Chapter Eighty-One

Elanor bent over the panels of the assemblers.  Each one took matter, ripped it into subatomic particles, and reassembled it into the element and shape needed.  Hence the name “assembler”.

Trouble was, it took a lot of raw material to get something like that going, and the process got wasteful.  Seawater just did something to the assembler innards as well, so though they were surrounded by matter, most of it didn’t work.   Paper scraps, rope ends, tar, and netted fish had all been dumped into the assemblers to get them going.  Wasn’t any worse than when they geared up to leave their Earth and diverted sewage flow into the ones they had assembled on the sly.

Irian was sleeping on the table as the first assembler swung into place.  Its job was to create the neural and vascular connections that the limbs would need to gain power and control.  It was a risky proposition, and likely to hurt for a long time afterwards, but it would give him full use immediately, and not years from now.

As the machine spooled up and began to spin nerves another hummed to life and began creating a new shoulder joint.  It would be interfaced directly into bone, and the bone around it would have to be reinforced.  This work Elanor did as the machines quietly pieced together the machinery that made it all possible.  She worked in concert, testing each link as it was assembled, checking the math they had all worked repeatedly in the weeks since the accident.   Each one she checked was perfect.

As the two machines hummed around the table, a third machine hummed in the corner.  Every so often she would check it, test a part, and tell it to keep going.  It was a part of this, and yet it wasn’t.  What it did would keep, for now.

Layer by layer, myoelectric fibers built up artificial muscles, layered on bones of complex ceramics.  Tubes to connect the fibers to his aether-rich blood snaked through like blood vessels, though these required their own pumps to return to the bloodstream.  A scrubber was installed on his shoulder blade to clean the incoming blood.  She made modifications to both collarbones to support the weight of the artificial arm-while it wasn’t much heavier than his real one, it was enough to unbalance him.

As she set the assemblers to run the final layers of ceramic and aether glass armor over it, she couldn’t help but wonder about the composition of it.  She understood the armor, and the glasses, but over many of the plates was a thin layer of aether-alloyed silver.  Tough, thin, and bright as the sun n the water.  It didn’t make any sense.

She didn’t truly pay it much mind, though.  She still had his leg to attach, though that was a lot simpler to accomplish.  It didn’t need as much effort-the assemblers had already been programmed while she was doing his arm.

Many hours, a pot of coffee, and three trips for extra raw mass later, she undid the straps that held Irian to the table, and Thor and Hariel moved him into his bed.  Elanor administered a last dose of painkillers, and Namid tucked him into bed and made herself ready to wait on him to awaken.  Nothing more could be done now except to wait for what happened when he finally opened his eyes.

 

In the darkness of the abandoned operating room, the three assemblers worked in concert on a dimly lit stand.

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Published in: on July 28, 2011 at 4:18 am  Leave a Comment  

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