The Heart of the City Thursday February 27, 2014, 0 comments

Beverly could feel the thump of big Stirling engine No. 6 roll through her body, and thought with excitement, The Heart of the City is actually beating in my chest!

Thirty-two thumping engines, each twenty meters tall and sixty long were ranged more or less symmetrically around the circumference of the envelope. They capitalized on the temperature difference between the air and ice outside the envelope and the steam jets originating from geothermal energy coming from deep in the ground below, where the molten rock was still hot and close to the surface.

Engineers worked hard – had in fact built entire complex systems – to keep the Stirlings desynchronized as they generated the life-giving electricity the city required. Once, when she was seven, the systems failed and the huge engines, rolling through their endless but minutely varied cycles, eventually all fired at once in a single city rattling convulsion that caused massive city-wide damage. Windows shattered all across the city, water mains broke, and a four story building had collapsed.

Most distressingly, the envelope had suffered the first of only two unplanned breaches in its 130 year history. A lot of heads rolled too, and in the intervening 12 years there hadn’t been any more failures until No. 17 had been all but destroyed when the envelope was compromised during the attack last year. It wasn’t expected to be operational again for another six months.

And there was old No. 6, affectionately known by various names, such as Old Faithful, Lady Liberty, and by most; The Heart of the City. No. 6 was the last of the original eight energy pumps created in the early days of the envelope and the city, and she pumped louder than her sleeker, more modern sisters. Stronger, somehow, like it mattered more.

Standing here atop No. 6 next to the this windows of the access airlock, Beverly could see outside to the brightly lit staging platform standing out in sharp relief against the heavy grey of the sky. But the exhilaration of being here waiting for Sam and his survey team to return from their sortie outside the envelope paled in comparison to the childish thrill of being this close to the big engine and feeling the deep, heavy throb of the mythical machine rumbling through her ribcage.

The Heart of the City is actually beating in my chest!


Comments

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

Provoking a response is different from saying something significant.”
- Unknown

Twitter

  • @heatherlebar That’s the FIRST person, not the last one. Last one was 45 years today. Thursday December 14, 2017
  • It’s been 45 years to the day since a human walked on the moon. Thursday December 14, 2017
  • “RECONSIDER” by @dhh t.co/FhxoO2QSEF Tuesday December 5, 2017
  • “Pretty Birds in Pretty Cages: Could the Nuclear Family Be the Reason We’re All Miserable?” by @NSallakAnderson t.co/9dpcTlGzOP Tuesday December 5, 2017
  • How the hell is the new Tesla Roadster accelerating faster than 1G? What am I not understanding? Friday November 17, 2017
  • “Why software engineers don’t get jobs: Three horror stories” — Iwan t.co/Zrtpia4hgz t.co/lHuOvwndOJ Tuesday November 14, 2017
  • Slaughterbots t.co/578dddG5kE via @YouTube Tuesday November 14, 2017
  • Kenny Holland - Can't Help Falling Over The Rainbow ft. my sister Capri t.co/Fp1imZNgFB via @YouTube Tuesday November 14, 2017
  • Happy birthday Matthew G, wherever you are. Tuesday November 14, 2017
  • “‘Make relationships, not things.’” — @stevebryant t.co/deMwdrUX8x Wednesday November 8, 2017