Author : Martin Berka
Clawed front feet scrape rock away to the sides, while the back ones push forward. A sensor in the brain judges that the distance traveled is satisfactory. A thought — no, a feeling— is released: too little air. The ascent begins.
It has copious amounts of blood. Normal ground would have enough air to support one of its genus. But it is deep down, in bedrock, and irregular. Genetically, its size and strength have been greatly increased, also raising the amount of air required. Worse, a heavy, useless object has replaced much of its lower torso.
As it digs up into a mix of rock and soil, it steers slightly to one side, devouring a pair of deep-dwelling beetles. Food is sparse this far below the surface, and the lone traveler has not eaten in some time. Its energy is running out. Higher up, there will be nourishment.
The beetles are quickly chewed and transferred to what was once a stomach. There, they are gradually incinerated, powering motors in the titanium feet.
Several hours, the creature continues up. Air quality is improving, and so is the quantity of food available. Then, the claws brush a hard surface. Hard, but not too difficult for something that has spent days tunneling through solid stone. Deeper grooves appear in the concrete with each attack by the front feet. Eventually, it drags itself up through the new hole, into a different environment. Here, stagnant air sits all around. The only solids are the floor below and a concrete ceiling above.
Too much air. The mole is about to retreat, but the chip in its brain releases a brief pulse of electricity, which becomes a physical need (a strange one for a mole): go up — see light. The digger’s modified hind legs support it as it reaches for and carves open the ceiling. Up, into a place full of air and light, the mole struggles. Its underdeveloped eyes are partly blinded, and it staggers sideways, crashing out through the building’s wall. Humans scurry around it, shocked at the giant creature/machine. The intense light of the sun enters the mole’s eyes, activating a final signal in the brain. The huge object in its torso activates.
The mole ends first, followed a split-second later by the spectators and several square miles of the surrounding city. Even the safest residents of the metropolis can see the mushroom cloud in the sky.
In his secured office, the mayor receives a priority message:
Years ago, you and others like you destroyed the national government, believing your populations and technology made you invincible and independent. All because of your idealogical disagreements, your unwillingness to be part of one nation. Your isolation makes you weak. We have a weapon that none of your air defense systems or walls can stop. Start rebuilding this country now, or lose everything.
The Committee to Recreate the Government