Day 32 0430
The day started as expected, first the the call to Bill Bartlett and then the long slog with the Guns to bring this place up. I kinda liked the look on Hanna’s face when we turned on the lights and brought all the freezers up at once. Even better was when we told her that her Microwave oven was in play.
The first glitch was when we brought up the Lab / Hospital complex. The accumulator there had been stressed hard; with only the solar cells to provide a charge it took to the new feed like a hungry dog. We had red lights every where as the Lab control unit sucked charge out of the system.
“Alpha Group, we have to pause and let the Lab charge a bit. It’s 0645, those who wish to can go down to the Space Port and be in the ceremony; of course if you want to take a nap do so!”
Day 32 0700
Standing beside Mariana I thought Travis’s speech was short and to the point. During Lester Reyes bloviating I had to make a couple of snide remarks to Mariana.
“Shut up and thank your blessings,” she said. “Even he can only talk so long!”
“Thank God,” was my reply.
When the ceremony was over Ash and I immediately cornered Travis. His first statement was a doozie.
He produced an Ice Cube and said, “Monroe said here is the Manual Set; and if I have to teach Ash Andrews how to fly this thing or Andy Stuart how to maintain it, we are lost already.”
I gave him a grin and said, “Well give us the nickel tour anyway, when you produce this you should have the right to brag a bit!”
Travis said, “Note the increased shielding, guys. We applied an extra layer of lead for increased radiation protection but there’s also a network of copper substrate to bleed off energy weapon attacks. Best of all, though, Hibbes then thought to coat the entire ship with nano-paint. There’s a control on the dash console to change the color of the ship for better camouflage and concealment.
“What was originally the forward crash-bar has also been altered; we drilled the beams out and in one is mounted a laser cannon off the old Lancer.” Travis chuckled and then said, “The old Lancer. A couple months ago – minus cryo sleep – it was saving our asses from the Goonies! The other forward beam will hold the plasma ball gun the mad scientists are working on. There’s a hatch on of the body of the ship that pops up to reveal one of the 100 millimeter guns – also from the Lancer.”
Travis lit a cigarette and then continued, “We ripped out six seats to make room for additional fuel capacity and the ship stores of food and materials supplies – the emergency rations and clothing, medical, what have you, — are also mostly gone. The cabin is a lot smaller but the extra fuel, as well as some improvements to the engines, give you far greater range. The little galley is still there, though, and of course the john. Ash, your shield field plans are incorporated as well. These shuttles will never be as fleet as a battle cruiser but they are now tough little son-of-a-bitches.”
I paused to light up also, “Travis, I don’t know how we can thank you. I went into harms way in a lot worse. Remind me to throw the appropriate feast someday. Histy is waiting for you up at Hanna’s and we have work to do.
“By the way, it’s a whole lot easier to see up there now. The lights are on and all of the freezers are working. We have to go light up the rest of this place.
“Again, thanks Buddy.”
I told Ash, “Get over and move the Master Repeater, we will bring up the Control and Security Center as soon as we have the street lights going.” We both paused as Bart’s shuttle lifted into the sky.
“Damn,” I muttered, “I would rather be up there.”
Ash grimaced, “So would I, but like you said; you can’t defend a garden before you build it.”
I just stared at him; the Hound Dog had really come to ground. “Don’t worry, sooner or later it will be our turn.”
Day 32 1300
The work went on; nothing posed the challenge that the Lab / Hospital did. The rest was just dirt-ugly labor. We were testing the streetlights for God’s sake when Ash’s call that we had lost contact with the shuttle came in. Sending LT. Benjamin to finish the necessary power run; I went to the spaceport and was helping Ash download the camera data when Travis and crew arrived to return to the Mayflower in the colony’s old shuttle.
“What’s the energy here, Andy?” Travis asked.
“We lost contact with Bartlett’s shuttle and I am not sure if it’s because something went wrong; Bart just found something he wanted to go look at or it’s the communications problems we seem to be having lately. Anyway it goes; Ash wants the security cams downloaded before the local storage starts looping over last night.”
“What happened last night?” Travis asked.
“Tell you the honest truth Glen, I don’t know anything did. But, that naturally suspicious cousin of mine wanted to download the data before we lost it.
“We powered up the cameras yesterday and they only have 28 E-hours of storage before they start to overwrite the old data. If we hear from Bart we may never look at it if not well, let’s say it might get looked at hard.
“But, on a more cheerful note; do you guys have a spare growing room on the ship? One you could raise the temperature of a few more degrees? Cause if you guys can grow coffee, ya’ll got the cash crop from hell. I may humbly point out that someone has a supply of Arabica seed beans.
“You can reach her at Stuart M., whenever the comms get back to normal.”
Travis laughed and started for his shuttle.
I went up on the Alpha Group link, “OK, anybody who looks female. There is now enough hot water to do a real hair cleaning. Get outta here and we will see you the day after tomorrow. Guys, suck it up; it’s a fact of life.
“By the way, anybody who tells Mariana about this conversation is dog meat.”