The Quantum Knight
“Okay, can you throw a prototype together?” Asked his Uncle Rick.
“Sure; we need a piece of stainless steel, some Aluminum and some hard plastic.”
His uncle knew where everything was in the warehouse and came walking back to the work area carrying an empty plastic bleach bottle, A stainless steel mixing bowl and an aluminum wheel. Carl looked at them laying there on the worktable.
Carl got up and starting setting up the ritual; first he molded the bottle into a plastic ring about three inches wide with a plastic film that stretched over the opening from the center of the ring band. Then he shaped the steel into a half capsule. The plastic slipped right over the edge of the steel for about an inch, than locked over a ridge that circled the steel cap.
He held up the steel cap, and rotated the plastic ring setting it over the open end of the steel cap. Next he shaped the aluminum into an almost identical shape and size cap as the steel one. This he took, slipping in the plastic ring until it too locked in place on the ridge line of the inserted end.
Carl held up the capsule. The steel portion gave the capsule a substantial weight. He now rotated the plastic ring that was at the center of the capsule; it locked into one position, and wouldn’t move if you rotated the ring all the way right.
He made a mark on the plastic and a matching mark below, on the aluminum.
No matter how hard you tried it, the plastic would rotate no further to the right. Now he made a second mark on the aluminum and rotated the plastic ring back until the mark on the plastic aligned with the new mark on the aluminum.
He made it so that the assembly locked in that position until enough force was applied to rotate it once more in either direction; now he added one more mark on the aluminum. Now when the plastic mark was aligned, it locked the ring once more; this time it could only be unlocked by turning it in the original direction.
He stood staring at the capsule, which resembled a giant medicine capsule. The ring would now rotate to three different positions locking fast in two of those positions. He rotated the plastic so that when the steel was on the bottom of the capsule it locked to the far right. Above the mark on the aluminum the word “Off” appeared. Over the center mark “Half” appear and all the way to the left “Full”. Leaving the capsule set to “Off” he did the magic needed to activate the Power Capsule. He picked up some rubber gloves and put them on.
It had just hit him how dangerous this could be! Next, he hooked up a voltammeter to the two ends of the capsule and set the dial to the 500 volts max. Then he twisted the plastic ring to half. The dial of the voltammeter went to 220 volts and hung there. All of them stood there looking at the meter. Finally Carl reached over and rotated the ring to ‘Full’ the needle flipped over hitting the dial stop then drifting back until the gauge read 440 volts. Carl looked at the capsule for a minute then it changed, each end of the capsule forming a flat terminal connection. Damn! He needed a converter also.
“Peggy, do you have the design I came up with for the inverter?”
“Yeah, Carl, here are the plans you drew up that I redid with the CAD software.”
“Wow! The capsule delivers too much power! These designs are for low voltage like 12vdc to 120vac, nobody thinks about 220-440vdc to 120vac. It needs a heavy duty step down transformer!”
“This is too much power! My estimate is that it’s over 44 kilowatts. He moved his hand over the capsule and it split in to four separate capsules, each at one fourth the original size.
In fact, they looked a lot like heavy duty fuses. These capsules’ settings were 12, 24, 48, and 120 VDC. Now he had to set the voltages and mount them in an inverter for the AC current.
He began to work on another design for the inverter, using pictures he had taken from the Internet. Soon there was a small metal cabinet sitting on the workbench. It had a standard outlet socket for power.
Inside the cabinet was a squared cage; inside of the cage, he inserted one of the power capsules; the ends slid into the terminal connection, and a snap of the toggle locked it down.
He twisted the selector band to 24 volts. Closing the protected cage around the power capsule he used a butterfly nut to lock it closed. He closed the cover of the metal case and used screws to lock the cover closed. The unit weighted about 30 pounds.
It had four LED lights on the outside, Red, no Power, Green Power on, than two Amber lights one over each of two levels. One labels said ‘110 VAC’ the other ‘220 VAC’. Below the lights was a selector switch. He turned it; the Red light went off, the Green and first Amber light came on showing the unit was set for 110 VAC.”
He carried the unit to the power room where the outside power had been disconnected a couple of weeks earlier, when he had installed his first power source. Uncle Rick turned off the demonstration power source, and then disconnected it.
