Prague and Vienna are dust now. Budapest got it worse. Buda has become the White Lake, a toxic pool kilometers long on the shores of Pest.
The White Lake boils with billions of microscopic robots. They eat carbon dioxide, and anything else that falls in the Lake. Only magnets float above it.
The White Lake shits diamonds. Daily, by the hundreds. Diamonds are still valuable, so people eke out a living on its shores. Some even thrive.
István wasn't thriving. He wanted more. He wanted the big diamonds on the far shore, where the land was too soft to walk.
He talked with Lecso and Old Ferenc at One-Hour Shoes. Lecso suggested a maglev raft, like a gondola from ancient Venice.
Old Ferenc laughed. "The Lake's hot waves will toss your raft."
"No raft then," Istvan said. "Maglev skates. I will jump the waves." Old Ferenc laughed until he cried.
István stayed home for three days, spending his small purse on AI time, arguing with engineer-apps.
At midnight István woke up Lecso at One-Hour Shoes. Lecso debugged the schematics and ... they checked out. But they would be expensive to print.
Old Ferenc laughed and laughed. "Print the damn things," he told Lecso. "This is a death I will enjoy watching."
End of Part 1