N W VANCE

The Ghost Of Tesla’s Folly

The dams of the Tennessee Valley Authority are about to be destroyed sending countless trillions of acre-feet of water down the Mississippi River destroying everything and everyone in its path.
It’s up to Jack Turner and a top-secret organization, Wildfire, to put a stop to the impending disaster that could bankrupt the US economy and kill tens of thousands of people.
Looking to avenge the treatment of his father, Nikola Tesla, Jon Tesla has designed a satellite capable of sending a concentrated energy pulse to destroy the dams and bring distrustion from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico.
Follow Jack and his partner, Bob Anderson as they narrowly escape death time and time again in their attempt to divert a disaster of unprecedented proportions.

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The Ghost Of
Tesla’s Folly

Prologue I
Colorado Springs—1893

It was early morning when Nikola Tesla walked into his laboratory and marveled for a few moments at his creation. In a few hours, he will prove to the world that he has developed a way to transmit electricity wirelessly over great distances in order to power homes and factories around the world.
Located in the center of a huge domed cavern near Colorado Springs, two ten foot tall and six-foot in diameter units sat fifty yards apart. Thirty feet off to the side, two monitoring stations sat surrounded on three sides by a twelve-foot high glass wall impregnated with steel mesh and attached to grounding stakes driven deep into the earth.
“Mr. Talbert, is everything ready for the test?” Tesla asked as he walked around two of the huge coil devices inspecting every connection and joint in the massive units. “Mr. Talbert, could you come here for a moment?”
As Talbert approached Tesla, he saw him bent over scrutinizing something, all the while talking to himself.
“What did you find, Sir?” Talbert asked seeing Tesla wriggling the wires to an electrical connector.
“Mr. Talbert, this wire nut is not tight enough; if there are any loose connections, even a few, the electricity will arc and melt the connector. If that were to happen…,” Tesla started to say looking at the two units, “if that were to happen, we would all be killed in the massive electrical plasma field that would result.”
“But, Sir, it looks and feels tight,” Talbert said refuting Tesla’s comment as he closely examined the connector, wriggling the wire himself.
“I’m sure if you were to use your wrench, you would be able to tighten it a little more. I want every connector checked again, and when you’re finished, I want them re-checked once more. We have to be absolutely positive there are no mistakes.”
“Yes, Sir. I’ll have my crew inspect everything. You can count on me, Sir.”
“I would like you to make the final inspection when they’re finished. I’ll be in my office if you need me for anything.”
Talbert quickly gathered his team together and began firing orders explaining what Tesla had found and what the consequences would be for failure.
“James, I want you and Peter to remove all the access plates while Renshu and I physically check every connection. Robert, I want you to check everything on the outside—don’t just look at the connections, but physically check the junction. We have to be sure. If there are any mistakes, then we’re all dead men. In that case, I would only hope and pray that they could find enough of our bodies to bury.”
As the panels came off, both Talbert and Renshu began tightening the nuts finding most were tight, but could be tightened a little more as Tesla said would be the case.
“If Mr. Tesla is correct,” Talbert explained, “these connectors would have melted when the electricity began to arc and we would all be dead the moment we ran the test. I’ve found that if Mr. Tesla says something, he’s almost always right. Let’s just be glad he caught this before it was too late.”
“I do hope he realizes that to check all these connections will set his test back at least two days,” Renshu said as he tightened one more nut.
Talbert looked at Renshu, shrugged his shoulders, and simply said, “He knows. What’s more, you can count on him to recheck every connection himself making sure we did our job correctly.”

