble," one of the officials said. "He's under our jurisdiction."
"Yeah, and I'm a member of the NRA." He picked up a hunting rifle from under his seat. "Reconsider now."
Over the succeeding events, Yesare's message played as voiceover:
"Under your future, you would cause more pain and corruption to any and all living beings on Earth, and devastate the entire landscape. In our new future, you are all to follow orders from our organization, so that we do not lose the privileges with which we are bestowed, and instead propel the human race to a new period of guided enlightenment."
The official under threat charged at the rifleman, and the rifleman fired point-blank at his forehead, with the bullet bouncing off. The official took opportunity of his shock to knock the threat unconscious. Once this happened, more patrons rose up and started to combat the gray officials in a bar brawl, using whatever they had as weapons. More officials broke in through the windows and eventually subdued all of the rebels, while those holding Tyson had tranquilized him and carried him out the door. Yesare's message continued.
"In order to achieve this, we must take control of the situation. We hold forces in numbers, ready to conquer all your prized cities. Any form of resistance will be addressed through fire. You are to peacefully surrender and be annexed..."
Once the officials holding Tyson escaped the fray, one of the officials said to a submissive Tyson, "All we wanted was a peaceful surrender. We didn't want you to put everyone around you at risk."
"...or be destroyed."
On cue, Yesare's message triggered the explosion of the diner behind them, with only the unconscious diner patrons unfortunate enough to perish.
At the White House, the staff and politicians were paying attention to the message on screen:
"To end this message, we only ask for peaceful cooperation in this transition to a more stable Union and future. May you all be forever uplifted."
Once the message ended, the President picked up the phone as a new call came through, from the Secretary of Defense. After listening a while, the President ordered, "Yes. We are setting up a state of emergency. In the meantime, get all organizations to track down the origin of this threat. It must not pose a danger to the Union."