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"Black Hole, The Perfect Doomsday Machine!"
Story by: Joe DiMino
Before disassembling for carry, Jake gave a final once-over
to his hang-glider; checked the sail, cross-bar-stabilizer, sprog-system,
harness and control-bar.
"So, what do you think, Jake?" Ted asked, intrigued by the innovative Mylar sail; but not for anything was he about to strap himself into one of those things, and then go running off a mountain.
"About the Collider the big "C" firing-up tomorrow?"
"Fools! The lot of them!"
As one admiring art, Jake continued to inspect his new glider; a design of his own, put together with his very-own, brilliant-hands; he smiled to himself (modest he wasn't): Jake, a young man in his late twenties; tall, sandy hair, had a very promising future in science. But before his name would be put on anything, he had to be around a lot longer, pay his dues.
"That's the attitude that makes you enemies," Ted fired back.
"And what, agreeing with stupidity makes me popular?"
Ted respectfully frowned. "The entire scientific community, backed by a hundred years of research can't be wrong!"
Jake finished his beer...then answered: "Galileo! And now, I'm off to Australia, before the powers that be decide to burn me at the stake, or lock me in some medieval tower." He gave Ted his usual outsider grin.
No degree, but clearly a genius to all who know him, Jake's the technician that scientist call aside, when they are stumped, ask questions in private, and then take credit themselves for his correct answers. But as Jake says, today he could care less. He has looked forward to this vacation all fall, and isn't about to let anything come between him and his gliding...not even the end of the world.
Tuesday, Dec., 5th 2009, 5 AM, Site of the new Super Collider,
30 miles outside of Las Vegas, in the desert.
Magnets hummed. Particles began whipping around the 20 mile circle at near Light-speed. This is the first of the Supers. Never before has humanity been this close with technology ("nearing The Holy Grail," so to speak), offering them a chance to finally observe the Scientific Soul of the universe, the theorized Higgs Bosen, smallest elemental particle which could lead, they suspected, to a Unified Theory. Ted imagined Einstein in heaven (if a Unified Theory allowed for Heaven) applauding, cheering the protons to greater collision. Curvaceous Kelly, one time fiancée of Jake (his eccentric behavior eventually scared her from the altar), monitored the endless information coming from instruments strategically placed throughout the concrete lined tube. She paused. There it was! The Higgs Bosen.
She shouted to Ted: "We got it! Ted, it's here! The H B. It's here! Along with an entire family of new ones!" But before Ted could check the monitor, they were gone.
However, he saw something even stranger moving more slowly between the magnets. It was the Hole--Black Hole; also theorized as a real possibility from such high energy collisions. Project Manager, Collini, chief physicist in charge of the project quickly joined them.
"There! Collini--Spollini--Paglini," their private joke about the abundance of (I)s in Opera and science. "Ted went on, "The best wine and pasta tonight, and all on the Feds! Gentlemen Lady (he smiled at Kelly's frown), we have just made history! Pop the corks!"
But their jubilance soon turned to pensive concern. "Something's wrong!" Collini spoke with guarded trepidation. "The Hole's behaving out of character. It's growing, begun sucking in anything that comes near. The high energy of the other particles should allow them to pass safely by. Damn thing should have eaten-itself-alive micro seconds after formation! yet it's growing...stuffing itself. My friends, we've got a live turkey, laughing at the chefs and the oven. Shut her down--quickly!" The alarm sounded throughout the facility, propelling hundreds of workers into emergency mode.
"Gentleman, this you need to see!" Their focus was again with Kelly at the monitor. "It's still growing! After shutting everything down, it's still growing!"
"Can't be!" Responded Collini. "What's feeding it?"
"Crazy Bastard was right!" Ted's vindicating exclamation for his best friend coming with a mixture of smiles and nervous twitches.
"Get him here," Collini ordered, sounding more like a military man than a scientist.
"Fat chance! He's several thousand feet in the air on his new glider somewhere unreachable my guess."
"Contact the Pentagon!" Collini continued to nervously monitor the Hole as it lowered in the tube; attached itself to the concrete liner; and began feeding like a hungry guppy swimming along the perimeter of a tank, devouring the very walls of its confinement.
