The missile alert wasn’t a mistake. The island had been targeted. It was real. A missile had been launched. And then it was gone, instantly.
There had been a blip on the radar, an object coming fast. And then there wasn’t. The radar tech had to look again to be sure. He tapped the side of the machine. He hit refresh. And it still wasn’t there. Had it gone into stealth mode? Was there technology they didn’t know about? Was it still coming but they couldn’t see it, had no way of seeing it?
There wasn’t time to send up a pilot to check it out. The initial estimate said 15 minutes. If it was still there, then there was only 12 left.
Should he turn the computer off and back on to reboot? He’d lose a precious two minutes that way. He had already sent the alert out to everyone. Everyone on the island who had a cell phone had been notified. The sirens had gone off. There wasn’t a distinctive wail for “missile” so the usual one for any and every imminent natural disaster was used. Tsunami, volcano, hurricane – it didn’t matter. The same sound was used because it all meant the same thing.
Stop what you were doing right now.
Grab your go bag and seek cover.
Nothing else matters.
But now he wasn’t so sure. He called the nearest radar site and asked to speak to the tech. Email wouldn’t do. He needed to hear it in the other tech’s voice, see what was happening through his eyes.
But that radar too was clear, and that tech too was confused. They ran back the recording. Yes. There had been a bogey. And then there wasn’t.
They decided to say it was a mistake, a bumped switch, human error. Nothing to see here. The truth wasn’t something they could have handled anyway.
Every town had one. Every town, village, city, named and unnamed had one, and only one. One was enough. Not all were needed – only a dozen were required at any one time. In a pinch, only one was truly necessary, but that required a great deal of focus on their part.
When the sirens went off
(for none of them had cell phones, having long ago given up that tech)
– like the Amish who waited 50 years to see if ballpoint pens were safe,
-the rest of society being their coalmine canaries,
they stopped what they were doing, the same as everyone else.
It wouldn’t do to call attention to their sacred work, their holy mission. They could never speak of what they did, never claim credit, never get fame or money for their work. It would cheapen it, tarnish it, make it less like love and more like a one night stand.
They used the only tool they had at hand, but it was the only one they needed. They prayed. They didn’t pray for anything specific, because they would never presume to tell the creator what to do.
They simply prayed to.
They prayed to the One who knew all to do what was best.
They never became anxious or upset during such emergencies, because they knew those reactions were fruitless. They put their faith in God, and God alone.
And God sent the angels,
Elohim, the Lord of hosts,
the commander of the heavenly army of angels,
the One who fights our battles for us,
yes, that God,
the God who defeated enemy armies
with walls of water.
That God sent his angels who surrounded the missile, who made it cease to be, who reminded the metal Who created it, and then rendered it
into a thousand billion atoms,
a google’s worth of yes and no,
of positive and negative
and up and down
and that was enough.
It simply ceased to be, because they reminded it of its true nature, not as a singular weapon of war, made by men, but as many elements of nature made by God, and God alone.
What God has created,
let no man re-create,
or break apart
or make in his own image,
impressing his own will,
his own hardened, angry, violent nature upon.
Nature is not a mirror, not a plastic thing for us to mold to our will, to shape to fit our plans, and ownership is a form of slavery. These people knew this, and knew it well.
And the missile simply wasn’t there anymore.