STARFALL: TALES FROM THE TESLA INSTITUTE #1: The Assistant
pwerdna at gmail.com
Wed Nov 16 14:23:47 PST 2011
On Nov 12, 10:32 pm, Leto <kerbouchar... at gmail.com> wrote:
> Numerous antennas and lightning
> towers and gods knew what else dotted the roof, although nothing was
> out of place, nothing an eyesore: all crafted and created to blend
> into one lace like metal whole.
The word "eyesore" seems obsolete and out-of-place at first glance,
yet it helps with the feel you're building.
> "Gentlemen," a brisk, sharp female voice called out before they even
> crossed the threshold.
On the other hand, "brisk" and "sharp" feel like they have a bit too
much overlap. </nitpick> <no, better not close that tag, might need
> A soft click of low heels, practical brown shoes to match her plain
> skirt and plainer grey blue turtle neck top. Gena wasn't a dull
> looking girl, but one watching could get the impression that she was
> doing her best to become one. Everything was soft, neutral tones, her
> hair clean, bun tight. Her lab coat was so clean it practically
> gleamed in the overhead lighting. And her voice was quiet as well,
> with just enough of a sharp edge to carry when needed, from time to
This seems a very traditional image of the female scientist, which (to
me, at least) brings the expectation of subversion.
> Gena was dwarfed by
> several of the famous Tesla coils, banks of massive computing tools
> and equipment,
...it seems like it'd be a *bad* thing to put those next to each
other. (Or do I simply not know how Tesla coils work? It's quite
> "You know, you can always ask the good doctor Tesla to ease some of
> your responsibilities to him. You're not anyone's personal secretary,
> you're a student and a brilliant geneticist in your own right."
> Gena snapped her gaze to the smiling man, frowning. "Bert, I like
> working here. I really do. I've learnt more here in a year then I did
> during my entire undergraduate career, and the lab's still surprising
> me. For that kind of expirience, I don't mind sacrificing some of my
> time for him."
Ah, a very good moment of characterization, though phrased a bit
> The good doctor sighed and looked to the formal jacket hanging on
> it's peg. "Briefly, then I must return to the main floor T-PAD. If we
> are going to have this operational for a public demonstration we must
> hurry." He rubbed the bridge of his nose, then grabbed the jacket and
> shrugged it on. Gena let out a short sigh of relief, hardly looking
> down as her fingers flew across her touchpad device.
> "Very good, sir."
> "Ech, whatever happened to notebooks? Or those cell phones you lot
> are always touting around." He focused sharp eyes on her dancing
> fingers, and Gena looked up briefly in surprise.
I like how you've mostly avoided having him be unused to the modern
world - surely he'd be able to adapt! - but still kept moments of
discomfort with it.
> "Ah. No, what we are hoping to
> accomplish is not exactly along the lines of a clean burning fission
> reactor, as many have assumed." Which had, in fact, already been made,
> but it was small scale and they hadn't been able to make it feasible
> for large scale energy production. So it ran the facility and they cut
> down on the electric bill.
Ah, nice - an impressive achievement, but not overblown.
> "Dr. Tesla, really, I'm well aware of..." She stared at him as he
> gently cut her off, feeling frustrated for not the first time. He was
> a genius. More then a genius, brilliant and creative and so many
> wonderful, incredible things all at once, but he was still the same
> Tesla he had been, in so many ways. Like now. He respected women,
> always had, and always treated them as intellectual equals but there
> was still this polite gentility, and the annoying habit of deferring a
> problem, however gently he did it, if he didn't really think it
> important. Not condescension, but damned near close. And you never
> could quite figure out if he was doing it on purpose or not.
> Both Gena and Bertram let out held breaths as Tesla chuckled.
> "Excellent! Perfect form everyone, well done. All right, secondary
> personnel take your spots."
And this is a good, subtle moment.
> "Stage one initiated." Gena read out in a calm, cool tone that some
> of the others had jokingly referred to as her "Ship's Computer" voice.
Heh heh heh.
> "Switch to the fusion reactor. I'm modifying the
> couplings for new output, be ready to sync and tell me when the lines
> are ready."
She canna take it anymore!
> "Dammit, ready and syncing...now." Bert and Gena spoke in unison,
> even down to the cursing.
Heh heh heh.
> The final stage would be when he directed the metal circles into the
> correct alignment with that energy, which the arches would emit. What
> they hadn't accoutned for, however, was another kind of energy being
> used. Electricity was safe, standard, reliable. Cold fusion most
> certainly was not. Yet.
...wait, wouldn't the cold fusion reactor be used to create
electricity? Is it somehow drawing charged particles right out of
> </i>She just...reached out and shoved, buckling one shoulder down,
> lifting, and the older man was out of the way. Gena had just enough
> time to absorb the moment, seeing Tesla pushed beyond a bank of
> computers. She smiled a little.<i>
Ah, nice moment. (And I'm sure you've noticed that the tags don't work
> The voice didn't seem to come from any one place, if it was even a
> voice. More a pressure or a trembling of the air. Her eyes opened, two
> pale glowing orbs only slightly more opaque then the rest of her. She
> looked at the doctor, expression impossible to read.
Overall, the plot was a bit predictable, but that's more than
forgivable in an issue that has so much setup work to do, and the
ending was ambiguous enough to pull the reader in for the next issue!
Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, zappy zappy
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