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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics


Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Cloud of Victory: A Science Fiction Story

In the year 2040 when our little nation was attacked by the mighty superpower, the superpower wrapped itself in a cloak of good intentions. The superpower told the world that it had invaded our small country to bring greater prosperity to our citizens. But we knew the real truth. We had been invaded so that the superpower could grab our resources, resources that were all the more important in a world troubled by energy and mineral shortages.

I was the leader of the nation, so I met with the Defense Secretary to discuss how we would try to defend ourselves against the attack.

Their divisions have stormed the border, and are heading towards this city,” I said. “Have we been able to maintain a decent defense line?”

No,” said the Defense Secretary with an odd smile. “Not at all.”

You don't seem too concerned about the situation,” I said, “but I am. What is the ratio of our forces and theirs?”

The superpower has invaded us with twice as many soldiers as we have in our army,” said the Defense Secretary. “But don't worry, everything will be fine.”

Near our border the enemy divisions routed our small defense forces. Soon the enemy's divisions approached the nation's capital. I called an urgent meaning with the Defense Secretary.

We're on track to lose this war, and lose this country to the enemy,” I said. “Isn't there something we can do, some last gamble?”

There is,” said the Defense Secretary, smiling. “Come with me, and I'll show it you.”

The Defense Secretary arranged for us to travel to a huge factory ten miles away. When we got out of our vehicle, the Defense Secretary pointed to the building.

There it is,” said the Defense Secretary. “This is going to win us this war.”

A factory?” I said skeptically. “Our troops have been devastated. It's too late to get them some new weapon.”

It's almost time for the moment of release,” said the Defense Secretary. “This is going to be a moment you'll never forget.”

And so it was. A short time later, I saw a stream of flying objects coming out of the factory. The objects formed into what looked like a dark cloud. The cloud kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Before long the cloud seemed to fill the whole sky, making it look like a summer sky that was about to erupt in a downpour.



There it is,” said the Defense Secretary. “The Cloud of Victory. The cloud that will save us from the invaders.”

The giant dark cloud broke up into four smaller clouds, and each flew away into different directions, one to the east, one to the west, one to the north, and one to the south.

Later I learned the technical details. Each object in the cloud was a small flying drone, only about as long as a man's foot – a device called a mini-drone. Each mini-drone contained a power source, a metal detector, a motion detector, and an explosive. The original "Cloud of Victory" contained 30,000 small drones.

Each mini-drone had some simple programming. Each mini-drone was programmed to look for moving metal. When it detected a large piece of moving metal, the mini-drone would descend from the sky, crashing into the moving metal.

Almost all of the tanks of the invaders were destroyed from the sky by the mini-drones. The small mini-drones made little noise, and were hardly even visible in the sky, so it was all but impossible for a tank driver to know if a mini-drone was in the sky above him. One minute a tank driver might be driving along, thinking that there was no trouble anywhere near. The next minute a small mini-drone would descend from the sky, crashing into the tank and blowing it up.

Something similar happened to most of the enemy's soldiers. The soldiers were wearing armor, and carrying metal guns. When a small mini-drone in the sky detected the moving metal, the mini-drone would descend from the sky, crashing into the soldier, blowing him to bits.

The day before the Cloud of Victory appeared, the enemy was winning the war. But a few days later, the enemy's invading force was in shattered shambles. Humiliated, the defeated invaders withdrew.

I congratulated the Defense Secretary on his brilliant tactic.

But what if the enemy comes back in a few years, armed with some defense against the Cloud of Victory?” I asked.

Don't worry,” the Defense Secretary said. “By then we will have perfected the Annihilation Spray.”