All was in readiness.
The magnetic traps and screens were staged hot, and standing by. The mass-driver injectors and their stocks of catalytic reactant slugs awaited his command. Energy pulsed in the star-wrapping coils of the gravomagnetic stirrers. The gluonic strings tethering the megastructure together were nominal and stable. Data poured into the solar model from the close-in sensor platforms, displayed in a ruddy, prominence-wracked globe at his right hand to match the blaze of the star beyond the broad half-sphere viewport.
“All stations: terminate system checkout. Prepare for transition to phase one. Enable safeties.”
A ripple of blue-lit indicators showed the sacrificial safety platforms coming on-line, ready for their deaths to carry news of disaster to all nearby – potentially endangered – stars. It would take years, decades, to determine the success of this project, whether they could tame a star’s fires and lengthen its life. A mistake, however, could be manifest enough to obliterate the Athanor Array and the entire project team in a much shorter time, and then – if they somehow triggered a prompt core collapse – go on to shower a half-dozen nearby systems with lethal radiation levels. Triggering, no doubt, some most sincere apologies at their liability insurer, which would doubtless prefer not to pay out on a policy with a record-setting exponent.
A somewhat risky affair, this stellar manipulation. But then, with pure science and practical application in the balance, was there an alternative?
Not for a technarch.