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The Prometheus Project

Shan Revan

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A large steel vessel stood majestically in front of the two men clad in white. The large bundle of fibreoptic cables emerging from its base dwarfeved bt the massive pipes emerging from the side. These pipes, light pipes in fact served as a low-tech backup for the electronic and fibreoptic recording systems built into the vessel, and would continue to operate after they had been destroyed with heat. They rose upward through the long shaft to the surface. before snaking their way to a bunker several kilometres away.

With the final preparations completed, the men closed the hatch and evacuated the facility.


The next day large crowd had gathered in a several large bunkers near the site. Scientists and engineers with a select few military officers made up the crowds. They were here to observe the procedure that was about to take place. This was not the first such experiment. Recently they had performed many, but this would be the first test to attempt to employ some of the old technologies.

Location: Jia, several hundred km away from the test site.

"There it goes again. It never used to have tremors like these"
"Don't be silly, we must be on a fault line or something"
"No, I tell you these don't feel like earthquakes."
"well then what do you think they are? I tell you Jia is just prone to these tremors"

It was indeed prone to these tremors, but as suspected, they weren't of natural origin. In fact these tremors, although small enough not to be felt too far away, could certainly be detected by the nation's Neighbours in Ceylon, Cochin and the UFE and in all probability they had a good idea what it meant - after all they had each performed similar tests in the past.



By most standards the explosion it had created was quite small. The warhead had been rated to 20kt but the final results were estimated it closer to 23.5kt. This was all well and good but such small explosions were not what they were here testing. After all, such a weapon was quite small by thermonuclear standards, and having inherited the knowledge of the old Omniscient empire they had the knowledge for weaponised designs in excess of 500MT.

What this test was actually about was recreating a much more difficult technology the empire had access to. "Vectored Energy Release" was the name it used to be called by. It relied on an advanced material that interacted on a sub-atomic level with the nascent explosion, and could be used, to a limited extent, to direct the energy of the fission-fusion reaction along an axis.

The simplest implentation of this was used in the stoneburner, a simple design which directed all of the energy along the axis of the warhead. It was capable of blasting long trenches, canals or tunnels. In fact their effect was so potent they were restricted to less than 3MT in power to prevent a possible breaching of the Earth's crust.

Originally it had been capable of efficiently directing between 60% and 72% of the weapon's energy towards the forward axis but in these tests they would have been satisfied if it worked at all.

The more advanced design, the Mountain Buster achieved a lower efficiency than a stone burner in directing its energies, but it was much more resilient to impacts and damage, and could alter the angle of its conical output. These were typically ensconced within deep penetrating warheads for removing bunkers buried deep within the earth or levelling mountains.

However, the technology relied on a material that was exceedingly difficult to manufacture and very expensive. This technology was a closely guarded secret, one that had not been replicated in the decades since its invention by other powers. Without the advanced facilities once available to them, not even Lumière had successfully replicated it to perfection, but they had made something that was close. It was somewhat more fragile, the question at hand was, would it be strong enough to withstand the heat contained within the first nanoseconds after the device was activated? Would it be destroyed before the subatomic interactions could occur?

Edited by Shan Revan
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The rock would have to cool before a proper examination could occur but in the mean time ground penetrating radar and ultrasounds had been employed to see if it had been a success. If the experiment had gone as desired, then the cavity blasted into the bedrock, currently filled with molten rock, steam and various noxious vapours should appear as a long, straight beam tapering off towards the end. The resultant data from the scans was compiled over several hours into a composite image. The software beeped as it finished and was displayed on the main display of the control room.

Instantly cheers erupted from the many scientists and engineers within the room. It had worked! Well partially at least but it had worked! All the data collected directly from the warhead during detonation was currently being processed by an array of supercomputers, soon they would know precisely what had happened and where it had failed. The image clearly showed signs of the VER system failing early, probably melting. This is demonstrated by th localised blast radius around the device and the diverging boundaries of the cavern. Despite its failures however, a long tunnel, nearly a kilometre long had been created.

It still. had a long way to go however. Everyone new that until they had re-established an industrial and technological capacity similar to what they once had, it would be impossible to reach the levels previously available. At one point the technology was successfully applied to 25MT warheads, now they couldn't even get it working properly on a 20kt weapon. At least not yet. They believed they could weaponise the technology onto 1MT warheads but they had more work to go.

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It took another two attempts before they achieved a full success with a 20kt rated warhead. Today was their 8th test since then, this time attempting a stone burner with their desired goal of 1MT.


After so many attempts it was inevitable but in the end they succeeded. The design would be weaponised and production would begin alongside more conventional nuclear weapons in small amounts. Having mastered the basics of vectored release technology they would have to start again on the militarily far more useful Mountain Buster.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Having come to a basic understanding of the VER technology used in the stone burner, the Mountain Buster was expected to be developed very rapidly. Unfortunately, there was a contradiction in requirements. By its very nature the variable VER system used to focus and defocus the beam for a controllable spread was very delicate. Yet it had to survive the shock and stress of impacting solid rock and tunnelling deep into it.

The original design called for advanced materials that would simply brave the stress. However for all they tried they could not replicate those materials for the time being. A new solution was required and they believed they had finally perfected.

The new design required the internal warhead to be floating in a special compressible fluid that would significantly attenuate the stresses placed upon the delicate systems inside.

The downside of that it was much larger, and required the penetrative system to be revised again. The large ablative, ogive penetrator shell, made of tungsten alloys would now be proceeded by a large forward shaped charge stage that would pierce the ground with a hyper-velocity jet of metal and reduce resistance for the penetrator itself. Just like the act of pre-drilling a hole for a screw.

All of this extra mass unfortunately restricted the warhead to the heaviest of ICBMs and perhaps high altitude strategic bombers.

With the theoretical plans finalised it was time for a second wave of testing to begin.

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