Track of the Apocalypse Ch11 Ficbit – Wire-Taut

A bit of new wire snaked into the lamp housing; Kurusu made an effort not to hold his breath. Empty mind, swordsman’s mind, ready for any whisper of sound or flicker of movement that might signal danger-

Ikoma’s shoulders straightened.

Kurusu hid a sigh of relief, even as Uryuu held brass and Ikoma and Carter backed off to let Suzuki finish the wiring to his satisfaction. The problem was solved, then. All that remained was to seal the housing and get moving.

O’Neill whoofed, as the green signal flared to life. “Okay, I was worried a minute there. Though I’ve got to ask. What’s powering that thing? Can’t be batteries, not after twenty years.”

“Some places it is.” Uryuu kept his voice low, just loud enough to carry to them. “We change ‘em out when we can. But this close to Kintetsu? Underground cable.”

Carter gave the Hunter a quick look. “I thought the next living station was Shitori.”

Uryuu’s voice was bone-dry. “It is.”

Left to his own devices, Kurusu might have rather let the Hunter dig his own grave with the offworld bushi-scientist. But Lady Ayame wished them to deal with the leaders O’Neill represented with one voice. That meant coming to an ally’s defense. “The station engine can run for years, so long as nothing goes wrong with the filtration system. And those systems are built to be redundant. I have not heard of a swallowed station that could not at least power the nearest signals.”

Carter pursed her lips, but evidently thought better of whistling. “That’s impressive design. I’d love to talk to the people who planned it.”

O’Neill cleared his throat. “I’m a little more worried about, just how close to Kintetsu are we? And how far is the horde there likely to send out scouts?”

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21 thoughts on “Track of the Apocalypse Ch11 Ficbit – Wire-Taut

  1. Yeah, today’s power generators really aren’t made to run continuously without oversight. They’ll break down all too soon, and in no more than months, at best. Seen it simulated for one of those introspective documentaries about what would happen if humanity all vanished in a split second, and how long it would take before power plants all failed.

    Stephen King even got a little bit of that going in his book the Stand, though on the flipside – the survivors get a small power plant going and end up with several fires from devices that were still on when the power failed.

    And I’m also remembering a bit of dialogue from Ringo’s Black Tide Rising series (zombiepocalypse done without requiring magic, which made it all the more shiver-worthy in my book as the “zombies” in question are actually plausible with today’s medical technology, though fortunately actually implementing something along those lines isn’t possible… yet, I fervently hope) where two Navy characters are discussing the most nightmare-inducing phrase to associate with a nuclear reactor:

    “No reactor watch.”

    Yeah.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. McRucky engines are fusion, though, and given everything it needs to be subtle/nuanced/’cold’ fusion, something in a dynamic equilibrium, rather than the unstable ‘star in a jar’ magnetic confinement of something like the Honor Harrington series. Assuming stockpiles of needed material – boron or lithium, perhaps – already in the reactor, if nothing goes horribly wrong than a reactor might be able to run at standby levels for decades. (Drawing comparisons with how nuclear reactors in submarines can run for a few years before needing new fissile material; fusion allows far more efficient conversion of mass to energy.)

      -Albert

      Liked by 2 people

  2. RadioThermalGenerators would do it, with today’s technology. The problem would lie mostly with corrosion-proofing all the connections as much as possible, and the thermocouples, and protecting the cable runs from physical breaks/short circuits.

    The signal system would have to be a stand-alone system, or you’d have faults showing up sooner or later…

    For those who are interested, here’s a link or two to a project to make a clock that’s supposed to be able to run a ten thousand years without any assistance from the hands of men except to power chimes, orreries, or other displays. The actual time-keeping functions are intended to be self-regulating, and scavenge energy passively…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clock_of_the_Long_Now

    http://longnow.org/clock/

    Another interesting installation, at Hoover Dam…

    https://blog.longnow.org/02019/01/29/the-26000-year-astronomical-monument-hidden-in-plain-sight/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “O’Neill cleared his throat. “I’m a little more worried about, just how close to Kintetsu are we? And how far is the horde there likely to send out scouts?” ”

    Oh, Jack, you must already feel the answers in your bones. Too close, and much too far for comfort.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sometime after I first read the comments, I thought of diamond batteries. It looks those wouldn’t be powerful enough such as they theoretically are now, though.

    Like

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