A long time ago, in a seemingly past life, a story sprung from my head like Athena from Zeus. Except with a lot less drama and I don’t profess to be anything close to godlike or having godlike offspring. Anyhoo – here’s the Schwartzentoten-Moonbeam Device. Do with it what you will.
The Schwartzentoten-Moonbeam Device
The leader of the First Governmental Scientists Union stood at the dais at the head of the secret Military Council meeting room, located in a pre-holocaust bunker beneath the remains of the alps.
He smiled at those assembled and then glanced briefly at the man seated next to him. This man was slight of build, of an indeterminate age, whose only noticeable feature was a slick bald spot on the top of his head.
He sat in a rickety folding chair behind a small card table, next to the dais. On the card table was a sack-cloth draped over a lumpy device which vaguely resembled a very large mushroom, standing wrong side up.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the scientific community, I bring you here to day to unveil the weapon which will save all of humanity from the pressing threat of the Scvarsars!” said the leader of the First Governmental Scientists Union.
“Viva Euro-Japan!” he added.
“You all know that our wonderful and beneficent government has allowed us to participate in this illustrious project. That is why I feel it is appropriate, nay almost compulsory that we now sing the national anthem.”
He looked down his nose at the thirty scientists he was addressing, then allowed his gaze to flicker over the sixty governmental Agents gathered at the back of the room, who’s express purpose was to keep tabs over the scientists.
“And a one, and a two….” He said over the groans of the scientists.
There followed an off key rendition of “We Are the Only Ones Left Alive” the likes of which could only be achieved with the proper mix of bellowing government agents and musically incapable scientists.
The anthem came to a stumbling halt with the traditional cheer of “Viva Euro-Japan!”
This cheer was the easiest and safest way to express nationalistic allegiance to the nation which had emerged after the great holocaust of 2157. After seventy-six percent of the world’s population was destroyed, the two remaining nations of Euro and Japan had joined together as one unified government and set to the task of repopulating the Earth.
Birth control was outlawed along with many major taboos and the population set to their task with reckless abandon.
When the Earth’s population was growing at a comfortable rate the government set their eyes on the stars. Thus the government of Euro-Japan, with the help of the First Governmental Scientists Union, made humanity’s dream of space conquest a reality.
Within decades, a manned flight was made to Alpha-Centauri. A new renaissance was dawning on mankind, aided by those few pioneers who were not caught up in the admirable but often time consuming repopulation of the Earth.
This mission to Alpha-Centauri was destroyed utterly by an unknown, presumably hostile force.
The only transmission to reach the Earth, by way of the newly developed tight-band Faster Than Light Communications Computer was “Viva Euro-Japan! Oh my God! It’s the Scvarsars-GARBLE SPONK!”. The Unified World Press dropped ‘GARBLE SPONK!’ The term Scvarsars was now the common name for the hated enemy.
In three short years over 1,500 Faster Than Light Unified Probe Machines were sent out to the most likely spots in the Galaxy, until the Scvarsars home world, which in a fit of originality the United World Press named Scvar, was located.
Five years had passed since the first ill-fated voyage and the First Governmental Scientists Union had been working non-stop to perfect an infantry weapon. Or as it was referred to in pre-developmental planning, as The infantry weapon. It would have to be capable of annihilate anything in its path, as no one knew what a Scvarsar was.
Now, after years of toil, sweat and meetings, such a weapon had been perfected by a little known scientist by the name of Ira Schwartzentoten-Moonbeam.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the Leader into the echoing silence “I present to you – Ira Schwartzentoten-Moonbeam! Viva Euro-Japan!”
Ira stood to his full five feet four inches and was greeted by clapping and shouts of “Viva Euro-Japan!”
His father had been a devout Polish Jew, his mother stemmed from a long line of libertarian hippies. Their marriage had lasted slightly longer than the time it took to force Ira our of the womb, have him circumcised and give him a severe dislike towards vegetarians.
He stood a moment, nervously looking around him as if he had just gotten off a bus two stops too early, and wiped the sweat off his brow.
“Er, Viva Euro-Japan” said Ira.
“In our quest for a new infantry weapon which would make the invasion of Scvar no only possible, but a reality, I have designed a weapon capable of vast destructive potential.” This last remark was greeted with enthusiastic applause from the Agents.
“I would like to reveal to you,” said Ira, as he reached for the sack-cloth, “The Schwartzentoten-Moonbeam Device!”
“Viva Euro-Japan. The Schwartzentoten-Moonbeam Device?” cried a fat scientist from the back, who’s tag identified him as Izo Otomo.
“What a horrible name! Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest that we vote on a new name for this device. Why not call it the Scvarsar Mass Destroyer Device?”
There were murmurs of assent from several scientists abut the room until a young woman by the name of Jane Smith said “Viva Euro-Japan. Why not just call it the Annihilator Gun?”
Several other scientists were heard to murmur agreement to this.
