The operations centre is busy this morning. Operatives man their workstations, talking into headsets, and clicking away on keyboards. Two drone pilots man their stations.
On the main video screen, the camera feed from one of the drones. It shows two white vans, one full-sized one and a smaller one. A smouldering wreck. Just like this whole fucking project turned out to be.
“Let’s have a status report!” I demand, talking to no one in particular.
The appropriate person answers, “Sir, we lost all contact with long-range future probabilities after number one destroyed key towers. We have no intel from the future.”
“Right.” Tell me something I don’t already know.
“Number one is in the full-size van on screen. His identity in the present time is with him.”
“And in the lead vehicle?”
“Delivery van. Driven by Cassar, still in the vehicle. Number two is in the passenger seat.”
“Well, I guess that accounts for pretty much everyone,” I say.
I take a deep breath. Today is the day.
“Drones are armed?” I ask.
“Drones are hot. Waiting for your orders.”
“Devices in the open?”
“An operative recovered one unit from Cassar’s office this morning. The unit in the safehouse was destroyed in the fire. A device we didn’t know about was recovered from the hotel where number one stayed. All remaining tech is believed to be in those vans.”
“Sites three, four and five are still operational.”
Another deep breath. Decisions, decisions. Carry this story out to its slow, inevitable death, or have some mercy?
“Send the destroy signal,” I order.
“Sir? That’ll remove our ability to see forward. Permanently.”
I think for a minute. There are so many unanswered questions, but that’s what can happen when you jump into a project like this without plotting the course. It reaches a point where it can’t be salvaged.
“Do you want to tell your kids you’re the one who unravelled spacetime? Light those fuckers up!”
Reluctantly, he nods at one of the operatives. The operative issues the necessary keystrokes to initiate the self-destruct sequence for the remaining towers.
“What about Cassar and company?”
“Light those motherfuckers up too. We’re closing this loop today.”
The command is issued and the drone operators execute their duty as ordered. White flash. Fireball. Thick, black…
“Smoke. I need a fucking smoke. We’ll figure out the paperwork when I get back.”
I exit the centre and instead of lighting up a smoke, I get in my car and drive. Far away from this monstrosity I created, never to look back.
“Hasta la vista,” I say, just before hearing the ordinance scream toward the operations centre from high above the clouds. Because that’s what you say right before you blow someone away.
The worse thing I ever created was now destroyed for good.