The sun glistened off the rectangular panels on satellite 604G as it floated around in the vastness of space. It was not alone as several other satellites formed a ring around the earth. Suddenly, all the vents on the satellites directly over Russia opened revealing lasers that start to glow red as they warm up. All the lasers ignited and shot out in front of them all converging on an area the size of a dime. A trail of smoke and fire whizzes past the satellites just before the lasers launch their beams towards the planet. On the ground, local farmers looked up to see a blinding red light coming right for them. From space an observation satellite zoomed in on a cloud of debris that covered the part of Russia that the laser hit.
On the other end of the camera is The Control Room, where multiple people at rows and rows of computers celebrated in front of a giant screen projecting the image from the satellite with the words “target eliminated” glowing red above the screen. “Mr. Richard, total obliteration of the asteroid noted before impact sir,” said a soldier. The man in the lab coat smiled projecting his voice for all in the room to hear, “Reprogram system so that we can be prepared for another space anomaly.” Back in Russia, the farmers uncovered their eyes to see flurries of ash raining down on them as they smile, they knew they were just saved by The Grid.
The sound of an alarm clock penetrated the crisp Autumn air inside an old wooden farm house as Doug struggled to get out of bed. He got changed throwing on some clothes to cover up is war wounds. He got to the bottom of the stairs where a look of sadness washes across his face as he picked up the newspaper with the front page having a picture of his son wearing a lab coat shaking hands with the President of Russia. Behind him is a sign the reads “The Grid”. Doug read the caption of the paper “Chris Richard saves yet another country from the perils of space thanks to his invention.” Doug put down the paper and grabbed some iced tea from the refrigerator.
Doug’s attention shifted as he noticed the nice clear morning sun light that was pouring into his kitchen window turn to a brighter and brighter red. He looked outside just as a bright beam comes down the sky and collides with the nearby town causing an explosion the leveled the town instantly.
Doug immediately, ran out of his house. As he is running a beam lands right on top of his house sending splintering wood into Doug. Doug jumped into a ditch as he noticed more and more beams shooting down from the sky leaving a wake of fire and destruction wherever they landed. After what felt like an eternity of lying in that ditch while the world around him is exploding, there is silence. The red sky turned to grey as ash rains down on Doug, nothing was left.
Later that day Doug wondered around the town trying to find people that may be trapped in the debris when he notices a convoy of black SUV’s coming down the road. The SUV’s stopped in front of Doug and out of the lead car comes his son Chris. Doug and his son just stare at each other for what seems like an eternity before Chris says, “We need you, get in.” Doug complies. “The satellites were hacked; we are taking you to a government special operations site to prep you so that you can accompany me and other special forces to the hacks location and destroy them while I undo the damage they cause. Questions?” Chris says coldly. There is a long pause, Doug can’t even look his son in the eyes. He hasn’t been able to do that since Chris walked out blaming him from not being home to take care of his mom when she was dying of cancer and leaving him alone after she died. Doug doesn’t feel guilt over this, it wasn’t until his term was up in the army that he discovered that his wife died and Chris had been living alone for months. In response to what Chris had just said Doug just shakes his head no.
The SUV’s filed into a tunnel in a mountain. “We are here,” said the driver. Chris and Doug exited and vehicle where they were met by an older man in a grey suit. Doug smiled to see a familiar face as this man was his operations coordinator during his time in the military. “Good to see you survived my old friend, we need you one last time,” said the man as him and Doug embraced. “Good to see you too Kevin, are you leading this thing?” said Doug.
“Of course,” said Kevin “it was my idea to get America’s number one rescue operative to lead this thing, well that and everyone else is pretty much dead.”
“What do you mean everyone else is dead?” said Doug.
“The satellite did target random civilian areas but did focused strikes on the world’s military bases. Every military around the world is essentially neutered,” said Kevin. They all walked over to a nearby table displaying a hologram of the world. “All militaries are wiped out so we can rule sovereign countries out of the hacking. Terrorists groups have been analyzed but don’t have anyone that can crack the inception codes,” said Kevin.
“That is why we believe that it is this group, a secret organization referred to as The Agents of Atlas since they believe it is their responsibility to uphold the earth from below or hidden just like Atlas did,” said Chris. “They have the personnel capable of recalibrating the homing sequence on the satellites to target whatever they want. They made it appear random to cover their tracks while also crippling the militaries of the world so they can just walk into power,” Chris continued.
