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Authors: Bruce George

Tags: #space opera, #science fiction, #spaceship, #space war, #alien contact, #military sci fi, #star fighter

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BOOK: Starting from Scratch
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“Sir, it’s an offer I intend to make to the other
English speaking nations, as well. The convenience and speed of
these abilities will greatly enhance our chances of being prepared
for the inevitable attack from the enemies of freedom everywhere,
the Saurans.”

There was a lull at his reference to the unseen
aliens.

Pierpoint asked, “Mike, have you ever seen a Sauran
in person?”

“Yes. A wounded one attacked me. Had it not been for
sheer dumb luck and the help of Jo, I would have been killed. They
are huge, nearly twice as wide as we are. You’ve seen the pictures
of them, but not next to a human. We look tiny compared to one of
them. There were some videos on the ship that give a better
perspective of their movements. As a matter of fact, I would
appreciate the assessment of your best Xenobiologist. They might be
able to provide some insight as to their capabilities and maybe
they could pick out something vulnerable in their physique. We’ll
send you everything we have on their physiology.”

Marge Chalmers answered, “I’ll have a few people from
the Smithsonian look at it. They’re some of the best in the
world.”

“Thank you, Ma’am.”

The meeting wrapped up with Mike promising to present
more technology to them, with the next visit.

Bambi asked,
So, what are we going to give
them?

We’re going to bring them a dozen more portable comm
units and a dozen med units. You, my dear, are going to teach them
how use it.

But boss, it takes a comm interface to operate the
med units.

Yup. That’s why you are going to design a human
operator control panel for them, so a human can use it. These med
units won’t have to do as much as the current ones, just cure a few
diseases and grow some missing limbs. I’ll want you to install a
self-destruct mechanism, just incase they try to take one apart and
reverse engineer it. Nothing explosive, just have it do a melt
down. Is that possible?

Sure. I’m already on it.

Good. Also, I’d like to provide them with an
anti-missile defense plasma unit. I assume you can build one, can’t
you? And it should be able to make multiple shots, in rapid-fire
mode. I suppose the biggest problem will be target acquisition and
tracking. Can you do all of that?

I should be able to and it won’t cost too much in
resources. I’ll look in the defense capability file for America and
see how far along they are. They generally structure their
defensive posture on potential enemy weapons threats. Their biggest
threats are Russia and China. Both of those countries have a war
doctrine very similar to the Saurans, blunt force. They overwhelm
their enemy with numbers, flooding the enemy’s defenses. So, I’ll
make this system able to handle 100 targets per second. That should
impress the Pentagon.

Mike was amazed at Bambi’s nonchalant attitude; at
what he thought would be an impossible task. He replied,
Great.
We’re just going to bring them one though. Let them test it and see
how well it operates. If they want to reproduce it and they show
that they are serious about working with us, I’ll have you provide
them with a set of blueprints, so they can build their own. Once
Mike Hardesty and his staff see the effectiveness of it and they
realize how inexpensive it is, he’s going to like us a whole bunch
more. And, they will be able to manufacture it cheaply, won’t
they?

Sounding slightly concerned, Bambi confessed,
General, This system will not be cheap, but it will be
substantially less than any of the systems they currently have or
are working on, the Patriot Anti-Air Missile System for instance.
And, it will work so effectively they won’t need nearly as many of
them to cover their defensive area. These weapons will work fine on
the Earth and even better in space and it’s going to seem like a
miracle weapon to humans. In order to build it quick and cheap,
I’ll try to design it using existing human knowledge, which can be
easily copied, using current technology in America. But this system
wouldn’t be a threat to a Sauran warship. At the moment, I lack the
data to build anything that would be effective against
them.

Mike grimaced. “We’re just taking baby steps for now,
Bambi. Once we wet their appetite, they’ll want more. That’s when
we press for a great deal more cooperation on a much grander
scale.”

Gotcha.

