John Smith the senior manger in a big city company is sat at his desk one late afternoon when suddenly all the lights went out in his office, as he peered over his shoulder out of the window he was taken aback to notice that the lights were going out right across the city like a rolling wave, even the street lights went out. He looked at his self winding watch and noticed the time 4.45 PM
John stood up and turned to view the events unfolding in the world outside, he could see the trains grind to a halt, the guy on the gate of the tube system was using a flashlight to guide out stranded passengers, after he cleared the station he locked the gates and disappeared inside. To his left John could see the main junction that fed traffic out of the city, the traffic lights had failed and a multi vehicle crash had totally blocked the junction. As John observed events unfold around him he could clearly hear the sound of other vehicles crashing into each other as people tried to get through various other traffic light controlled junctions further into the central area of the city.
John returned to his desk and sat down; first he unclipped his key fob from his trouser belt and turned on the tiny single white LED flashlight he normally used to find the door lock on his car in the dark. Peering under his desk he grasped a rather plain looking Cordura Attaché case that he always kept at work. Opening the bag he found a small battery and hand cranked SW radio which he turned on and set on his desk. From the radio he immediately picked up news reports of the total chaos that was affecting the entire region, A total failure of the national grid had caused a cascade failure plunging many towns and cities into the dark, thousands of commuters were trapped on trains and tubes with many more being stuck on buses and in vehicles stuck in ever growing traffic jams.
The police were asking people to remain calm as the 999 and breakdown services were overwhelmed with thousands of calls for help. The fire and rescue services simply could not reach the stranded train and tube passengers because of the gridlocked road network.
John once again dove into his attaché case and produced a bundle of Cyalume chemical light sticks, he opened one and activated it, his office was once again illuminated and as far as he could tell his was the only one in the entire complex.
Clipping his Inova X 5 large flashlight to his belt, along with his Gerber multi tool he took stock of the contents of his bag, In it he found a pair of broken in walking shoes, a waterproofed fleece jacket, two bottles of water, a tritium compass and a full sized OS map of his city, He also found four long life food bars and two tins of all day breakfast , soap, hand wipes, cell phone, spare batteries for phone and flashlight, £50 cash, a small medical kit, a sealed packet of five dust masks ( he remembered the images on TV of the dust from the collapsing 911 towers), two Bic lighters, a good quality lock back folding knife and a titanium pry bar, last but not least he had a notebook and pen, a small pair of binoculars, a pair of leather gloves and a spare pair of specs, and a small hexamine camp cooker.
John decided there was no point in hanging around, even if the power came back on it would be tomorrow at the earliest before the transport system could possibly be restarted, besides the office heating had also gone of as it was electrically ignited so it was time to leave. On the radio the news reports were about panic and looting along the main city road that passed through the centre of town and out towards the ring road, John wisely decided that route was no longer suitable.
John changed his shoes and swapped his suit jacket for the fleece, repacking his bag then sliding it over his head cross belt style John headed out of the building, stopping only to use his flashlight to check his route out across the car park and onto the main street. Using his map he selected from one of five pre planned routes marked on the surface of the map the best possible way out of town, it was along the old towpath down by the canal.
Access to this old industrial relic which led in an almost straight line out of town towards his semi rural home was gained via a padlocked gate leading down to a water company flow metering station, John reached the gate after a brief walk of about 7 minutes during which time he could hear screaming, shouting and the sound of breaking glass assailing his ears from all directions.
Using the pry bar from his bag John quickly snapped off the elderly brass padlock and slipped through the gate remembering to close it behind him.
As the city descended rapidly into chaos and anarchy John quietly and calmly navigated his way along the canal towpath until it intersected with the ring road, He kept the pry bar in his hand until he was certain he was far enough out of town to not bump into anyone with hostile intent. By now it was 11.25 PM and behind him John could see the flicker of flames from burning buildings, he stopped and heated himself a tin of all day breakfast. John listened to the late night news about the army being called in to restore order and provide help before checking his bearings for one last time then continuing his long walk home.