Something Deep: Part Six
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May 13th, 2059
I brought my findings to Dr. Hawkin today. Weeks of work and he threw it all in my face. He called me a hack! But I think I struck a nerve, or else he wouldn’t have been so angry.
I’m sure I’m right about deep ocean energy. The potential output far exceeds anything Dr. Hawkin has ever dreamed of. If my models are correct (and I know they are) there’s enough power down here to keep the lights running for centuries. We won’t need wind turbines, dams, or fields of solar panels anymore. I struggle to even imagine what that would mean for humanity, for scientific research, for progress. It’s like the Industrial Revolution, but times a thousand.
May 14th, 2059
I convinced Duncan to lend me his personal computer to run an additional simulation. This way Hawkin won’t know. It took almost 12 hours to complete the test, but the simulation confirmed my original hypothesis.
The analysis shows that considering extraction over a region comprising the Mariana Island system, the average power dissipated ranges between 400K-600K GW with a mean around 500K GW. This corresponds to an average of approximately 450K terawatt-hours per year. However, if the extraction area comprises the entire portion of the Deep Ocean Current within 200 miles of the Mariana Trench, the average power dissipated becomes 18.60K GW or 1630K TWh/yr.
The world only uses approximately 22.3 terawatt-hours of electricity per year. Looking at these numbers, it’s hard to believe such a thing could be possible.
The available power per unit area, or power density, is calculated using the equation:
P = ½ * p * v^3
where ρ is the density of water and V is the magnitude of the velocity.
This discovery is going to change everything.
If I’m right about this, our work at Sea Lab will go down in history. Even Duncan’s laptop will be something to remember. It was the machine that ran the first simulation that changed the world.
May 15th, 2059
Dr. Hawkin continues to be difficult. I’ve shown him my findings, but he won’t accept that they’re correct. When I presented the models to him today in the Data Lab, he blew up in my face again. Last time he said I needed to show him concrete evidence, and now he claims I’ve made an error in the code.
The man is impossible. He knows I’m right, but is too stubborn to admit it.
May 16th, 2059
I told Dr. Hawkin I was going to the U.N. with my research. Dr. Hawkin answers to DOR and DOR answers to the UN. I told him that I hated going over his head, but this was too important. I wrote a letter this morning and I let him read it.
It was so strange. I guess it was the letter. I poured everything I had into it so maybe it was effective. Whatever it was, it seemed to bring him around.
We had a two-hour discussion--just the two of us in his office--about the implications for my findings. He ran his own model using the supercomputer and the predictions matched my original results. You could see his eyes light up as he realized the implications. It was amazing to see the wheels in his mind turning.
I knew it! DOR is going down in the history books.
One day kids will grow up and say “I wanna be just like Issac Turgenov, the man who brought us unlimited energy from the ocean currents.”
May 18th, 2059
We ran tests at the new lab near the trench. Our findings matched the predicted outcomes. There was a minor discrepancy with the turbine, but I think we can find a solution. The pressure at the bottom of the trench is over 1000 atmospheres. It’s enough to crush iron.
The turbine’s shell is made of carbon fiber and strong enough to withstand the gigantic pressures, but we’ve detected some fluctuations in the energy output.
I’m not sure what the explanation is yet, but it’s possible we could be overloading the turbine and exceeding its capacity power density. If so, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a solution. I gave Dr. Yamamoto and the engineering team the specifications for what we needed. They’re the best in the world. If they can’t find the problem, I doubt anyone could..
May 19th, 2059
I’ve done it! I’ve solved the riddle of the fluctuating energy output! The turbines have a synthetic coating that enters a state of hypersensitivity at high pressures. It was an obvious mistake from the engineers who built the turbine, but I believe it may work out in our favor!
We can control the pressure remotely and use the hyper-sensitivity to generate a wave charge. Essentially, we’ll phase the output to match the turbine’s capacity without overloading it.
May 21st, 2059
The test worked. I’m looking at the numbers now. I’ve got them spread across my desk, but it’s still hard to believe. We ran the turbine at full capacity today for seven minutes, using the adjustments I made to the original logic of the DOR system and adjusting for the hyper-sensitive fluctuations.
We generated enough electricity to run North America for a month. In seven minutes!
My father will be happy. Maybe he’ll finally stop yelling at my mother for failing to turn off the lights when she goes to bed. There’s no need to worry about wasting energy.
Like most of the scientists in Sea Lab, my parents were alive during the second cold war. My father was always very strict about consumption because of the years of austerity. It has always been my dream to free humanity from that constraint.
While I’m being personal, something seems to be bothering Dr. Hawkin. He gave me the nastiest look after we got the results from our test. I thought he’d be happy.
May 22nd, 2059
Dr. Hawkin brought me into his office today. He’s removing me from the main DOE research team. A temporary change, according to Hawkin. At first, I was furious. I really lost my temper with him. I’m pretty sure Dr. Yamamoto could hear us in her office.
But then he explained that he was putting me on a top-secret research assignment. Apparently, DOR has other phases. I had no idea. Dr. Hawkin put me on phase 2, promising that I would soon be leading my own team.
