Rule of Twelve, Double Take - Ch7 (Passage 5/5)
The citadel was looming large as Dukk brought his attention back to the controls.
There was little for him to do at this stage, other then monitored the controls. The operators within the citadel remotely controlled the rig. So, he put some music on.
“Retro Indie, yep that is what I need,” Dukk reflected out loud.
“Preparing for detachment from the maglev,” came the voice of the operator in Dukk’s comms.
“Check,” Dukk replied.
Moments later, the rig slowed on the maglev and then came to a complete stop just as it reached the end of the track.
The rig vibrated slightly as three huge jacks were extended out from below the rig to rest on three corresponding low loaders parked along side the end of the track. The rig trembled as the jacks lifted the rig up off the maglev. A thud indicated everything was locked into place. Almost immediately the three low loaders started moving in unison. The task at hand was to drive the rig away from the maglev track and towards the pads within the citadel walls.
“The taxi destination I have is Pad 14a and I have here you are for loading only, no personnel or cargo to be unloaded. Please confirm,” requested the operator.
“Pad 14a confirmed. Confirmed loading only. Please proceed,” Dukk replied.
While the outer port shield doors were open, the three-metre-high barricades that kept each pad secure were still up. They would be retracting just as the rig reach them. The intention being to minimise the risk of anyone moving in or out of the citadel freely.
Dukk rested his mind as he observed the progress from the launch zone and into the port.
He idly looked around for activity in other pads as the rig glided forward.
“Barricades opening, prepare for stop,” shared the operator.
“Check,” Dukk responded.
Moments later the rig passed over the lowered barricades and then came to rest in the middle of Pad 14a.
“Barricades closing, low loaders are in park and powering down, please commence post docking checklist.”
“Thank you, operator, will do. Hold tight,” Dukk responded as he started running through the checklist and updating the logs. That took about five minutes.
“Sharing logs now,” Dukk said to the operator.
Minutes later the operator responded, “All confirmed, I’m putting the stairs in place. Enjoy your evening. Standing by.”
"Operator, can I get a status update on both the personnel clearance area and load clearance area?"
"Checking now. Please hold."
"There are three persons of crew designation already cleared and waiting at the pad door. A fourth person of observer designation is about to be cleared. Four others of passenger designation are in the ID Gateway. I see that they have rig codes but need observer approval too. For load clearance, I have four standard RoboCrates categorised as supplies, and I have a RoboCrate categorised as components. They are all cleared. I also see three RoboContainers that are classified as load destine for the Mayfield system. These are showing as clearance in progress."
"Any ET on the RoboContainers?"
"They are showing as at stage 4, so about 30 minutes."
"Thank you, operator. Also, did you receive departure instructions?"
"Yes, your rig is down for priority departure and launch, however there is a small backlog being cleared. I'd say it will be cleared by the time you are refuelled and loaded. Not to worry, we'll get you back out before nightfall. "
"Good to know. Thank you."
Dukk disconnected, then opened up his closed-circuit comms to Annee and Bazzer.
“Circle up in five. Crew mess.”
“We are already here,” came the response from Annee.
Dukk smiled and headed for the cockpit door.
“We are docked, however we are on a tight schedule, so I request that you stay with the rig. There are plenty of comforts in the accommodation level,” Dukk shared with the observer who was standing at a window looking around.
“That’s no problem, I was already informed that would be the case.”
“We now need to get the pad door open so we can get the new crew on board. I’ll also need your assistance in about thirty minutes to open the doors to the load clearance area. Your final task to help get us underway will be to lock the pad doors. I hope that will happen in about an hour.”
“Of course, all part of the service, lead the way. Oh, I nearly forgot. I have just approved four authorisation requests for the passengers your colleague put forward,” replied the observer.
“Thank you, let’s go.”
(to be continued...in the next chapter)
[Rule of Twelve, Double Take, Chapter 7 - Instability (Passage 5 of 5)]
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