Perfectly Justified Response
by Peter A Schaefer
"Did you know the Earth formed through planetary accretion during the formation of the Solar System approximately four-point-five billion years ago?" These words greeted Nome as she stepped out into the basement laboratory, pulling her workplace-mandatory goggles on over her short brown hair. Wires and cables crisscrossed the room, taped to the floor or wall, and hung from the ceiling like technological vines.
"Uh, sure," she said. "Second grade, right between state capitals and long division. Why?"
Arkady turned to her and pulled her own goggles down so they hung off her neck. "It turns out that a ten-megaton bomb in the middle of that process is enough to blow it all apart."
"And, what, stop the planet from forming?"
"Yes. Unrelated thing: Nome, I need you to get me a bomb. Ten megatons or bigger. It'll have to be nuclear." Arkady brushed her long blond hair out of the way and pulled her goggles back up.