Dr. Carl Dobson, a physicist, and engineer, and Dr. Celia Moore were brought to a secret military facility to work on a special project. When they arrived they were met by General Case, the commander of the facility. “Welcome Dr. Dobson, Dr. Moore, I’m pleased to meet you,” he said and shook their hands. After showing them around the facility, Case took them to their lab. “I’m sure you’ll find your lab exceptional,” he said and they entered the lab.
“Boy, this is some lab,” Celia said.
“It sure is,” Carl said looking around.
“Let’s sit down, and I’ll tell you what your country wants from you. Our scientists have been theorizing that it might be possible to make an object disappear. If it were possible…well, you can imagine. After a lengthy search, it was decided that you two are the experts who could do it if it can be done.”
“General, I’ve read every scientific journal that is published and I have never seen anything about this theory. In a way, I wish I had thought it up. It is intriguing. Give me and Celia a month. If at the end of the month, we can’t come up with something, we’ll tell you.” Carl said.
The next morning, Carl and Celia went to their lab and discussed the situation. “Carl, are you actually entertaining the possibility that it can be done?”
“Yes, Celia. I thought about it most of the night. Hear me out. I theorize that a powerful force, light or sound, would be needed to stop constantly moving atoms and molecules from moving. The question is what would happen to an object when its constantly moving atoms and molecules stopped moving? That’s when I fell asleep.”
“So, what kind of force would stop molecules from moving? Extreme cold, heat? Neither? And how would we know if the atoms and molecules stopped moving, and if they did stop, what would happen to the object? Would the object come apart? Would the object melt?” Celia posed. What could generate a force a pulse?”
“That’s it. A machine that generates pulses of energy. To the drawing board.”
“For the next week, they designed a variety of technical devices with internal mechanisms that, when activated, generated pulses. The latest device, which was battery operated, was shaped like a blunderbuss, emitted pulses out of the barrel, and led them to believe it was worth testing. “What shall we use as a target,” Carl said.
“How about the metal waste basket?”
“Okay, Celia. Put the basket on the work counter and I’ll get the gun ready.” He rested the gun on his shoulder, and Celia moved about fifteen feet away. Carl stepped back about ten feet, aimed, and shot the weapon. The force knocked Carl off his feet, and blew the basket across the room. Celia rushed to help him up.
“Well, Carl, we know the concept is valid. Let’s look at the waste basket,” she said and the examined it. “Ouch, it’s hot, and it’s mangled.”
“Yeah. I think we’re on the right track. We need more power.”
“I think so, Carl, and one fact is clear. It has to be mounted and fired remotely.”
“The electronic generator is too small, and…Celia, what do you think would happen if we combined the energy from the generator with a repetitively pulsed laser? We could modify the laser to increase the power output. Let’s tell General Case what we need,” he said and phoned the General who hurried to the lab, and they told him what they needed and where to get the items, which he delivered to the lab in five days.
Carl and Celia made the changes and additions to the gun. “Well, Celia, let’s try it out.”
“Carl, I don’t think we should test this inside. We’ve built a powerful device and we don’t know what damage it can do. The General wants a weapon that will make the enemy disappear, and we don’t know if we have it.”
“You’re right. Let’s tell General Case to set up a firing range with something he won’t mind seeing disappear.”
The next day, a truck was placed twenty yards from the weapon, which was outside a ten-foot-high wall with a window in it. General Case and his staff watched from his office.
“Well, Celia, I have a feeling that we have the ultimate weapon. In a little while, that truck will disappear,” he said and handed her the triggering device. “You do the honors.”
“Thanks. I don’t mind, but I’m a little apprehensive. I don’t know what we have created, and not knowing what the weapon can do makes me nervous, but we have to test it, so here goes,” she said, and pressed the ‘fire’ button on the remote.
The small town of Cotton Bluff, twenty miles from the weapon, disintegrated as a cloud of pulsating vapor passed over the town and moved on. Eventually, it covered the planet, and everything; buildings, weapons, people, forests disappeared. The planet’s surface was reduced to dust. There was no longer a need for the ultimate weapon, for there were no armies left to fight.
While teaching speech and English at a community college, Mr. Greenblatt wrote short stories and plays, one of which won a reading at Smith College. After retiring, he wrote short stories, novellas, and plays. Several of his stories were published in on-line magazines, and others were published in print anthologies.