Beating Heart of Machine

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4

He was supposed to see more than blimps, that was obvious. It had to be more than that, because who cares about blimps? And besides, it was only an example that Hemaut had chosen without really thinking about it. He would have gotten the same task from Ollivan no matter what re-invention he had used to answer the old man's question, whether it was the iron lung or computer, or... anything. That's what brought Hemaut into the Archive, the only computer in existence. It's towering walls of steaming pipes and turning cogs were a constant source of inspiration and knowledge to students from all over Machine. It housed and made available the work of generations as well as that first visionary, the founder of Machine.

At first it didn't seem possible to Hemaut that everything in the world could be, or might have been, something else. Things are what they are, and to think of them as anything else would be foolish and pointless. Only Ollivan didn't think in any way that was foolish or pointless, despite how his questions may have seemed when they were asked. The more that Hemaut talked with Ollivan, the more he learned that understanding the old man merely required the right perspective. Ollivan had to be viewed in a unique way, because he was trying to teach a unique perspective.

So Hemaut took on the assignment regarding the blimp, searching for that new way of seeing the re-invention. He made adjustments to the size and materials of the pouch. He also tried to imagine the use of different gasses. And the room below the sac of gas could be any size he needed. The blimp could carry a hundred men or only two. It also didn't have to move anywhere with any particular speed or reach any certain height.

After a short time, Hemaut no longer viewed the problem of the many blimps as how to design it in three different ways, but how to restrict his solutions to only three. The world had suddenly become very uncertain and lacked definition.

Hemaut sat in the Archive to draw up the specifications of his own re-inventions of the blimp, as well as look at some other specifications. There were hundreds of ways to meet the requirements provided by any definition, even if all were not practical. Nowhere did it say that an artificial heart had to be a mobile unit. In fact, very few of the re-invention specifications made any mention of size at all. What if a blimp was what people in the Accomplished Civilization required to move around because their artificial organs were too heavy to carry? Hemaut paused and smiled to think of an entire city full of people bumping around in baskets under their bulbous transports.



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