Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. RSR 13! Atomic Terror Over the African Coast

 

Pour a beverage, turn down the lights, and pull up a chair! Tonight, we begin the thirteenth series of Ricochet Silent Radio, fan fiction about Ricochet members written as scripts inspired by the spirit of old-time radio. This week’s three-part tall tale is Atomic Terror Over the African Coast, a tip of the hat in tribute to veteran RSR star Hank Rhody’s own 2016 entry in imaginary media, Atomic Terror Over the Pacific. We’ve recruited a few more feature performers from the overstocked pool of fascinating characters on the Member Feed, and we’re always looking for a few more!

Plus, of course, we’ll never neglect RSR’s longtime audience favorites. In view of the ongoing national emergency, this program may be interrupted by Ricochet editors at any time for news bulletins. Our sponsors will present this program with minimal commercial interruptions.

But first–(Recorded ad theme) Take a breath…it’s springtime! The cares of winter are over. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, we’re tending a crop of the world’s finest tobacco for you and you, Mr. and Mrs. America. So taste the flavor, and savor the springtime with Salem!

(Network announcer) And now, tonight’s program. Tales From the PIT Presents:

Atomic Terror Over the African Coast!

The purple mountains outside Albuquerque looked postcard perfect. It was dusk at the end of a brilliant afternoon in early spring. A retro red neon sign of a high-kicking, mini-skirted cowgirl and an orange mushroom cloud was perched on top of a bar in Skyline Heights, premises of the Bombs Away Beer Company. D. Newlander, a tall dark-haired man in his mid-forties, came in from the parking lot and nodded at the owner standing behind the bar. Happy hour just started and the place was nearly empty.

“H’lo, Johnny”, the newcomer said as he took off his sunglasses and put on a pair of wireframe glasses to get accustomed to the cool darkness. The bartender gestured towards a private room. Two young women were waiting, none too patiently by the looks of it. As the tall man put on a smile and entered the room, John the owner discreetly closed the door behind him. A picture of John as a younger man in Air Force blue hung on the wall. It was captioned “USAF Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician”.

Raven-haired Shanna, the taller of the two women, greeted Newlander frostily. “You’re late”, she said, her dark eyes flashing. “Jackie and I have been here for half an hour. -And I work later tonight cross town at the Tilted Kilt. As you should well know, since you’re my most dedicated bar customer”. D. Newlander (no name; just D) slid into the booth and pulled out a pair of manila envelopes. “We do this one job together, and none of us will ever have to work again”.

Jackie, shorter and blonde, opened her envelope. Inside was a fake passport, an air ticket, and a packet of money–$25,000. “Just the down payment”, he said. Both women looked at D, amazed and wary. “So this is real? Your professor friend is real?” Newlander nodded. “Yes, he’s real. He’s five minutes away from here, ready to brief the team. Let’s be on that team. All three of us want to change our lives. What do you say?”

Their destination was within sight of the bar. A futuristic building’s impressive façade read National Museum of Nuclear Sciences and History. It was just closing, but the guard waved them in. They were ushered into a conference room, where more than a dozen strangers regarded each new member of the group with curiosity and caution.

The clock in the plaza was chiming six as the doors were closed. A striking-looking young man, maybe thirty years old, moved to the mike with easy confidence. “I’m Perry Samblock, the director of this museum. This community will always have a special place in world history because of the terrifying, world-changing capabilities of the bombs we have created here. We have a proprietary interest in that legacy. When times demand it, this brotherhood of the bomb will step in. We have nothing against official agencies. We like those guys. In many cases we’ve had their jobs; we are those guys. But in this, shall we say, irregular form, we can move a lot faster”.

“Many of you already know the man I’m introducing, a great friend to the sciences and to the creation of this museum in particular. You’ve seen his shows on PBS and the Learning Channel, like the How to Build a Computer series, or God and Science Reconciled online. You’ve read his bestseller, Atomic Terror Over the Pacific, or watched the adaptation on HBO. Ladies and gentlemen, Hank Rhody”.

Bearded, bespectacled Hank Rhody walks into the spotlight and takes the microphone. He hangs a diagram of a weapon on the conference room whiteboard. It read “ThUG”.

