Twilight of the H-Bomb
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By: Callan Griffiths
(First submission in a LONG time)
“As long as there are human beings, there shall be war.”
~ Albert Einstein
February 23, 2109
It happened in the early 1900’s, they said. They said that the creation of that weapon spelt the genocide of all mankind. The ‘H-Bomb’ they called it, a weapon of such power that entire cities were leveled with just the drop of one bomb. I never understood the power of this weapon until I actually had to witness it myself. It happened over Russia…a small town of pig farmers who couldn’t hope for any better of a life on that little ice crusted piece of rock they called their home. They never saw it coming....then again….no one ever does.
We were flying high over the skies of that little town, Fritzcrak I think they called it. I don’t remember, no one will ever remember the name, because no one, nothing, it left. I am glad I have this journal to write in now, a place I can write down the horrible sins that I have done. I only hope that whatever God rests up above in the great beyond will read this, hear my confessions, and somehow pardon me of the atrocities I have been ordered to carry out as a soldier of the U.S. 5th Battalion Scout/Sniper Unit. Anyways, back to the destruction of a couple thousand lives. As I said, we were flying high over the skies, preparing to be dropped in behind enemy lines and report on enemy positions. Or so that is what our mission briefing lead us to believe. About half a mile out and over a mile above, the orders rang in clear as a bell. ‘Change of plans, boys’ the words said over the laser transmitter. I hated those words; it was always a death wish. When plans change after they have been set, people die. And when people die, mothers at home cry, and well, dead people make good heroes, let’s just end it at that.
I wasn’t the guy on ‘the laser’ that day, so I wasn’t the one who got to read the message first, but I was the first to grimace at the sound of what we were going to have to do. We were, as the first units in to the field, to decimate the Russian city of all traces of life. They made up some bullshit excuse, said that the town was full of ammo and supplies the enemy could use against us. Fuck that, I knew it was a lie, every man including the bastard pilot knew it was a lie. There would be no ammo, no guns, but then again, there would be no evidence left to prove otherwise. We were going to have to use the big guns on them, the H-Bomb.
After the Human War-Loss Prevention act of 2050, every one of the U.S. Marines Scout/Sniper HK-3 Stealth Drop-Point Planes was equipped with a remote detonating nuclear device that could level a city the size of Tokyo. Heh, maybe that’s the reason that there are only 250 of us in the 5 Battalion and only seven of the HK-3’s in the entire world, but what do I know, I’m just a soldier. And being this soldier, it is amazing the orders I will follow.
So there we sat the 15 of us, our jaws all in unison dropped on the orders that had just been called through. I stood up first and typed into the keypad the correct code that was necessary to even get through the 36 inches of titanium plated walling that housed this little ‘motherload’. The titanium was there for a simple purpose, stop the majority of the blast if the bomb accidentally went off. I mean, it wouldn’t stop everyone on the HK-3 from dying a quick, yet surprisingly agonizing death, but it would stop the government from a lot of red tape if say, the bomb were to go off over Paris, France. If it wasn’t for the titanium, the plane would explode in a cataclysmic eruption that would rain the entire ‘city of frogs’ with a nuclear holocaust of goodness. But with this wonderful titanium plating, the plane would seem to just simply erupt in fire and fall to the earth. Sure a couple dozen would die from the plane crashing into the city, and the 15 marines on board would die as well, but it was a lot neater than Paris being untouchable ground for the next 1,500 years due to radiation was.
But I am getting way off track here, I apologize God, whom I am sure is the only one besides me reading this. Into the room I went, and so did half of the men with me. I shouldn’t have been the one going in here, hell I shouldn’t have even been head of the platoon. But it really wasn’t my fault that I was their commanding officer, hell if it had gone my way, I would still be a private first class. Yea, that was the life, just following orders and worrying for no one but your own sorry ass. But you do a few good deeds, save a few lives and live through a couple dozen missions and eventually you can’t help but travel up that preverbal ‘ladder’. Now I was their commander, I was their backbone, and they depended on me to get every single one of them home. God, I hate my job.
