Means of Revealing Details to the Reader, One, Destruction

611px-NORADNorth-Portal

Featured in many speculative fiction stories since NORAD was established, the Cheyenne Mountain Complex remains one of the most interesting military locations in reality and fiction.

Star Gate used the location as the secret base of the titular Star Gate transportation device; used to travel to other worlds. They did this under an Air Force banner for ten seasons (and spin offs that are of varying quality). The location was destroyed numerous times, always back to working order by next episode (alternate world, avoidable future, alien lotus eater machine, etc.).

Independence Day mentioned NORAD as the location the Vice President and the Joint Chiefs fled before the President (as played brilliantly by Bill Pullman) evacuated the White House. In passing, it was said to have been destroyed by the giant alien ships’ death ray (which turns out to be some kind of anti-matter beam or something).

But the best use of language to denote destruction comes not from television or film, but literature.

As the headquarters of the North American Space Defense, the mountain complex is featured somewhat prominently as a military target in the last section of Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. During the climax of the book, NA’s space defense HQ is hit, repeatedly, by many thousands of pounds of rock covered in steel and shot out of a mass driver from the Moon with the Earth’s gravity well used as icing on the kinetic strike cake.

Then came one of the most potent lines I’ve ever read concerning total destruction. When considering if the new Lunar government should hit their space command again,

“I don’t think we had better hit that mountain again.”

“Why?”

“It’s not there any longer.”

Until next time,

-M

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