A bedraggled figure struggled into the area where Hanna Parker was running the first restaurant/bar/common room on Alchibah from the palatial confines of a corner of a tent.
Ash groaned, “Can I have some coffee; black and strong please!”
Hanna turned to hide her stare as she dug out a packet of the old US SOCOM MRE coffee, the kind with triple the caffeine. Running that through the fast pot, she handed it to him as requested. “Pardon me if I am prying but what has got your goat. I have never seen you like this!”
Ash looked up from behind four days growth of beard and the worst case of bloodshot eyes Hanna had ever seen; “I have to give a bunch of people news they do not really want to hear. Travis and Bartlett are probably never going to trust me again and when I talk to Mariana she’s probably gonna kill me! So, it’s just a great fracking day on Alchibah. Well, Might as well get this started.”
Ash keyed his wrist comp, “Bartlett, Ash Andrews; on the next rotation of the shuttle, I need a private face to face with you and Travis. I have something that needs to go only to you two!”
Bartlett’s voice cracked in return, “Ash, this had better be good! The next time Travis will be available will be the AM landing on Day 2.”
“Good enough I’ll meet you at the landing field and it’s that important, Andrews clear.”
Hanna stared and asked, “What’s that important?”
“Oh, just the classified data base off of Pursuit Cruiser 1192; you know the one I was flying! I think I left the UNWG the Lancers DEE-HEE pulse drive as well as the gravitational grabber drive that made the Mayflower possible!”
Hanna asked in a bewildered tone, “And how in the world did you do that.”
“Well, right when Andy and Mariana were getting out of the service; the UNWG was jacking me around on mom’s health care. I wound up staying in to insure she got it. I got bored, decided to go for another PHD, and wrote a thesis on Drive design. Guess where R. J. got the idea for the grabber drive. Hell, he even tried to hire me. The UNWG quashed publication and all that got out were a few private copies. A friend of mine gave his to Hamilton. I thought the UNWG had destroyed all mention of it. Surprise, Surprise; there was a copy in that data base!”
“Oh Dear, and Bartlett is never going to believe you had nothing to do with it’, Hanna commiserated.
“Yep, and wait till I fill in Marina’s data. Oh hell, I know it’s early; but, you got a shot of anything about a hundred proof back there!”