Morning Day 18
I slept in for a change, I barely acknowledged Marinna when she left for the Lab. Ash had to go to the Lab to install the last link of the Software Firewall, so we were not going to start the cook off till the afternoon. So for the first time in weeks I had a slow morning.
The one thing I had not figured out was what we were going to do with the 6 quarts of our test run. Our best test said it was 180 Proof, not for the faint of heart for sure.
I stopped by Hanna’s place for breakfast and got asked if I wanted to try the “New” home fries. As I could find no real difference, I asked what was new about them.
Hanna grinned, “Those are your new ‘Quasi-potatoes’. How do they taste?”
I mumbled around my mouthful, “Sell ‘em Hanna, they be good!”
Bart came in grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down. “Didn’t see you at the service yesterday?”
I sighed, “And you never will if it’s not a Funeral. Bart, I am not an Atheist but I damn sure am an Agnostic.
“Don’t get me wrong I believe in God but I have no use for any organized religion. I have spent most of my life fighting one religious fanatic or another.
“You know where the Christians have it wrong; God did all his planning first. The first words he spoke where “Let There Be Light” and then there was a damn big bang. He’s sitting around somewhere in space and time with a really, great brew in hand thinking ‘How are They gonna Screw this Up Today?
“Anyway I gotta go, see you around Quigley!”
I moved out of Hanna’s knowing jaws were dropping behind me. Then my wrist comp chimed, it was Kurt Kellerman. “Finally got your tests on the Unicow done and figured out why it took so long.
“The computer was rejecting the results because it was too close to an Earth result.
“That’s Beef Boss, so close the computer was sure we were spoofing it with a test run.”
“OK, thanks. Now I have to make a couple of calls, one I am going to enjoy, and one I won’t”
First, the one I wanted to make.
“Dr. Hibbes on Mayflower, A. Stuart; private and Secure Please.”
I waited on the normal delay for the Mayflower and finally got Hibbes on the line.
“What can I do for you Mr. Stuart?”
“How would you like to make a commercial deal that you can probably do in your sleep; remembering that the ground component will probably pay well.”
I heard a long pause, “Well Mr. Stuart what could you have that I would want and what do I have that you would want?”
I had the mental image of a hook setting in a Tuna. “Let me list it. I have fresh made Bourbon, several meats that are not chicken and a vein of 70 percent pure Chalcopyrite that I can start shipping up on a moments notice. “You have a motor winding shop, which you as well as I know can wind generators just as easily. I need three more 150 KVA generators and I don’t really care what they cost. Do we have a basis for discussion?”
“Oh Dear Lord, I would have to discuss this with Capt. Travis. Please hold a moment…”
A couple minutes later, Hibbes returned to the secure line and said, “All set with Travis. The Chalcopyrite will be a big help. There’s no copper ore in this asteroid rock and with all the circuitry we have to build…And you folks will be needing more simple wire for your projects, too. Also, Travis asked how his boots were coming?”
“Chalcopyrite is in plentiful supply. I got about two tons we moved out of the Hydro site. You have a smelter, I don’t. At least till I get those three generators in place.
“Tell Travis that I actually found a 2 Qt. Mason Jar that is full of a clear liquid that is not for the young or faint of heart. And, his boots are ready.
“So, like I said Doc; what’s your price?”
Hibbes thought a moment and said, “Anything that isn’t chicken does sound good. Plus, our ‘greenhouse’ vegetables are limited in variety and taste. Have you folks discovered any tasty plant products yet?”
“Oh yes Doc, I’ll happily throw in a load or two of the tubers we found as well as a load of tasty berries Kara discovered in some bushes growing by the river. So I think we have a deal?”
“I think we do, Sir. And don’t forget that homegrown bourbon. Chandler and I enjoy a drink or two in our late night brainstorming sessions.”
“Done deal Doc, tell Travis to give me his ETA and we will have it ready. Stuart Out”
“Jai Benjamin, A. Stuart open.”
“LT. grab a couple of the young guns and go bust me a couple of Unicows. Then put your best tracker to follow the herd reaction, we just made a deal with Mayflower and I am going to negotiate with elements on the planet to utilize the herd.”
“Yes Sir, you are not going to send someone to ride herd?”
“LT, did you hear anything you, Summer and Ryu can’t handle?”
“Sir, No Sir”
“Carry On, LT.”
Then I had to make the call I did not want to make. “L. Reye, A. Stuart, Private please!”
“What can I possibly do for you COL. Stuart?” Was the Ice-cold reply!
“Sir, the Militia has discovered a bovine animal that the Lab has analyzed as an almost perfect replication of Earth Beef.
“I was wondering if you would like to take a shot at trying to domesticate it. The Militia will undertake to drive a herd into a holding pen of your construction.
“Even if this animal which is temporarily named the Unicow can not be domesticated; it could be an interim source of protein until we can get some Cows up via the tubes.”
I heard a confused voice ask, “Why would you offer this to me?”
“Lester, this is Andy talking. Put this in your memory; don’t ask me the question if you don’t want to hear the answer. I don’t like you that’s no secret, mostly because you present yourself as an Officious, Bureaucratic Prick.
“But, I have no reason to hate you or to call Blood Feud on your House. To me your one saving grace is that you are the Father of SGT. Mike Reye; no one who can do that can be completely bad.
“I don’t have to like you to work with you to the betterment of Alchibah.
“So, Sir do we have a deal?”
“Yes Andy, we do. I will contact you when we have the corral ready!”
“OK Lester, I will be waiting.”
I stood up from the bench outside Hanna’s where I had been sitting and as I turned to walk away, I caught the eyes of Buchanan. In them, I saw the very definition of hate.
“Dear God Andy, one of these days you are going to have to kill that Bastard.” I thought!