Middle of winter, blizzard, but the snow melts before it reaches the ground; city buildings burn bright. “We did it.” The flames crackle.
The General leans toward the blaze. “What’s that?”
“Sir, we did it, sir.”
The Soldier, in front of rubble newly formed from a 3-story hospital, squirms under solid stare. The General takes the time to count 50 drops of sweat on the young man’s face. “What do you think of what we’ve accomplished here? “
“I’m just a Private sir.”
The General nods. “Things were prettier before, but obviously this had to happen.”
The Soldier does his best to mirror the General’s stoic expression, and says, “I’m convinced, sir, that this was the only way. We were right.”
The General cracks his first smile as leader of the free world. “Your type of thinking is what we need now more than ever. How does Private First Class sound?”
“Great, sir. Thank you.”
“Congratulations.” The General turns to the flames, but still senses the heat of eyes on his back. “Is there something else?”
“I was sent from the Armory. We followed your orders, things are ready to move but-”
The General intercedes. “There’s something that requires my attention.” He turns ‘round to a nod, and chuckles. “I’ll never run out of problems to solve. Lead the way.”
Their march through the flickering shadows of the city is completed in silence. Upon their arrival, the Soldier disappears behind the superiors that’d sent him; the General pats the side of a tractor trailer. “This should be halfway across the city by now. What happened to the Lieutenant?”
The Lieutenant, a wisp of a man by Army standards, steps forward from the group. “The weapon was loaded, we were on our way when someone brought up the point that we’re already at the Armory.” The Lieutenant is satisfied with what he’s said, but the General stares, waiting for more. “There is nowhere safer for this to be than where it already was.”
“Who’s in charge here?”
The Lieutenant snaps to attention. “You are, sir.”
“Yes me, but also we.” The General gestures broadly at the smattering of soldiers, “And now that we’re in power we can set about reshaping the world.”
The General raises a hand for a silence. “Even if it’s just moving things from one side of the city to the other, this is what we fought for. This is our reward.” No one moves. “If you’re worried about driving it, don’t. I’ll do it.
Lieutenant you join the convoy behind, help watch for any of the old guard that might be left.”
The transport starts slow, as should explosive cargo through snow; molasses-thick caution turns the thirty minute trip into an hours long affair.
The General’s attention does not shift, driving is as easy as pressing the gas but to him there is more finesse to it than that – he understands the ruined infrastructure, observes what’s left and reacts accordingly – some rubble is driven over, some avoided, some moved by the convoy –
The world starts to shake – earthquake – natural disaster too taxing on the newly weakened buildings – crack – tumble – crumble onto the trailer – cargo detonates – decimates what little is left.