Feedback Loop & Battle Psicons
looked up from
setting the last of the Warp and Power Shards he had spent the morning
and most of the afternoon cutting, shaping and building the connector
arrays for, he had used the last of their lace for the project but it
was worth it, as the two arrays would fix the power problems at the
Barge and for the Carrier. Ez had agreed it was worth using their
limited lace supply to solve that on going problem. Before they
left town they had sent in the Datawork registering them as the
Generator and Plasma Techs for this area and gotten the confirmation
back, that would let them get the bulk Generator tech discount so it
wasn’t as if their shortage would last long.
That wasn’t all they did, Chris had suggested they contact the Toxin company by Com, then the Tech Supply House and arrange a direct payment of the Toxin money to the Supply house to pay for their intended order, cutting out the extra steps and saving days in processing and shipment time, his idea had worked and they were now expecting the shipment to arrive the morning they were due to head into the cistern, that pleased both of them as it would let them work on the power systems for the Tile and Brick factory at night in the cistern making the factory Arrays and power grid for the heating elements creating the ovens get finished quicker, which had been a relief as they had to start planing the Wood Mill.
Setting the last piece of Warp into the array his tested it listening to the harmonics, tapping into his Psi-Amp and adjusting each shard individually until they both felt and sounded in tune, balancing Warp and Power was a delicate job as the resonance clashed and usually cancelled each other out either wiping out the Generator as working Crystal or building to an explosion, tuning the two types of Crystal to harmonise and reinforce each other was headache inducing work but Vin loved it, unfortunately Vin hadn‘t felt he was up to it this time so he a made a full Warp Shard Array for the Barge and a Power Shard Array for the cart. Finding a piece of Warp slightly off key in the Barge Array, he frowned something was wrong with that shard, linking to his Ghost built Psi Amplifier again he powered up the web of Flawless Data and Warp and brought his matrix talent into play much deeper than the simple resonance shifting had and scanned the shard for actual Flaws frowning at the micro crack he found, sighing softly he gathered his telekinesis and sealed the crack by building the matrix to fill the microscopic breech, each pulse telling him he was wise to not attempt the combination Arrays with his Amplifier in this state. Another scan didn’t find any other flaws so he started adjusting the resonance of the fixed shard so it was in tune with the rest of the Warp in the Array, slowly he brought the off tune Warp into a safe resonance letting it add it’s song to the pattern he had created.
“My God Junior, did you just fix Warp Crystal by yourself and then actually change the resonance?“ Buck said paling at the implications, the Guild would kill for that type of ability and if they couldn‘t have it, would kill anyone with it so their monopoly would remain intact.
“Cowboy is that a Psi Amplifier?” Chris said more than shocked, stunned by the small size it was only a foot in diameter but it radiated intense power and focus, the Warp shards powering it webbed together with simple geometric patterns of almost every type of Flawless Data in existence glittering like Crystal tiles in their gold power setting. Chris had grown up around Guild Amplifiers and knew just how impossible that thing was, Guild Webs were massive things often taking up six or seven feet, the gold used in them was worth a fortune, the Crystal in them also burnt out regularly so the Guild would never use Flawless Data in Webs certainly not the Tinted Flawless he could see used heavily in that geometric web of Vin's, if he had to estimate the cost of that little Web he would put it in the region of half a million Credits in Flawless Data alone and if you add the gold to the cost it was big money.
“Mister Tanner you should not have brought that out into the open like this or fixed the shard without some type of shielding walls between you and witnesses.” Ezra said with a sigh.
“Needed the sunlight for the battery pack for my cutting tools, I ain’t got lights in the Carrier at the moment Ez, it’s damn dark in there and the only power is the backup solar plasma battery for the freezer, ya forgot the array is in the drying sheds with you three processing the petals and stalks.” Vin said with a sigh. “Figured Chris probably picked the information out a my head anyway he just ain’t sorted it yet.”
Chris paused closing his eyes and finding the memories he got from Vin, paling as he got the true picture of exactly what the Ghost Legion was capable of with Crystal. “My God, the Guild would kill you all if they found out.” he said shocked. “How have you kept that a secret?” he demanded in disbelief.
“We ain‘t ever shown ‘em we can be Matrix Tech, they think Wild CLR can’t do it as we can’t Gestalt that way, our TK clash to much to Matrix Gestalt in a Circle but as ya can see we’s powerful enough to do it by our lonesome with a Psi Amp so we don’t need Circles anyway. That’s the Ghost's main secret Cowboy, the Guild knows we make shard arrays and can hear Crystal but we made ‘em think we just use our hearing to find shards that sound right not that we can make ‘em right in our Arrays. They’s trying to copy that with machines our spies tell us, the spies say they’s even having some progress making such a machine, but we know their TK ain’t ever gonna be strong enough for Ghost resonance work.” Vin said with a smirk.
