Expelled From Paradise

Chapter 4: The Rocket


They arrived at Grabika. At the center of the city, there was a huge reservoir with a large number of farms in the surroundings. Though there was only sand and rock everywhere else, this place was full of vegetation. Dingo took Angela with him. They stopped at a restaurant with hieroglyphs on the signboard. Angela looked confused at a certain udon placed on a table. She knew that this was a type of pasta. But the tastes of national food dishes were not recorded in Deva`s memory. Just like old rock, they decided to remove them from the archives.

“You have to eat like this.”

Dingo demonstrated how to use chopsticks.

“Ok, I get it.”

She took the chopsticks like she was shown and began to suck out the udon. She never tried anything like this in Deva. She continued eating with enthusiasm. Slightly surprised, Dingo smiled. Then he said, “Do you think Pioneer has something in mind?...”

“Huh?” Angela answered with a full mouth.

“It’s just that if we didn’t understand everything correctly, then maybe we were doing the wrong thing all along.”

Eating the udon, Angela answered.

“He violated the security in Deva, he disturbed the residents…”

“So he disturbed the residents, and then what?”

“Perhaps he is deliberately causing panic to prepare for a full-scale sabotage.”

“Well yes, you have predicted the worst scenario, but there is no proof. It’s not the residents who are worried here, but the big shots from the security service.”

Reflecting on this, Angela drank from the udon cup. She felt that something was missing. Noticing this, Dingo sprinkled some red pepper. Having done this, he kept talking.

“He broke through the security system, which was supposedly impossible to do. This fact alarmed you so much that you missed the main point of the question. It is more important to understand, not how he had done it, but why.”

“If only we knew that.”

After trying the udon with the seasoning, Angela just exclaimed, “Ah”, and continued drinking.

“What a villain. Didn’t he tell you himself? He is looking for comrades to explore the distant space.”

Satisfied, Angela placed the empty bowl on the table and answered.

“Are you saying that we should believe in this nonsense?”

“Why not?”

“Well, first of all, there is no point in this. Thanks to Deva’s system, the problem with overpopulation is solved. There is no reason to take such a risk and go to outer space.”

“But this is just the point of view of Deva itself. The rest of the world might have different thoughts. You yourself should have already understood this.”

Angela looked at Dingo suspiciously.

“So you’re saying, we should believe him?”

“We shouldn’t neglect it either.”

“He said that he has a ship ready, to explore outer space, such nonsense… How could he have implemented such a large-scale project, without being noticed by Deva. All projects for space exploration were stopped even before the nano-catastrophe. And this is a fact.”

“Deva doesn’t have all the records. After all, the things that aren’t considered important have already been removed. Right?”

Angela had nothing to say. Old rock was removed.

“Someone is collecting a crew for a spacecraft, and of course this someone needs a way to leave Earth’s atmosphere and escape into outer space. He needs a rocket.”

“A rocket…”

She knew what a rocket was. An arhat also had an engine as powerful as it. Unlike the udon, she was aware of such matters. Here Dingo was right, in order to overcome Earth’s gravity, a rocket that would be able to bring cargo into the near earth orbit was needed. To return to Deva, Angela herself wouldn’t need to use such a rocket. A virtual mind was able to send itself using a digital signal. So, she almost knew nothing about the delivery of cargo into the orbit.


She was about to argue.

“Forgive me for being late. Isaak sent me to you.”

She lifted her head and saw a rather soft man with a stubble chewing tobacco.

“Are you Lazlo?” Dingo asked.

“That’s right. Follow me.”

He was their target in Grabika. The information they got in Jed pointed to him. The two rose from their chairs.


Lazlo’s office was located in an alley behind the market. This place was quiet and inconspicuous.

“That is fertilizer, but it can also be used as an explosive.”

Hearing this, Angela stepped away from the case. Having finished talking on the phone, Lazlo returned to them. Dingo said, “How do you get payed?”

“Bartering. When I collect enough, I go to the ruins up north. For this, I get well preserved integrated schemes and parts. I get many things, but everything can be sold.”

