Reactions have been far less positive across the Atlantic. General Eugene Govender, Commander of the EDC, has called today’s deployment “a reckless move, motivated by all the wrong reasons.” He added, and I quote: “I hope we don’t all pay the price for what amounts to a weak kid being bullied into doing something stupid.” Dr. Rose Franklin, head of the scientific division, refused to comment. Unilateral action by the British Government could signal the beginning of the end for the EDC—
We’ll come back to the EDC’s reaction, and comments from other world leaders, in a moment. There appears to be some development on the ground.
Armoured vehicles are now converging on Regent’s Park. From our helicopter, we can see what is clearly a carefully orchestrated manoeuvre, as Scimitar vehicles and tanks are slowly closing in on the park from the east, west, and south. The absence of troops or armoured vehicles north of the park can only be deliberate. I would surmise that the Army is leaving an obvious escape route for the alien robot. The military might also wish to avoid making the intruder feel boxed in and provoke an aggressive response. One thing is clear. This operation is meant to send a message: “You have overstayed your welcome in London.”
Two armed convoys are approaching the park from the south. One is headed east towards the park on A5205, and a fourth has just turned on Robert Street to enter the park from the east. Armoured vehicles are seconds away from entering the park grounds. I have just been told we will remain on the air for a while longer. We will maintain our position above the south end of the park and give you minute-by-minute updates on the situation.
The closest vehicles, a long line of Scimitars, are on Park Square, now crossing the Outer Circle and entering the south end of the park. Another group of vehicles is entering the south end on York Bridge…Our colleagues on the ground inform me that the Secretary of State for Defence has just issued a statement…We should have images in a moment, but he thanked the people of London for their cooperation during the evacuation. He also wanted to publicly renew his support for the EDC and assured UN leaders that the military would not engage unprovoked. To that effect, I am told that General Fitzsimmons, who leads this operation, is under strict orders to give the alien a wide berth and avoid any action that could be misconstrued as hostile.
There is a lot of information coming in, and we will hear a lot more from Dana and Mike in the studio in a few minutes. But for now, we will keep our cameras rolling as we witness these historic events unfold. The first convoy now seems to be stopping and entering formation just short of Chester Road, about five hundred metres from the robotic figure. The other group of combat vehicles has also stopped and Scimitars are now lining up inside the Inner Circle. There has been no reaction thus far on the part of the alien robot. It has not moved.
It is now the King’s Royal Hussars’ turn to enter Regent’s Park from the east. The fifty-some tanks have very little manoeuvring room if they wish to keep their distance from the visitor. As expected, the Challenger 2s are stopping only a few metres from the Outer Circle, just shy of the Boardwalk. The last group of Scimitar vehicles is entering park grounds at the west end. They are moving a lot faster than the other groups, heading southeast towards the Inner Circle and away from the Hub and the…
The robot has turned its head.
This is the first time we have seen it move since it appeared in London a week ago. It is shifting its feet, slowly turning to the right. Its attention seems to be focused on the combat vehicles sprinting through the park from the west. There is some light coming out of the robot’s right hand. White light. It’s getting brighter and brighter. It is raising its arm. There is, what seems like, a disc of light inside the robot’s right hand, which is aimed at the west end of Regent’s Park, where the military vehicles have now stopped their advance.
Our helicopter is moving farther away, but we still have a clear view of the entire—Wha—? There is—what I can only describe as a thin wall of light extending from the robot’s hand for…it must be at least one or two kilometres long. The light wall is paper-thin, roughly the same height as the robot, sixty or seventy metres high.
It is crossing one of the Scimitar vehicles at the Park’s edge! I do not know if it is inflicting any damage. We are too far to the east to make out any details. Our cameraman is attempting to zoom in.
There are electrical wires on the ground, on both sides of the beam of light. There are…The robot is moving its arm to the left. It is sweeping Central London very rapidly, turning to its left. It has now stopped after completing a near-perfect half circle…
Mike, can you call my wife?
I know. I need you to call Charlotte. Make sure she’s home. I need to know my family’s safe.
I—I need a moment to process what I’m seeing. There…There is nothing left in the path of that wall of light, which has now disappeared. There is only a crescent-shaped dirt field where…where half this city was. I can see Buckingham Palace at the edge of it. There is nothing but dirt between it and the London Zoo. Half a dozen neighbourhoods have been removed from the London map. Lisson Grove, Maida Vale, Paddington are no more. There is no Marylebone, no Mayfair, no Soho. Bloomsbury, Euston, part of Camden Town…All gone.
There is no debris, no fire. Just a perfect half circle of dirt. We cannot—
We cannot begin to—
[Jacob! We’re off the air. You’re talking to yourself.]
[The studio. It was right in the middle of it. There is no BBC anymore.]
Have you gotten through to my wife?
FILE NO. 1443
MISSION LOG—CAPTAIN KARA RESNIK AND VINCENT COUTURE, EARTH DEFENSE CORPS
Location: London Gateway Port, England
—Vincent Couture. Would you stop fiddling with your flight suit and get on!
—Call me by my last name one more time, Kara. I dare you. I double dare you!
—What are you? Five? Would you just get on this thing, please?
—I’m coming! Why are you in such a hurry? We’re not coming back. You know that, right?
—No I don’t. And neither do you. You don’t want to get on the crane, is that it?