The tragedy of Morrissey Industrial Complex will always have a place in people’s memories. It was a terrible incident which, while it didn’t kill people directly, it did kill the environment around it and indirectly became the cause of the death of thousands. It destroyed everything around it as the clock ticks, like rust destroying a steel bar slowly but surely.
The rebels were the one responsible for the tragedy. It was a negotiation, bureaucrat drama, money, bla bla bla bla, and in the end it was a blunder and the terrorist set up a bomb somewhere in the plant. The military moved—and it was a rough fight. The terrorist got wiped out, but the bomb problem still existed. In fact, they pretty much ran out of time to search and defuse the bomb. While the troops still wanted to search the plant until the very end, for some reason the government gave the order to pull out. The troops ran away from the plant with their heart filled with shame, and as their helicopter flew away, they looked at the environment around the plant for the last time, as it inevitably will become a wasteland.
But not every troops decided to follow their orders—enter Second Lieutenant Nora Gallagher and Pvt. Timothy Archer who decided to stay at the plant. Gallagher, who’s famous for being stubborn and impulsive, decided she will not go whatever happens. Archer who’s famous for being a very logical man, wondered to no end why he decided to stick with Gallagher and ruined his entire career.
When they were searching for the bomb, Archer kept reminding Gallagher of the helicopter he found on the top of the plant that they can use to run away, and it’s better to pull out right now even though they couldn’t go back to the military obviously. Gallagher refused to do so, as she’s dead set on finding the bomb.
As they accessed the main computer of the plant, they could scan the whole plant for anomalies. Surprisingly, it actually worked! The computer detected a foreign object near the waste processor machine. As the two thought about it, it made perfect sense to destroy the waste processor and just pollute everything around, raising a poisonous hell. Gallagher and Archer moved to the most bottom part of the plant optimistically. But then reality hit them as they realized that the bomb was 20 meters under the surface of water. Yes—they had to defuse a bomb underwater.
Archer was immediately discouraged. But Gallagher was the exact opposite. She started to strip down to her underwear and searching the room. She found an emergency small oxygen tank and started to take her bomb defusing tools. Archer was questioning Gallagher’s sanity but the Second Lieutenant replied casually, “You can go if you don’t want to do this.”
In the end, Archer left. He lost hope already, both on the plant and Gallagher, and was heading for the helicopter. On the opposite was Gallagher, who fought her fears and dived in into the cold, choking deep water and started heading towards the bottom.
The water was pretty clear, and after a while it felt refreshing. Swimming was not Gallagher’s hobby, but that time she felt a weird feeling of calmness that felt like a hand, pulling her softly towards the bottom. As she went deeper, she saw a light. A red, dim light kept flashing. It was hidden behind a pipe. Gallagher swam there and voila, it was the bomb.
Gallagher moved as fast as she could—while the bomb might still take a few minutes to explode, the emergency oxygen tank only able to sustain Gallagher’s need to breathe for five minutes. After that, Gallagher must depend on her lungs to live. She opened the lid and saw the inside of the bomb. Then her breathing and her heart beat got a lot, lot faster.
What in the god’s name is this?!
It seems like the bomb used a new kind of technology. Of course, Gallagher who only knew a bit more than a basic bomb defusing knowledge wouldn’t know anything about this fancy new technology. In span of five seconds, Gallagher lost all of her hope. But she still didn’t stop. She tried to do anything she could.
Four minutes—a minute faster than she thought—she started to feel choked. The emergency oxygen tank was flashing red. Gallagher took it off and started to hold her breath—at least she tried. As she was rushing she didn’t time pretty well when to take off the breathing apparatus. As she threw it away her lungs screamed, and she couldn’t do anything but let a stream of bubbles coming out of her lips. The pressure was there to stay, and Gallagher only had three to four minutes before she have to swim up if she wants to survive.
In the end, Gallagher spent six minutes there. As the clock reaching halfway towards the seventh minute, Gallagher’s hand stop moving. As her body convulsed wildly she let out of whatever left in her lungs. She tried to stay conscious and swim upwards, but it was over before she could even do anything. Gallagher drowned, and the bomb’s light kept flashing.
With everything that was left in her consciousness, she stared at the bomb, wishing she could just smash it into pieces and everything will be fine. Nobody will die. Happy ending. But that’s not how the world works. Such an idealistic, childish thought will never be a reality. Surprisingly, there’s a bit of happiness inside her dying mind. She felt like she tried everything to stop the disaster, and died in the process—she’s a hero! While probably her parents and little brother would only know her as a deserter, she still knew that they would be proud of her. As she felt a mix of true despair and joy, Gallagher blacked out.
But it wasn’t the end—Archer appeared behind Gallagher. He was shocked when he saw his senior’s empty eyes, but he held the urge to go mad. He took a quick look at the bomb, and realized how impossible the situation. He didn’t think anymore—he picked Gallagher’s body and swam to the surface.
Archer didn’t waste a single second. He immediately gave CPR to Gallagher. Even though it seemed like ages, at last Gallagher coughed and showed a sign of life. The relief Archer felt that moment was like heaven. Then he immediately carried Gallagher’s still weak body and ran, leaving everything behind including their tools, guns, and clothes.
Even though she was still a bit disoriented, Gallagher knew what was happening. She weakly resisted Archer and tried to get down, shouting nonsense. Archer didn’t pay any attention and just kept running. They reached the helicopter and as they flew away the plant exploded.
Gallagher could only look at the destruction with agape. She failed, and most importantly she also failed to die there. She started to feel something weighing her shoulders. As it became heavier and heavier, she slumped. Her face was pressed to the floor. She started crying. The tears didn’t stop. The despair was absolute. The destruction was inevitable. Her powerlessness was clear. She couldn’t do anything about it. Meanwhile Archer could only bite his lower lips. He endured the pitiful cry from Gallagher, and prepared himself for a beating when they landed. The helicopter left the area that would later be identified as a highly hazardous environment.