This One Time, 64

This one time I had the breeder reactor going full blast, which basically means I was producing U-233 slightly faster than I was producing lead. The neutron gun was good. The beryllium target was in good shape and the layers of foil for slowing the neutrons was doing its job. The heat output was a bit much, but that was what it was all about, right? Cheap energy?

Okay, and maybe not leaving a huge amount of radioactive poison lying around for the neighborhood kids to eat.

But the Stirling engine had been running for days straight on the heat output, and the cold side was staying colder thanks to the laser fluorescent cooling rig that was being run off a portion of the dynamo’s own output. I was down from 5 watts to 3, but it would run continuously with no degradation from heat build-up, so I called it a win. I was also generating a tiny amount of extra juice by firing the alpha particles into the target through a tight coil of maybe a couple thousand windings from a tiny radio tuner and collecting the extra juice into a flywheel I could tap, theoretically, if I needed to take the Stirling offline for tweaking.

I was wondering if I could isolate the beryllium target in vacuum, suspended in a bulb by an insulator, and tap the current from the extra electrons that were stacking up on it with no place to go, seeing as not every single one of them was producing neutrons. It would increase efficiency a bit to catch them coming and going, as it were, though, realistically, it was only a trickle compared to the kinetic heat from fission.

I was breaking an awful lot of tiny little rubber bands holding these little atoms together. Much of the danger to living creatures was based on the pieces that got away. If I could catch every last bit and put it to work, I’d be golden. Oh, and also in possession of a tiny handful of very toxic poisonous garbage.

But that was part of the charm. I needed something to put through the centrifuge, after all. To concentrate down, layer by layer, the truly harsh, truly toxic, phenomenally radioactive crap. So I could leave my little present.

So maybe you can tell by now I’m not a very nice guy. Too smart for my own good, people have said. Antisocial. Psychopath. Sociopath. And it’s all true. You should learn how to use your special abilities for good, they said.

I took the advice to heart.

There’s a lot of the world that I like. I don’t have much need for people, as such, but I genuinely like most of them. They’re selfish and short-sighted, sometimes a little gullible and slow, but really all they want is to be less miserable. To be protected from their fears. To feel connected and appreciated and needed. To feel like there’s a chance for love and happiness. And they have hope for all of this despite everything that’s happened.

They want to know that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. That’s the tough one. There’s no force in heaven, hell, or earth that makes that happen. People care about that sort of thing. Physics doesn’t. God doesn’t. So people have invented ways to make it possible, and acceptable, to cause misery to the deserving. People have invented ways to make people who have done beneficial things feel happy.

That’s the thing that gives me hope. For every super-selfish asshole who wants it all for himself, who thinks he deserves everything, deserves to be on top of the pile with all the money and power and sex and beautiful things that everyone wants, there are a million people who would cheer to see that guy die from something humiliating. These are the same people that barely have enough cash to make ends meet but still hand over a fiver to a beggar who probably, at the end of the day, takes home more money from “work” than they do.

I love every last one of those bastards. I don’t want to touch them or be touched by them, but I love them.

And for them, just for them, I’m refining a scheme for efficient energy from low, low input nuclear power. And while I’m at it, I’m very very carefully collecting this material which promises a slow, lingering death for the next duly elected Most Evil Person in the World.

I already have part one of the scenario in place — an encrypted package with every last detail of how I’ve done everything, even with a few extra safeguards to prevent unnecessary buildup of the radioactive waste I’m collected. I’ve also detailed a recycling program that processes the waste into more alpha-source for the breeder end until it is truly spent and can be packaged for disposal. It’s already online in a thousand different places, ready for the URLs and passwords to be distributed when I’m captured and incarcerated and don’t have access to the site I have to contact every two weeks to keep it from posting the release keys.

As for the radioactive poison and the Most Evil Person in the World? Hell, as far as I know, that’s me. In all actuality. I intend to get caught on my way to an “assassination” with the poison on me in a leaded envelope. That will let people know that the system is still working. It will give them an exciting story to discuss at the water cooler, and I’ll be the demon, the monster they can revile.

But all of the evil people? They can wonder where the next person who figured out the recipe is coming from. And how many of them there might be out there, following my inspiration.

And I’ll get my time in prison, which can’t be any worse in there than it’s been out here. And it might only be a handful of years appealing death sentences and such, but it will be peaceful, and predictable, and, if I play my cards right and earn my way into solitary, I’ll finally be left alone.

And if you want to know why, dear God, why, you can blame, as the last straw, those cheerful, friendly people in black suits that kept ringing my doorbell at ten AM every Saturday morning who seemed to be so concerned for my soul.


March 5, 2011 · by xalieri · Posted in This One Time  


Leave a Reply