T-Minus 2 Seconds
Passing through the atmosphere, photons interacted with the oxygen and nitrogen, but still straight on to the stalled dark blue car of LucilleMay Sprecks who was frozen in fear.
Photons struck the paint and chrome of Lucy’s car. Instantly redirected by reflection, the photons passed through the air at ninety-thousand kilometers per second slower than in a pure vacuüm. Some colors absorbed by the paint and then reflected the remaining color of dark blue.
Engine 2315 self-dispatched, rolled down the driveway, already the crew had dropped paintbrushes and rakes, running towards the engine. The seasonal firefighters did not know the nature of the call, but the Captain was waving frantically. The Engineer already on the radio. The two men, from years of experience, knew of the impending accident was just seconds from happening and called for a dispatch of a paramedic unit.
“Copy, medics Code-3 to your location.” Dispatch responded.
The photons traveled the distance between the sudden obstruction and passed through the iris of Russell’s eye in twenty-five nanoseconds — 0.000000025 — striking the light-sensitive membrane in the back of Russell’s eyes. Neural pathways reacted to the absorbed photons and processed it to his occipital lobe, in the back of Russell’s head.
T-1.9999955 seconds. Photons streaked past Russell’s head and entered the lens of Lulu’s eyes. The nervous system transmitted the image at two-hundred miles-per-hour to the brain of Mrs. Fletcher.
Russell’s brain transmitted the image to the frontal cortex. One-point-six seconds it took to have the one-hundred billion axioms to recognize the threat, the mind of the skilled rider tried to organize a reflex action.
T-1.99925 seconds. Fifty-miles per hour they traveled towards the immobile car. More than seventy-three feet per second — Already they had covered more than a third of a football field.
T- 1.5 Seconds. Lucy saw the collision coming, her eyes processing the closing motorcycle and her mind locked up. All she needed to do to avoid the impending collision was move her foot to the gas-pedal. But in that moment, she did not know what to do. There were no answers for the panicked soul that only wanted a glass of wine and to save the soul of a lady Druid.
Russell’s brain processed information at the speed of three supercomputers.The most intelligent man on earth was not needed to know that the exit routes were:
Oncoming traffic in front of the stopped car — rejected as death was all but certain.
Forest with big trees, bushes and large pointy rocks: – rejected. The outcome would be equally bad.
Hit car — poor choice, but the debate was moot with the outcome defaulted while the mind of the man searched for safe exit to this disaster. He was out of time for evasive maneuvers.
T- 1.25 seconds. BRAKES! The mind screamed! Russell took a deep breath.
T- 1.20 seconds. BRAKES! The mind begged. The entire world was silent, his soul was deaf to all sounds. All the world was mute.
T- 1.1 seconds. BRAKES! The mind commanded. No bumps, no sound of wind. Silence was louder than a rock-concert in a steel warehouse.
T- 0.9 seconds. BRAKES! The mind ordered. The engine was inaudible.
T- 0.8 seconds. A pleading voice sounded through the earbud of the motorcycles comm system.
“NOoooooo!” It was Lulu.
T- 0.5 seconds. BRAKES! The foot finally responded and jammed down on the rear brake and the hands grabbed for the front brake lever.
T- 0.4 seconds. The brake pads built up pressure. Years of riding, he closed his hand into a fist and crushed the front brake lever.
T- 0.15 seconds. The friction pads moved into contact with the rotating mass of the brake disc and began to engage at fifty-one feet away.
In an instant, Russell did calculations in his head, estimating he needed an extra twenty feet to fully perform an emergency stop.
Twenty feet he did not have.
T- 0.10 seconds. Russell tensed up. Impact was imminent. Pressure in rear brake built up enough to stop rotation of the rear tire. Seventy-percent of the weight of the motorcycle shifted to the front tire.
The shock absorbers on the motorcycle compressed as the big bike did a nosedive. On two tires, patches of rubber the size of a hand of a large man tried to stop a half-ton of steel, rubber and human flesh and bone.
The rear tire of the motorcycle began to skid, the tire locked up and melting from friction with the highway, liquid rubber now lubricating the tire which began to yaw to the right, the front tire slowing faster than the rear. Lulu, sat farthest away from the center mass of the motorcycle and adding more weight to the pendulum. Out of control with the dynamic forces Russell valiantly struggled to stop the inevitable.
Unstoppable, moving towards the immobile car, “Crossed up” as Gertrude the motorcycle yawed and slid sideways, they moved with Lulu making prayers, begging that it would be all right.
“Please don’t let it be bad, Lord, please let it be all right.”
It would not be all right.
T- 0.05 seconds. Russell could see over the top of the car, his mind processed information at a phenomenal rate, he could see the road was clear on the far side of the obstruction.
If only… Was his sole thought.
He could see the eyes of the little old lady, they were wide like a deer in the headlights, with plate-sized pupils.
T- 0.02 seconds. Photons made shadows on the ground. Shadows that merged as the front tire was bound down as tightly as it could be without locking up as the rear brake did. Speed was dropping rapidly, if it was on a graph, it would show the line of the deceleration as nearly vertical on a second by second chart.
T- 0.01 seconds. Russell could calculate his speed was still greater than…
T- 0.00 seconds. Impact! The photons that made shadows, now only made one as the front tire hit slightly ahead of the rest of the hog.
The force of the energy ripped the big bike’s grips from Russell’s hands. The husband’s body became a missile of kinetic energy launched by the impact of the vehicles.
Russell hit, bounced and flew over the top of the car, breaking the windshield with his helmeted head as he went by and landed partly on his face. The open-faced helmet affording him little protection, sliding and rolling down the asphalt. Russell came to a rest on his back. His face hurt, but he was awake.
T+ 0.50 seconds. Russell laid there, taking stock of his limbs. Pain was not overpowering but there was no question he was hurt. Movement at the periphery of his eyes made him turn his head.
The car was on the move. The little old lady was leaving! He could see her tail lights getting smaller as he tried to read the license plate from his awkward position.
Then, he saw his best friend’s body.
She was alarmingly still. Still as death.
T+ 1.5 seconds.
“Lulu…” He whispered a plea. “Lulu, move.”
She lay on the ground, partly under the motorcycle. Unmoving, silent. She lay there with her leg bent in way that was unnatural. He tried to crawl on his arms, leaving a bloody trail back to where his wife, his copilot and his best friend and lover, lay. Russell’s vision became blurred with agony as the pain set in. Blood dripped off his face where the road abraded his skin away with the rough black top.
T+ 5.0 seconds. Pounding of feet and a heavy “Thump-thump” of a huge motor pulling up next to him. An enormous chopper with an even larger rider looking down at him through goggles. A tattoo of the 82nd Airborne division on his forearm oddly was in focus to Russell’s eyes.
“We caught her, brother. We caught that old lady before she got very far. Hang in there, help is on the way.”
“Lulu?” Russel moaned. “My wife?”
“Your old lady’s alive, bro. Hurt bad, but alive.”
“Station is right there, they are coming now.” The giant biker told Russell with a slight Norwegian accent. “They’ll be here in two seconds.”
Two seconds, if only he had seen the car two seconds sooner.