“I see.”

Showing a factitious interest, Dingo touched the case.

“And for how long have you been trading? Is it long?”

“Is it long? My grandfather also collected fertilizers. This is our family business.”


Surprised, Dingo looked at Lazlo.

“In general, this has been going on for a very very long time. So you also need this?”

Dingo told Lazlo a rather believable lie but refused in the end. Outside Angela asked, “What’s going on? Does he secretly create a bomb somewhere?”

“I think it’s a bit different. Yes, ammonium nitrate can be used as an explosive, but mixing can turn it into a nitrous oxide. It is suitable for hybrid rockets on an oxidizer.”

“Hybrid rockets?”

On the way, Dingo explained about the injection system. Combustible oxidizers react with the fuel, this was what allowed the rocket to take off. The orbit launching system was done in three ways. Using liquid fuel, solid fuel, or hybrid engines. As the name implies, in a liquid fuel engine, the fuel interacts with a liquid oxidizer. In a solid fuel engine, ammonium perchlorate interacts with powder polybutadiene or aluminum. They use the so-called composite rocket fuel.

Despite the power of the liquid fuel engines, due to the complexity of the components, it was very difficult to store the oxidizer and fuel. So, they were only used inside of a country. In this scenario, solid fuel engines are much more convenient for use, but for the processing of composite fuel, a highly developed industry was needed. But after the nano-catastrophe, such productions didn’t become as easy as before to fulfill.

Finally, the hybrid engines. They were called so because they were capable of using a liquid oxidizer along with a solid fuel. The raw materials for such fuel could be well-known materials, besides they were easy to handle. But they have a weak combustible capacity, and a much weaker pull compared to the other fuel injection systems. Before the nano-catastrophe, these could have been found in low budget research centers and private enterprises. And under the current conditions, there was a chance of creating something similar.

“On this rocket with a hybrid engine, nitrous oxide is used as the oxidizing component. This is taken from ammonium nitrate.”

Dingo nodded in confirmation.

“And already three generations have been collecting this fertilizer. Which is rather unusual. Perhaps he works at an old factory for the production of explosives. But then, all of these explosives would get into the market. If so, I would have known, but I’ve heard nothing of this. Nitrous oxide is used as anesthetics. But why so much of it? He is buying materials from Lazlo’s family for more than one generation now.”

They came back to the land rover and headed for the ruins up north, of which Lazlo spoke.


The city was huge. There were many skyscrapers towering in a row, and the roads intertwined. In this place that had flourished in the past, hundreds of thousands of people lived their hurried lives. But now, there was nothing left except for ruins. Half of the buildings were collapsed, blown out by the wind and the ground was covered in sand.

Angela entered the front door of one of these buildings. There was a reel of communication cable tied to her hip. This cable went out the front door. In Angela’s air was a wired headset.

“By the way, how do you know so much about rocket fuel?”

Her voice reached Dingo, who was sitting in the alley around the corner from the old building with a laptop. This cable was connected to the laptop. Touching the headset, Dingo answered, “I was just interested. There are many different books here on Earth.”


Angela remembered, how she read a book about space technology in a car. She went through a passage from an emergency ladder. There was a spiral staircase the ends of which were not seen. Exhausted, she began to climb.

“Since he’s going to use a rocket with a hybrid engine, collecting the raw materials wouldn’t be a problem for him. ABS plastic and acrylic resin are used in plastic bottles and car parts, as well as synthetic rubber. The ruins of the old world are full of these. But no oxidizing agents. To clean it, raw materials are needed. So I checked to see if anyone is constantly selling unusual chemicals. And this is the result.”

Heavily breathing while climbing the stairs, Angela said, “Incredible. You believed in this lie.”

“That is one of the possibilities, but also the most reasonable. In any case, we have no other options.”

“Well yes… Pioneer has been collecting ammonium nitrate for a long time now.”

