Strike Force Units at Best Pace to Mayflower
I looked at the plot and as I figured only Gabe was staying with me. Mariana had gulped her anti-nausea pills and was groaning in the right seat under 12 G’s Perceived. We were screaming back towards to Mayflower at 120 G’s Real.
Ash and Digger along with Natasi and Bugbee were cranking along at 10 Perceived and 100 Real.
“Ash whenever you get them figured, send me the turnover points for all ships. It’s important that we match velocities when we get to Mayflower and I need a status brief on some of your projects.”
“OK, ya Old Lady.” Ash drawled, “Bursts going to Natasi for a cross-check then to each vessel. What projects you talking about?”
“First, the rebuild of the Lancer II or whatever we are going to call her. Second, the 5 CM’s for the Fighters along with the sighting systems. Third, the double layering of the shields because I think we are going to need that. Forth and maybe most important, changeover time for Dancers new armament.”
“Hey,” came Al steel’s jovial voice. “I just dusted a Cruiser for you and you are gonna take away my weapons?”
Even Mariana managed a sick grin as I replied, “Al, when your crew gets to where they can be coherent again tell them I said nice shooting. No, I am not taking your weapons; I am gonna upgrade em. You want to trade your pair of 5 CM’s at .6 C for a pair of 10 CM’s at .75 C?”
The whoosh of air followed by a rapid intake could be heard over the Comm link; “Actually Andy, I think I could live with that. What are we going after next, a damn planet?”
“No Al, Aliens and I have no idea what they have.”
“Andy, does your paranoid planning have no end?”
“I’ll take that one Hoss,” came Ash’s best drawl. “Al, you have heard over and over Andy’s declaration the ‘He would Defend Alchibah’; when did you ever hear the qualifier ‘against Earth’?”
The pause was long and pregnant with meaning, “Can’t say as I ever did Ash. Can’t say as I ever did, which is a dumb ass on me Right?”
“Nah Buddy, it went right over most everybody. He has been planning Logistics development against everything me, Hibbs and Chandler could think of. Not to mention when him, Travis and Monroe would get lit up and spin horror stories.
“Al, we are where we are because Hibbs, Chandler and I really can get out in weird ass mathematics and Theoretical Physics that make most peoples heads hurt just to be downwind.
“Whoever loves us somewhere in Space and Time gave us Travis, Monroe and Andy. Three Engineers who can build any damn fool thing we come up with. OK, I know the common concept of Travis and Monroe are two Spacers who learned to run the Belt and evade taxes; while Andy is a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal Assassin, who cares.
“One taught the Military Art at the War College, the other two hold the Honor Sword from Seattle Space Academy. All three are classically trained Engineers who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
“And Sir, the reason I sound pissed at you is that you also wear the Honor Sword from Phoenix Academy which ain’t no hunk of Cabbage. You also have a Masters in Information Sciences, I need that software patch you put in for the sighting system for the 5 CM’s so it can be used on the Fighters.
“Time to Fish or Cut Bait, Sir.”
There was a long open pause, “I guess you are right LTC Andrews. Software bursting to you as we speak. Where are we on those projects anyway?”
“Ah at last,” Ash drawled again; “an intelligent question!”
Corrine Williams rolled her head and grinned at Al Steel, “Make mine a double, very Dry.”
All Al could do was give her a long wistful smile as Andrews began to speak.
“On the Lancer refit, that is Larry Monroe’s project. All parts from the surface had been shipped up, so it depends on how much Robot labor he had to use.
“The parts for the Dancers New Weapons are up on the Mayflower. If we can use the Main Bay it will take two Hours per weapon. If we have to do it in Space, Six hours per weapon.
“The dual layer shields are dependent on Chandler running up the new exciter circuits in the Mayflower Spin Axis. That should have been done while we were in upload; one hour per Bird to upgrade, excluding dock and undock Time.
“The System Drive update Exciter circuits are ready, they were done just as we were leaving. Fifteen minute’s per Bird and we have 25 to 1 Reduction.
“That’s all we have. We need some development time for the next crap!”
Al chimed in, “What the Hell could be next?”
Ash lapsed back into the drawl, “Dammed if I know Hoss! The Math makes my head hurt and we got no idea where it goes.”
Andy broke in, “then we go with what we got. We have to win here or there is no later!”
Mariana turned in her seat, “There is something out there. Something that hates you and it ain’t Human.”
“Good,” Andy replied; “better it comes for me!”
Andrew William Walker Stuart closed his eyes and sent unto the Universe the first thought that came to his Mind, “SLAVE FEAR NOT!! COME AND GET ME ASSHOLE!!!!”