The tradesman assessed the stock of supplies that had been provided by the queen's agents. Looks like they are over half way through, that is good. He searched through the bustle of gnomes around the large contraption and found the quirky fellow he had spoken with when the supplies had first been dropped off - Master Inventor Birble it was?
Drast: "Excuse me, Master Birble....?
The gnome cut him off: "Master Inventor Ebbilan Birblenic, Ranking 7th Cog, Steam Harnesser Extraordinaire and Professor of the Mechanical arts and languages. And you are?"
Drast: "I am the ferrier who brought you all of the supplies from the Queen to distribute, we had to go over the logistics of your process for over 2 days, don't you remember?"
Master Birblenic: "You humans all look alike, and I have more important matters to dedicate my intellectual prowess to - I guess I can spare 2.5 to 3.2 minutes to discuss."
Drast: "It looks like you have gone through over half the supplies that were provided - I assume this means you have been successful with your.... machine?"
Master Birblenic: "Oh, extremely successful, we have had 46 successes so far to be precise. And by machine, I can only assume you are referring to the Remote Access Distribution and Conveyance System?"
Drast: "Yes, that's what I meant. Of course. So do you have an estimate of how many of the remote natives have been supplied with the Remote .. System"
Master Birblenic: "Let me see here - Yes, that's right, our current count is at... 0"
Drast: "0? You said you had 46 successes, how are you defining success?"
Master Birblenic: "Well of course, every successful engagement of the Distribution and Conveyance Instrument. If you counted every time the system ignited, we would be well into the 100's by now. Now if you were to account for the Master of Accounting for Collateral Losses and Costs, he wouldn't count the 3 injuries and the fatality, so that would put us at 43, but I've always been able to place the Science first!:
Master Birblenic: "On trial run 168, the instrument released radially instead of longitudinally, and Steamsmith 2nd Cloud Algold was within the radial path. But - as they say - lives sacrificed in the pursuit of science are the foundation of what gnomish technology is build upon."
Drast: "But don't you have catapults you could have used?"
Master Birblenic: "Yes, but we have rainwater, and we still used distilled and purified water to power our steam engines don't we. The catapult requires beasts of burden to set the mechanism, requiring a minimum of 50 feet, it is limited in range to a mere 1500 feet, it is difficult to rotate."
Drast interrupted: "This looks stationary to me."
Master Birblenic: "This current iteration, yes, the rotation feature was not considered until design phase 41, and by that point we had invested significant effort into design plans, parts fabrication, and ground preparation, so it was decided that it be included in a future iteration - maybe 4h or 4i?"
Drast: So you have yet to provide supplies to anyone in the area?
Master Birblenic: "I would say that we have theoretically supplied everyone within a 10,000 foot radius for at least the next 400 years, and besides, we here have been supplied quite nicely ever since this endeavor began."
Master Birblenic: "You're quite welcome. Now, I must get back to work, Good day."