“ThUG” stands for “the uranium gun”. It’s not much of a gun. It fires only one bullet that destroys itself, plus everything a half-mile around it. ThUG’s the simplest kind of atomic bomb. It was Hiroshima’s executioner”, he said quietly. “South Africa built seven of them in the Eighties. They are the only nation in the world that is known to have destroyed their entire stock of nuclear weapons”. He paused. “Or was known to”.

Hank unrolled a map. “We have friends and kin in the extended network of Lutheran and other German-speaking missions in this part of Africa. They’ve got some contact with Dutch Reformed and Afrikaners. They know the Rhodys have an ear for news. They brought us some”. He pointed to a place on the map. “There’s an old professor outside Durban who was once a second-rank science advisor in the former white government. He worked on the bomb project like hundreds of other people. He wasn’t one of the leaders. The Mandela government cleared him to teach physics at the University of the state of Natal. He stayed clear of politics”.

Hank continues. “Last year he received a fatal cancer diagnosis and he sold some collector’s items to raise cash for his granddaughter and her kids. Many of the items were Third Reich paraphernalia, legal at the time of purchase but illegal in the new South Africa. The website that bought the items was in Europe, so EU and Interpol paid attention to the prof’s atomic connection. Maybe he deserved a second look, but there are plenty of legitimate military history buffs. The case was closed. Three months ago, he died. Then his house was broken into. Well, more accurately intelligence broke into it, and we were convinced he’d kept the seventh bomb. There’s paperwork that it was dismantled and destroyed. The paperwork was faked. So we pursued the bomb. We found it. At least, we found out who has it. Now it’s up to us to get it from him. Here’s how we’re going to do it–”.

(Voice fades)

(Network announcer): You’re listening to a Tales From the PIT presentation. We pause for station identification.

(Local announcer): This is KRCH 810 AM, your Ricochet station in Los Angeles.

(Network announcer): And now back to Atomic Terror Over the African Coast!

(Narrator): Two hours went by. The streets outside were dark. The plaza clock chimed 8. Inside the conference room, things were wrapping up.

Hank, answering someone’s question, leaned forward. “They’ll be on guard and they know every trick. It’s locked up tight. How do we get it out? We can’t! But he can! D. Newlander and Shanna are the prime team. We have to give him the opportunity for him to double-cross someone first. That’ll be you, Samblock, and you, Jackie.” Her face lit up with an incandescent smile. Samblock clearly liked the idea of being partnered with her. “That’s just one set of roles”, Hank said. “There will be a couple of them”.

Shanna said, “You realize, of course, that the property transfer has to be real. The Swiss won’t fake the certification”. Hank nods vigorously. “Smart lady! You’re right, we have to go through with the real thing. Of course, I know a way to get it back later”. D. Newlander smiled with brotherly pride. His protégé was already making good.

RightAngles, an aptly named model and artist, read her instructions. “All right, it’s a la mode Francaise”, she asked, “Which ‘me’ do you want?” Hank didn’t hesitate a second. “I need you to be the ultimate haughty hottie”. RightAngles laughed. “Got it”. She recognized someone at the end of the table. He clearly knows her. “Roberto”, she said. He smiled and nodded. “And you’re, uh, called the Right Everything, right? Long time no see”. She laughed again. “You know perfectly well who I am, buster”.

Hank Rhody gestured towards a thoughtful, tough-looking westerner in suit and tie. “Take a good look, because he isn’t going on this trip. We need someone to handle secure radio traffic on this end. That’s him. He’s also our contact with the agencies, to the limited degree they can help us along the way. Call him the Canadian Lieutenant, because his cryptonym is a mouthful—ltpwfdcm, allegedly”. The group murmured a hello. Ltpwfdcm acknowledged it. “Got a secure base for this yet?” Hank asked, “I mean, rock solid?” Ltpwfdcm shrugged and smiled in affirmation. “Not going to be a problem, Hank”.

Computer expert Dave Barsham, a strong man with a gentle southern accent, asked: “Hank, can’t we get a more exact idea of what hardware we’re going to face?”

“No, Dave, unfortunately we can only narrow it down to a handful of vendors who sold mainframes to the university in that time period. Between you and Judge Mental, we think we have a good shot of being ready for anything. Judge is also piloting”.

