The Bugs Bunny Effect:
an Observer Tale
by Brad Andrews
Baird Quine opened his front door to head off for the days work when he realized that a massive shadow was hanging over him. Looking up he stumbled and fell to the ground, a strange sensation tingling the air around him. He gathered his wits. Made an about face and turned to go back inside.
His son was home, a Military man and of this he would ask his advice. Other than its odd behavior it was obviously a missile of some sort, Baird, for the life of him just couldn’t understand why the damn thing had come to a halt in mid-air two feet above the ground.
When Baird entered his kitchen he could feel the tension crackle from person to person. Obviously. The old man thought something was going on. Then he saw the screen and picture after picture of these same damned missiles just hanging there, some just inches away from the surface. He heard snippets and bits of an Altaan first strike and AG units. He realized what the first part meant but had no idea what an AG unit was.
“So?” Before anyone had realized that he’d come back into the room: “The bastards have gone and done it.” It was more statement than anything else.
His son, already in his flier’s uniform, nodded to his father. “They have, father, Altaan-Prime launched on us two days ago. We are mobilizing, but what we don’t know is why the missiles just stopped.?”
Watching his son run out the door he discovered that the tingling sensation was the missiles’ Artificial Gravity field holding it in place. He could only assume what would happen if a unit failed.
It took two furious days to reach the deeply buried, heavily armored planetary Tactical Computer. The Military Elite was incensed. “How could this have happened?” they yelled. “What kind of moron is running this chicken outfit?” But mostly they were screaming, “Why aren’t my missiles going off?”
The Tactical Computer was arguably one of the most sophisticated logic machines to be found. In years past its strikes had been nothing but exemplary. So why, why in the name of hell, had it gone and decided to abort the mission? It was holding up the whole war; the space-wings, the landing troops, the Subsume and Control planetary computers were all on hold until they could figure this damned thing out. Was the stupid thing just broken?
The final barrier walls began to crumble under low-res frequency patches and it was still amazing that none of the automated defenses had come on and cut them up into confetti. The man in charge — a general from what we could tell — was the first to round the corner, the first to step into the Tactical Computer’s armored bathtub. The few words on the main screen left each man and women speechless, and for some time, too.
“What am I doing?”
Copyright © 2006 by Brad Andrews