Paragraph spacing is to keep you from going blind due to the massive wall of text.
Oh, and my most sincere apologies to my friends in the DFW area for killing you. ;)
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There was a glow in the air, a widespread feeling of giddiness and hope, in the crowded supercollider control room. Years of construction gaffes, monstrous budget overruns, and endless regulatory hearings melted away, leaving only this final symbol of scientific victory over the bureaucratic and political process.
It finally came down to this: the throwing of “The Big Switch.” As the administrators and politicians looked on with glee, the test director pulled the oversize electrical connector to the “on” setting, like Igor pulling the lever on one of Dr. Frankenstein's mad experiments.
The switch was only a prop, though, a gift from the prototype shop of the huge supercollider's electrical contractor. The final particle collision sequence was really started by the click of a mouse to a button on the master control computer's interface screen.
As the ceremonial switch was thrown, the test director nodded to her assistant, who gently tapped the shoulder of the particle physicist manning the real initiation button.
Lights danced on the display screens. The control room's three main walls were dominated by racetrack-like representation maps, oval arrays of lights surrounded by status screens for the six main experiments strewn along the collider's miles of superconducting magnets and conduit. Relays opened and closed in a carefully-orchestrated sequence, dumping a significant portion of the state of Texas' power supply into the supercollider. A deep, almost insubstantial hum filled the ears of everyone in the control room.
Light applause filtered in from the small stadium-style gallery of seats adjoining the control room as the racetrack display's lights all turned to green. Behind the plexiglass separation, the media representatives turned to address their cameras and audiences. Selected family members and other VIPs took pictures on their phones of the assembly.
The hum in the room continued to build. It was no longer just heard, but also felt. Those in the audience with extensive dental work or phone implants in their jaws agonized as deep pains shot through their heads.
A small, red-rimmed pop-up alarm came up on the main interface screen. The particle physicist frowned at the unexpected trouble signal.
“Whoa, that's not supposed to happen. Allen, are you seeing this?” he said, looking to another scientist at a separate workstation across the room. He reached to acknowledge and knock down the alarm. His hand passed through the mouse and desktop. A hard white light began to flare from the control room wall closest to the supercollider.
The rising hum in the room drowned out his cry of surprise. It also masked the murmuring and outbursts coming from the audience as the racetrack's solid green lights turned to flashing red. More and more alerts blanketed the status display screens.
The room's temperature grew too hot, too fast. Screams were cut short as meat, metal, and all other physical matter shifted from solid to superheated gas in a matter of seconds.
There was a flash, and everything within a fifty-mile radius of the supercollider, including the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and its population of millions, boiled away to nothing.
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