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Quantum Nightfall

A.H. Mittelman

By Alex H Mittelman Published 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 5 min read
Quantum Nightfall
Photo by Fractal Hassan on Unsplash

I’m Agent Daryl Jones, and I work for the N.S.A.

I was sitting at my desk, monitoring known terrorist chat rooms for any threats against the U.S. when the call came in around 1000 hours. That’s just after 10AM.

“Get Daryl in here, now,” I heard Gary’s voice shout. Gary was a hardass, but he rarely shouted. When he did, it was serious.

Penelope, a cute blonde with blue eyes and curly hair who always wore a dress with a pretty floral pattern and smelled of sweet perfume, came into my cubicle, hands shaking, very tremulous, and said “Gary wants to see you. He’s says he’s got an urgent phone call and needs you to assess the threat.”

“Don’t worry about Gary, Penelope. He’s always a hardass. Take a breath and sit down for a bit,” I replied.

I walked to the central floor, which was covered in wall to wall television monitors and a large theater sized screen in the center wall so everyone could see any broadcast.

“Sir,” I said to Gary and saluted.

“We have a major problem, Daryl. We have a man on the phone who says he’s built a missile capable of reaching the sun and blowing it up. He says he’ll show us the missile, and since you used to be a missile engineer for Lockheed Martin we could use your expertise,” Gary said.

“Well, my official title was rocket scientist. Has the terrorist made any demands?” I asked.

“Not yet. Ask him,” Gary said.

“Put this guy on the screen. Let him show us this alleged missile. And let’s find out what he wants, damn it,” I said.

Gary picked up the phone to talk to the alleged terrorist.

“Sir, do you have a camera? We are going to transfer you to our screen so you can show us your missile. Ok, good,” Gary said, nodded his head, then signaled me to put him on the monitor.

A tall, thin man wearing a camouflaged mask that looked like bark and was standing in the woods came on the screen.

“You’re on screen, sir,” I said.

“You can call me Quantum Nightfall. My missile has the energy to reach reach the sun, causing permanent nightfall,” he said. Then he was silent.

“Why? What are your demands?” I asked.

“I want 5 billion dollars transferred to an untraceable account I’ve set up, and a permanent ban on lumberjacks in all forests in California,” Quantum demanded.

“Mr. Nightfall, the farthest reaching missile is only capable of traveling just under ten thousand miles. The sun is almost 93 million miles away. Even if you had a missile with a payload large enough to damage the sun, how would you facilitate it? Could you show us your missile?” I asked.

“I already have a missile a few hours away from the sun, and while it’s paused for now, it’s ready to continue its journey should my demands not be met. I have hacked into several of your government satellites and used them to refuel the missile along the way, every nine thousand nine hundred miles, so it can reach its destination. I have attached a camera to the missile so I can show it to you,” Quantum Nightfall said. He then turned on the camera attached to his missile and put it on the screen.

“That’s a Russian RS-28 Sarmat. It seems to be legitimate, and I can see the sun near by. Can we confirm the footage is real and not been tampered with?” I asked.

“I’m tracing the signal now. It’s definitely coming from deep space,” Teddy, one of our technical supervisors, said.

“Damn it,” I muttered.

“Damn it, indeed, Daryl,” Quantum said.

“You have good hearing, Mr. Nightfall. That’s interesting. Tell me more about yourself. And how do you know my name?” I asked, hoping to buy some time.

“Please, call me Quantum. And are you trying to stall for time? That’s cute. You have eight hours to meet my demands, or I reactivate the missile. The clock starts now,” Quantum said.

All of our smaller monitors displayed a countdown clock that started at eight hours.

“You hacked us?” I asked.

“You didn’t think the N.S.A. Was infallible, did you? If I can hack government satellites, I can ceraintly hack into your measly little computers. Even your honey pots are easily avoidable,” Quantum said and laughed.

“That’s good to know. We’ll have to enhance our secuirty,” I said and frowned. We’re supposed to be the most advanced government agency in the world, how has this nobody terrorist managed to get into our mainframe.

“By the way, you might want to tell Teddy over there to stop trying to trace me. I have all of your own missiles armed, pointed at you and ready to launch. I have no problem blowing up your facility and negotiating with the C.I.A.,” Quantum said and smugly smiled.

The lights went out, the alarms went off and the red alert lights started flashing. Our missile locations appeared on the monitors and Teddy yelled “He’s accessed our missile systems. They’re seconds away from being launched, at us!”

“Ok, Quantum, you win. We won’t trace you. Just give us a minute to discuss options,” I said. The alarms went off and Quantum’s masked face reappeared on all the monitors.

“Time is ticking. I’ll call back in an hour,” Quantum said and hung up. The countdown reappeared on the screen. We had seven hours and fifty four minutes left, if Quantum kept his word.

An hour had passed, and when Quantum called back, we were ready to make a deal.

“Ok, Quantum. You’ve gotten your way. We usually don’t negotiate with terrorists, but to many lives are at stake. We’ve called the governor of California and had him draw up a bill permanently banning all loggers and lumberjacks from the state of California. And we even talked to the president and had him personally ban logging companies from cutting down trees on any public property in California. We wired the five billion dollars to the numbered account you sent to us. Can you please incapacitate your missile now?” I asked.

“I’m a man of my word. A deals a deal,” he said, showed us the missile on the screen and showed it shutting down and its parts separating and floating off into space.

“Thank you Quantum Nightfall,” I said and saluted.

“Don’t salute the terrorist,” Gary loudly whispered.

“Have a nice day, gentleman,” Quantum said, saluted us, and hung up. After dealing with three more threats, the rest of the day was normal.


“Wow, your computer hacking skills have really improved, Charlie. No wonder you were top of all your classes,” I said.

“I’m just glad I graduated college in time to protect you and all the other sentient trees, Twigly,” Charlie said. I smiled, glad Charlie was finally used to my face.

“Thank you for protecting us, Charlie. That was a good idea, building a fake missile out of our branches then painting it like the Saramat, then using a digital background to make it look like our wooden missile was heading towards the sun,” I said.

“What are you going to use the five billion dollars for?” Mr. Murder Tree, who decided to visit us, asked.

“Lobbying to make sure the bill passes to prevent loggers from cutting down any forest tree in California,” Charlie said.

“Genius,” I said.

This has been a Terrifying Tremulous Trees story!

SeriesShort StorySci FiPsychologicalFantasyAdventure

About the Creator

Alex H Mittelman

I love writing and just finished my first novel. Writing since I was nine. I’m on the autism spectrum but that doesn’t stop me! If you like my stories, click the heart, leave a comment. Link to book:

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Comments (6)

  • Kodah4 months ago

    I genuinely love reading your stories , Alex!! Incredibly written! ❤

  • "Don't salute the terrorist" Hahahahahahhahaha that made me laugh so much! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Also it was Charlie again! I didn't see that coming! That was such a pleasant surprise!

  • Andrea Corwin 4 months ago

    Save the trees, save the trees! You and I have appeler about this, how we hate the incessant chopping, logging, clearing….. If only we could make your story true! Good job, Alex.

  • Mark Gagnon4 months ago

    Interesting premise, but I think the sun would win. Good tree story though.

  • I had no clue this was a part of the continued Tree stories you are writing! Well done with the reveal! I feel like blowing up the sun is extreme though - I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure that would just kill everything haha. Unless there is more to know within this futuristic world you are creating!

Alex H Mittelman Written by Alex H Mittelman

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