The warehouse Emergency Power lights turned on, providing enough illumination to maneuver. Rick pushed the demonstration unit back and out of the way.
Carl set the new power source on the floor. Then he hooked up a cable to the unit, and then to the input connector outside of the fuse box.
Once connected Uncle Rick threw the switch turning the power source back on. The dim lights of the emergency power kick off as lights and noise from all the normal electrical function came back on. They had previously set up a multitude of alert sensors around the power connection. If it over heated an alarm would go off alerting all of them Uncle Rick, Carl and his Dad via their cell phones.
A meter at the power distribution box gave 2,100 watts as being used in the warehouse. This set up was done with magic alone. But everything except the charging of the power capsule could be done and built by anybody.
While they had done no heavy work, the effort of planning, and using magic to make their prototype had taken a little out of them. Time wise, almost the whole morning was gone.
“Carl, we need to stop and have a light lunch before heading to the Civic Center. The Aikido competition starts at 12:45.”
“Durn I forgot about that.”
“So let’s go, we can stop at the Henny near there.” His Uncle Rick said.
So that what they did; Carl left his car in the warehouse, and picked up his Gym bag. He joined Peggy and Uncle Rick in their car.
They got a quick lunch, Carl settled for a chef salad and some iced tea. Even though the hamburgers with French fries were tempting, he knew they would not have settled before his first match.
It was a lot easier Saturday then it had been the night before. Carl went straight to his locker where he had left a couple of things. This time he had to put on headgear protector, shin guards, gloves, foot protection and groin protector. When fully dressed he exited the locker room and headed for the auditorium.
Aikido was originally derived from jujitsu but was developed as a more spiritual art. Over time it became more involved with joint grips and safety of the opponents. However, over the last twenty years that had changed. Some blows were added and more intense defense created.
His Sensei had not hesitated to extend certain techniques. Currently, Aikido competitions outside Japan were getting closer and closer to mixed martial arts.
Carl approached the first Official he saw, “I am Carl Black, Orange belt, 16 years, 140 lbs. Aikido.”
The official looked at him and a sneer appeared momentarily as he directed him to the side of the floor. Carl did note he wrote his name down on a clipboard. Carl then went to the same area he had waited the night before.
This time there was a difference, no white belts. Half of the competitions waiting for their match were wearing black belts. Carl looked and saw that like the night before a lot of people were on the floor warming up.
Instead of going to the side, he found an open area and joined the warm up. By the time the officials called to clear the floor he was loose and his muscle felt fine.
Carl took a place almost at the end of the row of people waiting to fight. When they called out the first set of names they started at both ends. Four black belts and four yellow belts were the first’s matches. The blacks took the floor at the other end of the auditorium; while the yellow belts took the floor just in front of Carl.
He noticed that all the yellow belts were older than he was; he was probably the only teenager. Two black belts and one yellow belt were completely eliminated in the first match. One of the three yellow belts who were still competing had won one fall of his match.
The very next match Carl’s name was call. Entering the circle area he noted that his weight was almost the same as his opponent though his opponent was at least 7 years older.
The official directed him to the Black ‘x’ and his opponent to the Red ‘x’ Carl had not forgotten the bowing, first to the judges, then the official of his match, then to his opponent. The official backed away, saying “Fight!” at the same time.
Carl’s opponent slowly moved forward; having only seen two fights he wasn’t sure of the best methods for starting the fight, so Carl waited, moving slightly to the side. Suddenly his opponent moved to grab his wrist. Carl dropped to his knees bringing the wrist down and using the leverage did a wrist throw. His opponent flipped in the air and landed on his feet.
Carl did not hesitate he was up and moving into his opponent who was turning to face him. His hand shot up and grabbed the throat adding pressure and throwing his opponent completely backward out of the circle.
“Black, first fall with a neck throw.”
Carl backed up and waited his opponent’s return.
It was becoming automatic; he blocked grabs and twisted wrists and arms. He took the next two yellow belts he faced with no falls lost, giving him three matches. He was the only yellow belt still competing.
His next opponent was an Orange belt. He used a leg sweep to take Carl down for the first fall. There were no objections so it must be legal. He had never been shown a leg sweep for Aikido. He stepped back and requested a conference with the official.
