The Day Nuclear Died
I got up early.
The lights of the city were twinkling down in the valley.
I could see that even the traffic signals were still blinking yellow. Their amber blinking glow always puts a strange surreal pall on the night.
Today was a big day.
In a few hours, we would be on the road to our desert lab.
For years, I had been trying to put together the resources, the science, and perhaps most importantly, the inspiration to make a EMASER that would actually do what I had imagined.
The idea actually came to me in a dream. I was riding in the back seat of a dark sedan when I saw this tornado of light out in the field. I jumped out of the car and ran into the tornado.
I was quickened.
Over the next few weeks a flood of ideas and understandings came into my mind. Suddenly I knew how flying saucers could work. I knew how to make motors that could run using the energy of the magnetic spectrum. But mostly I knew how to bend light.
Oh, don’t get me wrong.
I’m not talking about a photon to photon interaction here.
I’m talking about normal “run of the mill” optics.
Well, perhaps not that ordinary.
I put on my black lab vest and kissed Janelle good bye.
“It’s so early.”
“It’s a big day Babe”
“You doing that light bendy deal today.”
"Are you doing the right thing?"
I just looked at Janelle and shook my head and made that little face that I make when I know I don't know.
I walked downstairs.
The staff car was waiting.
General Bryce was in the back.
“How does the weather look?” I asked. ( I already knew it was perfect)
“It’s perfect, and don’t tell me you didn’t know,” Bryce brustled.
“Chit chat, that’s all.”
“Cause you have all those stars on, wouldn’t you be nervous?”
We road in a small caravan. The sun was still under the horizon.
When we arrived at the test area, the guards waved us through as usual. But this time, I noticed that the young new guard looked in through the window into the back seat. It was as if he wanted to see what I looked like or something. I caught his eye too. Somehow, he knew something potentially big was up.
By nine, everything was ready. The laser was up. All systems were Go.
We wanted to make 3 tests during the day. We would do one at 9:30, another at noon, and we intended to conduct a final test in the afternoon, depending on how the other tests had faired.
The clock ticked. No it didn’t tick. I just wished it would have ticked.
I gave the signal to my lab director to begin.
General Bryce and his staff looked on. We all put on our protective ware. Our suits were completely silvered and our eyes were totally protected. True, we were in a bunker with two foot walls with multiple layers of UV protection, but we weren’t taking any chances.
The laser whirred as it began to build up its pulse.
The bay doors opened like a great observatory.
There was a high pitched sound pulse as the laser released a beam of energy towards the sun, vibrating the argon molecules in the air for a brief second in a specific computer designed pattern. This pattern created a giant mirage in the sky that reflected approximately one square mile of solar energy onto our selected target some 5000 yards away.
In this case, it was an Abrams M1 Tank.
It exploded instantly.
And it was not just destroyed, it was reduced to baseball sized unrecognizable blobs of molten steel. The noise wave was almost as bad as the heat wave shock. It shook the bunker and it vibrated my sternum. One square mile of sunlight is a lot of energy, more than any non-nuclear device in any arsenal.
I took off my glasses and looked over at General Bryce.
He was smiling.
He knew that there was no counter measure to this.
He knew that any target could be destroyed in this manner.
And, he knew that it worked at the speed of light. That made targeting more precise.
I worked my way out of the silver suit and pulled my little good luck charm out of my pocket. It was an old skeleton key that I had been keeping in my left pocket since before the second gulf war.
I thought about that day 66 years ago in New Mexico when Oppenheimer remembered the passage in the Bagavad-gita as his team gazed with their mouths open as they watched that mushroom cloud rise up into the upper troposphere.
Oppenheimer was glad he didn't start the nitrogen in the atmosphere on fire that day and thus destroy the earth without anyone having the slightest idea what happened to them.
Teller told him it wouldn't happen. And it didn't.
It didn't happen today either.
On that day, on those white sands, the nuclear age began.
On this day, in this mountain desert, nuclear power died,
and the solar age
came of age.
I thought of Janelle.
I thought of pigeons flying from a narrow gable
in a quiet cobblestone street
in the old section of Barcelona.
I thought about how any tool,
can be used for war
or for peace.
And, I thought about Bryce and that smile.
What it is About