Joint Post by Ashcroft and Travis
I had spent the day working with Walt who swore Travis was going to come up with the parts we needed. Andy had gone upriver with what he was calling the Young Guns. He had mumbled something about owing somebody a pair of boots, and gave me a dumbass questions to ask!
I saw Travis moving towards the landing field, so I called out. “Capt. Travis, a moment of your time if you would?”
Travis turned, saw it was I, and with a wary look said, “Yes?”
“Sir, I know you are not particularly fond of me but, I need to come up to the Mayflower for a short time. So, I need to go up on a short turn around trip. I have some software that will help us find a mole to install on your side of the Colony communications and some data that needs to go to whoever is designing the ships you have to be building! Also, Andy wants to know, Round Toes or Cockroach Killers; whatever the hell that means.”
“Please elaborate on both the software and the data,” he said.
“OK, from your perspective I would not trust me either. The software is a screening firewall that will integrate with the screening firewall we have set up on Andy’s array. It will allow us to trace back to any mole who tries to get into the two major computing nodes Alchibah has. It represents our best chance to find either a mole or a just plain asshole.”
“The data, Captain, is a derivative of my thesis that I understand you have already read. If you have the energy budget on whatever it is, you have to be building. How would you like to have a shield that will stop a KE strike?”
“An interesting theory, Dr. Andrews.” Travis thought for a moment and then said, “Please excuse me for a moment.” And he walked a little ways away and activated his wristpad link to the Mayflower. After a few minutes he returned and said, “Go get your kit, we’re going up to the ship. Lift off is in 20 minutes. You’ll be stuck there a few days because until the NIFT returns with more He3 – that’s expected the day after tomorrow – we only have sufficient fuel for one more round-trip in the Galileo and we need to reserve that for an emergency. I’ve arranged for Steven to accompany you during your stay on board. I’d have asked Rocco to do the honors but you two don’t seem to hit it off…”
He turned to go and then said, almost over his shoulder, “Oh, and tell Colonel Stuart that I want something comfortable for my feet. I have enough cowboy boots to play soccer with a BB for the rest of my life!”
“Chukkas it is, Boss, and I will make the lift. Tell Rocco, no hard feelings. See you in five!”
Ash went into his version of speed for the run to the tent. Whipped off the leather jacket and banged on the chameleon Field Jacket. The one with US SOCOM placed over the left breast pocket and Andrews over the right. Oh Yeah, and the Ten Kill Stars under the Right Breast. The LTC. leafs on the Collars were just an extra. “Travis, I thought. I am gonna’ make your fighters invincible. Just build me one fast and dangerous!”
As Travis walked up the ramp to The Galileo he grinned and said to himself, “If Hibbes is right, you’ll have one fast fighter. If Chandler is, you’ll have one that is very dangerous. If you, Ashcroft, are on the level, we will be unstoppable.” As he reached the airlock he shook his head and thought, famous last words!