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notmuch_23

[Quest: It's Just Business] Building the Mil Dot Port Kyros

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A shitload of paperwork, some key monetary transactions, more paperwork, more transactions, some zoning hearings, a set of building plans, more hearings, amended plans, applications for explosives permits, and it all coalesces here: a piece of real estate at the southwestern edge of Port Kyros, facing the main Northeast-southwest thoroughfare, but extending into the Wicker Mountain foothills not that far away.

Thurgood wanted to put the whole store underground, Aveline wouldn't let that happen; she wanted it all above ground, but given the steep terrain of the location, that's not practical at all.

The first quarter of the store will be above ground, with the same semi-rustic wooden façades and decor that are on the Lunaris store. The rest will be carved into the hill, providing natural temperature control, and a much safer firing range; yes, this location will have a firing range, and Thurgood wants to install the same programmable robotic target system that the first location had.

But that's all later. Right now the bucket teeth on the steam shovel start sinking into the soil to start digging the foundation hole.

The Mil Dot is now officially expanding.

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Now, as the hole gets bigger and heads towards the solid rock in the hill, wooden forms go up as carts bring in coal, Portland cement, and discarded rocks from other building projects. The steam traction engine and rock crusher Thurgood bought to rebuild Everrun are crushing the larger rocks into aggregate for the concrete mix as ironworkers lay and tie a rebar grid. Aveline is tending the traction engine as its flywheel moves the belt that moves the flywheel that crank the heavy jaws of the crusher.

Thurgood sinks the steam shovel's bucket into a pile of dirt sitting right at the angle of repose, then reels in the cables to bring the bucket up for a full scoop, like he had millions of times before, and..

*CLANG*

...he hit rock. Like he'd also done many times before, Thurgood brings the bucket up vertically as he winds the drum to bring it up.

All the way up, he hears the teeth scrape, and break off some chunks of rock all the way up!

Thurgood hit bedrock, only here, it's angled, and he starts grinning.

"Bust out the drills, it's time to BLOW SHIT UP!"

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While the jack-leg pneumatic drills, powered by the steam shovel's boiler, bore holes into the rock, Thurgood has to follow certain procedures and fill out more paperwork prior to detonating the explosives. Half of those are just to transport the explosives to the site. The rest is about scheduling the blast so the road in front of the site can be closed, taking steps to minimize flying debris, controlling dust, notifying those within the "affected area", and whatnot.

For that part, Thurgood just goes to them and basically says "ey, we gon' blow shit up at these times."

Thurgood's usual explosive is methyl nitrate, but that's not on the "approved" list of explosives, so he's using ammonium nitrate mixed with diesel fuel, otherwise known as ANFO.

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When the holes are at depth, everything else at the site comes to a sudden halt as the explosives arrive. Of course the caps and detonation cord don't arrive at the same time, for safety; Thurgood already has them.

The workers start putting up a debris curtain as Thurgood moves the bags of explosives to the rock face; he alone is listed on the permit to handle the explosives, and to do that he needed to demonstrate his competentcy in handling them.

The holes are spaced closer at the center of the blast, to make room for the rest of the charges to move rock into, and will be the biggest source of flying debris. As the curtain goes up, Thurgood fills the holes with the granular explosive mixture but does not cap them yet. The only time they'll get capped is when everybody else is outside the safety boundary

All the blasts (Thurgood scheduled multiple ahead of time) are scheduled for mid evening, at that awkward time between the shift-end rush and dinner where people are still awake, but there's hardly anybody to hold up by closing the road.

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Well, it's about that time. The debris curtain is up, the sprayers are in place, Thurgood is capping the explosives and plugging the holes, winding the detcord to make timed delays according to a predetermined pattern.

Once all those are done, he steps away to the firing station with a spool of wire.

The blast siren sounds as the ends of the wires get cinched into the binding posts of the dynamo box; it's the box with that handle that lots of cartoons feature to set off dynamite. Thurgood is using one now because it's reliable, especially in a place with a lower technological base.

One last check for people that are where they shouldn't be, and...

"Fire in the hole!"

"Fire in the hole!"

"Fire in the hole!"

"Fire in the hole!"

"Fire in the hole!"

"Fire in the hole!"

Thurgood pushes the handle down. The dynamo spins, the direct current flows to set off the cap, which in turn sets off the detcord. The center charges go first, with half-second delays between each successive ring of charges.

The sequence sounds like one large blast as the shock and sound waves spread out through the beachside community at about a 90-degree angled cone from the blast face. Rock fragments slam into the heavy fabric curtain and roll to the ground. Then water flows through the sprayers to suppress the cloud of dust.

Five feet down, about 1,155 to go. Fortunately, as the blasts take place deeper, the noise, debris, and dust problems get less severe and easier to manage, and at a certain point, the road no longer needs to be closed.

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So what the fuck is Aveline doing doing during this time? Simple: she's taking a tour of different structures around the Rising West to get an idea of how she wants the Mil Dot Port Kyros to look.

Bobby Morrison is going to different casual-dining restaurants and talking to people to get an idea of what comfort food is like here.

Back at the site, Thurgood is using the steam shovel to knock down any loose material from the newly blasted-out section before any of the rock gets extracted. Once that happens, he starts scooping the blasted stone out with the shovel as the traction engine brings the crusher over to the site to crush them down into a manageable size.

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As Aveline starts looking around at different buildings within Hyperion, she of course sees the big, grand domes and the many columns of the Bhokuli architecture, and the clean lines of the Zeva architecture, but what strikes her the most are features of Doji architecture; it reminds her of Japanese architecture back on Earth, which had fascinated her for some time.