“Sir, I have never been instructed about leg sweeps in Aikido. So can I use Jujitsu hold and throws?”
“Yes, any holds and throws are legal from Jujitsu in Aikido.”
Oh well Carl thought. He bowed to his opponent. The man came across the ring flying. Carl jumped toward him and dropped to one knee. He grabbed the Gi tunic and pulling it tight, came to his feet, lifting his opponent into the air. Twisting, with a shoulder hip throw, he used his shoulder as a fulcrum into the opponent’s hip and threw him into the mat.
The official was screaming “Break!” Carl backed off and watched. An EMT quickly entered the circle and examined the opponent; finally the EMT help the opponent get to his feet, and shook his head. Turning to the official the opponent shook his head and almost fell. The EMT helped escort him to the circle’s edge where he stopped, and turned to face Carl. He bowed a full bow to Carl, who returned it with full respect.
“Black match point with one fall, opponent unable to return to the center.”
The official turned to bow to Carl. Returning the bow then Carl turned to face the judge’s table and bow.
By the approach of the end of the Aikido competition Carl had won 7 matches with the loss of three falls. By the last match, he was facing blue belts.
By this time it was late, so he was on the Black ‘x’ and bowing to the Blue belt. Carl quickly came to the conclusion that this opponent was very good. He went to both knees as soon as Carl stepped toward the center. This lowers the center of gravity. It also gives the person kneeling more leverage. It also allowed the person the ability to slide on his knees.
A person practiced in the technique appeared to float over the ground. It could be very distracting. The match lasted longer then any other one he had fought. Mainly he was tired. But eventually he got an arm bar while his opponent was trying for a wrist lock. The both of them held for minutes before Carl’s arm bar gave more leverage and brought surrender.
On the last fall, he went straight into his opponent going to both knees in a slide that ended with a duel wrist lock. Again his opponent was force to surrender.
He dragged himself to the shower and got cleaned up. Before he left the locker room an official came to notify him that he was schedule for the early rounds on Sunday, starting at 10:00.
Carl was worn out and just wanted to go home and rest. He thought for a minute of telling his Uncle that he had had it. No More! Nah, His Uncle would never understood a quitter, way in the back of his mind, was the thought his father would never forgive a quitter.
Neither would care a bit if he lost but to quit is something else. He knew he never would not with those two as living example of what men in his family were like.
Once home he took another shower and then crawled into bed. He had nightmare that night. He was constantly coming up to the ‘x’ marks and hearing the Official say “Black number three thousand and twenty-ninth match.”
When Carl got up the next morning he was as tired as when he went to bed. He could remember every dream he had. He could actually visualize each of them; see the holds and throws that he had used to win. Even the hundreds of grips, throws, and holds that he had not yet been taught.
At the civic center his Uncle Rick wandered into the locker room after a while.
“Carl, you might have a problem.”
“What kind of problem, Uncle Rick?”
“I see your Sensei, in discussion with the judges. There is a mass of officials around the judges table. I heard you name a couple of time. I think a decision is being made that he does not like.”
“Well, I wonder what kind?”
Carl and his uncle walked out of the locker to the auditorium floor. There he reported to the floor official to report in.
“Carl Black, yellow belt, 16 years, 140 pounds, Mixed Marital Arts.
“Awh, Mister Black, you must report to the judges table.” He waved to the side of the auditorium where the judges table was setting.
Carl turned and headed that way, his Uncle Rick followed.
Approaching the judges table he came to a stop and bowed. Then he waited. A short time later he was motioned forward to the table. There were over seven high level sensei setting at that table including his own. Sensei Inoue stood and bowed to him. He returned it.
“Mr. Black, many here feel that you are not fighting in you true belt level. I have explained that you were completely untrained when you started with me less than six months earlier. But most after seeing the two skill set you have fought in the last two days cannot believe it. So, the consensus of this board…” He halted, and looked over the gathering sensei, “You will be awarded the rank you have earned before you will be allowed to compete today.”
Carl looked around and all he saw was a bunch of people staring at him. He figured bowing would never get him in trouble.
He bowed to the table, then individually to his sensei. The big man in the center reached down, pulled out a belt and handed it to the sensei on the end. He took it and stood up. He bowed and said something in Japanese.
