Something hit me from behind. I didn’t feel it, but I heard it sizzle as it hit my shield. It didn’t matter. I let the energy flow through me and build in my shield.
When I was in the military, scientists attempted to figure out where the energy that I use came from. They took genetic samples, poked and prodded me, fired different forms of radiation at my shield, and all they knew in the end was that I had the greatest capacity to draw power and hold it without using it that they’d ever seen.
By the time they got to that point, I could have told them the same thing.
Wherever the power comes from, it’s bottomless. I’ve always got more, but when I get tired, I get worse at controlling it.
I looked around. The dinos had cleared away from me, backing away as the air heated up. The concrete around me was turning black and cracking. A few of the dinos lifted laser rifles and fired. As focused as I was on absorbing energy into my shield, I barely noticed that they fired. Their beams’ energy went into the shield with the rest, adding some small amount to the total.
The dinos looked at each other, and turned to look and at a green feathered dino that stood behind them. After a few words, the dinos lowered their rifles and stepped to the side. The rest of the crowd moved with them opening a path in the middle of the crowd. A truck rolled forward, stopping with the rest of the dinos. The truck reminded me almost as much of a Hummer as it did a truck. It had large wheels while the body hung high off the ground. Unlike a Hummer, it had a metal circle in the last quarter of the top. The trailer attached there.
The trailer doubled as a platform for a gun. A red and black feathered dino sat behind the gun in a seat that moved as it aimed the barrel. Something deep in inside it glowed.
The gun rose above the truck, aiming downward at me.
It couldn’t have more power behind it than a nuclear blast. I knew that, but I couldn’t be sure. It might punch through my shield or even force me to lose focus enough that I’d let the power go in a way that didn’t cause much damage.
No, I decided, I’d gathered enough power. If anyone was going to let go of it, it would be me.
So, I did.
You may have watched old black and white movies the U.S. Government made to prepare citizens for nuclear war. There would be an explosion and the screen would turn white as the blast expanded outward, molten fire expanding to cover everything. Further out, the winds would destroy anything in their path until nothing stood, leaving only charred and sandy remains.
Eventually, a mushroom cloud would rise above the ground.
It was exactly like that.
I let the energy go and the world turned white. By the time it cleared, there were no feathered dinosaurs, truck/hummers, whole starplates, or even the dome they’d been inside.
I stood in the middle of an empty, ashen landscape. Melted metal with no obvious purpose was all that was left of the nearest starplates. The more distant starplates had been only partially melted, but pieces of them had been scattered around where they’d stood, many sticking partially out of the ground.
Sections of the dome lay across the area, looking like pieces of the same shattered hard boiled egg.
Dino bones had been scattered across the wreckage, bits of bones nearest me. Recognizable skeletons appeared further away. There were no surviving dinos.
I forced myself to look past the target. Who else had I hit?
The dome had been in the middle of a field, surrounded by dinos and vehicles that been lining up to enter, invade and eat their fill. The nearest dino to the dome had been turned into skeletons by the blast. In the distance, the dead bodies were recognizable dinos. A few might even have been alive.
Past the torn chain link fence, however, stood houses and not whatever kind of strange parallel universe houses that millions of years of dinosaur culture might create. Recognizable ranch style houses stood next to each other in the kind of suburb I’d seen all over the United States. There weren’t many trees and mountains stood in the distance, so if I had to guess, I’d have placed myself in the west, possibly in Colorado.
It was hard to see from where I stood, but it was humans not dinosaurs stepping out of the houses to stare at the devastation. I could only wonder what they saw. Was this a moment of liberation, or a moment of disaster? Could they possibly have supported the dinos, or even made a deal with them?
I wanted to interview them and find out what sense they made of it all, but C spoke over the comm, “Are you ready?”
I did the same thing two more times.
I’m good enough as a reporter. I believe I make difference in helping people understand the world supers inhabit and the decisions they have to make. As a weapon of mass destruction, though, I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do is kill cities at the request of authority figures.
It’s a strong argument in favor of being good enough. I sleep better as a reporter than I ever did as a soldier.