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The Sea Wall

By Robert Lynch

The sea wall had stood for 50 years, but even with regular maintenance it wouldn’t last forever. Cassidy stood on top of the wall and looked out at the brown sea beyond. She could remember when it was blue; before the sulphur plume alerts and the rampant diseases. But she wasn’t here for the disgusting view, she was here because of the bomb.

The IED was fairly rudimentary. The fertiliser bomb doesn’t require a lot of expertise to manufacture and it’s pretty easy to get your hands on the ingredients. Typically, fertilisers that contain Ammonium Nitrate are on a watch list and anyone buying the chemical in suspicious amounts would have triggered a response from a federal agency. Since this bomb contained a large enough quantity to blow a hole in the sea wall, there would no doubt be an inquiry into how such a quantity could have been sold without triggering any of the safeguards.

The robot and drone took dozens of pictures and sent them back to her console. The phone on the top of the bomb was clearly the trigger. With the hullaballoo the media was making now that an exclusion zone had been created Cassidy knew that the bomber would soon know that the Bomb Squad was on the scene. If they panicked they could send the signal right away.

“We have to get the jammer on up nice and close, the phone has a signal booster on it.” Cassidy said to Michael.

“We won’t be able to work the bomb if we are on top of it.” Michael replied.

“Then we might have to wait for a second robot to get here, I don’t want to accidentally leave an opening for the signal to get through.”


The work was slow and careful; the media frenzy grew over the day, but after 6 hours of work the phone trigger was removed and none of the secondary triggers were tripped. Taking a break and drinking down some cold water Cassidy watched as Michael continued to remove back up triggers and detonators that have been hastily attached to the bomb, but required considerable control to remove.

As the robot worked to open up the last loom of wire from the final trigger, a seagull landed on the IED.

“Stupid bird!” Michael cursed, waving the robot’s arm at the creature trying to shoo it off.

But before the robot could slowly push the bird out of the way the seagull pecked at a wire.

The explosion pierced a hole in the sea wall only about six feet wide at the other side, but it was enough. Brown putrid seawater spewed from the small hole, quickly excavating it to bring down the sea wall.


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