by Suzanne Hauser and C Howard Diaz
Jason had just about figured out and found it hard to concentrate on what the Colonel was saying. He sat towards the back of the auditorium so he could steal glances at Kory. But every time he did, fie felt Moose’s stare burn right through him.
Last night, Jason had explained his plan to Richard and the girls. Heather insisted it would get them into trouble. But Jason had looked at it from all sides and couldn’t find a flaw. He just wanted this session to be over so they could start their investigation. He noticed Richard constantly turning his head toward the Russians and leaned up to whisper in his ear.
“Hey Richard,” Jason whispered. “Stop looking at them. They’re going to think something’s up. Just pay attention, ask some questions or something. “
Richard took his advice and asked, “So, Colonel. What about the ocean? You said we’d get to that subject today.”
“Very well. Volcanos may be the most dramatic source of atmospheric gases, but the oceans are definitely the greatest source.
“What about the oceans. Does anyone know how big they are?” Jonny’s hand shot up to the air, but Colonel Matheson choose Kory.
Kory began in a meek voice and a very heavy accent. “Oceans cover approximately 71 percent of the surface of the earth. The five oceans are: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic.” Kory took a deep breath and sat down.
Richard leaned back and whispered to Jason. “Did you notice his accent? I swear yesterday he spoke as clear as you or me. I just know he’s biding something.”
“Well just wait ’til tonight,” Jason assured him. “We’ll find out all his secrets!”
Colonel Matheson was speaking. “A Swedish scientist Erik Eriksson looked closely at sources of atmospheric chlorine and calculated that seawater contributes about 600 million tons of chlorine each year to the atmosphere.”
“How does it do that?” a child asked.
“Seawater contains NACL, sodium chloride, also known as common table salt. These salt particles enter the air through the evaporation of sea water and through the action of waves which spray aerosols into the air.
Some scientists believe that seawater’s chlorine does not reach the stratosphere because rain washes it back into the sea. But there has been chlorine, documented in the stratosphere before CFC were invented, which was the early 1960’s.
There are a few different theories of how chlorine moves from the troposphere to the stratosphere, but the role that the earth’s jet streams play seems to be the greatest.”
The Colonel continued, “Who can tell me what a jet stream is and where they are located around the world? Jason?”
Jason took a deep breath. He hadn’t been paying much attention to COL. Matheson. After a long pause he said, “I think jet streams are volumes of air that pass at certain times of the year and affect things in their path. I don’t really know where they are.”
Dr. Matheson gave Jason a knowing smile. “That’s very good, son. Let’s see if Jonny can help you out as far as location. Jonny?”
“Hmm. That’s a tough one. I know where the gulf stream waters are, but jet streams? Let me think.” Jonny covered her head with her bands as she always did when in deep thought.
“I remember reading about there being three jet streams in each hemisphere: one in the subtropics, one in the mid latitudes and one at the poles. Or something like that. I think they change somewhat during different times of the year.”
“Again you impress me young lady. Indeed, there are three jet streams in each hemisphere. The point is that in all these areas there is an intense exchange of air. Air from the troposphere is hurled into the stratosphere and air from the stratosphere is blown into the troposphere. The wind is greatest in the center, reaching up to 200 knots. With this exchange of air, also is an exchange of ozone.
“But seawater is not the only source of chlorine from the sea. Seaweed also contributes through the release of methyl chloride. Ili addition to seaweed, other plants that contain it included fungus, marine red algae and ice plant.”
“Another source of chlorine in our world is through biomass burning and forest fires. Many countries today continue to burn large quantities of biomass for heat. In fact, more than 60 percent of global deforestation is the result of cutting trees for firewood. And even though we try to be more careful about wild forest fires, they still happen on a large scale throughout the world. This means that more than 4.2 million tons of chlorine gasses are released into the atmosphere through burning.”
The cinema was quiet as the children absorbed all Dr. Matheson was saying. Finally, Kory broke the silence.
“I don’t understand. How can claims be made. against CFC and everything if mother nature is really responsible. And if it is up to mother nature, what can we do about it anyway? Or what should we do?”
“So the real question, it seems,” began Heather, “is that even if the ozone layer, there’s not much we can do about it.” The whole auditorium was a roar with all the children asking questions and murmuring amongst themselves.
Jonny interrupted. “So what is the worst case scenario, Colonel Matheson? What if there is a hole in the ozone? What will really happen and when?”
