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`Jesus,\' Nordmann said.
`I knew it,\' Graves said. `We had to get that separation.\'
Even so, he was thinking, there might be some mixture of the gases. And just a few droplets could kill...
`We better get everybody out of here,\' he said. They walked back towards the stairwell. Acrid stinging smoke billowed up towards them. Graves said, `Did the cops carrying that thing get away?\'
Nobody seemed to know.
The smoke coming from the stairs was so harsh that they were unable to descend. They returned to the apartment and to the windows looking down on the street. A heavy cloud of grey smoke was clearing. On the pavement there were globs of burning plastic, and smoke rising. In the distance they heard the sound of sirens and fire trucks.
Graves reached in his pocket for a cigarette, brought one out, and dropped it from his shaking hand. He took out another and lit it. He went to the window and looked down at the street. The fire trucks were coming. He watched them turn the corner and move past the police barricades.
Directly beneath him the pieces of molten plastic continued to burn on the pavement.
He turned to Nordmann. `Is he dead?\'
`Yes,\' Nordmann said quietly. `He\'s dead.\'
Graves watched as the fire trucks pulled up and sprayed the burning plastic with long hoses. The water formed reflecting puddles, gleaming red from the firelight and the San Diego sunset. He watched the harsh, streaming water for another moment, and then turned away from the window.
`Let\'s go down,\' Nordmann said.
`Yes,\' Graves said. `Let\'s.\'
By a complicated mechanism, John Wright, an ordinary American citizen, arranged to disperse one halfton of ZV nerve gas over the city of San Diego at 5 rht August 23rd, 1972. This event was to coincide with the political events occurring in that city at that time.
The plan was halted by intervention of the Defence Department, with some minor assistance by State Department personnel, particularly Mr R. Phelps.
The Department of Defence is to be congratulated on its successful efforts in this matter.
Three weeks later, the Secretary of Defence ordered a contingency study based upon reevaluation of BAND Scenario Beta (theft of CBW or nuclear components).
The contingency study advised the following:
1. Destruction of all unnecessary chemical stockpiles.
This includes all chemical agents stored aboveground (as in Rocky Mountain Arsenal, etc). This includes all chemical agents combined with outmoded delivery systems (as in 12,000 Bolt rockets evacuated to ocean in 1969). This includes all redundant chemical agents (as in all gas GB stockpiles, now outmoded by VX, ZV).
2. Severe limitation of transport of chemical agents.
This includes all chemical agents, in whatever quantities. The necessity for any transportation must be verified by direct order from the Secretary of Defence himself.
3. Severe restriction of total stockpiling locations.
Chemical agents are now stored in twenty-two loca= lions in the continental United States. The contingency study concluded that there was no rationale for maintaining more than four (t one) stockpile locations.
4. Severe regulations governing transport of chemicals.
No quantity of chemical agent, however small, should travel with less than two platoons (eighty men) who are trained to deal with subversive attempts and also with accidents during shipment.
5. Severe regulations governing data bank access.
Classified information should be unavailable over any temporary line system. No multidrop lines should be utilized. Codings should be changed no less than every forty-eight hours. Permutations on each code should be no fewer than 25.
The report of the Beta Scenario contingency study was evaluated by the Secretary of Defence and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on November 10th, 1972. The evaluation committee consisted of R. Gottlieb (RAND);K Villadsen (Defence Systems Review);P. Lazarus (Defence ClC);L. M. Rich (State);A. Epstein (JCS);R. Dozier (Advanced Research PL);R. Phelps (State Intelligence). It was the unanimous conclusion of those present at the meeting that none of the recommendations- needed to be acted upon at that time. A review committee was suggested for further evaluation of the report. Members of the review committee will be appointed in the near future.
In the meantime, present regulations and operating methods remain in effect.