SOURCE P16 V3/5.
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.”
“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, eyeingeying the steel buttresses that reinforced 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 set of doors to the Glass Room began to depressurize.
“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?”