From The Logs of Ashcroft Andrews
Day 53 Late Evening.
“Snaketrap, Dr. Hibbes Private and Secure,” I requested.
After the normal pause came, “Good Evening, Dr. Andrews. I assume that is the persona I am addressing!”
It was my turn in the cosmic scheme to be confused, “Well, I guess that would apply; but where did that come from?”
Hibbes laughed as he replied, “I have had some long conversations with Larry Monroe. He has explained the difference between Dr. Andrews, the brash Fighter Jock LTC. Andrews and the persona I don’t want to meet called Ghost.”
I gulped, “He sorta’ has it right. But if half of what I think I understand about what you are doing up there is correct; you are going to need Ghost as a Test Pilot. But, I called today to do some business. You game?”
“Well,” Hibbes replied, “I am certainly willing to listen.”
“OK, you have a working CNC machine. Save for the forged support legs and the Automated Control section; the best thing a CNC can produce is another CNC.
“I am prepared to offer you the forged supports and Automated Controls for two more CNC’s in return for one for our use.
“We will offer up a non-competition agreement so we are not making the same things for this new economy. Are you game Sir?
“Don’t answer now. Talk to Travis and Monroe and get back to me. This will help us all in ways you cannot imagine. Think about it.”
Ten Minutes Later. . .
“Doctor Stuart? The Space Jockeys are agreeable to your plan. They’d even like to go a bit further. Send us the controls for three more and we will send you back two. Plus, as you know, I designed a small sort of flying station wagon. The Flitter you’ve seen Rocco and Historian bounding around in. We traded it to them in return for building materials for our planet-side residences. Well, it seems a lot of people have shown an interest in the Flitter and frankly, er, they would make a lot of money –credits, as it were—for us. They are, of course, not space worthy, just a better way to haul small loads around town and the surrounding area. We’ll give you the rights to it, as well as the second CNC.”
There was a pause and then Ash said, “In exchange for. . . .what?”
Dr. Hibbes could be heard clearing his throat and then Travis himself came on the line.
Travis said, “Let me negotiate this, Hibbes. Hello Ash, Time and manpower are at a premium for us here on The Rock and while it’s not much better for you guys down there, perhaps I could entice you with gathering your friends to put up our in town shack and our ocean front. Everyone is offering supplies to us in exchange for a Flitter but we just don’t have the time. We’ve got ships to build and other things to concentrate on. You get the second CNC as well as the six orders for Flitters and the rights for all future ones, and the credits paid for them JUST for putting up our humble residences!”
Ash said, “Just, huh? However, that works for us.
“I have just been informed that you will get a kick-back on the Flitter orders. ‘Patent Royalty Rates’ was the phrase that was tossed over my head.
Also, once our young firebrands realize what they are going to get from those CNC’s; your Roman Villas will be up in no time.
It is a deal Sir!”