Brahma’s Missile – part 7

5 Sravana, 1867, Hindu solar calendar

“Mr. President? Please hold for the Rani.”

Dayaram handed the phone to Abilasha. “Good luck.”

She took the phone. “Greetings, Mr. Truman.”

“I appreciate you taking this call.”

“What do you require this day?”

There was a pause on the other end of the line. “I felt that I should inform you that we tested an atom bomb earlier this week on, uh, let me see where I wrote this down … the first day of Sravanna. Four days ago.”

“Yes, that was the first of Sravanna.” Abilasha glanced at Dayaram and wrote a note to him. They confirm the test. “Was the test successful?”

The President thought about that. “I suppose it depends on how you define success. It went off. My generals want to use one on the Japanese.”

Abilasha closed her eyes. “I feared as much. What target?”

The President didn’t answer directly. “We understand you may have a similar project underway. Something called Happy Krishna.”

“This is true. Hold on a moment.” She lowered the receiver slightly so the President would still hear her. “Peshwar, what was the date of the Smiling Buddha test according to the Gregorian Calendar?”

“Let me see, that would be 18 May.”

She passed that on to Truman. “So what do we do now?”

He said, “That’s why I’m calling. You’ve seen what this weapon can do.” There was silence. He continued, “The Japanese have sworn to fight us for every inch of soil using every man, woman, and child if necessary.”

“They do seem quite determined.”

“We need this war to end soon. We were thinking of a show of power. Drop one on a city, maybe drop another on a second city just so they know it wasn’t a fluke. That should demoralize them.”

“Wasn’t that the idea behind the blanket bombing? That hardly had the desired effect.” Abilasha’s voice grew harder. “Mr. Roosevelt had assured me that America would no longer target civilians.”

Truman’s tone was sharp. “Are they civilians when they are threatening to kill my troops?”

Abilasha persisted, “Wouldn’t a military target be just as effective? The resistance from the Japanese civilians has lessened greatly since you stopped bombing their cities. My troops have faced far fewer problems with the Japanese in Burma and Korea.”

Truman chuckled. “That’s because they’d rather surrender to Bharat than to China. Those Chinese have a bit of a grudge and justifiably so. The Japanese atrocities were horrific.”

“There will be war crimes tribunals. That doesn’t justify what you’re proposing.”

“We want to make a statement to more than just the Japanese; China is starting their own nuclear program.”

“Why shouldn’t they? Wouldn’t you want to come to the table from a position of strength? ”

Truman was silent for a moment. “Are you going to use your ?”

She replied quietly, “No. We believe Brahma’s missile is a last resort weapon.”

“My aides explained that name to me. Interesting philosophy. I doubt I’ll be able to sell it to my generals.” Truman softened his tone. “Rani, we’re going to issue an ultimatum to the Japanese next week. They need to surrender. Will you sign that ultimatum?”

Abilasha said cautiously, “I agree that the war needs to end. What if they refuse?”

“Then we fight until they surrender.”

“And your bomb? I can’t support using it on civilian targets.”

The President paused then answered noncommittally, “I’ll take that under advisement. I’ll be in touch again after we hear from the Japanese.”

Abilasha set the phone down, shaking her head. “Rama, in all the old stories Brahma’s missile is said to be unstoppable.”

Dayaram was alarmed. “Asha, what did he say?”

She looked at him sadly, “I believe he plans to use it on civilians. Tell Dr. Ramanna to prepare relief teams. We will offer our help.”

Dayarama made a note. “I suggest contacting our emissaries to Japan. We should encourage them to accept this surrender.”

“They won’t.”

“I know, Asha, but at least we will have tried.”

copyright 2011 by Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved