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The Beginning of the End
The grill sizzled as Jeremy flipped another hamburger on the grill at a classic American barbecue. It was a typical Saturday morning at the Amery house on July 10, 2032. Jeremy and his brother Eric had all their friends over for a late Fourth of July party because Jeremy was out of town on Fourth of July.
Jeremy is seventeen with an athletic build and is well known for his endurance. His black hair is currently buzz-cut but it is known to be much longer. Jeremy's intellectual abilities are unequaled and he is very athletic. His girlfriend Allissa Vogal is also seventeen and is small with a thin build and long black hair. She has a gentle, cautious nature and is not known for taking very many risks. Jeremy's brother Eric is a year younger than Jeremy. Everyone else in the group is seventeen but he does not let that keep him down. He has an athletic build and dark hair and has a special gift for electronic devices.
Their house is a big yellow three-story house in the heart of the Cleveland. The front yard isn't that big and it has shrubbery covering up most of the playing space. The backyard is bigger than the front yard and better organized. The driveway is on the left side of the house and ends in a yellow single car garage about fifteen feet back from the house. Behind the garage is a big two-story shed, which serves as a great work area for the guys. Chain-link fences enclose the backyard from the neighbors About seven feet away from the right side of the house their is a maple tree that was as tall as the house with a tire swing hanging from one of the branches. Between the tree and the house their is a patio with a grill on it, which is where Jeremy is currently grilling burgers.
Their small Cleveland backyard was currently crowded with teenage aged kids sprawled out over the yard soaking in the warm summer sun. Besides Eric, Jeremy, and Allissa there were eleven other boys at the barbecue and five of their girlfriends.
It was a pleasant summer morning, and the sky was blue and cloudless. It was a little after noon and the barbecue was going well so far. As usual Will and Blake were showing off for the girls, most of the guys were over at the food table stuffing their faces, and the girls were laying on the lawn chairs chatting. But something evil pressed on Jeremy's heart; a feeling of something ominous lurking in the distance.
Jeremy finished grilling the burgers, plopped slices of yellow cheese on the burgers and put them on a plate full of hamburger buns. He shook of the feeling of dread and put a smile on his face as he brought the plate full of hamburgers to the hungry teenagers.
"Make way food coming through." Jeremy yelled and the crowd cleared a path for Jeremy to get to the food table.
As soon as Jeremy set the food down on the table a bunch of hands reached out and grabbed the burgers, and quickly began to demolish the pile. Jeremy laughed and quickly grabbed a burger from under the thicket of hands and pushed his way out of the crowd.
Jeremy walked over to Jason who was in-charge of the food. Jason Schafer is short with medium length red hair. He is the most out of shape of the group but not fat. He has a good sense of humor and is good with numbers. His girlfriend Emily Drayton is tall with almost shoulder length blond hair, and is very good natured and positive but also alert and intelligent.
Jeremy got Jason's permission to be done grilling burgers and then went off to play with some of the guys.
The party went on for several hours, eating food and playing various games. At one point all the guys walked down to a nearby park and played football, while the girls walked down to a local department store to look at clothes. Before anyone knew it, it was three o'clock and everyone was laying around enjoying the rest and relaxation.
Jeremy sat in a lawn chair and decided to relax for a few minutes.
The smell of the barbecued food mixed with the summer air, which created a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere.
Jeremy could see the neighbors next door also having a barbecue. The neighbor’s daughter Larissa Alston was just jumping into the neighbor's swimming pool. She was an eighteen-year-old Latino with alert and attentive yet fun loving attitude not to mention she was very cute. Her soaking wet black hair hung down past her shoulders which fit well with her tan skin. She was not skinny but she was in good shape and over all she was very attractive.
A few minutes passed before that ominous feeling returned even stronger this time, but this time it was accompanied by words. "This is all about to end... Everything you know is going to change."
