Dr. Normhate, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Nuclear Summer

In a world ravaged by a decade of war, how far would desperation push those in power to stop the fighting? How many years would it take for them to learn to stop worrying and love the bomb?

“This war has gone on long enough! Our Eastern Units cannot survive much longer!” said the General, his voice as sour as vinegar.

“Tell me what I don’t know! What’s the latest report from the Far East?” said the War Minister as he downed another shot of vodka.

“It’s the same as every other damned report over the last decade! That’s what happens when you political types tie our hands! How can we win if we only half fight?!”

“The only reason we tie your hands is to avoid a nuclear apocalypse! You crazies would kill us all if you had your way!”

“What if I told you there was another way?” said a mysterious voice.

The General and Minister looked towards an eccentric looking man in an exo-walker – an exo-skeleton whose sole purpose is to help the paralyzed walk again. He walked into the darkened War Room with swagger.

“What are you talking about Dr. Normhate? How did you even get in here?!”

“Eh, I have my ways. Besides, that’s not what is important, for I have a way for us to win this war – once and for all!”

The General and War Minister looked to each other, then back to Dr. Normhate. They gestured for him to speak.

“How do you win a war? Simple: take out the enemy. Now, it doesn’t matter if you take out the enemy yourself, or if something… else, takes out the enemy.  If we were to strategically place nukes around the world – at, say, the North Pole, Antarctica, Greenland, and around the world’s oceans; then, with the icecaps gone, glaciers destroyed, and the ocean’s methane released, the ensuing climate change will take out our enemies! Let’s call it Operation Nuclear Summer!”

“Are you mad?! That would take us out as well!”

“Yes, but it will hurt them more! Look at their geography! They can’t handle the rising oceans as well as we can! Our Motherland is big, biggest in the world, but theirs is small. They won’t be able to evacuate AND feed all their refugees AND continue this war! Will it cause us some pain?” He paused, “think of it this way, a way you military types can understand: to do this is to shoot a gun – a Clathrate Gun, to be exact. While we would just be shooting ourselves through the arm, the bullet would hit our enemies in the heart! There would be absolutely no way they could continue their war effort!”

“And if we do this then how many others would die?! You’re talking like a madman! This would hurt everyone – WE, would become everyone’s enemy!”

“Let them hate us, that is no matter. Look, either we continue fighting this unwinnable war – this war where the moment a boot hits the ground of foreign soil then nukes fly to all of the world’s cities; or, we do something… unexpected. This is the humane thing to do; yes it is messy, but when the alternative is an outright nuclear holocaust, then I see no other way! It is time for us to stop worrying, and learn to love the bomb!”

“And what makes you think that they won’t just nuke us outright if we tried to destroy the environment?”

“Simple: logic. To attack directly is to directly die. We all know this, and so no one has nuked any city since the outbreak of the Third War. If they were to nuke us directly at any time – either before or after Operation Nuclear Summer – then they all die, and they know this. It’s all a simple matter of pain – we can withstand pain better than they, so it is they who are disadvantaged. And it is up to us to use their disadvantage to our advantage. For the Motherland, we must.”

The Minister looked to the General. He nodded in agreement with Dr. Normhate. It was now up to the Minister to decide – the fate of the war was in his hands. He looked to a picture on a wall. It was of a bear behind the tricolor flag of his Motherland. He decided to roll the dice for a better future.

Winter did not come that year, for a permanent one came years later.


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