Waking to Another Sky Ch4 bit – Heavy Metals

Star-metal. Damn. Klein rubbed his arms, chilled. “Isn’t that one of the mythic-level crafting metals for smiths?”

“It was a lot more than that in the Forerunner legends,” Argo said, half to herself. At Klein’s look, her whiskers flicked in a smile. “You know what it’s like. You read everything in Aincrad. You never know what might be important later.”

That, Klein knew, and sometimes you just got bored. He’d never realized how much he would miss picking up a newspaper for the sports pages until he’d gone cold turkey. It was almost as bad as the utter and complete lack of coffee. Decaffeinated Marines were not a pretty sight, and decaffeinated paramedics were out-and-out scary

Ooo. They’ve got coffee here, somewhere…. Klein thumped himself on the forehead. Focus. “You read the Forerunner Legends? I just know a few of the glyphs.”

“Ki-bou and I did some code quests, a while back,” Argo shrugged. “A different branch of the Renegade Displacer quest tree.” Drawing her cloak a little closer around her, she said what they all were thinking. “Nice coincidence that Kayaba just happened to make up the same term these people are using. Isn’t it.” She frowned. “From the rumors, if you mixed it with steel and a few other things, it’s durable as all hells. What did he use it for?”

Kirito scanned the text, black eyes cold as they’d been facing Laughing Coffin. “It’s in our nervous systems. Especially in our brains.”

“Aren’t metals in your brain a bad thing?” Asuna said in a small voice.

“Heavy metals, yeah,” Klein agreed, reading over their shoulders. “And this is… whoa. A really heavy metal.” He whistled. “Been a while since high school chemistry, but – that can’t be right.”

“Assume it is,” Argo said flatly. “What is it?”

“Ah….” It’d been a while. But something about that listing of atomic weights pulled up a memory. “Super-heavy element,” Klein said, surprised. “Physicists smash atoms together and make bigger atoms. But I think this is bigger than anything I ever heard about-” He caught Kirito’s startled look. “What, you know physics?”

“No. Electronics,” Kirito said reluctantly. “But I’ve run across some listservs that mentioned super-heavy metals. Some people thought if we ever got one stable enough, you could make superconductors….”

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52 thoughts on “Waking to Another Sky Ch4 bit – Heavy Metals

  1. I’ve heard Argo call Kirito Ki-bou before, but something new just occurred to me. What would happen if some parts of SGC who were unfamiliar with Japanese to mix up words overheard her referring to him as Ki-bou mistook what she was saying for Kibaou and thus though that Kibaou had Kirito’s in-game authority? I’m not familiar enough with Japanese naming conventions to know if Argo would never refer to Kirito as Ki-bou when speaking to those she doesn’t know extremely well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In text they look similar, and some English speakers might pronounce them similarly, but they don’t actually sound that close as pronounced in Japanese by the VAs in the anime. So it shouldn’t be a problem for most people, tho there might be one or two who simply are that bad at distinguishing different sounds.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It was almost as bad as the utter and complete lack of coffee.

    Another thing to add to the list of Reasons Kayaba Needs His Butt Kicked (At The Very Least) For

    I assume the super-heavy metal they are talking about is naquadah.

    Explaining that, unless they want to credit Kayaba or someone else with inventing a new element, will probably involve the whole aliens thing. Especially since an element good for super-conductors might explain how the electronics were working so well but not why it is in their brains . . . . Depends on how long they want to try to keep that a secret from the players – because they already noticed that things aren’t adding up and they can’t say “it’s government secret stuff” and leave it alone because it’s government secret stuff that happened / is happening to them.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. So many questions . . .

        And very limited patience for getting non-answers. Or answering their questions with questions.

        Probably at least one reason why they ferreting out as much information as they can get via sources other than SGC members direct.

        Hmmm . . . wonder if someone is going to take advantage of the computer to not only get some info but maybe drop a line to some family . . . like, let’s say Midori Kirigaya.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Here’s a question. Where did the naquadah that is now in the player’s nervous systems come from?

    Did Kayaba hide the needed quantities of the metal along with the nanites in every Nervegear or did he pull a ‘Dragon King’s Temple’ and somehow synthesize it within the player’s bodies?

    Because sure while you wouldn’t need much (at least in theory), the mineral isn’t native to earth and is now a vital part of every single player’s nervous system. Any new naquadah has to come from off-world mining locations and the Gou’ald control a lot of those. If they constantly needed a source of the mineral in their diet they woud be at the mercy of whomever controlled said source.

    I find it hard to imagine that Kayaba would leave should a glaring weakness in his ‘greatest creations’.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. >That does seem like a massive oversight, doesn’t it? 😉>
        Also the question of how he would have gotten said naquadah to put in the Nervegears in the first place. Nanites are easier as they can potentially self-replicate (and considering they are everywhere in the players who grew over two years compared to the size of the Nervegears they would have to).

