Atom Wave: February 2008

Atom Wave

Sunday, February 17, 2008

And Now For A Word

This is my second fan fiction story in the Battlestar Galactica series. It is certainly more dark and twisted then my previous, and may even be on par to something that their writers could come up with. It is compressed to a news story since I don't have the time to write a full novel on the idea. I am already writing my own novel based on my own ideas, but it is still far from finished.

Rising Star Network News

Following the destruction of the Battlestar Galactica two weeks ago by Cylon forces, and the announcement from President Laura Roslin that she has secured safe passage to Earth; we here at Rising Star News Network have been given the opportunity to sit down and interview the President aboard Colonial One.

“Now you have come over considerable criticism over your recent decision to ally with cylon forces, some people have even branded you a traitor. Do you have a response to any of these criticisms?” inquired the male reporter.

“The job of the Presidency is never easy, and I know that many consider what I have done to be wrong. The decision weighs on me as heavy as stone, but what I did I thought needed be done. Two months ago I received word from the cylon model we know as Starbuck that the cylons were well aware of the location of Earth, and they had been for some time. She told me that the Centurions were on the cusp of a civil war with their humanoid masters, but before everything broke down they wanted our help.”

“Tell me about this civil war,” asked the reporter checking his microphone.

“Certainly Daniel. Four years have elapsed since the nuking of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, as many of you are aware. Since that time we have lost over three thousand five hundred and thirty seven people on New Caprica and the Cloud 9 liner bombing. Also within that time the Centurions have suffered twice the loses, and many have not downloaded due to shortages of resurrection ships. Worse still they are furious that they have no say in their government, and that they are no more then expendable hardware for their humanoid masters.”

“Why do the Centurions need our help? Sources say that they have far more warships then we had at the peak of the Twelve Colonies,” said Dan slightly confrontationally.

“Number one, most of those ships are under the direct authority of the humanoid cylons. The Centurions couldn’t use them if they wanted to. Number two, the Centurions are well aware that they would be quickly destroyed given as the humanoid models almost certainly know their weak spots. The Centurions needed an ace in the hole, and they found it with the us. Their spies learned of our failed attempt to infect them with a disease, and they wanted to use it to wipe out the humanoid models in a large show of force.”

“How did you come to be in contact with the Centurions in the first place?”

“After speaking with Admiral Adama about the matter, he said that he would not allow it over his dead body. I’m sorry that it came to that,” said Roslin wiping away a tear.

“Knowing that I could not contact the Centurions directly, I arranged to have Gaius Baltar discreetly communicate with one formally held in the Galactica brig. I also arranged for it to come into the possession of a compact thermite explosive. When the fleet again got involved in another strife with the cylons, it escaped and deliberately allowed itself to be killed. Then three weeks ago, I received a simple one-word message from deep space, “yes!”

“That still does not explain how easily the Centurions destroyed the Galactica, after years of failure!” said the reporter skeptically.

“It was actually much easier than anyone suspected. I casually inquired to Felix Gaeta about the matter. It seems that the Galactica had a little known flaw in its liquid Tylium reactor, which will cause a runaway fission reaction of the metastable element if superheated. All this was required was a well-placed nuke on the reactor service hatch just behind the port side hanger deck,” said the President heavily.

“We have footage of that from the starship Gemini of the event,” said the reporter as the screen switched to a missile impacting the Galactica followed by a blinding light. The vessel emerged from the blast largely intact, before a firecracker series of explosions fragmented the ship a minute later.

“That day will forever weigh heavily on me, but it was necessary for the Centurion alliance. They have already replaced the ship with two Basestars,” said the President pointing to one of the obsolete double triangular ships looming just outside Colonial One.

“As part of the deal, we have supplied them with the antidote to the disease. They will get the disease itself on arrival to Earth. Baltar is manufacturing the virus and will deliver it once we arrive at Earth,” said the President still upset over the destruction of the Galactica.

“You are taking a terrible risk, negotiating with the cylons is like making friends with a Tiger! Sooner or later they will bite!” said the reporter clearly anxious.

