Hiya. Mad author here again. Well, I've had this idea in my head for ages, ever since I watched a program of Horizon that was about a snowball earth. I've decided to start it now even though I'm mostly working on my fantasy book Shadow Spinner.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this ficcie. I think it's a lot more intellectual than SS. Oh, one thing: In the next few chapters there is going to be bad language. A lot of it. Sorry and all but I want to make this as authentic as possible, and if you have a problem with that, then don't read it.

This is the first time I've written this type of story, so please bear with me if it doesn't exactly flow together. I'll get better with practice.

The Freeze.

Started 16/11/03.

By Akaia Autumngold.

chapter one: Pre-Emptive Strike.

Sharon Ellman was worried. Really worried. She bit her lip as she skirted through the dense crowds, her crisp, chic form blending in perfectly. Underneath her trembling arm was a sheaf of paper in a black leather binder, the reason why she was so anxious. It was also the reason that she was hurrying through the crowded corridors of the white house, USA, as opposed to being in her office, surrounded by her many glass-covered certificates and awards and the picture of her fiancé, as she would have much more preferred. The head of the intelligence department swallowed nervously as she reached the press room. Inside, was the president of the United States, along with his allies, the leaders of several important countries, meeting in a highly publicized meeting, where the allies would beamingly assure the press for the umpteenth time that "they would win this war". And here, in the year 2086, no-one would think to question them.

Ellman sighed. This was going to be extremely difficult, not to mention unpleasant. But, it was her duty to break the bad news to the leader of the Allies. She glanced up again. The Spanish prime minister was sitting down, the Turkish prime minister was standing up, and shuffling his notes as he prepared to address the several nations that would be watching. It seemed as good a time as any. Smoothing her expensive designer suit, she skirted the side of the blue-draped room, over to the president's seat.

'Excuse me, sir.' She whispered into his ear. He turned to look at her. 'Could I have a word with you?'

'Can't it wait?'

She shook her head slightly, all the while carefully keeping the bland smile on her face, as was the President, for as long they were in the limelight. 'Sir, we've just received the findings from our agent in the enemy territory, on the weapons...'

The President shifted slightly. He read the look on his adviser's face beneath the mask, and then turned to the other leaders of the Allies and the Press. 'Please excuse me, gentlemen, ladies.'

He stood up and followed her out of the conference hall. Glancing back over her shoulder, Ellman saw the prime minister of Turkey struggle to keep the attention on him, as opposed to their leader's exit. Wise, she thought. Very wise. I should pay more attention to him.

'Well?' asked the President impatiently, as soon as they were out of earshot, and free of the clinging crowds.

Ellman swallowed. 'Sir, it isn't anything good. Our spy says...says they have finally perfected their project....the weapon.' She fought to keep her voice under control. Her feelings were that of the general public in the Allied countries. Doom! Due to a leaked report a few months ago, they had heard rumours of a prototype weapon being developed by the Chinese and their allies, with a massive killing capacity that would far outstrip their own old biochemical weapons they were currently using. 'They tested it for the first time last week. Apparently, there is now a huge crater covering the whole of Siberia. I've ordered the VD-814 crew to confirm this, as it should be visible from space.'

The president remained silent. 'When did this report come in?' he replied at length.

'Twenty minuets ago.' Ellman was relived despite of herself, that she hadn't delayed in informing the president. He was determined that he wouldn't become merely a figurehead, as several of his predecessors had been, and one of the ways he was making sure he wasn't was to insist on being informed the minute anything happened.

He grimaced. 'This is terrible. Set Jorge Weineschmann to try and find out a protection to it, a shield, anything, based upon the samples our agent has sent back. Contact George, Richard and all the others to meet me as soon as the conference is over. Oh, and you'd better invite the prime ministers of the uk and Germany, or they'll be whining again.'

Ellman nodded. 'Yes sir.'

'You come to the meeting, too. We'll need someone with your IQ level.'

Ellman nodded again, feeling slightly bothered. She knew she was smart, but she didn't need to be reminded of it all the time. It was like reminding her how much she had to live up to, being the youngest and first ever female head of international intelligence, just how much depended on her....

'I must get back to the conference.' The president said, breaking in on her train of thought. 'We'll speak more in the meeting.'

***

'How long do you think until they strike?' asked the German prime minister sharply, watching the American president closely.

'*If* they strike.' Said Richard Trenner burlouskly. He was forty-one, had graying hair the colour of straw, and dispassionate blue eyes, the head of defense. His manner and jumpiness always reminded Ellman of some kind of stick insect.

'They will.'

'I agree.' Said the prime minister of the united Kingdome. No-one paid much attention to him.

They were all sitting in a meeting room underneath the White House, bomb- proof, bullet proof, secret and defiantly not open to the press. Several men and women were sitting, some standing around the square room, mostly the advisers of the president. One man lurked rather threatingly in the shadows; he was Dutch by birth, Jorge Weineschmann, the most clever scientist on the planet, who, as soon as the War had broken out, had left his country to its fate and sought out a place he could continue his experiments in peace. He had been welcomed at the White House, and was now indispensable.

'How long? And where?' repeated the German prime minister.

Ellman answered. 'I shouldn't think it'll be too long.' She said. 'They've perfected it now.'

'What sort of time space are we talking about, here?' asked an adviser to the president.

Ellman felt a sinking feeling in her stomach. 'Two days...three days?'

The room instantly exploded into noise.

'Wait....there is a possibility that your information is wrong, isn't there?' asked the prime minister of the UK, almost pleadingly.

There were several agreeing noises from around the room.

