Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer
“You know, Albert,” said Thomas Hoofnagle, “this has all the makings of a stereotypical science fiction story.”
“How so?” asked Albert Arnold as he made some final adjustments to the torpedo’s structural integrity field.
“Surely you are not oblivious to the fact that the UN is about to launch that torpedo into the sun with the specific intent to inhibit the rate of nuclear fusion in its core. You don’t see a million ways that plan can go wrong? Like the sun can go nova, or it could condense to a white dwarf. That kind of stuff.”
“Don’t be an idiot Tom, you know as well as anybody that this is the most understood of scientific principles. There is as much a chance of this going wrong as there is the sun not rising tomorrow.”
Hoofnagle spread his arms sideways and made an expression implying “That’s exactly my point”.
It took Arnold a second to realize what he had said. “Stop it, Tom. You know what I mean. The inhibitor’s effect is thoroughly understood. It will slow down the fusion rate in the sun’s core by exactly 0.12838441 percent. And, one hundred years from now, the amount of energy emanating from the surface of the sun will be reduced by the exact amount needed to compensate for the effects of global warming. Just in time to bring the Earth back from the edge of the cliff that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had predicted in their climate models. Our names will go down in history as the men who saved mankind from their own shortsightedness.”
“I’m sure they will throw you a big parade when you come out of stasis.”
“About that, Tom. You should reconsider your decision. Don’t you want to be around to see the fruits of your labor?
“No thank you. I’m content living out my life in this century. Now, let’s launch this puppy, so I can go home and get drunk, and forget that I ever heard of the United Nation’s Initiative to Curtail Solar Radiation.
Arnold’s return to consciousness happened quickly. He sat up, and immediately recognized that he was in the stasis recovery room. He blinked his eyes into focus and looked out the large picture window toward the Houston skyline. It was snowing outside, and the wind was howling like a banshee. He looked at the calendar that was hung on the opposite wall. It said “August”. Oh shit, he thought, Tom was right. But it can’t be. I’m sure our calculations were correct. “Nurse,” he yelled.
Arnold hadn’t seen the young man napping in the chair next to his bed. “Damn,” he exclaimed as he fell out of the chair. He quickly jumped to his feet and explained, “Thank God you’re awake. Sorry, Mr. Arnold, but we had to bring you out of stasis twenty years early. There’s a problem.”
“I can see that through the window. What the hell happened? The inhibitors shouldn’t have…”
“No, no, sir. You don’t understand. It’s not the inhibitors. It was the climate models. Those bastard ‘scientists’ from last century fabricated so much evidence to ensure their perpetual funding that they hid the real problem, an impending ice age. We need you to turn off the fusion inhibitors. We need every available BTU in order to stop the oceans from freezing solid.”
“You don’t understand the science, son. The inhibitors did what they had to do eighty years ago. It just takes a century for the effects to percolate to the surface. The sun is going to cool, and we can’t stop it.”
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