On the 10th of August, 1932, the residents of Brickbend awoke to find steam rising from a kilometre long fissure in the earth’s crust. It hadn’t been there the night before.
Three days later Carl Anderson drove his Chrysler Plymouth from a nearby city to the site of the crevice. He took one look at the all the steam and declared that he was going to build the world’s largest geothermal power plant.
When it was finished the art-deco building was long, narrow and sleek. A glass operations room protruded from the front wall and a row of five white cooling towers ran along its length.
During the day the power plant looked like a ship steaming toward new worlds but at night only the five giant cooling towers were visible. The local children called the towers ‘alien fingers’.
The town of Brickbend began using power from the plant soon after it was commissioned. This worked well for a few months but then a string of power cuts had everyone up-in-arms.
A residents meeting decided unanimously to picket the plant until the situation was resolved.
The start of the picket happened to fall on the 10th of August, 1935. That morning Carl Anderson drove past the line of protestors and into the grounds of the Brickbend Geothermal Power Company. He got out of his new Chrysler Streamline and made his way up to the control centre. From the ground the crowd could see his hands moving rapidly over a panel of knobs and levers. After a few minutes he flicked on the outside intercom and addressed those assembled below.
“Three years ago today I crash landed here in Brickbend. Fortunately for me the accident that destroyed my old ship provided access to an energy source that will launch a new and better craft.
“Good-bye and thank-you.”
And with that Carl Anderson pulled one last lever and the power plant was gone – alien fingers and all.