“Someone hacked into Deva and is making plans to go to space. And he is clearly not alone, since he has been acting for a long time. It is a well-organized organization, capable of collecting a large number of materials. This means that the plan was made many years ago. It is possible that this plan was being made not only before Deva but maybe even before the nano-catastrophe. And as they are working on their long-term project in secret, it’s clear that people from Deva knew nothing of this.”

“To invest so much time and money into nothing. What were they thinking? Are they okay?”

“Did you not hear the story of a postman who built a palace out of roadside stones?”

Angela stopped abruptly. The spiral staircase was broken. All the concrete crumbled from it, exposing the metal frame that could collapse at any moment. It was enough to just step to fall through. It was impossible to get through. There was only one way - down. There was a metal door. Opening it, a strong wind blew. Attached to the wall, there was another staircase. Angela looked up. The top floor was still far away. Sighing, she continued to climb.

“Oh my trusty guide, can I ask you a question?”


“Am I imagining things or have we switched roles?”

“You said that you wanted to explore from a height.”

“This is the most effective way.”

“Besides, I’m afraid of heights. I’ll get up, but then won’t be able to move. Don’t think badly of me.”

Having climbed up the emergency ladder, Angela noticed a stepladder. There were still ten metres left to the top, so it was impossible to get there without it. Cunningly she said to Dingo.

“You’re worthless.”

She finally got to the roof. She was breathing heavily, the climbing had exhausted her. The feeling of despair grew. She looked around. This was just an empty city. Angela took a break and, turning on her wrist computer, checked the direction with a digital compass. She opened up her backpack and took out a remote control camera. She connected it to the cable. Angela installed it on the roof fence. She told Dingo about this.

“I installed it. Can you see everything normally?”

Dingo confirmed the presence of a picture on the computer screen. With the help of the touchpad, he checked the functions of magnification and fixation.

“Perfect. The signal is good.”

Angela took a telescope from her hips and began to observe the ruins. There were no living souls seen, just sand-filled buildings. She was slowly changing the angle of inclination. On the road, surrounded by abandoned buildings, was some movement.

“Dingo, eight and a half hours.”

The rotation mechanism on the camera started working.

“I see it…”

The camera lense caught a working robot, moving along the road. He had two double arms and four legs.

“Wow,” Dingo said in surprise, “This is a working robot from before the nano-catastrophe. And it is still in working order.”

She started looking for the one that operated this robot, but saw no one.


“No, it’s not that good. Remote control. Someone is directing him from a distance.



The roar of a truck’s engine was heard. Hearing it, Dingo hid in the shadows with his laptop. A truck slowly drove out from the rubble. Lazlo was behind the wheel.

“There he is. He came earlier than we thought.”

“I’m going down.”

She pulled out some rope and fasteners from her backpack. She attached the rope to the fence and to the descending device on her hip before beginning to descend from the building. Angela reached the ground almost immediately. She ran towards Dingo who was sitting with his laptop.

“Are you tracking him?”

“Yep. He arrived at the meeting place.”

Angela looked at the screen. The camera showed a large intersection between the skyscrapers. Lazlo’s truck was parked right there. The same robot they saw earlier stood in front of the truck. Picking up one of the manipulators, it signaled him to stop. More robots appeared on all sides of the truck. Some were of the same model and one was a large cargo model.

“How many are there…”

“Don’t ask me. Plus, these aren’t just the older models. He built them from different parts. He must have access to the old technologies.”

“Do you have any idea of who could’ve done this?”

“Not at all. These days, anyone that can restore these robots could easily become a king around here. But he’s just hiding and suspiciously building something…”

Dingo made a serious face.

“He’s a real villain.”

Lazlo climbed out of the car with a briefcase. The robots surrounded him. Lazlo raised his hands, to show that he wasn’t hiding anything. There was a fake smile on his face, hiding his fear. No matter how many times he came here before, he still couldn’t get used to these strange robots. He put the briefcase on the ground and opened it to reveal a white container full of ammonium nitrate.

