Day 38 – The Jet and The Inkjet

Inspired by the pathetic printer at work.

Word count: 1086

“Get out of the way!” the men with rifles ploughed through headquarters with their screaming commander in front.

The entire underground bunker shook as if it were being struck by a torrent of asteroids above. Fires sparked from electrical point, pipes burst and smoke was choking the oxygen out of existence. People were screaming orders and yelling in agony. There were bodies everywhere. Sparks flew off electrical cables every time the earthy walls around them shook. The subterranean cave was plunged into darkness momentarily as a fresh wave of fighting up above broke the previous ease in the action.

Giles utilized his steely reserve and maintained his concentration throughout the chaos. Despite the mortal peril all around him, he had made through it the urban fighting, he had crossed the vast countryside of landmines and guerilla warfare, he’d made it this far… he could make it a little longer.

All his team was at their desks, manning the computers for any trace that the program had finished compiling. Fontein was verbally throwing instructions down the phone to the Missile Control team at the base twenty miles away. They needed coordinates and fast meanwhile Alexis was busy scanning the screens for any sign of a final output from their trackers.

“Call off the airstrikes,” the general ordered over the crashing of yet another toppling building above. “We can’t hold this for much longer!”

Giles was thumping in commands into the machine, “Come on, come on…”

Hollander, the commander-in-chief of the Air Force tore down his monitors and drew his gun. His team leapt back in shock as they watched their leader succumb to the stress.

“They’re all gone, they’re all gone!” he was shouting as the above the ground several super-sonic booms were heard. “It’s over – this is it! I give up!”

Hollander pulled the gun towards his head and closed his eyes.

“Stop!” Giles yelped, hearing a faint electronic cackle coming from one of the speakers Hollander had just toppled over.

Hollander blinked and opened his eyes. Giles was now reaching down for the speaker and turning up the volume.

“eeeeello, zero eleven forty-niner here, please –kkkkk – come – i-in?”

Hollander and the rest looked on in utter amazement.

“Bu they were slaughtered?”

One of the others handed Hollander the microphone.

“Zero eleven forty-niner, this is your commander in chief here. What have you got?”

“One nuke and …kkk…enough –f-f-fuel for an hour, sir.”

Hollander looked gravely at Giles, “Get me that coordinate now.”

Giles raced back to his desk and punched in some more commands into the program. As the program hurtled through its instruction lines, the war above was wallowing in its bleeding wounds. Giles could not imagine what he would see when he next emerged from this hell, if he indeed he ever would. Would the old buildings of his capital still be standing, a testament to their heroic and unyielding struggle, or would they be crumbled to the ground like glass smashing on a concrete floor?

The screen flashed green. Giles burst into maniacal laughter.

“It’s done it! It’s found him! It’s found him to within three and a half metres! We’ve got him, Hollander, we’ve got him!”

The program had found him, the enemy’s bunker and the enemy’s leader himself. It was tracking him just now. It was displaying everything they could possibly want to know about him. He was wearing a green jacket, blue underwear and his side arm was a Desert Eagle. It had four bullets left in the round and he had three clips in his back pocket. He was pacing back and forth in front of his desk. There were eight other people in the room. At the bottom of the screen was a list of the exact coordinates of the man himself as well as the four best alternative coordinates in case the primary target could not be reached. It was all they needed to win the war. This was the end.

“Give us the coordinates, Giles!” Hollander shouted.

Giles was on the brink of reading out the numbers when another airstrike hit directly above the bunker. The ceiling shattered and the lighting flickered. Giles had looked up but by the time he had had regained concentration to read the numbers out, his screen had gone black.

“What? What no!”

Giles slapped the monitor with his hand, “Please!” he throttled it, “Please work!”

But it remained defiantly black.

Giles was livid. What else could be done?

“Print screen it!” Fontein screamed across the pandemonium.

“Genius!” Giles waved his hands in the air triumphantly. He hammered in the print command into the keyboard and raced over to the printer expectantly. Retrieving data, it read on its 3D holographic display. The familiar printer noise started up like an engine, first stuttering and then morphing into a gentle groove. Giles’ was elated to see the paper being sucked into the machine from the tray. It wobbled back and forth as it completed each line. But then it happened.

So suddenly; so unexpectantly yet so predictably it started to beep. It beeped and beeped. Giles looked underneath the hood and found a paper jam. Giles swore loudly and kicked the thing. He tore out the paper and hit the print command again. At first it was hopeful, but the beeping returned like a plague to his ears. Underneath the hood the printer had scooped up three sheets of paper at once and each was wrapped round an entirely different section of the printer threads.

“Damn you! Damn you!” Giles screamed at it in vain as death circled slowly overhead.

Little did they know at the time, though they very quickly began to realize, that a nuclear missile was gliding down through the thermals from a bomber above. As it lost its various redundant metallic casings, its trajectory settings kicked in and it ceased to glide and began to dive and point. Tunneling through the smoke and the debris ash, it crashed into a corner shop that was formerly called “Smithy’s” and cracked into a thousand million pieces of fiery uranium.

The bunker was thrown into a hellish earthy tsunami of fire and death. Giles was swiped from existence, as was Hollander and Fontein. The screens that mocked their final moments so feverishly were smashed and blown into burning spheres of flame. Nothing was saved from the destruction. Nothing, save for a little plastic inkjet, that, despite all improbabilities and physics, slowly and underneath the blanket of the radioactive ash, began to print.

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~ by S.G. Mark on November 14, 2011.

2 Responses to “Day 38 – The Jet and The Inkjet”

  1. Hilarious, but scarily has a ring of truth about it!

  2. hehehe

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