Stanwell Park (Sidney) was one of Jake's favorite places
to go flying. This was his 8th trip over the past 5 years. No
cell phone--get away from the pack. He soared high above the cliffs
looking off into the Pacific. Caught a great thermal, stalled,
leveled-off and rose like an eagle. Yawed slightly to the left,
back over the mountains, dipped her nose, pointed her up, caught
a thermal and rose to 5,000 feet. This was amazing stuff for him;
a-never-ending-journey...expanding freedom infinite, as he thought
of it in his mind. No damn labs! Bloated scientific egos! But
he missed Kelly.
"What the Hell!" He heard a craft in the near distance.
"No damn Copters should to be out here," he grumbled!
"Military no less!" The R.A.A.F Copter leveled-off...seemed
to be hailing him to land, side-door opening with several authoritative
fingers pointing downward. It was still early afternoon, Australia
Time, and a few hours of good piloting left. The clear, blue spring
sky warm as honey, even at his altitude.
They were above him, their down draft bobbing and spinning
Jake's craft around like a dog chasing its tail. "Back off
fool! We don't want to kill him!" The commander shouted to
the captain, who promptly obeyed by making a wide sweep to the
left, coming around and then leveling-off at a safe parallel.
Jake headed down.
Time: 11 Am. Back at Collider, Nevada USA:
A Military Copter landed. Jake hopped out. Ted and Kelly were on the grounds outside waiting; they rushed to meet him. Jake felt the earth shake slightly...followed by a panic of people pouring out of the facility. Collini breathlessly ran up.
"What on earth is going on!" Jake inquired of a panting Collini.
"On? On? We created a freaking monster, that's what's going on! What can you tell us Jake? What on earth are we dealing with?" The massive complex shook more violently.
"What's it doing now?"
"Moving along the collider, like a shark gnawing on a whale carcass. Worse, it's gaining additional mass from an unknown source. The Hole must be several hundred nanometers across by now, with an Event Horizon the size of a pea. We can't stop it. Can't stabilize the blasted thing within a magnetic field as thought. Any energy introduced into the model has the same effect as dowsing a fire with gasoline!"
Jake paused thoughtfully for a moment, then responded: "If I'm correct, Collini, we need to evacuate everything due west of here; right on out into the Pacific. It can't be stopped. We're dealing with a tear in the Universe. Our tried and true Particle Theory was wrong. Apparently, a miniature Black Hole is at the center of a nucleus. They are anchors to slow matter down, for visible form and coherent substance. The Collider has caused a breach, and the BH is feeding off Space/Time. Great cosmic furnaces stabilize the process...but on earth, once started, it can't be stopped. It becomes a potential planet-eater, when a size developes much larger than an atom-nucleus. We screwed-up royally! The anomaly is munching on its surrounding space, propelled by a tail embedded deep within a Fifth dimensional-well of limitless energy. At present rate of consumption, in short time, as mass continues to concentrate the Hole will anchor itself more firmly in the fabric of space and time, feeding ever more ferociously as the earth passes through it, building acceleration till equaling that of the earth's rotation compounded by its speed around the sun."
"My God, "exclaimed Kelly!
Ted did the math out loud: "Let's see the earth rotates on its axis at about 1,000 miles per hour and the earth moves around the sun at 67,000 per hour ." His jaw dropped.
The ground shook violently buildings collapsing, seeming to implode as the BH started on the move (actually, the target advancing toward the missile), the earth forcing itself through it. Las Vegas would be the first major city encountered.
Not enough time " Jake shook his head. "Poor devils!"
A High Ranking General of the armed forces had already been
brought to the Collider site, and within moments after being informed
by Collini of what to expect, was immediately on an emergency
channel in touch with Vegas. A minute out the BH had covered half
the distance between it and the unsuspecting vacationers, and
was now moving at 400 miles an hour, cutting a swat through the
earth the size of a freight locomotive. In 15 seconds the missile
would be passing directly beneath the city 200 feet below street-level.
The missile was now 5 seconds out and within 5 miles of the
gaming capital, moving at 800 miles an hour. People on the streets
and in the casinos first felt the earth vibrating beneath them.
Pipe lines and underground electric cables being torn through
like web. Those on the streets, beneath vibrating overhead signs,
amid falling glass and brick also saw a cloud of dust a mile wide
and hundreds of feet high bearing down on them as if a meteor
skimming the ground. The sirens only added more to the panic.
Within seconds it was beneath the city. The entire city collapsing
as if a house of cards.
It continued on beneath the desert, beneath mountain ranges, on its way toward San Francisco. Cut beneath communities. Lakes. Momentarily surfaced over Death Valley, sucking in and belching up a mountain of debris in its devastating wake. It was a quarter mile wide in effect, with an Event Horizon the size of a baseball, more than twice the condensed mass as that of the earth were it collapsed to a Black Hole.
It would reach San Francisco in 15 minutes--moving at a speed
of 15,000 miles per hour or greater, gouging the earth out to
within 50 feet of the pavement. This would make the Earthquake
of 1906 seem like a baby-burp by comparison.
Sirens wailed. There was no time for evacuation. So people were simply informed by the media to brace for a major quake.
By now the rumbling could be felt to lesser degree up and down
the entire coast, from Alaska to the furthest tip of California.
It was within twenty miles of the city: Bridges were first to
demolish. Then fell sky-scrapers, amphitheaters, crumbling as
if made of dried Playdough. Water ways pushed over their banks
and drained all in the same breath. Then the rest of the city
was gone. The entire silhouette of the city viewed in that instant
as fracturing glass. Five hundred miles out it broke the surface
again in the ocean drawing behind what seemed half the Pacific.
It was headed for the Tokyo Sky Line. This was the real Godzilla!
It would pass over the city at less than 2 miles high. It will
make Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like firecrackers. Already tidal
wave warnings were being issued all along the China and Japanese
Against advice, Jake had gone back into one of the damaged
buildings, rummaged around the commissary, and several minutes
later came out with several bottles of champagne and a cork screw.
He opened the bottles handing them out.
"Pass them around. Drink my friends, germs are the least of our worries."
"What happens now, " asked Kelly?
"You consent to marry," he replied with the twisted grin she knew all too well.
"Because I still love you or because of the Black Hole?"
"For both reasons. Though it will quickly move on out in to space, but not gone from our lives by a long-shot. Drink my friends! Drink!" Jake paused dramatically. "I suggest that, if there is something you always wanted to do, and have been forever putting it off for one reason or another--now is the time to make plans! Tell that special someone just how much they are loved." He smiled warmly at Kelly stilled her trembling hand with a firm but compassionate squeeze. "We have created the perfect Doomsday Machine. The Hole will sit out there in orbit migrate slowly toward the sun. Next year we meet it dead-on, smack into the earth's core at 50,000 miles per hour, having a condensed mass far greater than our own planet. I don't believe anyone here needs to be explained the physics. To our health!" He took a long swallow.
Part 2 "Black Hole, The Perfect Doomsday Machine" (by Joe DiMino)
Jake rolled over, knocking a lamp from the bed-stand when
reaching to answer the phone: "Yellwo. Wongs Chinese bake-out
Collini scoffed, somewhat amused but impatient: "Jake cut the crap!"
Kelly slid to Jake's bare back, teasingly skipped several loving licks up his spine as Jake pensively lit a cigarette. Kelly wound lazily round, reached up, taking the smoking cancer-stick from his lips to have a drag. Seemed so pointless to stop the dirty habit now, she thought. "Who is it?"
Jake covered the mouthpiece, replied with his outsider-grin: "Collini"
"Tell him I said, he needs to get layed. And I ain't offering," Kelly yawned, stretched and purred.
"Jake," Collini spoke urgently, "You have to do this with me! I know you kids are on your honeymoon but this can't wait."
Jake hung up.
Flying over the city, looking down at Ground Zero, where
the towers once stood, tragic as it was he thought, small-change
now. Cab ride from LaGuardia to the UN was a snarl of stops and
slow starts. Three in the afternoon, beginning of rush hour was
hardly a time to be heading into the city. This was a special
meeting though, not the usual, morning, well organized gathering
of State-heads. Since the Hole had been unwittingly created, with
complete doom for humanity less than a month away, no part of
any day seemed typical. If anything good can be said, with this
very tragic prospect the world had finally come together, united
unanimously in single cause.
