Written in 365 Parts: 106: The Strike

The smart missile had no possibility of missing its intended target. The short burst micro transmitter was pulsing on a known frequency and guiding it to a precise tactical strike. The explosion was far larger than was warranted considering the target was a small dome fewer than three metres across.  The blast from the compound explosive superheated a five metre radius from the epicentre of the blast. The shockwave travelled a further fifty metres before its energy was expended. There was some ground level damage resulting in a shallow crater.

The strike was intended to be short lived. All of the energy consumed in a devastating wave that would be over in a moment. The fact that the blast energy was consumed in a surgical manner, with no extraneous effects, indicated the quality of the device. Such ordinance was not inexpensive. 

All that remained after a few seconds was a superheated circle was rapidly cooling. There was an area of particles that had been fused into a brittle glass. At the centre once stood some artificial polymers and maybe organic components. A few metals for added variety looking like discouloured streaks. These were all now a homogenous blob, rapidly cooling in the chill air.

The explosion would have been visible for hundreds of kilometres, but there was nothing at this height to notice. The timing was as precise as the strike, occurring when no vehicles were in visible range.

The occupant of the emergency tent had been correct in their suspicions. They did not have much time from when their guest left to the arrival of the missile directed by the pinhead tracer left on the outside of the tent. They had a grand total of eleven minutes and twenty three seconds. But they had been prepared for trouble.

The days spent on the plain waiting had not been spent in vain. While safely hidden from view to the casual observer by the elements, they were also hidden from watchful eyes. They had brought with them a number of useful tools in the kit. The first of these was an air-trench cutter. A small fusion pump fired a jet of compressed air out of a nozzle. It could be used to fine cut through steel or to broad nozzle cut like a spade through soil and sand. The second tool was a mini-super compactor, again fusion powered. The super compactor turned a litre of material into a centimetre cube in a few seconds.

The two tools together had allowed the tent dweller to dig a four metre deep trench three metres in length and two metres wide in a single night.  Then to compact the residue into cubes that were easily combined together with epoxy to line the walls making a brick lined hole. The work was tedious and repetitive but relatively simple. 

It took most of the following day to build the ceiling to the trench using fast drying epoxy and carbon mesh, this was placed a metre below the level of the topsoil. The epoxy and mesh combined had triple the strength of hardened concrete when they set, and could distribute force outwards across their surface reducing any damage from ballistic impression. The remaining gap was again lined with the super compressed bricks and then covered with loose sand. A small hole had been left in the roof of the epoxy, it was large enough for a person to fit through. Then a hatch had been constructed from epoxy and hardened soil that could be lifted out and dropped into place.

When the visitor had left the occupant had unpacked the bedroll and sleeping bag. Moments later they had the hatch opened and had wriggled through the gap making sure to close the hatch behind them. They fast sealed the roof with a quick bonding polymer and then got into the sleeping bag and sealed it from the inside. The bag was not just for sleeping. They set their pressure suit to resist outside forces and fired an emergency gas canister. Within a minute the sleeping bag had inflated to fill the space and increased the internal pressure to six atmospheres. The outer wall of the sleeping bag was made of a heat resistant, airtight and force distributing polymer.

The figure had then waited, for what felt like an agonising amount of time, for the world to end. When it did it was sudden and brutal. There was a flash as some of the energy penetrated through the soil and epoxy. The light of the blast was great but it only penetrated to a small degree so much of the heat was lost. The shockwave that travelled a moment behind it penetrated far further. The inside of the bag suddenly buckled and the pressure went from six to twenty atmospheres which was enough to override the suit systems. Just before consciousness took them the occupant hoped they hadn’t severely miscalculated. Their last thought was “shit.”

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