“Those shard arrays got the Guild in a tizzy during the war but after the surrender they calmed down, what malarky did the Ghost tell them to cover your being able to make those things?” Buck asked with a frown at the two Ghost.
“A simple redirection, when the Guild demanded we tell them how we made them we simply let them know we can hear resonance and with intense training we can use that to find in tune or almost intune shards to work together. After we demonstrated that talent the Guild stopped worrying as such, a freak talent like that is something their tech can duplicate.” Ezra said with a sigh.
“They ain’t worried by our Shard Arrays no more, Bucklin. We try not to make too many of these Arrays as we made a point of stressing’, findin’ matchin’ Crystal that can work together ain‘t easy, we also don’t sell ’em outside the Legion as normal people wouldn’t be able to hear ‘em shift rez and become dangerous, that means we ain’t gonna undercut the Guild generator work, for good measure they made it illegal for us to sell Ghost arrays to anyone who can’t hear the rez or a member of the Legion and they know,” Vin stressed the word to bring the serious of it home. “Wild CLR like the Ghost can‘t do Matrix work, just using our ability to hear Crystal ain’t a danger to their strangle hold on the expensive Crystal work, all they care for is that we ain’t able to cut in on their business so they leave us alone.”
“Which means if someone asks about our new Arrays, you are to shrug and say Mister Tanner and myself have spent the last Dis-Pater year finding compatible Crystal with a resonance in tune enough to create the Arrays. No mention of that Psi-Amplifier or Matrix work is to pass your lips under any circumstances; we all know the Guild would systematically kill every Ghost or Wild CLR they could find if they knew we can do this type of work.”
Chris frowned, “What happens when they blow the Junctions, your people can’t keep this a secret forever?”
“I doubt we will have to hide it once the Junctions are blown, our spies have uncovered an evacuation list for most of the Guild personnel in the Independent Corridors, what you may not have realised is that for the last twenty-five years the Guilds have been extremely picky about who they trained for Matrix work within a Circle, the Legion could not make rhyme or reason of why they have been passing over men and women with strong TK within the Psion medium to high range they use to beg to work for them.” Ezra said with a grimace. “Your information about the mould mutation has solved that puzzle, in many ways the Federation and the Guild are a bit more forward thinking than we gave them the credit for. Encountering the Empire again showed them they might run into our descendents at a later date if the Corridors someday meet up again, so they have put a little plan in operation that will ensure we are not their equals technologically if that in fact occurs.“
“What the hell are you talking about?” Chris demanded with a frown.
“I ain’t to sure my own self as I’s pretty new to this side of the Junction Uncle Dayfad has been handling Guiding Light business. I was in Texas and under Federation scrutiny so was ‘need to know’ and as only a Journeyman Intelligence Officer my main job back then was to keep an eye of the Federation and keep track a my ship while thwarting the Federations plans as much as I could without getting caught. Now I’s here I’s had to do a lot more work so being slowly brought up to speed on what we know and really doing. But think on this Cowboy, ya said it yourself, the Federation had to undermine the Empire from within as they was too equal in power when they met up again, from the sound of it a war would a destroyed both of ‘em.” Vin said with a grimace.
“Basically, the Federation are simply making sure they will be the stronger if we ever do meet again in some remote future time, not knowing of the Ghost’s ability with Crystal manipulation they have made an effort to eliminate any Guild trained Matrix Techs amongst the exiles undoubtedly there will also be no training instructions left in these Corridors. It does explain the remarkable and suspicious number of deaths from accidents and Crystal burnout amongst the older Circle techs. It is actually a masterful way to cripple the budding civilisation they are exiling, as without such training in our population we would presumably have to rediscover such techniques from scratch through trial and error ensuring that if our two people ever do meet again at a later date, we will be technologically behind the Federated Empire in Matrix manipulation skills and presumably easily eliminated. Such a pity for their plan the Ghost are already way beyond their pitiful ability with Crystal so it will not work.” smirked Ezra.
“Damn I need to report this to the First Council, don’t worry Standish I know not to mention the Ghost’s Matrix ability in case we have spies, but they do need to be told about the no Matrix Tech plan, they might be able save some of them by faking their deaths.” Chris was willing to keep the Ghost secret it was simply to dangerous to trust anyone with that potential genocide inducing information bomb and as it wasn’t his secret to tell anyway, he and Buck only knew because of the twin bond he forced on Vin. Still the First Families always had a lot of their women in the Circles, there had been a big drop in them being accepted the last quarter century as Ezra pointed out but there were still enough left to make getting them to safety a priority if the Ghost theory was correct.
“Hold on, let me pack this Psi Amp away out a sight then I can hook up this new Power Array up to the engine and test it, if it works we can head for the barge after lunch, install the Warp one and ya can use the secure com I got out there.” Vin said starting to carefully pack his web into the hidden compartment sealing up and fitting the tech instrument holder back into place, there was a reason the web was almost flat once the case was back together it was impossible to find and as the web itself contained no actual information data it hadn’t been damaged by the data ripper as he passed through it from Texas into Redemption.”