Jake maneuvered his way by the pickets. "Make love
not war!" "Repent
the world is coming to an end."
"Down with US Imperialism." He chuckled loudly. Just
outside the entrance he was met by Collini, who smoothly ushered
him through heavy security. Once inside and settled at the podium,
Jake addressed the four hundred top honchos and their delegates
assuring them that everything is in place. Then started the question
and answer session. A panel of highly skeptical physicists began
their assault. After all, this was all new physics. And no one,
including Jake, was certain it would work.
Representing the United Kingdom: "Jake, how can you
be certain that this will work?"
Jake replied calmly, "Certainty is a myth at best with anything except death. It will work--or we will all meet, or not meet, in a quite different place I am certain." Puzzled faces. Collini grimaced.
"Will the earth change its orbit enough to avoid the Hole entirely?" Asked a very thick French Accent.
"If not, gentlemen and ladies, our planet is doomed. Swallowed alive. Wish I could be more hopeful and exact--had a crystal ball to look into and a Great Oz I could appeal to if I didn't like what I saw. Perhaps for those not naturally inclined, it is time to try prayer."
Thus the questioning proceeded for several hours, many requiring
interpreters, till Jake, at length found himself seated alongside
Collini on a jet, headed for Mission Headquarters set-up at the
Cape. Kelly was already there waiting. With cooperation of governments
around the world, a grid of Microwave Cannons had been designed
and deployed, crisscrossing the entire globe. It was new science.
Jake Science. Jake called it, Magnetic Lubrication. Simply put,
if one shines a strong light (electromagnetic field) ahead of
a moving object, the object will accelerate without additional
thrust, the magnetic field having greased the fabric of Space
and Time, so to speak. Jake believed that this is why light moves
at a constant speed, being pure electronic propagation free of
friction. He perceived Space as a great sea through which all
matter swims oblivious till events lead to fuller awareness. This
concept had begun to made perfect sense to a few, however, the
greater majority still remained highly skeptical. For the most
part, Jake was on a theoretical beach mostly by himself; but to
his credit, long before that startling day in the laboratory,
he had in fact tried to forewarn scientists of a possible Doomsday
scenario were a Black Hole formed by the Collider. None of them
had taken him seriously.
Two AM the following morning at Canaveral:
Thirteen months had passed since that fateful day at Collini's
lab in Nevada. Another winter came and went, and few could not
help but stop, ever so briefly, to smell the many lovely spring
scents wafting through the air, while realizing that time for
such luxury may be painfully coming to an abrupt end.
For the past week, throughout the many nations of the world
citizens were informed that the first major test of the SC System
(Second Chance) was to be conducted on April first at 7 am USA
time. All power grids were tied into the cannons. For fifteen
minutes, no electrical current would be available to the general
public. Appliances would be inoperable. Systems for traffic control
would be compromised. Hospitals and other emergency facilities
would need to have their backup generators up and running. Cell
phones would be affected, with many satellites permanently disabled
when the intense electromagnetic pulses are sent across the sky.
In fact, nobody, including the experts, knew all of what to expect.
People around the world had wondered and marveled for months as
the ominous towers went up. Each was on a swivel-base, a two hundred
foot polymer stack housing a massive coil of super-conductive
material, surrounded by state of the art refrigeration systems
for cooling the giants. Intense heat was expected.
Collini, Jake and Kelly stood by as technicians and scientists
began the pensive countdown. One minute fifty-nine seconds, fifty-eight,
fifty-seven. 'Would they work, or simple explode into flame, little
more than expensive fireworks?' Jake wondered. 'There would not
be time for a second plan.'
'And even if they do work,' Collini thought, 'would they do what they are intended to do, move the earth and the Hole out of each other's path?'
Kelly had faith in Jake but wondered if perhaps science had recklessly trespassed once too often.
Down to the final minute: Fifty-nine, fifty-eight, all the languages of the world counting in unison, 'a modern version of tongues,' thought Kelly, remembering her Southern Baptist routes.
