Suddenly Presteign began speaking in a low monotone.
"PyrE is a pyrophoric alloy. A pyrophore is a metal which emits
sparks when scraped or struck. PyrE emits energy, which is why
E, the energy symbol, was added to the prefix Pyr. PyrE is a solid
solution of transplutonian isotopes, releasing thermonuclear energy
on the order of stellar Phoenix action. Its discoverer was of
the opinion that he had produced the equivalent of the primordial
protomatter which exploded into the Universe."
"My God!" Jisbella exclaimed.
Dagenham silenced her with a gesture and bent over
Presteign. "How is it brought to critical mass, Presteign? How is
the energy released?"
"As the original energy was generated in the beginning of
time," Presteign droned. "Through Will and Idea."
"I'm convinced he's a Cellar Christian," Dagenham muttered
to Y'ang-Yeovil. He raised his voice. "Will you explain, Presteign?"
"Through Will and Idea," Presteign repeated. "PyrE can only
be exploded by psychokinesis. Its energy can only be released by
thought. It must be willed to explode and the thought directed at
it. That is the only way."
"There's no key? No formula?"
"No. Only Will and Idea are necessary." The glazed eyes
"God in heaven!" Dagenham mopped his brow. "Will this
give the Outer Satellites pause, Yeovil?"
"It'll give us all pause."
"It's the road to hell," Jisbella said.
-- "The Stars
My Destination," by Alfred Bester