The Kintsugi, Zaki and Segi’s home-brew torch ship.
Heading up to pay a visit to Dr. Pritchard for the climax of ReImagination.
Printing had closed off the hull, hiding the fractal patterns inside a smooth shell of charcoal-grey diamond. In time lapse, this last phase had looked like a potter closing the rim of a bowl, bringing the edges up and together to make a sphere and smoothing over the seams to create a solid, blended whole.
Moving parts were few. There were no control surfaces that Zaki could identify. All but the most heavy-duty hinges were formed from graphene doped with crystalline polymers, the printing and subsequent baking process determining their flexibility and axis of movement. The few proper, full-scale, mechanical parts—like hatches and the crab-like undercarriage—had been printed together with the contiguous hull; then, a misting of acid—to which the diamond hull was impervious—had dissolved preprinted seams and voids, erasing acid soluble strata, to form independently articulating sections.
It was a technique borrowed from biology, where cells and tissues were grown bottom up, while groups of cells could be killed top down, in concert, to detach limbs and organs. It was how delicate fingers were cut from the blunt ends of embryonic stumps.
The last job of the print gantry employed the same misting head during a week-long controlled bake and baste. A shroud of super-thermal-insulator had been printed and the temperature inside kept at a steady, precise, 917 degrees kelvin. Every few minutes, the printhead had doused specific sections of hull with a solvent. The liquid worked its way into the graphene, crystallising and disrupting carbon bonds, changing the diamond from a dull, opaque grey to a polished, gem-like orange. The smoothed edges of the new transparent window panes faded organically into the hull. Just as dots added to a random doodle can turn meaningless squiggles into an unambiguous face, the transparent panels transformed the smooth, squashed ellipse into what was clearly an aircraft with a graceful, blended cockpit.
Rescue mission to Punt.
Note: After the war of ReImagination the shuttle was patched up and renamed Kintsugi.