Genres: Science Fiction
Won’t You Please Give One of These Species-Planets a Second Chance?
by Nathan Hillstrom
At 2:13pm EST on a slate-grey Tuesday, the Earth was caged.
The barrier appeared line by line, traced into existence by white-hot dots dragging their way through the thermosphere. From the lawn of the United Nations Headquarters, it looked like chicken wire wrought of pure light.
U.N. Secretary-General Ataahua Tan Tan Tamahi was strolling on the lawn as he took his lunch, a welcome break from the impossible demands of his job. He stopped chewing and stared at the sky. “Like chicken wire,” he said, to nobody in particular, before his security detail tackled him and knocked the pita pocket from his hands. After a mumbled consultation, they disentangled him from the protective huddle, brushed the grass off his suit, and whisked him to the U.N.’s basement bunker. The sandwich was left behind.
It quickly became apparent that the cage corrupted all aerial communication and satellite-assisted technologies. Within hours, power surges and brownouts were rolling across the planet.
Reports from the field were of unmitigated panic: Militaries everywhere went on war footing. Governments launched contingency plans and double-checked their lines of succession. Families devolved into tantrums as videos got stuck buffering.