Chapter 17 - Workshop

Deborah gets to meet the black-hats who make the technology used by TWDS.

 
Deborah walked into the secure workshop and looked around at the various vehicles. Some were ready and a couple looked like they had been in a major shoot-out. One of the mechanics wolf-whistled.

"You can't afford me, dickhead !" shouted Deborah.

"I could if I sold my old betamax recorder !" retorted a tall man brandishing an arc-welder.

"And who might you be ?" said an amused Deborah with a measured amount of snootiness.

"I'm John." said John holding out his hand.

"I'm Deborah." said Deborah holding out her hand in response. John pulled his hand away, put his thumb to his nose and wiggling his fingers. There was a two second pause.

"Any grown-ups around ?" asked a slightly amused Deborah.

"Nope, just us camels. You've come to pick up your new car, haven't you." said John.

"I have, where is it ?" asked Deborah.

"It's over there." said John pointing to a seemingly empty space.

"Grow up, dickhead !" said Deborah getting a bit impatient.

John pulled a remote control out of his pocket, push a button and the car faded into sight.

"Oh my god !" screamed Deborah "How the ..."

"Follow me ... down the rabbit hole." said John leading her to a back room. Deborah followed John into a large room with some engineers working on various things.

"This chap is working on the para ... " before John could finish his sentence Deborah grabbed the engineer by the ears and snogged him until he went bright red.

"You saved my life, thank you" said a very grateful Deborah.

"... chute." said a startled John.

"These two are working on a new improved RF Scan system" said John pointing to a table with a mix of circuits and what looked like a very flat radar-like device spinning very fast.

"Oh the 'pig' radar, that has been very useful. Pity it's rather inaccurate." said Deborah.

"It's a basic geometry problem." explained John "Your car can sense the direction of a transmission but to get an accurate coordinate requires a distance and the only way to get that is signal strength which isn't very constant. That said, we have improved the accuracy with a few mathematical tricks."

"Cool." said Deborah wishing she had paid a bit more attention to maths at school.

"This chap is working on LCD glass that can be opaque or transparent at the flick of a switch." said John pointing at a sheet of glass with some wires attached. The engineer flicked a switch and the glass turned black. He flicked the switch again and the glass turned transparent.

"Awesome !" said a very impressed Deborah.

"We're trying to link it up a camera-flash detector so when a speed camera tries to take your picture, the windshield goes opaque for a few milliseconds to hide your face." said John.

"Very good !" said Deborah with her attention pulled to an engineer working on a weird sheet of metal that seemed to go semi-transparent, opaque and then different textures and colours.

"What ... the ... hell ... is ... that ?" said a totally stunned Deborah.

"We're working on camouflage but it's far from perfect. That said, it can still be useful like your car earlier." said John sounding a bit proud.

"It looked quite effective." said Deborah.

"Only at a distance. If you got close you would easily see the imperfections. There are cameras on all four sides of the car and their images are sent, via the on-board computer, to the paramagnetic paint on the opposite sides of the car. The problem is the paint has limitations on pixel resolution and how many colours it can show. The on-board computer can make a good guess as to what would look the most effective but it's far from perfect." said John.

"Oh that is so fucking brilliant !" squealed Deborah thinking of all the fun she could have with it.

"It can do the variable colour thing like before but you can now have different colours in different areas. So if you parked in a field, the bottom would go green to match the grass and the top would go blue/white to match the sky." explained John.

"What about the top ?" asked a very excited Deborah.

"That would go green too so you would be almost invisible from the air. We can't hide the infrared signature yet." said John.

"Oh yes ... " said Deborah almost wetting herself with excitement.

"If you park by a brick wall, the colours would go brown/orange but you wouldn't see the cement between the bricks. The only real problem is the LCD glass, we can't quite get the correct colours with that yet." explained John.

"Oh I don't care, gimme, gimme, gimme !" said Deborah barely able to contain herself.

"OK, here's the remote, keys and manual. Try and bring it back in one piece 007 !" said John mimicking 'Q' from James Bond.

"I'll try." said Deborah walking to her amazing new car followed by John.

"OK, can you leave by exit number three." said John pointing the way to exit number three.

"OK, thanks for the toys, boys. Bye bye." said Deborah starting the car. She drove slowly to the exit, through a small tunnel, up a ramp into what looked like the inside of someone's garage. Through the rear view mirror she watched a wall rotate down behind her. She then watched the door in front of her open revealing a normal street with houses on either side. She drove outside into the light of day. As she pulled away she looked behind to see she had just driven out of a garage attached to a normal looking house.

"What a bunch of fabulous smart arses !" thought Deborah as she drove away.


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