119 A Ship“s Hear
As Zoey approached the cruiser, she was once again awed by the sheer size of it. The blueprint that she had worked on with her interface had not done it justice. Only when she had begun to fabricate the frame of the ship and started to put it together with 704's help had she realized the true scale of the project. The Kreppelins she had seen on her journey thus far had mostly been 75 meter by 25 meter naval style vessels with two or three decks at most. The only one bigger than that had been the Rellen flagship at 100 meters by 30 meters.
The ship Zoey was building was not longer than that, but with the 85 meter swept "wings", the overall width was more than the Kreppelins she had seen. Additionally the three decks of Zoey's cruiser had more depth and space than the cramped decks of any Kreppelin, with every deck on the cruiser having a 2 meter ceiling allowing plenty of headroom.
When landed, The ship sat with the bottom of the hull kept about a meter off the ground by the landing gear, leaving the wings a little over 3 meters off the ground. This allowed Zoey to walk under them to inspect the outer hull of the ship, which was completely done at this point. The hull had been fabricated from 3 centimeter thick plates of steel reinforced by a lining nanolattice, an extremely strong metamaterial that had been used in combat ship construction in Zoey's old universe. This particular material had been developed by an alien civilization far more advanced than the humans of Gaia had been, and was perfect for her needs.
At only 3 centimeters thick, the hull plates could even withstand a high explosive battleship warhead without showing damage. The metal had a grey color overall and when exposed to light, the plates had a faint hexagonal pattern that could be seen on the surface, giving the hull a unique look.
Zoey approached the front of the cruiser near the landing gear where there was a manual hatch she could use to climb inside. The ship had no power yet, rendering the loading ramp nonfunctional, so the manual hatch was her entry point for now. She had placed a few of these manual hatches at various points of the ship in case she would ever need them.
The hatches were disguised as part of the hull, so if you didn't know they were there you'd never find them. To open the hatch, you would also need a mechanical key that Zoey had fabricated, so there was no chance for the hatches being used by anyone that Zoey did not allow. The hatch Zoey went to was on the bottom of the hull, next to where the landing gear emerged from the belly of the cruiser.
Zoey squatted under the hull next to the landing gear and pulled a metal tab from her inventory, then she held it onto one of the hull plates for a moment. There was click that came from inside the ship somewhere, and the section of hull she had touched the key to moved inwards, then slid aside to reveal the inside of the ship's lower deck. Zoey grabbed the edge and lifted herself inside, then used the key to close the hatch behind her.
The inside of the lower deck was dark, but Zoey's eyes could clearly see even in the darkness. The inside of the cruiser was still largely unfinished, with the deck being the only area completely covered so far. The walls and ceiling were still just exposed framework and conduits, with no paneling to cover them just yet. So far, Zoey had only put in place the arrays and that would help the ship fly, and some of the power conduits that would distribute magical power throughout the ship.
The lower deck that Zoey had climbed into was currently just an empty, metal cave that would eventually serve as the cargo bay and house some of the cruiser's support systems once they were put in place. Currently, the only remarkable features on this deck were the closed loading ramp at the front, and the elevators to and from the middle deck. Well, more like two open holes at the moment…
Zoey had designed an elevator system that used her Gravity Rune and a custom built array to propel anyone or anything between the decks. There was one shaft for going up and one for coming down, but at the moment the lack of power meant they were not operational. The grav-shafts, as Zoey had dubbed them, were located closer to the stern end of the lower deck on the starboard side, so Zoey made her way to them and climbed her way into the middle deck.
She emerged from the grav-shaft into a dome shaped, circular area that was in the same shape as the lower deck, all exposed framework and conduits with only the floor covered. The area she stepped into had three hallways departing from it, one towards the front of the ship, and one to each wing of the middle deck. Also in this area, directly across from the grav-shafts Zoey had emerged from were two more grav-shafts that led to the upper deck.
