Machines of War is a story based off the music and lyrics performed by the metal band Severed Fifth. Severed Fifth’s philosophy is to change the music world by providing their music under a Creative Commons license. Please take the time to see the site and download great music for free at: http://www.severedfifth.com Join the forum and help change the music world!
Julian stared glumly in the window of the lab as a klaxon alarm bellowed through the hallway. Smoke began to fill the lab as the radiological team walked onto the scene. From the isolation room, Julian showed the team his badge with radioactivity meter and they manually over rode the lock to let him out.
“Radiological team one. Containment is verified. Doctor J is safe and sound.”
The team unzipped their suit helmets and disconnected their masks.
“Well. Hard luck Julian. Prototype?”
Julian winced as double leaded panes of metal came slamming down around the lab table to contain the rest of the burning material. The radioactive core had already been retracted and was now shielded.
They all stood and waited in silence. Julian watched an ant pass by his boot and search the crack in the concrete for a way into the lab.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Even the cockroaches didn’t survive.” Julian muttered at it.
Undeterred, the ant waved a feeler at him and pushed its way into the concrete. Julian sat down on a chair in the hallway. The klaxon alarm hesitated and then turned off. A disembodied voice announced temperature values within the containment box.
“If I had the new cooling system..”, Julian began
“If you had the new cooling system, it would have burned that much slower. It still would have burned. Don’t blame my lab for your screw-up Julian.” replied Jonas.
Julian felt like sticking his tongue out at the suit who stood next to the radiological crew.
“No. I might have had the time to find out what caused the overload. Now I have no data to work with, just a pile of crumbs!”
Jonas turned to walk back down the hall, “What we really need..”
Julian mouthed “blah blah blah” as Jonas completed his sentence, “..is a working prototype of a weapon to show the NDS that won’t blow up in their faces.”
The radiological crew stifled snickers behind Jonas’ back. The usual insults about Julian keeping them all in a job went unsaid as the temperature in the chamber degraded to a mere hundred degrees. This project would make them all independently wealthy. The one to beat them all. The weapon to stop an attack in it’s tracks and make an entire country sit back on it’s proverbial haunches. The scariest weapon since the A-bomb.
“You want us to save you anything Julian?” asked the lead as they began zipping up again.
“No thanks, nothing left worth saving, just scrape it all into the tank and steam clean it please.”
Feeling rather dispirited, Julian traded his radioactive protection suit for a lab coat and headed for the break room. Swiping a hand through his messy fair hair he had to remind himself that all scientists had setbacks. In the break room, a few people smiled sympathetically at him as he got some coffee. They watched as he slid himself onto a counter and leaned his head back against a wall.
“What are you working on today Julian?”
Julian tipped his head at his raven haired brother. Tearing the top off a sugar packet he tipped it into his mouth and took a swallow of coffee.
“Launching platform. And failing miserably at it. The fuel isn’t stable enough.”
“Why not drop it?”
“From a plane? Are you kidding me?”
“Oh come on, all those stealth fighters out there…”
“Give me a break Max. Did you learn absolutely nothing from world war II? We’re trying to eliminate casualties. The weapon is no good if it never makes it there. Small rocket, big bang remember?”
“Finished off the warhead itself?”
Julian snorted “You know I can’t talk about that.”
Max waved a hand at him, “Like it’s a big secret here. It’s the reason no one gets to leave until it’s completed. If it were any more of a secret it would be a solid gold statue set out in the middle of the lobby.”
Silence reigned for a few minutes and then Julian sat up on the counter and set the coffee cup on the counter. Max looked startled. Julian pointed a finger at him.
“You .. are a genius.”
Max leaned back in his chair, “I know”
Julian’s first stop was Jonas’s office.
“I need a new lab.”
Jonas laid down his pen and looked up at the disheveled scientist.
“You need a new WHAT?”
“I need a new lab.”
