Sunday, August 24, 2014


Just a short update for now while I work on a larger post.

When I commit myself to researching an interesting topic or working on something important I have a tendency to go a little overboard. I let the subject at hand completely consume me and I end up spend much of my time contemplating it. If I allow this to go on long enough these sorts of thoughts start to take up valuable real estate in my brain until, finally, it all spills over. After that, I start having really strange dreams related to my current obsession.

I can't count all the times I've been busy angrily yelling at someone in a dream only to be interrupted by a Dalek wheeling into the room and start shouting nonsense that sounded important at the time but after I woke up I realized was just nonsense. When I spend a lot of time working on maps I often wake up the next morning remembering little else but seeing Hammer's 2-D grid plastered over everything. Well lately, I've been researching nukes.

I admit it: I have been completely enamored with nuclear weapons lately. They're horrible but are so awe-inspiring in how horrible they are. Everything about them is fascinating. Think about all the engineering that went into making them, all the scientists and all the discoveries that had to be made to make them possible. And what was the result? A weapon so powerful we've decided that they were too terrible to use. How many other times in history has that happened?

The attitude surrounding nuclear weapons is fascinating too: People are absolutely terrified by them. Nukes have become a symbol of everything wrong with the modern world, reviled and feared the world over. And it's not just us who think this way. Even alien invaders can agree: nukes are bad. Think about it, how many movies have you seen where the holier-than-thou aliens are putting humanity on trial and their argument for destroying us is always stock footage of the Castle Bravo detonation.

Well, because I've been reading so much about the ultimate symbol of Man's hubris they've started making some interesting appearances in my recent dreams.

The earliest one I can remember happened about two months ago. I was abducted by a nameless person and forced into a black sedan. We drive down a winding country road in complete silence. My abductor looks ahead with stern determination, their face an unmoving frown the whole way. I never bother to ask why this is happening.

Eventually my kidnapper either explains or I naturally determine that we're going for a camping trip near a lake. I start to look forward to this until I realize there isn't actually a lake. Instead, we drive up to an empty model home in the middle of the woods. The car speeds away as I'm left standing on the front porch with a pamphlet of the house's layout and price range. Another vague, unidentifiable person appears and starts exploring the house. I seem to think they're an old friend of mine.

Frustrated by the turn of events I go around to the back of the house and find a large ditch. It looks like a pipe was meant to go here, like a septic line. Nearby is a huge pile of glowing gravel. But it's not just any ordinary gravel, oh no. It's enriched uranium. So I get a shovel and start dumping the radioactive material into the ditch. As I pour more uranium into the hole it starts to glow brighter and I can feel a dry heat radiating from the growing pile. As I shovel more and more into the pit it starts to go critical. Eventually the gravel becomes glowing orange embers as the entire mass undergoes fission.

After that, dreams about homemade reactors or radiation were sadly few and far between. The best that could be hoped for were the ghostly images of a mushroom cloud rising on the horizon.

Then, three days ago I have another nuclear dream. I'm standing on a cliff looking at a huge metropolitan city. It's early morning and the sun is just starting to peek over the huge skyscrapers. Suddenly, an enormous black shape appears, striding over the buildings and smashing them to rubble. It's walks on three graceful, mechanical legs like a tripodal giraffe. It's body is like a giant sea mine with Hertz horn-like protrusions studding it's entire surface. A single glowing red eye sits in the middle of it's spherical body, coldly regarding the destruction it had caused.

This machine had been sent here by an alien civilization to judge the human race. If it decided we were worthy of life, maybe it would be content to destroy this one city and return to the stars. But if we displeased it, it would have no choice but to self destruct. The machine came equipped with a massive thermonuclear device implanted deep in it's core. A lithium bomb that would explode with force exceeding even the Tsar Bomba. If the machine decided our time had come, it could initiate Doomsday and crack the planet in half.

People from all over the world came to plead with it, hoping to convince it that the human race wasn't beyond redemption. School teachers, politicians, scientists, expecting mothers; all of them came with clasped hands held high, trying to reason with the tripod monster.

And then the dream went...a little stupid. Suddenly Godzilla rose out of the ocean with Mario riding on top of his head. A cascade of red mushrooms fell from the sky as they charged to attack the machine. The last thing I remember was an intense burning and a bright light.

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