"Shall we take the tour?" Ms. Linda Higher asked.
"By all means," replied Dr. Maland.
Dr. Maland followed Ms. Higher through a number of cubicle offices. Eventually, they came to an enormous room. She explained that this room the final assembly would take place. "The room's ceiling is 100 meters high and it is 500 meters long," Ms. Higher explained. "This should be sufficient to assemble the project. Currently, we have some areas designated for assembly of some of the components. In fact, in the far northwest corner, the power-plant is being worked on now."
Ms. Higher took Dr. Maland to observe the work being undertaken on the power system of the Cyber-Iapetus.
"What is it going to use for power generation?" asked Dr. Maland.
"Excellent question, it is one of the most complicated aspects of this build. Our project engineers are working on deciphering the provided plans. They have yet to determine exactly how it is to work, but from what I understand, it is using nuclear fusion technology. It is quite advanced."
"That should make it very self sufficient."
"Indeed, and because of its complexity, we began it first."
Dr. Maland met with a few of the engineers and discussed the building plan. He felt the 5-year timetable was quite optimistic. However, the team assured him that they would complete the project on time and under budget.
Dr. Maland spent the week sitting in on meetings and watching the workers at AOENC Engineering going about their jobs. He observed some of the early construction processes. He was very interested in how the power generation system would work. However, most of the engineers were skeptical that it would actually operate.
After 4 days of looking around the facilities, and finding everything in order, Dr. Maland bid farewell to the people he met at the Niceville facility. He had wanted to meet Dr. L. Edward Roy, but the CEO could not make it to the Florida plant during his visit there. He did not get as much sailing done as he had hoped. Thus, he left on the long drive back on the final Friday of his spring break.
He arrived in Jacksonville early, in an effort to take advantage of a few of his favorite sailing venues in and around town. He managed to get some afternoon sailing done and was on the water early on Saturday morning. He was driving back towards home before midday.
Traffic was heavy when he neared his home. The second wave of spring break revelers were arriving. He would be back at work on Monday, so he would be able to cope with the hordes.
The build process continued and Dr. Maland had several phone conversations with Dr. L. Edward Roy. He relayed the information on to the inhabitants of the Iapetian Island. He got as detailed reports as he could obtain.
He relayed the successful tests of the power generation system. The system would take in water, and separate the hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen would be fed into the fusion chamber. These hydrogen atoms would be accelerated and would be smashed together in a small but powerful magnetic field. The fusion process would continue until the results were oxygen atoms. This oxygen with the oxygen removed from the water was the only waste and was released into the air. Further, with proper tuning, the system could have any of the first eight elements as waste, excluding hydrogen. Thus, helium or carbon could be obtained if desired.
The reaction would generate the needed power for the separation of hydrogen and oxygen as well as enough power to run an entire household. It would be sufficient for the needs of the enormous island protector. Further, the system was relatively compact for such a high yield system.
In addition, the water did not have to be pure. It could use seawater, which was convenient for the islanders. The Iapetian engineers thought about most of the needs for this power system when they designed it.
AOENC Engineers were so impressed with the system, that they implemented it throughout the Niceville plant with plans to implement it company wide. They handsomely compensated the Iapetian people for the use of the technology. Thus, the money allocated for paying for some of the completion of the mechanical protector could be used for other purposes.
Gradually, more systems were completed. The power train, the hydraulic systems, and the computerized regulation systems were gradually added to the list of completed items. With each completion came a call from Dr. Roy and a report to the Iapetians.
Dr. Maland spent his next four spring breaks watching the manufacture of the Cyber-Iapetus and sailing where he could find a good spot. The giant project was beginning to look like Iapetus on his last visit. The workers constructed the structure around each of the various components on the huge factory floor.
John could make out arms, legs, and tail of the mechanical monster on his last spring break visit. The engineers were correct; the project would finish on time and under budget. It was going to be a very impressive device.
It would be able to travel on land or by sea. While in the water, it would propel itself with its large tail, and the arms would fold under its torso to improve its aqua-dynamics and to act as dive planes. On land, it would walk upright on its two powerful hydraulic legs.
The heavy power plant was located just above the legs to provide a low center of gravity. A series of tubes in the tail sucked in seawater to feed the fusion reaction.
Just above the fusion reactor were a series of batteries for emergency power storage. This would allow the machine to spend longer intervals on land.
The machine had multiple and redundant computer systems. It had an autonomic like system to run and maintain the power system. Its responsibility was to feed the system with water and take care of any wastes. To make them redundant, they put one system in the root of the tail, and another above the batteries.
They designed a small balance and guidance system in each leg, with redundant systems next to the other emergency backup systems. The balance system took inputs from sensors on the bottom of the feet and several gyroscopes. The system could make minute adjustments to keep the device upright.
Finally, there was a triple-redundant master control system protected in a "rib cage" of titanium with the other emergency backup systems. If desired, a pilot and copilot could sit within this protective shell in the chest of the mechanical beast.
These occupants can view the surroundings via a few small carbon nanotube windows. To protect these windows, an operator can close a series of blast shields. In which case, a number of exterior cameras provide vision. Further, these cameras could transmit images to a central control station for remote control or observation. In addition, these cameras give input to the central computer to assist in locomotion and other activities.
Several ballast tanks run the length of the torso. This would allow for various attitudes while operating at sea. These tanks could be filled with the waste gasses from the energy production system or external air.
Once all of the systems were in their proper places, flexible foam insulation would cover these essential parts. Finally, a non-corrosive carbon fiber and Kevlar skin would make the entire device completely waterproof.
After Dr. Maland's final spring break trip, he decided he would watch the final construction of the Cyber-Iapetus. He would leave on this trip when his classes were through. He felt at home at the plant; thus, he decided to make this trip a surprise inspection.
This time, Dr. Maland flew into the Okaloosa Regional Airport and rented a car. He drove directly to the plant, and walked in as the workers were installing rocket-launching hands. A fire breathing mechanism and a couple of mini-guns in the chest had already been installed.
Before Dr. Maland could protest about the deviation from the original plans, a security guard grabbed him and escorted him away. They tossed him into a secure room with no windows and a thick locked door. He would not be able to report his findings to anyone.Posted by deg at April 29, 2007 6:22 PM