I really couldn’t believe it. When he told me I was off the main project, I lost it. I threatened to quit and take my research with me. There’s no way he could do this alone, I told him.
I feel so ashamed. He was really trying to help me climb the ladder. It’s always been my goal to lead my own team, and he knows that. I must have really made an impression for him to stick to his offer after I made such an outburst.
It looks like I was wrong about the doctor. All this time I thought he hated me and was just using me for my work. I see now how arrogant I’ve been.
May 23rd, 2059
I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m getting tired of these games! I caught the doctor in my room today. He was reading my research notes! I don’t even know if I can continue writing or not, now that I know he’s spying on me.
I can’t believe it! Just when I thought I could trust the man. He said he had to. That it was protocol now that I’m on the secret research team. I told him I knew it was bullshit. Privacy contract or no privacy contract, he was just being nosey, and he knows it!
He’s lying to me. Either way, I can’t keep this notebook lying around anymore. I’ll have to hide it somewhere.
May 26th, 2059
I’m still not sure what’s going on with the secret research project, but I’m getting closer. The doctor continues to apply my research while I run models for him. I’ll admit that I was starting to suspect he was making the whole thing up, but it’s obvious he’s not.
I can’t figure out exactly what he’s doing with the data, but something suspicious is going on. My work for him is so basic, a lab assistant could do it. He has me running simulations necessary to calculate the energy dissipation needed to calibrate reasonable flow properties in the turbine.
It’s child’s play!
But I peeked underneath the simulation. He’s running a series of subroutines using the raw, uncalibrated data. I can’t think of any application that wouldn’t be extremely curious.
Then I dug through the source code of the program he provided. I’m not supposed to have access, but I found a way to do it. I didn’t change a single line of code. I only read the comments.
This program wasn’t written by the UN research team. It came straight from the American Commonwealth.
What’s even stranger is that there was a timestamp with the latest update: 8:30 am 26/5/59. It was updated this morning. Why is the American Commonwealth writing secret experiment research software for DOR?
May 27th, 2059
The research team took the weekend off, or at least we were supposed to. I couldn’t pry myself away from my work; I had to get closer! It was admittedly much easier to work with the lab deserted.
While they were eating cake and playing ping-pong, I dug further into Dr. Hawkin’s research. I wasn’t able to find much. What’s worse is he almost caught me in the source code. I had to pretend I was playing a video game to cover for it.
He did get angry with me for playing games on the lab’s supercomputer. If he only knew what I had really been doing.
He’d be furious!
That’s why I’m hiding these notes in a panel I found behind the bed in my room. I doubt the doctor will look for it there. He’s not the kind to crawl around on his hands and knees looking for secrets under the bed.
He probably assumes I’ve already disposed of it. That was probably his intention all along.
For whatever reason, he’s highly suspicious I’m going to tell someone about the secret project. I understand that it’s important to be careful with this type of research, but he won’t even tell me who, if anyone, is on the project besides us.
It’s all very strange. I wish I could get back to work on testing the turbines with my equations. That kind of raw research is very exciting. All I’m doing is running simulations on theoretical applications of the data based on designs provided by the American Commonwealth.
And I don’t understand why…
May 30th, 2059
This may be my last entry for a while. It’s getting harder to find the time to write. Plus I’m growing paranoid that the doctor bugged my room. I’ve combed it all over and didn’t find anything, but I can’t help but feel his eyes on me. Even now, while I’m writing these words, I feel him.
I’ve decided that I will have to tell someone what’s going on. I can’t take it anymore. Of course, I’ll have to tell Dr. Hawkin. I owe that much to him. But regardless of how he handles the conversation, I’m going to alert the U.N. to my discovery.
I’ll also tell them we’re using software provided by the American Commonwealth and installed privately by Dr. Hawkin. I’m not sure what’s behind it, but they need to know. I feel something bigger than myself at work here.
In truth, I’ve felt it since I first arrived at Sea Lab. It’s nothing I can explain. But I’ll try, since this is going to be my last entry for the foreseeable future, I might as well get everything off my chest now. As my friends back in Boston used to say: “You only live once.”
My suspicion is that something of the old world is coming back. The forces that we buried after the revolution may be resurfacing. If so, I’ve directly contributed to the problem.
What does this mean for the future? For myself, it means going to the UN with what I know. I’m sure they’ll sort it out, but for something like this to even happen is disturbing.
If someone were to use our research for destructive ends...If the world were to fall back into power struggles between nations insisting on putting themselves first instead of contributing and helping their neighbors.
I hate to think about what it might mean.
We would see the return of war, the return of famine. If Hawkin iis using my technology to help the American Commonwealth build a weapon, I will do everything in my power to stop him.
When the world united after the second cold war, we promised to ban war from the history books. We all know the story from our school days.
“A united world is a good world,” I remember the saying from grade school.
I cannot let those old forces return, no matter the consequences to myself. I only hope that it is enough, but I have confidence in my superiors at the UN.
Co-written with Harold J. Petty
Ooh, the tension! What a chapter!