They’ve Fired Sir
A short story by McCarthyMR detailing the final moments from inside the UK bunker deploying the shield.
“They’ve fired sir.” The lieutenant nervously said with a hint of agitation.
“God dammit. Is the shield ready?” General Mackintosh said.
“Three seconds sir, two.. One.. Now. Shield deployment started.”
“So now we wait. It’s going to be close. Three timers counted down next to each other. Of them, the missile timer was the closest to zero, reaching zero a full ten seconds before the shield. The third was the timer on the high altitude EMP blast set to coincide with the solar flare. The whole reason these shields were built in the first place. ‘Bloody hell!’ The general thought. ‘This shield was new tech and American too. We had no idea if it would be able to cover a whole country and whether it would withstand the main blast, not least these blasted missiles!’
Other allied nations were using multiple generator sites but the UK deployed seven minutes earlier than everyone else due to the missiles. It wasn’t even meant for missiles, even though it should stop them if completed.
With a worried look on hide face, the general turned to his lead scientist “Mr. Carter, if the shield is not fully deployed by the time those missiles hit will they get through? If not, will the blast come through?”
“General Mackintosh” Daniel Carter said, “I’m calculating but with the time difference showing they will hit five seconds before the shield completes deployment, I believe we should be ok. Not perfect but ok.”
“what do you mean? Explain yourself!”
“I’m trying sir. Take a look.” Carter brought up a 3D display on the table nearest him and the general came over to look. The display showed the shield as it deployed, the missiles target point and interaction with the shield. “Basically, when the missiles hit, the blast won’t penetrate. The energy though will travel across the shield. By the time the energy reaches ground level, the shield will already be below ground. Meaning we will escape.”
“And the but?” The general pressed.
“Well, the shield wasn’t tested in this scenario. This point here, pointing at the ground the blast energy reaches. There is still two seconds before the shield is fully deployed. It’s possible that some of the energy could follow the shield and disrupt full deployment. To what capacity, we won’t know. But we will in forty three seconds.”
“So we wait.”
“And the EMP. Will the shield still hold that blast too?”
“I’m running tests but I don’t think I can complete the scenario before it begins.”
“Ok. Thank you Carter. I know you’ve done your best under the circumstances.” Pressing a button to his ear. “Mr. Prime minister. Did you hear everything?”, the general paused a moment. “Yes sir, I understand. We’ll do everything we can to save our nation.” Another pause, “Good luck to you too sir. See you on the other side.”
The clock ticked down to zero on the first timer. The underground bunker containing the general and his staff felt nothing. They could see the blast and it was clear nothing had gotten through the shield itself. But there was a worrying green energy haze spreading out across the shield.
“Three… Two… One… The shield is deployed sir.”
“Excellent. Everything looks ok. Are we in good shape Carter?”
“Checking sir. Looks like the shield successfully deployed without issue but there was an energy spike. Looks like a residue of the blast energy made it through and is travelling up the inside of the shield.”
“What does that mean?”
“We’ll know in two minutes and thirty six seconds sir.”
“But the EMP is due in less than two minutes!”
“Err sir. You better come look at this. Our shield took twenty five seconds to deploy.”
“oh, but that means..” The general looked almost scared at this.”
“Yes sir. The timelines specified were wrong. If this is correct, we’re going to be the only surviving nation.”
“Dear god, we can’t even warn anyone.” The general sat down. “we may be inside the shield but what about the blast energy. Carter, do you have a scenario yet?”
“I have two sir. Neither outcomes are good.”
“What do we have?”
“Well the energy blast is following the path back to our facility and there’s no way to stop it. When it reaches us it will cause an energy blast. Best case scenario, it will rip through our facility, but the shield itself will remain intact.”
The general seemed resigned to his fate as he said “and the worst?”
“Facility and shield destroyed, leaving the country to be destroyed by the EMP inferno. We’ll find out in one minute.”
The general called the prime minister to let him know the news. When the Solar flare hits, triggering the EMP bombs floating high in the atmosphere, the UK will either be the only surviving nation or be destroyed along with the entire planet. The prime minister thanked him and his team for all their efforts and that , if the country makes it through, they will be remembered for their actions to save the nation.
With ten seconds before the solar flare (the largest ever known to hit Earth directly) was due to hit the outer atmosphere, the general, Carter and their respective teams stood together at the central monitors watching the outside world intently. “Thanks everyone.” The general said. “You have done your nation proud these last few days.”
The team watched as the solar flare hit, and the first of the EMP blasts set off. For the first thirty seconds they watched each monitor in turn as the first cities were destroyed and the monitor went dark. Everything connected to any electrical circuit literally blew apart. It was clear the scenario’s were accurate as the blast traveled using over and underground electricity lines consuming everything in its path. “what have we done.” The general commented.
Carter put his arm on the general’s shoulder. “It’s time General.”
The general looked up at the timer. Three.. Two.. One.. Nothing. They felt nothing and were still there. For a moment he thought they had a reprieve. Then they heard it. The power started to ebb like a heartbeat. Building until the whole building ebbed in the same way. Everyone huddled together waiting for the end and then it happened.
The general found himself flying upwards. Straight up. He wondered if this was how it was for Superman. Flying the world saving the planet. He saw a bright flash and then daylight. Looking down, he could see he appeared to be atop a white bubble. He looked around as he saw a few of the others where he was while others dropped into the bubble, the rest simply sliding off the sides.
He kept his balance ‘if I’m still alive then I’m riding this blast wave’ he thought. He kept rising and rising, until he could almost touch the shield. Then the blast started to subside and he was in freefall.
For the first time since his parachute regiment, he could see vast swathes of the UK. He felt wonderful as he spotted the blast only followed the line of energy feeding the shield. He knew the shield had held and, now he could see the blast pattern from this height, he would die knowing his country was safe.
As he fell, he remembered everyone he’d ever loved, his career, the good work he’d done for king and country, the people he’d helped or supported from afar, looking in on them from time to time to make sure they were doing well. And then it happened.
Just as he was about to hit the ground he spotted Carter falling just in front of him. But that wasn’t what caught his attention. Some sort of energy ring seemed to be on the ground and both he and Carter were heading straight for it.
As he reached it, the energy ring enveloped him in a spectrum of rainbow colours. It was blinding but he forced his eyes to see everything. Suddenly, after what seemed like an age he landed, softly, on a platform. Not understanding what was happening, he tried to move. ‘hands are working‘ he thought. ‘arms seem to be good to go, legs.. Achy but working’. Lying on his front, he decided to attempt to roll over. He did this very carefully and found himself staring up at a ceiling so high, he could barely make out the detail.
Sitting up came next. He managed this without issue and spotted Carter to the side doing the same. As his eye’s came back into focus, he began to look around and was flabbergasted by what he saw. He appeared to be in a hanger of sorts. The place was truly massive. But there were no fighter planes or even any planes at all.
No, what he saw was six super size dragon flies. ‘what the..’ He thought. ‘Am I dead?’
Leave a Reply