 

 

Chapter
2

 

 

Once they arrived back on the Mother Ship, they
worked with the robots to place more people into better quality med
units. The remainders were left sedated, for the moment. Mike
insisted that everyone get cleaned up, fed and rested, before they
did anything else.

Mary took exception to his command. She was excited
about the prospect of bringing the scientists on board and wanted
to go full steam ahead on explaining to them what was what.

Mike told her, “Sweetheart, I understand your desire
to press on right away. I don’t think you realize how fatigued
we’ve all become. Traveling in a shuttle is not the most
comfortable and it takes a toll on you. And that’s not to mention
the fact that we just pulled off four separate operations within
two days. The emotional toll is just now beginning to set in for
all of us.

“You are a Major in the TSN now. You’re going to be
in a command position and these scientists will answer to you. You
must watch out for your people. They won’t always realize how tired
they are. When that happens, mistakes can be made and in our
business that can get people killed.

“So go get some rest and don’t ever refuse a direct
order from your commanding officer.”

She saluted and Mike ignored it. He openly commed
them all. “
OK everybody, new rule. We’re going to run this ship
like a Navy vessel. Sailors don’t salute at sea and we won’t in
space. As close together as we’ll be working, we’d be saluting all
damn day. Now go get some rest.”

Mike waited for everyone to go to their quarters, and
then he did likewise. He showered, had a glass of wine and a slab
of grilled pseudo salmon. It looked horrible, but it tasted
wonderful.

He sent a note to the food file to improve the
appearance of their food. In it, he suggested having Bambi scan
through human food magazines, for pictures of cooked items and see
if she couldn’t get the replicator to create a more realistic
looking meal on their plates.

Before he went to bed, he gave Bambi one last
instruction.

“I want you to put together a video that we show
recruits, once they’ve been medically improved. I want it to sell
them on the idea of joining us, but it shouldn’t be a hard
sell…more of an explanation. Oh yeah, can you use Mary as the face
on the video. I think these people will react better to a human
woman than they would to a human male or an alien”.

“Once we’ve all had a good nights sleep, we’ll review
it, edit it, and then we can begin showing it to people, without
wasting our time doing it in person.”

“Got it, Boss. I’ll have it ready for you. Of course
I’ll need Mary to pose for a few shots of her facial expressions. I
can enhance them as needed from there for the video.”

“See to it.”

“On it.”

When he crashed he crashed hard. He hadn’t set an
alarm; so when he woke up, he was surprised to find he had slept
for fifteen hours, according to his internal clock.

Bambi, you shouldn’t have let me sleep so long.

I was monitoring your vital signs and I felt you
needed the rest. If anything drastic had happened, I would have
called you.

By the way, with your new bodies, everyone will need
more rest, until the remainder of your change has occurred. Right
now, everyone is going through the tail end of a genetic
modification process. It can only be done as you begin to use you
new capabilities. Think of it as exercising to build muscle mass.
Only, in this case, you’re building gene and Nanite mass.

“So you’re saying my body is still building genes for
me? Why? And what about the nanites? Are they made of metal, and if
they are, where are they getting it from?”

General, you can access that info in your Personal
Medical File. You’ll find a sub file for Genes and another for
Nanites. There are several sub-sub-files within those. You simply
must learn to do more with your new brainpower. I know it’s
awkward, but if you don’t use your capabilities, you won’t be able
to take advantage of them when you need them the most.

He complained,
Well this is all new to me. Suppose
you set up a training program for all of us that will require us to
use files we haven’t checked out. Once we know where they are and
how they’re organized, maybe we’ll begin taking control on our
own.

Yes sir, I’ll do it and I’ll tell the others that it
is your order to practice this at least three times a day for
twenty minutes.

Good girl. Now, have everyone assemble in the
conference room. We need to get organized a whole lot better than
we have been.

Got it.

As the group drank coffee and ate a hearty breakfast
of mystery meat and scrambled eggs, with toast, they chatted
lightly about what they needed to do today.

