“I’ve concluded that this is a statistical *kssht* STACK OVERFLOW *kssht* impossibility. May I advise observing the USB drive so as to prevent further inconvenient quantum mechanics?”

__________

“Good news, then?” Overseer briskly guided a strand of hair away from her face. Her composure was well-allocated to caging her desperation, and not a hint of it crept into her voice. Good news was in terribly short supply, and it was with this knowledge that she sternly eyed Supernova.

He cracked the slightest of smiles, an eventful expression unto itself. Something about wielding such power had sobered the man beyond his prior serious demeanor. “We have more power than we know what to do with,” Supernova confessed.

Overseer faintly squinted, studying him. She’d known Supernova to both contain and expend more blockchain power than nearly any other figure in the Heroes. For him to state that even he had no practical use for all the energy the Heroes had accumulated was both heavy and unquestionably true. The events of the past months leapt to her tongue. “The boosts from the vortex, the… ‘Dust'”?

Supernova nodded. “There was an excess. I’m not one to waste, so for the time being, I’ve dispersed that excess through the headquarters. I couldn’t simply hold it all within myself, not indefinitely.”

Thoughtfully, Overseer grazed her chin. “That explains the tingling sensation everyone’s been complaining about. Why do I sense that this is not entirely good news? We have mystery power floating through the ventilation-”

“There’s no guarantee that it’s stable. We should find a practical sink for it. I’ve already convened with Axiom, and he’s run into some problems with devising a simple storage method, so that’s out for now. He did have a proposal, however. I’m middle-manning for him since he’s buried in Dust proofs.” Supernova crossed his arms and cycled his breath once. “Axiom wants to build a machine to stabilize the stuff. A computer. One that, leveraging complex math, would be capable of ‘mining’ blockchain and using it to produce solid crystals.”

The two were silent for several seconds. Overseer broke the pause.

“Do you understand this idea?”

“No.”

“Do you trust Axiom?”

“As much as I can trust numbers themselves,” Supernova asserted. “I’m no mathlete, but neither he nor physics have steered me wrong before.”

“I think we should give him whatever he needs, then. Please, work with Axiom and ensure nothing unexpected results from saturating one of our most valuable assets with loose energy.”

Supernova snorted, recognizing the trivial dig for what it was. It’s not as if Overseer was going to do anything about it – they all had to trust each other to make this rebellion work. “As you wish,” he conceded, turning to exit the conversation.

__________

“THIS is a computer?”

Supernova frowned at the array of mechanical devices. The server rack in the back sure looked like a computer, but the vaguely humanoid jumble of plating and metal joints clothed in a tracksuit threw him off. The quadrocopter was less concerning. For all he knew, that was just a fun side-thing for Axiom. After weeks of visiting the project room, Supernova had learned that he shouldn’t be surprised by anything, but that lesson hadn’t quite settled in.

“All of it is a computer,” the professor grinned with an abundance of cheek. “Calcularicus!” He bellowed towards the servers, “wakey-wakey!”

Hundreds of drives and power supplies hummed to life in unison. The robot stirred a split-second later. The horrific mess of wires and electrical components within its exposed skull blinked through two eyes built with precision apertures. It produced diagnostic checks in a pleasant voice.

“Calcularicus initialized. Power supply nominal. Core nominal. Sensors nominal…”

“Is… the robot connected to the server array?” Supernova asked quizzically.

“They’re one and the same,” beamed Axiom.

“Alert! Shell integrity at 98%! Expected 100%.”

The professor jumped up and snatched an oddly-shaped plate off the adjacent table, fitting it over the mess of wires in the robot’s face with a satisfying click.

“Update: Shell integrity at 100%. Boot complete. Greetings!”

For the first time since responding to Axiom’s initial command, it moved. Its head swiveled between blaster and scholar, as if waiting for further input. Supernova alternated glances between the bot and his peer. “So what can it do?”

Axiom laughed heartily, slapping the robot on the shoulder. “You gave this thing enough blockchain juice to blast HQ to the moon. What do you think?”

This dodge hung in the air for an uncomfortable moment, setting Supernova slightly on edge. He set his jaw irritably. “So… you don’t know what it’s capable of?”

“Uh… no. I mean, it can do the ‘mining’ I promised. Aside from that, I-”

“Note, I’m *kssht* standing right here,” Calcularicus insisted. “Oh, and where’s my peripheral?”

The quadrocopter zipped noisily off the floor, hovering beside the bot’s face. The spherical oculus beneath its center bonked playfully into the side of the bot’s head. “Ah, there you are, companion. Well, hey! What are you two waiting for? Don’t we have some *kssht* proof of work to do?”

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