(This is the fourth letter I received from Lawrence Krauss. Click here to start from the beginning.)
August 16, 2026
Soon we were driving underground. I had somehow missed our entry into the tunnel, but now that I had noticed the absence of sky, I was transfixed. There was something about the tunnel’s construction that seemed tantalizingly familiar—the smoothness of its walls, the precision of its dimensions, the perfect straightness of it … and what looked to me like maglev rails. One of my kidnappers saw that I was staring and leaned over to speak to me.
“This was originally going to be a hyperloop tunnel.”
I nodded, and an exhilarating chill flowed up my spine. It was a physicist’s dream. I was in an ordinary car, of course—with wind resistance and the hum of tires on pavement—but for a moment I imagined that I’d been transported into a realm of science fiction.
“Elon had it converted to a bunker after Trump was elected,” my captor said. It was a comment that might have seemed funny once, but not now. “The deepest part is miles underground.”
During the course of the drive, we had to stop at five different gates and wait for clearance to pass through. They looked to be a foot or more in thickness, like the doors on the most secure vaults I’d seen. After the fifth one, the tunnel opened up into an enormous artificial cavern, the ceiling of which was covered with LEDs that mimicked a starry sky, Milky Way and all. And standing in front of an angular glass-and-steel building that looked like it might be a house was the man who had ordered my kidnapping: Elon Musk. The car came to a stop beside him, and the men ushered me out.
“Welcome, Professor Krauss,” Elon said, flashing an uncharacteristically sheepish grin. “I apologize for kidnapping you. We had to be discreet, though.”
“Well, so far,” I replied, “being kidnapped by you has been more pleasant by far than quite a few other experiences I’ve had recently.”
“I imagine so.”
Elon turned and led the way into the building, and a minute later we were seated in plush leather easy chairs in a softly lit lounge, sipping coffee. We engaged in small talk for a few minutes, and then Elon set his coffee down and sat forward in his chair.
“Surely you know why I brought you here,” he said.
“I suppose I can guess.”
“And your guess is certainly correct,” he said. “I’ve had my people check your claims. They’ve been able to spot the asteroid, and it looks like you’re right. It’s going to hit us exactly when you said it would.”
I sat looking at him in silence. For a moment, I thought I might suddenly be overcome by tears. That was how good it felt to be talking to someone who believed me at last.
“What do you plan to do about it?” I asked.
“I plan to have you join my team and find a way to deflect it,” he said.“Are you willing?”
“Of course,” I replied.
And so now I’m working with Elon musk to blow an asteroid out of space before it kills us.
Lawrence M. Krauss
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