Jonas picked up the pen again and grunted, returning his attention back to his paperwork, “You’ve got a lab.”
Julian seized Jonas’ pen and tossed it behind him.
“I need a lab with structural reinforcement and a lead out.”
“A lead out … to the SURFACE? Are you out of your mind?!”
Julian grabbed the sheet of paper that Julian had been working on and with a black felt marker began drawing on it.
“Look. We can make the whole thing the warhead …the whole thing! But it will only work if we can test it in the lab.”
Jonas snatched back the paper dismayed at the ruination of the neat columns of numbers and notations.
“You are crazy! How are we going to pay for digging and outfitting a new lab??”
Julian smiled at Jonas, his eyes gleaming like mad,
“Jonas, by the time you see the money we’ll make from this, you won’t be asking how to pay for anything, you’ll be wondering how you’re going to spend it all!”
Grabbing the phone handle off Jonas’ desk he shoved the receiver at him.
“New lab Jonas, and I swear to God I will make it worth your while.”
Jonas gave in gracefully. He knew when a great scientist should be humored.
Julian was having a great time at the celebration party. Senators slapped him on the back. The head of 4d industries pressed him to sign a new contract to their labs. The members of his team circulated the room. Julian tried to explain to the head of 4d industries the importance of not breaking up his team. He turned to the window in time to see the explosion. He knew it was an explosion, and he knew the specific type of explosion it was. He let his glass fall out of his hand and shaking his head reached out to touch the window as a cloud of white barreled through the streets of the city, disintegrating buildings, heading straight for the sky rise. As the white touched the building, he heard the noise of people talking stop, then the windows shattered and the noise rushed on and on…..
Julian lurched from his bed, cold sweat sticking his shirt to his back. Nausea seized him and he grabbed his bedside trash pail just in time to empty his dinner into it. For the first time since starting the project, he wondered, just a hint, if there was anything wrong with what he was doing.
The first test went splendidly, the new hydrogen launch system left no trace of where the rocket came from. The nuclear engine fed the shielding that kept the payload from being detected. The shielding kept the payload cool, the payload emitted just enough radiation to continue the nuclear cycle. Until the payload ran out, the structure failed, or inevitably the weapon reached its target, it was a perpetual machine. The team watched the miniature test upon an island. Half a mile across, a round circle wiped clean of vegetation, right down to the bare sand. No char, just dust. Julian avoided the party.
The team was hired to create a large scale weapon. Because of the amount of radioactive material required, they had to wait while the advisory boards made up their collective mind whether to give 4d industries the contract. The leash on the team was loosened a bit and they wandered a bit afield looking for an out of the way place to construct the new weapon and a bit of fun. They wound up in North Dakota at a bar that wouldn’t have stood a chance against a stiff wind. Max said the beer was watery, Carlos the short, stout Mexican groaned as the band played, and Harsha’s romantic Indian palette eschewed the local grub.
Max and Carlos took turns teasing the good natured Indian man with the black eyes that women swooned for.
“Heya monkey man. How’s that burger goin down?” Carlos asked him, pointing at the slab of meat between two gigantic buns smothered in onions, pickles and mayonnaise which was what Harsha had received upon asking for Bonda. Harsha grimaced and his neatly clipped vocabulary seemed to take especial care with his English, “I would no more eat a piece of beef than I would slaughter one of you for my dinner. I had thought that perhaps like most people in the Americas they would have something fried in that terrible fat you crave so much.”
“Ah, well you’re asking for the wrong thing monkey man! HEY STELLA!!”
Carlos had a huge voice for such a little body. They all swore he stole energy from the radiological storage and kept it in his boots, releasing it at need to make himself seem three feet taller and a hundred pounds bigger. He kept shouting until the waitress (who doubled as the bands soloist singer) poked her head out of the kitchen door.
“Hey Stella, get my boy some cheese sticks and fried zucchini out here will you?”
