Cleaning House, a continuation of Unicorn/Factory

After The Grey Line (lj), Productive, The Governors (LJ), and Right & Wrong

Unicorn Factory has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

The Guilian story may contain references to “going down to the river” but no direct unicorn-on-human violence.

Santha had been sorting through Antheri’s papers for a week already, and, from the looks of her careful notes, she had at least two weeks to go. From the looks of things, even if Antheri had been completely right about everything, he had also been a) completely insane, and b) willing to do whatever it took to appease the monsters he believed the Governors to be, up to and including murder.

Guilian had not been idle while his new assistant – that was, Santha, and to the sewers with anyone who felt that was inappropriate – worked on Antheri’s paperwork. The Factory and the Town and thus the areas around the Factory and the Town had been under Antheri’s care for far too long; there were more tangles to straighten out than there were hours in Guilian’s days.

Today, he was staring at the output from the Factory, and working on a way to build in what should have been there from the beginning – some sort of filter on the waste. He had already worked out where the coriander everywhere was coming from, and, after a series of long and heated arguments, allowed cilantro plants to be set in pots around the perimeter of the town wall only. It would slow down the unicorn incursions without hurting either the unicorn-pregnant or the beasts (if they were indeed beasts) themselves.

But the coriander was not the only output, and the factory waste currently spewed directly into the river. Thus, the Administrator was standing in hip boots with the foreman of the plant, staring at the grey-black water.

“We need an engineer.”

“An engineer, sir?” The foreman was a steady man, but slow. “What for? We just need to get a bit of space here for a filter set-up.”

Guilian counted to ten silently. “And where are we going to get the space?”

The foreman looked at him as if he were the slow one. “I figured we’d just divert the river three feet that way.” He pointed away from the Factory. “We’ve already got the races in upstream, for power. We can just change their aim a bit, and drop rock here above the river level.”

This time, when Guilian counted to ten, it was to keep himself from sounding stupid again. “Brilliant. Get some workers on that, then.” One more problem solved. If he didn’t get any new problems by dusk, he’d actually be ahead.

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0 thoughts on “Cleaning House, a continuation of Unicorn/Factory

  1. Guilian: At first I misread it as “Giulian” < Italian. Then I caught myself and looked closer. Now I'm thinking of it as Mandarin transcribed in pinyin, pronounced roughly "gway-lyen", rhyming with "say when".

      • … what did you mean by “drop rock”? A swale filter (bioswale may be the more proper term for what I had in mind) is a low area area/channel full of stuff (rocks, sand, plantings) that water is directed through to slow and filter and sometimes store it. Directing the water to a larger area rather than letting it cut its own narrow channels helps reduce topsoil loss. Giving it an area full of obstacles to meander through traps large debris and lets small stuff settle out. Some chemical and biological pollutants can be trapped specific plants and/or materials (activated charcoal). I’m used to hearing about them in the context of urban stormwater management; locally part of the point is to keep trash out of the river (much easier to pull it out of a swale post-storm), and part to provide spaces for water to go so that it doesn’t overflow the storm drains. (Politics about sewage and stormwater separation and/or processing go here.) In other places trapping the water so that it filters into the ground rather than running off is part of the point. Sometimes they’re not much more than a grassy ditch, but I’ve also seen them very nicely landscaped. Go large-scale and it’s building a managed, artificial wetland area. (There’s a park not too far from me with a series of carefully planned ponds that exists in part to deal with runoff from the nearby highway and office park. It’s got carp and turtles and frogs and ducks and is surprisingly nice.) I imagine that if the water it’s handling is particularly nasty, it might need to be mucked out and the trapped stuff processed or stored, and eventually they’ll fill with silt and need to be redug, but any sort of water processing needs maintenance. More on swales and bioswales.

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