WMD Decisions

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    (Not even the Davishirian Intelligence Services know...)

    Telum Imperial Aerodrome
    4.20 AM

    The night was surprisingly cold for the middle of June. The surprising and unpredictable Inimician climate was something Emperor Artabanos was not fond of. In fact, it was one of the few things about his country he hated - apart from the many obnoxious people in Inimician politics, obviously. He did not have time to complain, however - or to drink his coffee - as the Davishirian Secretary of State for Defence was coming over to discuss a plan at Triclops-level secrecy that had been in development for some months before this meeting. Ever since the end of the Inimician-Halsbergian blockade of the Isle of Bucks, Artabanos had been planning with his Davishirian counterparts, creating centrifuges and uranium enrichment plants inside the northern mountains of Inimicus. The digging works had just been completed, but the European Council had just passed an act banning the production of nuclear weapons. Artabanos had to discuss what was the next step in his unusually co-operation with Davishire. Would they scrap the plans to create their own nuclear weapons secretly? Or would they invest more resources into the project so uranium could be enriched at a quicker pace?

    The Davishirian plane touched the tarmac and was taxied to the Imperial Arrivals gate. Artabanos greeted his Davishirian colleague as he disembarked the aircraft.


    The Secretary of State for Defence, Danny Alexander, was pleased to finally be on the ground. The journey, which had take the long route from Davishire, via the Chilterns and Os Corelia, to Inimicus was a long one, taking nearly two whole days.

    On the journey he had read the dossiers from his successor about the project that was taking place. The red folder, with the royal seal and the words Secretary of State for Defence written in gold coloured writing on the front simply had a sticker saying SECRET:ULTRA. This project was under the direct responsibility of the Secretary of State for Defence, not even the Prime Minister was aware what is going on.

    As Mr Alexander approached the Inimican Emperor he didn't quite know the protocol that should be followed when meeting an emperor, he simply bowed his head, held out his hand and said, "Good Morning, your Majesty".

  • "Ah, good to see you, Mr Alexander", Artabanos said has he met the small ginger man, "Due to the secrecy of this meeting you will be staying in my private quarters for the duration of your visit. Don't worry, I don't walk around my home naked."

    The two men silently made their way to Artabanos's new electric car, which made less noise and was a bliss to be driven around in. As the car, with undercover police escort, made its way to the back door of the Imperial Palace. One block around the back entrance is always closed to the public, so there were no intrusive tourists who frantically watch the Palace 24/7 to catch a glimpse of Artabanos. The two men entered the palace under the cover of a new moon and made their way to Emperor Artabanos's private quarters.

    "Fancy a drink, Danny?"

  • "Oh, an ice cold Lemonade please, if possible. It is too early for anything stronger, haha."

    Mr Alexander sat down in the chair whilst he waited for his drink.

    "Well, Your Majesty I believe that we have some top secret matters to discuss. Secret to the point that not even my Prime Minister is aware of it."

  • "I consider it late, not early", Artabanos laughed as he poured the man his lemonade. "I'll have some ice brought to you." He didn't understand the Davishirian fright of alcohol, but this was not an occasion to spend drinking. However, he couldn't resist pouring himself his usual Scotch. "Now", he said as he seated himself, "I trust you were informed of the progress our project is in? The necessary space has been carved out in the mountains in Terra Domini, Inimicus's utmost northern and less densely populated province. I have personally ensured engineers were transported to the site via unnecessary detours and in blinded cars and aircraft, and no worker has been allowed to work at the site for more than an hour consecutively. Consequently, only you, me, and a handful of top-level Inimician engineers and military leaders know of what we are planning to do. We are able to begin centrifuge and enrichment plant construction whenever we want.

    "However, I feel we have to be careful. We cannot allow ourselves to take too much hay on our pitchforks. Nuclear bombs are, after all, weapons of mass destruction, and if someone finds out we are - for now - planning to produce them without an ENAA license, and moreover, just after a Council act bans the production of nukes, they will most certainly declare war on us and attempt to seize the production sites. We may not allow this to happen. Now, we have to decide whether or not we want to continue fully, and if so, at what pace."

  • "It is certainly a scary thought, I have been given a dossier by my senior advisor which updated me on this. I think that with the current climate it is necessary to continue with this course. If only so that we can fully defend ourselves and our nutual allies should the need arise. However, first, the government would need assurances that your government be willing to work with Davishire in the future on other matters. Perhaps the removal of trade sanctions.

