2007-09-03: DF: Bring The Thunder


DFCyprus_icon.gif DFJack_icon.gif

Summary: Revolution endgame.

Dark Future Date: September 3rd, 2009

Bring the Thunder

Washington DC

There is a reason Jack picked the Red Cross building as his perch for tonight's show. It's a safe distance from the section of the city that he and Cyprus have been discussing for days. The roof is flat and has no railing, allowing him to wheel his chair right up to the edge and look out over the entire metropolis. The sun has gone down but the moon hasn't quite risen yet, and the lights are just starting to wink on all across D.C.

The circuit boards, bits of wiring, and blocks of claylike material that have been littering Jack's desk for days have finally come together and taken on a new form. They are no longer inert, lifeless hunks of metal and plastic. Jack has made them into something more. Now, instead of a fistful of minerals and the leftover junk from a Radio Shack, he has explosives. Very potent explosives.

The half-dozen bomblets have been wrapped in brown paper and stacked carefully in a burlap sack, which now rests across Jack's knees. The Irishman is calm. Relaxed. The tension that's been building in his muscles over the past two weeks has dissipated. Many of the wrinkles have smoothed from his face. Trina has even thoughtfully provided him a fresh suit for the occasion, black on black with one trouser leg knotted off below his stump. He's wearing a small smile as well, one that's not quite wistful, not quite peaceful, but somewhere between.

Washington D.C. hangs like a city in a snowglobe, afraid to breathe. By now, the rumors have begun, rumors of an army on the march. According to the news two hours ago, California has gone the way of a full blown riot, with nearly all the detainment camps there having been over thrown. Los Angeles is nothing but chaos. And on the opposite side of America, anticipation hangs in the air like a low thrum. A storm is coming, and everyone knows it. Things are about to change.

The door to the stairs opens, and a solitary form emerges from it. Cyprus is now the one wearing street clothes and a loose jacket in contrast to Jack's suit. He walks casually across the rooftop, carrying a briefcase, as he approaches Jack. He is silent for the moment, looking out over the capital that had stood untouched by wars for over a century. He reaches a spot beside Jack, and halts there. It seems he is willing to let Jack start the conversation.

When Cyprus arrives, Jack perks up and swivels his chair around to properly greet him. "Welcome, my friend," he rumbles, his rough basso-profundo unusually calm and clear. He inclines his head minutely, nods respectfully, then turns back to resume his citygazing. They are high above the ground, but not so high that Jack can't see a passel of black specks that might be children scurrying into a larger, reddish blob that could be a minivan. His brow pulls together into a frown. He pinches at the bridge of his nose and allows his eyes to drift close. Staring at schematics, blueprints, and components for the past two days has left him myopic, and they're doing him little good anyway.

"We have done in two weeks what men have tried to do for two years," he continues. "I should be proud of us, but I'm not. A lot of people are going to die before we're done." His jaw clenches, then unclenches. His mysterious calm is evaporating. "The troops are in place. I've brought the bulk of the Flock and all of the mercenaries into the city over the last twelve hours. How are we on the evacuation?"

Pulling out a cellphone, Cyprus smiles faintly. "I had someone wire all the fire alarms in the buildings to trigger when I call a single phone number," he says quietly. "With the level of tenseness in this city right now, there will be some panic, but they should mostly evacuate in under three minutes. The emergency services response time is at least four. They'll have to decide which one to go to, so that adds us a minute. That gives us a window of about two minutes, four minutes after I dial the number to detonate with minimum casualties, and maximum effect. The psychological impact will be immeasurable."

Cyprus stares out over the city, and takes a deep breath. He lifts his briefcase. "I saved the Declaration of Independence," he comments. "I figured it would probably be for the best." He sets the briefcase down, and shakes his head slowly. "I… He should have been able to see this. To know that the evil… the other one did with his name would be undone."

"Good," Jack murmurs. "Excellent." His eyes pop open and slide down to the briefcase, fixing on it intently. There's a moment of fierce concentration, as if he's trying to read the document right through the material of the case. A quick shake of his head brings him back to the moment. "You're right. Nathan should be here, but he's not. I might not be proud of us, but he would be." He reaches into rough sack that's draped across his lap and pulls out two of the bombs. A long moment of concentration passes as his will wars with his battered body. The lingering effects of the ability negating chemical he'd been filled with during his stay on Level 5 don't help, either. The bomblets shimmer and vibrate, and a low-pitched humming noise fills the air that rattles the teeth and attacks the bowels. A single tear builds at the corner of Jack's eye. When it falls, it's pink and blood-tinged. Finally, both explosives pop out of existence and rematerialize at their destination, leaving him gasping for air.

"Make the call," he rasps.

