Victoria's bunk

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Victoria's bunk

Post by Morgan on Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:53 am

Victoria selected her code, spoke her name for the voice recognizer, let the laser scan her eyes and the finger print checker test her fingers. Everything was correct of course.
Jason and her went down into her private room. It was quite large; the walls disappeared behind the bookshelves, everything was ordered, classified and labelled. There was one shelf for philosophy, the upper one for the books she bought, the lower one for her personal notes, written down and put into large folders. There were of course shelves for maths, physics, chemistry, and whole sections for her researches.
The north side of the room was taken by a large wooden desk with two computers that Victoria had altered with celestial bronze and graphene so they had more power than a regular computer. Also, the keyboards included the ancient greek alphabet.
At the south of the room stood her lab bench; in one of the corners stood a labelled group of inventions. When she saw Jason stop in front of one, she smiled.

"That's a 3-D-printer. I'm using another one for various things, but it's upstairs. This one is for one of my other projects..." She licked her lips. "You see these Petri boxes? I'm cultivating cells in there. A 3-D-printer could be a useful tool in medicine. It would first scan a wound then directly print the needed cells onto it. It could be an alternative for ambrosia... But I still have to work on it. I'm not as good in medicine and genetics as I am in astrophysics or geodesy."

She turned away.

"Anyway, that's not what I wanted to show you. Here it is."

The fourteen-years-old pointed at what looked like a snowboard, but made utterly out of metal. It didn't look very complex, so she felt the need to explain again.

"This is a hoverboard. It's made out of different types of metals, including celestial bronze, and semiconductors. Basically," she stated, going over to it, flipping it over and passing a hand across it "all this side is equipped with highly sensitive diamagnets, that connect to the elements of carbon, copper, silver and lead that are in the ground, plus water. It has a range of one hundred meters, vertically." She caught his look and smiled. "A diamagnet is a special type of magnet that, when submitted to a magnetic field, generates an opposite magnetic field; that enables my board to hover over the ground," Victoria explained then looked back at the board. "It works with a special type of energy." She looked up briefly at him and smiled again. "Photosynthesis."
The daughter of Athena stood up and picked the hoverboard up, putting it horizontally. Immediately, it connected to the elements it found in the ground and stabilized in mid air. When Victoria pressed her hand on it, it didn't move; it looked as if it was lying on something solid.

"Before you ask, this is not a radically new idea. Imitating photosynthesis was first brought up one hundred years ago by Giacomo Luigi Ciamician, and the concept is still played with today. Technically, I could use pure solar energy for this, but there would be two problems: first, there is not always sun everywhere, second, solar energy needs to be used up immediately. No storage possible." She smirked. "Unless photosynthesis is taken into the play. See, plants, seaweed and bacterias have a unique ability, which is to use the energy in sunlight in order to produce a high-energy molecule. Normally, they change carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrate; that happens in two steps, and only one of them is about sunlight." She examined the hoverboard while moving on. "Special complexes designed to collect sunlight catch it and use it to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is in fact only a waste product, which the plants send back into the atmosphere. Now to the second step. The hydrogen is used to turn the carbon dioxide into an organic molecule, that way the solar energy gets chemically stored. And this is the amazing part, because this enables a maximal spacial and temporal flexibility -- it can be stored for many seasons."

She took her time stroking the surface of the board before carrying on.

"I'm not going to talk about the whole process of how the plant manages to split the water (it'd take too much time, with everything about the chloroplasts, porphyrin and the thylakoid membrane), so I'll just sum the water-splitting up with this reaction: 2H2O+4hν --> 2H2+O2." She didn't need to specify that hν was the energy of a photon, Jason already knew that. "It was quite tricky to do it, you know. The whole photosynthesis was to be imitated with semiconductors, which gaps (between one another) have to be so narrow that the energy of the ray of light suffices to send electrons from the valence bonds to the higher conducting bonds. Only positive charged electron-missing-places stayed behind -- the 'gaps'. Is this state with separated charges durable enough, then the electrons can reduce protons into hydrogen, and the 'gaps' can oxide water to oxygen. That's how I copied photosynthesis in order make this hoverboard function."

It had been quite a speech, but Vic wasn't done yet.

"The created energy is stored into two accumulators. One that is normally used, the other one is for the extremely improbable case that the first one should fail. The battery is based on lithium ions and coated with graphene." She glanced at him, waited, then explained. "Graphene is to be taken out of graphite. I coated the accumulators with it, and the graphene layer is as thick as an atom. Now you might think how I achieved that, since it sounds impossible. It took me a while to figure it out, but I eventually got it. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Which I'll refer to as PAH. I appended the motionless nucleus of circular PAHs to movable hydrocarbon chains. That brings them to pile up spontaneously, and they look like rolls of coins, in which electrical charges can hop from disk to disk. These 'columns' let's say, or 'rolls of coins' can be arranged standing or lying on a special basis, and I'm using them as transport canal for charges in electronic components. It gives them more power, especially when associated with celestial bronze."

She gestured towards her computers. "I've arranged the batteries on my computers too, that's why they are so powerful. They charge in a fraction of a second, they could hack into things very easily (even though I don't do it), but the counterpart is that I have to invent very complicated passwords in order to secure them. My actual password is composted of more than fifty symbols, and includes letters from the latin and ancient greek alphabet, plus numbers."

Victoria put a hand underneath the board, the palm on the bottom.

"The batteries are flexible, resistant, and biodegradable; they charge extremely quickly and can contain a large quantity of energy. The only thing is.... it's pretty costly. I won't be able to make another hoverboard before a long time."

She sighed sadly and stroked its metallic surface. "All of it is equipped with voice sensors which obey my commands. I can tell it to stop, to go faster, to slow down, to go up and down, and so on. I can't go too much up, though, since it has to stay in contact somehow with the elements in the ground. For the rest, I guide it with my feet, like you would a surf or a snowboard." She had surfed only once, and had epically failed, but she had done snowboard with her father, in the Swiss Alps, and even though she rather preferred skiing, she liked snowboarding.

"For the security. I have equipped my shoes with medium-strong ferromagnets that will keep me on, preventing me from falling down by the inverse force of the air. The ferromagnets react to my voice command as well, so I don't walk around and have to suddenly stop because I'm walking on a metallic surface. I have altered my lab glasses -- I already told you about that, I believe. They are lab glasses, but they have several other modus - infra-red, night vision, polarized light, and another modus for the hoverboard. They're gonna protect my eyes so the air doesn't get into them and make them water.
Third, and most important of all: the anti-crash belt." She took out an elastic belt and fastened it around her waist. "It's equipped with voice sensors and intelligent material." She took a plastic film from one of the shelves on which black circuits were printed. "It took me two entire days to code the circuits for my belt. If I fall off the overboard, the suspensors get into action, activate diamagnets which will stop me in mid air before letting me go back down."

Now, her speech was finished.

"What do you think?" she asked Jason with a smile.


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