“Sure thing sweetie”, she called back. Carlos smiled roguishly at the buxom blonde that was reminiscent of Flo, the waitress. Julian was floored by Carlos’ easy attitude toward women and wandered away from Carlos and Harsha who had decided to begin arguing the merits of deep fried foods. His path led him to the bar where the bartender casually refilled his beer without asking him what it was.
“No sweat. Whatta we gotta do besides stare at you guys anyway?”
Julian smiled at the thick jersey accent and decided to try his luck at the pool table but none of the team sharks were biting today. Setting his beer down on a sideboard, Julian racked them for himself. He was just about to break when a very feminine hand came down on his stick. He frowned and looked up into the brightest pair of blue eyes he had ever seen.
“You aren’t going to play by yourself are you?”
Julian shook his head dumbly. Her hair was a dark auburn with curls soft as silk draped down over her shoulders. She had slim shoulders and a tiny waist but her face was what held him. Those eyes were brilliant. Every eyelash was perfect. He could almost see her in a bustled dress, walking in the English countryside.
“Why? I mean.. no, if you’d like to play.”
Gracefully he gave up the break to her. Without batting an eyelash, she wiped the table clean. Stunned he stared from the table to her and then to the bartender who shrugged and smiled. She put the stick down on the table. Julian looked back at her and watched her walk out. When they were all back in the car Carlos took him to task for his absentmindedness in not asking for her phone number. Max and Harsha snickered from the backseat.
“Carlos, you know very well I couldn’t call her, couldn’t write her. None of us can have anything to do with anyone until the job is done. If we did we could all be shot and buried for treason to the government.”
Carlos snorted, “You are an idiot. You are lucky I talked to the waitress.”
Digging in his shirt pocket Carlos handed over a slip of paper without letting go of the steering wheel.
“Tomorrow we’ll be at the site. You better call her tonight, at the very least to tell her how much you adore her.”
Julian turned a deep scarlet as the three men had a hearty laugh, but once they reached the tiny backwater motel, he picked up the phone.
The actual rocket itself was as impressive as any such structure. Little boys would stand in awe of the twenty foot shining silver monster. Julian barely took notice of it except to forbid any decoration but one, a six inch patch displaying the 4d logo. Jonas argued angrily until Julian reminded him of the rockets job. They spent the next months crawling over the rocket inside the underground facility. As they patiently welded each attachment of the machinery to the inside of the rocket Julian wondered about the woman with the lively blue eyes who spoke so brightly on the phone. He imagined himself married and living in some place like Phoenix, Arizona. Children running up and down the street, riding bikes, building forts.
“Julian! The fuel is here!”, shouted Carlos. Harsha grimaced from the console where he tested each connection.
“Leave Julian alone. Stick it in a storeroom or something.”
“A pound and a half of solidified material? How do you propose not to die of radioactive poisoning? I thought you were the safety officer Harsha.”
“Carlos. We are sitting underground building a weapon that could wipe out half of Montana. Where is the safety in that?”, Harsha complained facetiously but began passing out the badges that would monitor their exposure to the material.
They watched as the inauspicious truck labeled “CHIPS” drove down the ramp into the facility. The next hour was tense as they removed the boxes and boxes of potato chips that hid the inner leaded box with the fuel. They transferred it into a tall storage box. Not quite a closet, but out of the way in any case.
The chips were tossed back into the truck except for the three boxes they appropriated for their own use. They watched the truck back out of the facility with some regret and went back to work with a will to finish. Each part was tested thoroughly and after the hydrogen tank was hooked up, the radioactive material that would power the entire device was lifted into its cradle near the nose.
Jonas showed up at last to oversee the final test. It was a crowded scene with several army generals and the vice president observing. 4d scientists asked so many questions that Harsha banished them to Jonas’ presence. Julian stood on the catwalk fifteen feet up the tower with the officials.
“Tell us Julian, do you really think it will work?”