Zero. The cannons fired. Intense rays were focused 250,000 miles above the earth, on opposite sides of the planet, coming to two, finely targeted points in space. The units were incredibly accurate. But also consumed tremendous amounts of electrical energy. All across the grids transformers and cables burst into flame. Around the failed conduits current had to be quickly rerouted in order to keep all cannons operational. Precise coordination was a massive feat. The cannons kept firing. Communication satellites by the dozens exploded from the intense magnetic bursts, falling back to earth as shooting stars. The cannons kept firing. Every living creature on earth, sensed and felt. Howling across the globe. Birds taking to the air by the millions, collided in manic distortions unable to pattern. Till finally the test was completed. It had been a success, measured by Café Standards of Monumental Scientific Achievement. But would the units do what they were intended to do--save the earth?
Late that evening, Kelly and Jake sat on the balcony of
their hotel room, above a shimmering pool. Sadly they gazed into
the night sky--toasted a delightfully romantic moon as so often
done in the past. Wondered how life would be when she was gone
from the sky forever, a necessary casualty if the planet was to
survive? Wondered what lovers would do when the Heart's Goddess
was no more? And realized, her sacrifice was the ultimate devotion.
"So explain to me again why illuminating the path of a Black Hole will cause it to speed up. I mean, by your own definition, proved by the Earth's dilemma at the moment, in fact the BH has become an anchor in space and is skidding to a halt as it grows in size?" Kelly questioned.
"Same principle as that of giant BH's at the center of galaxies. The intense illumination given off by a galaxy acts as a Magnetic Lubricant, liberating the BH from friction with the fabric of space and time. Therefore, so to speak, the BH slides freely, in fact, gains speed as it moves across the surface of space. Truth be told, we are more like saturated fish in a bowl or sea of galaxy. And speaking of sliding blissfully along," Jake put down his wine while affectionately taking up Kelly's hand, "time for bed wouldn't you say?" She smiled, Jake having always thought, better than the Mona Lisa, Kelly's coy silence the most radiant galaxy of all to enter and explore.
May 5, 2011: The BH now had an event horizon
(gravitational perimeter once crossed from which there was no
escape) the size of a basket ball, more than 15 collapsed earth
masses. What was feeding it? The very question Jake would often
dwell on, to simply reiterate, 'We screwed-up royally!' Science
had thought a BH could only form from visible matter. Not suspecting
for the slightest moment, that one could, in fact, evolve from
a severe fracture in the fabric of space, exactly what the Collider
inadvertently caused--and then continue to grow by feeding off
its own carcass, energy coming from a hyper-dimension outside
Four-dimensional experience which includes time. The very fact
that a BH is part of the same grid as all matter, according to
Jake's liberal estimates, with an Event Horizon having a diameter
of merely 15 inches across, factoring in, in this instance the
speed of the earth when we collide, roughly 50,000 miles per hr.,
any point on the planet within a 5,000 mile radius of the BH's
physical center would become nothing more than space-dust, disintegrated
beyond recognition in a micro flash. To the nuts-and-bolts, the
entire earth will shatter as if a mirror dropped from atop the
Empire State Building. Canaveral now buzzed with activity, as
our moon swung into the path of the BH only hours away from collision:
Our moon would be the first casualty--but perhaps our salvation
Kelly, Jake and Collini monitored the action best as they
could, bouncing between work stations, listening to seemingly
infinite dialogue in more languages than they remembered existed.
A constant barrage of orders, first in English, than French, German,
etc. sounded throughout the huge complex, with a thousand or so
personnel, each having his own computer and specific task. The
cannons were ready--every available electrical current in the
world directed into the main grids. The cities of the earth experiencing
night were entirely blacked-out. Everyone told to stay indoors,
hunkered in basements, or under arches, away from windows, same
as one would do if there was a severe storm or earthquake expected.
In the more rural and less developed areas, huge shelters had
been setup. No one knew what to expect. When the moon is destroyed,
the earth will immediately speed up, its wobble dramatically increased.
