Author Topic: Part 24: Back to Work  (Read 7274 times)

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Offline Daen

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Part 24: Back to Work
« on: October 31, 2022, 12:45:50 AM »
The interviews finished the very next day. An enzyme package from the Security Apex arrived explaining that the investigation was over, and that 'Eli' had been relieved of this task. It was worded in official language, but Char could read between the lines. Either Eli had failed to find any evidence that she was a spy, or he'd embarrassed himself in some way. Regardless, it was over. Char set two of her qars with the task of reconnecting her.

“—no way to know for sure!" Rax was saying urgently as she arrived. Tobor was about to respond, but suddenly became aware of her and shut up.

Everyone was there, including Moss. Apprehension leaked into the network from everyone except him, and Aysa as usual. She was her typical placid self at the moment. Wordlessly, Char pulled up the designs for the twins' stormer, complete with labels, and placed it for everyone to see. Then she pulled up the modifications for the 'ingenious' motion device, along with the new fuel mixture. As if nothing had happened, she began tinkering with them in front of everyone.

Without hesitation, Moss joined in with her. "I've got Strength supervising the shaping of the new metal frame. I've also got Prudence doing the same for the new wheel design. You wanted it much wider than I expected. Do you think it'll need to travel on loose dirt or sand?"

Not trusting her words, Char sent out an affirmative. He was telling everyone, clear as day, that he trusted her just as much now as before. He was wrong to do so, but it was still courageous. It forced the rest to make a choice. If they still believed her to be a traitor despite the end of the investigation, they would have to show it now. Moss had made it impossible to continue the project otherwise.

If only he knew the full truth! No… even then he would probably still support her. He had a forgiving nature and an open mind. Char wished there were more like him.

Slowly, the Arbormass joined in the circle with them. Rax was the last, but he did so in the end. As it happened, they'd all been advancing the project during isolation, and it was necessary to compare copious notes with each other before proceeding.

The motion device took shape quickly, partially because the raw materials were all here already. Rax's earlier idea about multiple cylinders had been right, but for the wrong reason. He just didn't know enough about how the mixture of fuel to air had to be placed, but Char explained it to him. Despite his suspicion, he listened intently. Also, he and Tobor had been so consumed with the articulator design that it was doubtful he would have been available to learn before this. A pair of the mechanical limbs were attached to the front of the cart, with lines for power and control attached to the accumulator and whichever treqar would test this thing.

Aysa attached the initial sparking device. Unlike the earlier cart which burned at a steady rate, her new design allowed an enzyme control to increase or decrease the amount of fuel in the cylinders. That would hopefully let the treqar on this motion machine move slower or faster as needed. Assuming the accumulator didn't run out of charge, or the fuel didn't run out, or the sparking system Aysa designed didn't malfunction, or the greasing agent Tobor added kept the moving parts moving, or the up-and-down motion didn't seize up again and kept changing to round-and-round motion… and about a million other potential problems.

In truth, Char had never had so much fun! She loved the flames, primarily because of what they represented. Consumption, destruction, and conversion. But building something—actually assembling and testing and using it? She could see why Moss got so excited, even when something blew up or broke down. Failure is still progress, he said so often that people started finishing the phrase for him when he began.

Aysa called them on their work before long. It was already getting dark, and the qars were having trouble seeing even with the open flames nearby. Reluctantly, Char had them extinguish the lights. The later it got into the night, the more bugs they would attract, and her qars wouldn't be able to sleep if they had too many visitors. She sent out satisfaction to the group, and was rewarded with the same.

She was really going to miss these people.