The World’s a Scary Place Outline

A nonfiction narrative of how technical resources at the Los Alamos National Laboratory are used to keep America, and it’s citizens, safe from a constant barrage of menacing threats and vulnerabilities.

1.  The World’s A Scary Place

Embedded Narrative: Mystery Cloud Over St. Louis

An unknown chemical cloud drifts toward downtown Saint Louis as Bush Stadium fills with 60,000 baseball fans. Reluctantly, the Mayor must order an evacuation unless the cloud’s contents can be identified. Through this narrative, a plethora of threats unsuspecting Americans encounter daily is introduced, with an emphasis on why America’s a scary place.

2.  Los Alamos Keeps You Safe

Embedded Narrative: Thank You LANL For Keeping Our Airports Open

The President has just been briefed on a terrorist plot so horrendous he must indefinitely shut down the nation’s airports, causing widespread panic and devastating the economy, unless something can be done to defeat the threat. This narrative facilitates a discussion of the diverse array of technologies Los Alamos provides the nation in times of crisis.

3.  National Vs. Homeland Security

Embedded Narrative: Border Governor’s Round Table

An eye-opening meeting between the Mexican and American Border Governors is underway, especially once Mexican officials begin to air their grievances. This narrative describes the onion layer defense strategy for interdiction, how national security differs from homeland security, and the confusing rules for engagement.

4.  Crisis Planning

Embedded Narrative: White House Plan for A Real Pandemic

While COVID’s 0.17% mortality rate locked down the nation and crippled our economy, in 2005, the Avian Flu mortality rate was over 60%, the jump to human-to-human transmission seemed inevitable, and the White House understood they needed a plan. This narrative takes readers on a journey through crisis planning and the lose-lose scenario’s that must be adjudicated.

5.  Crisis Response

Embedded Narrative: POTUS Security at State of the Union

POTUS is delivering his State of the Union address while the potential for a chemical attack looms large. Should an attack happen, Los Alamos has 15 seconds to decide how best to protect the President. This narrative describes how resources are deployed during a high-stakes response and the incredible pressures placed on first responders.

6.  Benevolent Threats

Embedded Narrative: Don’t Drink the Water

Hurricane Katrina floodwaters are killing dogs and making people sick, Los Alamos is tasked with finding solutions before human casualties occur. This narrative describes unnerving things that can happen in a highly interdependent society because of accidents, negligence, or acts of nature.

7.  Malevolent Threats

Embedded Narrative: California Wildfires

Someone is setting California forests on fire, threatening not only homes and livelihoods, but critical infrastructure; and resources are wearing thin. This narrative goes through the different kinds of small-scale acts of terrorism and intentional mayhem that can quickly escalate into major events.

8.  Nuclear/Radiological Threats

Embedded Narrative: In Search of Cesium

Medical cesium has gone missing from area hospitals and if their canisters are opened, no one gets to visit the city anymore. This narrative describes the differences between nuclear and radiological threats while describing some easily achievable terrorist attack scenarios that will keep readers up at night.

9.  Biological Threats

Embedded Narrative: Your Problem Huston, Is You’ve Been Biologically Attacked

Bio sensors around Huston test positive, indicating a biological event is underway. If the mayor orders an evacuation, widespread panic will ensue with people dying in the chaos, if he doesn’t evacuate, countless more lives are put at risk. Determining the appropriate course of action comes down to Los Alamos assessing the situation quickly. This narrative walks readers through various biological threat vectors describing how a bio attack could occur and what can be done to mitigate consequences.

10.  Chemical Threats

Embedded Narrative: Chemical Tanks Bobbing in The Bay

Every town has chemical tanks that can weight hundreds of thousands of pounds so who would imagine they could float away, until they do. Los Alamos is tasked with locating multiple chemical tanks that drifted off during a Mississippi delta flood before they cause catastrophic damage. This narrative describes the many different chemical threats that exist in every town and how easily something can go wrong.

11. Infrastructure Threats

Embedded Narrative: The Drunken Bears of Middle Montana

A train hauling hazardous materials has derailed in Montana and there’s concern some tankers may be leaking, however, hazmat crews can’t make an assessment because area bears are gorging on food spewed around the crash site. This narrative describes crucial infrastructure threats and how dependent we are on our fragile non-redundant infrastructures in sectors spanning energy and food supply.

12.  The Next Big Something

Embedded Narrative: The Havana Syndrome

Rouge states are attacking our embassies and crippling workers, but not with bombs and bullets, with undetectable sound waves. This narrative explores futuristic threat spectrums with a glimpse into how researchers conceive technologies to solve problems that don’t yet exist.