“Lucky me”, said Matt Balzer dryly. “I’m the co-pilot. Which reminds me; where’s the plane?” Hank rolled up his diagram and maps. “My brother Sam is with it in Africa right now”, he said. “It’s the oldest jet in our fleet, sort of spent the last twenty, thirty years in the corporate backwaters. It’s got a quiet ICAO file. Perfect for this kind of work”.

“The repaint job on the jet?”, Matt asked.

“My brother found a fleet services company there that was happy to get the work”.

Dave Barsham frowned with honest doubt. “Couldn’t we give what we know to the South African intelligence agencies and let them take care of it, Hank? It’s their country. It ought to be up to them. Hasn’t this guy broken their laws?”

“A very reasonable point of view, Dave. Normally I’d agree. But he’s broken all sorts of laws in his time, and he’s paid off high-level connections. We can’t be sure a police raid wouldn’t get leaked. If we can obtain and present information, digital information tying him in with atomic smuggling, the courts would prosecute”.

“There’s another reason we don’t want to tell the South Africans what we’re doing. They don’t have nuclear weapons. The new Black government signed a treaty thirty years ago renouncing them. But if they suddenly discovered that they still possessed one, it might be an irresistible temptation. Conflict over its possession could destabilize the government”.

Hank concludes the meeting by opening a bottle of champagne. Flutes of the good stuff are offered all around. He raises his arm in a toast. “Our next stop is King Shaka International Airport in Durban. The next time we meet, most of us will have to pretend we don’t know each other, so good luck—and here’s to Operation Ricochet!”

And so it begins! For the next two nights, tune in Ricochet Silent Radio for the next chapters of our exciting adventure, Atomic Terror Over the African Coast!

Ricochet members mentioned or featured in tonight’s introductory episode include @dnewlander, @samuelblock, @hankrhody, @samrhody, @rightangles, @lessersonofbarsham, @mattbalzer, @judgemental, @roberto and @ltpwfdcm. Our disclaimer: RSR stories are fan fiction. The dialog, actions, and personal history of these characters are purely imaginary. RSR is not an official activity of Ricochet. Your imaginary network radio announcer is Johnny Donovan. The voice of RSR is @raykujawa.

Remember, three chimes mean good times on Ricochet Silent Radio.

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  1. Judge Mental Member

    Sam and Jackie?

    Image result for napoleon dynamite lucky gif

     

    • #1
    • March 24, 2020, at 1:20 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    Sam and Jackie?

    Image result for napoleon dynamite lucky gif

    Yeah, D. Newlander’s going to be mad that he doesn’t get to keep both of them. But hey, we’ve got a Code of Conduct around here. Besides, he’s being really professional about all this. 

     

    • #2
    • March 24, 2020, at 1:25 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Judge Mental Member

    Sam and Jackie, D and Shanna, Roberto and RA… And I end up with Matt.

    *sigh*

    • #3
    • March 24, 2020, at 1:36 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  4. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    Sam and Jackie, D and Shanna, Roberto and RA… And I end up with Matt.

    *sigh*

    With what Wisconsin Mining and Manufacturing will pay you if you can bring this off, you’ll be able to be the Commodore Vanderbilt of the Ohio River Valley. Surely, the ladies will notice. 

    • #4
    • March 24, 2020, at 1:46 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    Sam and Jackie, D and Shanna, Roberto and RA… And I end up with Matt.

    *sigh*

    There’s many more where Shanna and Jackie come from, Judge. There’s always time.

    • #5
    • March 24, 2020, at 1:46 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    One thing these RSRs need–title sequences by Saul Bass.

    • #6
    • March 24, 2020, at 1:52 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    One thing these RSRs need–title sequences by Saul Bass.

     

    Did I post the video of best title sequences of all time on the PIT? I don’t think I did. I watched it the other night and thought of you, Gary.

    • #7
    • March 24, 2020, at 1:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Dave of Barsham Member

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    Sam and Jackie, D and Shanna, Roberto and RA… And I end up with Matt.

    *sigh*

    Well, at the very least you’ll get you a bumper sticker out of the deal, “Matt is my co-pilot.” Granted, you’ll have to keep it locked in your safe along with the medal we’ll get if we survive.

    • #8
    • March 24, 2020, at 5:40 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Fun! Hey, Gary, congrats on becoming a Contributor!

