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Authors: Martin Wilsey

Tags: #mystery science fiction, #intelligence hard scifi high tech combat robot science military ai

Oklahoma Salvage

BOOK: Oklahoma Salvage
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Oklahoma Salvage

By Martin Wilsey

 

 

This
is
a work of fiction. All characters and
events portrayed in this novel are fictitious. Any resemblance to
actual events is purely coincidental.

Oklahoma Salvage

Copyright © 2015 by Martin
Wilsey

All rights reserved,
including rights to reproduce this book, or portions
thereof
, in any form.

Cover Art by Martin
Wilsey

For more
information:

Blog:
http://wilseymc.blogspot.com/

Web:
http://www.baytirus.com/

Email:
[email protected]

The Solstice 31
Saga:

Still Falling
(2015)

The Broken Cage
(2015)

Blood of the Scarecrow
(2016)

Short Stories:

The Outer Ring
(2015)

Kill Valerie Hume
(2015)

The Black Pod
(2015)

Injuring Eternity
(2015)

Oklahoma Salvage
(2015)

"
We had no idea we
had prevented more deaths.
We were just
trying to get by in this godforsaken desert. Now let me get back to
work."

--
Solstice 31 Incident Investigation Testimony Transcript:
Harvey Reardon, Owner/Operator of Oklahoma Salvage, formerly known
as Reardon and Sons. Questioned regarding the origin of $220,000 in
gold found in his possession.

<<<>>>

Harvey Reardon recognized the sound in
the distance of an old 18-wheeler even before the perimeter
security drones notified him via Heads-Up Display (HUD).

He got up from where he
was lying on the ground under an old PT-137 Quad shuttle and dusted
himself off. He lowered his shades, the ones that were more like
goggles, and started walking back to the shop. He was rolling the
stiffness out of his
shoulders
and grumbled as he
walked.


I’m too old for this
shit…” he mumbled. It was then he realized that he had lost his hat
again. “Bloody hell.” In the fifteen
minutes,
it would take him
to walk back to get it, that cursed desert sun would turn his bald
head
beet red.
Alex would be furious with him.

He paused and tugged at his white
beard for a moment as he considered turning back. He had already
walked past a few hundred planes, copters, and shuttle
fuselages.

As he watched, his hat
blew across the road in the distance, taking flight in the
dry desert
wind. “Oh for sewers sake,” he cursed and kept
going. Grease and dust were all over his coveralls, almost
completely
obscuring the lettering on the back: “Reardon and
Sons – Salvage, Restoration,
Sales,
and Service.” It was
called Oklahoma Salvage now. There was a new sign out by the
highway to prove it. The new patch over his right front pocket was
not as
sun
-faded as the lettering on his back,
and all it said was “Harv
.”

As he entered the back
door of the main
building,
he dropped the aluminum panel
he had been using
to
shade his cranium
to keep it from burning.
He walked through his office, directly into the storefront behind
the counter of the former diner.


You lost your hat again,”
Alexandra Reardon said without looking up at her great-grandfather.
She was annoyed.


How the hell do you know
that?” Harv asked in his best crotchety-old-man voice.
He slapped more dust off his
coveralls.
He knew she hated it when he
did that in there. And she knew he knew.

The sales counter
was covered
with electronic components,
tools,
and test
gear. “What’s all this?” asked Harvey. When she didn’t answer right
away, he glanced her way and drew in a breath. “We have customers
coming, and you’re wearing that?!” She wore an old, black
midriff
T-shirt
with
the sleeves cut off, cut-off jean
short-shorts,
and
Chinese wooden flip-flops.

She ignored
him.


Hunter told me already.
It’s just Wendy. She’s coming for another catapult shipping
container. Have you got one ready?” She already knew that he did.
Hunter was the name of the yard’s Artificial Intelligence system
and it knew what was ready.


I have eleven ready! You
should get off your ass and sell them, dammit. We are a bit light
on funds just now, thanks to all that shit Mark bought at auction
last month.”

The truck could be seen
turning in from the road, r
aising a cloud of dust as soon as it left the
pavement.


So what
is
all this?” He picked
up a small device he didn’t recognize. It had dozens of wires
hanging from it, and it obviously had power because blue LEDs
pulsed on the main body of the tiny thing.


I was hoping that I could
put together a Quantum Entanglement Communications Transceiver from
these ten busted ones. Hunter says it might work,” Alex said as she
touched one contact after another while watching for indications on
one of the displays in front of her. She sat on an old bar stool
behind the counter, just where the old cash register
used
to be. She had sold that
register to
a collector for
over six thousand dollars.

