Flash! Friday #35 Story – ‘National Pride’

This here’s my 198 word response to Flash! Friday’s thirty-fifth prompt. As I said in my previous post, I’m very rusty when it comes to writing flash/micro fiction. (Actually, that’s not true; rusty implies that I’m merely out of practice, that I was once good at it.) It’s about having fun, though, and I implore you to join in if weekly community writing challenges interest you.

* * *

Gera, Industriearbeiter Sondermaschine justierend

National Pride (198 words)

From the beginning, Tom had seen the risks. He stood, watching and waiting, whole metres from Dr Fielding and his machines. Tom admired his colleagues’ tenacity, but that was all.

‘All right, Fielding,’ said Bill, the Commander of Operations. ‘Let’s see what she can do.’

Dr Fielding mock-spat into his palms. Then he rubbed his hands together and inputted his no doubt esoteric password into the terminal.

Tom took a subconscious step back. What kind of government took risks like this? He couldn’t believe he still worked here. For five years, the nation had unwittingly haemorrhaged money funding Fielding’s secret commissioned experiment. But for what purpose? To feed some inferiority complex? Optimistically, Tom hoped this was about more than getting noticed by our First World bigger brothers. Bill had given his signatures, yet he seemed to have no idea what Fielding had built.

Such misplaced trust unsettled Tom. Fielding was the brightest scientific mind in the country, but he was also nomadic, unpredictable. And whatever he’d created – a weapon or renewable energy source – it didn’t matter; in all likelihood, the world would always see Australia as its charmingly backwards cousin.

Dr Fielding reached for the lever.

Tom inhaled.

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