The War Bird flew into the air leaving Saarsgard in Hartford. The horde had swallowed the stadium up whole. There was no front; there could never be a front. As much as the government wanted there to be, this wasn’t a war, it was an apocalypse. The stadium was a coliseum in the wasteland, the last structure standing. But just like the Roman Empire, the stadium fell.
Waiting for Atticus was the military’s fatal flaw, General Saarsgard put all his eggs into one basket and lost everything when the plague devoured the base from the inside-out before they could mount an offensive. If it wasn’t for Atticus disobeying direct orders Samuel and Rebecca would be dead along with everyone else. Now they floated in the air while the ground underneath them rotted and the skies above contained the deadliest weapons known to man.
Atticus switched over from hover-mode to get to New York as fast as possible.
“How do you know where you’re going?”
“Look at the map on my orders, I-95 goes all the way down to Florida and hits practically every major city on the east coast along the way.” Atticus explained, “I’m just following the highway.”
“…Arrow One please land at the next airstrip…”
Atticus looked back, “We’re in trouble.”
“…You have not yet been issued orders in Project Cleansweep…”
“What the hell is Project Cleansweep!?” yelled Samuel.
“But that’s just a story they tell in boot camp,” Atticus rambled, “it can’t be…”
“Captain…” Rebecca came up next to him and put her hand on his shoulder, “What’s wrong?”
“They’re going to drop nuclear bombs on all the major east coast cities… I’m sorry, Sam…”
“Can we get there in time?” Rebecca remained ignorant.
“It’s too late.”
“We have to try!”
Atticus was scared. He did not want to show it, but he knew it would not be long until the bombs went off. Death surrounded them from every angle. Survival looked bleak. He pulled away and tried to land the ship.
“What are you doing?”
“We’re not going to survive the blast if we’re flying.”
“We can’t stop now!”
“The nukes are going off any second!”
“WE STILL HAVE TO TRY!” Samuel jumped on Atticus and punched him in the face, grabbing a hold of the controls and steering back on course. Atticus kicked Samuel’s legs out from underneath him and they wrestled on the floor while the navigation system went wild and the ship spun out of control.
“STOP IT!” Rebecca yelled at the top of her lungs as she held onto her seatbelt. Atticus pulled himself free from Samuel and got back in the pilot seat. Samuel took out his gun and went to pistol-whip Atticus in the back of the head when Atticus caught Samuel’s arm and twisted it, disarming him.
Samuel threw his head into Atticus’ forehead and knocked him onto the floor. A blast went off rocking the ship. Rebecca cried. The radar shorted-out. Atticus read the navigation charts, “That was Boston…”
Samuel kept flying the ship south; they were above the Long Island Sound now, rapidly approaching Manhattan. Atticus pulled his gun from his holster, took the safety off, and cocked the barrel, pointing it at Samuel. “I’m only going to say this once,” as he spat blood out of his mouth from his dripping forehead, “Get up or I’ll shoot you.”
Samuel put his hands in the air and got up from the cockpit. He backed away and Atticus did not harm him. Instead he restrained him and cuffed him to the table where he had thrown down his orders. There Samuel saw the names of things he had almost forgotten; it was the final phase of Project Clean Sweep, a last failsafe. Samuel kept reading, “After retrieving the three devices equip them to the ship and collect a hand-picked team for expedition. First recruit: founder and creator of the devices theoretical physicist Dr. Samuel Gordon Chase and his family.”
Samuel could not keep reading after that. He crumbled up the paper and threw it away. Atticus knew one last thing that Samuel had not seen on the objective list, the location of the three pieces.
“So where are they?” Samuel caught on quickly.
“Where do you think they kept them?”
“Somewhere close indeed,” Atticus frowned as he put the ship on an auto-piloted landing course and released Samuel from the handcuffs, "They're back at Hartford with Saarsgard."
"That was our last hope..."
"That was our last hope..."
Another blast rocked the ship out of auto-pilot, this time a light blew a hole in the atmosphere in front of them over the island of Manhattan. Atticus jumped back into the cockpit and had no other choice but to pull up. In one last desperate attempt to save their lives, Atticus tried to fly the War Bird into space. He changed course and blasted all his engines to maximum capacity. The ship was buckling and cracking, the pressure was rising. Samuel got Rebecca back in her seat safely and got his seatbelt on before the wave from the blast him them.
Combined with the pressure of Atticus’ drastic evasive maneuvers, the hull could not take it and cracked. The air pressure went through the roof and the controls spun out as the electromagnetic pulse emitted from the radioactive blast shut everything in the ship down except for emergency systems including life support. The ship went into its final tailspin for the ground.
In the air they plummeted… towards a melting earth. Samuel stared at Rebecca as the world came crashing down around them. They were held tight by their seats on both sides of the ship, holding on for dear life. Atticus clenched his steering console as the ship tore apart all around him. The wires cracked and sparks snapped through the walls at them. The pipes broke and oil leaked causing fires, as the mushroom cloud outside the cracking windows drew ever closer and consciousness evaded Samuel, scorched reality had final swallowed him up.
He tried to hold on for dear life. He tried to hold on for his dear wife, for his family. He wanted to survive. Samuel had to survive. He could save humanity. If given the chance Samuel Gordon Chase could bring the light back to all mankind.
The sun was never seen again the same way in the east. After five nuclear warheads go off, how could it? In one fell swoop south 200 years of country and capital was destroyed…the foundations of liberty and justice gone forever. And this was just a cannibalistic contingency for the end, a desperate attempt to sweep the slate clean, for many feared but only a few knew what was to come...