All the original
bar
stools
were still there on the other side of the
counter. The stools, a few glass cases and the bell on the door
were all that remained of the old diner on the inside. Outside,
there was the faded sign that said “EAT” in dull,
sand-blasted
letters. The booths under the windows had
been replaced
with racks that held various parts and tools that
were for
sale
. It was the same behind the
counter. Where the stove,
grill,
chillers, and exhaust
hoods had once been,
now there were
shelves that held all
manner of used parts removed from salvaged ships, shuttles, and
planes. Dust covered everything.

The bell
rang,
and Wendy entered with a smile.


Hello,
darlin’,
” she said
cheerfully
as Alex looked up. “How
you
doin’
?” She had a thick Texas
accent,
and Alex knew it was an affectation. Wendy was incredibly
intelligent even though she tried to hide it.

Harv stared at her ample bosom. She
was wearing a low-cut halter top with a Navajo design that had been
all the fashion twenty years ago. Jeans and cowboy boots completed
the look. They knew she had a Stetson in the truck.


Why don’t you call ahead
so I can be ready, dammit.” Harv walked up to the dusty window and
saw she was driving a double. Two trailers behind the massive
truck.


The same reason I
drive
way the
hell
out here to get them, old man.
Discretion. But you know
that,
and you just enjoy belly
achin’
, Harv.”
Wendy
said, amused.


What’ll it be this month,
Wendy?” Alex said, “We have eleven containers that are
catapult-ready. All grav-plates tested and guaranteed. Five are
basic Delta
ore
containers; three are standard C-19s, sealed
without life support, but will hold pressure under hard use. The
last three are Alpha boxes and have full inertial dampening,
internal gravity, and they’re pressure tested and insulated. One of
those Alphas is an A-11 and even has basic manual navigation
control inside and are great for docking in outer space at the
station without a tug. ”

Alex hadn’t even brought them up on
the system.


Let me have the A-11 and
one of the C-19s. Are they painted the same?” Wendy asked as she
dug into her back pocket for a large wad of cash.

Harv replied,

Sandblasted
and painted. Though they won’t look new anymore
from
sittin’
out there. No tracking numbers painted on;
no
tracers
installed. If you want me to do
it,
you’ll have to wait about an hour. Want to see
’em?”


Nope. I’m good. Just load
’em up.” Wendy said.


That’s $3,000 for the
C-19 and $12,000 for A-11. The A-11 has only a seat in the pilot
booth. Empty otherwise,” Alex told her as Harv went out to the
yard.

Without haggling, Wendy counted out
the cash. That told Alex that it was a no-questions-asked, straw
man purchase, and she was passing the profit to Oklahoma Salvage
for future preferential treatment.


That’s fine.” Wendy
smiled. “Any luck with the other thing?”


Not yet,” Alex said.
Wendy had a standing order for some fuel grade plutonium. They
sometimes salvaged derelicts that had fuel remaining in the
reactors, if they got to it soon enough. Wendy just nodded. She had
to ask because that info would never
be communicated
on any
public Net for the same reason as the containers.


Need anything else
today?” Alex folded the bills and stashed them in her
bra.


Actually,
there is one more
thing,
” she said, pulling a rabbit foot out of her pocket and
handing it to Alex.

Alex twisted and clicked
the
foot,
and a memory stick
was revealed, stored
inside. Her stool was on
wheels,
and she launched
herself along the counter to a terminal at the end. She slid the
memory stick into the
port,
and a schematic came up that was
the input file for a fabrication unit. Very few people knew Harv
had one. Alex raised an eyebrow at the part but said only, “Do you
want to pay now or when you pick it up? Either way is
cool.”


Now is fine.” Wendy still
had a considerable wad of cash in her hand.


Is this for you? Personal
I mean?” Alex asked. It was an upper receiver for a 10mm cannon.
Illegal in most territories.

Wendy said nothing.


I will take care of
it
personally
. Harv doesn’t need to
know.”


Thanks,” Wendy said, as
the clicking sound of the first container settling into the clamps
on the trailer made them look.

Harv’s container tug had
the entire top cut away. The pilot seat jutted from the rear of the
tug so he could watch the container as he clamped on. It had no
roll cage, no AI
control,
and no seatbelts.

It was a death trap. A fun, fun death
trap.

In short
order,
the second container was also loaded. From the
tug,
Harv could hear the clamps grab it.

Harv set the tug down in
the parking lot and jumped out quickly as Wendy was inspecting the
clamps. She watched him jog up.
This worried
her. He never ran
anywhere.


Wendy, there is a truck
coming. The drones spotted it way out.” Harv looked serious, and
rested a hand on her shoulder, “It looks like a military
transport.”

Wendy gave him a quick hug, and a kiss
on the cheek.


Thanks,
Harv,
” Wendy said with a hand still touching his face. “I owe you
one.” She ran for her rig and was moving in a matter of seconds.
She drove south, away from the truck that was coming. The winding
path through the salvage yard obscured her departure in no
time.

BOOK: Oklahoma Salvage
4.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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