Fat ManMature

Shamil Nizar had just surfaced into the blackness of the underground tunnel when he received word that Ghassan had detonated his bomb.  The coded message had been relayed to him through his trusted friend Rasil Qusay who was somewhere overhead monitoring news and police transmissions coming from the city. This was to be the first of several communication check points during the operation and already there was bad news.

 Nizar had been expecting failure from the young Arab but he didn’t think that it would have come so soon.  He felt anger that Ghassan had not been able to buy them more time.  They could have used at least one more hour to work their way up through the shaft which stretched high above them and into the main drainage network where their equipment had been placed.

 Looking up now, he turned the waterproof flashlight strapped to his head onto the lip of the spillway.   A great torrent of water cascaded down from it into the room where he swam creating a deafening noise that made hearing his radio all but impossible.  The climb would be considerable he thought to himself but it was nothing that they hadn’t been prepared for.  As if to punctuate this, five ropes were suddenly tossed over the edge from an unseen hand above.

 They’d come no doubt, from Madir Wahab who, along with his small team had practically been living day and night for over a month now in this sewer system.  Their job was to explore its labyrinth, set aside munitions, and make sure that the path would be clear when Nizar’s army arrived.  Wahab had spotted his beam shining up from the tunnel and dutifully responded to the signal.  The mission relied on him to throw down those ropes and be their guide during the journey.  Nizar needed Wahab more than almost any other person in the operation.

 Nizar had just come in from the bay with a group of almost 10 soldiers.  He took stock of them now as they began to emerge from the water surrounding him.  Unlike Ghassan, each of them was a highly trained killer who knew his part and what must be done.  The young Arab driving the van had simply been a decoy and his martyrdom a hollow act save for the diversion that it had created in getting them to this stage. They were now up from the water and breathing real air again. 

 To show his relief at the thought, Nizar began to shed himself of the heavy scuba gear on his back, dropping the motorized propulsion device which he’d hung onto during the trek in through the pipe.  Looking around he saw that many of the others were doing the same.  They’d been slow in their progress, weakened by the swift currents brought on from the driving rain.  It was frustrating to be running behind but still, Nizar felt a wave of relief wash over him as he realized what Ghassans death meant to the mission.

 The bomb that was loaded into the van had been a fake.  True, it was indeed a very real explosive device but it was not as deadly as Ghassan had thought it to be.  It had been nothing more than a crude C-4 configuration wired together in order to appear to be a nuclear mechanism.  It was a distraction that had been engineered in order to draw attention away from the real threat.

 Should the authorities at the port have been lucky enough to detect the radiation coming off of the ship which had arrived in their harbor earlier that morning, they would have been obligated to contact Homeland Security.  It was widely known that America’s weakest point was along the countries many docks but that weakness had been largely exaggerated by the media.  It was routine for waterfront security contractors to scan for nuclear devices on any vessel which entered their wharfs.   Nowhere was this practice followed more vigilantly than in New York City.

 Right now Nizar and his forces were treading water at the bottom of a deep drainage shoot directly below the streets of that city.  They’d come here from the wharfs, swimming unseen just below the surface of the swells in the bay.  They’d entered through an open drainpipe that fed out into the harbor towing the source of that radiation.  Their activities had not been detected.   

Homeland Security had cornered the young Arab on the freeway and Ghassan had detonated his tiny suicide bomb just as his contingency plan had dictated.  They were blind to Nizar’s movements now, their HASMAT forces most likely scrambling to determine if the nuclear material that had initially been detected had been a part of a dirty bomb which had been stored away on the ship and detonated on their freeways. They would be breathing a sigh of relief and notifying the press that all threats had been eliminated and there was nothing to fear as soon as their test came back negative.  They had no idea of the true horror about to be released.

 This city would be laid to waste soon enough but it wouldn’t be from any device which Ghassan had been sent to carry.  It would come from below, unseen and on target.  It would be detonated according to schedule, erupting up from the streets just as the Arab and Israeli leaders were to begin their joint address on peace.  The world would be watching when Nizar’s bomb brought an end to peace forever.

 He observed two of his men climbing a small catwalk which surrounded the tunnels chamber.  There they began tying off the ropes leading from above, affixing them onto to a bright yellow harness the length of which disappeared down into the water.  The harness was pulled taught against the weight of what was attached to it.  It was the Fat Man.

The device was grimly named to honor the second atomic bomb which had been detonated over Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945 and while the warhead that they were carrying worked in much the same way as its namesake and predecessor it was over 10 times more powerful.   It had arrived into the country carried on bottom of a Chinese cargo ship.  It had been the very same vessel from which Ghassan had taken his own mock-nuclear bomb and ultimately the reason for his suicide on the FDR expressway.  Whatever radiation the port authorities had detected had been misplaced onto the vehicle that the young Arab was driving while Nizar and his team had detached the bomb from the ships hull and snuck it into the city without impediment.

 “Ready.”  Nizar spoke sharply into his radio after seeing the two men give a jerk to the harness.

Lights swung over the top of the cavern above as Wahab and his men looked down.  Nizar squinted against them as he watched the slack being taken from the rope.  He continued watching as the bomb rose, backlit and ominous against the brilliance that radiated around it and into the surrounding darkness.

The End

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