1 of 7 | Chapter 7

University city

 

Steersman had created a haven when he established his final office. He built his HQ at the science center, in the upper story of the sprawling monstrosity that had been constructed in the middle of the center. It was built onto an irregular polygonal base, with an asymmetrical interior design; none of the inner or outer walls were parallel to each other. The building ruled imperiously over the center and had been coated with specially designed, spy-proof materials. There were three other similar towers under construction, one of which was almost complete.

For now, everything was upside down. Steersman strictly demanded the highest commitment from companies, from staff, from everybody. When he entrusted duties to a member of his staff, he did not let them deal with anything else at all. He had one requirement: perfection. He imposed tough deadlines, but always made sure that they were sustainable. He asked his staff what they needed, and—no matter what it was—they always got it no later than the following day.

His methods dictated an insane pace, even for him. Although he was able to cope with the pressure, some things gave him a headache. Contrary to his expectations, there were problems getting the global public accept the DCG drive. He had to admit that he had been a bit naive in assessing the judgment of the man in the street. He had always suspected that the introduction of the device would be painful, but he had not foreseen that a convoluted combination of shortsightedness and self-interest would stand so strongly in the way of his plans. Such issues urged him to take more and more determined steps to end the endlessly stupid game of the power plays.

Political qualms abounded in Europe, Asia and North America regarding the long term effects of the new technology. Of course, in the long term one thing was sure: they would lose all background support from the biggest industrial concerns, the role of which would be drastically cut in the global economic arena.

Sean Steersman had been in constant danger and it had become even more dangerous and more real since he had started DCG technology production. Since then, he had never taken the motivations of those whose interests he was stepping on lightly. On the contrary! He had created a disarming device that had been born after almost half a year of exile, spent in darkness, hidden from the outside world. Only Karen had seen it. Poor Karen. She had shown such loyalty and support during that period, a loyalty that Steersman could never repay. To lighten her load he had passed responsibility for city construction to her new assistant Patrick Castillo, a young civil engineer.

Whatever doubts the launch of the new power device had caused, there were a few pleasant surprises, as well. Alongside countries that were tangled up in systems of democracy with long and venerable pasts, there were states that quickly recognized the potential of the situation and took quick steps to be a part of it. Among emerging, quickly developing nations were those ruled by cults of personal dictatorship under the twisted label of ‘freedom’. The common thought amongst them was openness to the possibility of new ideas, even if it was the result of differing motivations.

The states of South Africa and in South America were especially keen to take a pioneering role, and also keen to provide themselves with the most cutting edge technology in the world. They openly rejoiced that developed countries were refusing the opportunity, thereby helping them to get a step ahead. There was even a case of an eminent head of state openly laughing on state television at how easy it all was.

Steersman did not expect anyone to make the first move and he started his own vehicle development program and designed the production systems around it. Research projects were lining up by the hundreds in his mind. Moreover, he was planning for the future.

Apart from factors that were caused by outside interference, he was constantly contending with two internal problems that kept arising: replenishing raw material stocks, and finding the right minds for research and development programs. The latter problem was quickly solved by luring away a few senior engineers and scientists from companies already established in Excolopolis, but in the long term, he knew it was not a sustainable solution. His final thought was to use education as a solution.

“Sean, do you mind if I make an observation?” asked Karen, while taking a peek at one of the robots that were resting peacefully in each corner of the office. Sometimes she was sure that she could see them moving slightly, as if they were having a bad dream. It gave her the creeps.

“Go on,” answered Steersman from behind a table that looked more like a console, its surface divided into screens and touch fields. He was drawing some symbols onto one of them.

“BrightLogic Technologies isn't too happy with us for hijacking their test engineers,” said Karen.

Steersman sighed and stopped what he was doing.

“Yes, I know. I'll send them couple of vehicles from the first series,” he said, casually dismissing the problem.

“I'm sure they'll be happy with that,” said Karen drily.

“Karen,” Steersman said, suddenly changing the tone. “What university connections do you have?”

“Well, mainly with directors of some of the Japanese, Korean and Singaporean universities … and with a couple of North American and European Institutions,” said Karen, looking at him. Steersman seemed to be mulling over something. “Why?”

“Which one do you think would be the best candidate to manage the University district.”

“University district? Manage?” Karen looked puzzled.

“Natural sciences and engineering faculties, in a small city sized area.”

Karen still had occasion to shoot odd looks at her boss every now and then, and this was one of them.

“I don't want unnecessary brain drain in the city. We're going to need a supply of highly trained experts for our work in the near future,” he continued.

“Kazuma Hashimoto. I think he'd be suitable,” she said finally, after some thought.

“Do you think he'll be able to see me tomorrow?”

“I'll organize his flights from Japan,” said Karen. “What will the University be called?” she asked knowing that more often than not, the name was last on his list of priorities.

“Prime Earth University of Science and Technology.”

“What!” she blurted out in surprise.

 

Research center

Kazuma Hashimoto's plane landed at dawn on a private airstrip not far from the city limits. As he had left Japan at dawn that day, the meeting was scheduled for the evening, leaving him time to rest and enjoy the hospitality of the Four Seasons hotel.

Sean Steersman was to welcome the world renowned professor for dinner in his new office at seven that evening.

*

Steersman had set the bar pretty high when he designed the science center. Out of almost sixteen square kilometers more than half, roughly nine million square meters, had been constructed on. Apart from the towers, the entire complex was underground. Essentially, it was made up of a total of seven major and thirteen minor research centers, two manufacturing plants, a logistics center, warehouses and hangars, as well as connecting hallways and corridors. It was an architectural freak.

 

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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 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
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