The beam is an explosion inhibitor . . .
Something strange is going on inside the ruby colored beam of coherent light. Physicist Homer Layton has a theory that time runs marginally slower there. The beam is injecting a disturbance into time itself. His team has dubbed this phenomenon “the Layton Effect.” Combustible material will burn inside the beam —though with a lower flame — but will not flash. Nothing will explode. Homer plans a scholarly paper to be published in the journal, Science, a re-examination of the very nature of time. It’s going to be a blockbuster among physicists, he suspects, though probably just a curiosity to everyone else.
But then one of Homer’s assistants discovers that the Effect is propagated not by the beam itself but by the ruby chip and magnetic field used to focus it. And if the beam were ever to be aligned precisely with the earth’s magnetic field, the Effect could escape and suddenly become global. The thought of a Layton Effect world is too awful to consider. Guns and bombs would be rendered useless — that might be a plus — but no internal combustion engine could function. The technological progress of the past hundred years would effectively be repealed. They realize that their discovery must never be published, or some idiot would be bound to line up the beam.
But then a deteriorating geo-political situation makes them reconsider. The nuclear exchange that is about to happen will lead to an even worse outcome. Homer’s assistants build a “persistent effector,” a device that seeks out the earth’s field to inject the Effect onto it. With missiles incoming and outgoing, he turns the effector on.
But then what? Can civilization survive in a Layton Effect world? We’re about to find out.
About Dark World Chronicles:
The world has gone dark. Nothing works. Cars and trucks and airplanes and guns and bombs are nothing more than paperweights. A mysterious disturbance propagated onto the earth’s magnetic field has the effect of inhibiting all explosions. It has repealed most of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, leaving the world as it was in your great great grandparents’ time.
The villain (or hero, depending on your perspective) who has made this happen is the physicist Homer Layton. He must be destroyed. And his stupid machine that injects the disturbance must be destroyed. Because without it we can never have another real war. This is unacceptable. Fortunes of treasure and innovation have been invested in war materiel, all of it now useless. Most people would like to have their cars and computers and televisions working again, but that’s not what really matters. What really matters is that governments cannot get on with the business of war. The power elites around the world have determined to track down Layton and his little colony of war opponents and smash them. Then the nuclear war that that was just about to happen when turned on his damnable machine can finally get started . . .