“I can’t believe you just left that much Flawless Data amongst a pile of Tech boxes in one of the jail cells while you were in those valleys?” Buck said with a shudder helping him lug it all into the cart again.
“What you do not understand Mr. Wilmington, is it would take a Ghost Matrix Tech to make that Crystal capable of being resold, in it’s present form the gold making up the structure is worth more than that Crystal despite it being Flawless. The actual cost of constructing ones first Personal Web is financed by the Ship who agrees to buy the gold, that Flawless Crystal stated life as Milk Grade so the only cost was finding some. The Psi amplifier is used for five years then a new Amplifier is constructed again with Gold bought by the ship. Once the new Amplifier is made the old one has the Crystal turned back into general resonance and the instrument so broken up and sold at an obscene profit, the gold goes back into the ships treasury and the ship receives a third of the sale money of the now stabilised Flawless Crystal, the technician is paid the other two thirds. Ships make an obscene profit by loaning out the gold for five years Mr. Larabee there is no shortage of Ships willing to enter into such a deal.” Ezra explained as he helped Vin connect the new array and test the connections.
Chris frowned, “Why the five year wait?” he asked curious in his experience people get impatient on investments and want to cash it in earlier.
“To stabilise the Crystal into the new grade permanently, Flawless is hard to stabilise and keeps wanting to revert, ya need years of reinforcement and Amplifier use is the best fastest way to do that, plus a Amplifier works better when the Crystal is fluxing a bit once it stabilises it‘s a bitch to use, easier and safer to make a new one and sell the stabilised Crystal at a profit.” Vin shrugged walking over to the control panel and powering up the array, both Ezra and Vin paused listening to it hum for a moment.
“Excellent work as usual Mr. Tanner, it’s song is exquisite.” he praised aloud as he brushed his hand letting him feel his admiration, making Vin blush slightly but happy at the praise and more than happy with the feel of their shield brushing at the touch.
Buck snorted softly as the two younger men got lost in each others eyes for a moment, then his jaw dropped as his Psi sense caught a echo of that erotic shield dance by way of Chris. Turning to his lover he pulled himself together because he could feel Chris’ amusement at his reaction but damn it he wasn’t entitled, that was damn hot and they weren‘t doing more than touching hands, holy fucking hell that was almost more intimate than sex, in fact he wouldn’t hesitate to call that mind sex.”
Chris came over and whispered in his ear making him shiver, “First time I saw it, my first thought was that it reminded me of lazy sex on a rainy afternoon, all kisses and caresses. My second thought, you and I would have to learn how to do that some day.” he finished whisper soft, sliding into Bucks arms all loose limbed and lazy cat, the kisses that followed were just as lazy and erotic as the mind-sex echoing through them from the two Ghosts finally drawing back for air Buck gasped realising exactly what was about to happen if he didn‘t do something fast.
Suddenly dry mouthed Buck tried to bring himself back under control, he could see from the way Chris’ eyes were almost all pupil Chris was out if it, between the mental sensations from Vin and the physical kissing echoing it, Chris would let him fuck him in public right this minute. “Yeah! We defiantly have to try that someday.” he agreed with a return promise giving him an apologetic kiss and a whispered, “We’ll continue this later,” before drawing reluctantly away and saying in a louder aggrieved voice aimed straight at the two Ghosts. “Junior, if you two don’t damn well stop that, or at least shore up the twin connection, I‘m going push Chris down on that bed and fuck him right now audience be damned.” and he meant every word.
A slightly shaky chuckle came from the direction of the two Ghost but at least the damn Psi-Sex stopped, a little amused himself as he could feel Junior’s embarrassment as they realised they had been bleeding into the older men through the twin bond.
“Hell Bucklin, that’s just Psi-Shield Kissing that was barely nothing at all, first stage of Battle Psicon Courtship we ain’t even synced yet.” Vin said cheekily the blush staining his cheeks telling them for all his cheeky comeback he was not just horrified at bleeding something so intimate into Chris and him through the twin bond but actually shaking in terror from what happened.
Frowning at him not understanding where the terror was coming form, that was damn kinky but nothing more than embarrassing even if they hadn’t stopped. “Relax Junior, I know you didn’t mean us to feel that.” he growled not in the mood for another reaction because of some weird Ghost Psi etiquette they broke.
Chris who had been getting his senses back under control suddenly said still slightly breathless, “Cowboy, a little warning next time, that was…” he trailed of lost for words but also a little worried he was also picking up on Vin‘s terror.
“Kinkier than hell and orgy inducing if you and Chris don’t learn to shield that twin bond right quick Junior,“ snapped Buck still a little put out because damn Chris like that was sexy as hell and he wasn’t sure if it was because he wasn‘t insane anymore and was able to relax and enjoy the physical closeness without fear of the voids or if was a complete bleed over from Vin and that hadn’t been Chris at all, which was a freaky almost terrifying thought.