Turning to Kevin Doug asked, “So what’s the plan?”
“You and ten other special force operatives will escort Chris to barrier reef island 204 in the Pacific. This is where intelligence has identified the computers that have locked us out of The Grid. After sneaking into the compound and securing the computers, Chris will download a kill code which will lock out the computers and allow us to take back control of our satellites. Once this happens, we will have an extraction team retrieve you from the compound,” said Kevin.
“Why can’t you just blow up the compound like we used to do?” asked Doug.
Chris replied, “Because it’s not the simple, their computers are miles underground. Plus, it would be nice to see what kind of technology they have on hand.”
“Alright,” said Doug “Let’s suit up.” Kevin led Doug down a spiral staircase into an armory that was lined with guns. “This is all nice and everything but where is my stuff” said Doug.
“Over here,” Kevin said as he opened an old crate. “I had a feeling you would miss this stuff so I had it retrieved from the remains of our outpost in Bolivia where you left it,” said Kevin.
Pulling out a long sharp knife Doug replied “Good times.” Doug suited up with a bullet proof vest, his trusty knife, an M16 rifle and a handgun as his side arm. When he was ready, he was escorted to a hanger where a massive stealth plane was being packed up while special forces boarded. Doug got himself situated in his seat as the plane took off. He felt like a fish out of water here as many of the men were much younger than him and were tricked out in the latest military gear.
Doug moved close to his son and asked “How you holding up?”
Chris laughed, “That question is ten years too late and you still haven’t done anything about it.”
Doug taken aback replied, “You know I didn’t have a choice, I had to defend my country.
“You chose fighting a pointless war for a stupid country of ungrateful people over mom and I who needed you.” Chris retorted. There was a long pause as Chris knew he had just landed a blow against his dad who loved his country, lost many of his friends in that war and still felt guilt over leaving his family behind.
Before Doug could answer the green light turned on, it was jump time. Doug equipped his parachute and as soon as the door opened the soldiers started jumping out one at a time. When it was Doug’s turn, he leaped out, deployed his chute and saw Chris floating above him. Once they touched down in the water, he boarded a raft already deployed by the special forces. They landed on the island without incident. Doug looked around at the other special forces, they weren’t too concerned with being quiet and seemed like they were hiding something as they rolled up the rafts. Then Doug saw it, the one soldier had a flare gun which was not needed on this mission but would be great for signaling the enemy. Doug moved toward Chris with a hand on his pistol. The soldiers got into a position to attack Doug.
Once Doug saw their weapons, he fired killing two hostiles before they could even return fire. Doug pushed Chris into a ditch and threw a grenade as cover fire as he fell into the ditch.
“Run!”, yelled Doug as he took off into the jungle with Chris just out in front of him. They ran all the way to the west beach Doug and Chris were cornered on the edge of some cliffs. Doug threw Chris behind a rock and killed all but one of the hostiles. Doug then yelled out in pain as a bullet tore through his left shoulder and then another in his right ankle. Doug’s pistol had landed right by Chris and Chris picked it up. Chris looked at his father with a blank face as he fired two shots into him. Doug didn’t move.
The special forces soldier had now come up to Chris and said “Good work, the world will see this operation as a failure and the nations will soon surrender to us.”
Chris responded, “You are correct but there is just one problem, reconnaissance will expect one captured scientist and eleven dead special forces” As he finished that sentence Chris raised the gun and killed the soldier. “So uncivilized, I will never understand what you saw in this father” Chris said standing over his father. Chris casually tossed the pistol into the ocean and walked into the base.
As soon as he left Doug lifted his face to make sure he was truly alone. He had learnt the skill of playing dead in his time in Austria and had apparently perfected it. He was bleeding but the wounds weren’t fatal. Doug made his was over to the woods where he repaired his wounds and tried to wrap his mind around the idea that his son was not just working with the enemy but had tried to kill him. Regardless, Doug knew he had to stop his son. Equipped with only his trusty knife, Doug made his way towards the compound.
Meanwhile, Chris was starting to put in the target sequence to send to The Grid to wipe out any remaining resistance to his organization’s reign. While putting on the range of coordinates to strike he recognized one of them, it was his home in Michigan. For Chris his home was the one thing about his childhood that he had fond memories of. At that house his family was one. His mother made him his favorite meal everyday he came home from school sad and his father… his father. Chris stopped typing for a second. He remembered how loving and caring his father was when he was around. He used to push him on the swing and how could he forget that after he lost a little league baseball game that left him in tears, his father told Chris just how important he was to him. Chris realized all the times Doug had supported and loved him even though those feelings were far from being reciprocated.
