“ A Perfect Bomb”
The President of the United States was livid and at the same time worried.
North Koreas’ latest test of its space faring “Unha-3” rocket had America and a host of other western nations feeling edgy.
After many years of spectacular failures, Pyongyang had finally perfected a rocket launching system capable of delivering up to one ton of payload into low earth orbit. And that payload could be a nuclear bomb and the rocket modified to be an ICBM.
This was worrisome for the West considering nobody really knew what really went on in the baby-faced head of the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un.
Could he planning a pre-emptive strike ? He had been taunting the West for months threatening to attack the South and US bases in the vicinity.
The President had ordered the Pentagon to come up with a strategic response should the inevitable happen and it had to be a response that wouldn’t provoke China into taking sides with its troublesome neighbour, leading to an all-out nuclear war.
DARPA, The Research and Development arm of the DOD had swung into action and in record time come up with a new type of bomb to counter the threat.
The President was in a bunker , deep in the Nevada desert watching a series of T.V monitors.
“The plane’s overhead sir,” began General Arthur, a 4-star USAF General, standing by his side,”…permission to deploy”.
The President nodded and Arthur gave the order for the exercise to proceed.
On the split screen in front a bomb could be seen dropping out of the bay of a B2 stealth bomber, quickly falling earthwards nose cone first.
“If this was the real thing, Mister President, the full-size bomb would be falling out of the cargo bay of the spaceplane X-37B high up in orbit.”
The President nodded.
The second screen however showed a vast tent camp manned by soldiers from a detachment of the US Rangers.
Images showed the men happily going about their duties; trucks going up and down, helicopters hovering above, a fully functional radar station, everything to denote this was a fully functional military base.
On another screen, a high resolution camera-telescope was tracking the bomb as it fell.
And then suddenly, about a hundred feet above the ground there was an almighty explosion and then silence…
…and more silence as the men began to fall to the ground, the helicopters high above spiralling out of control, falling out of the sky, crashing into the desert.
The President gasped, raising his hand to his mouth in disbelief.
The General didn’t even bat an eyelid.
“…. and there you have it Mister President our new LEMP-Hydra bomb in operation, knocking out an entire garrison and rendering all their equipment useless….and that’s just a tenth the size of the real McCoy…”
The President was staring intently at the screen,”. are those men all dead ?”.
Arthur shook his head,”…with the exception of those in the helicopter crashes who might be, all the rest are just unconscious and will remain so for several hours”, he could never get his head around politicians and death. We’re the instruments of their policy , he thought, and the minute you kill somebody, which is what soldiers do, they go all soft and mushy!
When a nuclear bomb explodes it releases a burst of electromagnetic radiation, EMP, which will disable any electric or electronic device within range. Research into using it as a weapon of war started in 1962 under the codename Operation Fishbowl and several prototypes were tested for potential use against the then Soviet Union.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, the project was mothballed until recently.
With the North Korean threat very real, the boffins at DARPA came up with a new improved version of the bomb called LEMP –Hydra, the acronyms for Low altitude electromagnetic pulse bomb with the “Hydra” option.
And the “Hydra” version meant the bomb would not only knock out electronic devices but render any human being in the vicinity unconscious for a number of hours.
“….so if baby-faced Kim Jong-Un tries anything….”, explained General Arthur,”…we drop a few of these bombs from the X-37B high up in space and knock out Pyongyang, man and machine, and before they wake up we would have mobilized our boys in South Korea, marched across the Military Demarcation Line near the 38th Parallel and taken over their principal cities”.
“ Splendid !”, said the President, “…how many of these bombs do we have and how soon can we make some more ?”.
“ Right now Mister President we have only four more prototypes left and mass production might be a bit of a problem….”
“ And why will that be a problem, General ?”
The General started fidgeting. ”The problem Mister President is that we use very rare metals, such as cerium and neodymium, which comes from only one country in the world”.
The President couldn’t see what the problem was,”…so why can’t we buy it from them , what ever the price?”.
“That’s the problem sir….the only country in the world that has the metals we require in the rarest form is North Korea”.
The President stormed out of the bunker muttering some very un-presidential language.