V. Dorme vous?

***Paris, France - November 4th, 2093***

The Cafe Procope was one of the oldest culinary establishments in France, with over 500 years of heritage. Many great men had dined there: Voltaire, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Maurice Ravel, and today, Han Xenghua. Today, Han was all at once nervous and relieved. All his life, he had spent all his time and effort to provide his wife and two daughters with meager means: but today, that would change. Today, the government would pay Han's wife a sizable sum, and tell her that her husband would always be a hero to all his people.

He had been nursing his sorbet for some time, and the staff had left him well enough alone. After everything that had happened in the last year, people abroad had a tendency to avoid Han because of his ethnic background. The Chinese government had used it's considerable influence and resources to make an enemy of the declining superpower across the Pacific ocean. When they stopped exports of manufactured goods to the United States, the economic and political climate immediately turned sour, and China was painted up to be something of a bully. Nobody thought twice when the United States sent an armada of ships into the South China sea and declared martial law in Taiwan, and yet, everyone seemed to think it a travesty when the Chinese landed in Northern California. American forces quickly put down the first attack on their own soil in over 250 years, but when the Marines landed in Korea, things were different. They quickly took Pyongyang, and moved up into Manchukuo, but even with their substantial naval presence, they found it difficult, if not impossible, to move down the coast towards Beijing.

In spite of it's exposed, coastal location, Beijing had a sizable buffer around it that the Americans seemed unable to penetrate. Urban, coastal China was largely unaffected, and US troops poured inland, only to be stopped short on every front. When Mongolia joined the fight, they didn't have much to pledge, but their tactical position of opportunity was enough to push the Americans back to Manchukuo. It was only a matter of time before the line broke, and the Chinese peoples' doom was at hand, or the Americans would go home with their head between their tails.

Since their presence in Vietnam in the late 19th century, the French had been a thorn in China's side, and it was no surprise that they lent their support to the American cause. What Chinese military leaders didn't expect, however, was the number of troops they pledged to their caused. They were over 100,000 strong, and kept the American's efforts to spearhead their way through the heart of the Chinese mainland fueled and ready. There was only a finite amount of time they could hold the American war machine at bay, it's true, but today…

…They were going to take a page out of the American playbook.

When American air forces were looking for a target for their newly developed atomic bomb in 1945 to end the war with Japan, they chose a target that was a center of Japanese culture, and a holy site for the dominant Shinto religion: Hiroshima, and, to a lesser extent, Nagasaki. On the other hand, this tactic had backfired before. In 2073, when the Americans lent a small contingent to the Greeks to defend against an invasion of North African nations, Libya and Tunisia launched a biochemical attack that turned Nashville, Tennessee into a wasteland. Instead of bowing out of the fight, the Americans landed over a million troops in Morocco within 24 hours. They thundered across North Africa, and reached Cairo within 6 months… within 2 years, they had made the entire region a US territory: officially called the "North African Protectorate", unofficially called "New Carthage".

The French, however, were not the Americans.

Han produced a small metallic tube and set it down next to the salt. It looked innocuous enough sitting there, like another condiment to the untrained eye, but antimatter was one of the deadliest weapons known to man. Han was tired of waiting, and unscrewed the top, revealing a black button that covered the top of the tube: a release. A release from life, from death, and from quantum vacuum for a small globule of antimatter no larger than one's fingernail. Han picked up the tube and held it in his hand for a moment, then closed his eyes and pressed his thumb against the button.

All Han's woes vanished. Han vanished. The Cafe Procope vanished. Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie vanished. The 6th Arrondissement of Paris vanished.

As the seal broke, and matter rushed into the vacuum chamber, antiprotons and positrons began to annihilate protons and electrons. The chain reaction that followed almost instantaneously sent a cascade of photonic energy outward, resulting in an unfathomably bright flash. Once the flash had gone, there was a giant crater in the center of Paris where the legendary artist's district had once been. The annihilation that had taken place also left a large bubble around the area where there was no air, and a wind from the surrounding area rushed inward to fill the void. The wind was not unlike those following the the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, or the carpet bombing of Dresden, and swept people and cars off the ground; even houses were ripped from their foundation.

The wind was especially unkind to the giant lattice tower in the neighboring 7th Arrondissement, and the 200 year old Eiffel Tower caught the full brunt of the wind, it's mighty legs buckling under the staggering air pressure. When the wind stopped a mere 7 seconds after it had begun, the tower was still standing, but it wouldn't be for long. The fractures towards the bottom of the legs began to join together, and with an angry, low pitched shriek, one leg tore in half. With the tower off balance, the force began to tear the other 3 sideways, and the apex of the tower could be seen slowly dipping from across the city. Many stood starstruck by the unbelievable sight as 7,000 tons of steel thundered to the ground. When the dust settled from this impact, the tower lay shattered amongst the rubble of countless other buildings crushed beneath it.

The cultural heart of the city lie broken and utterly destroyed. People were panicked and screaming, and many were injured, dead, or simply winked out of existence. A large pile of rubble, vehicles, trees, and bodies lie in the center of the pit at the city's center.

This was a day that the French people would forever rue.