Jeremy struggled with these thoughts for a few minutes before Caleb walked over. Caleb Roderick is seventeen with very short blond hair and is a wiz with computers. He is known for his honesty and being a faithful friend, and can usually read how a friend is feeling.
Noticing that Jeremy was lost in his thoughts and didn't even notice his approach asked worriedly, "Your thinking about something pretty deep.
Is everything all right?"
Jeremy shook himself out of his thoughts. "Everything is okay," Jeremy said slowly, "Its just sad to think that there won't be any more times like this."
"What do mean like this? No more barbecues?" asked Caleb humorously.
Jeremy sighed, "Not just barbecues but all the fun times, hanging out with no worries; going where ever we want with out worrying about being followed."
"What could stop us from having fun?"
"The end of the Church Age."
"What is the Church Age?" Asked Caleb with a hint of uneasiness in his voice. He was skeptical that something could cause such a dramatic change.
"Some would say that it is the third out of the four ages of man's history in the world," replied Jeremy staring thoughtfully ahead. Turning to Caleb he replied, "and most would say that it is the age that we have been living in for almost 2,000 years and is now coming to a close."
Caleb started to reply, "but, how could…”
Suddenly the air rang out with loud engine sounds as two jet fighters were dog-fighting in the sky above them. The sound was so loud that Jeremy thought that their eardrums would shatter.
There were more loud noises than just airplanes. There was a steady pounding sound way off in the distance.
Are those bombs? Jeremy thought to himself.
Suddenly more planes shot by so fast that it was almost impossible to see them. One of them broke the speed of sound and the noise was the loudest one yet. All the windows shattered with a giant crash spraying shards of glass like deadly missiles.
Everyone scrambled for cover as the sky erupted into explosions as the dueling planes turned the sky into a blazing tangle of fire and metal.
"What kind of planes are those," shouted Evan.
"Some of those are American NG-19s.” Jeremy yelled. “And the other ones are Chinese's Stingers."
The Chinese Stingers were small, quick strike planes which were designed for short range air-to-air combat. The American NG-19s were not as maneuverable but they had a long range, slightly higher top speed and a lot more firepower.
The Chinese Stingers certainly didn't have the capacity to reach Cleveland from any of their bases. "What are they doing this far away from any bases?" Jeremy wondered aloud.
Jeremy ran over to the shed and pulled open the shed doors and inside were three camouflage colored airplanes. The word lightning was painted on the side in yellow letters. Each was about the size of a large car with small engines strategically placed all over them which gives them more maneuverability than any other fighter.
Jeremy had designed them over almost ten years ago but had just begun building them three years earlier. Upon the completion of the first one they were the most advanced planes in existence. Now two years later their are two more Lightning and they are all still the most advance planes in existence.
The Lightning's camouflage paint job and Hydrogen engines, which are energy efficient and very quiet, give it a strong stealth aspect and makes the Lightning almost invisible to its opponents.
The Lightning are equipped with heat-seeking missiles on rotating racks and energy guns that use use a mix of chemical that emits a blue blast of energy with out losing chemicals and therefore only needs reloaded every six months.
Jeremy quickly ran over to his plane. "Will and Justin you come with me in the Lightning," Instructed Jeremy, "Caleb and Eric man the radar and keep in touch with us on the two way radio."
"Roger that," Eric and Caleb said simultaneously.
Jeremy hopped up into the cockpit while Will and Justin did the same with their planes. The three Lightning noiselessly ascended into the sky.
Once they were in the sky, Jeremy surveyed the battle field. The battle was crazy; planes were scattered everywhere. The Chinese seemed to have the upper hand in the fight, while the Americans looked like they had been caught completely surprised. The American planes were better trained and equipped but the Chinese fighters out numbered them three to one.
Jeremy, Will, and Justin dove right into the battle picking off Chinese Stingers. The planes twisted and dove in an effort to get behind their opponents. The Chinese Stingers could not match the maneuverability and firepower of the Lightning but their numbers gave them the advantage they needed. The battle was going badly for the American fighters and they would be completely destroyed if something didn't change quickly.
