The Thunder of Engines by Laurence Dahners

The Thunder of Engines

The Thunder of Engines by Laurence Dahners (A Stasis Story #2)
English | 2020 | Sci – Fi | ePUB | 1.5 MB

This hard Sci-Fi novel is the second book in the “Stasis Stories,” a series of tales from the near future. They tell us about Kaem Seba, a sickly and financially destitute young man with extraordinary math talents. He’s developed a theory and an electronic device that allows him to stop time within limited volumes of space-time.
In this story Kaem and Arya are trying to sell “stade,” which is what they call a piece of space-time that’s in stasis. Stade has phenomenal mechanical properties because it essentially can’t be altered (time’s stopped within it). It’s stronger than any known substance because, unlike matter, stade cannot not melt, burn, bend or break. It’s also a perfect insulator and reflects all radiation.
Though it’s the perfect material for thousands of different purposes, they’ve initially focused on selling it to companies that can use it to build rocket engines. Stade truly shines under the extreme conditions of rocketry, and that renders it precious. He and Arya are struggling to negotiate the best prices they can, while simultaneously fighting another company’s bid to preempt their patent.
As if those struggles weren’t sufficient, Kaem’s beloved father develops cancer. Kaem must try to help his family through that crisis while simultaneously attempting to save the new company they’re calling “Staze.”

The next day was Saturday. Kaem’s mother worked weekends, servicing the laundromats, but his dad had the day off. After they ate their breakfast, Kaem wanted to watch TV, but his dad said, “Let’s talk about how you might be able to defend yourself from that boy.”

Kaem felt startled. He agreed with his mother about fighting. He couldn’t have pounded on Rob the way he’d been beaten himself. That much hard exercise would immediately exhaust him because of his anemia. It could even make him have a sickle crisis. “Um, Dad, I don’t think—”

“I know, I know,” his dad interrupted. “You can’t fight. A struggle would wear you out and might make you sick. But, most fights are won or lost in seconds. They virtually never go on and on like the ones in the movies.”

Kaem tilted his head curiously. “Really?”

His dad nodded. “Watch some real fights on YouTube, most of them are over in a few moments. All I want to show you is how you might get in one punch. If you do it right, one strike might end the fight.”

“Um, I’m not real strong. I don’t get much exercise.”

“I know son. This might not work. But don’t you think you’d like to know how to at least try to win a fight? Someday, if you do want to know how, it’ll be far too late to learn then.”

Kaem shrugged, “Okay. I guess I should learn, but I’m planning to avoid fights.”

His dad put a big hand on his shoulder. “That’s a great idea. But, here, let’s move the dining room table.” They quickly cleared an area in their crowded little apartment. Kaem’s dad picked up what looked like a football wrapped and tied into a couple of layers of sweatshirt. “Okay—”

His dad was interrupted when Bana came out of the bedroom. She looked around, “What’re you guys doing?”

Kaem’s dad stared at Bana for a moment, then said, “One of the other kids beat up Kaem.”

To Kaem’s surprise, Bana’s eyes widened in surprise, then narrowed in anger, “Who?! Who was it? Doesn’t he know you’re sick!?”

“No! Or, at least I hope not. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business that I’m sick.”

“Well, who was it? I’ll…” she paused, evidently thinking better of uttering whatever she’d been about to say in front of her father. In a more subdued tone, she said, “I’ll teach them not to touch you.”

Horrified, Kaem said, “Bana, you’re a girl!”

With a self-satisfied smirk, she said, “I know.”

“You can’t fight with a boy!”

Bana’s eyes flicked to her father, then she mouthed, “I already have,” at Kaem. “And, I won.”

Their dad understood Bana’s mouthed words just as well as Kaem had. In an appalled tone, he said, “You’ve been fighting boys?!”

She nodded, “Uh-huh. And kicking their…” she thought better of what she’d been about to say, rephrasing to, “kicking their bottoms too.”

“But Rob’s not just a boy,” Kaem said, “he’s a year or two older than you.”

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