Rise of Glie Chapter 43

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Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 42: Happy Enough to Cry

FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie

Chapter 43: Quieter Than the Toga

"Whoever this <<Tiindare>> is, he's better at doing layouts than Bangou!" Fushoku gasps as he slips the new mask into the optical system he's just built.

"Bahitsu's glad to have the wafer furnace running in the dead of winter," Hane calls, carefully wiping down the optical machine, "and so am I."

"Yeah," Fushoku says through his bunny suit's mask, "It's not like we can just throw on a sweater in this place."

Fushoku turns the indexing knobs on his machine while looking at the mask and wafer using a microscope. He must do so quickly to keep from overexposing the photoresist on the wafer. He can't wait to get a computer to do it, but he needs to build that computer first. Worse, he needs to build its replacement since the humans have first dibs on everything, and the haibane can own nothing new.

"Whoa!" she gasps, "Look at the time."

"Oh, you didn't know?" Fushoku giggles, "I guess you mean you're having too much fun."

"Not only that," Teisei gripes, "I'm behind shedule, I've got another two wafers to inspect."

"Uh," Fushoku says, "They're both Third-level Charlies, right?"

"Yeah," he groans, returning with haste to his microscope.

"The second can wait if the first doesn't have too many failures," Fushoku explains, "We need twenty good ones. If you find them all on the first wafer, head to the Fourth-level dice."

"Why?" he asks.

"Because we need to deliver twenty of each die to the Toga camp on Tuesday," Fushoku patiently elaborates, "If they have forty good Third-levels and zero good Fourth-levels, they can't assemble the processors."

"I've got forty-seven good ones on the first wafer, already," he says, "that's why I'm behind."

Fushoku does a double-take, "Say what?"

"Forty-seven good ones on the first wafer," Teisei repeats.

"How?" Fushoku gasps, "I'm not that good at this."

"Congratulations," Hane smiles with a glance away from her wafer cart, "I think you can take tomorrow off and let him catch up. Maybe get that blonder than he ... what's his name? ... to say something."

"Taka," Fushoku says, then scoffs, "quieter than the Toga, if that's possible."

"Shoukai must've," somebody says, "or how else did he get his name?"

"I'll see what I can do," Fushoku says, turning back to his machine, "Anyway, cut the chatter, I want forty-seven good ones on this wafer if I can help it."

Fushoku is satisfied with his mask placement and gingerly hits the switch for exposure lamp, whose green light soon dominates the dim lab. He then wraps his fingers around each other as he waits for the timer to ding, careful not to rub any dust from his hands into the sensitive air.

"Anything wrong?" Hane asks.

"Just cold, is all," Fushoku says quietly.

"All?" Hane persists.

"I miss Shoukai," he sighs, "I never told you about the early days just before you hatched, so you probably don't know unless someone I have told spilled it. Shoukai was very skeptical about my semiconductor experiments before the Toga returned. He tried very hard to get me working on things that were more practical for Glie ... the things we now trade computers for to get from the Toga. Back then, I didn't like him much."

"Really?" Hane gasps.

"Really," Teisei whispers, "And you should have seen all the questions he was asking about this Saviour character when Bangou started having those dreams."

"Ever wonder if they're chatting it up with the Saviour in the next life?" Hane wonders quietly as she warms up the diffusion oven.

"Just a moment," Fushoku says as his timer dings, turning off the lamp, and he starts hastily adjusting his exposure system.

"Makes you wonder if there's some cosmic, eternal purpose to what we're doing here," Teisei says, "tedious as it may be at times."

"That's not what I wonder," Fushoku says, "There is definitely a cosmic purpose to this tedious fiddling."

"Like what?" Hane asks, turning from her furnace for a moment.

Fushoku, still staring into his adjustment microscope, sighs, "Your guess is as good as mine. I'm doing this because I trust this Saviour, not just because it puts food on the table."

"It'd be nice if we knew his name," she says as she turns back to compare the oven's six thermometers. The more even the heat in it is, the higher the yields. "Almost there," she whispers, "be a good little oven."

"I bake my cookies at eight hundred," Fushoku snickers.

"Good thing Crystal still bakes hers at one-ninety," Teisei snickers. All three chuckle. [Note: They are talking in Centigrade: Fushoku's is 1475F, while Crystals is at 375F.]

That evening, Fushoku sees Taka quietly holding Shoukai's notepad, the one he used to research all his experiments. None were as exotic as Fushoku's, but they were much more varied. On it, Taka has doodled several different kinds of birds, labeled with colors, dimensions and masses.

"You miss Shoukai?" Fushoku asks, carefully presenting a generous dinner of rice, vegetables, and fried fish.

The blonde boy nods and hums.

"Oh, I think that's the first time I've heard your voice, Taka-san," Fushoku smiles, "What is that about?"

"They're coming," he whispers, "I know it. Not just hawks, but all kinds of birds."

"How do you know?"

"He tells me," Taka says, "Please don't think I'm crazy."

Fushoku takes the boy's hands in his own and asks, as quietly as Taka's whispers, "What's his name?"

"I don't know," Taka says, even more quietly.

"Does he have holes in his hands?" Fushoku asks.

The boy is momentarily stunned, then quickly nods.

Fushoku smiles, "I don't know his name either."

"He's really in charge, you know," Taka whispers, "Don't tell anyone. Unless he asks you to."

"Did he ask you to tell me?" Fushoku asks.

Taka shakes his head, but then looks up at Fushoku and says, "He said you knew already."

"Why are the birds coming here?" Fushoku asks.

"They have to," the boy urgently whispers, "I don't know what's out there ... what they're fleeing from. He won't tell me."

"I don't get to see him," Fushoku says, "so if you see him again, can you ask him if it is delta poison?"

Taka realizes that Fushoku has shared a very deep secret with him. He slowly nods.

"Thanks," Fushoku pulls back, "I'm hungry. Let's eat."

Taka bows his head before eating, much as Bangou and Shoukai did. Fushoku follows suit, realizing that this mysterious Saviour is why the universe still exists at all, let alone in the safe, quaint form he sees around him.

Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 44: Potatoes and Chickens

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