Day 70 First Light
We pulled stick just after first light, “Liberty Control , Reaper Atmospheric; search sweep 22-104.”
“Reaper singing clear, Northwest Upper Slope plan confirmed; Good Luck.”
“I’m afraid we are going to need it Liberty Control. We are way down the probability list.” Turning to look at my right seat, “Ready for another boring day Jan?” She was the one shining difference in my routine at 15 years old She had caused some changes.
As I had told her parents Frank and Debbie Christopher, “I don’t think she has any military aspirations whatsoever. The only weapon she wants to talk about is a Deer rifle like her Mom.”
Debbie grinned at me, “Well, I was the one who grew up in North Dakota. The best times I ever had were hunting with my dad and I understand Unicow makes great steaks. It’s a pity I don’t have Dad’s old rifle.”
It was time for me to grin, “I don’t want to give anything away but, we are working on that.
“But. To get serious; Rich is an entirely different situation. He is driving Joe Fortson nuts with his questions. Should I try to discourage him?”
Frank sighed, “I am afraid it would do no good. His Grandfather was a Marine till the day he died. Not UNWG for sure, old USMC to the bone. Rich has said, ‘If I can’t be a Jarhead, might as well be a Spook!’”
It was my turn to laugh, “He’s got it bad all right. Those terms are fighting words coming from outsiders but, they are what we chide each other with. Only someone who knew what they really meant would use them that way. I’ll hold him off as long as I can and Jan just wants to fly. We are going to need Civilian Pilots and I think that’s all she wants to be!”
Two faces started at each other, then at me; “Mr. Stuart, if you can give this family that, then we will be happy for our twins!”
My woolgathering was interrupted by, “Madman, Madman 001 at 4000; formed Titanium at around 50 tons.” I whipped the shuttle into a 6G orbit turn around the Datum Point, listening to Jan’s grunted breathing. “Confirm mass and composition, Co-Pilot!”
I hit the repeater so that Liberty could hear our conversation, “Confirm the Datum Point as 50.6 Tons and 99.9% positive as formed Titanium and Carbon Steel. It’s somebody’s ship Pilot.”
“Liberty Security, Mayflower Control; confirm our orbit point and Reaper going to surface to confirm.”
“Liberty Security, got you to five decimals Boss. Mayflower Control, Datum Point confirmed. Good Luck!”
We screamed down into the nearest available clearance. “Let’s go Jan ,” I called as I exited the craft grabbing my water ruck. The contents had been made by Judy and Robert Davis to my specs.
When we got to the waters edge, I handed my wristcomp to Jan. “Please hold this and to keep your parents happy, turn around.” I got a very evil grin in return but, She turned around.
I got into the Slizzard skin wetsuit and the homemade goggles/snorkle combo and told Jan, “You can look now!” With that I went into the water, hovering over the Datum; I pumped up on Oxygen and kicked down.
When I broke the surface I was grasping for air and at the same time screaming, “Give me my wristcomp!”
Jan handed it to me and I screamed, “Liberty Security, Mayflower Control; Graylady Down, say again Graylady Down. It’s the Dora and the survival racks are stripped!”
From the Mayflower came Glen Travis’s cold voice, “ Say again Reaper?”
“Galloping, it’s the Dora and the survival racks are stripped. The Plasma Rifles are gone and more importantly, Mike Reyes weapons are gone. Bart and Mike are alive somewhere. When can you get here with the Galileo to do a retrieval?”
“What’s wrong with one hour from now,“ came the cold voice of The Galloping Ghost of the Belt.
“Not a damn thing I can think of Glen. Break private to Judith Reye.”
“What can I do for you Sir?”
“Ma’am, all evidence points to the fact that your Son is alive. We have found the Dora and his guns are not here. As much as you might hate me you have to agree; if those guns are not here He is still alive somewhere. If that is true, I will find him Ma’am.”
Judith Reye turned to her husband, “Lester, Mike is alive. As much as I hate to admit it , they found the Dora and his precious Guns are not there. What I do not understand is that damned Andrew Stuart just promised me that if Mike was alive He would find him.”
Lester grimaced, “Judith, I think we have chosen the wrong path. Glen Travis and Andrew Stuart are the ones who are going to save this planet. Buchanan and his crew are the problem. It’s time we woke up to reality. The real doers do; they don’t talk about it. All Buchanan does is talk, Glen and Andy do! As does our Son, or should I call him LT Reye; because if He makes it home that’s what He will be whether we like it or not!”
“Ash, Andy; got that recovery rig ready and can you get it here in an hour?”
“Shit, I was listening. Digger and I are lifting already. We are 30 minutes out.
“Bart or Mike never quit yet. Besides Quigley owes me a return punch, and I will walk through Hell to get it!”