There she was that massive piece of metal that housed the necessary components to level entire towns, to end entire lives, to ruin the entire human race. I couldn’t help myself as my hand went forward and ran along the cool metal. It was strange, what happened as I touched the cold steel of that 15-megaton atomic weapon. A shiver rushed through me, went through my muscles and bones and went to my very core. It wasn’t because of the steel, or how cool it was, no it was something completely different. At that very moment I saw the power that this weapon held within itself, the destruction that it could cause. But still, after seeing that carnage, I followed through with my orders.
By now the pilot had steered the plane around and was planning on making the pass back at the small town. This would be the one, final pass that we made over this town. We only had one chance to do this, or we would loose the drop of surprise. Even these small towns had flak cannons, every town did now thanks to the war. We were going to have to drop our S.S. Generator, or Stealth Systems Generator. That baby kept all of our laser and radio communications, navigational functions, physical appearance, and anything else that could give us away cloaked from the enemy. But when we dropped the bomb, we had to open the hatch, and that would break the S.S. Generators barrier, and we would be visible to the human eye for just a few seconds. But then those few seconds could spell death for us if we did this wrong.
So there I was, typing in the command codes necessary to get that bad mamma online, while that little worried voice in the back of my mind kept saying, ‘if I fuck this up, we are all going to die’. I tried to shut it up, tried to tell myself that everything would be all right, but the voices just seemed to get louder. But still I persisted through the torrent of doubting mutters, and I finished the command codes with a bit of time to spare. I would have had a smoke right then, but I was sitting next to a nuclear device, and I noticed the big red ‘NO SMOKING’ sign that they had put up on the wall just as I was reaching for my cigarettes. It was like they had put it up just to stop me, bastards. So I went back in my mind, let myself think of the things that I actually called close to me. My parents…my brother…my wife, they were all waiting for me back home.
I wasn’t given much time to reflect, because just then the pilot came over the intercom telling us that it was time to do this. I nodded my head to my men, and we all left the room. There was no point in looking back, in under a minute it would drop from the hatch, and it would all be over. I lingered as I made my way over to that small control panel situated by the single window on the plane. Looking out as the plane slowly dipped down through the cloud line and I could see the town. It was a peaceful night, only a few of the lights of the town were still on, painting a canvas of yellow against black beneath. There was a light snowfall, angels tears I think, crying for the lives that I was about to take. They weren’t taking them, my men, no……this would be my sin and mine alone.
The control panel was set up so that even the biggest moron could do it. There were 9 buttons, one for each of the numbers of ‘1 – 9’. This was where I would enter the four-digit code…and then I would simply have to push the button, and the bomb would go off. My fingers ran along the buttons as I watched the innocent city below in slumber. I prayed that everyone would stay asleep, that no one would be looking out his or her window and would have to witness the terror of the HK-3 seeming to appear in mid air like a hawk of war and the horrible whistle of the bomb dropping. We call it the ‘Death Whistle’. So I sat there, and I watched, and I prayed.
The hatch was set to release when the plane reached an altitude of 32,000 feet, the same altitude that commercial aircraft fly at. My eyes watched the city, never looking away. I was awaiting my destiny, playing out my roll in fate’s intertwining tapestry of life. We reached our altitude…..
I could hear as the hatches pins were undone and it flung open in the other room. Heard the sickening sound of the ‘Death Whistle’ as the bomb plummeted towards the earth. Heard the gears inside my head crunching against one another as my fingers worked over the access code. I wasn’t feeling emotion now, I wasn’t having a conscience now, I couldn’t be. I was a United States Marine, in the 5th Batallaion Sniper/Scout Brigade, I wasn’t allowed to have emotion, I wasn’t allowed to do second thoughts. Second thoughts caused lives. Come on old man, put your fingers on those buttons, push them in.
