Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

The sleek craft broke the upper atmosphere and fell several kilometers before deploying its chute. The thin film wings weren’t extended until they had slowed enough to not risk tearing them off.

“We’re in stable thermospheric orbit,” the copilot chirped through the headset, “and they haven’t shot us down yet, so that’s a bonus.”

Jacq ignored the copilot’s remark. He’d drawn the straw to pilot this mission and wasn’t entirely sure it wouldn’t be their last. Chuch in the seat next to him didn’t seem to have given it much thought either way.

“Keep an eye on the instruments. All that flash on the horizon is our boys keeping those green bastards from looking up here, but if we stray over something military you can be sure they’ll get interested and quick.”

Chuch buried his head in the telescope display, watching landscape made too familiar from simulation fly by hundreds of kilometers below. It was sparsely populated where they’d started their run, but shortly he knew they’d be passing over major metropolitan centers.

Jacq turned to crawl back into the glider’s converted cargo bay, sliding over top of the two large spherical canisters nestled in the plane’s belly.

Chuch looked up to watch the older man as he checked the strapping and release mechanisms for the tenth time. “Doesn’t it seem wrong, somehow, to be dropping these on civilians? I mean, I get it – war’s war – but shouldn’t we be taking out factories or something instead?”

Jacq pulled a heavy black marker from a coverall pocket and began drawing Kilroy’s face on the side of each bomb. “The war machine stands to serve its people, fight the machine and the people stand behind it. Show the people that the machine can’t protect them, that it’s failing and the people will eat it from the inside.” He pushed back and admired his handiwork. “Besides, we’ve been fighting these bastards for over a year and we can’t get close enough to hurt them. Fly a battle cruiser or fighter squadron within fifty kilometers of a military installation and they turn loose a swarm that cuts our best ships to ribbons. They’ve got more advanced weapons that we have, and more effective defenses against what little advanced weaponry we can get down planet-side.”

Chuch frowned at his superior’s artwork on their payload while Jacq continued.

“That’s why we’re doing this old school; high altitude drop, brute force and ignorance. Dirty atomics. Honestly, I think it’s the only chance we’ve got to end this thing. Nothing fancy, just hit em’ with a big enough hammer. Make their people want to end it.” Satisfied with his drawn faces, he wrote ‘Fat Ming’ beneath one and ‘Little Djinn’ on the other.

“Fat Ming?” Chuch screwed up his face behind his visor. “What the hell?”

“The Merciless. Ming the Merciless?” Jacq watched for some glimmer of recognition from his colleague before shaking his head and moving to the bombardier’s position. “Honestly, you kids need to read more.”

The two flew the rest of the way in silence, the only talking the occasional sounding off of the distance as they approached the cities. In the final kilometers Jacq rechecked the calibration of his targeting view finder.

“Mark my words, we’ll bring holy hell fire to them today and fifty years from now they’ll be our biggest high tech trading partner,” he paused and opened the bay doors, “probably put our kids out of work.”

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows