SOURCE P15 V1/7.
Machine Man (serial)
“One of the problems with legs,” I said, “is they can’t survive on their own. They need to be attached to a body to function. They’re not—”
Lola Banks looked up from fiddling with her access badge, her eyes wide. “Standalone?”
“Right.” I realized this was a quip. “Right.”
She studied my face. “I like your thinking, Charlie. I’m just not sure what benefit you get, in a practical sense, from a self-powered leg.”
The elevator doors slid open. My chair-leg rollers clickety-clacked over the uneven exit. “Well, you’re no longer limited by the body’s energy supply.”
“How far down are we?” Lola Banks said, looking at the walls.
“About a hundred feet. So obviously if you can install a small reactor in the leg, raising that energy limit from a kilojoule or so per second to, say, 4.2 megajoules per second, you greatly increase the functional possibilities.”
“Why are we down a hundred feet?”
“In case something goes wrong, I guess.” I swiped my card. The first pressurised door to the Glass Room began to open.
“Wait,” said Lola Banks. “Back up. Did you say you reactor?”
“Small,” I said. “Small reactor. We build those here.”
“What are you doing with a small reactor?”