Part XX - Gideon's Trumpet
Matt and Uncle Allen sat in loungers by the pool. Matt was still in his bathrobe, fresh from a treatment of Dead Sea mud. He had taken the last opportunity to indulge himself as it was unlikely he would ever experience such luxury any time soon. He would especially miss his ministering angels, Fatima the demure and dark eyed Druze, the Russian emigre Natascha with hair the color of wheat, the quiet and conspiratorial Anette from France, and the Falasha Miriam, with the fluorescent smile and laughter of church bells. They first made him ashamed of his resistance to pampering, teased him over his squeamishness around extravagant treatments and grooming, and finally cajoled him into extravagant spoiled contentment,like a great diva's cat.
They were discussing the final details of his trip. There had been many such discussions, as well as two trips offsite. The first was a meeting in Tel Aviv in a nondescript office that turned out to be a secure Mossad operations center. There in the presence of his superiors who didn't introduce themselves, Uncle Allen briefed him on the mission objective.
"Our intelligence agrees with the opinion of your friend in Greece that one or more of the stones had fallen into the hands of the fugitive SS officer Alois Brunner. Based on several credible reports we believe he is now in Chile. He is under the protection of a isolated colony of German emigres who inhabit a mountain citadel called "La Jerarquía de las Aguilas" or "The Eagles Nest". They had originally claimed to be a religious sect attempting to lead a simpler devote lifestyle. However their entire leadership consists of high ranking Nazi officials and their descendants. European visitors are frequent, but their only contact with the local population had been a free clinic and orphanage. But lately, all but the sickest shun the place as rumors had spread about the emigres being unable to account for all of the children in their care. In the past their excellent relations with Gen Pinochet and his security forces had protected them from any scrutiny. Now as more reports are coming out about child abuse and other suspicious activities in the uncensored press, they are an embarassment to the current administration. However they are reluctant to act decisively, the colonists are believed to be heavily armed and the location would be difficult for even the most elite of commando units. The Chileans will give us a free hand as long as they can claim credit for the operation. They are hoping that we will weaken the colonists defenses sufficiently so that their own units can come in after to mop up, but in private they consider our operation a suicide mission."
Matt had maintained a somber silence on the ride back, despite Uncle Allen's assurance that he'd feel more upbeat after their second meeting. This occurred on campus at Technion and they met with Dr Nachum Siegel. After a cursory tour of his lab and meeting some of the students and researchers, they got down to business in Dr Siegel's office. The lab was part of the overall nanotechnology department and were on the cutting edge of the field, matched only by the work of the two feuding titans of nanotech in the US. Dr Siegel's group address areas of signal processing and sensing on the molecular level.
"We've borrowed the stone from Great Zimbabwe and analysized it under an electron microscope and discovered some very interesting features. First, on the molecular level, the precision of the Hebrew letters is so fine that it seems impossible that they were etched. It appears that it was somehow manufactured, or grown into the proper form, even down to the shapes of the letters without a single molecule out of place. Similarly, the crystaline structure is impossibly regular, without flaw or impurity. We could not come close to duplicating it."
"Are you saying the ancient Hebrews had some kind of technology to create the stones?"
"The Tribes of Israel weren't engineers, and even with advanced technology, the problem is enormous. It would be nothing less than creating the stone molecule by molecule. This suggests a control over the material so far beyond our scope that, as unscientific as it sounds, I prefer to believe that HaShem Himself created them."
"But there is nothing in the Pentateuch that suggests that, rather it sound like they were created by the Jewish craftsmen like the rest of the temple implements." Uncle Allen was always a bit of a skeptic.
"I can only address the facts I've discovered and they don't support an easy explanation. I do wonder though if when the high priest entered the Holy of Holies there wasn't some transforming power of the Shekinah presence above the Ark. Let's remember that the Stones represented the Tribes themselves. Perhaps this is a model for what HaShem wants to do with His Chosen. This is pure speculation of course. But I never forgot a description I heard from a tzadik I served with in the IDF. Our position below the Golan was about to be overrun. He was my major, but he turned out to be very knowledgable in Torah and planned to become a scholar when he retired. He would encourage us with stories of what HaShem had done for us throughout our history, would also discuss Torah with those of us that were interested during the inevitable boring stretches of waiting that seem to be the the defining characteristic of military service.
He had ordered the rest of the unit to retreat, he was planning on staying to direct our artillery against the Syrian batteries on the Golan. I couldn't bear the idea of abandoning him to the approaching Syrians and since I was his radioman, it was my responsibility to stay with him to call in the coordinates which he calculated through his rangefinding field glasses. We were later decorated. He spotted several anti-aircraft missile sites that were destroyed by artillery and our bombers. This allowed the IAF to smash the big Syrian guns and the armored columns that had started streaming over the border. It sounds very heroic, but the truth was I was so terrified that I could barely speak to call in the airstrikes. We could see the columns approaching, the shells were falling around us and at one point we even came under sniper fire. What kept me from bolting like a frightened deer was his description on what he felt we were fighting for. He described the tabernacle before even the temple was built. So powerful was the Presence that dwelt in our midst that the high priest wore bells so those outside could hear his movements and a rope tied to his foot to drag him out in case he made a mistake and HaShem's power killed him. But when he ministered before the Mercy Seat, wearing the Hoshen representing the Twelve Tribes before the Shekinah glory of HaShem, oral tradition said that the heavens would open and the high priest was bathed in Light. And the Light would would be changed, refracted and reflected by the Stones on the the Breastplate of Aaron, creating a dazzling display of color and vision in which HaShem would reveal to the cohen hagadol the Mysteries of His destiny for His Chosen People. In that sense the visions would reflect the how HaShem would use His people to be a light to the nations, to the Gentiles. As he spoke with shells exploding all around us, his face seemed to shine with the reflected Glory his mind's eye saw in the midst of that earthly hell. His eyes shimmered with delight and he looked at me with a smile of pure bliss."
