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Old 10-22-2010, 09:31 AM   #1
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The Fourth of July - Chapter 1

Greetings!

After many months of toil, I have another fic. In typical me-fashion, it's not a romance, and something a bit weird is going on; it's also quite long; and the era is pre-NLOTH (to be precise, the story begins on 4 July, 2008).

Whether it's any good or not, I leave up to you.

Many thanks to Diane for being an awesome beta.

Standard disclaimer: This is all made-up, I don't know or own the band, this is for entertainment purposes only. Any factual errors are entirely mine.
Also....


*****

-----
Chapter 1
-----

Natasha Coleman started awake to the sound of the radio station's news fanfare, announcing the 6am bulletin.

"America is still sweltering as the record-breaking heat-wave gripping the mid-western states continues unabated ..."

She groaned, rubbing her eyes, and forced herself out of bed.

"... preparations for Independence Day celebrations..."

Anyone would think a bit of hot weather in America was earth-shatteringly important, the way the news was ignoring everything else going on in the world.

Well, that wasn't strictly true, Natasha allowed, as the news followed her to the waterproof radio in the shower.

"... explosion in a marketplace in the Afghan city of ..." The details were lost in the sound of falling water, but that story always sounded depressingly familiar.

"... the Israeli ambassador has issued a statement of protest, following ..."

No time for breakfast on her first day in a new job. She'd put her clothes out the night before – smart, professional, modest. No point making anyone's eyes bug out now that she had the job.

At twenty-six years of age, Natasha was not entirely happy with the progress of her career thus far. She was a journalist, with a degree and four years of experience under her belt, albeit at a smallish newspaper in her home town of Limerick. She had stayed there for four years, saving up for the big move to Dublin, applying for every journalism job there she could find. Landing this position at The Irish Independent was the break she'd been waiting for. It wasn't The Irish Times, but it was a big paper, and she wanted the big stories. It was all she could do, back in Limerick, to convince the editor to let her write the occasional piece on global events, or even more local social issues, instead of the endless articles about farming and industry and economics. It had bored her to tears, but she'd hung on, for this.

In her car on the way to the office, Natasha had the radio news station tuned in.

"... leading economists are predicting a gentle slow-down of the recent boom..."

Ugh, economics. She knew it was important, but it always seemed so boring. There was a big summit taking place in London from the next day, she imagined that would be dominating the headlines, unless there was a disaster somewhere. Maybe if one of those wildfires in California did more than threaten some celebrities' mansions...

She was half an hour early, but she wanted to show them she was keen and dedicated. Natasha greeted her new boss, one of the sub-editors, with a smile.

"Good morning, Mr O'Shaughnessy."

"Call me John," he said, smiling back, and incidentally towering over her from 6'4 in the air. "And how shall we call you, Miss Coleman?"

"Everyone calls me Tasha," she replied.

"Not savin' much time there, are you," he winked. "Follow me and we'll get you started, as you're so keen..." He was a brusque, busy man, and never seemed to stand still.

Natasha followed him through the warren of corridors and partitions and cubicles and rooms and offices, until they arrived at a temporary-looking workstation in a small office. There were two desks, the other one occupied by a thin, balding man who was introduced only as Pete. He squinted at Natasha through his spectacles, then sat back down at his computer and ignored her.

"You'll be helping Pete keep the obituaries updated," John said, already itching to be away and doing something else. "Never know when some big name is going to drop dead. Shout out if you need anything. Cheryl will be down later with your paperwork. Welcome aboard!" And he was gone before Natasha could close her mouth and ask a question.

She asked it anyway. "Obituaries?!" Okay, she wasn't expecting to be sent out on assignment on her first day, but this? Any student could do this! A monkey could do it!

"For when people die," Pete said hesitantly, poking his head over his monitor. "So we don't have to write the whole thing out in a hurry..."

"I know what they are!" she snapped. "Sorry," she added a moment later. Pete said nothing more.

With many sighs and muttered protestations, Tasha sat down at the computer and started clicking things. "Have they even given me a login name or anything?"

"Here... John left this last night..." Pete handed her a sheet of paper with login instructions, and where to find the obituaries on the computer system. Natasha sighed again.