Jeremy took the lead, and Will and Justin took the wing-man positions. An American NG-19 flew past with a Chinese Stinger right on its tail. Jeremy and wing-men made all most a complete ninety-degree turn and pursued the Chinese Stinger. The Chinese plane was so engrossed in his battle that he would not disengage the American fighter and run. However, two other Chinese Stingers swooped down on the Lightning before they could finish off their target. Will and Justin broke off formation and engaged the newcomers while Jeremy stayed on the target. The American fighter could not shake off the Chinese Stinger any longer, but one quick shot from the energy gun and there was only a thousand little pieces left of the Chinese plane.
Jeremy went on and shot two other Chinese Stingers, who where tailing American NG-19s, before joining back up with his wing-men. Jeremy noticed that the enemy seemed to be coming from the north toward Lake Erie so they fought their way to the lake. As they got nearer the lake the enemy fire increased.
Sun glinted off the sky scrapers as the Lightning carefully maneuvered around them. Just beyond the city, Lake Erie seemed to sparkle as the summer sun glittered off the blue waves.
"What's that out over the lake," Asked Justin as they flew over downtown. Noticing what looked like a big blur way out on the lake.
"I can't tell from this far away," Came Jeremy's reply over the radio."
Suddenly five Chinese fighters descended from the clouds right behind them. The planes were in perfect formation, and the middle one had a custom plane and was obviously the ace. The three Lightning instantly split apart in three different directions. Fire screamed out of the back of the Lightning as all three put the throttle all the way down simultaneously and they lurched forward. The Lightning rocketed away from each other and broke the speed of sound.
Jeremy felt the the Lightning jolt as he broke the speed of sound but, of course, he could not hear it. All the Chinese planes chased Jeremy at the speed of sound. The Lightning jolted with sonic boom after sonic boom but Jeremy still kept the throttle at full power. The Chinese planes tried to keep up but there engines could not maintain that speed, and the distance slowly grew between them and Jeremy. As the Chinese fighters chased Jeremy, Will and Justin flew up behind them and shot down one Chinese Stinger and pursued two others who broke from the formation.
The ace and the remaining Chinese Stinger stayed on Jeremy. Before they knew what happened Jeremy made a three hundred and sixty degree turn tighter than any other fighter could, and shot the remaining Chinese Stinger with the energy gun as he flew past them.
Whipping around and gunning the engines Jeremy was quickly on the tail of the Ace.
The ace quickly made an impressive evasion maneuver to dodge a heat-seeking missile. Jeremy quickly pursued him. The battle ragged on for all most a minute dodging and weaving. The battle had forced them to loose altitude and they were within five thousand feet of the ground, pushing their planes to the limit. Jeremy had the Chinese ace in his sights but the ace had an excellent plane and even better flying skills. Again blue energy flashed from the Lighting but the ace rolled away at the last second and the energy exploded into a patch of woods.
This is so frustrating Jeremy thought. I have to make sure that stray shots don't do real damage to the people below. I am not used to fighting on my own territory Jeremy realized. If I were in enemy territory it wouldn't matter who I accidentally hit. Fortunately, however good the Chinese ace was, he was no match for Jeremy and the Lightning. Whatever move he made Jeremy stayed right on his tail. Finally they hit an open stretch of ground and Jeremy let out a torrent of energy blasts, pinning the enemy ace. Then one shot from a heat-seeking missile. The enemy ace's plane exploded just seconds after he ejected.