One of the robots stepped forward and analyzed the contents through its camera. It pulled out a manipulator. It seemed that it was ready to accept the goods. Lazlo closed the briefcase and placed it on the manipulator. The cargo robot took the briefcase. Inside were electronic schemes and parts. He put it on the cargo platform.

“It’s just like Lazlo said.” Dingo said as he looked at the screen, “There’s nobody. The exchange was entirely handled by robots.”

“But why?”

“Who knows. Maybe he’s just shy.”

The robot with the briefcase started to leave. It went down into the subway near an intersection.

“What’s down there?”

“The entrance to the subway. There’s an underground railway system left from a long time ago.”

“Can people really still ride there?”

“Only robots can. Wow, they returned the railroad into working condition.”

“But it’s interesting, where will they take all this?”

“That’s true. But luck is finally shining upon us.”

He made a few operations and the screen changed from the camera to a signal transmitter.  They were receiving a radio wave signal. Back in Lazlo’s store, when Dingo was touching the contents of the case, he placed a pulse transmitter wrapped in aluminum in the ammonium nitrate.

“Well… It was lucky that I had such an anachronism.”

“Quickly, follow him.”

Angela stood up. Dingo rose after her, unplugging the cable from the computer. They headed for the land rover parked nearby.


The working robot, carrying the case with the ammonium nitrate with utmost care, went down the stairs and through the turnstiles. There were no employees or passengers in the station. An automatic cargo train stopped at the quiet platform. All of the cargo space was filled with organic plastic, old tires, and other garbage; all the things that contain acrylic resin and synthetic rubber.

The robot put down the case. The train began to move slowly. Gradually, it began to gain speed. On the surface, Dingo drove the land rover behind it. Next to him sat Angela with a compass on her wrist computer and was checking the old map. From time to time, she glanced at the computer standing on the dashboard on which the beacon signal flashed. The antenna on the car received a signal, determining the position of the transmitter.

And yet, the signal range was only 600 meters, so if the target begins to gain speed, it will not be easy to track it. The signal began to be interrupted. Fortunately, the target was heading by a railway route. Before everything turned into ruins, detailed maps and routes were made. As long as there was a feeble signal, they could have guessed where to go.

However the subway was a real web, so the map didn’t show where the transitions in between the routes were. And there was nothing to do about this.

“Go faster. The signal is getting weak.”

“As if I could.”

The target was moving on a train that had no obstacles in its way while they had to drive through a ruined city. Dingo steered as he could, continuing to squeeze the gas pedal.

“Looks like he’s taking the route out of town. I think we need to go to the north.”

“Got it.”

The land rover left the ruined city. Sunlight was flooding the desert.

“It looks like he hasn’t noticed the beacon yet.”

Dingo nodded.

“That means the person didn’t check the suitcase. It is most likely that the train is controlled by a robot too. On one hand, it’s incredible, on the other - it’s stupid.”

“He’s even collecting materials without any personal intervention, the robots do everything…”

“To do something like this with the current level of technology is a real miracle. If he can do these things, maybe he’s magical. For example, to penetrate Deva and not leave a trace behind.”

Angela frowned.

“But then how come we managed to find him so easily?”

“I believe he only tracks satellite communication systems and does not check ground radio communications.”

“But that’s not so stupid, right?”

“Well yes.”

Dingo smiled in confusion. What is this organization and what is it trying to achieve? The closer they got, the more mysterious things became. Looking at the old map, Angela said, “There is a territory that belongs to the government. There are no more stations. I think he’s heading there.”

There were no more states. After the nano-catastrophe and the collapse of the human race, humanity moved to Deva, and the countries simply disappeared. So now, these lands were the properties of a non-existent state.

“What is there?”

“It says that the land is in public ownership. Somewhat like a city.”

The old maps just had the buildings marked. But there was neither the name of the city nor the name of any other objects.

“A huge military base…”

“But it must be abandoned.”


“But if this isn’t the government, then someone else could have used this base.” They slowly approached the city blurred in a haze.

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