Cyprus watches Jack as the bombs vanish. As Jack gives the order, he hesitates for a moment. He looks out towards the city, towards Washington, and its probable he's considering the alternatives, considering the options. There are many of them, and just as many possible future scenarios. And everything coming back to this one moment. The hesitation passes, and he flips open the cellphone. He dials a number, and waits a moment. Finally, he speaks into the phone "Bring the thunder." With that, he closes the phone, and switches it off. Within a minute, the city begins to react. Cyprus glances down at Jack, then back out at the city. And then he winces. "Dammit. I forgot to grab my spiderplant on the way out of the office." Pause. Sigh. "Oh, well. Too late now."

The next pair of bombs find their way to the second location with considerably less discomfort. It's as if once the proverbial dam has been burst, Jack's ability is more than willing to cooperate with his whim. Still, there is a great deal of effort expended, and it with shaking hands that he pulls out the final set of explosives. He glances up at Cyprus with a sardonic smile on his face. "You'd never guess it, but I'm for bonsai. Clears the…" He grits his teeth and last set of packages disappear. "…mind. Man. I'm spent." He digs a sleek detonator from his jacket pocket, then dabs at his sweaty brow with one sleeve.

Abound the city, some lights are already brightening while others grow dim. There is turmoil. There is panic. It's the paradigm of human nature; beautiful, hideous, and fascinating. Jack can't look away, so he lifts he watch up high enough that he can see it. "We're at one minute."

"When I was a boy, my father took me to this city," Cyprus says quietly. "He drove me around to all the monuments. Let me walk among history, as he said. I remember staring up at the giant form of Abraham Lincoln, and standing in the halls of the Jefferson Memorial. He held my hand as he read to me the names of the friends he lost in Vietnam. I stood in the heart of this city twenty five years ago, and I've never forgotten what he said to me." He pauses. "It was important that a man never forget what he came from, else he wouldn't know where he was going. For two years, I did everything in my power to keep this nation from sliding into chaos, Jack. But I think… we all forgot where we came from. We came from chaos. We came from revolution."

He lifts his own watch. "Two minutes," he comments.

"All men wage war," Jack agrees. "It's a fact. Even pacifists validate violence as a tool by denying it. We believe that we are right, and so do our enemies, and so we'll kill each other until we figure out who was wrong in the first place." His lips press into a tight, unhappy line. "I know it's not what we want, but it's what will happen. With Logan gone, someone will step up to fill the vacuum. There's never a shortage of would-be dictators."

Stripped of the glove that's hid it for so long, his ruined right hand comes up to press over his eyes first, then his mouth. His voice is muffled when he mutters, "Three minutes and counting."

There is a faint chuckle, and Cyprus shakes his head. "Decades from now, historians will try to piece together what happened in these years," he says ruefully. "And even those of us who were there won't truly recall every detail, how it all fit together. And how it came to this." He glances at Jack. "Logan changed the world. And there is nothing we can do to change it back. This will not do it. But if we are strong… maybe we can make the world into something better. Something… like what Nathan would have built, if he had had the time."

He glances down at the watch, and lets his breath out slowly. The sirens have just begun to fill the sound of the night. "Four minutes," he reports to Jack. "Trigger them whenever you wish, Jack. It's your show."

Inhale. Exhale.

The time has come. With it, Jack notices details that had previously eluded him. It's brisk tonight, far cooler than usual for early September. Wads of leaves leftover from last year's fall cling tenaciously around the doorway to the roof, resisting the wind's attempts to blow them away. Despite the heavy fog of pollution in the city, the air smells crisp and clean.

"When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you." After quoting from Deuteronomy, Jack takes in a final breath, holds it, and raises the detonator. As an afterthought, he cups his free hand protectively around his genitals. The button is pressed.

Simultaneously, huge explosions and gouts of flame consume the Supreme Court Building, the U.S. Capitol building, and the Pentagon. The shockwave is tremendous, setting off car alarms, shattering glass, and perforating eardrums.

Cyprus prepares himself by fishing a pair of earplugs out of his pockets and slipping them into his ears. He has not Biblical quote, no words of hope or despair. Just simple readiness for what had to be done.

And then, the explosions rock the District of Columbia. Within moments, dust and sirens fill the air and the ground continues to shake for nearly half a minute as the various buildings collapse into their foundations. Luckily, emergency crews have already been scrambled, and will be arriving on the scene to keep peripheral damage to a minimum. But the shape of the city has been changed forever. Even as the dust clouds fill everything with debris and the smell of ammonia and ash, that much is obvious. With the echoes of the explosions still echoing, Cyprus reaches up to pull the earplugs out. He takes a deep breath, and picks up his briefcase. "I have a van on the first floor," he says easily. "I'll take you to your army, Jack. They'll want to see their leader."

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