“Mister Black, the honorable sensei Ilyowk is proud to award you the brown belt first in Jujitsu.”
Carl was shocked, a brown belt! He expected at least two more years of training before he would even attempt to win it. Carl stepped forward and took the belt. He bowed and backed away. Everybody waited. He removed his yellow belt and put his new brown belt on; in jujitsu there are two stripes that go on a brown belt before they are awarded a black belt. Of all the martial arts Jujitsu is the slowest to award belts.
Once Carl had put his belt on he bowed to the judges table and started to back up. The senior sensei raised his hand to stop him. Another sensei at the other end of the table began speaking. Once again his sensei spoke up. “As senior sensei of Aikido it is his duty to award a brown belt with double stripes to you.”
Two black belts came up to him on either side and undid his belt removing it, they then wrapped two thin strips of tape around the end of his belt. Then the youngest black belt replaced his belt and fastened it. They both backed off and bowed. Carl was frozen; he was now one step below a black belt.
His sensei dismissed him to the floor. He moved down toward the area that he considered his and took the floor to warm up. Then the announcement to clear the floor came. Carl turned and found himself in the middle of orange and blue belts, so he slowly walked up the line until pass the halfway mark where brown belts showed up. There were not many brown belts; just the other side of them was a mass of young black belts.
Carl slipped into the end of the row of brown belts with blues on one side of him.
He sat and watched as one after another black belts were called. From the other side the orange belts were quickly eliminated and they started on the blues. No brown belts had been called yet.
After an hour two brown belts were called. Carl sat up to pay attention to their skill levels. With intense focus to observe everything he was shocked. Their skill levels appear no better than blue belts he saw fight the day before.
They seem to go through the brown belts quickly. His name was called. He quickly reported to the official and took his position on a newly replaced Black ‘x’ that had worn off the floor. He had bowed to the judges table as he turned to face the officials he saw one judge nudged another and nodded at his match area.
He did his final bow before the match started and waited. His opponent was one of the brown belts who had lost his match but taken one fall. “Fight!” He attacked full speed, leading with a clothes line slash at his neck, but followed through with an inside leg sweep.
Carl was never fool, he went over the leg sweep as he went under the clothes line, grabbing the opposite tunic edge he pulled as he went around the outer edge of his opponent when he stopped moving his opponent was in a full body spin and left the circle.
The second fall was just as easy. He used a leg throw to lift his opponent but kept hold of him and dropped him with a shoulder throw.
They called the two remaining brown belt before he had returned to his waiting area. So, his next match was against a black belt. It was very unusual, half the judge’s table was watching; it was likely to be one of two such matches today. The winners of the brown belt match that was going on would most likely face a black belt.
This one would eliminate all the non black belt competition.
Carl came to the match area and bowed in. The official stepped back before bowing in and was exchanged with a higher official. Ensuring that we were ready he uttered the command. “Fight!”
The Black Belt moved on Carl like smooth ice. A blow went at his head, a kick to his gut, and then he was reaching to grab his gi. Carl moved his head an inch, his forward hand blocked to the outside and then moved into the hand reaching for his gi, he did an outside inside leg sweep and the black belt found himself trying to stand on his back legs as his body twisted trying to follow the leg that was going up into the air.
Carl grasped the body it touched his, and held tight. He used to it as a fulcrum to twist his own body around his opponent, then let his body drop with a twist. The black belt rolled through the air a three quarter of a turn then slammed into the mat. All the air in his body was ejected. Carl continued his roll and came to his feet. He waited a second to hear the official call. He began to move back toward his opponent as he heard no call. Then it came, “Break!”
He pulled up short and backed off. The official was now standing over his opponent then he went to one knee as he waved in the EMT.
For the first time Carl saw the offside hand of the official going up and down. He watched it when it moved sideways after a count of nine, he was sure it was a match sign.
The official stood and faced the judges table bowed. “It is a Black match point, full body twist take down, Red unable to come to the center.”
Carl had kept his attention on his opponent, who was helped to his feet to exit. The opponent turned to face him and bow. He returned the bow then rotated to bow to the official.
By the time the tournament was over, Carl had lost three matches but won at least one fall in each of those matches. He had also won three matches in which he lost one fall also. When his final match was called the judges table gave him a standing bow as he left.
