Why did we do it? Hoo boy, that’s a doozy. I wanna tell you it was for the good of all mankind or something, but honestly, kid? I was there, in a room fulla government officials and pencil pushers, and everyone in that room was shitting themselves. We did it cos we were scared boy, that’s the long and short of it.
The beginning? Alright, I suppose that’s a while ago. I was, what, 15 years old I think. It was on all the news. Nobody could stop talking about it, the whole world wouldn’t shut up.
OK, I guess it starts with us, doesn’t it? We’ve always been the loud ones. The government called it a secret, but damn was the army just so proud of their new toys. And so the media found out, and then everyone was talking about it, corrupting the actual stories. I’m guessing you’ve seen the papers from the day? Yeah, that’s them. It was the words on the world’s lips – a weapon that could destroy entire cities in an instant. Some people were frightened, I know I was. But the loud ones were all jingoistic, shouting about how we owned the world.
Well damn, they proved us wrong, huh?
It was about 2 years later, I think. Maybe a little more. I was middle-management at a translation company, so I saw it just before the officials did. I mean, how do you even react to that? Pretty much everyone in the office had a good laugh, and we got back to work. We were so sure it was just bullshit.
I think it was a week. A week after we got the message, the scientists were able to confirm it. They’d done it, they’d gone and done it. A weapon that…
I don’t really want to talk about it, sorry friend. Are we done here? Good.
Yeah, my dad was in the lab. Well, he was just a lab tech, but still – he was there! He just came home that day, and kissed me and Lissa on the forehead. He had tears in his eyes. We were all so scared, and I didn’t even know what was happening.
He said we couldn’t tell anyone, not yet. But he told us, I guess we were some of the first to know, huh?
It didn’t work like a normal bomb. I don’t think so, anyway. The way he described it, it was much worse. Something about radioactive decay – it could, um.
He way he described it, it could end the world. I thought he was being dramatic – who would want to do that? What would they gain?
Then he explained a bit more. It wouldn’t kill everyone – they were going to shape it, or something. It could affect countries at a time, whenever they wanted. Entire countres, just…y’know. Ironic, huh?
Course, I didn’t get the political stuff at the time. I don’t really get it now, to be honest.
So, you’re putting all this in your book then? Cool! You sure anyone will want to read it?
I think they were relying on the political ramifications, in the end. They knew we had nothing that could even match it, and we couldn’t save ourselves from it. It was the threat of mutually assured destruction that ended it the last time, but this time…well this time, it wasn’t mutual. We’d have to do whatever they wanted, or they could wipe us all out. If a single country disobeyed…well, it was a powerful threat, is what I’m saying.
How does the public react to a threat against its very existence? As it turns out, poorly. At the time I was just a beat cop, and I can tell you there were riots in the streets. The papers were all full of the apocalypse, so no-one really remembers the civil reaction to it.
Armies of ill-informed and scared fools, all riling each other up and whispering rumour after rumour. I’m not sure what was even true, in the end. You know, some people don’t buy they ever even had the weapons the media said they did.
So, I guess the point is what happened next, eh? That’s where it went down. That’s where it went wrong.
Tell me, kid. What does a wounded animal do when you approach it? It lashes out, tears at damn near anything. Stops bein’ so scared, and gets angry.
I dunno the science of it though, kid. Talk to one of the science guys.
We were threatened, and we reacted. We overreacted.
It was labelled “the quantum bubble” by the press. Its purpose was simple, a shell – a shell to go around an entire country. Nearly invulnerable, it would block any access in or out. It was immaterial, a rubber locked in superposition, surrounding the entire nation in a sphere of immovable darkness.
We would lock them in. Locking a whole country in like solitary confinement.
It would last thirty years – that’s all the time we could power it. We just hoped, prayed, that it might knock some sense into them.
That, or really piss them off. And give them time to perfect their tech too.
So that’s what the buggers did, dropped a big science-y dome right on top of ‘em. I wasn’t even alive when they did it, but it’s my generation dealing with the effects. That’s the beauty of it, aint it? They could do it, grow old and die. Leave it to their kids to clean up their mess.
The reports weren’t especially positive. They had missiles ready and primed when the bubble dropped. I think they knew we were up to something; how could they not?
So it was finally time for the big reveal. Half the population cowered in panic rooms and under tables, and the other half watched in suicidal curiosity.
My dad was the lead scientist of the project. He died in perpetual terror of what we’d find. Probably better that way.
So, one day, the dome breaks down. A day late; someone was probably fired over that. The tension over the world was bubbling up, the uneasy stress was giving way to rioters and doomsday prophets; it was a mess.
And then there was…silence. Like everyone around the world felt the black sheathe begin the melt and flake, the shell suddenly sloughing off in sheets. It was gone barely a minute later, the black rubber melting to a liquid, then dissolving to nothing.
And we saw what was underneath, and…and…
I’m sorry, I can’t do this. This interview is over.
That’s probably a good thing. It should be me.
How long have I been writing this damn thing? I’ve met so many people, all touched in different ways by what we saw.
At first, it was manic laughter. Then laughter gave way to choking gasps for air, as the population collectively began to sob.
Tears to soak a wasteland of ash.
A blackened, scarred desert of cold wreckage and barren ruins. They were all dead long before the bubble broke.
See, that’s the thing. We had all grown up in fear, terrified of the day the dome would come down. There was a collective tension, a group consciousness of absolute fear. And then in a moment, that fear was replaced by horror. Horror at what we had done.
I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise. Take away our fear and propaganda surrounding the situation, and what had we done? We’d locked in a war-mongering nation with access to weapons of complete destruction. We all thought they’d be ready to strike when the veil lifted, but they’d struck decades ago. At eachother, at themselves. We’d locked them out of a cold war they were winning – they were bloodthirsty, angry and scared. A dangerous combination for an armed nation.
Well that’s it. That’s our secret. Out of fear, we wiped out an entire nation. An entire people, now missing from the planet forever.
So that’s the weight we bear. The legacy of our fathers, the legacy of the cowards’ genocide.