Julian blinked, “Well if it was necessary yes, it will most certainly work. Certainly there is no need for it at present??”
The vice president turned with a small smile, “Don’t worry. It is merely a deterrent. When a country like ours flexes some muscle, others take notice. It is a safety measure.”
Julian nodded uncertainly. The rest of the team chatted affably until Harsha proclaimed the test ready. The large screen displaying the weapons status lit up and though it would appear a jumble of code to the generals, Julian recognized the pattern of signals as they made their way through the electronic pathways. Launch, Navigation, Target lock, Prep, Actuation. Tiny yellow lights lit up beside each item until the signal reached the actuation device and then a noisy click sounded throughout the tower.
“boom”, said Jonas and everyone laughed and clapped. A green “ready” sign lit up below the screen. Each month, the computer would repeat the test.
The party inside the tower was the only recognition that the weapon existed. The entire team was offered enough investments to make their lives extremely comfortable. Then the facilities doors were shut, only to be opened by annual technicians.
Everything remained calm for a considerable amount of time. Three of the team having bonded closely spent an inordinate amount of time together. Max, at the first opportunity, took his money and vanished so completely that not even an offshore account with his cash could be found. They all agreed that the wiring guru was better off out of sight, out of mind. Harsha came to Carlos and Julian one day, hands shaking, a piece of notepaper in his hands. Julian took the piece of paper and sat the man down on a chair.
“Harsha for gods sake man what’s the matter?”
Harsha motioned at the paper and Julian read it out loud.
“To my Son, soon to be wed.
I have arranged your marriage to the beautiful Nawal whom you were bethrothed at three years of age. On the fortieth of August of this year you will arrive here at home and we will then travel to Qatar from Gujarat to be wed ten days from our arrival. Nawal’s father is looking forward to the prospect his daughter has captured and I am sure you will not be disappointed as she is truly the most treasured gift of all her father owns. Your mother.”
Julian’s voice trailed off and he was shocked to see Harsha’s lip tremble.
“She … she never could tell what day it was!”
He broke down into a torrent of mystifying tears. It took Julian and Carlos three hours to finally tear the story from him piece by piece. That he had originally been pressured to wed the girl several years before but had told his mother he would not do so without having a good prospect for marriage. In truth he had hoped that the girls father would give up on the marriage and ship the girl off to someone else. Carlos blinked and shrugged, having no idea of why Harsha had done this any more than Julian could figure it out.
“But why?” Carlos finally asked. “If this girl is pretty and well educated and willing…?”
Harsha seemed to shrink in on himself and whispered, “I am ‘misli’”
The arabic word did not sit well on the Indian’s tongue, seeming like a slur, an ugly one. Julian shook his head. Carlos’ eyebrows knit together with a glimmer of a thought. Harsha looked at Carlos and grabbed him by the collar.
“I am Gandu! I love other men!”
Julian’s face registered understanding, Carlos’ was more pitying. Neither man stepped back or seemed to express disgust which made Harsha all the more confused. Julian poured a stout drink of scotch for all three of them.
“Well, it’s not your typical brand of sickly sweet disgusting brandy or port or whatever the hell you Indians get drunk on besides water if anything, but I guess it’s as good as anything to celebrate your coming out of the closet.”
“Well of course!! You couldn’t possibly go marry the girl now! How humiliating for both her and you! Tell her… oh I don’t know what you can tell her but for tonight we can be happy we all have it out in the open.”
Forcefully Carlos and Julian clinked their shot glasses together and downed the scotch in one go. Harsha looked like he’d rather be tied up in chains and whipped by Shiva to remove his pain, but he downed the drink and begged forgiveness of his Gods. Julian and Carlos took it in turns to reassure their friend that they considered him no less of a man for what he was and the choice he made to conceal it from them. Carlos teased him just as much being a homosexual as he did for not eating meat, constantly pointing out “good men” for him. Harsha learned to take it in good stride.
