Casualties

“Lives have been lost, Mr. Richards. It’s an inevitable casualty of the war on terror.”

The jet pinwheels across the deck of the carrier, a twirling flame of destruction. Men cry in agony. Lives are snuffed out like so many candles. Is it better to die in a fireball or of hypothermia in fifty-degree water?

“Naturally, there will be an inquiry into the safety of the aircraft itself. The design. The engineering. The, uh, fuel. You understand what I’m saying. Our firm has been retained to provide the best possible legal defense for NorCom Industries. We expect your full attention to this matter.”

One after another, standing jets ignite on the deck as burning drops of fuel rain down. More green blue flames shoot into the violet sky like fireworks. Metal twists and groans as if the heat is a knife cutting the ship in two. Men leap overboard, their bodies ablaze. The ship is melting.

“The Navy is calling this the worst peacetime disaster at sea ever recorded, but I believe we can turn this situation around.”

Debris litters the surface of the ocean. Waves rise and fall. Black slime covers the water like a shadow.

“Let’s get to work then.”

There are no survivors.