He was completely dazed. With no idea what had just happened except it was considered unusual. His sensei came into the locker room to talk to him. He had not expected Carl to compete so his wins were very unexpected. After an hour of talk Carl understood that he should go now. That Sensei Inoue would give him his beginning black belt the next week.
The next day at school, a couple of the less abusive athletic came to him with the “Grats! Good job.” They offered him a fist bump and went their ways. He was at a loss to understand until later when a friend of Laura’s sat down with them and open a paper to the sport section. There on the second page was a photo of him throwing a brown belt about 5 feet in the air being thrown by him. They had list how many matches he had won.
If that had not been too much before they got out of the lunch room one of the junior coaches came over to his table gave him a formal bow then said.
“Excellent performance, Mr. Black.”
Then he turned and left.
The first thought that hit him was ‘I will never be able to keep out of sight now’
They left the lunchroom for their classes. Carl had noticed that Laura was drifting away from him. They were not in each other pockets like they had been earlier. Leaving school together he drove her home, and as she started to get out of the car he pulled her over and kissed her gently “If you need me or anything from me let me know Laura.”
She stopped as she was pulling back and looked at his face, and then smiled back at him.
“I know Carl, you are my best friend, but I know that now. Good luck to you.” She turned and walked into her house.
Carl eyes misted up as he drove the short distance to his house. He pulled into the garage and then sat there for a time. Finally he got out and walked into the house.
“Carl, it’s unusual to see you come in this way.” His mother mentioned as he opened the refrigerator to get a soda.
“Had something on my mind, Laura and I have decided to go our own ways. We are still friends, but not a relationship type.”
“Oh, I am sorry. She is a great person.”
“I know mom. But it could have gone the wrong way, Dad told me to take it easy and let it build naturally. Well doing that let it fizzled out as just friendship.”
“Do you blame you Dad?” she asked.
“Nah, I could have let my hormones get in the way, made me think she was the greatest thing to ever happen to me. But she was not. She is a great friend. That is what she it.”
“Oh well I got to head over to Uncle Rick’s warehouse.”
“Drive carefully, get something to eat.”
Carl left his school work upstairs and changed his clothes. Soon he was driving over to the warehouse.
He was mentally planning the factory, he didn’t know what machines to put where but he knew the machine went here and the incoming supplies, aluminum and steel caps and the plastic rings would be stored here. Most of the inverters would be ordered as pieces and assembled in the factory.
He had been looking at a system so that no power capsule could be sent through the charger with the switch on. If they did that they would come out hot with lots of voltage and wattage on them.
Carl pulled into the warehouse parking which was actually inside now. He got out of his Chevy and walked over to where his Uncle and Peggy were looking at some plans on the drafting boards.
“Carl, I think we have the block plans finished. Now we need a building.”
“Are you sure?” He asked after all he had just been thinking about this on the way over.
“Yeah, we have two roller conveyors that merge after the capsules are charged so the workers can insert the capsules into the inverters and lock them up. The Power Capsule’s assembly and charging is the simplest step. Steel cap, plastic ring and then aluminum cap and it’s finished.”
“The power capsules enter the charging chamber and then exit it fully charged. The two lines merger and the capsule are placed in the finished inverter assembled on the 2nd line. Then it’s closed and locked shut. We have a complete power system.”
“A metallic label with the serial number is placed on it. Then it’s put in a shipping case and the second label goes on the case. We get our lawyers to apply for export permission.”
Okay Carl, I got a place that’s for sale right next door. Even though it’s not the best it is right on our property line and we can merge the two properties. So let go look at it.” His Uncle Rick suggested.
The inspection took no time as the building was abandon and his Uncle had the keys. After a thorough inspection Carl agreed that it would work; with some magic maintenance to the building.
Peggy was full of optimism, so as soon as all three agreed they shook hands on the deal.
The next day his Uncle had an attorney makes the arrangement for buying the other building. Carl made sure to clean it up and fix anything structural that needed it. Carl came in and used his magic to get everything ready.
His Uncle got the insurance, building and liability for both building in place. Everything was about ready. Carl made a duplicate power source and installed it in their factory. Then he placed wards on the building, properties, and vehicles, inside and out.
