TEC: Chapter 39: Levi’s Turn

Levi hangs up with Murphy, and then realizes that OOPSIE DAISY he forgot something:

The letters “RDD” on the dollar bill.

“Oh, David!  We got so caught up in the bridge scenario that we didn’t pursue it.  ‘RDD.’  I wonder if they’re a person’s initials?”

“I only I had somebody on speed dial that I could call right back with this question!”

David pretty quickly shoots down the initials idea, since “Lenni Lenape” wasn’t a person, so obviously these letters couldn’t be a name, either.  Because that’s how it works.

But in less than half a page, Levi hits upon the obviously-correct answer (because the book tells us so): RDD stands for radiological dispersion device–a dirty bomb.

And now that Murphy has presumably rolled over and fallen back to sleep, it’s Levi’s turn to show off his vast knowledge of Wikipedia to an underling.  And he can do that because…

“Levi, I’ve been with Mossad for years and I still don’t understand how a dirty bomb is different from a regular nuclear weapon.”

Well, David, you’ve also been with Mossad for years but couldn’t even fool one man in a small grocery store for thirty seconds.  So…that actually explains a lot.

Though really, it is pretty stupid for two spies to sit around in a cantina and explain Wikipedia basics of bombs to each other.  Yet another reason why keeping Isis in the dark was a bad idea–when it comes to warcraft, she’s a perfect fish-out-of-water character for Levi to explain bombs to.

But first, Levi explains what a nuclear weapon is to this trained Mossad agent:

“A thermonuclear device, like an atom bomb, does tremendous damage.  When it explodes it destroys buildings, equipment, and people with a massive fireball…”

Shucks, I’m sure David never had occasion to learn that in Mossad school!

Then Levi spends half a page explaining neutron bombs.

At this point, David actually gets a bit impatient because Levi is NOT ANSWERING HIS DAMN QUESTION ABOUT DIRTY BOMBS.

“Well, I have to lay a foundation so that you’ll understand.”



Oh, sorry, your pointless Wikitalk is boring the shit out of me.

“One more caveat before I jump to the dirty bomb.  Have you heard about ‘red mercury’?”


I HAVE!!!!

That’s that stuff that sent Spock to the alternate dimension, right?

“Not exactly.”



“…red mercury is a more efficient and cheaper way to make a neutron bomb.  It doubles the nuclear yield, with a great reduction in the weight.”


Yanno, I rag on Wikipedia, because it’s clearly the authors’ only source for research, but Wikipedia taught me something today.


Red mercury is a hoax substance of uncertain composition purportedly used in the creation of nuclear bombs, as well as a variety of unrelated weapons systems. In reality, no such substance exists.

It amuses me that Phillips is using this whole stupid chapter to expound on something that doesn’t exist.

Actually, that’s a pretty good summary of the Babylon Rising series as a whole!


FINALLY, gorammit, Levi gets around to explaining dirty bombs.  If you care, read Wikipedia.  I can guarantee you that David did:

“So dirty bombs are more like weapons of mass disruption than mass destruction,” David concluded.

How witty of you, David!

It is not a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD), but rather, as researcher Peter Probst calls it, a “weapon of mass disruption” (Hughes, 2002).


“If you ask me, that’s what the terrorists are going to use–a dirty bomb!” Abrams said seriously.

I’m glad Phillips informed us that Levi is speaking seriously, because otherwise, I would have assumed he was joking, possibly while wearing a big red clown nose.

Posted on August 26, 2016, in The Europa Conspiracy. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I’ve been with Mossad for years and I still don’t understand how a dirty bomb is different from a regular nuclear weapon.

    Oh, man. This reminds me of an old Star Trek comic where Spock had to explain to Kirk what a black hole is.

  2. How could this guy have been in the Mossad for years and not know what a dirty bomb is? Worst secret agents ever.

  3. I’ve been with Mossad for years and

    I’m due for promotion to Second Assistant Coffee Minion any day now!

    I’ve known RDD since his clambaiting days.

    “A nuclear weapon causes damage by blast, heat, and radiation. An R-bomb has a jacket of radioactive material round a conventional explosive core, and its job is to scatter the radioactives through the target area.” There, one short paragraph and that’s all that’s needed. And the people I know working in the field call them R-bombs.

    Let’s not forget that this is meant to be a set of operational orders: you, minion, go and build an R-bomb. Minion now has to get hold of a bunch of radioactives (not entirely a trivial process even with the USAF and the privatised security of the US nuclear power industry doing their best to help) and assemble them round a conventional bomb; this is not a quick process.

    We’re in Presidio TX, right? Nearest nuclear plants are Comanche Peak and South Texas 1-2, both on the other side of the state. I’m not going to drill down but most US plants have on-site dry-cask waste storage.

    Red mercury is a more efficient way of… separating suckers from their money.

  4. “Levi, I’ve been with Mossad for years and I still don’t understand how a dirty bomb is different from a regular nuclear weapon.”

    “A nuclear weapon uses a nuclear reaction to create a massive explosion. As a side effect of that nuclear reaction, radioactive material is created and dispersed*. A dirty bomb is a simple conventional explosive with radioactive material wrapped around it. It creates a much smaller blast.like a normal bomb, but that blast scatters the radioactive material around the area, creating a health hazard.”

    There, one paragraph, without needlessly long Wiki walks through the history of the Manhattan project or entirely fictional substances.

    Also, a bridge is probably the least useful place to set such a bomb off. It’s a fairly thin area of road that needs to be cleaned afterwards, and it doesn’t even need to be cleaned that well since no one permanently lives there. They just pass through it with their car, and you can take a small dosis of radiation for a few minutes much easier than you can take it 24/7. And most of your precious radioactive payload will fall into the river, to be swept to sea. That might pose a problem it it were used as drinking of fishing water, but the GW bridge happens to be right next to the Atlantic.

    Now the GW bridge seems to be close enough to densly populated areas that a sizable explosion would affect Manhattan and New Yersey if the bomb was big enough. But then why not just set the bomb off in the middle of Manhattan instead? Wasting the densest clouds of radioactive material on a bridge seems like a waste to me.

    *Unless Nicolae Carpathia turns that feature off, apparently.

  5. An atom bomb (which is a fission device) is [b]not[/b] a thermonuclear device – that refers to a fission-fusion device.

    These two come off like a pair of agents assigned somewhere they hopefully won’t do too much damage because they’re too well-connected to fire or desk.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for September 2nd, 2016 | The Slacktiverse

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