        But I can’t see the NID just letting him walk out the door with the X amount of naquadah that he needs. Considering the rarity of capabilities of said material, they and the SGC tend to keep close tabs on the stuff.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. >Er, you do realize “X amount” would probably be a half-pound or less? As in, we’re talking micrograms per player, max?>
        Yeah but would the NID be willing to let him walk off with even that much without supervision?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Or someone isn’t thinking “RPG game” enough here – because there’s another option. It could also be a mechanism to ensure that there is a need to go on semi-regular raids against the Goa’uld and/or to continue probing into regions they hold for the purpose of seeking out needed supplies. This could well be a deliberate mechanism to prevent people from deciding that the ‘Gate is useless, might as well close it up, drop the whole project, and never mind the aliens – we have a treaty with ’em anyway that says they won’t bother us. America, after all, has a habit of going to extremes to take care of people with unusual problems, and the high number of SAO survivors makes them difficult to ignore.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. It could also be a mechanism to ensure that there is a need to go on semi-regular raids against the Goa’uld and/or to continue probing into regions they hold for the purpose of seeking out needed supplies.

        The old “We engineered the dinos so they couldn’t produce this protein so they’d die unless we provided it in their food”?

        … well, except with opposite motivations, I suppose.

        Seems like a risky way of forcing a fight between Earth and the Gou’ald

        Liked by 2 people

      5. >If he said “I need this to make your super-soldiers”? They’d probably have handed it to him.>
        You then have to wonder what else he got them to fork over using that statement.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. . . . Sooo… If Kirito just does a keyword search and grabs all the medical files tagged with Naquadah … What are the chances he’ll unknowingly pick up Sam’s in the lot? Because while Otherworld names confuse things for a lot of people, they’ve been introduced to Major Carter. I’m not expecting them to get all the juicy details of SG-1’s campaign against the System Lords, just… ‘Oh, look at that, one of the officers everyone else likes to be deferential to also has this in their system. And according to this report exposure occurred unexpectedly on a mission, and full effects are unknown. And they haven’t cut her open to find out more info. Well that actually ups our chances of not getting dissected.’

    Because they don’t know it, but the SAO survivors need to trust SGC, and any little bit might help with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hm… there’s also the “feels” issue. Wasn’t Janet pointing out that the SGC personnel probably don’t ‘feel’ right to the Survivors b/c they don’t have naquadah in their bodies? But Sam *does*….

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Considering what little I know about lead and mercury poisoning, I’d be pretty worried if I were them…
    Also, no caffeine in SAO? Or is this one of those things that can’t be synthesized by the game? (Like, coffee is a thing you can drink, but the NervGear doesn’t replicate the effects, like the feel of running water) Either way, I’m pretty sure “no caffeine” will be much higher on the players’ list of “Why Kayaba Needs to Die” than most normal people would put it… and that the Stargate folks will completely understand.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. But wait, there’s more. Unless someone was supplying it, the caffeine would’ve left their system and their physiological adaptation would have reverted to whatever their baseline was. Caffeine probably isn’t a normal part of coma care protocol.

      Use responsibly, alcohol and tobacco have utility in managing combat stress.

      Since the withdrawals are all over, Janet is probably not going to want to introduce those variables into the question of WTF, how do we make sure they survive?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Being able to have their cup of coffee might be psychologically soothing and grounding. It might be bitter and they aren’t used to the caffeine anymore but it’s hot, it’s familiar, the scent alone might bring up some fond memories, and it’s something that was not in the game.

        Same thing with the tea drinkers.

        The taste, the smell might be comforting simply because it is something familiar, something normal.

        And there are a lot worse things they could turn in response to stress than caffeine.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Agreed with Shiorimakibawrites, it’s not just the coffee. How many of them will be looking for tea instead? (of course, I ask because I’m one of those who can’t stand either the taste or smell of coffee, but do like tea. and with no noticeable effect from caffeine, I don’t even have reason to force myself to tolerate coffee)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Actually, after two years(unless this is one of the changes), they’re likely to find that first cup of coffee/tea rather unpleasant(Well, depending if they have the American variety of teas or the Japanese on hand, some green and white teas are fairly mild in taste and effect). It would be the same thing you see in people who have had to give something up long term re exposed to it. (I gave up high frutose corn syrup a few years back. Now I can’t drink regular soda without wanting to throw up. Or long term vegetarians who have to eat animal fat/grease.) And coffee is spectacularly bitter and the caffeine high would likely be unpleasant.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Heavy Metal Poisoning: Simple Words and Ideas

    Elements are defined by number of Protons. Protons, plus however many Neutrons, make up the center, and don’t really matter except for being stable, having weight, and the electric charge on the Protons attracting about the same number of Electrons. Electrons form an electron shell, which is shaped differently depending on how many Electrons are in it, and the shape determines most of the chemical properties.

