Panoptical Dust

Here is a lengthy diary entry translated by Mr. T. Smith. He has been providing a marvellous effort decoding many of the recent vehicle descriptions; using a bizarre system that he will hopefully explain soon.

Similar to the following extract, there appear to be many entries within the book that do not possess any reference to the author himself and nor do they refer to a specific diagram or sketch. It is therefore better to think of them as articles from a ‘reference’ that help describe the world of the Transportica in greater detail. Perhaps after a sufficient number of these reference pages have been transcribed a dedicated section to the website will be created for them, until then, they will remain as part of the main posts.

Now enjoy the first intriguing page that begins the ‘reference’.

During the dark days of the so-called Internecine Conflict, at the peak of hostilities, a new threat developed almost by chance during routine optical research. Whilst originally seen as a significant boost to the war effort, the final toll was equal on both sides, and in a way could be seen to have contributed to the cessation of hostilities.

After an unexpected breakthrough during the development of flexible glass, engineers discovered a dramatic new feature of the material. “Ductiglass” had been revolutionary enough: as energy was applied to this structure it became pliable and could be easily and safely shaped into any configuration required. Remove the energy source, and the glass would harden in place and behave perfectly normally.

Or so it was believed.

It was soon noticed that as the glass was worked in its elastic state, light falling onto the surface became trapped during the molecular reconfiguration phase. The “captured light” would then be released as the glass was re-worked. Researchers were amazed to see images trapped within the glass re-appear as they manipulated the material and “old light” was emitted from inside.

Practical applications followed in very short order, including the now familiar “EverGlo” torch and, of course, “TruDay” daylight bulbs, both of which work from captured sunlight, released via a small electrical charge applied to the glass from a battery or other source.

But, inevitably, it was not long before the military implications of this product were realised, seized and exploited.

Applications were myriad but the main topic here is the scourge of the Panoptical Dust. No-one knows who came up with the idea, and perhaps that is just as well. The concept itself was alarmingly simple: take a piece of Ductiglass, and smash it to dust. Load the dust into an unmanned Xepelin or other transport and simply allow it to fly over enemy lands. During the inevitable destruction and explosion of the gas-filled balloon, the glass dust will settle upon the enemy territory, recording everything with a minimum value of 0.01 lux.

Covert “Dustmen” would then sweep outside government buildings, or brush against military personnel to collect flecks of the Dust. They then simple needed to focus a microscope and apply current to the glass particles and someone else’s entire day would be played back in real-time (enemy documents would usually be revealed in perfect detail).

It did not take long for the technological secret to be discovered by the opposing side, and so the enemy’s Xepelins were soon flying with their own Ductiglass Dust payload. After a short but brutal period of escalation most of the world had reached the point where there was no perceived privacy of any type, for anyone.

Of course, manufacture, distribution or any type of use of any remaining dust is now prohibited on all sides, and is one of the few crimes to still attract the Slow Death Penalty. But there are few who remember the time of the Dust without a shiver of distaste, and it is clear that there will never be a time where it is still not possible for the determined lawbreaker to locate, and unlock the secrets of, the Dust.

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Mobile Panopticon

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