Julian met up again with the lovely woman from the bar. His daydreams of breathing in the scent of her hair and cuddling up against her soft body while they slow danced were made more extraordinary by the truth of her. He never got over drowning in her eyes. Her voice never raised but when she was around she was the complete center of his world.
In the end, the point of Harsha’s homosexuality, and what he would tell his bride to be became moot as Jonas showed up with a squad of armed U.S. security service men.
“Gentlemen..” Jonas began slightly hesitantly. Julian narrowed his eyes at his brother and Jonas seemed to draw himself up to his full height in defense of what he was about to say.
“The U.S. Government wants another weapon.”
“That wasn’t the deal Jonas.” Julian said levelly.
“ahh, I’m afraid these gents aren’t taking no for an answer Julian.” Jonas shifted on his feet nervously. His well polished Testoni shoes nearly squeaked with the effort. Julian turned to the service men,
“Another chance to blow ourselves up is it?”
The service men did not say anything.
“Bastards.” Julian spat as he walked by.
Harsha and Carlos followed along. As they piled into a large suburban Julian turned to his brother and smiled, “Couldn’t find Max could you?”
Jonas shook his head and Julian stared out a window, “At least one of us got away clean.”
The U.S. capital looked quite the same as all three of the men remembered it from the previous times they had visited from conferences, science presentations, etc. The difference this time was that they all got a chance to see the white house up close and in person. In fact they were shuffled along to the head of the line when they came to the oval office and found themselves ushered in with little fanfare. The President was affable and charming, welcoming them in. As Jonas plastered on his politicians smile Julian stepped boldly in front of him and grasped the Presidents hand. In the process he managed to catch the edge of Jonas’ leather shoe with his work boot and ground down a little, causing a real look of pain on Jonas’ face.
“An honor to meet you Mister President. My colleagues and members of the team, Harsha, our programmer, and Carlos our mechanical engineer. I’m afraid we’ve misplaced our wiring man, but I’m sure he’s on some unnamed beach by now enjoying all the comforts of luxury he wants.”
“Yes yes, no matter, please do have a seat. I called you all up here because we are in dire need of a new weapon.”
“So I heard Mister President. As the last was supposed to be a visual flexing of muscle, could you tell me why another one would be necessary?”
The President chuckled, “Quite to the point. What we need Julian, is a weapon that leaves no trace of itself.”
“But Sir, every weapon leaves a trace. As clean a sweep as you can get with the last missile, you cannot prevent the traces of radioactivity or energy signatures present.”
“We also need it to be able to wipe out a five hundred thousand square mile area. Clean.”
Julian thought, “Are they going to blow up Alaska??”
Jonas took advantage of Julian’s distraction to pipe up, “Sir, you realize that a project this big would certainly require an enormous amount of ah..resources..and as such would be expansively..expensive.”
Jonas stopped at the look of disgust on the Presidents face. Julian took hold of the bear again.
“What Jonas means to say Sir, is, how much time are you giving us to try to come up with this thing?”
“We need it complete in six months”
Harsha gaped, Carlos guffawed. Julian frowned slightly at them.
“Sir, the last weapon took me three years to visualize and six months to build. Even the requisitioning of the radioactive material took months.”
“You will be working on a military base. Everything will be provided to you the moment you ask for it. Anything you require at all can be given to you in a matter of hours. Your families meanwhile will be cared for generously. They will want for nothing while you are gone.”
For Carlos this was a painful moment. His family was extensive and they all wanted in from Mexico. He had come to the U.S. to ply his trade in order to secure enough money to free every single one of them from debt and bring any of them to the U.S. who wanted to come. His glance at Julian said he was in. Harsha shrugged. Julian turned back to the President.
“I cannot promise you six months Sir, but I can promise we are working on it even now. No moment will be wasted.”
The President nodded graciously and stood to usher them out, but Julian could tell his mind was already on the next person waiting outside the door, already on to the next issue.
