From the training centre, Marr and Luna made their way back towards the common areas.
They had an hour or so to kill before the transports would resume their runs to the Citadel.
“I need to speak with you two,” came a voice from behind them.
“What The!” Luna exclaimed as she spun around.
“Follow me,” Mentor said as he brushed past them.
“Do you think he will continue to creep about when we are all on the rig?” Luna whispered to Marr.
“I may be a little aloof, but I am not deaf, Luna,” Mentor said as he ushered them into a storage room.
“I need you to collect your weapons from your lockers and bring them here. Place them in the false compartment of this crate. Put that on top and seal it up. I’ll see that it is safely stowed aboard the Dinatha this evening,” Mentor instructed as he pointed to a stockinette wrapped beef carcase lying on the table next to a food storage container.
Luna’s mouth dropped.
“You expect me to put my prized possession in with that dead cow?” Luna stated.
“Yep, see you in a couple of hours,” Mentor shared as he turned and left the storage room.
Ninety minutes later, Marr and Luna were sitting in an observation deck at the port. They were waiting for the arrival of the Dinatha.
They had just watched a rig disappear over the horizon.
“Let’s do some revision. What just happened there?” Marr asked.
“Really?” Luna responded.
Marr said nothing and continued to look out towards the horizon.
“A rig just shot out over the horizon,” Luna replied.
“Seriously?” Marr exclaimed before continuing, “explain it as if I am seeing it for the first time!”
Luna sighed, but conceded and started to share unenthusiastically.
“The remotely controlled low loaders brought the rig out of the port and lowered it on to the maglev track. The maglev system then took the rig out of range of the Citadel. Over the horizon.”
“What control over the process do the crew have?”
“None, until the rig is well down the track. The low loaders and then the maglev system prevent the rig from starting its engines until well clear of the Citadel.”
“Why is that?”
“Because the rig is basically a flying bomb. The fuel cells and DMD are highly volatile. The rig could cause significant damage if it were crashed into the Citadel.”
“Correct. And what is the other purpose of the maglev?”
“The rigs are basically optimise for space flight, not atmosphere flight. They can’t get lift at less than 900 kilometres per hour. So the maglev system builds up the speed allowing the rig to get airborne without needing to use vertical thrusters. Once airborne, the rig can engage a hard burn and enter orbit.”
“Great, top marks. Now what of the landing?”
“Things happen in reverse. The rig drops out of the sky towards the outer end of the maglev track. It flies along the track, attaches, shuts its engines and then coasts into the port.”
“What makes this sequence even more risky?”
“During descent, the rigs use the heat and friction to replenish their fuel cells. They create far more than they need and they even often sell it on after landing. Therefore by the time the rig reaches the Citadel it is an even more capable flying bomb!” Luna shared with glee visualising the damage that could be caused. It was significant compared to the miniscule amount of damage she could do with her rifle.
Marr rolled her eyes. She had picked up the change in tone and joy in Luna’s voice.
“How does the Citadel prevent some crazy person like you flying a rig directly into the wall?” Marr asked in jest.
“The Citadel’s defences track incoming rigs. The automated defences show no hesitation in blasting a rig to kingdom come if it diverts off the scripted approach. Equally the defences will activate if the rig doesn’t cut it’s engines before the outer marker.”
“What happens if the rig connects to the maglev but keeps its engines running?”
“Just after the outer marker there is a side track that ends in a very solid concrete wall!”
At that moment they caught the sight of the rig in the distance.
It was merely a speck but was clearly in a hard burn. It was racing away from them, and accelerating fast towards the upper atmosphere.
“That has got to hurt!” Luna shared.
“How is it, that after all this time of watching these rigs, it is only now that you are making these types of observations?” Marr commented.
“I never had to consider actually being in one of those contraptions, until now!”
“Well, I understand that reaching orbit is a walk in the park compared to traversing.”
“Way too much information at this stage, Marr. Baby steps! I am going to worry about getting through this ordeal first,” Luna added as she contemplated things further.
(to be continued...)
[Uplift, Double Take, Chapter 7 - Instability (Passage 1 of 5)]
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2021 BJ Allen
Chapter 1 - A routine descent
Chapter 2 - Perspective
Chapter 3 - Grounding
Chapter 4 - Cause and effect
Chapter 5 - The first meeting
Chapter 6 - Staying goodbye
Chapter 7- Instability
Chapter 8 - Orientation
(Stay tuned for further chapters)
"Let's go Mentor, we've only got an hour to get everything we need ready for the next 3 weeks. The supplies are in the clearance hold with the load, but we’ve got to get them secure. The passengers will be here shortly and they’ll need briefing. Let's start with your travel lockers. We'll bring them through the nose door and to make light work of it, we'll use the vertical conveyor in the forward ladder shaft," Annee shared as she got up from the table.
"Show the way, and I am not afraid of hard work," replied Mentor as he followed her to the airlock door that lead back to the passenger accommodation.
"Don't worry, I have plenty of hard work in mind to satisfy that need."
"By the look of you, I am pretty sure you can satisfy my needs, bring it on, Annee," Mentor replied in a provocative tone.
Annee laughed briefly saying, “you’d be so lucky, old timer”, and smiled cheekily back at him and the others as she disappeared through the door.
Mentor laughed loudly as he headed into the corridor....
"Right, let me welcome you all and I hope this is the start of something real,” Dukk said as he sat down.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us and on top of that we don't know each other. And, some of you are new to this game. So, let me start with a few non negotiables. Number one, no heroes. Your own safety comes first. As they say, attend to your own air supply first before helping others with theirs. Second, everyone has the obligation to challenge things that you don't understand or that don’t look right. If I, or anyone else, overlooks something or makes a poor decision out there, we all may die. So we all must be prepared to be challenged. And we must all challenge. And, finally, we leave no one behind, no matter the designation, privilege or whatever. Clear?"
Nods and smiles all round.
“Great. So, on this rig we operate in pairs, or buddies. You’ll cover the same areas of responsibility. You’ll be on watch together. You’ll eat at the same time. You’ll sleep at ...
The convergence of two key events gave rise to this space. The first being frustration over the madness of the world and the cliff we are all charging towards. The second being the realisation that time was getting on and I’d better get the stuff out of my head before it was too late. So, I created this community on Locals.com. My plan is to experiment with this format as an alternative to the traditional book publishing path. My plan is to publish stories as they evolve, probably a chapter at a time. The first piece of writing that will unfold here is a story that I am calling Uplift, Double Take. This piece explores life 200 odd years from now, based on the trajectory of the current madness.
Your financial support would be greatly appreciated, but not needed to read the book.
This is because, I am publishing the book one passage at a time via normal posts within my Locals community.
You simply need to join the community and you’ll get book passages delivered directly to you as ...