I don't have much time. The Confederation has told me in effect that while Earth is a real swell place, it's not worth an intergalactic war. I guess they're right. After all we're just a bunch of monkeys running around with pop guns and firecrackers, gorging ourselves on sugar while watching the latest contest show on television. What's to miss if it disappears in a puff of smoke?
I am back in Shamballa with Yal-hune. She is very non-committal about everything and I sense she doesn't want to interfere in these decisions I make. I tell Tech2 about the sword of Damocles that now threatens to drop on Earth.
"You're freakin joking with me right? Ha. Ha. Real funny."
"I'm deadly serious."
"No, seriously the joke's not funny. Tell me the truth."
"The truth is another world at least half a million years in advance of us technologically is coming to wipe Earth off the map. There will be no 3rd planet from the sun."
"That's total bullshit! The Confederation will protect us."
"We're not a Confederation member. We're not important enough. They will try to put up shields and barriers that keep Lal-atha's space fleet at bay - but even they know that he will get through them."
"Even out atomic weapons are completely useless against his space fleet. We have no real defenses."
"Christ, they gutted the missile defense program, the satellite weapon program, the moon surveillance program - we have nothing good enough to even detect their ships. They could be orbiting Earth right now, just outside the moon's orbit and we would never know they are there!"
"We have Atlan-98 and two working EMF craft at our disposal. Not that it will do much."
"We have more than that." Tech2 replies.
"What do you mean?"
"When you left I ordered one of the EMF propulsion systems to be reverse-engineered."
"Hold on. I'm getting to it. I knew you would never have done that. You were afraid of the technologies being used by man against man. But, I knew we might have need of them after you had your encounter with Lal-atha in San Diego."
"And we discovered a technology that can be easily weaponized."
"Jesus...I leave you in charge and..."
"Cut the crap! YOU left...remember? You bailed the hell out of here and left me in charge while you shacked up with your alien girlfriends! Don't lecture me about responsibility!"
"Fine. Whatever. What's the technology?"
"It's a matter-energy beam. It's used in the conversion of the isotopes of the ship and all within it. It employs a computer technology light years in advance of ours which scans and records every single molecule in the ship. We couldn't crack the computer part, and even had a hard time recognizing where it was located, but we did identify the device employed in the conversion and we weaponized that."
"What is it?"
"Basically - it's a disintegration beam."
"So do you have a prototype?"
"No. We have a schematic under design."
I can't believe it. It's exactly what I feared. I realize that all my lectures and talks went in one ear and out the other. Give a man some power and he immediately starts to think of two things - sex and violence. Not necessarily in that order. I feel like cuffing him for disobeying my most fundamental instructions, but in these circumstances, maybe it's for the best - I just don't know.
"The cool thing about it is it is very, very small. Believe it or not the whole device would fit inside a fat marker pen."
"What about the power supply? A device of that nature needs inconceivable power."
"The best we can figure is it works in conjunction with a device that taps surrounding electromagnetic fields for power. In this instance, it's truly solar powered - as the EMF craft seems to tap star-fields for juice."
"So we would have to design it to work with a nearby EMF ship?"
"Yes. For all we know the EMF ships we acquired already have this type of weapon on-board."
"I don't think so. The ships require mental equilibrium. Lower emotions cause them to blow apart - remember?"
"Any theoreticals on range of the weapon and safety for the user?"
"Nope. Not enough time yet. But two levels are working on it as we speak."
"Yes. You have a problem with that too?"
Each level of Shamballa has about 150 scientists and about 50 physical laboratories and research facilities. Most projects don't even get half a level working on them unless it is extremely urgent. Two levels is unprecedented. Tech2 was clearly working overtime to weaponize the Atlantean technologies. Maybe he felt that was the ticket after Isis and Encyclopedia walked out on him.
"Fine. Find out what range the device has. Use the utmost safety protocols if you do any testing. We don't need Shamballa to disappear without Lal-atha firing a single shot. I have to find some people."
"People who Lal-atha hates and wants to destroy."
"Do you know their names? Who the hell lives on Earth and would even know Lal-atha. Who, on Earth, has consorted with galactic criminals in their past lives?"
"The Council on Htra-deg was kind enough to provide me with their names."
"Anybody we know?"
"Not personally - but you know of her."
"You gonna tell me or is this 20 questions?"
"One of the four is April Britt."
"Jesus christ! No way!"