"What destiny did the visions show?",asked Matt.
"If he knew, my major couldn't tell me. During the barrage, an airburst had severed his femoral artery with a tiny piece of shrapnel. As he called in fire and kept me spellbound with the description of the high priest, his life was bleeding out. When the reinforcements came to relieve me, they asked what he had seen to account for the fixed expression of rapture, all I could tell them was, "Paredes."
He rose and asked them to follow him into one of the labs. There were a pair of guards in the hallway, and still he had to verify his finger print and swipe a key card. The lights came on automatically. In the middle of a spotless workbench on a clear lucite stand was an usual looking weapon. It had a long barrel and stock like a rifle, but the bore was larger than a shotgun and slightly flared at the end. But what was very curious was that the barrel was not so much rifled as spiral in such a way that one couldn't see down the barrel past the curve. It reminded Matt of a long twisted seashell he had once found on holiday in Majorca. The inner surface of the bore was a grey, slightly iridescent material with the suggestion of a fine grain that seemed to shift direction depending on the way the light hit it. Where the ejection port would ordinarily be were some irregular proturberances encased in a smooth housing. There was also a confusing array of small buttons and selectors.
"This is the instrument on which the success of your mission and no doubt your life depends. It has not been extensively tested in battlefield conditions, but there was one promising trial and of course it performed well in the lab. The offical nomenclature is Sonic Hyperspectral Oscillating Frequency Assault Rifle, some like to call it Gideon's Trumpet, but the most accurate description is that it is a disruptor. The technology is highly classified, but to I can say that nanotechnology is the key, both in the waveguiding surface of the bore and the resonating crystaline emitter.
We haven't had time to experiment with all the possible frequencies, but there are 3 distinct settings. The first is a non-lethal mode that causes complete loss of motor function for approximately 45 minutes and debilitating weakness and impared reflexes for several hours, after which there are minimal aftereffects. This is only only effective at ranges of 50 meters or less. There are two lethal modes that work at greater distances. The first works up to 1200 meters with a perfectly flat trajectory with no correction needed for windage. The effect has a spreading radius from 6 cm just past the muzzle to 12 cm at 1000 meters. Observed it appears exactly like being hit with a short but devastating stroke of a piledriver. Impact with the head or center mass is always fatal and we hope merciful. Clipping a limb is messier. One of the great advantages of this mode is there in no more recoil than you might detect from blowing an airhorn. There is a delay of less than a second in firing as a rangefinding sonic ping calculates the distance to the target and tunes the sonic wavelength and frequency to deliver the effect to the target.
The other lethal mode approved for use against enemy combatants is a bit more difficult to bring to bear on targets because there is quite a significant recoil, roughly comparable to an elephant gun. It is highly recommended that the shooter is well braced against a solid object when firing. This mode can be described as an invisible wrecking ball that we estimated at 1800 kilograms traveling at 240 kilometers/hour, without the curve of the swing of course. Unlike the localized effect of the first mode, it impacts anything in it's range, although large solid objects dissipate the effect somewhat. With proper precautions taken with the recoil, it is very effective against troop concentrations, most light vehicles, and unarmored doors. The final mode is lethal, but it is most emphatically not for use against enemy combatants. I think it's safe to say in your case Matt, any such improper use of this mode will but regretted for the rest of your life. This mode is exclusively authorized for demolition of buildings and other defensive structures Used properly it does no harm to those inside of a structure as long as care is taken not to cause the collapse of the entire structure. This effect is also recoiless. It has a 360 meter range and within that the effect varies from a 3-6 meter radius. It only travels at roughly right angles to the beam on impact and will shear off at corners without effecting perpendicular walls. Stone and masonry are pulverized and wood is shattered to splinters. Tempered metal is difficult and under some circumstances flying shrapnel can be produced, but we have tested it successfully on thick lead and titanium. Once again, for emphasis, you can image the effect if used against troops would be horrifying. We have already begun to develop materials that will resist this effect, but you are highly unlikely to encounter them. Now, aside from limited field testing, there is another great danger in the use of this weapon. We have long been certain that the Nazi scientists are working on similar technology for years. They don't have our resources but neither have they our scruples about how the technology is used. Losing this weapon to them would increase their destructive capabilities by orders of magnitude. So pay careful attention to to your training on the automated self-destruct mechanism..."
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