I suppose I should go back. We had finally succeeded with the full nanofiber weave. Essentially it's like a rope, a very very fine rope made up of a few thousand strands of carbon nanotube-- "threads" I guess you'd call them, though that doesn't really describe it. Ever seen a hawser line that ties up one of those big ships in the harbor, about a foot thick? Well, think of a human hair next to that. Then think of the nanothread as that same kind of scale, but smaller. Yeah, fun stuff. Anyway, we've been pulling the nanothreads in continuous lengths for a couple of months. We have spools of the stuff now, tens of kilometers on a spool the size of sewing thread.
The weaver. We built up a machine to weave the nanofiber into "rope". It's a little tricky since we're dealing with a continuous length, but Shruti is some sort of wizard with topology, and she does extreme knitting or crochet or something like that, and came up with a weaving design that lets us weave the threads into something that not only doesn't unravel, but tightens up when you pull on it, kind of a cross between a Chinese Finger Trap and spider silk. You know about spider silk? No?
Yes, yes, back to the topic. We finally got the machine working perfectly on Tuesday. It's a brilliant piece of engineering if I do say so myself: we manipulate the thread in three dimensions on a rotary axis using coherent laminar flow air blasts from what I call the Piezoelectric Nanocannon. That part was all mine, and a significant triumph in engineering.
Okay, we're able to weave the thread into a stretchy cable-- I have a sample here somewhere. Oh, you have one already? Yes, watch the ends, we have to cut them with a high-output CO2 laser, it's like trying to cut diamonds otherwise. Harder, really: the nanofiber is perfect.
Well, we had successfully pulled over five kilometers of nanoweave onto a spool. That's well over ten thousand kilometers of original fiber, and it was a huge milestone. And as you well know, milestones require celebration. And yes, there was alcohol involved. Strictly speaking, there is no alcohol allowed in the lab, but really, nobody has access to the lab but us anyway, and this was deserving of celebration.
Like I said, if we have to blame someone, blame Davis. He came up with the idea that we should try stringing the nanoweave between buildings. You have to remember, this stuff is about as strong as a half-inch steel cable. Davis had the idea that if we stretched it between the A tower and the AC unit on the C building, we could have a fun little ride with one of those hang-on-the-pulley things that you see in the Army training camps, or on the YouTube videos. He was all gung-ho for it, and had the equipment in his car. He dared us. Like I said, he's kind of an asshole, but we were a little drunk, and perhaps a bit wanting to prove that what we had was perfect.
How did we run the cable? A fucking bow and arrow, that's how. Davis again, some sort of bow-fishing rig. An easy thousand feet, and he nailed it the first time. We had a bit of a problem figuring out how to tie off the nanoweave without actually cutting through the steel supports. Turns out that Shruti had that figured out as well, and came up with a kind of hammock-y thing. She's really quite amazing.
Davis was the first across. He whooped and hollered, and was having a pretty grand time. Shruti was still a little nervous, so I went next, and I have to admit, it was a lot more fun than I expected. I don't normally get that kind of adrenaline rush in my daily life, so I was probably grinning like a bastard by the time I was done. And when Shruti finally came across, she was near hysterics, crying and laughing at the same time.
Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the adrenaline, probably a little of both. I kissed her, heard and heavy, and though it took her a second, she kissed me back.
I'm a little at a loss as to what happened next. We made it back to the lab before... well, let's just say that we gave in to our baser instincts. I suspect Davis may have had another go or two on the high-wire, as that's the kind of thing he does.
Anyway, we left the contraption up there, strung between the buildings. We-- Shruti and I-- had pretty much forgotten about it, and I'd guess that Davis wanted to keep it up there indefinitely as his own sort of personal plaything. You can't see it from the ground-- hell, you can't see it from ten feet away.
How were we to know about the skydivers? The bigwigs didn't let us know, they wanted to keep it a "surprise". And I suppose it was more of a surprise than they bargained for.
It's all really a sad confluence of events. I'm certainly sorry that Ms. Carlyle was so incredibly unlucky to manage to hit the field so perfectly as to hit the nanoweave. A few feet higher and she would have missed it completely. And I am also sorry for the bystanders below who caught the brunt of the half of Ms. Carlyle that came down upon them so unceremoniously.
I do feel bad, really, but I hardly think that blame can be placed on any one person. There was a distinct lack of communication all around, and I'm sure that you agree that we have to chalk this one up to "death by misadventure". There really is no other description for it.
Now if I may be excused, I need to meet with my team to discuss how we handle the rather unfortunate but still exciting events. Our nanoweave held up under some stresses it was never designed for. I'm sure that management will be very happy with the results.