The Helical Engine
By Jefenry - © 2009

           Long ago in the land of Tsori there lived a madcap inventor whose name was Kalthor. Now Tsori's hierarchy consisted of nobles, philosophers, inventors, and many disgruntled peasants. The Grand Potentate of Tsori lived in an ancient castle and ruled his subjects with an iron fist. All peasants were required to work in the fields from five in the morning until sundown, Monday through Saturday. Sunday, the peasants attended the State Church until noon, and then returned to the fields until five. Generations passed, and the peasants grew weary of this harsh rule and swore they would destroy the Grand Potentate and rule themselves. Thus Caedmon, an angry peasant, stole away from the fields one day and met with Kalthor (the most brilliant inventor in all the land) to ask him to make a weapon to end their misery.

           Kalthor listened to Caedmon's plea and agreed to build a weapon to end the peasant's misery. One day while Kalthor was experimenting in his laboratory, he designed a trigonal helix. It consisted of three iron bars twisted around each other to form a tight spiral with hundreds of twists per foot. These twisted iron bars made a tube and had a central diameter of only a quarter of an inch. Kalthor suspected that if a magnet with a positive charge was placed on top of the helix and a negatively charged magnet was placed on the bottom, a negatively charged substance would flow from the bottom to the top. The trigonal helix would act as a coil and would amplify the magnetic induction and rapidly propel the negatively charged substance toward the positively charged end. If he removed the magnet on top at the right time, a glob of this substance would be flung out of his contraption with considerable speed.

           Just as Kalthor had gotten comfortable to ponder the appropriate substance to use, he noticed that sunlight streaming through his window had struck a magnifying glass clamped to a holder and had cast a bright circle upon his desk. "That's it!" exclaimed Kalthor excitedly. "I must cleverly arrange a series of mirrors and magnifying lenses to converge upon a single point. It will become so hot that the air itself will vaporize and fuel this reaction. I'll use a static converter to give the ball of plasma an electrical charge; then I can remove the top magnet and this molten glob of air will be discharged through the helical coil. It will burn everything it touches until it cools and dissipates. Finally the peasants and I will be able to destroy the evil Potentate once and for all!"

           During the next month, Kalthor set out to build his biggest Helical Engine yet. He had made many models and all had performed well. The only flaw with Kalthor's weapon was that it could only be fired once per day. The optimum time was at noon when the sun's rays were most powerful and Kalthor's arrangement of mirrors most efficient. Kalthor's small models could shoot a ball of plasma a third of a mile and the plasma stayed hot enough to vaporize rock for eight minutes. As the plasma cooled, it remained hot enough to ignite wood for forty five minutes. "Surely no one will survive my weapon, and the full sized model will be even more powerful," said Kalthor to himself as he prepared his weapon.

           Finally the day came when Kalthor had hidden hundreds of mirrors on a mountain near the castle. He had also positioned lenses to magnify the light reflected from the mountain and his biggest trigonal helix had been assembled and mounted on a wooden cart. Kalthor hitched a team of oxen to the cart and began to lead them to a secret spot on the mountain.

           Once they arrived, Kalthor carefully positioned the weapon toward the castle and pulled a cord that was attached to wooden shutters on the hidden mirrors. Light began to stream from the mirrors to the lenses, and from the lenses to the base of Kalthor's Helical Engine. Kalthor held a rope that went to the magnet at the top of his cannon, and watched as the converging light began to get brighter and brighter. Kalthor intently watched his chronometer and when all three hands aligned at twelve, Kalthor released the plasma. An instant later, he pulled the rope to the top magnet, and watched as the molten plasma arched through the sky towards the castle a mile and a half away.

           "Look!" shouted Mathloe, the peasant in charge of overseeing the work, as he pointed to the sky. "It is a comet from the Gods!" shouted another peasant. "No, it is the work of Kalthor, the one who will set us free from our misery!" shouted Caedmon.

           The ball of plasma crashed down into the castle and immediately vaporized everything it touched. Molten plasma splattered outward devouring everything in its path. Great stone walls turned to steam in seconds and soon all that was left of the castle was a smoking crater where the evil Potentate once ruled.

           The peasants listened in awe as Caedmon recounted his secret trip to visit Kalthor and cheered when they heard they were no longer under the rule of the Grand Potentate. The thankful peasants immediately made Kalthor king and set out to build another castle for themselves. To this day Kalthor rules the land and the Helical Engine was locked away in a mountain cave, never to be used again.