I watched as the bomb sailed down towards the ground, my fingers pushing in the last of the entry code. It was then that I caught sight of the one thing that haunts me to this day. There was a little girl, sitting by a fountain in the center of the town. She held a small white stuffed rabbit in her hand and wore a soft blue snowdress. I don’t know what she was doing there, I will never know what she was doing there. My psyche likes to make up stories about her. That she couldn’t sleep, that she was worried that daddy’s pig farm was going under, or that she was simply outside to enjoy a cool evening with the pristine star-scape above. My mind even gave her a name….Lucy, that was it. I named my first daughter Lucy after this.
The bomb was getting close to the earth now, and I clenched my jaw as I looked down at Lucy. She could see me, see the HK-3 as it began to pull up. Her eyes were as blue as the day she opened them, I bet. So blue, so curious about this world she thought was so wonderful. I knew it, knew I was about to destroy this life and thousands more in the process. I hesitated, heard the pilot give the ‘We’re Clear’ yell back towards us, we were out of the blast radius. I should have pushed the button right then, but my hand froze, my body froze, my mind froze.
My crew moved towards me, yelling at me. I don’t know what they were saying, I was lost in my own mind. All I know is that as one of them reached for the panel to push the button himself I reached to my side and put my standard-issue 9mm Glock Pistol to his forehead and screamed at him, “This is my job, this is my sin! Sit down soldier that’s an order!”
I didn’t mean to draw the pistol on him like that……I swear it God. I would have never pushed it either...
I put the pistol back at my side and took one final look at the cityscape below. Sorry Lucy…sorry Fritzcrak….and I pushed the button. There was no way I could watch, no way anyone could look at the bomb going off, it was far too bright. A flash of pristine white light, like the sins of all those people below were washed away as their last few fleeting moments of life were washed away. I turned my head, I couldn’t look back at the mushroom cloud as it rose miles into the sky. I knew what had happened, everyone knew what had happened. Fritzcrak was off the map before it even gotse miles into the sky. I kn
We made one final pass at that city, came back almost a half-hour later to check the damages. The plane flew in low, and my men and I crowded around that single window to look out at what was below. The buildings were gone, the streets were gone, and the people were gone. What’s more, Lucy was no longer standing there, and neither was her small white rabbit. Nothing was left except the charred city remains of what nearly 7,000 people had called their simple home. “Get Comm-sat on the laser….now” I told my men, and the ‘laser guy’ nodded. Within 10 seconds they were asking me questions, asking for confirmations on bodies. The strange thing was, I was spitting out answers that I wasn’t thinking, so the conversation went something like this.
“None left sir…..yes that is right…direct hit…it’s all gone.”
“ We did this to them…we wiped them off the map without a trace”
“No sir, they didn’t fire on us.”
“They were all asleep, you sick bastards!”
“Yes sir, I realize that we are heroes now.”
“Amazing how easy heroes are born from sin during times of war, isn’t it Colonel?”
“Alright sir, I will try and get some sleep. You rest well too sir.”
“ I hope someone drops a 15 megaton piece of metal on your head while you sleep, you son of a bitch.”
As I lay down the laser, I turned back towards the window. I took one look down at what had once been the down of Fritzcrak and sighed. I was no hero, I wasn’t worth of medals. The boys fighting frontline, giving their lives and calling out ‘mother!’ as their last words as they died alone and afraid on the battlefield, they deserved the medals. I pushed a damn button in a hidden plane and took roughly 5,000 lives, took Lucy’s life, without breaking a physical sweat. I hated myself at that moment, and I still do.
So I stood there, watching as the plane moved away and we headed back towards base for refueling and a congratulations. I muttered to myself a small prayer that I had remembered being taught when I was a child. A death prayer, something to comfort those crying souls as they make their way up to heaven. A prayer to say goodbye.
I said my prayer, and I said my goodbyes to those invisible people, those cellophane people that I had given stories to in my strange, twisted mind. Somewhere in my mind, the soft, sweet sound of ‘Taps’ began to play as those good-byes rushed through my head.
Goodbye honor ….
Itachi: You lack power....do you know why?
Itachi: Because you lack it....hatred.