A Failure of Imagination

Susi’s footsteps echoed in the wide open, polished concrete space of the museum. By one wall, a group from somewhere in Spanish-speaking South America followed a disembodied voice in their ears around the display cases at the edge of the room. Otherwise, Susi had the place to herself.

The rocket loomed over her, its nose almost disappearing into the heights of the repurposed silo above her. This, she thought, this had the terrifying stature to kill cities, to poison a planet, to be the knife every nation once held to every others’ throats.

Not this. This thing the size of a medium-sized rubbish bin, steel clad, cold, indifferent. It looked more like a futuristic keg than a package once capable of ending millions of lives in less than a second. Susi tried to imagine a world where more than ten thousand of these tools of impossibly efficient murder had existed at once. Where people had lived in fear of dying without warning, or going blind from the flash, or dying in heaps of vomit and sloughed-off skin. Where they had practiced useless safety drills. Where they had forgotten the danger, then ignored it. She couldn’t.

She was glad she couldn’t.

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