Realizing the gravity of what he had just done, Chris desperately looked for a way to compensate for his actions. It would be difficult and would mean certain death but he could reenter the coordinates to attack the island he was on and rewrite the coding of the satellites so that the lasers would overheat and either short-circuit the satellite by using too much energy or it would cause an explosion neutralizing the lethal aspects of The Grid. These actions were those that would save the world, the very thing his father dedicated his life to do. Chris looked around, four guards and two scientists were in the room with him. He couldn’t risk one of them looking over his shoulder and stopping his work before it was finished. The problem was Chris wasn’t armed.
An idea came to his mind and he quickly went to work on the computer. He didn’t have access to the missile silos hidden in the base but that wouldn’t be a problem for him. He quickly broke through the firewall and disabled the cyber security system before it could break through the jamming code he enabled. Chris looked over his shoulder and noticed that the other scientists were looking at him with concern. He had to act fast so he set off the launch sequence for the rockets without opening the silos. There was a massive explosion. The guards ran out to see what it was. At that moment Chris closed the blast doors locking him and the scientists in the room.
“What have you done?”, said one of the scientists. Chris didn’t even respond; he was absolutely focused. He started to rewrite the coordinates for The Grid. He had them all typed in when the scientists grabbed him and dragged him away from the computer. Chris struggled with the scientists and easily gained the upper hand putting both in a restrained. He quickly opened a closet door ,pushed them inside and braced it with a chair to prevent them from exiting.
During this time Doug had snuck into the compound. He moved cautiously to the control room where he saw numerous guards outside the blast doors. Doug didn’t know what was going on but knew that was his chance to sneak in and destroy the computer. He found a blowtorch to widen the airduct near the control room so he could fit. He eventually got through and covered his tracks with a construction blanket.
Chris was just about to start the targeting sequence when he heads, “Son, move away from the computer.” Before he could turn fully around, Chris was in a head lock and on the ground.
“I’m sorry”, gasped Chris.
“I don’t know if this is one of your tricks or not but this all ends now. Destroy that computer” said Doug calmly. He let Chris go but Doug still had his knife drawn on him. “You know I’m a man of justice, don’t you dare think I won’t do it”, Doug said with a hint of anger in his voice. Agreeably, Chris sat down at the computer and finished the targeting sequence and pressed launch. When the map of the target zone came up on the screen, Doug’s eyes burned with hatred. “You really are trying to kill me twice?!” Doug yelled. Before Chris could say anything, the blast doors exploded.
Doug ran through the smoke and grabbed the first man through the door. He took him out and grabbed his gun spraying into the smoke. He took out eight soldiers before the smoke cleared. He was holding off the enemy soldiers when the lasers started coming down, slowly destroying the compound but leaving the control room for last.
Chris heard a yell and his father was on the ground with two bullet wounds in his chest. These appeared fatal. As the enemy soldiers came in for the kill Doug shot three more before taking a third wound to the chest.
“No!”, Chris yelled as he ran towards his father. Just as the enemy troops started to shoot at him a laser landed right in the middle of the room. The explosion sent everyone flying into the walls. Once back on his feet Chris made his way to his father while the soldiers ran away realizing it is too late to stop the attacks. Doug was still alive as Chris knelt at his father’s side and explained all the feelings he had felt in that control room as well as what he did to The Grid.
Doug just laid there stunned. His son loved him after all. Doug smiled at his son and pulled out a picture of himself and a young Chris. He couldn’t say anything but Chris knew how important this was. It was kept in Doug’s left breast pocket. Soldiers keep their most valuable items there, right next to their heart. By the time Chris looked down from the picture, Doug had died. Chris in tears knew his father wanted him to go and live a better life so he ran out of the compound just as a hailstorm of lasers rained down from the sky and set the island ablaze.
Chris sat on the remains of the island for a few days before military reconnaissance planes found him. Chris now has a new project called Shield. It is basically a weak Grid. Every Saturday, Chris goes to his father’s grave in Arlington to show his proud father what his relentless love inspired him to do. To make a better world.
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Kennedy, Lesley. Why Regsn’s Star Wars Defense Plan Remained Science Fiction. History Channel. 2019. https://www.history.com/news/reagan-star-wars-sdi-missile-defense
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