The Patterns of Mesuta, Texas
a short story
Normally, operators avoided having multiple tubes of the Hyperloop energized at the same transit point.
Utilities didn’t like the intense draw it put on electrical substations in rural areas, and corporate really didn’t like waterfalls.
Nonetheless, as demand for transit drove faster launch intervals at Hyperloop stations, moiré patterns of mutual line activation emerged.
Jed and Dylan Hanson were four and six when carrier infrastructure for hyperloop rails were first laid outside their town of Mesuta, Texas. Once a successful junction for intrastate travel between Texan megacities, the Hyperloop changed everything, they were told.
Monied travelers of the metros were already waning in Mesuta, as autonomous vehicle refuel patterns removed arbitrary stops from trips.
Local jobs laying the Hyperline were real, but amounted to subcontracted brush clearing. Land for pennies, promises for days, monuments to deprecation.
Metal and buildings not worth effort to rip them from the ground rusted in Texas sun, shaded periodically only by hazmat haul road trains.
This was a dead place; A forgotten place whose infinite prominence was once assured forever by geography, then ripped away by technology.
Jed laid under a struggling A/C, terminal behind polling Hyperloop API every minute for departures - algorithm searching for a trinity.
For days the dutiful program executed its commands, incrementing for patterns. On Sunday, it alarmed. Departure Austin. Trinity: 26 minutes.
Dylan woke, looked at the screen, then at Jed, and wordlessly stood. Opening their door to the mid-day sun, he made his way to church.
21 minutes: HVDC interconnects activated, feeding capacitors. Parallel coil whine twinged, pulsing sonic heartbeats through the air.
Hyperline Mesuta Cross was nicknamed The Church by workers, who during testing noticed an unanticipated resonance in the superstructure. An interference pattern in the overlapping magnetics induced the aural vibration, ultimately found benign to long-term system integrity.
24 minutes: The two parallel and third intersecting Hyperlines were fully powered - magnetics and vacuum boosters spooling at full load.
25 minutes: The Hyperpod from Austin carrying twenty-six passengers entered the Mesuta area Hyperloop subsection at 623 miles per hour.
26 minutes: “Punch it,” said Jed over the radio. A shaped charged high explosive punctured the Hyperloop Hyperline Rail 1 external sheath.
The explosive could be seen bursting outward in a roar, then immediately plunged back into the vacuum of the tube, its shrapnel peppering.
The Austin Hyperpod travelled through the breach, a hammer of atmospheric air near sea level slamming it against the interior guides.
Traveling 300 more feet before destabilizing back and forth, the pod rapidly decelerated, disintegrating its cabin and breaching the outside wall.
The pod’s heavy turbulence damper sled exited Hyperline Rail 1, turned perpendicular, and shattered the struts for parallel Hyperline Rail 2.
A Hyperpod from Houston entered the now-falling section, shunted downward, killing everyone from blunt force before ripping their bodies apart.
The breach of two Hyperlines and loss of connectivity to pods raised an Eschelon 1 alarm at headquarters. “Director, we have a waterfall.”
Autonomous systems immediately began de-energizing components in the Mesuta subsection, polling all sensors for last data captured, preserving analytics.
Although only two lines had been breached, all six airtight emergency shutters in the three proximate Mesuta lines locked closed for safety.
However, design documents for the Hyperloop safety spool-down never tested for three simultaneously active proximate Hyperline rails.
A Hyperpod from Dallas in the subsection never received a halt command, and slammed into a sealed shutter 2 miles away, killing all onboard.
5 years later.
Governor and victims families finished their speeches, laid wreaths at the monument, and boarded buses back to metropolis.
The Hyperloop in Mesuta was redesigned, the sympathetic patterned whine of the Church eliminated. Safety testing was improved nationwide.
No one would ever see this monument.
No rest stops for the weary.
Just a sealed tube, once again, passing Mesuta by.