On October 21, 2063, as the maglev train shot silently through the tunnel connecting the cities on opposite sides of the chain of hills, there was just a single sound that rang out feebly. A tiny pebble, dislodged from its place at the ceiling of the tunnel by a small rodent, had struck the side of the train. The impact at 450 km/hr had created a nasty gash about an inch long on the glossy surface of the train. Immediately, there started a silent movement among the meshwork that lay below the surface of the vehicle. The arteries that were exposed by the gash were now sensing an imbalance between the chemical potential within them and outside. The pasty material inside them started diffusing out of the semi-permeable membrane of the mesh. As it came into contact with air, it slowly hardened. The rate of diffusion got slower, but it was never quite zero. As the train emerged out of the kilometer long tunnel, its surface was smooth and flawless to the human eye. To the computer eye, that is, sensors, the surface was near perfect. There was a recorded log of the outflow of material from the meshwork in the concerned area. A repair schedule had been fixed when the train would reach its terminal station.
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