The interior of the facility seemed to be endless. The Archduchess and the Engineer led the way, having a very animated conversation; a couple meters apart from them, the rest of the Party followed.
They were now crossing a large and very lengthy glass corridor situated above the ground floor, from which was possible to see everything. Small flying robots went to and fro around them, making buzzing noises and emitting various colors. On the ground, whiteboards, bookshelves and industrial equipment filled the space in well-organized lines. At the far end of the hallway, it was possible to see a bright, blue light emanating from some big device.
The Arch-Cardinal was feeling slightly uncomfortable being out of the discussion, so she quickened her pace so she could hear the two ahead of her.
The Engineer wrote:…simplicity is the key to endurance. The less components, the less points of failure a device has, combined with an appropriate design and assembly process and specifically-crafted materials, the longer a device is able to function without requiring any kind of maintenance. Speaking of which, we are currently researching self-repairing systems; the biggest problem, of course, is: who maintains the self-maintenance systems?
The Archduchess wrote:From your description, I believe such a system would be essential for our project.
The Engineer wrote:Indeed it would be. It will require levels of reliability never before attained.
The Engineer stopped on his tracks, as if trying to remember something. Then he turned to the Archduchess.
The Engineer wrote:And we are honored on being offered such an important enterprise. And we'll be glad to accept it.
The Archduchess broadened her usual smile.
The Archduchess wrote:It's very good to hear that, Mr. Münr.
The Engineer wrote:You must be aware that, as we don't have all required technology yet, I can't promise you a delivery date. It may take a few years.
The Archduchess wrote:Better than never. We can wait for it.
The Engineer wrote:Very well then.
The Engineer then touched a strange device on his right ear, which made his voice be heard in the whole facility.
The Engineer wrote:Attention all personnel: rescheduling meeting in two one echo minus three.
* * *
The Engineer wrote:First of all, these are Tèrag and Angus, future engineers being trained on the Fifth Bureau under my supervision. Angus has been here for a few months already; Tèrag has just arrived last week. You both, these folks came from the South with a very interesting project for us.
The Engineer then turned to the crowd.
The Engineer wrote:I've called all of you here because, effective immediately, we are going to redirect all our efforts to a new project, dubbed Mar Mojot. Mar Mojot's objective is to develop a fully autonomous, human-like intelligence, capable of self-diagnostic and self-repair, as well as a equally maintainable support body. The expected lifetime for project Mar Mojot is, well… as long as we can make it.
Tèrag, a young, red haired woman, got closer to the Engineer, with a questioning look.
Tèrag wrote:This will require research on areas we never ventured into, and we have so many good projects going on already… I don't know if it's worth the risk.
The Engineer wrote:You will never see the light if you refuse to leave shade, my dear. We could, yes, refuse this proposal, but I'm not called the Engineer of Eternity without reason. They need me. They need us.
Tèrag lowered her head, disappointment and sadness irradiating from her eyes.[/quote]
The Engineer wrote:I know how important your plans are to you. And I promise you, we'll find a way to keep them on track.
Tèrag wrote:Thank you.
The Engineer wrote:With this solved, does anyone have any other objections?
The silence was terrifying.
The Engineer wrote:I'll take that as a no. Essential personnel, to the planning room. All the others are dismissed.
Mr. Münr gave the Archduchess an affirmative glance, after which she turned to her peers. She was smiling as never before.