Jeremy rejoined his wing-men and they fought their way back to the lake. Arriving back over the heart of the city, they saw that the Chinese fighters had won the battle. Four remaining American NG-19s followed the Lightning out over the lake. When they flew over the lake, Jeremy realized where the Chinese planes had come from. Chinese ships covered the lake as far as he could see, like a sea of metal. There were rows of transport ships covering the lake. Some transport ships had reached the shore and were unloading tanks and thousands of men on the beaches. Suddenly Anti-aircraft shells burst all around them. Jeremy swore and the fighters made a hasty retreat. All the American NG-19s who had followed him were shot down by the heavy anti-aircraft fire but all three Lightning were able to maneuver out of range with only minor damages to the outer skin of the Lightning.
"What’s going on up there," asked Caleb.
"The Chinese are invading. The lake is literally covered with Chinese transport ships and they're unloading men and tanks on to the beach," replied Jeremy.
"What are we going to do," asked Eric worriedly.
"We are going to leave Cleveland. Load up the gear we're on our way back."
Jeremy, Will, and Justin switched their engines to reverse and landed in the back yard.
When Jeremy, Will and Justin arrived back at the house, the backyard was in organized chaos. There were three jeeps in the backyard with compact storing compartments that had been opened and the guys were loading materials from the shed into the jeeps. Jeremy quickly took charge and started organizing people and supplies.
Hunter hurried over to Jeremy. Hunter Halder is slightly under average height but loaded with muscle and head knowledge of the wilderness and is an excellent wilderness survival expert.
Hunter reported to Jeremy that Tyler and him had finished rigging the explosives. Jeremy thanked him and than continued helping Jason load supplies on to the cars.
Larissa walked over to the fence and yelled out from the neighbor’s yard, "Can I come with you guys."
There was a pause for a second then Jeremy yelled back, "Is it okay with your parents?"
"Yes, I already asked them," Larissa replied quickly.
"Are you sure it's all right," asked Jeremy cautiously.
"I said she could go." Mr. Alston said walking casually up to the fence. "She will be safer with you than a prisoner here. Just promise me you'll take care of her."
"I promise, Sir." Replied Jeremy seriously.
Jeremy looked around to the other guys and asked them if they cared if Larissa came with them. When he heard a chorus of no he told her, "Be ready to go in five minutes. We won't wait for you."
After five minutes all the gear had been loaded and Larissa climbed over the fence with her gear. Jeremy turned to his girlfriend Allissa "Do you want to ride with me in the Lightning?"
She replied, "I don't want to fly. I'll go in Caleb's jeep."
"Okay," Jeremy replied sadly. He had hoped to spend some more time with her but she did not like adventure and they were often separated. Hoping to redeem the situation he asked Larissa, "Will you ride with me Larissa?"
"Of course," she quickly answered.
"Drivers gather around so we can discuss the route," yelled Jeremy pulling out a detailed map of the area.
After a brief meeting he decided on a little known route on the back roads, in case the Chinese had set up road blocks on the main roads. Unfortunately they would have to travel through the city for a while which would require extreme caution.
After their short meeting was done they all got into one of the jeeps or the Lightning. Matt and Nate climbed on to the back of one of the jeeps and reached under a tarp, which slightly revealed a mounted fifty-caliber machine gun.
Matt Carlton is seventeen and tall with short black hair and a muscular build and average intelligence. His friend Nate Tyson is a seventeen-year-old tall African-American with black hair and a strong build. Nate's girlfriend Christa Bentham is seventeen with shoulder length sandy blond hair. She is always positive but not very observant.
Larissa said good-by to her parents and climbed into Jeremy's Lightning.
Jeremy looked over at his parents. A sorrow filled his stomach. Somehow he knew that this would be the last time he would see them until the beginning of the millennial reign.
Jeremy looked over Tyler and nodded his head.
Without a word Tyler pressed a button on a small gadget he was holding seeming with no result. Tyler quickly gave Jeremy a thumbs up sign and the group head down the driveway
"Okay, everybody lets move out," Jeremy yelled, "remember, what ever happens follow my lead."
The dog-fighting and preparing to leave had taken more then a hour and it was after four o'clock when they slowly made their way out of the city.