“I thought the race to find the parts of the Machine was only a recent development.”
“Oh, yes, the race. However, the determination to be ready for when the pieces came out of hiding has been going on since the Machine was disassembled. Our ancestors learned then it was impossible to destroy a single fragment of crystal.” He winked at her. “Which is why that intriguing box of dust you delivered to us has been driving Vulcan and her team to distraction.”
“Theo thought it might be lubrication or something like that,” she said, as she led the way down the corkscrew stairs, two levels, to the main deck.
“Lubrication for what? The emerging theory is that there are really no moving parts.”
“How can a machine not have moving parts? How can it do anything if it doesn’t move? What kind of energy does it need, to do what it’s supposed to do? I just assumed it used the same kind of energy that made the Zeus guns work, or the lights, or all the incredible devices that make the light bulb and steam engine seem rather clunky and filthy by comparison.”
“That’s just it. Energy. The crystal doesn’t require energy, so much as it generates energy, and that energy opens the way, moves the material of space and time, to allow travel through time. The more the Machine comes together, the bigger the clumps of it, the more frustrating the whole conglomeration becomes. Because it defies what we know and understand of science and engineering.”
“Vulcan must be thoroughly delighted with the puzzle,” Ess murmured, pausing at the doorway into the main deck area.
“We’re taking bets on how long it takes for her to pull out all her hair, and how she will do it, a strand at a time or in great clumps.” He reached around her for the latch. “Care to place a wager?”Ess stuck her tongue out at him. Ford just chuckled and thumped her on the shoulder as she pushed the door open.