1 of 6 | Chapter 12

Installation

 

People who are surrounded by technology from birth are used to coming across new gadgets that are unknown in terms of operation, yet these people understand their existence. They accept that this is a normal part of life. In modern countries no one believes that a strange piece of machinery or a new gadget is the work of the devil, or of some other supernatural force. The most that can be expected is surprise, but it is more than likely that an individual faced by something new will want to understand, and even own it.

The world wasn't ready for that day to come, however, at least not yet.

*

The largest cargo aircraft in the world lifted off from the depths of sector two at dawn. It became immediately apparent that no bigger aircraft could have fit through the vault's launch doors. The launch of the gigantic machine made for a truly spectacular sight. The powerful DCG spheres on the hull of the Sumo-II produced immense anti-gravitational forces that could be seen as a shimmering band in the air. It was if it was resting on compacted, solidified air and the area below was almost forced flat, making even large trees bend away from the force. While the aircraft lifted the second generation Gravitor from the underground cavern, an army of shield shaped robotic aircraft shot out into the open air; their scarlet red color and lightening movements giving them a fearsome aspect. They raced into formation around the large cargo ship, yet from time to time they swapped positions like figures on a giant invisible chess board. The convoy headed south along its pre-specified route with the escort craft constantly changing position in complex defensive formations.

Because of the sensitive nature of the cargo they were carrying, they were forced to fly at low altitudes and relatively slowly, meaning that the column did not go unnoticed.

The early morning TV shows were the first to broadcast news that shocked television studio and remote crews alike as they tried to follow the fleet's progress by road, and along with amateur thrill seekers, they caused serious traffic jams along the flight path. Even before midday, freeway traffic was backed up for miles because of the onlookers.

The Balkan peninsula began to resemble an anthill on amphetamines. As the route was straighter than an arrow the path was easy to predict, allowing spectators to move ahead to locations from where they could witness the spectacle in a heightened festival atmosphere. On higher areas, the proximity of the huge craft flying over house caused hearts to momentarily stop and feelings of nausea and dizziness in the people watching below.

By the afternoon, the consignment was floating above Greek soil, steadily approaching its final location on the out-skirts of Athens. In addition to the official welcoming delegation, huge crowds were waiting on the hills that emerged from the Aegean. An industrial area had been prepared for the new power plant, next to a lighthouse.

As the machines approached their destination, they slowed, and just before their arrival, dozens of the escort robots broke formation and flew directly over the area. Nearly one hundred robot guards descended and dispersed among the crowds of spectators to ensure security. By the time ship had carefully positioned itself above its specified landing zone, the guard units had secured a twenty-square-kilometer area, and had it under careful surveillance, monitoring land, sea and air.

As the sun set, its light still shining on the tangle of clouds that rested above the horizon, the land was already plunged into gloom. The giant aircraft froze motionlessly above the hill, almost completely obscuring it; its cargo door opened, and three anti-gravity beams gently lowered the Gravitor-II onto its foundation.

Live images were being broadcast of what would, a few moments before, have been a completely unimaginable event, and for a few moments overshadowed all other events. It concerned every single person on the planet: ordinary citizens, politicians, representatives giving their standing ovation in the European Congress …, and some stern faced directors at the Energy Alliance of the Middle East's headquarters four thousand five hundred kilometers away.

Those in the media room had no interest in the panoramic view of Almaty city's buzzing midnight delights at the south-eastern tip of Kazakhstan. The local nightlife was blooming on the picturesque Kingey Alatau mountain's range where youngsters did not care about the threat to their country's largest energy exporter. Their carelessness was rather understandable as they had never directly benefited from the natural resources that blessed their country; benefits that always went to the small group of individuals that governed, and always had.

“This is an unprecedented breach of contract,” growled Nikola Gromoff.

“It will not go unpunished, I assure you. They will reap the consequences, and they will not be thankful,” said Dmitry Furmanov, angrily.

“It's only one power plant. This will not remove Europe's need for fuel. What in the name of hell are they thinking?”

“This is a desperate move. They have natural gas reserves for up to six months at the most, no more. I wonder how they wish to solve the issue of winter,” laughed Gromoff.

“They will experience the feel of a frozen bed, and the true price of hot running water.”

“This winter they certainly will not feel like skating!” said Furmanov, blowing out a dense cloud of cigar smoke.

*

After a less than one hour of work, the electricity generator was connected to the power grid, and at signal from the chief engineer, it was switched on. The city of Athens—till that moment dark in anticipation—suddenly lit up with power produced only by the Gravitor. Then Neil Gibbs, on behalf of ASEC, officially handed the power station over to the Athens mayor, who was representing Greece at the event.

The research team was then picked up by a separate airborne passenger vehicle, and they quickly departed. The airborne robotic guards gathered around the cargo craft, and they rose to a much higher altitude than when they had arrived, then disappeared at supersonic speed.

The lighthouse looked rather insignificant next to the power station, and did not shine as brightly. The city of Athens had received a perpetual energy source that placed zero burden on the city budget.

Many felt that day that the beginning of something, the beginning of a more sustainable future was coming, but like everything, there was a price that had to be paid as well.

 

Reconciliation

The problems started to arise the following day. The president of the UNE sent a personally addressed invitation to Sean Steersman, inviting him to join the next congress meeting to give advice regarding the crisis situation.

 

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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 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH