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Apollo Project


iamthey
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Situated deep within municipality II’s district 17, an area dominated by the Ricon Corporation, belonging to the Remier family, was an altogether unremarkable research facility. It was neither marked nor did it bear the apparent signs of a security presence. This had been the home of Atrevier’s Apollo Project, a century’s long endeavor to develop a commercially viable fusion energy prototype. Ever fearful of industrial espionage, a constant reality within Avalon, the facility had been chosen for its proximity to a similarly sensitive compound conducting R&D for the Remeir’s. As Ricon’s security subsidiary had an unrivaled omniscience within the district, it was assumed that any rival operative would be dispatched before any breach of security could occur. Konrad seldom personally entered such security zones, as his person would almost certainly attract attention, but given the magnitude of the project he had felt it to be a necessary risk. Of course being Atrevier’s personal operative, as well as being an ascended Seraphim, his presence would be monitored but allowed.

Apollo research had been slow, they had spent countless decades simply developing theories and design concepts, but the specifications were also stringent. On the mainland the sister project had proceeded with a demonstration prototype based on an inertial laser confinement scheme only to prove, after billions had been expended, that the concept was infeasible. The research was interesting, but his Lord a shrewd investor, wanted to ensure that similarly wasteful expeditions were not conducted at his personal expense here in Avalon. So at the behest of his benefactor, Viktor had taken it upon himself to check up on its chief researcher, Dr. Adre Adler.

Adler was an arrogant but undeniably brilliant man. A precocious youth, he was most likely an autodidact and having been born in Avalon to similarly capable researchers, had achieved an advanced science education by fifteen. Largely passing over formal studies, he had conducted high energy physics research under the aegis of his mentor, the previous chief researcher of the project. His indispensability and experience fed his confidence in himself, which loosened his sense of social obligation to others. With one exception he felt that he envied no man, his only true resentment he felt for those like Viktor, immortal brutes he considered them, people who had been granted the gift of life not by merit but by association with power. This was of course a misrepresentation, as most of Konrad’s service to Atrevier were cerebral, but this did not concern the scientist. Approaching his office the facility shared the same sterile utility in its design with the rest of the city. Pausing at the door he smirked. Fixed to the outside, a pure anachronism, was an engraved brass plaque which declared its occupant, “Adre Adler, Ph.D”. In a rush of nostalgia he recalled the ornate décor of the mainland, its fine woods, and polished marble- how such things seemed out of place in a world of such austerity.

Failing to knock Konrad simply entered to find a flustered Adre grinding away at an equation on his chalk board. The soldier again could not help but laugh to himself as he observed the eccentricities of his subject. The sand blasted concrete had been obscured by a fine yack fur rug, a small alcohol fire burned under a artistically disguised air vent and at the center of the spacious office was a large table fashioned out of a dark wood. He engaged the scientist, “Doctor, isn’t that what software if for?” He jested pointing at the lengthy calculation that enveloped most of the board. The doctor rolled his eyes.

“I only rely on such tools but for the constraint of time- brute, besides- this, is my entertainment, I was enjoying lunch.” Konrad raised his brow, smiling. Anticipating the purpose of his visitor, the tall scientist left his problem returning to his desk where he had left his Apollo report. As he did so Viktor approached the problem and gave it a look over. Passing its visual form along to the mainframe computer linked to the network, he drew from a store of general external memory. After a moment he recognized it as an exercise involving the analysis of an elliptic curve. Picking up the scientist’s chalk laden eraser he identified an error in the work and eliminated the mistakes. “What are you doing, you’ll spoil my progress?” Adler scowled. Ignoring Adler’s protests, he took up the chalk piece and finished the problem. Disgruntled, Adre was standing behind him sifting through the alterations following the flow of the logic. Finding no error he dismissed the soldier’s attempt, “Pfft, why don’t you just write the report to Atrevier then?” Konrad smiled and redirected the conversation-

“I’ll leave it to the expert. Now, his maje- my Lord wishes to know your progress on the reactor.” The doctor sneered. Before throwing open his report.

“You ask me to re-create the sun inside a closed lab, and still you are caught up in the mundane economics of the project. What does your master care of time anyway?” He sighed, “Well, I’ve settled on a final design scheme for his power plant- those mongrelized buffoons on the mainland were indeed the failures they were labeled. After looking through the first few pages of their work, and I realized that my nephew is more inspired with his crayon drawings than they were with the elementary precepts of engineering. So I concluded even reviewing their research was an entire waste of my talents. If you want a more thorough analysis of their work go badger my new research assistant, I saddled him with it for his unacceptable impudence.” He paused shifting through the pages. “So, not that you’ll understand it, we’re going with the Tritium – Deuterium reaction using a torus containment design-”

“My lord explicitly requested a D-D reaction- did he not?”

Adre looked exasperated. “I’m more worried about making this thing feasible, D-T produces more energy for less heat, we can breed Tritium fuel out of lithium with waste heat from the reactions. Your master’s demand was unscientific and aesthetics driven, I can’t abide it. -but if Michael needs me to hold his hand on it I can come up and walk him through it. Regardless, we have already done a proof of concept experiment with our existing research prototype, and it works – let’s stick with what we know.”

“And when should we expect completion of a commercially viable model?” The scientist laughed.

“Are you serious?” He rolled his eyes and shook his head, “What do I look like a magician? Are we at your birthday, you want me to pull a rabbit out of the hat?” Viktor’s good humor fled from him, and his face took on an entirely serious demeanor, lowering his chin, the taller man seemed to be an entirely different person.

“You are wasting my time Adre.”

“Oh, I’m wasting your time eh? Alright- ten- twenty years. That Fair?” Konrad said nothing for a moment.

“That wasn’t me, Dr. Adler.” The scientist recoiled,

“Screw you two and your perversions of nature, I can’t be held accountable for offending a masked man." He snapped. "Besides, I will get Atrevier his results, I know that is all he cares about.” The scientists features softened relenting to the request, “Five to seven years- maybe, but that is optimistic.” Konrad nodded and accepted the file.

“I will deliver your report to the Supreme Commander.” He paused, “-a pleasure as always Doctor.”

Edited by iamthey
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  • 7 months later...

Michael strolled leisurely through the midst of his ongoing project. The shipworkshop was in full swing, and the production of Avalon’s future navy was well underway. Characteristic of the city itself, harsh high intensity light emanated from an array of fixtures hanging high over the utilitarian production floor, and like so many ants, the room was a bustling mall of engineers, and technicians. Though barely anything was audible over the cacophony of automated assemblers and mechanical arms, a meeting of some significance was nonetheless underway. “Dr. Adler it is a pleasure to see you once more, I trust these years have been favorable to you?” Michael offered, shaking the hand of the all too peevish specialist. Looking around, the learned researcher was clearly put off by the clamor of the surrounding activity he appeared distracted and preoccupied.

“Yes, you’re patronage has been quite generous, and it would seem your investment has also born fruit.” Michael nodded.

“Tell me of your progress.” The scientist paused for a moment to collate his thoughts.

“Well as you know, to this point the primary inhibitor has always been plasma stability. Once you successfully induce fusion the ideal result is of course a self perpetuating continuum of new seeded reactions and energy production.”

“Unfortunately we are dealing with temperatures up to and exceeding one hundred million Kelvin.” Michael cut in, “I am well aware.” Andre nodded.

“Right, so any kind of physical containment is out of the question. Thus the natural solution is magnetic containment- and of course this has always presented problems due to the two dimensional nature of traditional magnetic fields and the innate properties of plasmas. If we increase the reaction rate too much the stability of the plasma drops precipitously until it disassembles entirely, if we don’t increase it the reactor fails to be economically feasible. The solution to this problem actually presented itself with the advancements that have been made by Ricon in the field of high temperature super conductors, specifically-" he caught himself, "but you can read the technical specifications in the report if you wish.”

“Indeed.” Michael motioned his impatience.

“Right well, the compound is located within the old strategic military bunker system of the dominion, with the reactors themselves being nestled within their ancient strategic military command facility. Preparing ahead we have designed a modularized structuring scheme which allows us to easily integrate future reactors into the installation. While the selected structure is not D-D fusion as you initially requested, we have designed it specifically with tritium breeding in mind.” Michael nodded. “Regardess, the first full sized reactor presently is nearing completion. Upon full activation it should provide an installed capacity of 10 giga-watts. While this is not enough to power a full city the completed installation should provide enough room to accommodate up to five additional modules of equal size- which, if I may add, should satisfy the entire island's power requirements.”

“Excellent." Michael mulled over the words of the scientist. "Indeed, I am quite pleased with your work. Now when do you expect the activation of the first module?”

“One month hence.” Michael smiled.

"You are truly indispensable doctor, and a fine example of what Avalon itself embodies. Your needs will of course continue to be seen to, and your future projects will have the blessing of my continued support." That was it, without so much as raising a gun he would finally carve out his own exclusive critical niche amongst the council. Now free of their debts to him, and with the lengthy terms on the ground leases they held, this would be the keystone to his entire bid for continued independence. With a single module he would undercut their own energy production operations reducing margins across the board, and with the entire installation he would render all other modes of domestic energy production obsolete and economically infeasible. They would be at his mercy.

Edited by iamthey
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