    • #9
    • March 24, 2020, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. RightAngles Member

    Once again, Gary captures the feel of old-time radio! And of course @roberto and I are giggly with excitement to be mentioned. I always knew you should be a contributor. Roberto and I will toast you on Friday night when we have a date! haha! Is it Friday yet?

    • #10
    • March 24, 2020, at 8:08 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    And of course @roberto and I are giggly with excitement to be mentioned.

    Roberto, giggly? I’d like to see that.

    • #11
    • March 24, 2020, at 8:33 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Gary McVey: He hangs a diagram of a weapon on the conference room whiteboard. It read “ThUG”.

    I knew I shouldn’t have spent the one afternoon posting links like this in the PIT.

    • #12
    • March 24, 2020, at 8:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    Sam and Jackie, D and Shanna, Roberto and RA… And I end up with Matt.

    *sigh*

    It’s a fair cop.

    • #13
    • March 24, 2020, at 8:49 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. RightAngles Member

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    And of course @roberto and I are giggly with excitement to be mentioned.

    Roberto, giggly? I’d like to see that.

    He’s going to kill me.

    • #14
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:04 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    And of course @roberto and I are giggly with excitement to be mentioned.

    Roberto, giggly? I’d like to see that.

    He’s going to kill me.

    You always say that. And he never does.

    • #15
    • March 24, 2020, at 9:44 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  16. TheRightNurse Member

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    Sam and Jackie, D and Shanna, Roberto and RA… And I end up with Matt.

    *sigh*

    Hey! It’s not so bad…

    • #16
    • March 24, 2020, at 11:50 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  17. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    Sam and Jackie, D and Shanna, Roberto and RA… And I end up with Matt.

    *sigh*

    Hey! It’s not so bad…

    You’ll make a very noticeable cameo in Part 2!

    • #17
    • March 24, 2020, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Al French, PIT Geezer (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    And of course @roberto and I are giggly with excitement to be mentioned.

    Roberto, giggly? I’d like to see that.

    He’s going to kill me.

    You always say that. And he never does.

    (Roberto, seething) “I’d like to send you on a little trip, Righty! You know where??”

    (RightAngles, snarls) “No, where, Roberto?”

    (Roberto) “To the Moon, Righty!!”

    • #18
    • March 24, 2020, at 2:04 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Fun! Hey, Gary, congrats on becoming a Contributor!

    Thanks for joining us, Susan! Ricochet Silent Radio is something of an institution, like the PIT itself, and most of us involved in it should probably be institutionalized!

    • #19
    • March 24, 2020, at 2:07 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  20. Clavius Thatcher

    Hey, Max killed PIT 19. We need Pit 20! @therightnurse

    • #20
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:04 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Clavius (View Comment):
    Hey, Max killed PIT 19. We need Pit 20!

    Emergency procedures are in effect. Treat all posts as the PIT until further notice.

    • #21
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:07 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  22. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Hey, Max killed PIT 19. We need Pit 20! @therightnurse

    Matt’s on the case. It’s like Superman has a secret signal watch that can summon Superwoman. 

    BTW, I have just enough time to write in an inside joke about it in Part 2. 

    • #22
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:08 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  23. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):
    Hey, Max killed PIT 19. We need Pit 20!

    Emergency procedures are in effect. Treat all posts as the PIT until further notice.

    • #23
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:09 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. Judge Mental Member

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):
    Hey, Max killed PIT 19. We need Pit 20!

    Emergency procedures are in effect. Treat all posts as the PIT until further notice.

    During these difficult times, extreme steps must be taken.

    • #24
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):
    Hey, Max killed PIT 19. We need Pit 20!

    Emergency procedures are in effect. Treat all posts as the PIT until further notice.

    During these difficult times, extreme steps must be taken.

    It’s an object lesson in showing what happens when you don’t quarantine people.

    • #25
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:12 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  26. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Imaginary Radio is dedicated to the public service and stands ready to support the burden of the entire rest of the PIT. What the hell, most of them are already in this show anyway. 

    • #26
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:14 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):
    Hey, Max killed PIT 19. We need Pit 20!

    Emergency procedures are in effect. Treat all posts as the PIT until further notice.

    • #27
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:22 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  28. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #28
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  29. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    It’s up!

    • #29
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:25 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Your closeup is in Part 3, Percival. Make up, get this man some Armor-All. 

    • #30
    • March 24, 2020, at 4:25 PM PDT
    • 7 likes