Feb 1, 2014

The Δ-Files

A mysterious object falls to Earth. Agents go to investigate and find that a crashed satellite was contaminated with a dangerous virus that is now spreading through the human population.

Is this 1971, in a movie theater showing The Andromeda Strain, a film based on Michael Crichton's 1969 novel? Or, is this a 1990s episode of The X-Files?

Neither. You are watching the Australian television show Delta and the year is 1969.

The topic "germs from space" was popular in the late 1960s with NASA's missions to the Moon. Returning astronauts were quarantined just in case dangerous microbes might be present in Moon dust.

I've never seen any episodes of Delta, so I can't say if it was worth watching. What intrigues me is that there was a television show in 1969 with a leading female character (Inger Petri, played by Kirrily Nolan) who was part of a team of scientists (apparently based on CSIRO) who were ready to investigate sick sheep, aboriginal relics, river pollution, a new plant source of analgesics, ritual murder, exploding beach sand, faith healing, art fraud and other mysterious cases like a 14-year-old girl with a mind like a computer. Inger was only an assistant to scientist Jeff Mallow (played by John Gregg), but half way through this short (1969 - 1970) television series, they made room for Patsy Trench to play the role of scientist Jackie Stewart.

John Gregg and Kirrily Nolan
The similarities between The X-Files and Delta are amusing, but Delta was apparently on a tight budget and was only made in black and white.

The Inger character was a ground breaking lead role for a woman in the 1960s. "I think it's the most interesting Australian TV role ever written for an actress," said Kirrily. "...a woman trying to do a job in what is essentially a man's world....woman's intuition against John Gregg's more factual scientific information." (source)

In The X-Files, Dana Scully was the scientific anchor dragging behind Mulder's fringe "I want to believe" approach to finding the truth about mysterious aliens on Earth.

Mulder and Scully
Watson's The Double Helix had just been published in 1968, depicting Rosalind Franklin's role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. It was a great time to be abandoning stereotypical roles for women in television. Why not show men and women working together to solve scientific mysteries?

The Δ-Files
In The Exode Trilogy, Gwyned is trying to develop an alternative to fossil fuel energy sources in the 1960s. She lives in Australia, so I'm imagining a "story within a story" featuring Gwyned in an episode of The Δ-Files, what I imagine as a late 1960s version of The X-Files.

In the early 1960s Gwyned completes her Ph.D. research: "Implications of the Calabi Conjecture for Gravitational Singularities". In the mid-1960s oil exploration reveals a new geothermal energy site in Australia. Gwyned's mother Trysta mentions that there is a hidden asteroid impact site in the Cooper Basin. Gwyned examines gas exploration cores and confirms that the ancient impact site is well-suited for her idea of using an array of underground "catalytic black holes" to heat underground water.

The main problem faced by Gwyned is that when using "anchored black holes" to convert matter to energy, large amounts of hard radiation is produced. To safely convert the released energy into heat the black holes need to be placed deep underground. 

Gwyned buys land near Cooper Creek that has an active natural gas well. She assembles a small gas-powered turbine and a surplus hadron accelerator on her "ranch". She uses the accelerator to produce her first "compact dimension-anchored" black hole.

Dr. Stewart
Using the anchored black hole to convert matter into radiation, Gwyned begins to make molybdenum-99. Her plan is to use the sale of medically useful nuclides to generate seed money for development of a black hole-powered geothermal energy farm that will provide all of Australia's energy needs by the end of the 20th century.

Recognizing that her "anchored black holes" could be used as a radiation-emitting weapon, Gwyned attempts to keep their existence secret. However, investigating Gwyned's use of commercial airline flights to transport radioactive materials, a Δ-Files team including Dr. Stewart arrives at Gwyned's ranch.

It does not take long for Gwyned's secrets to be revealed. While she gives Drs. Stewart and Mallow a tour of her above-ground facility, Inger sets off with a Geiger counter and finds the hidden underground facility that houses the radiation-emitting black hole.

Gwyned is forced to explain her novel energy source, but she asks the Delta team investigators to keep the secret. Gwyned lies and claims that she discovered a naturally-occurring nuclear reactor which she reactivated by acid-leeching the ore and creating a high density of fissionable isotopes in an underground chamber.

Eventually rumors of a rich uranium deposit spread and Gwyned's father, Deomede, becomes aware of her activities. Using the nanite technology at his command, he quickly determines that a black hole is the source of radiation for Gwyned's nucleosynthesis project. Fearing that her new black hole technology will be discovered by other Earthlings and abused, Deomede teleports Gwyned off of Earth to Klyz.

Gwyned ends up at Lendhalen where she meets Parthney. Gwyned is able to pass along to Parthney some clues about her brother Thomas and his activities on Earth which eventually allow Parthney and Thomas to both find their way to the secret Observer Base on the Moon, fulfilling the "prophecy" that that there be "two copies" of Trysta's son on the Moon at that time.

Related Reading. More television from the Ekcolir Reality.

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