They notified the employment commission that they were hiring a hand full of office workers, and about twenty-five unskilled labors. The interviewing started on Saturday morning. It took them almost four hours just to hire five women to work in the office. Carl’s mother came in to help the first day.
The first employee was a fifty-five year old woman who had been fired after working at one place for twenty years. She got sick and had to miss two days of work.
They hired her to be their office manager. She was asked to stay and help with the interviews. Right at the beginning Angie Bikinis, the new office manager, eliminated two of the other applicants.
As she informed them, during a job interview the applicants should be putting their best foot forward from the moment they approached the business. The two in question were talking about how they really needed the job as their boyfriends were out of town and they had no way to call them, so they needed a good job in an office with phones.
The rest of them just set back and watch her handle the applicants from that time onward. That was when the interviews starting moving.
Peggy and Carl had to go to school. So it was up to Angie, their office manager, and Uncle Rick to get things moving at their new factory. Uncle Rick had the new employees start to put the factory together.
He had ordered section of manual rollers so that things like boxes could be pushed down. The workers put these together they reached from steel cap storage to plastic ring storage and finally past the aluminum cap storage.
On the other side of the building the parts for the inverter were added to another push conveyor section. A whole area of the power capsule assemblage was missing, as it had not been built yet.
Then the trucks started arriving. They had ordered enough parts to make 50,000 power capsules. The laborers moved the supplies into storage as fast as they were delivered. Then the parts to make the power inverter began to arrive as they, in most cases, were standard parts from regular manufacturers they expected no problem with delivery.
The final step was packaging it was very generic no flashy pictures, just data. Like the marketing for the devices, it consisted of the raw data.
Carl’s mother, mailed out thousands of brochures. To every licenses Construction Company in the state. The brochures stated what the device did, 120—220 VAC at 200 amp, at 60 hertz, 44 kilowatts. The weight, physical size and the cost, $2,000 the final statement was the warranty, 50 years if returned sealed. Any opening of the device voids all warranty and liability.
At school Carl was having a much easier time socially then the previous years. He and Laura still hugged and greeted each other but no longer lived in each other’s pockets.
Carl also began to recognize the agents of Homeland Security. They did not try to hide from him. In fact they even waved at him every so often.
Then it happened one day, right after school let out Carl heard a loud explosion. A car passed him with lights flashing in its front grill area, another showed up behind his car.
Then his cell phone rang, he used the no hand system in his car. “Carl.”
“This is Agent Blake, Mr. Black, someone just tried to kidnap your cousin. That’s where the explosion is. We are headed there, stay between your escort vehicles.”
“Is she okay?” Carl asked.
“Oh, yeah our reports are that she had no problems.”
Carl and his escort vehicles pulled up a block from the middle school that Peggy attended. There were pieces of a vehicles spread over a 100 feet radius in the center of the radius Peggy set on the curb crying.
Carl barely stopped his car and ran to her. She jumped up and met him with a flying leap.
“Peggy, Peggy are you okay?”
All he got were grunts and whimpers as she nudged his neck. Finally she stopped and pushed back.
“Carl they grabbed me and threw me into a van! Then one of them started to give me a shot!”
“Did he stick you?”
“Nah, the needle broke when he tried to stick it in me.”
She wiped her eyes and a grin began to show. “I remember everything you told me. I never take my medallion off. Nothing dangerous can get to me.”
“Then the man tried to hit me. When his fist got near me my shields activated. There was a red flash and then I was sitting on the curb.”
Carl looked up at the Agent standing nearby. “What happened?”
“Just like she said we’ve been told to give you kid’s breathing room so we were closing in when there was a flash and she was sitting on that curb. The van no longer existed except in small pieces. We are viewing the cameras that were focused on her at the time. It looked like her shields expanded instantly to about 100 feet. Hopefully we will be able to use DNA to identify who they were. We do have some photos.”
“Peggy you did just what you needed to do.”
My thanks to Grumpybear and TeNderLoinand TxAgBand for their editing and proofing help. But the final results are mine and all criticism should be loaded onto my shoulders.
© Virgil Lee Fuqua III and ‘vlfouquet.wordpress’, 2008-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Vlfouquet and Virgil Lee Fuqua III with appropriate and specific direction to the original contents.