Sunday, September 20, 2015

How I Became a Mad Scientist - Episode 19

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The neutron gun was a surprisingly easy gadget. I found some videos online and got to work. The Americium from the smoke detectors constantly emitted Helium nuclei called Alpha particles. I’d heard these were pretty dangerous, but that they could be stopped by plastic, so I wore gloves and dropped the Americium into a plastic water bottle. I put aluminum foil across the top. Whenever an alpha particle hit the aluminum, the aluminum would get excited and spit out a neutron.

I set up the whole contraption on the picnic table in the back yard. I wasn’t going to start a nuclear reaction inside the house. That would have been crazy. Besides, I was less likely to get caught out here.

When I aimed the neutrons at my uranium, they should start a chain reaction. I got my Geiger counter ready and stuck my neutron generator into the side of the lead-lined box I was using as a reactor.
I got a spike in radiation. I pulled the neutron gun out, and it kept going at the same rate. I wasn’t worried. I knew I didn’t have enough Uranium to let things get out of control, and if I started running out I had backup supplies to feed my mini-reactor. This was going to be the best science project ever. 

I laughed to myself, and then frowned. It stunk that Frank was being such a brat about the whole thing. He should have been happy that I was figuring these things out on my own. Instead, he was too scared or jealous to share in my moment of triumph. But that was fine. I’d show him, I’d show my science teacher, and I’d show the whole school: George Ramondi was not a lackey or a science dunce.

I looked up. That weird little kid was riding down the alley on his bike. He slowed down as he passed my house, waved, and gave me a thumb’s up. I got a funny feeling that he knew exactly what I was doing, and it worried me.

I sat there, taking measurements with my Geiger counter and making notes. I still had to make a poster and type up my reports, but I’d do that the night before the project was due, like I always did. The important thing was the project, and it was awesome.

Three minutes later, I heard the sound of helicopters in the distance. There were too many for a medivac. I figured it was one of those training flights out of Fort Knox that flew over every now and then.

Five minutes later, it seemed like every police and fire siren in town started up. Probably an industrial accident at one of the factories. I hoped no one I knew was hurt. I shrugged, and went back to my notes. 

Six minutes later, I heard something scurrying on the roof. I looked up, expecting to see a squirrel. The roof was covered in men in black armor holding guns. Every gun was pointed at me. All at once, 8 or nine helicopters filled the sky above my house and blotted out the sun. Firetrucks and HAZMAT vehicles blocked the alley. I dropped my pen in shock.  

Handcuffs clicked over my wrists. “Mr. Ramondi,” Frank’s FBI agent said, “I’m afraid I have to place you under arrest.”



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1 comment:

Anna said...

found some videos online and got it to work.

[suggestion] emitted helium nuclei called alpha particles.

I laughed to myself and then frowned. [no comma]

I shrugged and went back to my notes. [no comma]