“Fine fine, you will be taken by Air Force One…”
The rest of the sentence faded into obscurity as the three scientists traded looks that contained a wealth of information. They remained huddled together the whole flight to Arizona. On the landing pad they were joined by a strange procession. A spittingly angry man was shoved to the front of a column of security service men. They pointedly ignored his epithets about parentage and family breeding stock resembling certain animals. It was Max. In Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt so bright they rivaled attention for the sun, he aimed a last insult at them and marched over to the group. Jonas smiled brightly,
“Ah our little prodigal boy is back.”
Max decked him.
“On a beach with THE most beautiful woman on my lap. I won’t even TELL you what we were DOING when those goons yanked me up by the arms and told me I had to come with them. No explanation, no nothing, they shoved an envelope at my pretty little girl and marched me off. So what the hell are we doing here?”
“They want another weapon Max.”
Max stared at Carlos, stunned, “You’re joking. You’re effing joking right? This is a joke? ha ha. Last joke before I really disappear for good?”
When no one smiled he sat back in the wooden seat he had chosen at the airbase and grunted. “What do they want to do this time, wipe out China?”
Julian slid a sheet of paper with specs on it across the table to him, “I think that may be exactly what they are thinking of doing.”
“Untraceable? Holy shit, come on, we can’t do that! Can we?”
“No you can’t! Oh come on it’s …this is dumb!”
Julian let Max rant. He had always been the expressive angry one. They all thought he made up for the time he spent silently with his wires. The intensity to carve a living bomb and the bravery it took to disable it was what made Max. In his downtime he partied to make up for everything he had to swallow when he was working. Eventually he ran out of steam.
“ok, well, if they want it, I guess they are going to have to get it. They want to blow up five hundred thousand square miles, they can push the button themselves. Where are we launching this bastard from? It’s going to take out a fair size mountain you know.”
Julian leaned forward, “If we launch it from space, we won’t use even a tenth of the fuel we would need pushing it off the gravity of earth. Range is unlimited and the only thing we have to work on is navigation as it falls.”
“uhh, we’re not astronauts Julian”, said Carlos and Harsha seconded that.
“The astronauts can put it together once it’s up there.”
“What if they screw it up?”
“That’s their problem not ours.”
“What about the warhead? We’re going to need a hell of a load.”
Max went off on another tirade, though this one was quieter.
“What are we going to hit them with then? Spitwads??”
“Electronically bound hydrogen atoms released and scattered at the right moment would create trillions of tiny explosions capable of the effect the previous weapon had, but without the radioactivity of uranium and certainly nothing as devastating as cobalt. The entire device would be consumed after the initial detonation. It’s not quite fusion, and not quite fission, but something in between.”
“Wait, are you expecting us to believe you think these hydrogen atoms are just going to vanish afterward?”
“Well, yes in a matter of speaking.”
“I’m confused.”, said Harsha the others agreeing.
“We need to trick the atoms into thinking they have been transported elsewhere after the fusion/fission occurs.”
“Julian boy you are living in another dimension.”
“Well, millions of them to be sure, I just want to give them all a little present. Come on now, we’ve all seen the experiments on the simultaneous destruction and reconstruction of data. All we have to do is “tell” these atoms that they need to go somewhere..else. What are atoms but another form of data?”
“Along with everything they destroy.”
“Well that would be nice.”
Harsha leaned back, “It would take organic programming.”
“And a megaton of Hydrogen.”
“We don’t need to worry about fuel Carlos.”
“Right right. Ok Lets all get some preliminary sketches done and see what we come up with by… the end of the week?”
“Isn’t that tomorrow Carlos?”
Carlos grinned and stood up, “Why so it is. You guys are pretty smart. They want it in six months remember?”
