The California Disappearance occurred at precisely 15:35:17 (PST) on August 5th, 2069. The event was broadcast via live stream right up until the exact moment of the disappearance however because:
- the experiment that obviously caused the cataclysmic event had not been publicised much beyond the internal research channels of IRAK and
- the East Coast research department were watching a Knicks game in a bar in the basement at the time and
- the entire West Coast office were still at lunch and
- everyone else thought the experiment was dumb, so...
...no-one was watching.
No-one knows the name of the IRAKi trainee who built the test rig. The comms regarding the live stream of the experiment were all signed Snood and it is assumed that this was a new pseudonym designed to protect the individual's identity in case of mishap. He also took great care to conceal his face from the recording of him entering the transmission cage.
The basis of the experiment was simple. The experiment was to discover what would happen if a human-sized transmitting cage was emtied into an identically sized receiving cage that was attached, by a 4 metre aluminium scaffold, to the transmitting cage. Snood may have been an idiot, but he was no fool. EMTI matter transmission was instantaneous and he realised that if this system could be made to work he would have solved one of the last remaining technological barriers for the long-term continuance of the human race i.e. instantaneous, off-planet travel. He had apparently experimented with several low-power models (surmised from the series of hollow bowls carved into his workbench that can be clearly seen in the recording) but all he had witnessed were disappearances - he had no clue where the models had been sent to. He decided he needed to build a rig that was large enough to transport a human being - himself - in order to find out where the EMTIs were going.
So, at half past three on Monday 5th August in IRAK's Malibu research facility at Point Dume, and while humming set the controls for the heart of the sun Snood stepped into the cage wearing a full spacesuit and carrying a tupperware box of home-made Vegemite sandwiches and pressed a button that he hoped would bring him immortality - he may very well have achieved it.
- A 450 Km radius crater, centred on the Malibu promontory, appeared instantaneously
- Baja California became separated from the Mexican mainland
- 95 million Km3 of the Pacific flooded into the emtied space
- the San Andreas fault fused together
- Nevada and Arizona, two previously land-locked states discovered they had hundreds of miles of perfectly curved (and perfectly smooth) coastline
The California Disappearance was responsible for more presumed deaths than any human historical event before or since (although when Sol goes supernova, it will dwarf this event), however the exact number of victims has never been officially confirmed. This is for a number of reasons:
- The census data was stored in Los Angeles-based archives.
- California was home to a significant population of so-called illegal aliens who chose to stay under the radar.
- A staggering number of people dropped off presence awareness while the surveillance networks were self-healing and reconfiguring.
- No insurance company on Earth could afford to admit that anyone actually died.
However, one fact that can be authenticated is that 55,487,384 people instantaneously stopped paying taxes. Whether they are dead, in stasis, in hiding or never even existed is, was and always will be irrelevant to the IRS.
The 'presumed' status is the subject of the longest legal battle in Earth's history. Research carried out by an army of insurance assessors has proved that there was negligible heat generated by the disappearance. This has been taken to infer that physical force was not involved and that what occurred was some form of space-time phenomena. Temporal anomalies are classified as 'Force Majeure' or 'Acts of God' by all insurance companies so therefore fall outside of any insured cover. They also argue that as California may be only temporarily temporally misplaced, it could reappear at any moment and all claims would then become null and void.
After years of battling through the international courts, the dispute over ownership of the bay was finally settled in IRAK's favour, despite strong opposition from both Mexico and the USA.
- By Law, all emties must have built-in Auto-Self-Sensing Closedloop OVERflow protection
- Baja California declared unilateral independence, renamed itself La Isla BaJaCa and opened its borders to the creative economy by offering tax incentives to all Intellectual Property companies
- Sea levels around the planet lowered to pre-Global Warming levels
- The Seychelles and many other previously overwhelmed low-lying lands reappeared
- Post-GW seafront property around the world was left high and dry
- Nevada, having lost Las Vegas, turned its entire coastline into a floating casino
- Arizona, finally finding a use for all that sand, built the longest beach in the world and created the Earth's first Rim Culture by festooning the crater walls with live entertainment venues, boutique hotels and precipitously hanging gardens.
Although the event is called the California Disappearance, a considerable part of California remains. San Francisco, San Jose, Stockton and Sacramento were spared. The somewhat traumatised inhabitants demanded the right to name the resulting bay. A remains-of-the-state-wide vote was held and Arizona Bay won by a landslide .
Footnotes and references
- or rather will admit to knowing
- which may, or may not, have occurred
- no measurable seismic activity since that date
- which it most definitely will, folks - ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?
- don't get excited - this isn't what it sounds like - for some never properly explained reason, US immigration authorities enjoyed classifying human beings as aliens simply because they weren't American citizens
- also largely located in California-based server farms
- only because IRAK had more financial and legal resources
- possibly due to the Bill Hicks revival that had taken over San Francisco since 2061, when Bill would have been 100 wonderfully irascible years old