Another leap forward
Heinrich smiled. He was satisfied, his hands gliding along the ceramic ceiling of the facility. The project had been done in some... haste, due to the unfortunate isolation of the Vortex Corporation. But finally (And, if he was honest, with dumb luck), finally, it was done.
It felt a bit uneasy, not being used to the temperatures on Coral`s island, near the equator. But it didn´t matter. The next things he would do... Working here, creating the necessary 'floaty' parts for the neptune project, and then, perhaps, no, not perhaps, more likely... definitely, a more massive import and development...
He could hardly wait, and watching the machines, machines that would soon work, soon begin the endless process of production...
"Yes." He whispered. "Yes. Finally." He looked around, at Desty Nova, who stood behind him, holding the inevitable pudding in his left hand. "Just in time. We would be f*cked, hadn`t they agreed to the joint project."
"Indeed. Not to mention that this deal is actually better than the deal the Vortex Corporation offered us. Full incorporation of this things with our own technologies... A leap forward."
"To bad we didn´t develop it on our own, though. I thought we had the basic knowledge, anyway?"
Desty chuckled. "Yes, but it would have taken us... five, maybe ten years? This is much faster, so why not take it?"
"Well... true... Reminds me, I wonder how the Treznorian technicians take all of this..." Heinrch chuckled.
"Why? We pay them very generous wages."
"Yes, but I doubt they`re used to such an environment."
"Pft." Desty snorted. "As if the entire island is a radioactive wasteland. Only the eastern parts..."
The discussion continued for a while, featuring the local traditions, random bits of techytalk, a couple rather amusing anecdotes and a few minor things, until they finally finished and left the facility... Tomorrow, it would begin its work, and they would need to be ready for it.
MAGNETO- COMPLEX FINISHED
After finishing the construction in the record time of only one year, the MAGNETO- complex, first of a number of facilities dedicated to the exchange of DA and Treznorian technologies, has been completed, and will begin its work for the furtherment of technology, knowledge and the relationship between the two great nations participating in the project.
Desty Nova, major member of he Mad Scientists Conference, who organised the program, was quoted saying that "This is yet another leap forward. The future shines brightly upon us, and... Did I mention this pudding being delicious? Errr... In any case, this project is yet another great success for us, not to mention for Treznor, and the technology exchange will allow us to proceed with projects that were mere ideas just a couple of weeks ago."
Devon Treznor flips through the data on his screen, responding to some reports and marking others for later scrutiny. He grumbles slightly to himself as he reads over the latest reports of interstellar exploration and sips at his coffee.
At this rate we'll have a viable extrasolar colony when my grandchildren are gray. If Nath ever gets around to giving me an heir in the first place.
He puts down his coffee and moves on.
Ah, the Der Angst project. They finished that stage already? Sheesh, what's their hurry? Is there something going on around Neptune I should know about?
He links to the TCYS database and cross-references Neptune.
Yeah, already got a colony there. I knew that. Intel suggests it's not a happy one, either. I didn't know that. Throwing good money after bad? That doesn't sound like a staunch capitalist to me. Hmm...
He contemplates the data for a while, then decides he just doesn't have enough information to form an opinion. He flags the file for later study with a footnote to Ben Vitner.
[code:1:19f4732898]Ben, see what you can dig up on Der Angst's colony at Neptune. I'm curious what they'll be using the new EM technology for. The money is good, but I'm wondering if maybe we can't expand our interests a little more.[/code:1:19f4732898]
A few months later
"And... run it."
The engineer, a rather old, skinny man with white hair, stood to the left of the 'device', carefully watching the display in front of him.
"Good... All within limits."
"Be careful, last time, the core melted. I think Jeff got sterilised from the radiation."
"I noticed it. His wife was used to it, though."
"Anyway..." The engineer looked at the stats. "I think it works. Finally."
"Yay! How far are they with the long term testing? Now, that we finsihed this part?"
"Not too far. Serial production will still take a while... Well, that part is supposed to be done by the Treznorians, anyway."
"True. Speaking of the devil..." The Technician pointed to the door to the left, where a Treznorian technician entered.
The construction continued, and as a matter of fact, it continued with... significant speed.
Six more facilities were supposed to be build, only one (Incidentally, the largest, according to the plans), the one that was supposed to be built in Sisgardia, was still waiting for its construction to begin.
The others, while not being operational, were under construction... soon, they would be finished.
