As Histy called for the lunch break, I held back from leaving until Travis was walking by me. “Travis, if you will meet me in Hanna’s place in about five minutes I owe you a drink as I recall.” I took his puzzled look and nod as a yes.
Making a speed run to the tent, I grabbed the full bottle of Ash’s donated Beam Daniels Grand Reserve and headed for Hanna’s Place.
Entering through the side flap, I saw Travis coming in the front entrance. “Hanna, ice and glasses are all I need please!” She handed me a bucket and two glasses with a questioning look, I just gave her a grin and a nod in Travis’s direction; her look showed even more confusion.
Walking over I said, “Glenn, as promised I am buying.” Again that nod we had all come to know as agreement!
I sat down at a table in the farthest corner put some ice in a glass and poured three fingers of booze, then gestured at Travis. He moved over took a glass with ice, poured himself about three fingers and gestured with the glass.
“Sorry to have hit you that way about Military separation but, it headed off some crap I was hearing at Buchanan’s table. To be honest, there have to be some differences between the ground and space environments just to be safe! Care to discuss me backing two cities; Liberty, Alchibah and Mayflower, Alchibah?”
Travis took a slow pull on his drink, thought a moment, and then said, “Here’s the thing, Andy, a ship – even one the size of the Mayflower, can’t be a democracy. It just can’t and never in the history of all ships, water bourn or space bound has a democracy worked. Oh, I captain with the lightest of touches but in the end, I have to be the final decision maker, arbiter of disputes, and sometimes, as was needed on the voyage here, cop, prosecutor, judge, and jury.
“Now,” he continued, “We have every intention of doing our best to protect you folks because firstly, you’re our friends and secondly, it’s in our own interests. What threatens you threatens us. And we will work with you to those ends, without asking for anything in return.
“But realistically, our society will never resemble yours on the planet and just as we cannot – should not – presume to tell you how to run your town, so too, we need autonomy to run our lives as we see fit.”
It was my turn obviously, “I could not agree with you more Glenn, what we have to do is head off the idiots who do not understand Command Authority or why it is absolutely necessary. So if you agree I am going to go back into that meeting and propose a Federal type system. The council we are discussing is the Federal level and Mayflower has to be represented. Then each city-state Liberty and Mayflower have their own councils and sets of rules! How you have to gig a crewmember for leaving an air-tight hatch open should be none of our business. Just as how we have to convince a ground bunny not to go out of protected areas without something big enough to drop a slizzard is our problem!
“Anyone who can even begin to understand the concept of a gravity well is going to realize that the bulk of the defense for Alchibah is going to have to come from Mayflower. However, we don’t want the ground dwellers worrying about that. They are going to have to learn their own survival skill set as I am afraid many of them do not understand how hostile a frontier can be!
“We are going to need each other but, we don’t need to be in each others business!”
“Exactly,” Travis said, “And that is why, from a governmental sense of things Mayflower and Liberty need to be considered as separate entities. I’m sure that trade between the two of us will be profitable for both. For instance,” and he paused, giving Stuart a pointed look, “I’m hoping you will support a little proposition I will make to the town leaders once land issues are decided. In exchange for the four lifeboats – converted to have much greater range, shielding, and such armaments as we can currently provide, I’m hoping the colony will grant us a few acres of land in your town. After all – I can’t very well deny my crew the occasional shore leave.
“There are many things that each colony can trade with,” he continued, “For instance, we will certainly welcome fresh foods, once your agriculture is up and running. And it would be nice to have some real wood to work with here – if just to panel the cold steel walls of our ship’s cabins. In exchange, we can provide the H3 and deuterium needed by you all to run those ships. To that end, by the way, Hibbes is working on a safe storage system for fuels that can live by the landing area.”
Travis paused to finish off his drink and then said, “Also, until you folks have your own foundry going, we will, with our modest one, be able to provide steel goods for you once the fitting of the lifeboats is complete.”
I leaned back and finished my drink, “Might as well take a refill with you. People generally trust someone with a drink in their hand to not be up to skullduggery. As to your proposition, we are going to be the two halves of a whole. I can see that as equivalent to a New York corporation having a resort in Arizona for their employees.
“Now if you will excuse me, Captain, I have to go play some backroom politics. While we were on the Mayflower, I had a chance to return the favor and dig into your records. In my opinion if there is a better, man alive to become Commander (Space) for Alchibah. I have never met him! Have a good day.”