Saturday, December 23, 2017

Lithium Battery Fail and Alpha Shift

The Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t like large amounts of lithium batteries in cargo holds of airplanes. Watch what happens at 1:03.


People mistakenly think that batteries are safe, while things like gasoline or jet fuel are not. Let’s switch to cars. There’s a famous brand out there that I won’t name, since I’d like to keep this blog going. But they’ve had a couple of notable car fires. Why?

Think about it. The battery has to contain the same amount of power as a tank of gas. If the battery gets jostled or some sparking occurs at just the right spot, it could explode or catch on fire just as disastrously.

This sort of mistake used to happen in science fiction all the time. Some futuristic craft is said to run on batteries as it flies around a planet. But that much energy concentrated in a small space is just about guaranteed to blow up at the very start of whatever dramatic adventure they head into.

Which brings me to an excerpt from my science fiction manuscript, Alpha Shift. Captain Christina Chechi’s ship has been attacked, and she has been injured and trapped in an elevator. Now with the help of an engineer named Kelley who found a way to get onto a monitor, she’s trying to get out.  

And how does the power work on this spaceship? It works just fine.


The elevator stopped.
Kelley’s image had faded, now it frowned. “That didn’t seem near long enough. You’d better check the panel.”
She did, and saw the manual indicator matched the lit-up number above the doors. “I only went down two decks. What does this red light mean?”
“Means the doors to that deck are open and haven’t any power. Heh, funny. That should make the elevator bypass that floor.” Obviously, in addition to the cab of the elevator having its own set of automated doors, each deck had to have its own set of automated doors to keep anyone from stepping into the shaft. “Something made your elevator cab do an emergency stop.”
“Could sabotage to the power station on this deck do that?”
“Yes ma’am.”
Resentment burned within her breast. “I will go out onto this deck and see what’s happening.”
“If you believe some violent revolutionaries are sabotaging that deck, there’s no way you want to go out there, begging your pardon ma’am.”
“Do not question my decision. Can you follow me using the wall monitors on the deck?”
“No ma’am.” His faded image frowned at the eyebrows. “I’m having a difficult enough of a time communicating with you in an elevator that descended two decks. I wouldn’t know how to access the monitors on that deck.”
“Then tell me how to open these doors.” They slowly slid open to reveal her elevator cab had stopped a couple inches below deck level. The automated doors for the deck were open partway. Beyond that the corridor was mostly dark and empty. Dim emergency lights shone at strategic intervals.
“Yes, power has been cut. I will investigate. If the enemy are present, I will engage them.”

What contorted Kelley’s features wasn’t just fear. It was pain—pain at staying behind and not helping her. 

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