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Craige cinched his chinstrap tighter and in the distance, glimpsed a profile of what looked to be a Bell Textron’s 62X KW warrior carrying an ALQ 131 or a 144 or a modified 147A white-noise jammer in the crook of his arm. Craige pressed his goggles to the ground tighter. Ready as he could get for the back-blast inferno and flesh-boiling incandescence. The ground punched his belly. He felt more than heard the rumbling plasma-searing waves tearing the ground with seismic jolting thuds. The pressure waves jarred his eardrums.
Follow-up chopper runs unleashed a consuming churning hell along the steep walls and dry wadi. Low-altitude chopper sorties took over with end-of-the-world sunbursts sterilizing a morass of targets. Laser guided missiles pulverized crumpled ledges and overhangs into igneous mini-lahars. Bunker buster smart bombs whistled into caves smashing tunnel walls, roasting any bottom feeders hiding inside. Secondary strikes continued, napalm, thermite, and phosphorous blanketed the area. The smothering white-heat boiled in the solar-hot overkill incineration of containers of stored Marburg-Ebolapox, leaving a sterile landscape of glazed sand, gravel, vaporized odds-and-ends, and a few recognizable body parts. The fearful kill-beauty of magenta and mauve mushrooms and cherry-white red-orange acrid plumes left the eerie shimmering moonscape. Avram ordered re-targeting the whole valley, including the passageways that had been tunneled into. He was taking no chances.
Craige felt a sad lament as the gunships made their final runs, missiles and bombs slammed into the mountain. Undiscovered artifacts destroyed, the site possibly entombed beyond recovery. It wasn’t the worst of what might’ve been. If the virus had been loosed, there’d be damn few survivors.
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