This was the repeated warning the soldiers were given before they were loaded up onto flatbeds and driven to a remote patch of desert. There were sandbag covered holes waiting for them. The troopers obediently crouched in their shallow ditches in the sand and waited.
They had heard stories about how the flash melted eyeballs and the heat seared the flesh. They saw pictures of shadows imprinted on stone by atomic obscura. The featureless black human outlines were all that remained of the people touched by the light.
The desert air was dry but pleasantly mild, and the mood among the men was one of cautious optimism. Some seemed entirely at ease even excited about what they were about to witness while others quietly sat and stared sand.
Their heads trained upwards as they watched the trail of white smoke streaking across the unblemished blue sky. The order came and the soldiers squatted in the foxholes. They collectively held their breath and waited for detonation.
There was the white flash. The troops became giddy and immediately jumped up so they could get a glimpse of this atomic Aries. The stem of thick gray smoke bloomed at its peak into a glowing inferno. The shockwave raced out in all directions and struck the onlookers in the chest with prickly hot air. The roaring mushroom cloud continued to fatten as it roared in the sky. The soldiers picked up their rifles and lept from the safety of their sand shelters and marched into the nuclear twilight.
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