“I must reluctantly agree,” Ezra said shakily, “Orgy inducing indeed, that was not suppose to happen from simple shield-kissing, somehow the twin bond set up a feedback loop and it escalated out of control as each couple fed the other, we shall have to be extremely careful from now on. Vin and I are not synced enough yet to survive actual sexual intercourse and I’d prefer not risking mind destruction because of such a feedback loop.”
“What the hell?” growled Chris.
“Mind destruction?” Buck demanded shocked.
“What part of Battle Psicon’s didn’t you get Bucklin?” snapped Vin but he was obviously still slightly shaken as he sank down on his bed and they could see the shivers.
“Cowboy I’m as much in the dark as Buck, all I’m getting from you is Warrior, Psi-Rank and Training.” Chris admitted in frustration.
“Oh hell!" moaned Vin.
“Wild CLR are what we call Psicon,” Lectured Ezra seeing Vin wasn’t up to it. “Our Psi levels have usually mutated beyond the old Psion scale of measurement, the Psion of normal humans is on a scale of one to one hundred, Nil is zero to twenty-five, Low is twenty-five to fifty, Medium is fifty to seventy-five, high is seventy-five to one hundred. The Psicon scale the Ghost Legion uses go up to two hundred, the first hundred is basically the old Psion scale of measurement except we call zero to twenty-five Average because that is what most normal humans are, twenty-five to fifty is Average-low and they are the second biggest group of normal humanity. Fifty to seventy-five is average-medium and they are they people the Guilds want to recruit for their circles and while not as great as the two lower sections of the scale they are numerous enough the Guild has a large selection, seventy-five to a hundred the Guild begs them to join as they are rare as hen teeth almost mythical for normal humans but most AMM Wild CLR can be found there in that area of the Psicon scale.. After that we get to the true Psicon‘s from a hundred to a hundred-twenty five we call it low and their Psi is pretty good and if they have a mind to train for it they might manage to become a low level Ghost matrix tech but they usually can’t manage anything more than Data and would need help making an amplifier, most of them become healers in the legion as fixing cells is easier than crystal as it’s living, One hundred-twenty-five to one hundred-fifty are the mediums if their TK is that range they’s usually pretty good with data, plasma and shift, lots of them go the healer route as well, they are rarer but not that rare, then come the one hundred-fifty to one hundred-seventy-five range they are high, if they are in that range for TK they can do Power and Warp, the rest too but usually only do the Generator and Data as there are plenty who can do Plasma and Shift but the Generators are harder so that‘s what they are trained for. Do you understand all that?”
“Yeah I think so,” Chris said with a frown.
Vin took up the tale, “Iften ya that level for scanning ya have some pretty deadly psi-shield’s, getting through ‘em or matching someone else for more than surface thoughts is a Battle ya have to sync ya minds so ya don’t fight ‘em, when ya untrained that’s easy as ya can be overpowered by someone stronger and have a forced syncing but after training it’s damn dangerous as we really got to trust ‘em for that type of intimacy, ya got to teach ya mind to trust them enough to match minds that way and sex plays havoc with psi shields so it’s dangerous and even deadly to try without full sync. Anyway over a hundred and fifty for scanning is a Battle Psicon because of how hard it is to sync with another mind we also usually trained for Psi Battle which makes it worse as we trained to destroy a mind entering ours without permission.” Vin said not looking at Chris.
“What about Chris?” demanded Buck horrified.
“Bucklin, I ain’t go a clue how he made that twin bond with me.” Vin snapped, turning to Chris he said with a sigh, “Really Cowboy, ya ain’t in any danger now, ya just slipped through my shield as if they weren’t there and I never noticed, ya naturally in sync with me so we don’t clash or notice most times which is why we’s twining, it’s usually a sibling thing and even then more common in twins not simple siblings. It’s damn strange and more than a bit weird ain’t any record of it happening outside a blood family before this.” Vin admitted.
“We’ll deal, just tone down the Psi-Sex, you and Ezra have going on when I’m this close or warn me so I can block.” he said seriously then he smirked. “When you and Ezra get synced we might try that again sometime because that was kinky as hell as Buck called it.”
“Damn it Chris that ain’t funny!” Vin said his face flaming again.
Chris chuckled amused sinking down onto a bed and toeing of his shoes then stretching out and relaxing washing and grinding Senata stalk wasn‘t a pleasant job but they had the presence of mind to wear tarp ponchos which saved their clothes, he could have done without the dip of his head in the water trough but it did get his head reasonably clean. They still had masses of stalk to grind and all the petals but since Vin had a new array he might lend them the old one so they didn’t have to rush it all in one day as they originally planed they had at least two more days work here if they didn’t rush and he was already tired so that sounded like a great idea, the Psi storm this morning was going to take a lot of recovery from but being sane for the first time in thirty-two years made it worth it.
