The Great Stone of Sardis by Frank Stockton:
Science Fiction Inventions, Technology and Ideas
A great boring machine accidentally heads straight down toward the center of the Earth.
"It is a mass of solid diamond!"
Margaret screamed. She could not say one word.
"Yes," said he, "I believe the whole central portion of the earth is one great diamond. When it was moving about in its orbit as a comet, the light of the sun streamed through this diamond and spread an enormous tail out into space; after a time this nucleus began to burn."
"Burn!" exclaimed Margaret.
"Yes, the diamond is almost pure carbon; why should it not burn? It burned and burned and burned. Ashes formed upon it and encircled it; still it burned, and when it was entirely covered with its ashes it ceased to be transparent, it ceased to be a comet; it became a planet, and revolved in a different orbit. Still it burned within its covering of ashes, and these gradually changed to rock, to metal, to everything that forms the crust of the earth."
She gazed upon him, entranced.
"Some parts of this great central mass of carbon burn more fiercely than other parts. Some parts do not burn at all. In volcanic regions the fires rage; where my great shell went down it does not burn at all. Now you have my theory. It is crude and rough, for I have tried to give it to you in as few words as possible."
"Oh, Roland," she cried, "it is absurd! Diamond! Why, people will think you are crazy. You must not say such a thing as that to anybody. It is simply impossible that the greater part of this earth should be an enormous diamond."
(The automatic shell)
"Margaret," he answered, "nothing is impossible. The central portion of this earth is composed of something; it might just as well be diamond as anything else. In fact, if you consider the matter, it is more likely to be, because diamond is a very original substance. As I have said, it is almost pure carbon. I do not intend to say one word of what I have told you to any one—at least, until the matter has been well considered—but I am not afraid of being thought crazy. Margaret, will you look at these?"
He took from his pocket some shining substances resembling glass. Some of them were flat, some round; the largest was as big as a lemon, others were smaller fragments of various sizes.
"These are pieces of the great diamond which were broken when the shell struck the bottom of the cave in which I found it. I picked them up as I felt my way around this shell, when walking upon what seemed to me like solid air. I thrust them into my pocket, and I would not come to you, Margaret, with this story, until I had gone to my office to find out if these fragments were really diamond. I tested them; their substance is diamond!"
(The Great Stone of Sardis)
A projectile that bores through obstacles - even the Earth!
A munition that is powerfully attracted to ferrous ships.
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