'No.' it was the president himself who answered, this time. 'This source has never failed before.'

'The question is *where* it would strike.' Said the German prime minister. 'And what the damage would be.'

'Isn't that obvious?' asked Ellman, feeling exasperated. 'Here! It's where their enemy's are, after all.'

Instantly, there was a lot of muttering around the room again. Then, a voice spoke unexpectedly.

'You are fools.' snorted Jorge Weinaschmann, speaking for the first time. 'Worrying about which country they will target...can't you see? Are you all that blind? They will not just attack us, they will attack the world.'

Dead silence followed his exasperated remark. Then-

'What do you mean?' asked the German prime minister.

'What I mean? What I mean is that if they detonated this...this..."weapon" then the effects would be catastrophic, yes? From the samples I've seen in my lab, the one they detonated in Russia was small. The smallest.'

'Oh, yes, absolutely miniscule!' cried the British prime minister with something sounding suspiciously like hysteria bordering his voice. No-one looked around.

'So, the medium-sized ones will destroy whole continents.' the scientist continued. 'Then the biggest will destroy the around half the world.'

There were several gasps, several large intakes of breath. One of the president's advisers, a woman of about forty, stood up. 'I...I have to go....go.....get a drink.....' she said, her voice rising sharply as she backed out of the room. In the silence that followed Jorge Weinaschmann's statement they could hear her burbled cries as she sobbed helplessly at the feet of the cold metal steps outside the bunker.

'What will happen....if.....if they detonate the weapon?' Richard Trenner wanted to know. Ellman almost thought she saw an antennae on his head twitch at the sent of danger.

'If, man? *If*?' the general of the army, Thomas Brein, stood up, gesturing forcefully. A rather short man nearing his fiftieth birthday, despite his age made a point of keeping himself as fit as a man of thirty. His discipline was legend in any army meeting place, be it the local pub or officers' meeting room. As was his paranoia. 'You've never been fighting on the front line, have you? You don't know these monkeys like I do! What they lack in brain they make up in cunning, they'd slit your-'

'Thomas, that's enough.' Said the president, smiling slightly in a faintly embaressed way.

'But what are we going to *do*?' the words burst out of her without her full consent, and as everyone turned to look at her, Ellman found herself wishing she had kept quite.

'Well...' said the president, and left it at that.

'If we don't come up with something, we're done for.'

'Of course, this can't get out to the public.' Said the British prime minister, in a rare moment of foresight. 'There'd be riots...chaos.'

'And a total lack of principles....everything would go swirling around like sand in a maelstrom...only their religion would be left to the pious...hm, interesting, no?' Jorge Weinaschmann watched the effect of his words on the other people in the room.

'Yes, well....what can we do to stop it?'

'Nothing.' Said Jorge Weinaschmann simply.

'What?!' said all fourteen voices.

The scientist scratched his long neck, his penetrating, slightly mad gaze fixed on the president of the united states. 'There is nothing we can do. Remember, please, history. In the twentieth century, the united states had the atomic bomb, which was then the latest thing, yes? Well, it's exactly the same. Only.....the other side has the "atomic" bomb this time! Hah!' his speech trailed away into a long, chilling mirthless laugh. He still hadn't removed his stare from the president.

'Oh...my...God....' Came the indistinct american voice of one of the advisers. 'I've gotta go tell my wife...my kids.....I am on the first plane *outta* here!'

He made a bolt for the door, but was stopped by several of his colleges. Despite herself, Ellman couldn't help but feel sorry for him.

'Let GO of me! LET THE HELL GO! OH MY GOD-'

'You see, my friends, the effect of the maelstrom.' Came the amused voice of the scientist. 'You could almost call it "Returning to basic instincts". What our college here is in effect trying to do is to play a game of hide- and-seek. Interesting....'

No-one said anything. In time, the screaming protests of the adviser faded to a numb shock that kept him silent.

'I....I'm not going to die here.' Said the prime minister of the UK, looking slightly stunned. 'I....'

'I also.' Growled the president of Germany, looking at the president as though this was all *his* fault.

'There is one way.' Again the voice came unbidden. Ellman bit her lip in frustration.

'What?'

'Well...' she hesitated for a moment, then ploughed right ahead. 'Attack before they attack us. Pull out all the stops. Send *all* our weapons, biochemical and otherwise, follow it up with a fierce attack with fighter planes and troops on the ground. All spies to be instructed to do as much damage as they can to the plant or building that they're placed in, then fight their way out. Throw all energies into this one blow. I think....it's the only way. We'll die anyway......'

There was silence again after she had spoken. She could almost feel the tension in the air. Then, the head of the army spoke. Approvingly.

'Good idea.'

Everyone looked at each other.

'I'm for it.' Said the German prime minister finally.

'Me too.' The British prime minister was quick to say.

The vote was unanimous.

Pre-emptive strike it was to be.

~*~

Later, at exactly 1:00 pm in north american and Canadian time zones, the Allies sent the first missiles.

What they didn't know proved fatal.

But, Darren Weismann, captain of the VD-814 spacecraft, knew it. On his radar he saw the missiles from the West. He saw the missiles from the East. He saw them collide.

The explosion was terrifying.

Nothing on earth survived.

A barren Earth, devoid of life, surrounded by a thick, smoking atmosphere full of poisonous smoke and dust, cutting off the Sun's vital life-giving light. That is what he saw when he sat up slowly after the tremor that had rocked him out of his chair.

That is what he saw.

And he screamed.

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Dunno when I'll update. Well, please review. Hah. Bye!