The concussion of the bomb blast alone was powerful enough that it created a spider web of cracks in the thick glass and compromised the seals around the office window where Simon stood. Thin streams of water shot through the weakened seals, forming miniature fountains that swiftly created pools on the carpet beneath his feet. One moment he was scanning the tourists and potential colonists as they emerged from the transport in front of the desalinization plant. The next, he was staring at havoc. The certain knowledge that he was about to become a part of it hit him like an aftershock of the blast itself.
Spinning on his heels, he lunged toward the door. His right foot hadn't even settled firmly on the floor when the window exploded, compromising the integrity of the entire structure. He had time to feel a split second of relief when he saw the door of his office seal automatically and then he was swept off his feet by the cannon of water blasting through the hole when the force of the explosion turned the two foot square window he'd been standing in front of into a missile. Within a handful of heartbeats, water had filled the room and transformed it into a deadly mixer, turning everything that hadn't been bolted to the walls or floor, including the window itself, into powerful projectiles that slammed into him or narrowly missed him.
Briefly disoriented as the water sent him tumbling, panic flickered through him, but as he rolled, he caught sight of the now empty socket where the window had been. Gritting his teeth, he fought to reach it, struggling against the artificial current created by the churning of the trapped water as it slammed into the walls and was deflected back upon itself. It was luck more than determination that ejected him from the building. A back surge caught him, slamming him against the edge of the window. He felt the impact, but shock prevented his brain from registering pain or even numbness from the blow.
His luck held. By the time he was swept out, the wave of projectiles created by the explosion had already passed over the Watch Center.
There were hundreds that hadn't been as lucky. The debris still spreading outward from the blast zone included bodies and parts of bodies. Clouds and streams of blood mixed with the water, smoke, and ash.
Galvanized by that discovery, Simon bellowed instinctively for the watch. The gargle of sound that emerged briefly confused him until it dawned on him that he'd been in his office. He wasn't wearing his communicator.
Whipping around to look for some means of directing the emergency, he spied one of the watchmen gaping at the scene in shock and shot toward him. Grasping the young recruit by both shoulders, he shook him furiously and ripped his communicator from his head, pointing toward a bleeding victim drifting near them.
"Code Red! Code Red! Watchmen to your stations! Emergency personnel--get the injured into a shelter! Immediately! Priority on the air-breathers!"
Even as he made the announcement, he headed toward ground zero to assess the damage and see if there was anyone alive that could be pulled from the rubble. Before he'd reached it his men had launched into emergency mode. The heart of the city, as still as death in the aftermath of the explosion, began to churn with rushing watchmen and emergency workers.
The blood in the water was going to draw predators. That was going to be the biggest danger for anyone uninjured, but the colonists knew the drill by now. At the first sign of a terrorist attack, they rushed to the nearest available shelter if they were able to move.
The fucking bastards! Wondering if it was the work of the radical Green Peace movement, the Humans for Humanity, or some other crazed fanatic bent on 'saving the oceans' or 'destroying mutants', he surveyed the desalinization plant with disgust and budding anger. The plant, in the heart of the territorial capital, New Atlanta, supplied about a third of the fresh water for the entire colony of New Atlantis. If it was completely destroyed ....