Author : Roger Dale Trexler
They stood on the western plain and watched the tornado tear apart a settlement in the distance. Nearby, to the north, half a foot of snow had already blanketed the survivors. A torrential downpour was creating mudslides to the south of them, and the sun was baking the eastern corner of the continent a dry, arid red color.
Lansdale looked at his partner. “The weather control system seems to be working perfectly,” he said.
Shepard nodded his head. His ran his hand through his thick beard as he turned an almost perfect 360º circle to survey the weather once again. “It’s amazing,” he said. “You’ve done it! You’ve finally done it!”
Lansdale grinned. “It’s all thanks to you and your corporation’s financing,” he said. “I’m sorry it took so long.”
Shepard watched as the tornado touched down and threw a mountain of dirt into the air. “Can you tone that down?” he asked, pointing.
“Of course,” replied Lansdale. With one flick of a switch and the turn of a rotary button, the tornado lost a noticeable amount of intensity.
Still, they could see the natives running for shelter.
“Amazing,” said Shepard.
“Thank you,” Lansdale said. He looked down at the console he had built. It had taken years and millions upon millions of credits, but it was worth it. Back on Earth, with the ozone layer depleted and the ice caps melting, the weather had become unpredictable, to say the least. Venice, Italy had disappeared into the ocean, and the eastern coast of the United States was being encroached upon. The familiar beaches were gone and people were being displaced from their homes.
Needless to say, people weren’t happy.
So, Shepard approached Lansdale to help with the problem. At the time, Lansdale was well known in the scientific community as a man who took risks and thought outside the box. Lansdale thought about Shepard’s proposal and, in a matter of days, had come up with the idea of a weather control machine.
That was almost a year, and twenty million dollars, ago.
When Lansdale called Shepard, he was excited. “I think I’ve done it! I think I’ve found the answer!”
Shepard, being a politician, knew that he had to cover his ass, though. He didn’t need Lansdale firing up his device in an area populated by potential voters. Not in an election year!
So, he spent a few more million of the taxpayer’s dollars to get them to Nylan 6, a recently discovered Earth-like planet with an indigenous population of humanoids.
The weather device had to be tested with people, after all. They had to know the effect it might have on people living in the areas they were trying to control.
“Show me some more lightning,” Shepard said.
Lansdale clicked a button and a large bolt of lightning sizzled across the southern sky.
“And snow,” he said. “We’ve got to get those artic regions frozen again.”
“Of course.” Lansdale thumbed another button and, to the north, an almost solid blanket of snow fell from the sky.
“Amazing,” he said. “You’ve done it.”
“Thank you, sir,” Lansdale replied.
“Don’t thank me,” he said. “The people of Earth owe you a debt….and, in a few months, when we’re sure there are no glitches in your system, we’ll implement it on Earth.” He grinned. “Until then, I think our newfound friends on Nylan 6 will make excellent guinea pigs.”
“Yes sir,” said Lansdale.
Shepard turned and walked back to the ship. The door closed and, a few minutes later, when it lifted off, the skies were sunny and clear and temperate….just the way he had ordered.
Dedicated to the southern Illinois winter of 2013/14
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