Deciding not to embarrass Vin anymore he turned the subject back to Crystal, “Are you boys going to ‘find’ the Comp Crystal for the tile factory?” he asked that had been worrying but the information from Vin told him not to worry, Vin or Ezra could make it if they couldn‘t get anyone else to pay for it.
“Yeah we might get away with pretending to find some third grade in the Milk dump, it won’t be no problem to stabilise, it’s second and above we’d have problems with, it needs a lot a reinforcement, we usually just repair second and up not make it.” Vin said with a sigh of his own. “Jumping more than two grades can be bad as well, I can turn milk into fourth or third with no hassle and it’s permanent, but if I try for second, first or Flawless from Milk it’s gonna take me a heck of a lot of work, time and power and we found it just ain‘t worth it, we usually find it easier to find the money and buy the stuff. I’s about ready to sell the Crystal in my Amp as it’s stabilised and iften I keep using it I’ll have migraines shortly which means I need to work out what I need in the next one as this pattern could do with some improvement. Once I work that out and graph out the web design I can start cutting and shaping the Milk then start converting it to Flawless Crystal, I’ll tell Uncle Dayfad and he’ll send me more gold from the Guiding Light’s treasury, hopefully I‘ll have it built by winter and can sell the Crystal in the old one.” sighed Vin not really looking forward to the months of work ahead of him but keeping a amplifier after the Crystal stabilised wasn‘t really cost effective and he didn‘t want the headaches using stabilised Crystal would give him. “I should make about three hundred and fifty thousand credits as my share.” Vin said with a shrug.
“Damn most investments don’t pay of that well.” Chris said a bit awed at that type of profit, he could see why they got people to lend the gold so easily.
“Damn you boys really can make Flawless Crystal.” Buck said with a shudder the Guild would either lock them in rooms slaving away for them or kill ever damn ghost if they found that out.
Ezra sighed, “Flawless Crystal is not something one does easily or on a whim, we only do so when making Amplifiers, Third Grade is more than enough for most things we need and is stable from the beginning.”
Vin nodded thoughtfully agreeing with that competently, “As Chris said, we need to make the Comp Crystal for the Brick factory, third grade is fine for that, it’s only a temperature control comp nothin’ that needs second or above, that said the wood mill is gonna need somethin’ better than that, Second at a minimum preferably First Grade with the amount a rez it’s gonna have to keep track of iften we can work out the program. Our main problem is not rousin’ suspicion if we keep ‘finding’ workable crystal when ever we need it.”
Ezra grimaced that was always a problem, people had an inordinate interest in where you suddenly found Crystal out of the blue, third would raise a few eyebrows but nothing more it wasn’t that expensive and a possible find even in a milk dump, Second would cause eyes to open wide, people to gasp and envy they’d also watch you closer from then on just in case you were hiding something, First grade would draw not only gasps and a lot of interrogation on it‘s origin and you better have a damn good story to tell, plus stabilising it would be hell.
“Yeah! Third and Fourth ya might find an that Milk dump but the Third better be real rare or the sheets have a lot of damage to show why they were dumped or eyes will raise. Given the way Crystal forms in sheets like we see in the dump, no way in hell would the Crystal Dawn have missed a sizable hunk a First Grade, even the Second Grade don’t make geology sense in a Milk dump, they just don‘t form that close to Milk to have been missed.” grumbled Vin.
Chris frowned at him and nodded remembering geology lessons from his childhood in the Guild House. Sheet Data was very specific about the layering as it formed, Milk, fourth, third, second, first, flawless, first, second, third, fourth, Milk. You got grouping where only one or two of the Layers formed but if more than one that was the order without fail, Milk and First Grade would never form close enough in Sheet data to be missed. Chris scratched his head as he tried to remember those long ago geology lessons in an effort to find some other way to cover finding First or even Second Grade Crystal, the dampness of his hair gave him an answer. “Geodes, we need to look for Crystal Geodes, like the big one you and Buck spent all that time using your reaper to turn into a bathtub for us, he wasn’t as picky on his carving with the other half as we use it as a water trough to pump the cistern water into. The main thing for your needs is the Crystal in Geodes doesn’t form in sheets so the Mining Conglomerates can’t be bothered searching them out except for the really big ones with crystal growth big enough to make it worth their time, as ninety percent of them are low grade and shattered the Crystal in them aren‘t worth the hunt by the big mines and the other ten percent is usually flawed to a great degree only the big ones are worth it.”
