6 of 7 | Chapter 11

 

“It is unpredictable, and quite frankly, impossible!” the senator complained. “Your Gravitor … do I pronounce it correctly?” He snapped his fingers. Steersman nodded.

“I'm interested in your power generation plant. The one that uses this so called Gravitor technology. My understanding is that it produces electricity without requiring fuel.”

“Well, at the moment, we are closely observing the first live and commissioned model, but the next generation is already in development. And yes, it is true that—after commissioning—it does not require any further raw material for its operation.”

“It is incredible. Almost unbelievable. And how much energy does this beauty produce?”

“The Gravitor-I is capable of producing eight gigawatts. The second model will supply almost four times that: approximately thirty gigawatts.”

“Holy …!” The senator clapped his hands. “How did you manage it, Mr Steersman?”

“Well, we have been pleased with results, and to be honest, we didn't expect them either.”

“You are a dangerous man, Mr Steersman.” He shook his finger at Steersman as if scolding a child.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because from now on, it's you who will be dictating the rules. What you have in your hands is the key to the gates of eternal power. You can either take us all with you to an earthy paradise, or send us to hell, as you like.” His voice suddenly became very serious.

“I don't think that you should be afraid of hell. As far as I am concerned, energy exists as a fundamental part of nature and no one should be able use it as basis for personal enrichment.”

“What are you implying? The energy comes for free?”

“It is already free.”

The senator didn't completely understand what his host was implying, but he gave no voice to his doubts. It lasted only a moment, but the two of them looked at each other as if they were in accord with regard to all of the problems facing the world, and could understand them perfectly.

“Can I count on your help?”

“Just tell me where to install it. Once the Gravitor-II is completed, its first electricity generation will take place in Greece.”

“This really is fabulous, Mr Steersman. I thank you for your generosity on behalf of the people of Greece.”

“You're welcome, Mr Xanthopoulos. Soon you will be able to decommission your existing power stations as there will be no further need for them.”

“You know, this morning I had not thought that I would hear such news. I think there's nothing more that I can do in my political career. It is time for me to hand the reins over to the next generation,” he said, and with these words, the senator suddenly jumped up and made ready to leave.

Steersman quietly laughed.

“It seems to me that you're pretty capable of overtaking some of the youngsters.”

“Is it you to whom I should be explaining the tricks of nature?” asked the senator with a slight tone of irony, politely deflecting Steersman's compliment. “Well then, I thank you once more. My colleagues will send you the required parameters and we look forward to the news of the Gravitor's arrival with great anticipation.”

“You are welcome. It was my pleasure to have met you.”

“Likewise.”

 

Negative effects

It was not possible to know when, where and how the news of the installation of a power generation plant in Greece swept across the globe, but it did not go unnoticed.

“I have some bad news for you, Mr Steersman,” said Trenerry.

“Yes?”

“The Middle East Energy Alliance is threatening to stop gas supplies if the Greek government breaches the contract between them and introduces other energy sources.”

“I see. These countries have always used powerful rhetoric and threats as a part of their negotiations.”

“It is quite enough that they can afford to make that threat. It could affect the whole of Europe.”

“I wonder … how did the news spread so quickly?”

“That's not what surprises me.”

Steersman looked at Trenerry inquiringly. “What surprises me,” continued Trenerry, “is that no one's talking about the giant floating aircraft.”

Steersman studied his face, detecting some signs of discontent, uncertainty and anger as well.

“You are not too happy with me for not letting you in on this, are you? Trust me … I had my reasons.”

“I didn't ask you to give me the key to the city, but to do my job properly I have to know anything that concerns the image of this organization. We have talked about it, haven't we?”

“Yes, I know. All right. Listen, there is something that you don't know about yet.”

“What, apart from the flying monster?”

Steersman stood up and said, “please, come with me”.

Both of them left the office.

Karen saw them and knew where they were going. “High time … ” she muttered to herself. It was quite a burden for her to be the only one who knew Steersman's secrets, and perhaps Trenerry would calm down as well.

“Everything started with you putting a bug in my ear,” Steersman started to explain.

“What about?” Trenerry raised one eyebrow.

“It's all about what sort of impact our activities are having globally. With everything we do, we further overturn the existing socioeconomic structure. The GlideCraft, then the PrEUST, now the Gravitor; these are some of the things that have intervened in the established world order. At first, only smaller companies felt the impact, those who supplied larger companies. Even before they knew it, several industries were forced out onto the periphery. Now however, we have started to put pressure onto the economic operations of entire countries. The problem at the moment is not that what we achieve is based on good or bad, or what we do may be better or worse than other options, but the fact that the changes we are making are huge, and people will have to deal with them. What is even more dangerous is that we have, so to say, rattled the cages of powerful individuals who have huge interests in maintaining the present situation, and in addition will do whatever it takes to keep their power.”

“That's very true.”

“And we have to be prepared for it.”

“How? What do we have to be prepared for?”

“Protection, of course.”

“Yes, but who against, exactly?”

Steersman looked Trenerry in the eye as he opened the doors to the second sector. “Anyone!”

The lights came on, and a deep silence greeted them inside. It was only broken by the sound of the closing.

“What the hell …?” slipped out of Trenerry's mouth as he looked round and saw what was clearly a long row of robots standing along the edges of the area. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. There was nothing at all reassuring about them. They were waiting for something, standing motionless, raw. In the middle of section were endless lines of vehicles, further than the eye could see, all differing in size, shape, color. “What the hell is it? An army?”

“No, these are short-reaction target devices, or SRT. Whatever their appearance is, they all have the same job: to complete one task within the shortest period of time. Let's walk!”

Above them, there was an aircraft floating like the one that had earlier moved the Gravitor-I to its place. It seemed even more impressive in the closed space. A green light radius became visible and Trenerry—after a short explanation from Steersman—stepped into it.

 

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CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH