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Act I, Section 3 of Louis Slotin Sonata:


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. . . (Slotin crosses to a post and picks up a telephone that happens to be mounted on it.)

SLOTIN (into the receiver) : Philip Morrison's office, please . . . .

(pause)

Phil, it's Lou.

(pause)

Phil... uh...

(pause)

We've uh... had an accident down here at the Lab, Phil. I think you better get down here.

(Lights up on Philip Morrison sitting at a desk.)

Philip Morrison's office, please.

(The phone rings. Morrison picks it up.)

MORRISON: Hello?

SLOTIN: Phil, it's Lou.

MORRISON: Yeah, Louie.

SLOTIN: Phil... uh...

MORRISON: Lou?

SLOTIN: We've uh... had an accident down here at the Lab, Phil. I think you better get down here.

MORRISON: Oh okay. Louie, can you give me some more inf--

SLOTIN: I was running a crit test and the core-- we're fairly certain the core went prompt critical. I've already called the hospital. They're on their way.

MORRISON: Unh-hunh... Louie, was there a--

SLOTIN: There was a blue glow. Yeah.

MORRISON: All right. Uh..... Dosage. Dosage. We're gonna need exact positions of everyone exposed.

SLOTIN: Yeah. Absolutely. I'm uh... I'm rounding the fellahs up as we speak.

MORRISON: Good. I'll be right down.

SLOTIN: Okay. See ya.

MORRISON: Louie.

SLOTIN: Yeah, Phil.

MORRISON: Uh... I'll be right down.

SLOTIN: Okay.

(Lights out on Slotin.)

MORRISON: Dosage. Dosage. We're gonna need exact positions of everyone exposed.

(pause)

Good. I'll be right down.

(pause)

Louie.

(pause)

Uh... I'll be right down.

(Beat.)

Dammit... dammit...dammit dammit dammit dammit shit shit shit shit shit.

(Lights shift to Slotin.)

SLOTIN: Okay, okay, time to think. Let's think, shall we? Think. Hungry little questions. How? Why? What was I thinking?

(Lights up on the Crit Lab exactly as it was during the demonstration.)

And that's it.... That's the crit test.... Only that’s not the crit test. Not by a long shot.... We have to take the core a lot closer to critical, to the brink, actually; otherwise, how would we know? Correct?

(Slotin removes the wooden spacers then picks up the top shell and the screwdriver.)

A special U.S. Army issue manual screw insertion and removal implement.... Daghlian said he saw a blue glow.

GRAVES: Sweet geez, that had to be a huge dose.

SLOTIN: About 800 rem.

CIESLICKI: Nagasaki--

SLOTIN AND CIESLICKI (simultaneously): --Without the mess.

SLOTIN: Thank you, Cieslicki, for that... interesting analogy.

At any rate, the experimenter can bring the apparatus even closer to criticality by rotating the screwdriver, kinda like revving a motorcycle throttle.

(Everything happens exactly as before, all the way up to the CLICK.

Scene bracket.

Slotin stands exactly where he was before, even holding the top-shell and screwdriver.)

Answers?... Anyone?

(Scene bracket.

Lights up on Slotin and Graves sitting on examination tables. Graves has a thermometer in his mouth, while Dr. Louis Hempelmann takes Slotin's blood pressure.) . . .

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