Vin frowned at him he‘d helped make that bathtub and admired the swirls of blue, green and Milk data shatter grown through each other , it sure was pretty even if it was less than worthless as Crystal even he couldn’t fix such damaged shatter grown Matrix all he could do was retune the rez so it wasn‘t jarring but a soothing song that would help relax anyone inside it. He’s given Bucklin a pat on the back for his ingenuity for thinking of such a use, it had to be the prettiest bathtub on Dis-Pater and well worth the time and backbreaking work carving of the excess Crystal with nothing but a reaper so Bucklin could carve the deatil and smooth it with normal tools. The other half he’s just cut the inter crystals from and they used it as a water trough to hold the water they pumped from the cistern for the horses as Chris said, that reminded him he still had all those Shatter Crystals he cut from both of the centre of the Geode at the Barge sitting there waiting for him to find the time to carve them into glasses and jugs and other things. Shatter Matrix by its very nature was a lot stronger than other types of Crystal as well as most glass he had been delaying starting on that project because it would mean he either had to make special carvers for the shatter matrix as he didn't want to risk his Crystal shaping tools.
“Geodes got a real major flaw they’s mixed Data, Basic and Tints of different shades and grades all mixed inside and deforming each other, we call it ‘shatter grown’ as the different types of Data Crystal grow through each other and where it’s merged together it’s matrix shattered and deformed totally unfixable even by us Ghosts, it's also tough to carve as it's harder than most inorganics as the shattered matrix is what they based Crystal Ceramic on but the rez is totally different, that’s another reason the big mines only go for the big geodes they have Crystal growth that has big usable sections of normal Data Crystal outside those shatter formed sections they can cut out but that usually takes a geode the size of my barge to make it worth cracking it open to look.” snorted Vin. "We'd have to tune a cutter especially for shatter matrix work or it'll wear out right quick trying to cut that stuff."
“No Vin, even with the problems inherent with Geodes and Shatter Matrix, Chris might have the solution, Geodes are not worth the mines searching them out as they are ninety eight percent deformed Crystal inside but as Crystal shapers and Matrix technicians we have the ability to salvage workable Data from those Geodes turning that usable two percent into a worth while percentage possibly raising that to five percent we have the added advantage of only needing small workable peices for our own needs not big saleable peices like a mine.” Ezra said lazily levering of his own shoes and claiming a bed as well. “While the thought of the number of Geodes we would have to crack to salvage even small useable peices of Second and possibly First Grade Data from the centre spikes of Crystal makes me weary just thinking of it. I do believe it would be our best option and any Matrix work much easier to hide than us converting sheet Milk from the dump into anything higher than Fourth or Third Grade if we are desperate, stabilisation time is always a factor in such a case which also makes that option unfeasable in the near future, besides Mr. Wilmington will be looking for a new occupation and possible business, he did a stupendous job on that Geode bathtub perhaps he can go into the business of bathroom fixtures, that bathtub is a work of art and probably a very saleable item, smaller geodes could easily be converted to a hand basin in a similar fashion.”
“We’s gonna need to make him carving cutters especially for the shatter matrix!” sighed Vin voicing his earlier thoughts aloud. “Had to get ya to fix my reaper after all that carving don’t want to risk it again and our shaping tools are to delicate for such damaged matrix they’s only good for the fine detail and normal Crystal.”
Buck snorted, “Sound good to me boys the desert around Four Corners is littered with those damn things, all sizes, make me the cutters and I can think of a lot of things I can make them into. Which reminds I’ve got more Geodes around here somewhere a lot smaller thank god and a lot easier to shift out of the field, I wouldn’t mind taking a look inside of to see if one of the basin size ones has similar colours to the tub. JD’s been hinting he wants our bathtub or one like it and I might be able turn the water trough into another one as this one was a present for Chris.”
Chris snickered, “I love it big dog but do you think our backs could take shifting it again to where ever we end up?”
Buck grimaced he didn‘t need the memory of the state his back had been in shifting that thing out of the Senata field, “Junior, if I’m going into bathroom business I’ll need something better than a shovel to dig them up and depending on the size maybe a mining tractor to shift them, getting that big one into the barn almost killed us and we found that while clearing our Senata field for planting, so only had to shift it a fifty yards, it would still be there if Chris hadn’t the good idea of borrowing you and your reaper to cut it in half to make it lighter, then the horses could actually shift it.”
“A valid point the larger geodes such as your bathtub are not exactly light weight, but as with any job with the right tools is possible, we will do our best to supply those tools.” Ezra said that was also why Geode mining was not a favoured past time most people did not have the equipment needed for such an endeavour and those who did made more money doing other work.
“It is a shame Sheet Milk Data is so fragile it would make an excellent replacement for glass if it were not. The new catalogue from the Morpheus glass factory has some exquisite bathroom windows, shelving and door panels that would go well with what we are talking about.” sighed Ezra lying back on the bed closing his eyes, it may only be lunch time but he was exhausted.
Vin grimaced Milk Data would need to be a few inches thick to not crack under the strain, to thick for windows as no light would get through that thickness and them shelves from Morpheus were light and airy not slabs of three or for inch crystal, it might work with the bath tubs but Vin would bet on even those slabs cracking if they put something heavy on it.