The team left convincing the President that space was the only choice for a launch pad to Jonas. It seemed that every other week he was jetting off to the Capital to “confer”. In reality they knew he was bringing progress reports. Their model turned out to be five feet long with separate boosters that would peel off and burn up on re-entry. Their own experiments with destruction and reconstruction of data, then destruction with no reconstruction of data turned out to be quite successful. They were sad that it would never reach the outside world. They all felt, though they could not prove it, that they had reached into another universe. Someone, somewhere was scratching their head at bits of data appearing from nowhere, destroying some poor idiots laptop partition and frying a central processor.
They hypothesized and computers backed them up, that the hydrogen would burn cleanly and the second the atoms had “done their job” they would vanish, as if they had never been. The result would be an area the size of Alaska wiped clear of life down to the bedrock. All useful organisms as well would be wiped clean and Harsha shuddered to think of the effect upon the environment. When the area had cooled, immediate re-population of organisms could begin, tailored to suit the cleared area.
They all took turns with Carlos welding. Julian designed a type of ‘snap tite’ missile that would be almost fool proof to construct in the gravity free environment of space. The individual sections of the missile were as wide as one of the shuttles. The whole missile itself was twice as long as the International Space Station. Jonas attempted to calculate the cost of the special non-reflective paint and came up with a figure so huge he nearly threw up.
“Are you sure we can’t paint this thing battleship gray?”, he pleaded.
Once it was finally wired, the sections were put together once and all the actuators were tested over and over and over. Harsha, Carlos, and Max were completely satisfied that if someone pressed the button, this Hindenburg would go down just as as planned. They watched the sections taken away by railway bound for the Cape Canaveral space center with just a twinge of worry. The Hydrogen would be shipped up separately, in sections, from Russia. Their final construction time was nine months all together.
Perversely, the U.S. insisted on sending them on “goodwill” tours across the planet, trying to convince the world of their good intentions, researching and developing more “safe alternative energies.”
While Carlos and Harsha played along politely, Max sulked with his security service retinue. Jonas sucked up every moment of attention. After finally having been asked one time too many what role the team played in U.S. national security, Julian had had enough. He snuck out of the hotel one night in Africa and caught the next taxi to the airport where he returned directly to surprise the beautiful woman he loved who now worked in Utah. They married and for the next three days everything was wonderful. They adopted a scruffy mutt called “Sandy” that reminded Julian so much of the dog on Annie, he couldn’t keep from lavishing attention on her.
After a long walk through some dry hills one day, he came back to witness his wife in tears. Without explaining, she pulled him to the television set where a news announcer was showing footage of what appeared to be a white screen.
“…we haven’t been told how this has been done, but it is agreed by local experts that this is a man made tragedy. In case you missed the first part of this broadcast, what you are looking at, is what is left of the Congo in Africa. The damage appears to be as widespread as to encompass all of Gabon, Africa, but we cannot confirm that at this time. To repeat, nothing is left of Congo Africa as we are looking at it right now. There is no explanation for this massive … ” the reporter seemed to search for the right word, “expulsion of all life down to the ground. There are no radioactivity reports and no particulate matter that leads scientists to believe it could have been a nuclear bomb..”
Julian held the remote in his hand unthinkingly switching between channels, the same type of report on every single channel. As more reports flooded in, the sick feeling in his groin spread through his whole body. People. He had killed people. Human Beings. He came to himself, his wife shaking his arm.
“Julian, where were Harsha, Carlos, and Max?? They were in Africa but where??”
Numb, the scientist turned to the tv. “Gabon”, he whispered. “They were in Gabon.”
“What have we unleashed?”
Do you remember ever having a nightmare so bad, it stays with you for days, for weeks, maybe even months? It just lingers on and on, the images, the feelings, even the smells. You may even be convinced that this is a piece of hell, come to haunt you. You start to question if you are possessed or even mad. You think, if the world were to end, it would feel better than this daydream of hell. You wonder at the things you are capable of. Things that would seep into your mind, and destroy you, from the inside out.