    Either way, I believe that we should begin work as soon as possible. We can provide some of our best scientists to the project. But we will need to ensure that Davishire will see the benefits of this as well as Inimicus if we are successful. Again, security is of the highest priority, which is why my journey was very roundabout and long.

    Both our nations are threatened in one way or another, we must take action"

  • Artabanos sipped his drink and spoke: "Hmm, yes. Well if you're wanting to go ahead with it, so am I. However, I feel it is of the greatest importance we do NOT, and I repeat, NOT, use any electronic devices or telephone lines to discuss what we're doing. Digital lines are very prone to tapping or hacking, and we can't trust anyone but ourselves with the contact about this operation. Secrecy and confidentiality is our main worry, whether we decide to finish the project after a few months of progress or not.

    Speaking of the project, let's go through the steps we will have to take if we really want to follow through. Again, if an urgent matter of any sorts arises, I have implemented plans to completely dismantle the facilities within a few days if necessary. If there is but the slighest hint of someone finding out, all evidence will be gone in a matter of hours. Forgive my paranoia, but this is probably the most risky situation I and Inimicus have found ourselves in, and I really couldn't afford anything going wrong. All necessary security and confidentiality measures are in place, however, so if anyone attempts to break in, we will immediately find out. If they manage to get but a small insight into anything we're doing, everything will be dismantled immediately.

    Anyway, the process we have before us. Actually, any questions, remarks, or objections before we continue?"

  • "Security is certainly our most certain worry. Any messages about what is going on shall be delivered in writing by official diplomatic package or through other means.

    I like what you have done in terms of security, and should Davishire be able to assist please ask. We have some of the best intelligence services you know, in the world!

    But yes, considering the regional climate. Especially against Davishire security is important."

    The Minister took a sip of his drink,

    "Shall we continue?"

  • "Right, yes. Erm, first of all, the components we need. Plutonium239 isotope. Around 25 pounds (10 kg) would be enough. If we could find some Uranium235, that would be good, too. We will need to refine it using a gas centrifuge. The uranium hexafluoride gas is piped in a cylinder, which is then spun at high speed. The rotation causes a centrifugal force that leaves the heavier U-238 isotopes at the outside of the cylinder, while the lighter U-235 isotopes are left at the centre. The process is repeated many times over through a cascade of centrifuges to create uranium of the desired level of enrichment. To be used as the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, the uranium has to be enriched to more than 90 per cent and be produced in large quantities. This process takes months, and is the most basic step we will have to take. Inimicus does have uranium deposits, but I'm sure we could use some from Davishire, as well.

    "We'll also need 100 pounds (44 kg) of trinitrotoluene (TNT). Gelignite -an explosive material consisting of collodion-cotton (a type of nitrocellulose or gun cotton) dissolved in nitroglycerine and mixed with wood pulp and sodium or potassium nitrate- would be better, but TNT would do. We're not testing our bombs anyway.

    "To fabricate a detonator for the device, we'd need to get a radio controlled (RC) servo mechanism, as found in RC model airplanes and cars. With a modicum of effort, a remote plunger can be made that will strike a detonator cap to effect a small explosion. These could even be made with cell phones, so I doubt anyone could find out about us possibly making this.

    "The explosion shock wave might be of such short duration that only a fraction of the pit is compressed at any instant as it passes through it. A pusher shell made out of low density metal such as aluminium, beryllium, or an alloy of the two metals (aluminium being easier and safer to shape but beryllium reflecting neutrons back into the core) may be needed and is located between the explosive lens and the tamper. It works by reflecting some of the shock wave backwards which has the effect of lengthening it. The tamper or reflector might be designed to work as the pusher too, although a low density material is best for the pusher but a high density one for the tamper. To maximise efficiency of energy transfer, the density difference between layers should be minimised.

    "Questions or remarks so far? I have to say, I'm extremely worried about security. I say we go through the plans carefully and efficiently before making a final decision."

  • "I agree emperor, we must take the initial planning decisions with the best consideration of security. I see that you know quite alot about the process, it does appear as if my dossier has not been so detailed.

    Perhaps, if we are going to go ahead, we should source materials from our own countries and then conduct all the processing in one, probably Inimicus is best, afterall I bet every nation has spies in Davishire watching our every move."

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