Author : Sarah Klein
General Elias Knox sat staring at the paperwork at his desk, utterly confounded. “Would you care to explain what happened, lieutenant?”
The lieutenant swallowed nervously, trying not to tremble noticeably. “Sir, we dropped the conventional bombs yesterday at 2100 hours. There was noticeable destruction of building structures, but we saw no casualties – not even wounds. No bodies. They didn’t even seem to be frightened.”
“This is ridiculous,” Knox snarled. “Damn aliens won’t die. We don’t even know enough about them to try to starve them out.”
The lieutenant swallowed again and kicked dust off the floor. “What do you propose we do, sir?”
General Knox had never been defeated. He was Earth’s best weapon – an absolute mastermind of military manners. He’d been in every type of climate, participated in every type of warfare, and used every weapon. But now that he was up against nonhuman enemies, he wasn’t as successful. In Earth’s first battle amongst the stars, the humans were losing. Badly.
He sat lost in thought for a moment, and then started angrily. “Drop the atomic,” he growled, spinning around in his seat. The lieutenant’s eyes popped wide open.
“Are you sure, sir? You do know-“
“I said drop the atomic! That’s an order! 0500 tomorrow morning.”
The lieutenant nervously paced the floor. It was 0505 the next morning, and the atomic bomb had just been dropped on the planet’s busiest city. He tried to calm himself down before checking the monitoring screens. The other day’s bombing had still shaken him – not the destruction it had unleashed, but the absence of it. He may have been young, but he was used to seeing bodies sprawled across pavement and pools of blood. The unaffected bodies of the aliens scared him more than any blood-caked, distorted human corpse ever had.
At 0510 Knox sat down in one of the seats facing several of the monitoring screens. The lieutenant saw him out of the corner of his eye and watched him carefully, but he did nothing. A couple minutes later, he steeled himself and walked to look over the silent general’s shoulder. What he saw pushed him far past the brink of panic.
“My God. We’re doomed.”
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