Monday, November 9, 2009

Part I, Chapter 10

The Eternal Fight: Ichor

Ichor is described as a material Tatrangi Dávid learns to extract from a region with semi-active volcanic lakes. This region, that the government has long been keen to sell (perceiving it worthless and useless) Dávid had bought.

He goes to visit his father, Tatrangi Mózes, and shows him a ring that his father first mistakes for an artificial diamond. However Dávid demonstrates that it is in fact a flexible glass. The father exclaims (to no objection from the son) that it is the 65th element, and is pleased to learn Dávid named it "ichor" after the white blood of Greek Gods.

He asks his father for Mr. Severus' address. As his father does not have it, he instead advises Dávid to search for him on Wall Street where he will be sure to find him as Mr. Severus owns a store (office?) there.

* * *

Before his departure, Dávid tries to inquire about Rozáli at the Parabolana, but is turned away roughly from the entrance of the Parabolana by a nun. So, though puzzled, he departs right away to America.

* * *

Upon reaching to New York, even despite the huge river of people within that site, it was easy for him to locate a man of Mr. Severus' fame. However the first few attempts at gaining an audience feel due to Dávid's not wishing to disturb him while he was eating.

Finally, he meets up with Mr. Severus at the theater in the banker's private box, and is received with recognition as the son of Tatrangi Mózes.

Dávid names the flexible glass ring (which he also showed his father) as being made of "hyalichor" ("ichor glass"), and explains that he himself owns the only known source of ichor.

He explains that the business uses of ichor are great many, ranging from better bullet-proof vests (does not break from a bullet shot from a 100 steps' distance), specialized glassware products (i.e.: woven glass), jewelry, to applications seeking to replace iron (such as in engines, et cetera), to applications seeking to replace other metals (like in machines, weapons, et cetera), to flying machines.

Dávid explains that ichor based products will conquer each market niche/segment that they compete in completely, on account of being both cheap and far more durable/reliable than materials used by the competition.

He requests Mr. Severus initially to fund the building of 500 ichor flying machines. When Mr. Severus asks why, Dávid explains that it is to allow him to protect his homeland when the next European war breaks out.

Mr. Severus is dismayed by this, as he finds national loyalty to be an old-fashioned and not altogether admirable concept. Though Dávid briefly defends the concept of love of one's homeland, he explains in great detail that as his operations are necessarily based in Hungary, it will be Hungary that most benefits from the successes of ichor products, while most other nations (on account of their businesses suffering) will be worse off for it. This will naturally put Hungary in a precarious situation of being endangered by Dávid's future success--but since Hungary is the only state from which Dávid can expect protection, it makes rational sense that he should seek to preserve it from destruction by foreign powers.

His notion is that in the event of war braking out, with only 500 ichor flying machines and ichor-armoured and ichor-weapon-equipped men he will be able to fly in behind enemy lines and destroy weapon, gun-powder, and food stores, thereby winning the war through destroying the enemy's ability to wage it.

Dávid also mentions that ichor bullet inflicted wounds cause swelling and considerable itching that renders wounded men unable to fight for at least 6 weeks, but thereafter they recover to full health. In fact ichor also has some property that renders the previously wounded immune to (some? all? certain categories of?) diseases.

After much calculation, Mr. Severus figured that getting the full plan (500 ichor flying machines, along with the myriad industrial initiatives) going would require an investment from him to the tune of 20 million dollars, and decides to give it to Dávid.

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