***

Three days later, Tesla and Talbert sat at a control console behind the one-inch thick plate glass while checking the various gauges and their readouts. Finally, after watching every gauge for a few moments and calculating the normal variation, Tesla sat back in his chair and sighed deeply.
“Mr. Talbert, it appears as if we’re ready. Everything is within my projected normals and holding,” Tesla said with satisfaction as he inched the dial controlling the power forward–stop by stop.
Stopping briefly at one percent, both he and Talbert checked the readouts prior to continuing. Once again satisfied that everything was within projected normals, he slowly increased power to five percent whilst once again checking the various gauges for any abnormalities. Taking a deep breath and glancing at Talbert, Tesla increased the power until the gauges indicated ten percent. Plasma immediately began arcing in every direction bringing the offensive smell of strong ozone.
“Mr. Talbert, what is the temperature of the coils?” Tesla asked with mounting concern.
Talbert took a quick look at the readout on the dial and tapped the face with his finger a couple of times, replying, “Temperature is 239.4 degrees centigrade, Sir—well within your specifications.”
“O…kay…,” Tesla said slowly. “Mr. Talbert, let’s take it a little higher,” Tesla said as he began increasing the power to twenty five percent. “How does everything look now on your end?”
“Looks great, Sir. Temperature has increased only ten degrees.”
“Good. Let’s increase it to fifty percent.”
Slowly, Tesla increased the power to fifty percent while Talbert kept a sharp eye on the temperature gauge. At fifty percent, the cavern was awash with tongues of plasma, arcing everywhere. To Talbert’s way of thinking, it looked like something straight from hell.
Both Tesla and Talbert’s hair stood straight out from their body and their skin felt as if a million ants were crawling over them.
“Mr. Tesla, is this reaction normal?” Talbert asked nervously as he watched the plasma arcs strike both the walls and the metal mesh protecting them from being incinerated.
“There is no reason to worry, Mr. Talbert. That steel mesh is attached to copper rods driven ten feet into the ground.”
“I wish that would make me feel better,” Talbert answered. “What is the percentage of voltage being transferred to the receiving coils?”
Tesla looked at the dials and smiled. “It looks like we are transmitting twenty-five percent. We’re losing a lot because of the arcing. We have to devise a method to reduce that loss. Once we have solved that problem, our percentage should approach ninety.”
“Just the fact that you have transmitted any electricity at all is a marvel in itself. You must be proud of your accomplishment, Sir.”
“Let’s not pat each other on the back yet. I’m going to increase the power to seventy-five and see how much we can increase the transfer,” Tesla said as he slowly turned the dial forward.
At seventy-five, plasma arcs made constant contact with the mesh forming an almost solid wall of flaming plasma turning the wire mesh a dull red from the intense generated heat.
“What is the temperature now, Mr. Talbert?” Tesla yelled above the extreme noise.
“Two hundred and fifty seven degrees, Sir.”
“Good. Let’s go for full power now.”
“But the wire mesh can’t take much more. It’s already turning red,” Talbert said above the arcing sounds the plasma was making.
“It’s alright. Next time we’ll use a heavier gauge. If it looks as if it can’t take any more, we’ll shut down, but we at least have to try,” Tesla said.
Satisfied with the way the readings were holding, Tesla went to full power.
Instantly, the wire mesh and the sides of the cavern were awash with a solid sheet of blindingly bright electrical plasma. Within seconds, the wire mesh turned white hot and began to melt and the intense heat cracked the glass plate in front of Talbert crumbling it into dust. The electrical plasma, having no other place to go, struck Talbert the full length of his body instantly turning his clothing into a blazing inferno. Flaming plasma erupted from every orifice while his body convulsed. Suddenly, as Tesla watched in shock and dismay, Talbert’s body evaporated to a pile of dust in front of him.
Unable to comprehend what was happening, shock and confusion flooded Tesla’s mind. With the grounded wire mesh gone, the electrical plasma had no place to go except to the side of the lab and the second set of coils on the far side of the cavern. Tesla watched the temperature gauge continue to rise and the coils started to turn cherry red with the intense heat. Suddenly Tesla saw what should have been impossible—a strange blue field surrounding the two coils culminating in a violent flash of light. Men, equipment—everything within a fifty-feet radius around the coils disappeared leaving no sign that they ever existed.

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