Rise of Glie Chapter 42

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Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 41: Boys!!

FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie

Chapter 42: Happy Enough to Cry

"I want to try it!" Hane giggles excitedly in the airlock, loudly enough that Teisei covers his ears.

"Patience," Fushoku says, "We won't have the first batch ready for testing until Thursday. And ... we still have to unwrap the silly thing. Who knows where it's been?"

The optical machine in the freight airlock wait's more patiently than Hane as they gently vacuum away the tiny specks of hikarinium, the only apparent contaminant.

"The Toga obviously wrapped it up pretty good," Teisei remarks.

They spend the rest of the day installing it, and a few early tests show that they should have no problem using it down to ten micrometres. That they haven't had a chance to test it with a production mask and real silicon does nothing to attenuate Hane's excitement as they leave almost an hour after the closing bell.

"Welcome back, Communicator," the Toga signs as the main gate swings the rest of the way open.

"It's good to be back," Washi signals in return. "We have the first production dice for the fruitbox computers here," with a gesture to the cart, "Enough for six units. We will probably peak at around twenty units per week. The fruitbox circuits are currently being adapted to the photographic methods. Our next generation will probably use those monitors you recommended in a folding configuration. We can call it clamshell."

The Toga momentarily seems troubled, turns about and signs at nothing in particular out of sight of the Washi.

A crow Aware couldn't see caws twice slowly, and then twice more quickly.

Another Toga emerges from the group and comes up.

Washi repeats the previous part of the conversation.

"Ordinarily," the second Toga signs, "we use the term Mark Three for fruitbox, and your clamshell concept must be for the Mark Four."

"Mark Three and Mark Four, sorry," she signs.

The second Toga waves the first away, and at once signs, "Number, your wings? Your halo?"

Her hands tremble, "For you, my friends." She reaches for the cart and takes a stack of paper; not her homemade paper, but many sheets sold to Glie by the Toga, "The programs for all the masks fruitbox uses. I haven't been able to test them."

"Do you remember me?" the Toga signs.

"Not specifically," she replies, "but the crow called you two-long two-short. I really can't tell you apart. Keep up the good work."

The Toga bows.

"Sir," she signs, "would it trouble you terribly to keep the second generation layouts with your camp in Glie? Never let your other partners see them?"

"No trouble," he signs instantly, "but why?"

"Military intelligence tells me an enemy is trying to use the first generation layouts in experiments with diamond-based semiconductors," she signs, "We must stay well ahead of them with our silicon product line. More for your sakes than ours; our wall protects us."

After a long moment, the Toga replies, "I understand. Your predecessor never went into such detail as to why he didn't want it to, but be assured, the first generation layout did not get to them by us."

"They might have figured it out," she replies.

"We haven't sold any yet," the Toga signs, "so we can't see how. I'll see what we find out. Do you know where these experiments are?"

"Yes," she replies, "but I can't say. My sources have their connections, and with you as well. I think you know who to ask, two-long two-short. Someone who knows your name."

"Toga do not have-" he pauses, "I understand, Communicator. Thank you."

The crow flies to the top of the wall, and waits until the gate closes behind the departing Toga before disappearing entirely.

Once inside the wall, standing on the bridge over the moat between the gates, he signals to his fellow Toga, "They have changed Communicators We'll probably have to simply adjust."

"Incredible," he responds, "that a second haibane would give up his wings for us."

"We need to do an audit of the cutting facility using the Mark One," the first one signs slowly, "Glie's enemy has somehow gotten the Mark Three layout."

After a moment, the other responds, "Crud." He considers as the other two crank open the outer gate, "We should perhaps talk to the-"

The first Toga wonders for a moment why he suddenly stopped. He turns to see two crows standing between the gates as they open. He turns back to the second one and signals, "Get a map, now!"

"I take it you fellas have found a more effective way to communicate with the Communicator," he signs to his little friends.

The crows look at each other, then extend their right wings and nod.

He looks about to make sure no one observes, then signs, "That's okay. She is the Communicator after all."

The crows look at each other again. They seem to be cool with this particular Toga knowing the Communicator's gender. One of them flies off and lands on the cart, taps the other Toga's map, and then both fly away.

"Hell Knight Forge," the second Toga signs to the first before Two-long Two-short even gets to the map.

He confirms the location. Predictable. It is the only location the Toga know of that is able to forge diamonds.

"Kiniiri-san," the Communicator says warmly, "This is your Haibane Notebook. It guarantees your daily life in Glie. Keep it with you at all times."

"Sir," he squeaks, "I wish I could have met Bangou-san."

"I'm sure you will, Kiniiri-san," Washi answers.

The other new haibane approaches with his head bowed, blonde hair hiding his eyes.

"You must be Taka-san," Washi says.

The boy twitches his right wing.

Washi crouches, tries to see the boy's eyes, whispers, "They tell me you haven't said a word since you emerged. You can say something now, I've given you permission."

He smiles at the masked being, then flaps both his wings, blowing fallen feathers and leaves about.

"Glad to see you're happy at least," the Washi responds. The short notebook ceremony is repeated for him.

"Fushoku-san," the Washi intones several minutes later as the group is about to leave, "This will only take a minute."

Fushoku walks up to the Washi, who gives him a small box. "Thank you, sir," he says, then hurries to catch up with the rest.

Fushoku finds that he is too late, and so decides to attempt his shortcut again. This time a proper rope bridge spans the waterfall, but the catwalks are still very narrow and require harnesses. He beats Aware and the boys to the end of the road.

"I see you've gotten your sense of adventure back," Aware says, "and without getting as wet this time."

"Still pretty gnarly," Fushoku says, "I think there will always be a wild feel to this place."

"He just wanted to try out those new glasses," Bahitsu giggles, "The ones that let him see like Crystal all the way across Glie."

Fushoku pushes the bridge of the spectacles his friend refers to up on the bridge of his nose, and says, "Maybe."

Once back at Old Home, he opens up the little box and unfolds a rather large piece of paper. It is recognizable as a schematic diagram, and he soon recognizes it as a variation on the fifty-micrometre logic core. He looks in the corner, where the identification information is, and gasps. It is Bangou's promised first twenty-micron drawing, right on schedule, but with a name he doesn't recognize: "Tiindare". Whatever. He's happy to have it. So happy he cries.

Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 43: Quieter Than the Toga

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