“Which are the stabilisers?” Bazzer announced from behind the group as they watched the doors slide open.
“You and Annee find them, I’ll get the load’s security seals checked,” replied Dukk.
While Dukk took Kimince past the smaller robotic crates, Annee started scanning the content tags to find the components.
“This crate contains components. It must be them,” Annee said moments later.
Bazzer came over to the crate. He extracted the wireless lead, a palm size device, from the side of the robotic crate. Then he pressed a green button on the top of the wireless lead. With the device in hand, he headed off in the direction of the rig’s open nose door.
Instantly the robotic crate rose off the ground. It was lifted by small jacks in each corner of the crate. Trolly wheels could be seen dropping to the ground. The robotic crate then lowered onto its wheels before heading off after Bazzer.
“Wow,” gasped Luna, “I had heard of these things, but never seen one for real. There isn’t much call for them in the dust and dirt of the fields, vineyards and orchards.”
“Coming Luna? We have got to get these installed before the resupply finishes,” Bazzer called.
Annee continued to scan each of the robotic crates with her wrist wrap. Then she opened her wrists and projected two lists in to the air in front of her. The two lists merged, matching items as they merged.
“Everything we need is here. Things are unfolding beautifully, cap,” Annee shared as she detached the wireless leads from the side of each of the robotic crates, and stacked the devices together.
“Good, Ann. And we’re done with the security protocol too. Now let’s get it all on board,” Dukk answered from the front of the third container.
“On it. Let’s go Mentor,” Annee shared as she pressed the big green buttons on the wireless leads and headed off in the direction of the rig.
In unison, the four robotic crates organise themselves in pairs before heading off after Annee and Mentor.
With the Observers out of the clearance area and heading to the passenger pad door, Dukk retrieved the wireless leads from each robotic container.
“We’ll do this one at a time, Marr. They aren’t as well behaved as the RoboCrates,” Dukk suggested as he pressed the green button on one of the wireless leads.
Immediately one of the robotic containers responded. The power units, embedded in the underside of each end of the container, could be heard starting up. Huge jacks at each corner retracted leaving the weight on the power units. The wheels in the power units could be seen just touching the concrete floor.
As Dukk walked forward the robotic container followed.
“Take this wireless lead for the second RoboContainer. Follow behind the first RoboContainer. When it reaches the ramp, click the green button and then join me in the hold,” he said to Marr as he handed her the device.
The robotic container followed Dukk across the pad and up the ramp on the nose of the rig.
Annee and Mentor could be seen in the store room monitoring the robotic crates. The crates were stacking themselves neatly on top of each other.
Dukk continued into the hold. On the starboard side of the hold, near the aft bulk head, Dukk lifted a cradle out of the hold floor and fitted the wireless lead into it.
The huge robotic container appeared in the narrow airlock and successfully made it’s way fully into the hold. When it was clear of the airlock, the jacks extended below the container. The jacks lifted it up just enough for the power units to swivel ninety degrees below each end of the container. When lowered back down onto the power units, the whole robotic container shifted sideways into the starboard side of the hold. It came to rest millimetres away from the cradled wireless lead. Dukk pressed the red button on the wireless lead. The container settled back on it’s four jacks. The jacks locked themselves into the floor of the hold.
By this stage, Marr was in the hold. Dukk showed her how to retrieve the cradle from the floor and fit the wireless lead into it.
The next robotic container appeared in the doorway and moved itself into position. The final robotic container wasn’t far behind as Dukk had activated the wireless lead the moment he saw the second container.
With the robotic containers in place, Dukk revisited each of the wireless leads. Within a flap was another button. On pressing this button, large arms emerged from the sides and tops of the robotic containers. The arms extended to neighbouring containers, and the strong points affixed to the walls and ceiling of the hold.
“Impressive,” said Marr as she watched the dance of the robotic container bracing arms.
“Aren’t they just,” added Bazzer as he emerged from the side door that led to the port wing.
Luna wasn’t far behind him.
“Wow, that didn’t take long,” she said looking up at the robotic containers which now mostly filled the hold.
“Are the stabilizers in place?” Dukk asked.
“Yep, and the diagnostics are running. Time to check the resupply and close the valve panels,” Bazzer replied as he and Luna headed back towards the hold doors.
“Excellent, we’ll do the pre-launch circle up when you get back.”
“Let’s check for obstructions and then close the nose and hold doors,” Dukk shared to Marr as they followed Bazzer and Luna.
On the way back to the console in the starboard passenger airlock, they ran into Annee and Mentor.
They all used the nose area ladder to access the suit locker to reach the landing near the starboard passenger airlock.
“Circle-up once we close the nose door?” Dukk asked.
“Yep, we are ready. See you in the crew mess,” replied Annee.
Kimince and Trence arrived at the main door as Annee and Mentor disappeared up the stairs.
“I told Trence about the warning light and siren. I had hoped there would be no surprises when we locked the pad doors,” Kimince offered unsolicited to Dukk and Marr.
“It all still gave me a fright,” laughed Trence.
Dukk and Marr stared blankly as the Observers made their way up the stairs to the accommodation level.
(to be continued...in the next chapter)
[Uplift, Double Take, Chapter 9 - Loading (Passage 5 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 ...