“Children please, don’t be upset. Remember, we are here as scientists to explore our options and learn. First, let’s take a look at the difference between weather and climate.” Dr. Matheson began.
“Now weather is a temporary thing. How is it today? Clear and dry? Or is it humid or still raining as it was this morning? These are all weather. But climate is something more. Here in Florida it is warm most of the year. Of course there are storms and the temperature may drop.
But routinely, it is a warm tropical climate.
Alaska, on the other hand has a cold climate, though it may get plenty of sunny days. The hole in the ozone, if there is such a thing, would affect climate.
On the models our ozone destructing theorists are proposing the affect would be the same as if someone living in the northern United States moved southward to a state like Texas or New Mexico.
“So you mean if there really was a hole in the ozone layer,” Jonny asked, “then it would be like me moving from Washington State down to Hollywood near Jason and Heather?”
“Precisely ” Dr. Matheson agreed.
Kory asked, “What about these models? Are you saying that they are not accurate?”
“Kory, as your father is a scientist, I’m sure you know that often he must try several approaches before he finally finds something that will work. This can take time, especially if all the materials are not available right away. Today, with the use of computers, sometimes it’s faster to figure out what will happen using a computer model.”
“I think I know what you mean,” Jonny said. “In my mom’s work as an architect she uses a computer to try different layouts of a building. That way she can show her clients different styles with just about the same amount of work.”
“Scientists are just the same,” the colonel continued. But there’s one major difference. You see, when you’re dealing with something like a building or a house, there are certain elements that remain constant or don’t ever change.”
“You mean like walls and doors and stuff?” Jason asked.
They may even be made of wood or plaster but they are intended to do the same thing, let you in or out of one place to another. But with science, there are many many variables. And unlike doors which have to fit exactly. You may have doors of different sizes and shapes and open and close, elements in our atmosphere are constantly changing.
One molecule may react one way one day, and then, the opposite the next, due to the amount of sunlight or moisture in the air. These are all elements that we cannot control.”
“I know sometimes my father has to guess which direction to go with his experiments. Are you saying it’s the same way when you use a computer?” Kory asked.
“Not only does the computer have to guess, but the scientist entering the information to make the computer work, has to guess. And when you guess or speculate about something, you could very easily be wrong.” Jason felt the Colonel’s eyes focus on him.
” In any case, there have been many many models of the atmosphere made and depending on the data entered, there have been drastic difference in the outcome.
“For instance,” back in the 70’s before most of you were born, many scientists-predicted an ice age was coming. Not that it was getting colder or anything seemed to be changing, but all because of a computer model and what if.”
Richard and Jonny ran up to Jason in the courtyard. “Hey Jason, where have ya been? We want to start your plan to catch Kory.” Jonny explained.
“I was just thinking about what the Colonel said. What if Kory isn’t a spy. We don’t have any proof we’re just guessing.” Jason suggested.
“Come on, I think we have more than just a guess. What about
those blueprints and him changing his accent and everything?”
Come on Jason. Your plan is great. No one will find out; then if we’re wrong, we’re wrong. But if we’re right we’ll be hero’s! Don’t you want to be a hero?” Jonny asked.
“I want to be a hero. Richard the hero, I like that” Richard exclaimed. “Let’s go get Heather and get started.”
They found Heather in the library reading. “Heather, ” Jason whispered from the doorway. Heather picked up her book and stepped outside.
“We’re ready to start the plan. You need to find Kory and make sure you keep him busy so he doesn’t return to the hotel before we’re done,” Jason explained.
“I don’t know,” Heather worried. He doesn’t even know me. How can I keep him here? And what about Moose? What if he leaves?”
“Don’t worry about Moose, we got that covered. Richard will be watching and if he comes back to the hotel he’ll be able to warn us before Moose can reach the room.”
Jonny added, “Just ask Kory about Russia. ‘Yesterday he couldn’t talk enough. Better yet, go back to the hotel to the ice cream parlor. He won’t be able to refuse. I be even Moose will want to go.
“I’ll give it a try. But you guys better be careful. Not only could you get caught but what if you ,? Heather was worried.
“Don’t worry Heather. Jonny is monkey girl andI can handle it. Besides Richard will be safely on the ground. We’ll see you back in our room at nine. “
Jason watched from the door as Heather returned to the library and sat down next to Kory. He couldn’t bear what she said, but Kory seemed to like the company and even Moose looked relaxed.
“Let’s go. It’s now or never.”