One of the Agents spoke up next.
“Viva Euro-Japan!” he said with a crisp salute. “In the name of the Government I must insist that the device be given a name that will convey its massive destructive potential while at the same time giving the people a feeling that they can trust in their Government.”
Several other Agents were nodding in agreement or scribbling notes into small pads.
“Very well,” said a stocky scientist from the front of the assembly, one Vladisky Smerenk. “Viva Euro-Japan, let’s call it the Device to Annihilate the Scvarsars in the Name of the People.”
As he said this a group of scientists in the back of the room, led by Jane Smith, were huddled together in heated discussion.
The remaining scientists were on the verge of agreeing to the Device to Annihilate the Scvarsars in the Name of the People when the Smith faction suddenly spoke up.
“Viva Euro-Japan.” Said Jane Smith. “We have talked amongst ourselves and we feel that the device should be called the Destroyer of Scvarsars for the People of the Government.”
This had the effect of setting the Smerenk faction to whispering and pointing until Vladisky Smerenk climbed up onto his chair and said “We feel that the name Destroyer of Scvarsars for the People of the Government does not convey the feeling of warmth and trust that the Device to Annihilate the Scvarsars in the Name of the People is capable of. Er, viva Euro-Japan.”
“Besides DASNoP sounds better than DoSPoG.”
“This is not true!” said one of the scientists from the Smith Faction. “Viva Euro-Japan, as any student of ancient Slavic dialects could tell you, DoSPoG is actually quite close to the ancient Slavic ‘dospogia’, which is the verb ‘to trust’.”
“We feel that this would be a much better name for the device as it would convey a feeling of trust amongst all of ancient Slavic heritage, rather than the empty feel of DASNoP.”
This caused the Smerenk faction to huddle together, gesticulating wildly at each other in the hushed and hallowed tones of scientific conversation. This continued until one elderly woman who spoke with a Slavic accent said “Wiwa Euro-Japan.”
“Actwuly, ‘dospog’ in one ancient Slawic dialect is the werb for ‘my goat is womiting wilently.'”
She was greeted by absolute silence.
“Well its twue.” She said.
“Look. Viva Euro-Japan.” Said Vladisky Smerenk from his chair. “It is just simply crystal clear that DASNoP, which I might add means actually nothing in any language living or dead, is better. It has no connotation other than that which we give it!”
His face had turned a livid shade of red and a large vein was pulsing on his forehead.
“We are talking about the ultimate weapon here, not about goats vomiting!”
“Well it’s twue!”
“That’s not the point at all.” Said Jane Smith who had herself climbed onto a chair. “Viva Euro-Japan. DoSPoG is a more soothing acronym than DASNoP. Psychological studies clearly show that words with the vowel ‘a’ can cause more stress than words with the vowel ‘o’. The last thing we want to do is raise the collective blood pressure of our people!”
“And another thing. Our acronym is more aesthetically soothing to the eye as it is symmetrical.”
“Viva Euro-Japan. You were involved in the Study of Psychological Effects of Vowels on the Populous?” asked Izo Otomo, his voice carrying a tone of respect.
“Why yes, I was” replied Jane Smith, slightly flattered. “Viva Euro-Japan.”
“Viva Euro-Japan. That must have been incredibly interesting!” said another nearby scientist.
Vladisky Smerenk, sensing he was losing the initiative, jumped up and down on his chair until he had the attention of the gathered scientists.
“Listen!” he said, “We are not gathered here to discuss the Study of the Psychological Effects of Vowels on the Populous, though I will admit it was a very interesting project.”
“It does bear a certain relevance to the naming of the Device to Ah…er, the invention, but I feel that it should be discussed at a more appropriate time. Perhaps at the Symposium for the Forming of the United Language Preservation and Sociology Coalition?”
“Which I might add is being hosted by our gracious government. Viva Euro-Japan.”
Vladisky Smerenk was greeted with murmur of agreement from other scientists and he noted with pleasure that several of the scientists broke away from the Smith faction and drifted closer to his chair.
He was not alone in this observation. Jane Smith scowled at him and said “Viva Euro-Japan. I believe, good Doctor Smerenk, that attendance to the Symposium for the Forming of the United Language Preservation and Sociology Coalition is by invitation only.”
“The invitations specifically state that those who are attending must have at least three doctorates in related fields, mainly Sociology, Linguistics, and Business Management. How many Doctorates do you have?”
Vladisky Smerenk sputtered a bit and raised his arm in righteous indignation as he was about to make a retort. He was silenced however, as he turned into a rapidly expanding cloud of sub-atomic particles.
The smell of ozone permeated the room as all eyes turned towards Ira, who stood clutching the mushroom shaped weapon, beads of sweat standing on his forehead.
The room had become completely silent.
“Right.” Said Jane Smith. “We call it the Schwartzentoten-Moonbeam Device. Viva Euro-Japan.”