Zoey's goal however, was the room directly to stern that actually didn't have a door yet. This room was where she had set up the Aether power regulator and distributor, and Zoey made a direct line to it once she had entered into the room. She was understandably excited and eager to power up her creation.
The machine she had developed to manage and distribute the magic power for the cruiser would have stupefied even the best shipwrights and array masters on Darren had they been able to witness its design and fabrication. It was quite literally the heart of the ship, and Zoey had put intense effort into making it as reliable and efficient as possible.
That being said, its appearance was rather unassuming. It was placed in the center of the room and looked like a pyramid built directly into the floor. It appeared to be made out of a glossy, black metal that was about waist high to Zoey, and nothing about it seemed to indicate that it would power an entire cruiser.
But Zoey knew the truth that it hid. This small pyramid had stretched the limits of what her mind and Aether Engineer talent had been capable of creating, and after a long and harrowing process, this was what she had produced.
She approached the pyramid and placed her right palm on its surface, sending her magic energy into the object. The pyramid gave an acknowledging beep after a second, and a blue line appeared around the topmost portion of the object. Zoey removed her hand, and the top of the pyramid separated from the bottom and floated up to reveal the inside of the machine.
Inside was a basin filled with an ordinary looking fluid. But despite its looks, it was certainly not ordinary. This fluid had also been developed by one of the alien races from Zoey's old universe and was known as Neo-Superfluid. During the many hours of researching and testing Zoey had done, she had stumbled upon the information about this Neo-Superfluid and had immediately seen its potential.
The property that made this fluid special and useful to Zoey was that it could actually absorb, store, and release any form of energy, from mechanical to thermal, with 100% efficiency. Zoey had tested the fluid with her own magical energy had discovered that it was completely compatible and capable of storing magical energy as well, leading her to decide on using it as the power reservoir for her ship. It also helped that it was a considerably stable superfluid, and presented no danger to living organisms aside from prolonged direct contact, which was unlikely to occur.
The Neo-Superfluid alone was not the end of the story. The pyramid shaped housing that contained it was its own marvel as well. It contained well over a thousand different arrays that worked in harmony to convert the energy stored by the Neo-Superfluid into usable form and distribute the energy throughout the ship. Zoey had developed these arrays with her system and fine tuned the entire thing herself. She had tested it of course, but until it was turned on and working she was still apprehensive of the result.
Taking a breath, Zoey pulled out the Aether Crystal and held it over the pyramid, right above the reservoir of Neo-Superfluid, then she slowly lowered the crystal down. A centimeter before it touched the surface of the fluid, the fluid actually raised itself from the reservoir as if drawn to the Aether Crystal and started to flow up and around it as Zoey lowered it down.
Seeing this, Zoey gently released the crystal, letting it slide into the fluid while being careful not to touch it. She then quickly took the top of the pyramid that was still hovering in the air and placed it back on its spot, sealing the fluid chamber with a hiss as the compression seal kicked in.
Once that was done and Zoey was certain the pyramid was sealed, she opened her interface and flashed her fingers across some buttons. A moment later, the top portion of the pyramid became transparent, allowing Zoey to observe the process taking place inside the fluid chamber.
Inside she could see the Aether Crystal visibly dissolving as the Neo-Superfluid did its work. The process didn't take long, and soon the Aether Crystal was completely dissolved by the fluid. The fluid now had a strange luminescent glow to it that seemed to be of no particular color, yet every color at once. It was oddly beautiful, but Zoey was too excited to notice.
She was busy looking at her interface while she inspected the results of the reaction. The pyramid was able to connect to her interface allowing her to monitor the Neo-Superfluid in real time, and she was currently making use of that feature. The fluid had stored all of the Aether Crystal's energy as Zoey had expected, and her interface was indicating that it was only at 4% capacity. The crystal she had used had only been 88% full, so Zoey estimated that it would take about twenty crystals to completely charge the reservoir to max.
But for now, 4% was all she needed. Zoey could not keep the smile from her face as she looked at the blinking button on her interface.
It was time to bring this cold heart to to life!