Saturday, April 14, 2012

City Planning

“Call Stevens.  I need to see him at once.”

Janet could barely believe it.  She knew it made sense considering the circumstances but she honestly never expected the mayor to actually need Frank Stevens in this exact capacity.  Nobody ever did.

“Of course, sir.  I’ll call him right away.”

Stevens had been warning her boss Mayor David Jackson for years.  He would have been let go years for being a total loon if he wasn’t so damn good at his actual job duties.  Overall city efficiency had been increased by 37% since he took over the department.  It was an unheard of bump.

Janet walked back to her desk and picked up the phone.  She called Frank Stevens, the head of city planning.  As always he picked up the phone immediately.

“I warned you” said the voice that picked up.

Janet sighed.  They were never going to live this down.

“Yes.  Yes, you did.  How quickly can you get here, Frank?”

“I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”

“Been expecting the call lhuh?”

“Of course.”


He had a PowerPoint presentation.  Of course he did.  He had years of paranoia to perfect it after all.

“As you can see here I’ve already updated my slides to capture the latest data.”

Janet was taking notes.  It would be up to her to send out the proper notices to the various departments once Frank and the mayor decided the next course of action.  Normally the job was pretty boring but today obviously had a much greater scope of urgency.  Sure, she was a cog in the city machine but she was a very important cog today.

“Good work, Stevens.  Let’s review everything shall we?  With your particular, ahem, interests in such things I expect you have data I don’t” said the Mayor.

“You bet your ass I do.  Do you want condensed or detailed?” asked Stevens.

David Jackson sighed.

“We obviously don’t have a lot of time here.  Let’s go with condensed.”

“Good plan.  Alright, so we’re dealing with our classic giant monster attack.  Based off the destruction of Bellview Tower our threat is over 300 feet tall.  This means the monster is taller than the currently designated height of Godzilla.  As you know his current size in modern movies is currently considered to be 80 meters or approximately 267 feet and…”

“Frank, stay on target, please” said the Mayor.

“Sorry.  This is just so exciting.  Terrible of course, but also exciting.  All my year s of…”

“Stevens!” yelled the Mayor.

“Sorry, sorry.  Alright, so our threat is quite tall and very menacing.  The good news is that it seems like it is totally organic.  Nothing has shown it to be mechanical in nature.  That means it should be easier to take down.  If it was mechanical some type of specialized EMP or electrical attack would have been necessary.  Luckily we dodged that bullet.”

Frank was clicking through the slides.  Many pictures from the Godzilla franchise were present as part of his research.  It was simply surreal.  Janet couldn’t believe she was taking down notes from a man that she always thought was just some kind of obsessive weirdo.

Alright, he still was an obsessive weirdo, but he was one that actually could help the city with its very unique and surreal problem.

“What do you recommend for our course of action?” asked the Mayor.

“Well, the size of the beast makes traditional firearms probably pretty useless against it.  I doubt the firearms of our police force will be able to do much.  Maybe snipers with well placed shots might be able to do inflict a little bit of harm but it won’t be much in terms of true damage.  With our current police resources we can in effect poke it with needles.  Sure, it might hurt but it is probably just going to piss it off more.”

“Ok, so should we tell the chief to stand down?”

“Yeah, I would.  Not going to do much.  We need to engage via other means.”

“What do you mean?”

“The way I see it we have three viable options.  All three have positives and negatives.”

“Out with it!  What are our options?”

Stevens clicked through more slides quickly, obviously trying to get to the part in his presentation that discussed the three options.

“Option 1 is military force.  We call in the National Guard or army.  This is our default option.  However, it will be very costly.  Beyond some kind of modified Nuclear weapon even tanks and bombs are probably only going to damage it slightly unless we throw a LOT of firepower towards it.  The damage to the city and the ordinance costs will be particularly high.  Not really good for an election year.”

“Damn.  Alright, so that’s our backup plan.  What else do we have?”

“Option 2 is find a weakness and exploit it.  This can vary quite a bit from monster to monster.  It might be allergic to water, might be weak to electricity, it might have developed a strange relationship to a small boy who considers the monster a friend, or it could be weak to the common cold.  This is a sure fire way to defeat the monster.  However, it would take research time to determine the weakness.  Since Rippicus Street Chomper is currently ravaging downtime I’m not sure if we have time to properly research the weakness.”

“Rippicus Street Chomper?” Janet confusingly asked.

“Oh, that is what I named it.  You see…”

“Frank, I don’t care what you call this thing.  I just want it dead.  What’s option 3?”

Frank smiled.  It was obvious that he was happy that his name was allowed.  He then continued with his presentation.

“Option 3 is that we set a trap.  It is similar to Option 2 but more generic.  If we can trap it somewhere, say the stadium, and then set off a large amount of explosives it should do the trick.  Just need to use some good bait and time it right.  The drawback of course is both the cost and destruction ofproperty.”

“Frank, are you insane?  I can’t blow up the stadium!”

Frank paused a moment and looked deep in thought.

“Why not?”

“What the hell do you mean, why not?  That stadium cost us millions and…”

“Hear me out, boss.  The stadium did cost us millions.  However, it is owned by Hank Pool who currently doesn’t support you.  Everyone knows he is going to support Billy North come election time.  You also aren’t doing fantastic with the Local 548.  You can hit three birds with one stone here.  You can blow up the stadium hurting the resources of Hank.  He will need to put his money towards rebuilding instead of Pool’s campaign.  If you get the 548 to help with the explosives it will be great PR with them and if you succeed at blowing up the monster everyone will forget about your recent problems and the election will go much better for you.”

Both the Mayor and Janet just stared at Frank Stevens.


“Brilliant?  Yes, I know.  I told you, Mayor.  I’m good at planning” said Frank.

“Nobody ever doubted that, Frank.  You know, just the whole monster prep stuff and everything…”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.  So, are we going with option 3 or what?  As you said, Mayor, time is kind of an issue here.  You know, concerned citizens being stepped on and all that…”

The Mayor snapped out of it.

“Of course, of course.  Janet, please work with Frank to get Option 3 under way.”

“Yes, sir” Janet said.

She didn’t really love the option.  It was underhanded and part of her wanted her boss kicked out of office.  The things he supposedly did were awful.  He assured her it was all a misunderstanding but she still had doubts.  However, the politics didn’t matter.  The city was in danger and the city planner in charge of monster attacks had spoken.  They would go with option 3.

Today’s poem link for National Poetry Month goes out to Modernity’s Muse.

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