by John Hawkins | August 24, 2016 12:20 am
Who will be remembered in a future America? Who will stand tall and defend the principles that built America and made it strong?
Those are some of the issues addressed in a new science fiction eBook written by the Media Research Center’s VP Dan Gainor. Gainor, a long-time editor and writer, tries his hand at sci-fi with a conservative bent. The Martinus Publishing eBook features six stories, including:
These and four other short stories are available in the eBook Our Heroes Through Tomorrow, available from Amazon for just $2.99. Click here to preorder. The eBook releases Sept. 2.
Here’s a special, sneak peek at Unintended Consequences:
Hector skidded to a halt at the end of the line, barely avoiding another jagged shell hole. Bethany pulled in close beside him, almost silently. No one noticed. Most people stared into their phones for more news about the war. A few older people carried dog-eared paperbacks. One woman even brought a green-and-yellow lounge chair and her knitting.
He tried to peek around the corner without losing the spot and guessed it was about two hours just to get to the front door of the food store. Hector checked the inside of his jacket for about the fiftieth time to make sure he still had the ration books. Mom was counting on him to be the man of the house with dad working double shifts.
Downtown was relatively quiet. There were few civilian cars and trucks any more. The military moved in convoys, but the rest of the time there was little traffic.
Hector glanced over at his sister and gave her a slight hug of reassurance. Bethany looked small in worn jeans and one of her brother’s hand-me-down, plaid shirts. Her long, auburn hair was tucked up into a Texas Rangers cap. Bethany was quiet. The war hadn’t changed her that much. She stood cautiously, with the .22 strapped to her shoulder next to her backpack.
Going armed was the way of things in America just behind the lines. The Chinese might break through, but they’d find the civilian population none-too welcoming. No one had any Red Dawn fantasies about stopping the Chinese dragon. They were still determined to try.
Hector glanced around outside the line before settling in. Dad had taught him about “situational awareness” and said it was especially important in war time. Midland looked the same as he first remembered it. It was a decent-sized city far away from the parts of Texas tourists usually visited.
On the surface, everything looked almost normal. Lots of windows were boarded up with plywood, looking more like Galveston would in hurricane season. There were still plenty of people milling about. Only, many of the locals were either drafted or working in hastily built manufacturing sites nearby, designed to provide some of what the soldiers at the front needed.
The people on the street were mostly too young or too old for war, or soldiers on leave. Some of the walking wounded were on convalescence after being patched up in Midland Memorial.
The streets were largely cleared of parked cars and those that were there looked bombed out. Every nearby street showed the marks of recent attacks, hastily filled by work crews. The buildings were pock marked by shrapnel. The famed Petroleum Building had been damaged, but Yucca Theatre was still going strong – refurbished back to its theater days and showing patriotic films for the troops.
A few buildings had caught fire, mostly near the heavily fortified train station. That was the big target of attacks. Anything the Chinese could do to choke off essential supplies from American troops they did. Midland had started as a major train station and it was again. The Chinese wanted the city’s rail history past tense once more.
Hector noticed something else about downtown. The smell. The city used to smell clean. Not any longer. It had a dingy, dirty scent to it. Soap was a commodity now. People carried the taint of war and too much work with them, too. Even the recent heavy rains couldn’t wash away the sweat and grime that came with wartime America.
He flipped through Facebook for news of the fighting, but it was all propaganda. Hector guessed some of the officers he saw walking nearby might have more information, not that they’d ever tell civvies.
Even to teenaged eyes used to government lies about the fighting, the news looked good. The battle in Oregon was going to be a big win for the U.S. The Chinese had failed in their breakout strategy. And it cost them thousands of casualties that were hard to replace this far away from home.
The fighting in Texas was different. The Second Army was getting reinforced big time and the U.S. was finding it difficult to rearm after years of defense cuts.
Hector laughed to himself: “So much for the peace dividend.”
* * *
Mutual Assured Destructed, or MAD as it was often called, had almost destroyed the world in nuclear fire.
