does this day suck or what?
Pinella had just exited the San Francisco Civic Center complex near
Larkin Street and was walking towards Market Street to his parked
car. He had just been a privileged guest at a Domestic Relations
hearing on his divorce from his now ex-wife Jenna. The divorce had
been rushed through at the last minute, to him and his attorney's
and his attorney had been trying to hammer out an equitable dissolution
that would have been fair to both parties. Suddenly the judge called
everyone involved into the hearing room and pretty much handed his
ex-wife everything. Full custody of their two children, Matt and
Sandy. All assets that were jointly owned were now Jenna's. That
included the house, his business, and all financial assets. Plus
he was ordered to pay spousal and child support. Jim felt as though
his genitals had been neatly severed from his body, placed on a
lace doily, and handed to him on a silver platter while being forced
to say; "Thank you, Maam
may I have another?" Even
his honorable service in the Air Force Special Forces hadn't helped
day of his life. He was now walking down Market Street, still in
shock. The female judge must have had one hell of a day, plus the
fact that his attorney mentioned the judge had just gone through
a nasty divorce herself. And since you can't pick the court docket,
he had the outstanding luck of landing a judge that was extremely
biased and loaded for male bear.
emotions were rampaging. He didn't know what to think or do at this
point. His brain was trying to assimilate too much damaging data,
and his mind was swirling with all types of thoughts - revenge,
murder and suicide and extreme hatred at the system that had handed
him this life-blasting hit. Jim definitely felt like he was at the
bottom of the barrel
scrabbling to keep some sense of control
over his life.
continued walking down Market Street. Before he had left court,
his attorney had mentioned some sort of appeal based on the extreme
bias involved in this type of judicial decision. He hoped she could
pull it off; otherwise he would have to build his life back up from
ground-level. There was
was that noise? A loud shrieking sound above. Jim just caught a
glimpse through the buildings of a large jet too big to be a fighter,
but definitely not an airliner, hauling ass at low level just above
the downtown buildings before it was out of sight. It happened so
fast he didn't have time to identify it. Several pedestrians were
yelling, "Look!" He looked in the direction they were
pointing, which was up, and saw a parachute descending towards them
with something silvery twisting back and forth as it fell.
cold chill ran up Jim's spine. The shiny object now looked like
a torpedo-shaped device, possibly a bomb. With his training in the
Air Force, Jim could only think of his own countries tactics in
low-level nuke attacks, where a bomber would come in low and just
below the sound barrier. This method would allow for more surprise
as the aircraft would evade some radar detection. A nuke would then
be dropped by parachute, and would immediately be slowed from five
- six hundred miles per hour to thirty-five miles per hour in about
three seconds. As the chute dropped, the bomber would then increase
speed to rush away from the detonation as quickly as possible.
device was nearing the ground. Jim began running towards the impact
point. He was joined by a few other pedestrians while most of the
others were running the other way or to their cars realizing that
it just might be dangerous. Have to hand it to them
they were smart.
and the others arrived at the landing point just as it hit. He heard
a large crunch as it impacted with the street, not a good sign.
That sound meant it was designed to take the landing crunch of impact
on its nose so as to protect the contents inside. It was a possibly
a delay-detonation bomb. This allowed the bomber aircraft to egress
the target zone quickly before it went off.
other onlookers were asking a flurry of questions.
dropped this thing?"
this a terrorist attack?"
we at war with someone?"
valid questions. Jim said to them all, "I don't think it's
a terrorist attack; they wouldn't have this level of capability
or the weapons and planes to carry it out."
balding man with a loser look who was shaking and sweating profusely
spoke up: "It's Chinese!"
answered "How do you know?"
took a short course in Chinese language for a business trip recently;
I only know enough to see what looks like an 'Extreme Caution' warning
on the casing."
Jim couldn't recall any tension going on at the moment between the
US and China.
Possibly a Pearl Harbor-type attack?
you see any description about 'megaton' or 'strength' combined with
a number anywhere?"
can't make out anything else. Our course was limited."
Jim thought to himself. He knew Russian from training in the Air
Force. Why couldn't his training have been in Chinese? Not that
it would make a whole lot of difference where they were all standing
at the moment.
went into command mode.
folks, this is most likely a nuke, but it may be a chemical or biological
weapon." He wasn't going to share the fact that he saw a '10'
along with some other bold Chinese script on the casing. No one
else had noticed. In his mind that meant it could possibly be ten
who wants to run for it should do so now! I'm not sure of what the
strength or type the weapon might be," he lied, "and most
likely it's a weapon. But you may want to put as much distance between
it and yourself as possible."
of the others rushed away or towards their own vehicles and took
he had a feeling it was futile. Even if the better part
of San Francisco didn't know what was going on, and these few were
able to make some distance away, it still wouldn't make any difference.
These devices don't usually wait long to go off. The fireball (if
it was a nuke) would reach out to all of them, tap each one on the
shoulder, then warmly grab their ass and kiss it goodbye for them.
stay with you
if it's okay," said the balding man from
may have the loser look, but you had to admit he had major guts.
for staying, Artie. You realize we are putting ourselves very much
in harm's way, right?"
sat down on the casing of the weapon
what the hell. It most
likely wasn't a biological/chemical device. The pattern for deployment
didn't match. Most of those types of weapons were air-dispersed.
think this is one of the big ones, possibly ten megatons."
wouldn't matter what size it was, the blast radius would be impossible
to escape. Might as well stay to enjoy the show.
will have to go down as the quickest way to check out ever."
to mention all the problems he just inherited today would be gone
for good! There would be nothing but pain and suffering ten to twenty
miles away, but for Artie and himself it would be over in a millisecond.
realized he was being fatalistic. But what the hell, his life had
been turned upside down in the past few hours. And now this piece
of crap had to fall out of the sky.
on! How long had it been since this egg roll hit the ground? Ten
minutes? It shouldn't take that long to go off, unless it was a
bigger weapon than he thought, or a dud! That could happen
is one hundred percent reliable. Or it could have been damaged on
was trying to think
Your car close?"
over by the curb. Why?"
have a toolbox in the trunk?"
a bunch of assorted crap."
over and bring it all here
as fast as you can!"
took off running. If Jim could get this thing apart somehow, get
inside and get to the A-bomb trigger, maybe he could tear things
up enough to keep it from going off or at least disarm it if it
was truly a dud. Duds could still go off at a later time
ask any young boy brave enough to hold a firecracker in his hand
that had failed to explode.
slid down beside Jim at the weapon, rusty metal toolbox in hand.
"Let's see what you have.
are you from, Art?" Jim asked as he hurriedly examined the
and raised here. Good to meet you." They shook hands quickly.
saw screwdrivers, a hammer, vise grips, Robo-Grips, etc.
grabbed a slotted screwdriver and the hammer, hoping it would match
a screw or fitting, or at least be enough to drive a wedge into
an opening. Wait. "Artie
hand me the Robo-Grips. I think
I see a lug with