Towards the close of 2030, the Global Economy began to stabilize from the tumultuous events that marked the first quarter of the 21st century. Europe retreated from the hoped for “Republican Equality” of the European Union, slipping back to a three tiered hierarchy. Once again it was England and Germany diplomatically dueling for supremacy. Once again France was not in this exclusive club, but pretended she was. In the lowly third tier was every other European Nation.
The Middle East was still as described in the Book of Genesis, full of enmity and strife between hardened positions established four Millennia previous. Since the deployment of Space Collector technology, a constant flow of solar energy was microwaved to the most technically advanced nations, which immediately slashed dependence on oil. This was a catastrophe for economies based on oil export. The Middle East & South America grew impoverished from bottom to top.
Africa’s metals wealth was neutralized by Silicon Conductor Technology. This made the Space Collector possible, but also made traditional electrical products of copper, aluminum, silver and gold obsolete. The Silicon Revolution sprang from High Temperature Membrane Filtration of Quartz. Sand is mostly quartz. Sand is everywhere! Membranes were cheap! Poof! The End.
Russia continued to shrink in area while growing in prosperity. All the “Republics” of Whaazizstan and Eastern Gibru reveled in their independence from Moscow. Moscow reveled in the lack of dependants draining their treasury. It was an amazing thing to see a nation adopt the “Lean & Mean” downsizing model perfected during the economic crash of the U.S. Economy.
China, India & Japan avoided firing a lot of bullets and dropping a lot of bombs. Except for that, it was a full scale war such as only Clausewitz imagined. Gradually, India emerged triumphant.
In the United States, prosperity and optimism never returned. There was no equalizing tide rising all the boats. As Global Stability spread, only the biggest boats floated high and proud. The smaller boats downsized expectations, and fought over dwindling scraps. The U.S. turned to the “Bread and Circuses” model established by Imperial Rome. At both ends of the economic spectrum in America there was a “Leisure Class”. At the top, the wealthy did not need to work, at the bottom there were no jobs to do. Still, all citizens were provided for, cared for medically, and entertained by over 2,000 niche channels of downloadable content to pick through endlessly.
Silicon Conductor Nano Technology Circuitry gave any country or corporation which could convert to the new microscopic data link a decisive cost saving, data transfer rate, and a communications bandwidth advantage which was insurmountable. Profits for those “Upgraded” companies all skyrocketed. Traditional Giants failed, particularly in Banking and Telecommunications fields.
The key was nano links injecting insane data rates directly into Fiber Optic International Cable Networks. One such cable ran through Tomaquag Valley. Tel & D.T. Corporation bought all the homes along both sides of Collins Road from Tomaquag to Maxson Hill, Maxson Hill to the cull de sac, and all the property along Frontier Road to Rt. 95. They paid “You Can’t Refuse This” prices. Still, it was a bargain. They had multiple “On Site” Fiber Optic access points on 2 square miles of easily securable land. The plans called for hardened structures to thwart any disruption.
Even with temporary prefab buildings, they instantly became THE most important East Coast hub for international data transfer, and the Lean & Mean Global Economy was founded on Data Flow! Direct access to the I 95 Corridor was “Commuter Friendly”, but not vital. Construction began immediately on Tomaquag Towers. Down in the Valley, Tower One, 400 feet in diameter, spanned the brook at the Jedediah Davis Mill Site, and it’s steel beams leapt rapidly skyward.
The Construction Manager responsible for transforming Tel & D.T.’s property was Art Lewis, who was proven to be up to this massive assignment by an unbroken string of “On Time and Under Budget” successes stretching back eighteen years. His involvement with construction began with his first job, an illegal underage laborer for an old school ‘stick built’ carpenter. Art could hear him even now: “Pound them nails by hand into the 2 by’s, Artie, and sink em flush with the fourth blow! Every time, Artie. I don’t wanna see no ‘half dollars’ either.” Art actually missed the staccato rhythm of two framers hammering a home together one piece at a time. But he didn’t miss the slow rate of productivity that the old way, of necessity, embraced.
He paid his own way through Engineering School by working his tail off during the summer, building ‘speculation’ houses for a large developer. Everything with that guy was electric or pneumatic, and the word was always “Hurry it UP, Artie! No one will notice nuthin!” Those homes were shoddy, but boy did that guy make money! In three months each year, he made enough to cover each of his 6 years of college, graduating with an MBA in Construction Management.
His hero in those tumultuous “Viet Nam” days was the mammoth Land Developer from Texas who offered the Pentagon a deal. He said that if the Government paid him what they spent on the war for three years, during that time he would pave South Viet Nam completely, put up light poles, and paint parking lines on the whole shooting match. Then everyone could go home!
It never happened. Art still remembered his Cross Country Team Mate, Jack Foley, killed at 19.
This was his biggest job ever, but he was certain he would lead his management team and workers in making a “World Class” facility which would be so Energy Efficient that Tomaquag Towers would be selling electricity back into the Grid. His engineering data predicted that before the first shovel bit into dirt, (and promptly hit a rock!) and by the time they had the “Topping Off’ ceremony on Tower One, complete with the “No one was killed” tree at the peak, the site was producing more energy than it consumed, with only half of the Solar Hexagons laid down!
Tomaquag Towers was widely acclaimed in the Trade Publications as proving itself deserving of the exemptions awarded it by the Government. Based on specifications, the economic impact for the Northeast and the entire country, plus the economic imperative to be running first, the Tomaquag Towers Project, HIS project, was awarded the coveted “Too Vital To Fail” priority designation.
For the good of the country, local building codes were steam rollered by Washington. No snags, no manufacturing problems, and certainly no labor shortages ever delayed Tomaquag Towers. Prior to buying out those residents fortunate to be living on the Prime Zone, the Town of Hopkinton was crippled by the consequences of it’s distain for development policies. The skyrocketing costs of education and basic services fell primarily on home owners, and the Tax burden was crushing. This created a slow exodus out of town which escalated the Tax Rate.
After twenty years of bad economic news globally, the proposal by Tel & D.T. was applauded! Not only did they bring in ENORMOUS Tax Revenue, they made two gifts to the Town. The first came as a complete surprise. Companies capable of the financing for new development always demanded Tax Relief from the local governments of the prospective sites. A reverse bidding war always ensued, as desperate towns gave away revenue to insure that the new construction happened in their town. Later on they would reap the Tax Revenue. Tel & D.T. asked for no such “Stimulus”. Hopkinton had the perfect site, Hopkinton would have the Towers.
The second was beyond belief. Tel & D.T. Market Research knew the quiet desperation of the residents. Taxes were high, work was scarce, and some still clung to their woodsy way of life. Tel & D.T. made a gift of paying 25% of the Tax Obligation of all Hopkinton Home Owners, with this payment spread over ten equal annual sums. It was the Corporation’s way of very noticeably smoothing down the ruffled feathers this dramatic change caused their “neighbors”.
Well, that worked! As the Chain Saws, Timber Trucks, Wood Chippers, Bull Dozers and Land Graders smoothed all the bumps in the valley, people consoled themselves by noting they had more; a LOT more money available to them each month, and after all, Hopkinton had a lot of trees. No one was really going to miss this one little spot, especially as a family member or two or three now had steady work and a decent paycheck for a change. Things were looking up!
The occasional Grumpy Guy or Gal would demand to speak with “Mr. Lewis Himself!”, and Art had a policy that unless he was meeting with his Project Managers in the well traveled trailer that was the heart of the construction project, such local “neighbors” would be offered refreshments, a seat on the crummy couch, and “Art” will be with them as soon as he completes what he is working on now. He made it a point to not have an angry neighbor wait more than a minute or two before venting whatever was on their mind. And he always listened to them carefully.
Built into the specifications and in accord with the streamlined “T. V. T. F.” exemptions, no matter what substantive objections were presented, Art would diplomatically point out that their considerations were being addressed, and explain how they were being addressed. This usually satisfied those who needed reassurance. Those who only wanted to argue still got diplomacy, only it was pointing out the benefits the neighbor was already enjoying, while the Corporation was still paying the massive bills associated with the actual construction and wages funneling into the local economy. Art always remained unruffled, and always closed with the folksy saying: “If you want to eat omelets, you have to break some eggs.” Then he thanked the person for dropping by, and went back to whatever construction jam he left to hear the “Whine de Jure”.
The Davis Brook and Tomaquag Brook were routed through appropriately sized underground cement aqueducts. The Corporate Property was clear cut and graded. Then the Silicon Collector Hexagons were laid down. Each Hex was a prefabricated solar power generator and rainfall collector, with standard couplings for power, light, hydraulics and microprocessor controls built into each, forming a continuous solar blanket. They were ten feet across and two feet thick, and made of a strong honeycomb of reject silicon that was filtered out by the High Temperature Membranes. The small size meant they were easy to transport, and as each Hex leveled itself, the height differential between adjacent hexes was minimal. Silicon has a minimal expansion coefficient to temperature changes, and the Hex Collectors forged a rock stable, drivable, year round surface.
The Company property achieved the security benefits of paving Viet Nam, while having a negative carbon foot print. Key Installations were hardened against Terrorist Attack, and there was no cover to be had for a surprise land assault. The stout hidden defenses were classified.
The Towers used a lot of water, but underground cistern bladders stored every drop of rainwater that fell. This pure water was circulated repeatedly in the Geothermal system and cooling towers.
Valley History was honored by a working Lobby model of the Grist Mill incased in plastic, and there was a reflective pool in memory of all the Valley deceased, both Narragansett & Colonial.
Tomaquag Towers was hailed Nationally as THE Model for New Era Development. The land was productive, a net exporter of energy, with a self sufficient water supply and sewage treatment facilities. In a world where terrorism was routine, the Towers could defend themselves.
Still, in spite of all the “Green” accolades and prestigious awards, Tomaquag Towers caused a division between the “Tree Huggers” and the “Sustainable Energy” crowd, who shouted them down as being irrationally opposed to Everything! The public voted with their feet, and “The Towers” site became a magnet for other high tech companies, who formed a waiting list to lease Corporate Offices, instantly filling Tower after soaring Tower in the Perfect New Era Location.
“If you want to eat omelets, you have to break some eggs”
Art Lewis, Construction Manager, Tomaquag Towers, July 25, 2031
Without distracting from the stark imagery of what Tomaquag Towers will actually do to all Valley artifacts & wildlife, a consequence ignored by their Marketing, I want to assure you that the crushed Painted Turtle, shown in a small image on this page, was found dead on Tomaquag Road in 2004. This animal was killed by an unknown driver in what we call an “Accident”, but should honestly call an “Inevitable”. The Painted Turtle at the opening of “Tomaquag Towers” made it safely across Collins Road in 2012, because I pulled over and stopped traffic both ways on foot to let it cross safely.