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=====The First Sighting=====

A dragon's appearance in the background of a Midwestern news broadcast proved to be the hinge upon which TheChanges swung.

===Event Information===

**Date:** Wednesday, Dec. 18, 1996
~- **Era:** EraDragonInTheStreets
**Location:** Omaha, Neb., U.S.
**Also Known As:** As this was the first positive sign the world worked differently, many people use this event interchangeably with TheChanges; e.g. "it was Christmas a week after The Changes." Others, notably including CharacterDennisRedwing, argue that The First Sighting itself was a symptom and not a cause.
**Major Characters:** CharacterDennisRedwing* //(see notes and his character page)//


For an event that would have such profound and lasting effects, the actual sighting was brief, perhaps 15 seconds. The dragon stepped around a corner into view of the camera; smiled and waved; and then leapt into the air, flying away in a broad arc before disappearing behind some nearby buildings.

==Immediate Reaction==

The biggest on-scene reaction to the sighting was a car crash as an awestruck motorist stopped paying attention to the road. Reaction to the videotape of the encounter, though, was far more dramatic.

Hearing about the dragon sighting set the imagination of many would-be theris afire, but it wasn't quite enough. Once the proof that the world had somehow Changed reached them, however -- in the form of the video, or of other theris made instant media stars, or of seeing one in person -- it gave many the power to effect a similar change in their own forms. Within 24 hours, tens of thousands had transformed nationwide and worldwide.

Magic use, likewise, sprung up as news of the First Sighting spread. However, most mages had no immediate agenda -- as opposed to the theris, most of whom had been aching for their new forms for years or decades. Magic's first big moment in the news would thus be the EventLosAngelesRiots.

Public reaction among the unchanged ranged from wonder to awe to fear; although the number of therianthropes was tiny compared to the population at large, the phenomenon transfixed the world. See EraDragonInTheStreets for a closer look.


On one level, the aftereffects of The First Sighting are all of TTU.

On another level, the event itself was quietly lost in the roar of everything that followed worldwide. The vigil attendees had mixed reactions to the disruption, with some reveling in their 15 minutes of fame as witnesses and some trying to put the whole thing behind them. (One would later become a [[TherianthropeWaves Second Wave]] theri.) The driver who caused the car accident saw his life spiral downward in the sudden wave of public attention. The reporter on the scene used his newfound name recognition to land a job at a major network, but faded back into obscurity some years later.


//All times are local (Central)//
~- **6:23 pm:** The dragon appears in downtown Omaha during a live, on-the-scene report at a candlelight vigil for a worker lost in an industrial accident.
~- **6:27 pm:** The first authorities respond to the scene, drawn by several 911 calls reporting the sighting (and one reporting the subsequent car accident). The dragon has by now disappeared.
~- **~6:45 pm:** By this time, a news alert has gone out over all major wire services.
~- **~8:00 pm:** The footage starts being rebroadcast outside Omaha, as CNN buys exclusive rights to show the video of the dragon on its west-coast 6 p.m. news shows. As the footage itself spreads, so do other public changes.
~- **~9:00 pm:** Several other networks have bought video rights for the east-coast 10 p.m. news, and it only gets wider coverage from there. By the following morning, virtually all newspapers have a story on the dragon sighting (and whatever local events seem related), and the footage is being rebroadcast obsessively.

===Further Reading===

==Story Appearances==
{{category only="Story,Culturalia" header="0" col="4"}}

==Story Excerpts==

~"He remembered the way his heart leapt the first time he saw the video clip. The bleeped-out ejaculation of the cameraman. The reporter bravely ignoring it, pushing through another half-sentence, then turning around and losing his composure. --- The sheer beauty of that creature of legend. The casual thumbs-up that the distant, blurry form seemed to give the camera, then the way its muscles tensed as it leapt into the air, wings spread. --- The car crash in the background as some passerby took just a little bit too long to gawk. Everyone in the room had laughed at it; it was the tension breaker that made the rest of the clip just surreal enough to appreciate." - StoryButTheGardenHasNoApples ---
~-"A large, brown form, with bright red highlights that looked like folded wings, rounded a corner in the background, slightly out of focus. ... [T]he reporter on screen glanced behind him, did a double-take, and ducked off-camera with a wild look on his face. ... The figure -- which did look amazingly like a dragon -- stopped, looked directly at the camera, briefly raised one of its forelimbs, and then spread its wings. The picture shook; the focus blurred, then clarified, and swayed to center on the beast, which crouched, muscles tensing. --- 'There were over fifty witnesses willing to go on record by name on that street,' the young man's voice broke back in, 'along with the news crew. Were they all in on this 'hoax,' too?' The dragon -- and it was definitely a dragon, in that flash of a moment while the camera was properly aligned -- leapt into the sky; the camera tracked it, jerkily and obviously hand-aimed, until it lost the figure behind a nearby building." - StoryWardC1012pm ---
~- "Paul rolled his eyes. 'You guys are blowing this out of proportion. Did //any// of you even //notice// the dragon's equipment? And you've watched that video how many times now?'" - StoryFirstFlight //( ;). -b )//

==See Also==
{{category exclude="Story,Culturalia" header="0" col="4"}}

===Other Information===


~- While there is rather universal agreement within TTU that the dragon in the First Sighting was CharacterDennisRedwing, Redwing himself denies it. (See his character page.) ---
~- The sighting itself took place after dark, but the area was decently lit by streetlights and by ambient light reflected from the overcast sky. The video quality was a bit grainy, but quite sufficient to make the sighting unambiguous.

==Writing Tips==

The First Sighting seared itself into the minds of a generation. Virtually everyone alive can tell you what they were doing when they heard of the dragon's appearance. (Of course, since it happened on a weeknight, most folks were either at home watching the news, or at work the next morning.)


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