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T H E E S T A B - L O I D --------------------------------- Issue #4 2-15-86 --------------------------------- A weekly electronic magazine for users of The Establishment BBS (894-6526) owned and operated by Thane Smith Editor - Gene B. Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You may share this magazine with your friends under the . . condition that the magazine remain complete and intact, . . with no editing, revisions or modifications of any kind, . . and including this opening section and statement. . . If you like the magazine, the Sysop and I would appre- . . ciate it if you would let your friends know where they . . can log in to find the magazine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (c) 1986 THIS ISSUE: For those of you who haven't heard, I've become a papa since the last issue. At 6:03 AM on Wednesday morning, 2-12-86, my wife gave birth to a 7 lb. 14 oz. baby boy. For anyone interested, the boy's name is Daniel Gorden Williams. That has nothing to do with this issue. It's just the ravings of a proud parent, and is also my excuse - a justifiable one, I might add - for being late with the magazine. I almost did an article on childbirth, but then gave the idea some second thoughts. With some people that's a touchy subject. Strangely enough, more than a few people don't think that building a family is a suitable topic for a family oriented board. So, I'll leave that up to you, the users. A negative response, or no response at all, will tell me that either you'd prefer to avoid the topic, or just aren't interested. In any case, this week I'm presenting another piece of short fiction - science fiction to be more specific. Although it's fiction (and improbable fiction at that) the subject matter *could* be interesting as a discussion. Some of you might remember it. Some of you might even recognize the name of another user in there. I hope you enjoy it. THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW Four uniformed men sat in the relative quiet of a room. They were surrounded by the flashing lights of the computers, and the controls that commanded the military might of a country. The sounds of mayhem and confusion in the war room outside could just barely be heard through the heavy door. The voices were muffled by the thick wood and armor plating. Occasionally a few words could be made out - a sharp and angry bark of a command. Outside were the tiny firecrackers - the sargeants and corporals yelling at each other because there was no one else to yell at. Inside there was the sizzling fuse of a case of dynamite. And it went off. "How could this happen!" screamed General Harkins. "It's impossible. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way!" "General, I . . ." "Shut up, Colonel. Just shut up. If your intelligence reports had been more accurate, we wouldn't be in this mess." Colonel Grieves thought of what was happening outside the sanctuary of the building. He wasn't about to accept personal blame for the disaster. He slammed his fist on the table and glared at the General. "Now listen to me, Harkins. Your rank doesn't mean a damned thing anymore. You can take those gold stars and . . ." The third man of the group stood and motioned with his hand. "Gentlemen, accusations won't get us anywhere. And this certainly isn't the time to take up personal grudges. Both of you calm down. We've got to come up with some answers - and fast! The latest report says that the enemy has already infiltrated the area. And we're not exactly in a secure spot. We may not have much time left.." Almost as an answer to his prediction, the sounds of gunfire crept through the walls. General Harkins took a deep breath. "Okay. Fine. Our first initiative was *supposed* to take them out. It was *supposed* to make retalitation impossible. Just a quick, single, massive attack, and the enemy would never be able to threaten us, or the world, again. What happened?" "Apparently, we judged incorrectly," said the third man. "You're damn RIGHT we judged incorrectly. We've lost! The most powerful nation in the world - and we've lost! We can't even defend ourselves. Everything's gone. The country is in ruins. The military forces are destroyed. NOW what do we do?" The gunshots outside were getting closer. "That's what we're here to discuss. The way I see it, we don't have very many options. With our military destroyed, we can't attack, and can't even resist for much longer. So, option one - we can surrender." "Never!" shouted the General. "NEVER! We owe it to the world, to our children and our children's children, to protect them from the menace of the enemy. We can't surrender to them. With our country out of the way, there'll be nothing to stop them. We have a responsibility to the world." "There is another alternative." His voice was almost a whisper. "There's the Last Resort." "Senator MacLeod," stammered Colonel Grieves, "You can't be serious." "What's this Last Resort nonsense," asked the General. "Why wasn't I told about it." "Only four people knew anything about it; the President, myself, Colonel Grieves, and . . ." he pointed to the fourth man who'd remained silent, "and Doctor Murphy here." Murphy stood and looked at the General. "Some years ago we began investigating the possibility of a doomsday bomb - a last resort in the event of . . . in the event that we found ourselves in the present situation. A new explosive was developed that sets up a chain reaction with everything around it. Within a few minutes, everything will become a part of this chain reaction - the ground, even the atmosphere. Obviously we haven't been able to test the explosive thoroughly. We don't know how far the chain reaction will go. About all we know for sure is that it *will* shatter our planet." "About 3 years ago the bomb was put into place. It's located several miles beneath the surface, and situated in such a way that if exploded our planet will be shattered completely. The threat of being overtaken by the enemy will be gone because there will be nothing left to conquer . . . or to defend." He indicated a flashing button on the control console. "As per Senator MacLeod's instructions, control of the device has been transferred to this room. This button will activate it." The sounds of gunfire and the screams of death penetrated the heavy door from the next room. "You can't be serious," said the Colonel. "I agreed to the funding of the project, but I never dreamed that anyone would seriously consider using it." "We have no choice," said the General. "Do you want the enemy to rule over all the innocent people of the world? We have to protect them. We can't allow the menace of the enemy to continue." A deafening blast shattered the door and enemy soldiers poured into the room. Before they could react to the new threat, three of the men in the room were gunned down. The Senator MacLeod leaped for the button, shouting, "FREEDOM!" He never felt the ground begin to shake. A bullet penetrated his brain as his finger pushed the button. * * * * * * * * * * * * * Some time later, at the other end of the galaxy, a young couple was having an argument. "If you really loved me," he said, with feigned hurt creeping into his voice, "you'd let me." "Oh, Doug, you know that I love you. I'm just not ready yet. Can't you understand that?" "Aw, c'mon, Marie," he pleaded. "No!" "Marie," he breathed, snuggling in closer." "Doug, no! If I let you . . . if we, . . . you won't want me any more." "Sure I will," he laughed, kissing her ear fondly. "I'll always love you. To the end of the earth, Marie. Now, come on. Loosen up." She relaxed. With a speed nearly equal to Doug's hand, Pluto vanished. * "I'll do it tomorrow," he yelled. "Goddam, you're always nagging me. I'm tired!" "Tomorrow and tomorrow! It's always, 'tomorrow' with you. What's wrong with today?" "Leave me alone! And, get off my back." She stomped off, cursing him under her breath. What a mistake it had been to marry him. Lazy, no good, cheap bum. Almost instantly she felt guilty. He wasn't such a bad husband, really. She considered going back in to make up. But, her steps were cemented in place with her own pride. "Let him come to me," she thought. In the living room, a similar scene was taking place. She wasn't asking that much of him. And that TV show wasn't all that great. Maybe he should go and apologize. He finished his beer, stood, then sat back down. "Let her come to me," he thought. And the planet Mars ceased to exist. "There's always tomorrow to make up," they both said to themselves. UNTIL NEXT TIME I hope everyone could understand the story in this week's issue. It is not scientifically feasible, but the basic premise of waiting until tomorrow is valid. In the story, the actions of a few set up the chain reaction that spread through space. (If the chain reaction moves through space at the speed of light, we'd never know it was coming. As Mars exploded and disappeared, we wouldn't know about it until the chain reaction was doing its thing to our own planet.) Maybe someone should inform Senator MacLeod that he should keep his fingers off buttons, huh? NEXT WEEK: As Chris said, I'm a bit of a basket case right now. I'm just not sure what I'll pull up for the next issue. Any requests?
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