Standing in front of a table in his private laboratory, Desty Nova, wearing his usual labcoat, experimented with a few new, highly explosive substances, occasionally blowing up expensive equipment.
"So... The work continues smoothly?"
"Yes. Still no practical results, but... that wont take long."
His secretary, Elaine, walked over to him, wrapping her arms around him, her hand searching for his crotch. "In any case... so much work..."
"I will finish soo-"
The laboratory was now covered with black smoke, in it, two... shadows were moving. "You really need to work more carefully..."
"Next, we come to Io. How's the Tsaraine Dominion going there?"
"Like ducks to water," Ben reported, consulting his notes. "The infrastructure Lancaster built is still there, and the EM fields are strong so transportation is highly efficient. The radiation is nothing new, albeit a little stronger than they're used to, but they've got their radiation protocols down pat. There's no one in the NDA better suited to handle it. They're apparently complaining about not having a surface view, but given Io's particulars they'll just have to deal. I understand their engineers are actually kind of excited about the challenge of building surface buildings that can withstand Io's punishment.
"They report something disturbing, though. Apparently, the Morgoth Imperium has shipbuilding facilities all around the Jovian system, but particularly around Io. According to what we've been able to glean from the intel Creed gave us, they've been around for a long time, but no one paid attention to them. Probably got lost in the detritus."
"Nobody ever said the bastard didn't have balls. All right, set up a Council meeting to discuss that problem. We might want to invite the Jovian League to talk about it; I can't imagine they're any happier about it than I am. I'm sure a concerted fleet presence would help discourage such an obvious threat to Jovian space."
"Got it." Ben scribbled on his notepad. "That's it for Io."
"Okay. How about Neptune?"
"I already filled you in on the scoop with their colony. Given that they're looking to replace it and the problems they're having with the old one, I wouldn't be surprised to see an attempt to secede."
"Um." Treznor paused to take a sip of coffee. "They're in a bad position to do so, if they try. I'd expect more along the lines of sabotage. Make the new colony look like a bad deal. Make sure security for our people is on high alert."
"Okay, so how's the collaboration coming?"
"They're making us look bad."
"Well, you know how we're always trying to decrease the power-to-mass ratio for the EM drives, right? They came up with a solution that boosted performance by twelve percent. That was after a few weeks' work. They're a lot more efficient in that kind of translation. When they've had enough time to play with the system, I imagine they'd be able to produce EM drives that fly rings around us."
"Shit. And here I thought I was doing well making education a new priority in the Empire."
"They've got a head start on us," Ben pointed out. "A lot of the hurdles we're still studying are history to them. Our technology is moving in different directions, but the underlying physics is still the same."
"All right. Get Bill to start negotiations on extending our cooperation with them. Let's see if we can't reap some more benefits from sharing knowledge."
"Doesn´t look overly impressive, now, does it?"
"Not really, no."
The small group, four, no, five teenagers stood near to the rather threatening fence of the facility. Their disrespect had a reason: Despite the facility being almost finished, it looked rather... unimpressive. A relatively small building, no real colours, only grey and black. Granted, they weren´t exactly cheerful, liking bright colours (Angstians rarely did), but still... It looked rather dead, like an abandoned arms manufacturing center... Which were rather easy to find, after the recent blows the arms manufacturing sector had to take.
As a matter of fact, they would hardly notice the building, weren´t it for the fact that foreigners tended to be seen there, frequently, apparently working inside the facility. And foreigners were something they considered to be quite... interesting.
"Hey, there!" One of the two girls in the group pointed at something very distant, perhaps 200 meters away.
"Ah... Yeah. Heck, he must hate the rain." The others in the group chuckled, not really noticing the rather acidic rain. Of course, the Treznorian was most likely less... used to the weather.
"I would give a lot to know what is happening inside... They say it is some sort of... exchange?"
"Yah. Annoying, foreigners knowing more than we do..."
The others nodded. It was hard to bear, hard to accept, hard to understand, the idea of foreigners being more advanced than Angstians... Not being the number one... It was hard to believe. Especially since the daily broadcasts rarely told them about such things.
Finally, they gave up, heading for the city to earn some money, or to gamble in the local casinos. Either way, this evening was far from being over.
"And? How is it going?" Clark asked, looking rather annoyed, being busy wit collecting and processing data about the Grand Duchy, the Kerathor rebels and Glorious Humanity.
