512 Words

I Dare Destroy

M. Stanley Bubien

"I dare destroy the Earth!" I cried, hand poised upon launch control.

"You cannot," my second replied matter-of-factly, tone consistent with his mannerism.

I faced him, for, of all my commanders, he was the last from whom I expected insubordination. My mouth drew a grim line; my eyes never left his.

"Kill him."

Neither did he move, nor attempt to prevent my guards as the beams lanced out and sliced him into uneven pieces.

"I dare destroy the Earth!" I cried once more.

"Shall I man the screens, my Lord?" came the reply I expected. In this instance it was my trusted third, and with his reach and stroke, the surrounding windows blinked out, blackened, and filled with various vantages of our planet. Before us, photosynthetic and globulin detectors showed life, to the side, SAR revealed surface formation, while behind, seismograms indicated subterranean.

"Ready, my Lord."

My teeth sparked briefly in the screens' spectral flow. Subordinates, from my third to my twelfth, erected themselves to attention, for they well knew my momentary lapse was inspired revelation, a dream shared by all men, finally reaching fruition.

Hand to brow, I addressed them, "You are the true heroes, and I salute you. Your willingness to sacrifice has not been in vain." I threw my arm forward, and they responded in kind. "When the final missile detonates upon us, we will have succeeded in our sacred duty, passed down by ancestors who also strove nobly for godhead. Though wracked with failure, they lit our way---with their wars, their pestilence, their pollution.

"Through them, and for them..." I laid a single, ungloved digit upon the detector. Light shone through the skin as it read my imprint. The tiny brilliance extinguished and the console droned in affirmation. "Our first and final act as gods, we dare undo that which God has done!"

Presently, detonations transformed the screens in a myriad of colors, so like the lost chameleon of our now-flaming jungles. Oh, the irony!---dwarfing Creator in the microcosm of the atomic. Multiple bursts cast extinguishing fire upon all aspects of the planet, and life blinked out; air solidified in flame; oceans boiled away; soil scorched to glass. And crustal plates shatter---

"My Lord," an outstretched arm beckoned behind. "Tectonic indicators remain inconclusive."

"Confirmation!" I cried. "Before it is too late!"

My third fell to console, controls flashing and beeping frantically beneath his machinations.

"My Lord!" Another voice, another hand, another screen---this tracking the imminent landfall of the final missile, aimed at our own position.

"Confirm!" I commanded with clenched fist.

My third continued frantically.

Turning attention upon the gauge of our own sacred doom, I watched the numerals transmuting in time with my heartbeats: "8," "7," "6."

"Confirm destruction!"




"Confirmed," my third screamed. "Indicators show..." he paused as data materialized, "insufficient stress. The Earth surviv---"

His statement was cut off with a roar. The building crumbled, but in that thunder, my ears rang with... Words! Those spoken earlier by my second.

They were the last cognizant notion I would ever have.

Thanks to Michael Rounds.

Copyright ©1998 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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December, 1998
Issue #32

512 Words