Rise of Glie Chapter 26

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Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 25: A Second Chance

FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie

Chapter 26: The Engine

"Are you sure it's safe?" Fushoku asks.

The engine sitting in Stone Mill was freshly overhauled by the Toga, so they say, before it was brought into Glie. Bahitsu was able to confirm this by looking at the machine, which is composed of several different parts, a kitbash of parts from different manufacturers.

Bahitsu scoffs, "I haven't the faintest idea."

"It won't be," the Communicator growls, "Take the oilpan off, you'll see."

Bahitsu isn't an idiot, and so checks the oil before doing so. If you simply remove the oilpan of a typical engine, you will wind up wearing its entire oil supply. This type of engine combines the oil fill and the dipstick. Since it is of twenty-second century manufacture [such as those featured in the final two stages of Doom 3], it uses almost no oil.

"What is that?" Bahitsu gasps at the glowing speck of metal on the tip of the dipstick.

"Take a wild guess," Aware says as he gently whacks Bahitsu's halo with his fingers.

"The engine is going to be full of that crap, you'll see," the Communicator warns.

"How did you know?" Fushoku asks.

"Why, I am the Washi," the Communicator says. Everyone can hear his smile, even if they can't see it for the mask.

After examining it, Bahitsu says, "We'll take off the cylinder head, clean the pistons, and once there, turn it over by hooking Fushoku's new motor to the output shaft. That will pump the oil in the crankcase through the filter, which will gather up all the light leaves for us.

"How could the Toga not have noticed it?" Fushoku asks.

"The wall does something to turn the enemy's poison into the metal our halos are made from," Aware explains.

"How do you know that?" Bahitsu asks.

"It had flooded Old Home during the battle," he says, "Hagane told me."

"A piece of steel?" Bahitsu asks incredulously.

"Ashfeather Steel," Aware scoffs, "I thought you could see that." After sharing in the chuckles, he continues, "I hatched surrounded by this stuff," indicating the hikarinium flake.

"How would poison get into an engine?" Bahitsu asks.

"The same way it gets into their computers," Fushoku says, "It gets into everything out there. And it does something to semiconductor material. We need to know more about it if we are going to make semiconductor product that will last out there. Washi, does it have a name?"

"Delta radiation," Washi answers, as though reluctant to.

"See if you can figure out what it did to this," Bahitsu smashes a black box at the top of one end with little wires spread all over the engine with his hammer.

"What did you do that for?" Aware asks.

"Electronic fuel injection and ignition control," Bahitsu scoffs. Sure enough, light leaves shine from the interior of the smashed box and its shattered microchip.

"Can it work without it?" Aware cautions.

"No," Bahitsu says, "but I can build it a fuel injection and ignition system that doesn't require electronics. It'll be stuck at idle for the rest of its life, but that's what we want it for anyway."

"I can ensure that it has a very long life idling for you, Feather Bahitsu," Washi intones, "Come see me once you have it running again."

Once the Communicator has left, Bahitsu asks Aware, "What does he know about engines?"

"It's not engines he knows about," Aware smiles, "It's oil."

"Where are the Toga getting the engines?" Fushoku asks.

"I'm glad you asked me that instead of the Toga," Aware says, "I'm pretty sure they'd say something to the effect of, don't ... ask."

"Whatever," Bahitsu responds, "Come on, fellas, let's get started on this beast."

The haibane turn to their tools, all custom made by Bahitsu. Aware taps Fushoku, "How are you doing on, what'd you call them ... grown transistors?"

"Yeah, not bad. The Toga camp in the Market Square solder leads onto them for us, which is great. The specification that they need is to drive these little suckers," Fushoku grabs a tiny frame with an array of wires, upon which are strung little black rings.

"What is that?" Aware asks, "a patch for ancient armor?"

"Close," Fushoku sets it down, "It's a ferrite core memory array," he explains, "If they've resorted to something that prehistoric, whatever is wrecking their electronics is nasty stuff."

"What's after this?" Aware asks.

"The next thing we need to master after making and slicing crystals is something I call alloy diffusion," Fushoku explains, "It was probably called something else way back when. They used it to create smaller individual transistors at first. The first type, they would grow the crystal with impurities to make it one type, wafer it, and then diffuse the impurities for the other type into each side, making a sandwich similar to the ones I'm currently making, only really small. After that, they made ones where they oxidized one face of the wafer and removed the oxide for various patches to create a transistor crystal where all the leads faced one side."

"You're planning to make the double-sided ones next, I take it?" Aware asks.

"No," Fushoku says, "I'm going to skip to the metal gate transistor. I've drawn it here."

Aware can't quite comprehend Fushoku's explanation of what was once called a MOSFET, but gets enough of Fushoku's impromptu lecture to understand that he has a plan.

"I don't think these things have ever been made individually as a development step, but that is what we are going to do first," Fushoku says, "Once we've mastered that, we figure out how to isolate them from each other on the same crystal without cutting them apart, then we can lay the metal without the gate on these parts," he points, "to connect them together. That done, we have microchips again."

"How long?" Aware asks.

"I don't know," Fushoku confesses, "It depends on many things I don't control, including this delta radiation I know nothing about."

"You know a lot about semiconductors, obviously," Aware observes.

"I know nothing about how to make them specifically for whatever environment is outside that wall," Fushoku grumbles, "Without any of that knowledge, our new microchips might be toast before the Toga can even sell them."

At Old Home, little Kagami continues to have bad dreams that she can't remember. All Crystal knows is that she tends to cry "Dadii" just before she wakes with a horrible scream.

Crystal emerges from Old Home to the place behind the East Wing where they keep the trash incinerator. The crows, as usual, have opened it up and are picking through the ashes.

"Out!!" she orders. The three crows at the incinerator scatter as Crystal approaches with her broom (none with empty beaks or stomachs.)

One of the two on Old Home's wall, apparently students in this demonstration of how to crack into the incinerator, suddenly loses its footing and slips off the wall to flop into the bushes, thrashing its wings in a useless attempt to right itself in the tumble.

"Oh, no!" Kagami screeches, rushing to the fallen crow's aid.

"You've got to be kidding," Crystal groans, "They can look after themselves fine."

"He may be hurt!" the little girl squeals as she jumps into the bushes in search of the crow, who is desperate to get away from her.

"No, Kagami-san," Crystal rushes to her side, "They're dirty."

"I'll wash up," Kagami says, having caught the petrified crow, who offers no resistance once the little girl has her hands around its wings and body. It is scared stiff.

"Let it go," Crystal urges, "If he's really hurt, he won't fly off. He won't be able to."

"Okay," Kagami says, and as soon as her hands are open enough, the crow jumps from them, and is flying before it even touches the ground.

"I guess it is okay," Crystal says.

"I'm glad," Kagami says as the crow flies past the four standing on the wall, who seem just as flabberghasted as Crystal. "I've always liked birds," the little girl finishes.

"Okay, wash up," Crystal says.

"Crystal, what's wrong?" Kagami asks, seeing the worried look on her face.

"I have never seen a crow fall like that, hurt or not," Crystal says, "I wonder what happened to him."

"Well," Kagami squeals, "I'm glad he's okay," then smelling her hands, "Crystal, they're not so dirty."

"That's just because that particular one wasn't digging through our trash just now," Crystal says, "Wash up anyway. We have no idea what sort of diseases they might be carrying. They do go outside the wall after all, and Fushoku thinks that whatever is frying the computers out there is also capable of frying us."

Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 27: Quest for the Blue Seed

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