From his third floor balcony Jason could see Richard waiting down below in the courtyard. He turned to Jonny. “Let’s go.” And climbed over the railing.
It didn’t seem so far from the ground looking up, but now that he was trying to reach the railing of Kory’s room down below it seemed like a long drop. He clung closely to the stucco then slid safely to the ground. He tried the sliding glass door and as he hoped, it was unlocked.
He whispered up to Jonny. “Ok, it’s all clear. Lower me down the camera.”
Jonny lowered the camera down then climbed down herself.
“See I told you the door would be open. For a spy, I don’t think Moose knows a thing about security.”
“Shhh. Let’s just get a look at the blueprints, take some pictures and get out of here,” Jason urged.
“These are blueprints of a rocket all right. And look at the size of it. 96, 120. do you think those are metric meters or feet?” Jonny asked as she leafed through the blueprints.
“Look here’s that one fuselage they kept talking about last night.”
“It doesn’t look big enough to be for a space ship.” Jason commented.
“That’s probably why they stole it. It’s probably some great revolution in fuel efficiency. Come on let’s get out of here. “
As the two turned to leave, Jason found a notebook on one of the beds.
“Hey Jonny, look at this. It looks like a checklist of stuff they plan to steal. I wish I could read Russian. Take a picture and let’s go.”
Jason boosted Jonny so she could grab the outpost on the building then he followed her up and over the balcony to his room.
He called down to Richard. “The coast is clear.”
“Now what are we going to do?” Jonny asked. “We’ve got all this evidence but what should we do with it?”
“Maybe we should go to Colonel Matheson. He could get the police and a search warrant.”
“No, I don’t really trust him. He seems to be good friends with Moose. What if he’s a bad spy too and that’s why he was so glad Kory came to Camp K-Bee.”
The door opened and turned to find Heather walk in. “You should lock your door. You never know who might sneak in?
Then she stepped aside to show Kory was right behind her. “Duck, they’re going to shoot us?” Jonny screamed and she leaped off the bed and rolled underneath.
“Don’t be so dramatic,” Heather scolded. “I just thought maybe you’d like to hear Kory finish telling me his story about a rocket he’s building. “
Jonny peaked out from under the bed. “A rocket he’s building? A real rocket?”
“Go ahead and tell them Kory or maybe we can all go down and see the plans.” Heather suggested.
“We could go see them, but it’s nothing much really. You see I told you my father was a scientist. He’s always working in his lab and has no time for me. I thought if I could find a project that he would like then we could work on it together.”
Kory sat down on the bed his eyes wildly excited. “I got this great rocket kit, mail order from the United States. It looked wonderful in the picture, big and white and it’s supposed to really fly when it’s done. But then I open it and it’s a million parts. Parts, parts, parts and no directions.
I wrote back to the company many times. They said they would send them but still I never received. My father was angry that I spent so much money on a useless toy as he called it. Then Mr. Musaka suggested we come to the United States for this camp and he could go to the factory and get the instructions himself,” Kory explained.
Heather interrupted. “Which he did, right Kory? And they looked exactly like blueprints, right. And that’s probably why you didn’t get them delivered in the first place.”
“Yes exactly, Heather. We figured that someone probably mistook the model plans for real rocket blueprints and took them before they could be delivered,” Kory explained.
Hmm. Funny how that could happen. Isn’t it?” Heather asked her friends.
“So you mean your building your own rocket?” Jason asked.
“Yes, well if my father will help me. It’s very complicated. Moose and I looked over the instructions last night. Many things we could not figure out. Our English is not perfect.” Kory added.
“Wait a minute,” Richard broke in. “How do we know you’re telling the truth. And what about your accent. It keeps changing.”
“I am sorry about my accent. I do try to speak English well. But when I get nervous it is very hard.” Kory explained.
Jonny crawled out from beneath the bed.
“And what about Moose. Uh I mean Mr. Musaka. Why do you have a body guard?”
Kory looked to Heather who giggled loudly. “He’s not a bodyguard. He’s a gardener. Kory said that he had to have a companion to travel overseas, his father was too busy and suggested Mr. Musaka take his place.”
“So you’re not a spy then?” Jason asked.
“A spy? Not hardly. But it is kind of funny that you think so. I’ve been watching a lot of television since we are now able to get many more channels and there are many American spy stories broadcast.”
“Yeah,” Heather agreed. “And just maybe we’ve all seen too many of them.