Another drop of blood fell to the floor. It slapped against the small puddle on the cement. Three men in military uniforms stood in the doorway to the most important and dangerous room they knew of.

“Step aside, sarge,” Carl said between breaths, “There’s five more where that came from.”

Carl wielded a pistol in his right arm, hovering over the right shoulder of their general, who he was using as a shield.

General Peller had visited to check on security protocols, and clear up any misinformation about Russian counter-attacks.

Carl did not believe him, or anyone else.

Peller had been shot, and was in no shape to respond to the situation.

Aaron was in the doorway, blocking their path.

“You’d kill me, and everyone else?” Aaron said, clutching his side.

“I know the truth! I know what’s going on!” Carl shouted.

“You don’t know shit, private. I honestly don’t know how you got down here. You lucky son of…”

Carl fired again. The gunshot echoed like a sharp stick in everyone’s ears. The bullet passed through Aaron’s left leg.

Aaron fell, screaming in pain. He slumped against one side of the door.

“You idiot!” he yelled, “You god damned idiot!”

Carl pushed the general forward, and the man reluctantly moved forward.

“Stop this,” General Puller wheezed, “There’s no going back. The Russians, the missiles, it was a glitch.”

Carl kept his distance from Aaron. He stopped a yard away from Aaron.

“Move out of the doorway,” Carl commanded, gesturing with his pistol.

“Fuck off,” Aaron said. His face was growing whiter by the second.

“Aaron I don’t want to kill you,” Carl said.

Aaron smiled, “You already have, you stupid fuck.”

Carl chewed his tongue, debating the situation. One second passed, with the two of them eyeing each other. Carl fired.

Again the sound punctured their eardrums, but the bullet destroyed Aaron’s head.

“This is…” Peller stammered, “This is beyond psychotic.”

Carl took a step back and then kicked the general’s lower back. The general fell into the room, collapsing like a wet towel.

Aaron’s faceless corpse seemed to be smiling still, as Carl stepped over the legs. Blood was pooling around the body, nearly to the feet.

“Stop, please,” Puller said. One of his cheeks was against the floor.

“I’m doing you a favor, old man. In 15 minutes the world will face the worst horror we could imagine. The United States will come out on top. We’ll win, and we’ll win for good,” Carl said.

“There’s no coming back,” Peller said, “All the simulations. All of them. Everyone dies.”

Carl hoisted the man up to the control panel. He grabbed at the general’s hand and placed it onto the scanner. The computer registered, and a single slot appeared in the console.

Having used the general for what he needed, Carl dropped him to the floor. In the same motion, he pulled the key from his pocket.

“You’re second man, “Peller said, “How do you know. That he made it?”

Carl waited for the clock to hit 0832.21 and turned the key.

The room shook, and Carl took a step back to bask in the moment.

“Because my men obey me. Because we do what’s necessary,” Carl said.

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