New Brunswick — Global reaction continues regarding recent news that an enormous comet will slam into central New Brunswick and devastate the entire province in approximately 30 days. While federal and provincial governments prepare for a mass evacuation of all New Brunswick citizens, the nationwide shock has diminished and the rest of Canada has already written off the have-not province in their own minds.
“So the fallout from the comet stops around New Brunswick’s borders and there’s time to evacuate everyone? Huh. That’s too bad. But, I mean really, what are you going to do, right?” shrugged Saskatchewan oil-patch worker Nelson Saunders. “Bad luck, I guess. New Brunswick … that’s the one beside Quebec, right?”
Fellow oil technician Trey “Trigger” Austin was more skeptical. “Where is it again … above Maine? What do you mean? There’s nothing above Maine but the ocean.”
The comet, dubbed “2015 E506,” is composed of mostly ice and measures 2.5 kilometres in diameter. It is travelling at 15 km per second or 54,000 km per hour, which is relatively slow in cosmic terms. Scientists predict that the comet will impact Earth in the middle of New Brunswick, just west of Doaktown. The collision will release energy equivalent to 2.2 x 105 megatons of TNT, creating a final impact crater 20 km in diameter and 730 metres deep.
While the seismic effect is estimated to be 8.2 of the Richter scale, it will not be the main source of destruction. The air blast caused by the impact will create a catastrophic atmospheric wave moving at 318 metres per second within 100 km of the epicenter, or the equivalent of 1,146 km per hour. The blast will extend to New Brunswick’s borders causing multi-storey buildings, wood-frame buildings as well as highway truss bridges and covered bridges to collapse. Glass windows will shatter as far away as 300 km from Ludlow. Up to 90 percent of New Brunswick’s treasured forests will be blown down, and the remainder of the trees will be stripped of branches and leaves. The forest wildlife will die immediately from the blast or very soon after from lack of food and shelter.
“Will the refinery be okay?” asked Newfoundlander Norman Noseworthy. “Because I can’t pay any more for gas as it is. The price of gas is killing me … figuratively speaking though. Not literally, like that entire province’s forests and wildlife, as well as anybody who might still be left around, when that thing hits. But anyways as I said, gas prices are going up for sure!”
“I’m afraid I don’t know much about New Brunswick,” said British Columbia steelworker Stewart McKinnon. “At least it’s one of the tiny ones so they can get everyone out of there. Maybe they can turn it into a landfill and then create a big park or something there after it’s full.”
Prince Edward Island will also be impacted, including the possible obliteration of the Confederation Bridge. Upon learning that PEI may also receive some fallout, retired Winnipeg teacher Iris Blanchard exclaimed, “What about Anne of Green Gables?! Will it be okay? Can we move it to … say … Cape Breton? Because you know, kind of the same thing. They can update the book and no one will know the difference.”
“I can’t wait for them to arrive out here,” said now full-time Fort McMurray resident Blake Smith. His family is leaving New Brunswick and moving permanently to Alberta to be with him. Previously, Smith was dividing his time between his hometown of Bathurst and his work in the oilsands, but with the province-wide evacuation he’ll be reunited with his family for good. “This comet is really bringing our family closer together, and we’re so grateful,” he said.
Meanwhile, New Brunswickers are getting some perverse enjoyment out of their sudden notoriety on the world stage. “Did you hear Obama talking about us the other day?” beamed 55-year-old Fredericton resident Harold Harrington. “Dr. Oz and Oprah too! And they did a joke about us on Saturday Night Live! Pretty neat!” But Harrington teared up when asked about leaving his home of 25 years. He is preparing to evacuate to Florida, where he’ll spend the rest of his days trying to make the best of his new place of residence.
“Hey,” he said, “if I have to move anyways at least I’m going to go somewhere with warmer weather — am I right or what?”