If the planet survives, our 24 hr. days will be shortened to 10
hour cycles; the earth recessing from the sun for an unknown distance
until a new, balanced repetitive orbit. To stabilize would be
paramount. This was the reason for the cannons. The time-line
was fine. Once the moon is vaporized by contact with the BH the
earth is next in line, 5 hours out. This was the reason for the
cannons, to magnetically slide the BH closer to the sun while
the earth further out into orbit, thusly avoiding a collision.
But would it work? And if Jake's theory was correct, could it
all happen quickly enough?
The sun was beginning to set. Though it would be safer to
remain inside the facility, a fortress of modern construction,
Jake and Kelly took an elevator to the roof-top observatory, to
admire the Old Man's Face for His last few hours of existence,
and then to witness His unfortunate demise.
The moon's ancient face began to blur. The entire surface
turning to fiery pixels. And then a huge phantom of electrified
space passed through and moved towards the earth reminding Kelly
of a horror flick, a murky demon emerging from between Gothic
tombstones, eerily parting the cemetery fog as it floated threateningly
toward her. Then only black space. Not a glimmer of our beloved
glow remaining. The moon having been entirely disseminated.
The microwave cannons began firing:
Kelly and Jake joined Collini in the main briefing room
of the enormous facility. The entire south wall was a collage
of electronic simulations and actual video from around the planet
including near space. No more vivid or terrifying screen had human
eyes ever before been captured by and transfixed to--but this
was not colossal Hollywood! Not some bizarre regurgitation erupting
from a pharmaceutically saturated mind! This was real
'God help them all!' Thought Jake
As the earth sped-up, and its wobbled increased, apparently
internal pressures were mounting in the deep mantle. Lava began
pouring out of sporadically active volcanoes while long dormant
ones came to the surface panicking major cities with fire and
ash appearing out of pavement in main thoroughfares. Major dams
fractured, water rushing down toward the lower towns and smaller
communities on the outskirts. Enormous Suspension Bridges collapsed,
sending huge waves against the ships docked, rocking them severely
in their cradles. Yet the major electrical grids continued to
be operational, and the cannons continued firing.
The BH was now 200,000 miles from the earth speeding toward
it at 70 times the speed of sound. The microwave beams focused
on two narrow points in space, one on the sun-side of the BH,
and the other on the dark side of the earth. The effects of the
beams seen clearly around the BH as enormous black hands appeared
to visibly reach out, grasp energy and draw it in convulsively.
But Jake's theory did seem to be working somewhat, though ever
so modestly as monitoring instruments showed the BH slipping minimally
out of the Earth's path and closer to the sun while the earth
continued to recede, the apparent effects of the microwaves on
the surrounding space, and also due to limited drag, the planet
having lost its moon. But the BH and the earth were still on a
collision course. Even a brush would be devastating to earth,
sucking out the entire planets atmosphere. And indeed, that grim
scenario appeared to be increasingly unavoidable.
Now the BH was within 30,000 miles of the earth...the Atlantic
Ocean having rotated toward the Sun, the BH due to pass over the
ocean at a mere 5,000 miles above the surface. The effects on
the earth would be catastrophic: Sea levels had already starting
rising,, gravitational pull from the BH causing the earth to bulge
in its direction. Up and down the Atlantic coast, major cities
were quickly flooding, four feet of water raced down Broadway
in Manhattan. New York City residents, all having fled to their
rooftops watched in dismay. How could this be happening, they
asked? Doomsday predictions scoffed at by respected scientists
of the world rapidly becoming a deadly reality.
The ocean started heating, steam rising in vaporous snakes high into the sunlit sky, pockmarked by the dreaded BH in its center. But when all appeared entirely hopeless, a valiant Earth bravely losing its battle, an enormous metallic disk, the size of a city appeared on the far-side of the BH. Who? What? Where it came from, was the furthest thing from anyone's mind. But it was there, strengthening our microwave cannons by emanating a beam of its own. The BH began pulling back from the earth...falling away to a new orbit closer the Sun; however, the unique craft had had to move dangerous close to the BH, in an ever greater effort to save our planet. At length, what was left of the earth was safely out of range...but the huge metallic craft was trapped, consumed by the BH till not a glitter left.
(C)Copyright 2008 by Joe DiMino, who retains all rights.