Author : Ion

Jim was excited. He gleefully danced about as the elevator slowly squeaked downward. He was thinking about the popcorn he had saved from that convenience store he found a few weeks back and how this would be the perfect opportunity to pop it. Its not like he hadn’t found other tapes before, he had a collection of hundreds, many brought back from the brink of destruction before the elements or radiation could get to them. They kept him company. They reminded him of the time before the bombs. Most of all though, he learned things from them.

He had been camping that Autumn. Trying to get in one last trip before winter set in. Sure he had an emergency radio, but who would contact him? The blasts were so far away, they didn’t even wake him up. No one there to worry about him after that. On his way home things slowly crept in. Everything was rubble. They few people he did come across, were not pleasant.

He tries not to think about it now, as the elevator reaches its destination. He is too excited about this tape. Nearly all the news stations had been destroyed. All but this one. He had seen it in a commercial in one of the last tapes he found. WKQQ, Channel 8 news, reports live from its headquarters in Midtown Nebraska. Such a small town. Really out of the way for most people. Sure, it had been looted to the ground. All the food gone, no books in the library, but who would take tapes without the equipment or electricity to watch them? Jim was lucky in that respect. No one would laugh at his solar truck now.

He urges the popcorn to hurry up and pop as he begins diagnostics on the tape. He is in luck, it is in good condition and will not have to be restored. Good old Midtown. No one would hold a grudge against Midtown. He pops it in as the popcorn finishes and has a seat. He presses play on the tape labeled “Presidential Address 10/17~”. He watches as the news runs for a minute, but then is interrupted by an emergency broadcast. This is it he says to himself, on the edge of his seat. This is where I will finally find out what happened. As if confirming his suspicions the president sits at a cluttered desk in what looks like a very sturdy bunker. Jim listens as the president talks about a computer network and watches as the president begins to pick up objects off the desk and assemble them. Is that toilet cleaner? And bacon? His heart sinks and he begins to suspect this is some kind of parody. But the president goes on. What is all this about sharing? Leaked information? What is the president doing with all that stuff on the desk?

These questions race through Jim’s mind as the president drops the bombshell. He is giving up. The whole world is giving up. There is no way to combat this new threat. The president pauses to assemble a particularly difficult part of the device he is building. During this pause realization sets in. The president is building a bomb. Out of household components. The information has been posted all over the internet. They cannot stop it. They’re giving up.

The president wishes Jim the best of luck and presses a button on the top of the device. The tape is interrupted with static. Jim sits alone.

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