"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.
Luna coughed and laughed briefly, failing completely to hide that she knew something of Mentor and had just witnessed a completely different side to him.
“Enough of this, there will be none of that carry on with me,” Bazzer added in a serious tone.
“Yea right Bazzer!” Annee shouted back from the corridor. She then joined Mentor in his deep and heartly laughter.
Luna blushed briefly before joining the laughter.
With that everyone joined in.
“Maybe I have read this new lot all wrong,” reflected Dukk to himself as he enjoyed the rapport building moment.
“Right, Luna, let’s get to the engine room and get this old bird fed! We’ll use the aft ladder shaft, ” instructed Bazzer as he opened the airtight door adjacent to the table.
Dukk turned too Marr.
"Time is short, so I suggest we see if we can get you orientated at the same time as getting some things checked off our list. We'll start with getting the nose door open in preparation for loading. Let's follow Bazzer and Luna."
"This accommodation level, with separate spaces for passenger and crew, makes up two thirds of what is effectively the third level. It sits directly above the hold which is double height, so we need to drop down two levels to reach the hold floor," Dukk said as he took the lead entering the ladder shaft.
"What is above us?" Marr asked, keen to show interest in engaging Dukk and building rapport.
"The transport pods. The top of this shaft enters the back of the space that houses the three five-persons pods. We'll head up there, and have a quick look at them after opening the nose door. You'll need to know where they are for the emergency drill."
"What is on the other side of this wall?" Marr asked as she followed Dukk down the ladder.
"The aft third of the rig is the engine room. The DMD, reactors and primary burners take up the bottom three levels. The batteries and harvesters are in the upper region, which is effectively behind the transport pods and below the tail."
"Fuel, water and air?"
"Mostly in the wings, but also tail. The wings also hold base elements and materials for the printer."
"Intermediate. It's not as fast as an industrial 3D printer, but it is adequate for most of the components that typically break during passages. The partition walls in the accommodation level can also be used for hull repairs. We aim to be as self sufficient as possible once airborne," Dukk answered as they reached the bottom of the shaft and entered the hold.
"Wow, what is the capacity?" Asked Marr as she joined Dukk in the hold.
"One thousand, one hundred and eighty eight cubic metres. It is eleven metres wide, by eighteen metres long by six metres high. We can take three full size RoboContainers, with room to spare. Those floor to ceiling doors over there go to an airlock. Another matched pair are on the other side of the airlock. And that gives access to the forward airlock compartment, or the nose of the rig. We open the nose and those hold doors and the RoboContainers can drive straight in. Those half height side doors are over each wing, for access and part unloading. There is no airlock on those.”
“Interesting,” Marr added.
At this point their exchange was interrupted by Bazzer’s voice coming from the door to the engine room behind them.
"Here we have the heart of the rig, two TLM series eight reactors with mirrored support systems. Propulsion is delivered via two TLM T5 quad core, twenty-eight gauge hard burners and a single TLM H5 dual mode, double core, thirty gauge burner thruster. Plus, four vertical, twelve gauge dual mode burner thrusters and eight directional, five gauge dual mode thrusters."
“Series eight reactors are seventh generation tech, right?”
"Marr was wondering about that. She said it was confusing that the hard burners and thrusters are fifth generation space tech, but the reactors are seventh generation?"
"She is well informed. Yes, the rig is primarily based on fifth generation tech with several upgrades. The reactors were replaced ten years ago. A breach caused a compromise to one of them. They had to limp back to port. Once back, it was decided to replace them both rather than trying to fix it or to get the different generations of tech working together."
"Interesting. And what else is in here?" Luna asked.
Marr looked over at Dukk. He was looking at her.
"You’ve been pulling my chain!" Dukk said as he raised his eyebrows.
Marr smiled sheepishly.
"New plan, you are now in charge of this tour!" Dukk responded with a smirk.
"You are doing great. I am learning loads. Not everything about this rig is in the public record," Marr shared as a peace offering.
They smiled awkwardly at each other briefly before looking away, blushing.
Dukk pointed at the engine room door.
"Want to have a look?" Dukk said. He used a more collaborative tone than he'd used coming down the ladder.
"I am good for now. Maybe I will pick Bazzer's brain another time?" Marr said still smiling.
(to be continued...)
[Uplift, Double Take, Chapter 8 - Orientation (Passage 3 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
Chapter 9 - Loading
Dukk opened up a video feed to the passenger seating and then selected the broadcast channel.
“Welcome to orbit. I hope you had an enjoyable launch,” Dukk announced as he watched the video feed. Annee and Mentor were amongst them helping them unhook from the g-juice. He continued.
“Our flight path to the Mayfield system will take us via the Teegarden, JR18, JR56, JR72 and Maple 12 systems. We’ll have a twenty four hour layover in Maple Tower before continuing on. The 2nd half of the trip taking in the Maple 15, Maple 18, Finch 2, Finch 12 and WZR22 systems. We will likely take a couple of intermediary inspections along the way. All going well, we should reach Mayfield within 9 days. The flight plan and progress is available within the rig information panels in your cabins and living spaces. We have just under twelve hours before our first traverse. I will be around later if you have any questions. To help you prepare, you’ll hear from me and my crew fifteen minutes prior to the first ...
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 ...