Rise of Glie Chapter 30
Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 29: The Last Place on Earth, Period.
FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie
Chapter 30: The Toga's Computer Language
She feels pretty goofy standing there in the middle of the garden with the sparrows staring at her like she's some sort of strange apparition. A lone crow stands atop the Temple wall like the dark sentinel in charge of the place. She got the little bells at the entrance and stands there with her hands clasped.
"You are Bangou, the new haibane who hatched four days ago in Old Home," the old voice flows softly from an unseen place in the bushes up ahead, "Is this correct?"
It takes some concentration for Bangou to ring only the bells on her right wing, but she succeeds.
"Please," Washi encourages as he emerges from a well concealed path without even touching a leaf, "exercise your wings now that you have recovered from their emergence. They should be as natural to use as your hands and feet."
Bangou stands there, not able to respond. She slowly swings back both wings over her back, too slowly to ring the bells, as he approaches.
"This," he offers the notebook he is holding, "is your haibane notebook. It guarantees your daily life."
She gracefully takes it with both hands and bows.
"You look as though you have an itching question," Washi observes, "You may speak."
"What is outside the wall, sir?" she asks politely.
"I cannot say," he sadly intones, "their secrets are theirs to keep."
"I don't mean who," Bangou adds hastily, "I mean what? Fushoku said that inside the wall is the only place that microchips can be made. I'd like to know why."
"Why would you like to know?" Washi asks.
"A man is teaching me things in my dreams," she says, "like how to design the patterns of Fushoku's metal gate transistors so that they can add numbers. He's taught me the binary numbers of computers. How's this?" She crosses her arms and signs the ten digits in Toganese, which uses four fingers in a binary mode to represent them. After a moment, she repeats her original question, "So, what's outside the wall that they can't do any of this?"
"Why don't you ask him?" the Communicator wonders.
"I can't," she says, "Whenever I try, my mind goes blank and my lips don't move. Strange thing about dreams, really."
"I don't want to say," Washi says, "but there is someone in town who knows. May I borrow your notebook for a moment?"
As she offers it back, she says, "I know. I asked him already."
Washi opens Bangou's notebook to the first page, and, it seems from out of nowhere, produces a black feather quill pen and carefully scratches the Haibane Renmei logo and a triangle. "Show Fushoku that, and he'll tell you."
"This is neat," Fushoku says, "The Toganese language does seem specifically designed to be used in computers."
"What?" Bangou gasps, "What the heck is Toganese?"
"That language," he points at her hands.
She tucks them timidly behind her back, "I ... I'm just using them to explain the instruction set the Saviour showed me."
"Which happens to be Toganese," he laughs. "You've been here what? Four weeks?"
"Five on Friday," she says.
"Almost five weeks," Fushoku says, "And you've never-" he realizes something.
"What is it?" Bangou asks nervously.
"You've never gone to Market Square on a Tuesday, have you?" Fushoku asks.
"No," she answers, "I've never been to the Market Square at all."
"So you've probably never seen an actual Toga," Fushoku says.
"Umm... No," she answers slowly, after considering the Temple guards for a moment.
"Come with us next week," Fushoku suggests happily, "Get up an hour earlier the next few mornings, since we go bright and early before the gate cracks at gozen shiji."
"Seven a.m.?" she gasps.
"Yeah, we leave Old Home around six to get there on time," Fushoku explains, "We'll take the northern path so you can see what the delta radiation is doing to the trees right next to the wall. Tiny doses, not enough to be dangerous ... Not yet anyway."
After a pause, Bangou says, "Crystal likes you, doesn't she?"
"Oh, not these ones," he grumbles at his collection of stillborn transistors.
"I mean Janice's daughter," she smiles, "and you know it. I think she's jealous of me."
"Not too much, I hope," Fushoku says, "There is very little to be jealous of. I hope she remembers that."
"She has someone close to remind her," Bangou says, "She won't forget for long, I'm sure. Let's not worry about it."
"How do you know?" Fushoku says.
"It was her mother who explained it to me, remember?" she smiles, "<<Not in front of the boys.>>"
Fushoku chuckles. After a moment, he says, "Stanley's all excited about something the Toga taught us how to make. I don't know the details, but you cook up this powder, add water, sand and gravel in specific proportions for what you want to make, pour it, and in a few hours, it turns rock solid. They call it <<concrete>>." He smiles, but there is a sadness in his eyes, "It's quaint compared to the <<stoneforge>> Aware told me about, but it's what we have."
"Why did you tell me about that?" Bangou asks.
"Oh," Fushoku takes a moment to recall, "Stanley's using it on our new factory in the South District of the main city. It'll be the first building in Glie ... I mean, the new town they're building in the centre of the wall's area. The river runs right by it, and it's only about a kilometre away from the Market Square."
"Factory?" Bangou asks.
"Wire Factory," Fushoku explains, "In it, we'll be mass producing microchips. They'll be our main export for-" he pauses.
Bangou bends close. Something is wrong, and she wonders if Fushoku pulled a muscle.
"...as long as they'll survive out there," he finishes, "No matter what we do, that delta radiation will destroy them. We'll just have to do them in such a way that makes them last as long as possible."
"I have ideas about that," Bangou says warmly, "Your report describes a crystal size <<moderating>> effect which means that that smaller crystals are less affected by delta radiation." She smiles, "So we make the tiniest chips we can, add surface oxidation, and bury them in a collagen based resin that will stop the lowest energy rays."
"Why collagen?" Fushoku asks.
"Delta radiation affects animals more than plants," Bangou explains, "You know that's why we import grain and export animals. Aware told me after I showed him that triangle the Communicator drew in my notebook."
"The highest energy rays only affect larger crystals," Fushoku realizes, "so if we keep the dice small and stop the low energy rays that affect them the most..." he smiles. "The Saviour sure knows how to pick 'em," and gives her shoulder a rough shake. He thinks for a moment, and then says, "I think we should try finding something that's easier to make, since collagen is rather hard to come by. I'm thinking high density polyethylene. Keepsie's figured that stuff out, and for some reason, the Toga don't like it."
"Why?" Bangou asks.
"Apparently, it slowly evaporates, becomes brittle, and falls apart," Fushoku explains.
"Well, that's no good," Bangou complains.
Fushoku turns to her and says, "That's what it sounds like, but it doesn't do that in Glie. How long do your think your collagen resins would last absorbing delta radiation?"
Bangou smiles, "Good point."
"Best thing is," Fushoku almost cheers as he turns back to his bench and reaches into his glove box to fiddle with his grown transistors, "we can test it with these."
Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 31: They Don't Fall