The obituaries were arranged alphabetically in priority of how long ago they had last been updated, so at least she didn't have to slog through every single one they had on file. It was tedious work, although she found out a few interesting things (apparently Neil Armstrong had ancestors from Northern Ireland). And skimming over what was already in David Attenborough's obit, Natasha thought they'd have to publish a whole supplement to get it all in.

By the afternoon, Natasha had signed all the relevant documents and was given a lightning introduction to some of the other staff in the immediate area. The little obituary office was adjacent to a sprawling open space, filled with partitioned desks and busy reporters. That was where she wanted to be... and she would be, soon. She was the new girl, they obviously had foisted this pathetic job onto her to see how she'd cope. Well, she'd cope; and if they tried to give her more busy-work after this, then she would tell them a thing or two.

The low hubbub from the open-plan area had become both distracting and irritating, as if reminding her of where she wasn't. After checking that Pete didn't mind (he'd barely said a word to her all day), Natasha set up her portable radio and tuned into the news.

"... damning report on the exploitation of immigrant labour..."

---

It was something of a surprise to see "Bono" in the list of files to be updated. He wasn't that old, although a prudent newspaper kept something on record for celebrities of his stature. Metaphorically speaking.

Natasha would admit, after some prodding, to having been a fan of U2 during the '90s, when she was a teenager. She'd sort of lost touch with what they'd been doing since, although she heard all about it when the albums came out or Bono was harassing some politicians. Well, she'd have some work to do bringing Bono's obituary up to date – the picture was from ten years ago, Bono on stage in full PopMart regalia. That bubble suit still looked like it should be from the future, although that and the muscle shirt probably wasn't the image he'd want to be remembered for. Tasha found a better picture, and wondered when he'd had time to have four kids and get an honorary knighthood. It looked like both he and Bob Geldof would be attending this economic summit in London, if only to hold a press conference outside.

"I guess I'll be seeing you later," Natasha told an imaginary Geldof. If Bono had a prepared obituary, Bob must too.

If she'd thought Attenborough's obit was long, she changed her mind after opening Gabriel Byrne's. Natasha was an hour into it, trying to condense the thing without losing any content, when the steady drone of the radio's report on the danger of over-fishing Atlantic cod was cut short.

"I've just been handed a report," the female newsreader said, professional over her surprise. "A chartered passenger jet has crashed just after take-off from Dublin airport, a few minutes ago. Eye-witnesses report seeing a large explosion after the plane seemed to drop from the sky as it was climbing. There are unconfirmed reports that rock star Bono was aboard..."

Natasha didn't hear the rest, just the shocked silence that had fallen over the whole office. Then she heard John's voice booming out for everyone to drop everything and get on this. A moment later he appeared in the small room.

"Did you do Bono's obit?"

"Just finished it," Natasha said faintly.

"E-mail it to me, would you?" John said, and vanished again.

The newsreader was repeating the story. "... emergency services are on the scene, but survivors may be unlikely..."

Natasha sent the e-mail, but all she could think of was those four children, and that ridiculous bubble suit.

---

The rest of the day passed in a haze of shock, frantic work, and fatigue. Information flew about the office, phones rang and everyone was talking; the front page was rearranged, headlines were invented and photographs poured in. The obituary would be published – confirmation had been received that Bono was indeed among the victims of the crash, along with twenty-four others. It was the worst Irish air disaster in decades, but everything was focussed on Bono. Several other articles materialised, along with the promise of a special supplement with the Sunday edition of the paper; two days wasn't long, but people seemed to be prepared to go without sleep for those two days.

Everyone gathered around the several televisions in the open part of the floor to watch the various evening news programmes. Bono's death was the leading story for every single one, even on the various European channels.

"Rock superstar and activist Bono has died today in a fiery explosion..."

"Celebrity campaigner Bono has been killed..."

"Irish rocker and champion of African aid, Bono..."

"A chartered jet has crashed today, killing all twenty-five on board, including U2 frontman Bono..."

"Tributes and condolences are pouring in today, following the death of rock star activist Bono..."

