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"Down the Rabbit Hole" is based on this post.

My entries have been fairly dark.

2017: Lifeboat (this one)
2016: Atrocity Day
2015: Log of the _Blue Oyster_
2014: Pile It On
2013: Door to Door Inferno
2012: Future Imperfect
2011: Freedom From Fear: The Home Front
2010: War of Terror: On The Front Line
2009: America Back To Work
2008: nonfiction break "The Power of Nightmares," a censored film about Islamic and Christian fundamentalism
2007: In The Hole, Spectacularly Not Winning
2006: Security & Space
2005: GlobAll War Of Terror

[Note To Self: entries between 2005 and 2011 need to be confirmed migrated from LJ to DW and links updates.]

Lifeboat is a "get the humans off the planet" story with a twist.

###

I am very sharply dressed, wearing a $1000 suit tailored to my body. The armor underneath was five times as much. I am wearing a radio mike on my lapel and an earpiece. I am not Secret Service. There are SS agents about, but they have been strictly instructed to leave us alone. We are on the same team, but they are the outer perimeter. The cover.

We are the inner perimeter. We are between the world and our principals, and the world really, really does not like our principals.

A bit about me: after my father was killed in a car accident in Virginia when I was seven, my mother ended up in an institution and so did I. She is rehabilitated now and lives in a nice halfway house. I see her sometimes.

I graduated. The failure rate was 50%. The fatality rate was 15%. I saw my first dead body when I was ten. I deployed operationally at fourteen, to Poland.

We usually operate in the shadows. But the light is very, very bright right now.

Thus this summit meeting. We were briefed three days ago on something these leaders are here to learn today. We needed to know.

Experts in solar weather state that the Sun is going to essentially blow up, sometime between a month and a year from now. I don't know their jargon, and don't care. But they all agree -- at least the ones with clearances -- that we're fucked.

As the blast wave will wrap around the planet, the only hope is to be in space, literally in shadow ... such as the dark side of the Moon.

99.999% of humanity will suddenly perish. Only a lucky handful... thousands, perhaps tems of thousands... will have any chance at survival. Underground might work, in a prepared shelter deep enough. Underwater depends on the depth, the deeper the better. But the survivors will have to terraform the planet, because the only plants and animals that will survive are the ones they take with them, or recover from sampled DNA.

Us Operatives will not be among the survivors. That is not our place. Nor is it our place to idly stand by as the rich and powerful rush the Lifeboat, or sabotage it, or play stupid human tricks and petty bullshit with the legacy of the human species.

In the last three days we've been busier than the height of the Gulf War, leaving horse's heads in beds and rigging fatal accidents. People find out, people freak out, people need to shut up.

The Lifeboat is literally this hotel, and the convention center complex around it, and some support facilities -- all functional, but all much more complicated and expensive than they have to be. A diligent hotel guest might notice that their windows are double sealed and the balconies all have two sets of doors.

Under the complex is a massive armor plate. Newport News shipbuilding was the subcontractor for that piece. Because this complex is an Orion launch system, and the armor plate is intended to withstand the thrust of a nuclear explosion. Then another, and another, and another.

Think of an upside down pie plate pooping pellets. But each pellet is plastic explosive. POP. The plate goes up, and releases another pellet. POP. And so on, until we reach orbit.

I can't do the math for how many tons we are going to bring to orbit. But I have been given the math for the people. Four thousand.

But even with clean nukes, this is going to do some serious damage to the biosphere.

Not terribly relevant any more, is it?

Obviously that was built well before the Solar Menace was known about. Or was it? Perhaps Certain People knew for years, before the lid came off? Or this is just an insurance policy.

Down on the loading docks, tractor trailers are frantically delivering all the needs of a future civilization. There is no effort to preserve artifacts, there isn't time. A lot of electronic information is preserved in miniature data centers scattered throught the building - disguised as boilers - but the Magna Carta and paintings by Picasso will have to fend for themselves.

I am overseeing access control. Only authorized people, on a really tight list, are being allowed into this auditorium. It seats about three thousand.

This is not coincidental.

Someone is arguing with the screeners that they must be on the list. I start to sidle over. One of the customer service reps is there in instants, beating me to it - just like I intended.

Not listening to Customer Service. Copy.

So I flick out my baton in a quick, smooth motion and pop it into his gut. He gasps and falls down, and as I help him down, my left hand punches him eight times in particular spots.

Two other operatives are here to help in moments, wrapping him in a fabric stretcher that can be zipped over the top.

It looks like he suddenly took ill, unless you were watching carefully and knew what you were watching.

I wipe my push dagger on the corpse just as they drag it away.

There are no more disturbances. The screeners move away, the doors lock, and we escort the screeners and Secret Service to the outer doors.

Inside the auditorium, they are getting the news. They have been drafted.

Outside the auditorium, a dozen operatives ready for the task are sharing the news with about thirty screeners and eight Secret Service agents, who sadly know too much and would try to 'protect' their charges inside the auditorium.

Only one of us is injured, twisting her ankle while dragging a body.

As things are under control here, I move to Operations. I feel more secure watching several hundred cameras.

My badge no longer works on the entrance reader.

I nod once, briskly, and immediately head for the exit.

Apparently we are launching a bit sooner than we had planned.

We file out obediently under sharp eyes and dull guns - we're not stupid, and dedicated Special Operations troops are much deadlier than we are - and the transport capsule we board whisks us away to the perimeter.

Here I can be useful. The very outermost perimeter is local police, themselves starting to wonder what is going on. Then we have the State Police, then the Feds of various stripes. Inside that we have military, Marines to be specific. Their orders are very clear. No one comes in. Anyone who comes out, does not go back in. Deadly force authorized.

My phone beeps and a countdown appears. We are T-minus ten minutes for launch. Space weather has detected a massive coronal discharge event...

There are no deep bunkers in half an hour's range, but the one I just left.

I have been expecting to die, quite horribly and violently, for over half my life. But the immediate prospect is another matter.

There is a concept called the Birkenhead Drill. You don't rush the lifeboat. You DON'T rush the lifeboat. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Birkenhead_(1845)

Or in this case, the Lifeboat. But I knew that among these panicked ordinary folks, some would realize what was happening prior to launch -- which would vaporize all of us and resolve the issue -- and try to interfere or get on board.

They wouldn't, because I would stop them.
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