Rise of Glie Chapter 32
Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 31: They Don't Fall
FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie
Chapter 32: Sixty Thousand Transistors
"Well," Bangou says as she pours over the thick pile of paper. She finds an early page in the ream sized stack and shoves most of it away, keeping a small sheaf, "The top page says the logic section is not binding on us. I know I can do better than that."
"How?" Fushoku asks.
"We design a logic section that can do the few basic operations we need very well," she explains, "and then we translate our more complex operations into sequences of the basic operations. Here's an example," she points in the first section that she has decided to keep. Flipping over one of the logic pages to a blank side, she copies the instruction, "Add the value at this address to the value at this address and store it in this address, all memory addresses." She continues, writing the steps under the old instruction, "We write a fast register onto the chip, and load the first value into it directly. Next, we take the second value and write it through the add logic into the register, so the register now holds the sum. Finally, we write the sum in the register to the third memory location."
"I just make the things," Fushoku groans.
"Yeah, and what did you call that stuff again?" she asks pointing at a plastic jar on the workbench.
"Hydrochloric acid," he answers, "does it matter?"
"That's the whole point, isn't it?" she says, "The Saviour brought us all to this world because no one person can do it all. Each of us has our part."
"Yes," Bahitsu says over their shoulders, "and I just learned mine was called thermodamnamics." he giggles.
"That's thermodynamics, boy!" Teacher Shoukai bellows from across Stone Mill's machine hall.
Fushoku and Bangou glance at each other and say almost in unison, "Must be an English word."
They return to their work. Bangou is grinding away at the circuit layout for a memory chip, stooped over a ledger-sized paper with her drafting tools. "How wide are these things again?" she asks.
"Fifty micrometres," Fushoku answers.
"That's too big," she groans, "I can only get sixteen latches on a chip. We'll have to make them smaller as soon as we can."
"That ain't in the next hour," Fushoku grumbles, "They're giving me enough trouble as it is." He cranks a handle on his gangly looking machine, and an almost needle like scalpel blade cuts a tiny slit through an inticrately lined brass plate just twenty five millimetres in diameter, "I wish we had a computer to run this tedious thing ... Between the boredom and the cramps, it's a wonder I get any of them right."
"The problem is, that we won't know if any of them are right until we actually build them," she says, "I find glitches every time I go through a desk run."
"Will the one I'm making right now have any glitches you haven't noticed?" he asks.
"Probably," she says ruefully, "Sorry."
"Ah," Stanley says from behind them, "They said I could always find you here."
Fushoku turns, noticing Aware right behind the human mayor, "What's up?"
Stanley sits down, "The boys are telling me that some of the stuff you've asked for can't be done until," he takes a breath, "you actually start making these things so they can use them."
"Great," Fushoku grunts, "How are we going to build them?"
Stanley hands him a couple of pages, "This is the electrostatic, air cleanliness, and zone temperature we are building right now. It won't get any better than that. But..."
Fushoku looks at the pages in disappointment.
"Here's the idea," Stanley begins, "Of course, once you make a few early models that we can use to control equipment, we'll need to upgrade the equipment with them, and then you can make better chips."
"There's no way we can do that without a massive hit in downtime," Fushoku concludes, "I mean unless we built another-" he catches Stanley smiling.
"Another Wire Factory," Stanley concludes, "next to the one we're building right now. That way one will be running, and one will be upgrading. The steel structure won't go obsolete, of course, but your specification here," he points, "that screws with the brick and mortar, insulations, wiring, and even that funky stuff the Toga offered us called drywall. I don't see any other way."
Fushoku looks back at him in surprise, "You're willing to build us haibane another nest?"
"The Toga are scrambling for your polyethylene cased junction transistors," Aware says, "far more than I've told you before. You could run that oven twenty-four-seven, have every single one work and they still wouldn't be sated. We're asking you to make enough so that we can buy the steel for the second-" he pauses, "wing of Wire Factory."
Fushoku takes the purchase order from Aware's hand, glances at it, then hands it back. "Six weeks," he says flatly, "Bahitsu'll tell you the rest." He gets up from his bench, glancing at Bangou, he says, "It's more exciting than this, anyway."
"And maybe I'll find some of those glitches I haven't noticed," she says, "especially if you can save me a few leftovers," she nods to Aware's paperwork.
"Um ... make that seven weeks," Fushoku says to Aware and Stanley as they start to turn, "That'll include the replacement of every radio in Glie," he announces.
"Why?" Bangou asks.
"We can't have anything new," Fushoku says, "including transistors." Nodding to Stanley, he says, "Haoto and I will get started right away."
"Thanks," Stanley answers.
"Fushoku," Aware says, "That computer isn't yours, you can use new transistors in it. Besides, there are only about two hundred transistors in Glie, the Toga said that computer will need at least fifty thousand."
"We're not making it out of transistors," Fushoku explains, "We're going to be making it out of Wire Factory's microchips. We need the transistors to test circuit designs."
Aware glances at his purchase order as though it might have an error, then asks Fushoku, "Only seven weeks? Are you sure you read this thing right?"
"Sixty thousand transistors," Fushoku nods, "And I'd love it if you'd sign us for the overtime."
"We've approved the order for sixty thousand transistors," the Communicator signs to the Toga visiting from outside the Wall. "Your shop here in Market Square, will it be doing assembly?"
"How long until the first batch of crystals for that order?" the Toga asks.
The Communicator pats the cart next to him, "The first two batches are right here. Our plant is trying for delivery in 360 batches, at an average of nine per working day."
"Really?" he signs with trembling hands, "What about the computer?"
"Nothing on that, yet," the Communicator replies, "They are working on a design we will build in our new factory, which is expected to go into operation in the spring."
"That is well," the Toga replies, "We can do the assembly of computers ourselves once we have the transistors, especially if you can really make nine thousand a week. If it's alright with you, I'll be the only one leaving this week, while the rest of us stay here to attach the leads to these batches and the rest as they come. You'll be needing more fuel, I assume."
The Communicator doesn't respond.
"The plastic we use to encase the transistors uses fuel, does it not?"
"Oops," the Communicator signs.
He turns about and calls, "Feather Aware, did you remember to tell Kenny about the transistors?"
"Yes," he runs up to Washi's side, "His estimate was slow in coming, and we barely-"
"We don't have time to translate it," the Communicator intones as he takes it, then signs to the Toga, "Can you read this at all?"
The Toga tucks it into his robe and replies, "Perfectly, I guess that will be all for today." He turns towards the gate to brief the other Toga.
The Communicator seems quite perplexed as the Toga animatedly discuss the paperwork they've just received.
"Bangou translated it for us," Aware explains, "Don't ask me where she picked it up; I haven't the faintest idea."
Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 33: Take Your Best Guess