Mike set the agenda.

“Before we begin waking up these recruits, we need to
make a video. I had Bambi work up a preliminary example for us to
edit. So let’s take a look.”

As they watched, the staff made comments and
suggestions. When it was over, Mary had the best idea.

“We need more variations of these. We’ll need one
that addresses the facts for scientists and technical types, one
for the military recruits and probably one we can show to the Heads
of State on Earth.”

Mike agreed. “I think you’ve got a good point.
Different groups will have questions based on their primary
interests and cultural backgrounds. Bambi, handle it.”

“On it.” That was quickly becoming her standard
response to an order, in addition to “Got It.”.

He asked if anyone had any questions about the
mind-use training program that Bambi had suggested. No one had a
problem with discovering how to use their new abilities more
effectively.

Max spoke up. “Mike, I’ve been reviewing the
industrial side of things and we have a problem. We’ve only been at
this for a few days and we already have more to fabricate than our
machines can handle.

“We need more robots with different capabilities,
more shuttles, more med units, more comm units, more spaces for
crew quarters, flight simulators, combat simulators, and, if we’re
ever going to be able to construct some of our own spacecraft like
Mary is designing, we’ll need more replicators and fabricators. I
say we use half of the fabricators on board to build more
fabricators. For every two new ones that come on line, we set one
to constructing items we’ll need and the other to building more
fabricators. That way, we’re attacking both sides of our
needs.”

Max’s eyebrows went up and he sighed, as he said,
“Does anyone have a problem with that?”

Mary told him, “That sounds good, but generally what
happens is you’ll end up creating occasional periods of inactivity
for some of them. At any one point in time, you’ll have fabricators
not being used for more critical projects, as others are waiting
for material that comes from a different set of machines.”

Mike asked, “Bambi, can you coordinate the
fabricators to operate at their most efficient and avoid
overlapping periods of unuse?”

“I believe I can minimize it, but Mary has a point.
It would be best to know ahead of time when a certain construction
cycle is approaching a need for a large volume of parts, or base
material. I can have the fabricators make them just in time, so the
parts are available. That way, it won’t hold up the assembly of
something critical. Also, when a fabricator has some down time, we
can have it manufacture parts that are going to be needed
later.”

Bambi cautioned, “No matter how we tweak it, there
will be times when a fabricator is down. They have to be retooled,
in order to make some parts or entire pieces of finished equipment.
This suggests that Max’s idea has merit as well.

“I’ll do the best I can at orchestrating the
fabricators and replicators. As more come on line, I’m sure we’ll
find that we need even more of them. I’ll bring another one
thousand robots out of storage. They are the ones who will help to
aid in the construction of the fabricators. Also, once the
fabricators begin to pump out equipment, the robots will be needed
to move those items around or place them into storage. Under the
circumstances, we’ll be facing a shortage of parts and equipment,
right up until the Saurans are at our doorstep.”

Mike agreed, adding, “That’s an excellent point and a
good way to put it. We’ll say just that, when next we talk with the
men of Earth. Time is of the essence and no amount of political
bickering or posturing is going to add to the effort to defend the
Earth.”

Wayne had his say. “We’ll lose to much time going
back and forth from the Kuiper belt, to Earth and back. We need to
be able to manufacture some things on Earth and some out here.
Earth has the space for large projects and the manpower to be able
to ramp up programs on a grand scale.

“So, I suggest that we go about it in two ways. We
ask the American government to begin construction of manufacturing
facilities that will specialize in products that further the
overall effort. Because I’m not a trusting soul, I think we should
covertly obtain our own land, in a remote area and have our own
people handle some of that without the knowledge or help of the
American government. I’m guessing that our secret effort will move
faster and be more productive than theirs, at least at first.”

Max complimented him and asked, “Where do you suggest
we look for a large parcel of land?”

BOOK: Starting from Scratch
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