Instead, nuclear power kept world war from happening. The Soviet Union came and went and America became the sole global power. Brushfire wars or big nations beating up on smaller ones became the order of the day. It wasn’t peace. But the global body count had been on a steady decline since World War II.
Filip Olander had never worried about politics much. He was one of the foremost experts in nuclear medicine, graduating top in his class at the University of Vienna. He interned at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and was already on his way to a prestigious career when everything changed.
He was in Tokyo for a conference on radiation treatments for cancer and decided to travel to Hiroshima to see the results of man’s inhumanity. What he saw there changed him. The images of radiation victims and dead children and the Peace Museum had a profound impact on Filip. He couldn’t sleep the rest of the time he was in Japan and tossed and turned on the flight home.
By the time he reached Stockholm, he had decided to go back to school and to find a way to prevent nuclear war from ever happening again. The museum had quoted President Obama’s Hiroshima speech and the words resonated with him, envisioning: “a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.”
Filip had been a prized student who grew into a rising star, so his switch was well-funded by the Swedish government eager to placate one of its brightest young minds. He raced through MIT with first a masters and then a Ph.D. Companies clamored to hire him only he had other ideas. Filip had already lined up financing from a prominent European foundation for his quest to end nuclear weapons.
The foundation gave him a top-notch research facility, almost unlimited equipment, and a nice budget for staff. It was the kind of thing European foundations loved to fund—the end to war. Even 80 years after WWII, Europe still feared WWIII.
No one thought he could succeed. Except Filip.
His plan wasn’t to take nuclear weapons away from nations or to set up some strategic defense to knock out missiles. Filip wanted to create an energy field that made nuclear explosions impossible. He had gotten the idea from the Stephen King TV show Under the Dome he had watched as a child and envisioned a dome around the entire earth—one that would prevent such destruction.
Filip worked his staff hard; 14, 16, 18 hours a day. Almost as hard as he worked himself. One day he scrawled some ideas on his iCompanion amidst a complete physical breakdown. He awoke in the hospital, being treated for exhaustion. Suddenly, he recalled having written something important. His assistant Marta only reluctantly agreed to get it for him.
When Filip saw what he had written and diagrammed, the doctors could barely hold him down. Somehow the lack of sleep let his mind wander… to a solution.
Filip’s idea went from scrawl to schematic in no time to create a nuclear dampening field. The idea itself wasn’t new. Only he had envisioned a way to do it. The prototype seemed to work in a lab, limiting a nuclear reaction. He built a larger, better machine. Only, it didn’t do much better.
He tried repeatedly to make bigger better, and failed. It was only when he combined the efforts of the two machines that their abilities expanded. The effect was much like parallel processing in computers. Each time Filip built a new prototype, it expanded the range when coupled with other machines.
Filip reported his findings to his superiors and they nearly fell over themselves in ecstasy. The world was going to be saved thanks to little Sweden. They flooded the facility with expert help and security to keep the project safe and secret.
The next test was on a tiny Pacific atoll and violated nuclear proliferation guidelines. The Swedes had actually purchased a suitcase nuke on the black market and whisked it out of Chechnya just before a Russian Spetsnaz team could take it. The hope was that no one would ever know they had tried to set off the bomb. It was an international crime, but they were determined to try. A detailed cover story had been prepared, just in case.
It wasn’t needed.
Filip unveiled his findings in front of a packed house at the UN in New York. He personally delivered a copy of the machine and full specs to each nation. The second they hit the on switches, the East Coast became a nuclear weapon free zone. The dampening field limited the action of the fissile material used in bombs and though it degraded the performance of nuclear power plants, they still functioned.
In an afternoon, Filip had ended earth’s nuclear age. While news programs hailed the “end of our global nightmare,” militaries around the world saw an opportunity.
The march to war had begun again.
If you liked that story, it and five other short stories are available in the Martinus Publishing eBook Our Heroes Through Tomorrow, available from Amazon for just $2.99. Click here to preorder. The eBook releases Sept. 2.
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