The driver floored it. The presidential limousine was armored to protect itself from anything short of an RPG, but protocol was to remove the President from any situation that presented a risk.
A single mote of rust was disturbed from it's slow grown on the steel beam, falling through the steaming hot air. Such an occasion was of little note. It happened thousands of times in any given day, there was a boy who swept the floor for an extra few grains of rice.
But by chance, if one not so extraordinary in a working steel mill, this particular grain happened to land, hissing, on the glowing orange surface of new metal.
A moment later, the roll press consumed it. It's hungry maw ever swallowing the procession of glowing steel. What emerged, cooled if still warm to the touch, from the other side appeared perfectly normal bar stock.
He was trained by the special service for years in driving, he punched into second gear and the tuned engine roared, the bullet-proof tires struggling to grip the wet asphalt.
Glass fractured, but the bullet's didn't penetrate.
An inch to the left, and the bolt would have laid in the bottom of an engineers toolbox, until finally slipped to the floor and got pounded into the dirt. Forgotten.
But it was not to be. This particular bolt - formed by machines from pristine new bar, was destined to be packed with millions of it's kin and travel eleven thousand kilometers to a factory in the United States.
This bolt was to be picked out, given a cursory inspection and passed into a certain box.
The harsh acceleration wouldn't have been any problem.
The explosion wouldn't have been a problem.
Ramming through the crude barrier of black cars wouldn't have been a problem.
A worker picked it out from twenty like it, pushing it into his electric ratchet and drilling it through the suspension arm. Threads interlocked perfectly, and the component was pulled into place.
Momentum pushed the front wing of the car down during the hard left turn, the bolt straining against the forces. The void of dead, oxidized metal within it caused more flex than it was designed for.
A thousand corners just like it, a thousand little twists accentuated by a pocket of rust forged into the very steel caused the metal to fatigue.
It could have been any corner that caused the break.
But it was this one.
The bolt gave. A snap that couldn't be heard over the gunfire. But the wheel pulling free from it's mounting caused the front of the car to lurch into hard ground. Bodywork scraping, sending sparks dancing across the ground.
The Presidents car swung around in an arc, before flipping to land on it's roof. Glass, weakened by the gunfire it was designed to resist, exploded as the frame around it deformed. It's protective barrier a thousand glistening, useless, shards ringing the wreck.
They said it took one death to start World War Three. The real cause was more mundane.
Not sure I like this one, but I got half way through and thought I should finish it....