Chris frowned, “If it was wood, I’s say turn it into a laminate, a thin sliver of the decorative wood glued to layers of cheaper or stronger wood. According to the material I‘ve been studying about furniture construction it was first done because some woods were more expensive than others and a wood veneer of the expensive wood over the top of a cheaper wood gave the decorative look they wanted but was a lot cheaper to make, they also after a lot of experimentation found they could shape a layered composite of thin sheets glued together into curves and when the glue set they stayed in that shape permanently which added a lot of dimension to furniture making. It isn’t much different from what the Corridors have been doing since the exodus from Sol Corridor centuries ago, trees have been so valuable and logging monitored to the extent all wood was used for decoration not construction a simple veneer over a metal or synthetic frame, decoration was the one thing we did know and remember how to use wood for it was using solid wood for construction we lot.” admitted Chris.
Vin frowned at him digesting that, the Ghost Legion had been full of wood furniture but they hadn’t made any of it as it was all incredibly old as they’d had all of old Terra to pick and choose from when they made their original ships, it wasn’t a very practical choice for living in space ships but the old Ghosts had been stubborn and more than a little obsessed with saving as much as they could from old Terra, they couldn’t save all of it but they had certainly saved as much as possible by using the old wood antiques instead of more practical Ship fittings when they built the original ships. The were also inventive enough to work out how to hold the old wood furniture in place even if they lost gravity or the inertial dampeners went, they’d had to make stronger latches and safety features on drawers and doors for those times but they did so, willing to cope with a little inconvenience to take yet another legacy with them. Vin knew the furniture Chris was taking about Guiding Light had a few of them, the curves just made them flow.
“You are suggesting we use the Milk Data in thin layers as decorative laminate over something stronger,” when Chris nodded, Ezra thought about it seriously finally saying. “Unless the internal composition of your proposed composite is fairly see through there would be no point, people choose glass because they either want something see through or they want something slightly opaque and decorative but still capable of letting light though.”
All of them thought about that for a minute realising that was a factor.
“What about that Crystal-Resin you boys showed us the catalogue for, the cheaper basic stuff for bulk use on the optic fibre mat is almost clear just got a slight tint to it, the catalogue claimed that comes in pink, blue or yellow that implies they tint it on purpose we might be able to talk them into selling it untinted if we explain what we want to use it for, a thin layer of the mat would reinforce the Milk Data and as long as you go easy on the matt should still filter light, wire in the resin would also be a way to strengthen it.” Buck said trying to remember the catalogue he had skimmed that morning not really interested at the time thinking he'd look at it closer if he ever needed it. “The coloured stuff used on the outside of boats isn’t see through so would be more for framing the edge to cover the layers up.”
“That could work from what I read this morning it’s has a lot of the same properties as Crystal Ceramic, I helped make enough hulls as a teenager in the ship yards so I could probably fool around with the application and moulding to see if it works, if we could get clear resin we might be able to bury the Milk Crystal in the centre instead.” mused Chris thoughtfully. “Also if we are going to fix the cart we may as well do it right and get one of those roof attachments to bury in the hull so the stove has a permanent chimney, the pipe just shoved out the roof as it is at the moment is to makeshift and lets both water and drafts in.”
“Need that for my Barge when we fix the holes out there as well, plus JD will need to add chimney holes to his barge too I noticed they shifted it already.” Vin added thoughtfully nodding towards the barge that was where the corral use to be on the other side of the small barn closer to the water pump. "That's a good place for it unlike the shack that section is rock, so once we have a cutter we can cut them a basement."
“Resin repair work could be profitable sideline as well seeing we’ll already have the resin and mat on hand, the stagecoaches and freighters occasionally need hull repairs, as well as engine overhaul from damage, I’ve had to fix a few engines over the years on Dis-Pater I’m one of the few qualified space engineer on the planet outside the Ports.” mused Buck seeing another way to add to his income. “We’ll need a big workshop boys all this stuff needs space.”
“Well ventilated, if that stuff is anything like Crystal-Ceramic you’ll asphyxiate in a closed in space, Ceramic is sensitive to temperate during the mixing and setting this stuff might be as well.” Chris warned seriously his family had made space hulls for centuries he knew what he was talking about as part of his training as the Larabee Heir had been learning to handle the moulds and mixing vats and even application.
“Best kill two birds with one stone and set up near the milk dump in that case might even be wise to talk to the Judge about claiming the Milk Dump as a business resource iften we can get the laminate idea to work. Hope the government refunds the destroyed money soon all this stuff take credits to make and set up.” Vin grumbled.
“We’re in the same boat Junior until the Senata Harvest money comes in we’re a bit short on Credits as well.” Buck said with a sigh changing the subject he said. “I don’t know about you but I‘m hungry we’ve been working non stop for hours. Didn’t you boys claim you had ready made stews in the freezer?”