Looking around those buildings, she picks out a few key features to put into the Mil dot Port Kyros: Inuyarai, tiled roofing, shoji paneling, and large, visible wooden structural beams.

The Inuyarai, or curved panels, can be filled with concrete to provide additional security against vehicles hitting the walls.

Thurgood will insist on steel H-beams for the roof structure, but she can have them covered in wooden boards to look like naturally-sawn beams, with decorative carved panels over the gussets.

All the dragon-themed decorations are even giving her ideas for the protective bollards in front of the main entrance.

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Drill, blast, muck...
Drill, blast, muck...
Drill, blast, muck...
Drill, blast, muck...

Construction tends to be repetitive, and boring into rock is no exception. Of course, Thurgood is familiar with such tunneling; he and Aveline built their manor in Ursa Madeum into solid rock. When the Veluriyam Empire left, the manor deteriorated rapidly, and the siblings had to salvage anything they could. Those things were the LED lighting strips, the barbecue pit, the water filtration equipment, the furnishings, the individual circuit breakers, the battery banks, the inverters, the pop fountain, the carbon dioxide tank, and most importantly for this project, the wind turbine blades and nacelles. A vast majority of these items are currently in storage, but will get use again in this store.

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From the jetties of the port, some very unusual pieces of cargo are being lifted off a ship, and onto some less usual trailers. They're white, about 150 feet long, and look much more like a wing than anything else.

They're wind turbine blades from the five turbines Thurgood and Aveline were able to salvage that were powering their manor and cement kiln. Along with the blades are the nacelles that house the gearboxes and alternators, and the sections of the tower.

The workers not required for drilling and mucking the hollowing rock cavity have been preparing the sites for these turbines, as well as roads for the gargantuan mobile crane required to raise these tower sections, blades, and nacelles.

Once built, these five turbines should be able to generate 7.5 megawatts of electricity.

Edited by notmuch_23

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There were more permits and other paperwork required to move these massive parts through Port Kyros to the building site than there was to blast out the rock!

Crowds of people come out to gawk at the roughly 47-meter-long trailers and the blades that sit atop them rolling through the main roads, along with the crew in high-visibility vests and hard hats with portable radios, and a few with boxes around their bellies with joysticks. Fortunately, there are places in Renovatio that are still capable of making such devices even after Lilith Reiter destroyed Nehalen (Thurgood is still butthurt about the destruction of Port Sun).

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By the time all five wind turbines are constructed and functional, the "cave" has been carved out to its finished dimensions (most of which will be the range), all the framing and concrete structural walls are up, and Thurgood is stringing cable through conduits between the breaker panels and anywhere that will need electricity. There is an entire breaker box for the LED lighting; half alternating current, half direct current, with a device that switches between the two based on supply. In fact, there will be many sections like that. No sense loding energy inverting direct current when you don't have to.

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Of course, there are things that genuinely need three phase alternating current. The motors in the pumps in the water treatment systems, the compressors in the walk-in cooler and freezer refrigeration unit, the glycol pumps in the climate control system, and the hydraulic pump motor in the trash compactor. These have their own dedicated pure-sine three-phase inverter for when the wind turbines are not generating enough current. Then there are the smaller appliances that genuinely need single-phase alternating current like the washer, dryer, smaller refrigerators, and circulation fans. Those all feed from a single large inverter. Thurgood wired them all, like he's done this before. 

That's because he has: the Mil Dot Gibson Creek, the Mil Dot Lunaris, and Singlance Manor.

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By now, all the cypress and pine trees that had to be cut down are back from the sawmill. Aveline made the orders for the dimensions so she could use it for interior decor. Half of the lumber got tongue-and-groove joints for flooring. the cypress trees tend to be darker than the pine, so she uses both in a square-panel style, where the pine forms the borders of the squares, and cypress boards form the inside, cut and placed at a diagonal within that panel.

The steel structural beams got covered in outer panels of pine, except for the gussets and bolts, of course, those will be covered with decorative panels with carved dragons in relief.

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The bullet catcher on the range has been tested with bullets up to .50 BMG and works fine, and a simple electric cable and track system for each stall has been installed, but everything is in place for the range robot system as soon as they can get one.

All the windows are bullet-resistant polycarbonate framed with cypress. The bottom half of each wall has been paneled in cypress with thicker pine base and chair molding, with uprights in even intervals for accents. The top half of each wall is painted gypsum board with cypress shogi-style grids. The same shogi-style lattice accents all of the ceiling lights, and the wall/column lights are metal in much the same style, all lit by warm white LEDs.

The eatery section still uses western-height chairs and tables instead of tatami seats  and a sunken floor section. Thurgood is putting the finishing buff on the thick layer of resin that sits atop the wood flooring.

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Once the inside buffing/polishing/finishing touches are done, Thurgood and Aveline step outside, testing the sliding automatic door as they do (it works perfectly),and admiring the dragon designs in the protective bollards. The roof tilers are now placing the edge tiles on the roof, using the same silvery gray ceramic tiles that the Doji buildings feature, or at least some of them. Of course, the tilers are very skilled workers, and are even hand-trimming the end tiles to make a perfect match.

Of course, there is a chimney for the barbecue pit, it's made of brick, and the transition between the underground and above ground portion was a challenge, but the tilers handled it beautifully with the same decorative caps on the divider wall that they used on the roof ridge. Now the building is ready for stocking with merchandise and food supplies.

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