“We will learn soon enough. Centurion 6 recently sent a signal to me that the fleet is two jumps away from Earth. They are running the calculations for the next jump right now. The decision was mine and mine alone, and I will bear its burden until the end of my days,” said the President reclining in her chair.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Death of a Spy

As many of you know, the spy world is rich in intrigue; from the shooting down of Gary Powers in a U2 during the cold war to the selling out of the American Fat Man bomb design to the Russians by Klaus Fuchs. Today much of this drama is history, but there is still much unknown: but this story is not about history.
Right now an experimental spy satellite is in a decaying orbit and will likely fall back to Earth next month. Not much is known about this bird, but it was put aloft in December 2006 aboard a Delta 2 rocket. It is suspected to be an advanced radar-imaging platform. Soon after reaching orbit, communications broke down and it has been out of control ever since.
Now satellites fall back to Earth all the time, and it is seldom a major deal. Much of the planet is ocean and it doubles as a celestial graveyard. The only real concern is that a national secret could come into the ownership of one of our enemies.
While we are on the subject, I have a tale to tell about a clandestine program named MISTY. It was a program to develop a stealth surveillance satellite and the first one reached orbit in 1990 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Within weeks of its deployment, reports circulated that it had exploded. Now incidents such as this aren’t without precedent in spaceflight, but they are rare. Observers like Ted Molczan soon became skeptical of the event, and now they are certain that it was a sleight of hand. Teledyne Industries in Los Angeles filed a patent 5,345,238 in 1994 that called for an adjustable cone-shaped balloon to deflect radar, thermal, and optical radiation.

If correct, then the satellite would have deliberately shed debris before inflating its balloon. After that, it was free to change orbit and throw off the Russians.
In 1999 it is suspected that a Titan 4B rocket deployed the next MISTY in the series from California. The current best evidence is that Congress has canceled the program under the consensus that it is obsolete.


The Pentagon has announced that it intends to destroy the errant satellite within the next two weeks using a ship launched anti-ballistic missile. The order to shoot down the satellite came directly from President Bush. The plan is to attack the satellite just before its orbit decays, to insure that any remaining debris is vaporized on re-entry. A Navy Standard 3 missile is currently being modified for the role of sending the kill vehicle aloft. The official line is that the President is concerned about the release of a 1,000 pounds of toxic hydrazine fuel still aboard the satellite. Unofficially, you can be sure that it is actually the classified payload. The silver lining to this deal is that if they miss, they will still have two or more chances to hit it before it decays.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Money In The 21st Century

How many of you have heard the analogy that energy is equivalent to money? The wealthy have more energy than many people; therefore they are hotter in a thermodynamic sense. In typical thermodynamic systems, this corresponds to them transferring energy to the cooler people in the population. Now as many of you Americans know, this rule seldom applies here. This is not in any way a fault of the analogy, but it requires another. In gravitational bound systems like galaxy and star clusters, an increase in energy drives the particles apart and raises their potential energy.

Now I know that a lot of you would like to be wealthy. You could fulfill your dream of a home in Malibu and get that Gulfstream jet that you have put off buying. I know where the money is.

This young century will see the rise of new billionaires, maybe trillionaires. In this market, it is energy where the money is. As many of you know, the oil that drives our economy today will not last forever. The United States already burns through 19.6 million barrels of oil per day, which equates to 25% of the world’s total. Aside from the direct costs, we are polluting the Earth for centuries to come.

Now energy is a fundamental quantity, it does not matter where you get it. Already on the horizon a number of technologies are competing for the prize of becoming a world power.

Many of you are aware of solar power. One of the many challenges with solar energy is that it is difficult to store the energy generated when night or storms arrive. One possible solution to this is batteries, but they are inefficient. One solution to this is compressed air technology. During daytime the solar arrays drive compressors forcing air into underground caverns. Then when night arrives the compressed air is tapped to drive turbine generators along with the burning of a small amount of natural gas. This system consumes only 40% of the natural gas that the turbines alone would burn.

Another possibility is nuclear fusion, which in theory can produce the equivalent energy of fission reactors without the annoying radioactive byproducts. These reactors are still years away from being commercially practical due to the stringent energy-intensive requirements needed to heat hydrogen to fusion temperature. They do have the advantage of having plentiful fuel supplies from the oceans and the practical impossibility that one could melt down catastrophically.

The future possibilities are endless, as is the potential for great wealth to the developer.