“Just grab some out of the freezer Bucklin, plenty in there so don‘t worry, switch the plasma oven to micro wave mode and it shouldn’t take long to heat up.” Vin said absentmindedly. “We got lemonade and Orange juice in the jugs in the cold section if ya don’t want Autumn Blue with it.”
“I hate that powered shit Junior.” grumbled Bucklin wrinkling his nose at him.
“Mr. Tanner has a greenhouse Mr. Wilmington why would he use powdered artificial citrus when he has the real thing.” Ezra said with a smirk.
Buck froze then practically ran for the cold storage bringing out the jug of orange juice almost drooling, poring himself a glass and drinking it as if it was ambrosia, he at last came up for air and said with a sigh, “Damn you boys are living high on the hog compared to the rest of us, I haven’t had real orange juice in ages, when we homestead again I want a Greenhouse Chris, if we homestead with the boys we can add on to theirs but if we can‘t I want our own, what‘s the use of settling down if you can‘t grow a few luxuries.” he said with a pout sipping the juice again with a blissful sigh.
Chris laughed but it contained a touch of sadness remembering how Buck and Sarah had ganged up on him and they scavenged some glass and made a glass lean to, against the house for Sarah’s medical herbs and some veggies and a dwarf orange tree for Buck because as he said he hated that powered shit, it hadn‘t survived the fire either, he hadn‘t realised until this minute he had been unconsciously stopping Buck from making another one since they started the homestead.
Vin looked up at him worried obviously picking something up from the twin bond.
~Relax Cowboy it’s just memories~ he sent over the bond in reassurance. A feeling of understanding but also curiosity came back through the bond.
He grimaced but explained, ~This new sanity of mine is making me realise how much I have been hurting Buck without knowing. He and Sarah had a little greenhouse and I just realised I‘ve been stopping him from making another one as it brought up to many memories I couldn’t handle then.~
Vin looked thoughtful, ~What about now?~ he sent back.
~The memories don’t hurt anymore, it’s a good memory and I should embrace those not run from them, it‘s more a Adam and Buck memory than anything. Buck has a green thumb he babied that greenhouse and the vegetable patch lavishing attention on them even Sarah’s medical herbs, Sarah usually left it to him as gardening wasn’t something she was interested in as more than something to grow instead of buy. Buck and Adam would get filthy repotting and weeding having the time of their life, if they weren‘t in the barn or with the animals I always knew where I could find them.~
“Hey you two it’s impolite to talk behind our backs that way!” grumbled Buck recognising Chris and Vin were talking over the twin bond and feeling a touch of jealousy again at the closeness even if he wouldn’t want that himself, he wasn’t really into incest and he has glimpsed enough of the twin bond in Chris’ mind to know there was a world of difference between what he had with Chris and what Vin had with him. He was Chris lover, his mate. Vin was his brother, a sibling whose mind was almost part of Chris own on occasion, sure there was a touch of sexual attraction between the two, Vin was beautiful inside and out just like Sarah had been, even Buck was attracted to him he hadn’t been lying about that. The trouble was that very closeness would make sex feel like incest so probably would ever happen between the two men unless something drastic occurred to break that final separation of their minds which neither man were willing to do as it would stop them being two people until they managed to separate again. It helped a lot that Vin was obviously in love with Ezra, he shivered at the way they had to pussy floating around each others shield that would have driven Buck insane, they were almost monks because of their Psi level that was so fucked up it was beyond horrific he was damn glad it wasn‘t him he would have gone crazy living like that.
Chris and Vin chuckled, “I was just telling Vin about your lean to and how you and Adam had the time of your life in there.” Chris admitted meeting Buck’s eyes letting him see that while it hurt, it was a happy memory he was now sane enough to cherish instead of fleeing.
“Hell Chris, I miss him every time I plant something even the Senata, I’m still not sure if he loved the plants or just getting to play in the dirt and mud.” Buck said a little sadly himself.
“Probably a bit of both,” chuckled Chris he knew his son, plus that was his Uncle Buck time when Buck was all Adam’s and only Adam‘s, the one time Chris had come to help in the greenhouse or garden, Adam had pouted at daddy giving him a touch of the Larabee glare for doing it and wouldn’t talk to him for days. “I wouldn’t mind a greenhouse next time either we need one on Dis-Pater.” he said making Buck’s eyes light up happily and turn back to the job of fixing lunch with renewed vigour but Chris noticed in amusement he was still sipping the orange juice as he worked.
Vin mental amusement came to him along with the final thought, ~I think you’re coping with sanity pretty well Cowboy! I better go do the last checks on the Array, don‘t want Bucklin blowing the grid with his cooking~
Chris laughed aloud and got up and went to help Buck with lunch besides he had to claim some of that orange juice for himself, behind him he could hear Vin getting up and back to checking the last Power Array connections.