"Perfect. It will probably take about a year until the tests are finished. From then on, we can add the EM floaty stuff to our ships, probably even ground vehicles."
"Neat... Ah, damn-"
"Huh?" Desty didn´t exactly like Clarks rather indifferent attitude. Politicians. Can`t they concentrate on the really important things?
"Errr... Ok. Where was I?"
"Ah, right. In any case, it looks like a great success. Though the Treznorians are not too keen on details, or so it seems. They developed the tech, but so far, we found quite a few... details that could be made better." He hesitated, grinning. "Which is what we usually do when we find them."
"Although there is one single problem." Sakurai looked up, for a moment forgetting about her fingernails. "The EM somewhat interferes with our... speciality." You know what I mean.
Desty chuckled. "Yes. It is rather... annoying for telepathy. Sometimes, it boosts it, sometimes, we get a blackout."
"Ah?" Clark looked up, now somewhat more interested. On his screen, a blue planet could be seen, together with a few pieces of barren rock. "This is... not exactly a good thing."
"Yes. We can use the technology, but it would be foolish to use it on a massive scale. We still need, and will continue to need, our older technologies." He didn´t even look at Clark, but at Sakurai (Or rather, Sakurai`s chest), who was again occupied with her fingernails.
"Well... Ok. What about neptune?" Again, Clark. He was certainly more interested in his little wargames... With a sigh, Desty turned towards him. "That will be a little bit faster, since we started the project because of Neptune and TVC`s reisolation. I guess we can start with the first releases in... six months."
"Well... Good. Now, about Melkor and Syskeyia..."
Men. Sakurai thought, seemingly annoyed by the endless talk about war and bloodshed.
sort of co- written:
"Well... Now this red cable... with this blue cab- OUCH!"
Takahara rubbed his finger, the smell of slightly burned flesh in the air. "Ok... It was the white cable." With that, he continued working, slowly, as it was his habit... But well, considering his age, it was still acceptable. And there was no one who was more qualified for this kind of work...
"OUCH! Goddamn pink cable..."
Well, with exceptions...
The facility was rather clean, sporting professional white walls and a generally orderly interior. The two dozen Angstians working there were almost scared by the "unusual" environment their Treznor counterparts insisted on, though they were fairly efficient in creating the chaos necessary for them to feel at home. Their hosts didn´t necessarily like that particular habit.
"Do they have to wear clothing that garish?" whispered Tracy Collins to her friend, Amanda.
"I don't know. I think some of them have pretty good styles going." Amanda whispered back. "That guy in the corner is pretty cute, don't you think?"
"Amanda!" Tracy forgot the need for secrecy in light of this scandalous news. Then she glanced around to see if anyone noticed and continued in more moderate tones. "You can't be serious!"
Amanda smirked at her. "Why not? He is cute. So what if his shirt is loud? It matches his hair."
Or various other habits. Fortunately, the work itself progressed quickly. Furthermore, it looked like the disparate types of equipment needed to make the whole thing work were fairly easily to integrate.
"We've got the voltage equipment in place," Amanda called. "Let's bring generator Three online."
Well, once they were made in more conventional ways than what was common in DA. After all, the Treznorian industrial infrastructure needed to support the whole system once it was integrated. So some changes were necessary.
"I'm registering a current. Oh shit, shut it down!"
"We didn't slag another one, did we?"
"No, not this time. It looks like we got more output than the last time. I think we're heading in the right direction. There's still too much resistance to fight against."
"Now, if we could just get these superconductors to work the way they are supposed to work... The surface area is stilloverheating..."
"Well, we could..."
The discussions between the technicians of both nations were fairly complex, but it was tempered with the familiarity of experts plying their trade. Relations remained cordial, and communication was exchanged freely. With a bit of luck, it wouldn`t take long until it would finally work...
"Ok... The Neptune project seems to go smoothly. Now we can concentrate on the saner things." Elaine said, stroking Desty's crotch. "I read about your 'Woodknicker'. Strange name... but certainly more interesting than the other things your colleagues want to do..."
"Yes... Yes, indeed... Now..."
"Come on..." Her voice was... seductive, demanding. "Your calculations can wait... You have someone much more important..." Elaine opened Desty's trousers, her hand slipping in...
"Yes... Yes, I think you´re right." Desty grinned as he turned around. "So, let us celebrate."