Everyone in the car turned.
A team member aimed an instrument, calibrated and took a reading.
The driver turned and stopped. The team got out and set their instruments in the gravel and alongside the grass waterway.
“Boss, how should I zero the TRIR?”
“Let’s try eight.”
“The faster pump probe emission might get us more structural information on the excited state kinetics of the dark and emissive states…boss.”
Everyone was quiet.
The team finished calibrating the instruments and returned to the car. The driver turned east for several miles into the early sun.
The driver continued. A few team members turned west but most stared sleepily into the dim sun.
“What’s the flow of air direction?”
“FOAD is seventeen.”
“That bo’ is provisional.”
“Not with this FOAD.”
“We have reading.”
The driver stopped and turned to stare at the rainbow hovering above the instruments several miles to the west. Most of the rest focused on the banks of monitors. A few others watched the rainbow and one team member stared at the sun.
“Readings are stable.”
“Pressure is over 99.826 kilopascals.”
“Spectrum is full.”
“Illuminance reads at 3987.3 nits.”
Everyone turned to watch the rainbow slowly grow and merge with itself to form a full semicircular double band.
“Mr. Boat. Deploy the ALTMOT.”
A team member took out a small rocket and quickly set it off. The rocket corkscrewed west, lost altitude, hovered for a moment and abruptly pulled up and to the right.
“Steady roll control, Ms. Bombbay.”
“There must be a ferocious side draft by that bo’.”
“Compensate, Ms. Bombbay.”
“Zeroing canard servos and rollerons.”
“ALTMOT is un-compensate-able.”
“A servo must be out.”
“ALTMOT is un-comp. ALTMOT is un-comp.”
“Fire smoke charge, Ms. Bombbay.”
The team member complied, adjusted the thumb control and the rocket steadied and straightened. The team yelled as the rocket pierced the rainbow.
“Excellent, Bombbay. Excellent.”
“We have readings.”
“You hit 570 nanos, Bombbay.”
The woman put the transmitter away and watched the rocket curve up and around and straight down into a freshly plowed field spraying up a small plum of dirt.
“That side draft was ferocious.”
“Fully saturated. We have coordinates.”
Everyone stared at the monitor.
“You pierced a ten meter bo’, Bombbay.”
“I tried to nick 460 nanos on the exit…but.”
The woman looked to the ground.
“If we had gyroscopic roll stabilizers…”
The others smiled.
“…we could decelerate within the boundaries of the bo’.”
“And if we had military funding like Berkeley, Bombbay, we could establish high gain radar.”
“Or constant off-ground monitoring.”
“Or multiple flights.”
“Or satellite monitoring.”
The team shook their heads and watched the rainbow slowly disappear.
“George, we might be able to work a double ended propulsion system within budget and obtain infinite deceleration levels…and perhaps causing a spill trajectory simulation that could maintain vector for perhaps…five milliseconds.”
The others were very quiet.
“Five millis of data?”
“Mr. Pane. If you could give me five millis of high altitude bo’ data…,” said the leader of the group shaking his head.
The rain stopped and the rainbow disappeared. The team put away their equipment and returned to the vehicle.
“Which direction, boss?”
“A high low weather front skirts that ten meter rise fifteen degrees west of north.”
“Computer models indicate high probability of precipitation west and north.”
“A very high rise in temperature exists to the west.”
“Then, people, skirt that front.”
The driver started off and the others relaxed. One occupant lifted his head and began a quick series of short breaths.
“Sinus has something.”
The driver stopped. The man left the vehicle and continued breathing with his stomach in quick animal breaths, raised his arm and pointed just left of the raising sun.
“Mr. Biv. Follow Sinus.”
The driver left the gravel road and turned right to a small dirt road, then back left to a second gravel road and back right on to a nicely paved road, zigzagging left and right but always making progress a few degrees left of the rising sun.
“Boss. The new guy wants to know about the eclipse.”
“Yes sir. But later.”
“Mr. Husk, are you saying I am perhaps too subjugated…?”
“No, no sir.”
Several members held their heads down and laughed quietly to themselves.
“Mr. Husk. Are you then saying, perhaps, I am at times not busy and should be more assiduous?”
Some of the others continued to hold their breath but many could not control their actions and laughed loudly.
“I think, boss, the new guy wants to know about the eclipse.”
“Yes. Yes. But if you….”
“Have you not followed the research, Mr. Husk?”
