Amy's new job
A few weeks after writing her letter to her mom announcing that she is a naturist now, Amy decides to apply for a job at DeriMark systems. This is a sequel to "The Letter".
Letters : 7020 Words : 1216
The sun was already shining brightly over the eastern mountain range when I woke up. I had already slept countless night on military bases and knew to expect an early rise, but this morning was exceptionally calm.
Sure, when I looked out the window, I could see the base already vibrating with activity, but my room seemed to be particularly sound-proof.
I met a young private, Mrs Catherine Jones who was busy inspecting the various fire safety equipment on the floor.
"Work at base sigma is vastly different than at other bases, we notably each have different shifts"
Her tone was joyful and positive. Overall, since I arrived on location, almost every member of the military I met seemed more upbeat than what I was used to, but from time to time, I could feel a grin or a frown on some of the people.
Less than a few minutes after I woke up, colonel Price presented himself as my tour guide for the day. After a hearty breakfast in the officer mess, colonel Price took me to a tour of the base.
I could easily detect the pride in his tone of voice, but the private who actually drove our hummer seemed relatively passive, especially whenever we actually left the vehicle.
It's only a few days later during my trip that I manage to catch him again and interview him personally without any chaperons.
"We're in the middle of nowhere. They want us to personalize our quarters to make us more feel like home, but there is almost nothing to buy. Even the military postal system is shaky at best and it takes months to receive our merchandise. We make good money, but there is nothing to spend it on."
I did ask later the good colonel about that and he assured me that private corporations would be allowed to setup shop within months, as soon as construction of the main business and residential sectors would be completed.
His official optimism however contrasted with the lack of progress on the civilian sectors. A few foundations were laid and two business units were under progress, a bar and a grocery store, but the electrical grid was still absent and I was told that an unspecified defect on the sewer and aqueduct planning will force the reconstruction of half of the already built roads.
Largely, the morale on the base is greatly uneven. Personnel attached to the main mission of the base seemed upbeat and enthusiastic while support personnel in charge of the maintenance of the base itself very rather depressed and distant.
Back to my second day visit however, I was still oblivious to that subtle cleavage in the mood and rather focused on the unprecedented work being done to terraform the valley.
In the buffer zone between the aquifer and the base, convoys of 3 to 4 trailer road trains constantly dumped rich soil on top of a special membrane laid on top of the sand.
The colonel that the membrane allowed perfect soil humidity retention and avoided the mixture of the sand and the soil over time. Unlike previous commercial grade material, this membrane was supposed to last centuries. Placed on top of the membrane was 2 alternating networks of pipe. One being a traditional water irrigation system and the second a water reclamation system for recuperating the excess water.
"Before actually placing the membrane and the pipes, we excavate over 60 inches of sand deep, which we later will use with cement to fill the gaps on our wind shield. We then add 30 inches of low quality soil over the few hundreds of squares miles of the base requiring constant import via the road trains. The soil is picked up from previously humid regions of California which are now arid. "
I was told that over 20 squares miles were already done but that progress was accelerating at the rate of roughly 2 square mile per month.
"In the end, the transformed land is a good 30 to 40 inches lower than the surrounding areas, helping to keep as much as possible water from precipitations."
Our tour ended at the aquifer itself. The base built an underground monitoring station which can be reached by an elevator on the surface.
The tube diving down to the base of the Aquifer is actually made of hardened transparent stainless steel and the Aquifer is lighted by numerous underwater lights.
I was unsure what to expect from the experience, but having seen it, I can assure you it is a sight to see. I expect a private corporation could make a fortune from such as simple ride, not counting the clear water exploration that can be done using one of the many electric submarines attached to the monitoring station.
All around the tube, all you can see around you is pure transparent water lighted by a mysterious array of white-blue fluorescent lights designed to prevent algae and other micro-organism growth.
In some directions, you can see the rock barrier, but in most directions all you can see is the gradual darkness.
At the monitoring station, geologist Georges Papapoulous explained the uniqueness of the Base Sigma aquifer.
"An aquifer is a pocket of underground water. The former 7 state aquifer which covered most of Arizona was composed of water trapped in a bed of rocks. The water was able to flow between the rocks and the pebbles which were not densely compacted. This aquifer however, is an ancient lava chamber inside an extinct volcano. The cavern eventually filled with water, mostly in the last ice age, and the water remained trapped in a real underground lake and is fed from the normal water table without any of the water escaping from the bottom".
Colonel Price further explained that the plan was to create a lake on top of the aquifer. Water would run in a circle in the valley, with every gallon of water taken from the aquifer eventually returned to it.
"Every summer, monsoon like weather bring an appreciable amount of water, but most of it is lost during the arid period of the year. Still, if we manage to keep our humidity, we should be able to get a positive influx of water every year, thus gradually filling the new lake"
As many Arizona resident are now fully aware, the once typically cold winters in this part of the state are nowadays inexistent. Even the north of the state hasn't seen snow in over 8 years and last winter, the daily maximum at base Sygma never went below 50 degree Fahrenheit.
"With the lake in place", continues Colonel Price, " we hope to increase the general warming caused by the normal new urban environment to help raise the winter temperature while using the cold lake water to cool down the valley in the summer. Geothermic air ducts are even being installed in various strategic places in the valley."
Your tax dollars are hard at work in converting this previously hostile region of Arizona into a fertile valley capable of surviving a major increase in temperature caused by global warming.
We can only hope they will succeed and manage to make reproducible results.
This is Neil Flemmings, reporting from Base Sigma