Rock star, activist, campaigner, frontman, honorary knight, champion, public figure. None of them said "husband and father". No statement had yet been issued by U2's management or the rest of the band. Natasha watched it all with a dull ache of disbelief in her heart. All the people around her seemed to only see a story, something that had to be described and interpreted for the nation in tomorrow's paper. But she saw one or two handkerchiefs as they watched the news, and was a little reassured. There were humans here, after all.

Some staff were absent, and Tasha imagined them camped outside the airport, or the homes of family members, striving for a photograph or a quote. Watching the piles of flowers left by fans build up.

Part of her mind also noted that she would never have seen activity like this back in Limerick. This is what happened when big news broke here. This was what she wanted, to be in the middle of it.

There was another surprise after the first round of news bulletins. Bob Geldof and Bono had both been scheduled to hold a press conference outside the summit in London, and everyone expected it to be cancelled. But Geldof forged ahead, appearing alone in front of a sea of journalists. He was visibly upset, and even more dishevelled than usual, but he refused to be drawn away from the topic of the summit and what it could mean for African aid. All he would say, at first, was that the issue of Africa is bigger than any one person and that Bono would have wanted this to go ahead.

He finally snapped, however, when one reporter too many ignored everything he'd said and asked him again about Bono. Geldof launched into a furious and emotional rant, lambasting the cynicism of the press and the inaction of wealthy nations, describing the many magnitudes of loss being felt after Bono's death, and scathingly reminding the assembled press that thousands more were dying in Africa that had no hope of generating the same level of news coverage that Bono's death had. He poured scorn on the "meaningless platitudes" that had almost immediately sprung from the lips of world leaders.

"... If the crippling injustice of Africa isn't enough to galvanise them into action, maybe Bono's stupid, tragic, otherwise pointless death will do it! Or if even that doesn't move governments, it could move you people who can move the politicians!" With a furious stab of his finger at one of the television cameras, and the world beyond it, Geldof stormed off the podium, leaving the host of clamouring reporters behind.

Natasha wished desperately that she had been there.

She didn't leave the office until nearly 3am, having done all that she possibly could to help. Heartsick and exhausted, she climbed wearily into her car, only to hear more news about Bono as she started the engine. She flicked off the radio, for once sick of hearing the news. The CD player started up, and of course it had to be a U2 album. The Unforgettable Fire.

It sounded like a funeral, although she couldn't have said why.

Out of habit, Tasha put the TV on when she got home, and numbly watched more of the same on the news channel. She channel-hopped aimlessly, and found out that one of the music channels had suddenly decided to play U2 videos all night. But by then, late-night programming ruled the airwaves, and she found herself halfway through an infomercial before she finally dragged herself to bed.

*****
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:03 PM   #2
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you posted it without telling me!

I this story.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:12 PM   #3
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Wow I wasn`t expecting that

Great start though and I can`t wait to see where the story goes...........
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:21 PM   #4
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this is going to be good!

great start! wonderful writing as well!
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:43 AM   #5
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Quite an interesting way of starting a story!
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:02 PM   #6
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This story is already so great, interesting and beautifully written! It's just so painful to read that Bono died.. and with your writing skills it's even more touching. I love it, please continue

Funny, I thought of writing a little story a while ago, and it was very much like this idea. but unfortunately I can't write in English, heheh.
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Old 10-24-2010, 11:09 AM   #7
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Blimey O'Reilly. What a start to a story...
Im definately intrigued......

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Old 10-24-2010, 06:30 PM   #8
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This story is already so great, interesting and beautifully written!
See..I told you they'd like it.
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:31 AM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorinde View Post
Funny, I thought of writing a little story a while ago, and it was very much like this idea. but unfortunately I can't write in English, heheh.
I don't think you should let that stop you from writing it, even if people who can't read your language will miss out... I've never really looked at the non-English-language part of the forum, could there be a non-English fanfic place in there? Or there must be somewhere online for fanfic in other languages.

Just a thought...

*goes to post the next chapter*
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:02 PM   #10
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Noooo, Boni
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:58 AM   #11
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That's so sad! Any chance Bono is faking his own death...? Hah. I really like this, so far.

Where is the rest of the story going to be posted??
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:40 AM   #12
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It's already been posted, check out her profile.

http://www.u2interference.com/forums...archid=1412297
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:48 AM   #13
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You can also just search this forum for "Fourth of July", and they should all show up.
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