The spidery alien war machine smashed through downtown. Its feet crushed cars. Its force-beam collapsed buildings and devastated the battle-tanks of the Human defenders. Suddenly, Humans withdrew from the area.
In the command center, General Nash prepared his team to launch a Thunderbolt missile. The heavyweight hyper-sonic weapon hurtled at an astounding velocity of Mach 14 before striking its target. The weapon unleashed kinetic energies equivalent to a tactical nuke, without the radiation. It could easily destroy the alien machine. Unfortunately, it could also destroy critical city infrastructure. Lieutenant Givens scanned maps to insure nothing vital would be destroyed.
“I see a hospital in the blast radius, sir,” said Givens.
“Army field hospitals can take up the slack,” said General Nash.
“There’s an orphanage here.”
“Is it evacuated?”
“We’ll build another one,” said Nash.
“There’s a Walmart and a McDonalds there.”
“To hell with them!” roared Nash. “Launch the Thunderbolt!”
“Wait sir!” called Givens. “Cavendish’s Ale House is one block from the alien!”
Nash glared at the young officer. “Are you having me on, Lieutenant?”
Givens looked back sheepishly. “Their Ale and their Fish & Chips are really quite extraordinary.”
General Nash turned away, growling, “Critical Infrastructure discovered! Cancel the attack!”
Several countries, including China apparently, are already developing hyper-sonic missiles: http://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-hypersonic-missiles-push-america-china-towards-war-13205
Written for Matthew Wright’s Mega Short-Story writing challenge. Look here for the original prompt: https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/this-weeks-mega-short-story-challenge-12/