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times over for that. I told you it looked like a two. Maybe I need my eyes
examined, but it still looks that way."
"Did you have any reason for not wanting the cavity to work?"
"Now, look!" Hansen's anger suffused red through his face. "I'm paid to
turn out screwball gadgets in this shop, not worry about whether they work or
"Didn't it occur to you to check that boggled figure?"
"I told you it looked all right!" Hansen turned angrily back to his
lathe and resumed work.
Reg watched the mechanic for a moment, then left the shop.
The bunglers seemed to have no personal interest in their botch work,
he decided. It must be something entirely subconscious as in the case of
accident prones. That didn't make them any less dangerous, however. Without
them on his project he would have been able by now to demonstrate the
practicability of BW utilization.
But, following this line of reasoning, why couldn't the teleportation
equipment be made to work now? According to all this theory the equipment he
had built should have been capable of acting as a pilot model for a larger
unit and it should have been able to transfer hundred pound masses at least a
thousand feet. Yet, it had failed completely.
Granting that he himself was not a Person from Porlock. But could he
grant that?
Maybe the greatest blunders were his own. His failure to catch
Dickson's mistake early enough, for example!
That was the one premise he could not admit, however. It led to
insolvable dilemma, rendered the problem completely indeterminate. He had to
assume that he was not one of the bunglers.
In that case, why did the equipment fail to work?
It meant that some of the blunders introduced by the Persons from
Porlock still remained in the equipment. Remove them, and it should work!
He'd have to go over every equation, every design, every
specification-point by point-compare them with the actual equipment and dig
out the bugs.
* * * *
He went into his own lab. He dismissed the assistants and shut the
door. He sat down with the voluminous papers which he had produced in the ten
months of work on the project. It was hopeless to attempt to go over the
entire mass of work in short hours or days. That's what should be done, but he
could cover the most vulnerable points. These lay in the routine, conventional
circuits which he had left to his assistants and in whose design the draftsman
and model shop had been trusted with too many details.
The first of these was the amplifier for the BW generator, whose
radiation, capable of mass-modulation, carried the broken down components of
the materials to be transported. The amplifier held many conventional
features, though the wave form handled was radically unconventional.
It contained two stages of Class A amplification which had to be
perfectly symmetrical. Reg had never made certain of the correct operation of
these two stages by themselves. Spence, his junior engineer, had reported them
operating correctly and Reg had taken his word on so simple a circuit.
He had no reason now to believe that anything was wrong. It was just
one of those items left to a potential Person from Porlock.
He disconnected the input and output of the amplifier and hooked up a
signal generator and a vacuum tube voltmeter. Point by point he checked the
circuit. The positive and negative peaks were equal and a scope showed perfect
symmetry, but in the second stage they weren't high enough. He wasn't getting
the required soup. The output of the tube in use should have been more than
sufficient to produce it.
Then he discovered the fault. The bias was wrong and the drive had been
cut to preserve symmetry. Spence had simply assumed the flat tops were due to
Reg sat in silent contemplation of the alleged engineering and poured
on self-recrimination for trusting Spence.
This was the reason for the apparent failure of the whole modulator
circuit. Because of it, he had assumed his theory of mass modulation was
Spence was obviously one of them, he thought. That meant other untold
numbers of bugs throughout the mass of equipment. During the remainder of the
morning and in the afternoon he adjusted the amplifiers and got the modulator
into operation. He uncovered another serious bug in an out-of-tolerance
dropping resistor in the modulator. He contemplated the probability of that
one defective resistor among the hundreds of thousands of satisfactory ones
the plant used-the probability of its being placed in exactly the critical
spot. The figure was too infinitesimal to be mere chance.
By quitting time he had the circuit as far as the mass modulator
functioning fairly smoothly. He called Janice and told her he wouldn't be home
until late. Then he worked until past midnight to try to get the transmission
elements to accept the modulated carrier. The only result was failure and at
last he went home in utter exhaustion.
The next morning, refreshed, he was filled with an unnatural
exuberance, however. He had the key to the cause of his failures and he felt
success was only a matter of time. If he could just get that necessary time
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