The column of pure energy that erupted into the desert sky was several miles across and a bright blue. It pierced the clouds, and anyone who could have survived the eruption (an impossibility for miles and miles around) would have been able to see that the column reached far into space.
The Damocles agent watched via a feed as it was transmitted from DamSat to Strategic Air Command in Bellevue, Nebraska. He was brought in almost immediately. The high ranking officers scurried about the situation room, observing computer generated models and photographs while listening to incoming radio communications.
“What in the name of all the saints was THAT?” The general had asked the question for the eighth time. Those in the room stopped trying to answer it.
Several airmen were working feverishly on their instruments, reporting aloud. “Say again, the signature is NOT atomic. All readings are negative.”
“The Soviets have stood down. MiG’s from the Caucasus have been scrambled. All other forces are on high alert.”
“No movement of forces, identified or otherwise. Performing wider sweep with the same search criteria.”
The General appeared to be formulating a thought. “Someone get me a damned cigar!” He then strode over to the Damocles agent. “So we have an incident greater than dozens of any H-Bomb on record, without a trace of radiation. And all of this happening in the middle of nowhere. Time to earn your pay, mister. What are we looking at?”
The agent continued looking stoically at the scores of screens relaying information. “DamSat has the same signature that we’ve been tracking from DC and New Orleans descending in the desert. That lit what we are looking at now. DamSat can’t get a read on anything as a result. The whole thing may be useless until we can get a new one up and ready. Not sure how we are going to fix that one.”
The general was given his cigar. He bit down, spit out the end, and waited as his junior officer lit it. He breathed deeply, and exhaled the musky smoke. “Do you have any eyes on the ground?”
The Damocles agent nodded. “As it happens, we might.”
The general was growing visibly impatient. “AND?!?”
“You’ll be briefed as soon as we have something to brief you on. As long as this thing isn’t spreading, we should have time to get some answers.”
An audible gasp came up from the control room floor below, as airmen from around the floor exchanged looks of worry, confusion and nervousness.
“General Palmer, the energy is spreading.” The screens showed a web of blue lines crossing the skies around the globe, in a seemingly random pattern and intersecting as they crisscrossed in multiple directions.
“Scramble the birds. Make sure we are keeping in touch with Moscow. I don’t want this getting any worse than it already is.”