    As you look at shells with different numbers of electrons, you find that you regularly see similar shapes. (The Periodic Table of the Elements is basically organized by number of protons=electrons and the types of shape.) Gold, Silver, and Copper have very similar shapes, hence very similar chemical properties with some of the differences coming from weight. Similar chemical properties can still be very different. Iodine is pretty safe, and Flourine is very much not safe, but they are also very similar.

    If you match the elements in the human body to the periodic table, you see that it is basically everything light enough to be found in large amounts on the Earth’s surface. Heavier stuff is deeper, lighter stuff floats off, and anything that needed them probably doesn’t survive in large populations.

    Heavier elements (mostly metals) which have similar chemistry to lighter elements used by the body can fit into the same places in the body, but they are different enough that they don’t work right. Thus, poisoning.

    The heavier elements have centers that are much less stable than those of the lighter elements. The heaviest ones we know about in RL may be so unstable that they don’t count for the ones known in Star Gate. One of the early episodes of Star Gate SG1 gives us some information, which may have been mistranslated or misinterpreted, about what one alien civilization knew. If Naquadah is an element, we do not know the number of protons and hence cannot guess the shape of the electron shell. It might have a shape that does not match anything lighter that is found in the human body. If so, it might not be toxic in the usual sense. It probably is radioactive, because Naquadah is used in universe for things radioactives are, and seems to have a radioactive isotope*. On the other hand, if the chemistry of Naquadah is different enough, the human body might not know how to get rid of it.

    *Same number of protons, and different number of neutrons. Centers that are less stable are called radioactive. (The Japanese are touchy about radioactivity. (The US Air Force is one reason why. (Ave Ave Tibbets! Ave Ave LeMay! Ave Ave Teller!)))

    P.S. Star Metal is a term in Exalted for the material associated with fate ninja. That stuff embedded in nervous system might well be very bad news.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Starmetal in Exalted is also literally the remains of dead gods. There’s a joke about how if Sidereals need more, they just trump up charges against some minor deity and execute them. ovo

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Now, now. Star Metal isn’t just the magical material associated with Exalted’s Fate Ninja, i.e. the Sidereal Exalted (also known as the Chosen of the Maidens, the Viziers, and colloquially just the Sidereals).

      In Exalted Star Metal is – more specifically – literally the remains of dead gods.

      Also what stars are made of.

      The stars and gods are kinda sorta the same thing in setting.

      Exalted’s that kind of world (and one of my top three favorite settings of all time).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Edit: Ninja’d (ironically) by bookoftheazuresky (whose username I keep meaning to ask about; is that a reference to BlazBlue, R.O.D. The TV series, something else?).

        Also to bookoftheazuresky: that’s not a joke. That’s a legitimate threat/possibility.

        Star Metal is both the hardest to obtain and most difficult to work of all the Magical Materials (as opposed to Exotic Ingrediants) in Exalted. There’s a reason it’s use tends to visually resemble circuitry, and that’s because the smiths are always using as fine amounts as they can.

        The Sidereals don’t need to trump up false charges though. The Laws of Heaven are just like any massive bureaucracy – many, often contradictory, finicky, a pain, usually ignored in minor cases, and minor ones are often violated daily. Most residents of Creation, never mind Heaven, are guilty of breaking the laws of Heaven. And the Sidereals are in charge of maintaining/serving/guiding Fate. So if a God of Creation broke one of the Laws of Heaven then the Sidereals probably know about it.

        It’s just that part of the Sidereals job serving Fate is also being the Civil Servants of Heaven, so they tend to limit the charging and execution of gods to ones that are actively causing problems for the smooth running of Heaven/Creation (or interfering in the personal agendas of their superiors, but political bickering and rivalries between branches of a bureaucracy are what they are and corruption happens – even in Heaven).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. IIRC, bookoftheazuresky’s AO^3 pic is Raging Heart from Nanoha. IIRC, Nanoha has an artifact named ‘Book of the Azure Sky’.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Ah-hah! I knew there was another possibility I couldn’t remember! … But I thought I remembered the Book of Darkness’ true name being ‘The Tome of the Night Sky’? Or am I getting that confused?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. There are at least two other book artifacts. I want to say the one from Force is the Book of the Silver Cross. There’s another one in *checks wiki*, Gears of Destiny. Tome of the Purple Sky.

        Book of the Azure Sky is the Storage Device that Reinforce Zwei ends up using.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. >and what the NID will do when they find out.>
      Several idea comes to mind. They are very illegal and would probably result in people being in front of a firing squad but when did the NID car about that?

      Liked by 2 people

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