“Yes sir. Everything. Everything. Your articles, Nomenture of cyclical extra-solar chromo events and your landmark Five required precursors of extra-solar chromatic primisation were both…humbling.”
Everyone choked and no one could talk for several minutes.
“Yes, Mr. Husk. The rainbow formed by the solar eclipse is perhaps only a single magnitude more stirring than the rare full moon rainbow formed on a salt water island.”
The young man’s voice ended with a scratch and the others, again, could not breath for several minutes.
“Yes, Mr. Husk. Yes.”
“Is the bo’ really full circle in the open ocean?”
“Yes, Mr. Husk.”
“Is…is the noon bo’ truly round as a plate from orbit?’
“Yes, Mr. Husk. Yes.”
“And is the…the hurricane bo’ actually skewed windward three arc seconds?”
“Yes, Mr. Husk.”
“And does the non-terrestrial bo’ genuinely include a eighth color, Newtonia, at the triple point altitude on the planet Jupiter?”
“Not from my direct observation, but yes, Mr. Husk. Yes.”
“Boss, computer models indicate a high probability of miasma.”
The woman was quiet for a moment. She typed more information on her computer, looked up and stared.
“Straight ahead,” the woman said quietly.
The others looked up.
“The temperature coefficients are all wrong.”
“It’s straight ahead,” the woman said almost to herself. “And there’s multiples.”
“Everyone. Quiet. Stop the vehicle. Everyone out. Form a line. You, Bottle, get on the vehicle roof. Now. Does anyone see anything?”
Slowly, to the right, the sun rose in the sky. The wind halted. The birds stopped. The air quieted. A hawk flew to the top of a telephone pole to wait for the morning heat rise. And slowly, two white banks of air swelled to the far left and far right of the small group almost completely ringing the horizon. The team held still. The two sets of banks rose and established themselves to the right and to the left and slowly the people between the two banks felt their internal organs lighten and their bowels liquefy.
“But boss. There’s dual banks.”
“Enough. Board the vehicle.”
The people did not move and the man repeated himself.
“We go. I’m not wasting my career pursuing a myth.”
“Would you have me engage the Phoenix?”
“But boss…the perimeters are perfect. The sun angle is at ten degrees. Dual banks with identical MORS between 29 and 31 meters to the horizon. Observers in a clear area minimum width of 10% horizontal view. Liquid precipitation maximum diameter 50 microns.”
The man had to stop to breath and swallow.
“It’s all perfect…it’s all perfect.”
“It’s all perfect for a theoretical object no one has ever proved or witnessed. Everyone in the vehicle.”
The man shouted and cursed but strangely was rooted to the ground like the rest as if the creator had glued everyone’s shoes to the road.
And suddenly the sky opened, the wind halted and everyone turned as a group to the west, unfocused their eyes and saw suddenly and in a slow clump a large white inner tube the color of white soap imbedded in a foggy sky of vanilla ice cream. No one moved. No one spoke. No one gathered instruments, secured data or took notes. No one did anything but witness subjectively an event that could not exist objectively.
“Full color inversion…with a double prism effect…augmented by 50 micron diameter standing liquid precipitation.”
“A white rainbow.”
“A white rainbow.”
“A white rainbow.”
The human beings stood and witnessed as if they were not human beings but leaves on a tree facing the sun.
“My hypothesis,” said the leader quietly to himself. “My hypothesis. The bo’ rotates like a noodle…there’s vibration in the x, y and z directions…there’s movement within the bo’…there’s movement within the bo’.”
And suddenly over many minutes, the fog came down and surrounded the team, obscuring the ground, the sky and the members from each other until finally the rainbow even disappeared and everyone found themselves alone and by themselves enshrouded by a deep fog that disoriented and unsettled. The team shouted for one another in the fog but the human ear loses its ability to orient direction and distance if the eye experiences white blindness. Everyone walked away in different directions alone, became lost and after the fog finally evaporated many hours later, found themselves separate and apart. The team could prove nothing. There was no instrumentation. There was no objective data. There was nothing except for the subjective testimony of six human observers. The meteorological community focused on the team’s observational bias rather than the object observed. The team was ridiculed and the event was explained away in psychological circles as a classic example of group think augmented by lack of sleep, proper nutrition, lack of sexual experiences and self-delusion. Neither Theoretical and Applied Chromometeorological Research nor Rainbow Today would accept the scientific article authored by the team and slowly each member broke away and renounced until many years later there was nothing left but the memory of the white rainbow in the head of the leader alone and by itself.