The N3B-DF's range was limited by our excimer laser, which disappointed our scientists until they found a better, more transparent ruby window through which to shine the laser's 20 GW (EIRP) beam. More expensive too. Much.
However, money was no object, and the N3B-DF's new operational capabilities surprised and delighted the AAN-BPWRS project office. On Feb. 11 the COTR told E-ringers about the new flying version of the B, and everyone wanted one on every conceivable flying platform, including the next gen UCAVs. So, okay. Money was no object.
We reformfactored the B to fit into fast flyers, air cav platforms, even the fucking 3 lb UAVs the Army grunts were using in Indonesia. (*shrugs* Don't ask. Best not to ask about these things. I thought they were our allies. This is way over my pay grade.)
Joint Ops Center wanted a demo, live, so we dry ops this thing, it gets approved, we're in the NMCC looking at the pale green screens three weeks later, NRO's got eyes down on this place called REDACTED on a little island at lat REDACTED-REDACTED, real time optics plus a M3 flyover providing redundant optics in real time with big time dynamics -- shit, I get sick when I see how the picture changes that fast, the fucking bird must be hauling ass -- and damned if our 3 week wonder doesn't peg the unident the first time. AO7 IDs the target kill, and USSC/NRO indep-confirms. We're all cheering and the Northrup guys want to be our best friends and take us out to get drunk or laid or drunk and laid, I'm not sure which, WEPS says, goddam I want one in my Hummer for that goddam beltway traffic, and we're all wondering how long its going to be before this shows up in Aviation Week. I wonder how a lt-colonel can afford a Hummer.
As usual there's a post op debrief, and we get walked down to Gen. REDACTED's office, I'm admiring the shininess of the floor on the way down and the loveliness of the calves of the secretary taking us down there, our team is looking pretty rank because most of us haven't slept for three weeks because it was an ultra project (JTMOOPSNANTWEDRB: Push) and money was no object, which meant sleep was, which meant we did about a half year's worth of work into three weeks' time, and I was wondering how strong our coffee was going to have to be to enable me to explain this to a three star in as coherent a manner as possible, and I thought to myself, fuck this noise. I'll sit there, he'll ask questions, I'll answer them, we're all really tired and bleary eyed but he's seen this before and it's nothing new.
We walk out 45 agonizing minutes later, he's all over us pressing for details, we're tired as hell, and we head down to the Metro station and Anderson asks me, can we really build a hundred more of those things? Where are we going to get the dysprosium?
Hadn't thought of that.
I missed the Orange Line, got on the Red Line, woke up a few hours later in Metro Center. my nappy head leaned against the cool plastic window, drool coming out of my mouth. I'd been dreaming of that little girl in kindergarten who wore the hand muff made of white rabbit fur, and how cute she was.
It's a weird life.