Read Starting from Scratch Online

Authors: Bruce George

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

Starting from Scratch (7 page)

BOOK: Starting from Scratch
9.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

She patted his hand again and asked, “So, when do I
go for my upgrade? Can I send a message to my daughter and
grandchildren first?”

He smiled and told her, “You need a few days to fully
recover from being partially,” he paused, and then said,
“Youthanized. So yes, you can send messages to anyone you wish. But
we’ll have to clear them first. We will not make changes to the
message, without letting you have input to it, before hand. Our
computer will monitor your progress, for now; and when you’ve
reached the point of strength that’s required, we’ll put you into

She shook her head and said, “Youthanized. I realize
you have usurped a word that properly captures what you’ve done for
us, but it could easily be misinterpreted. On the other hand, it is
appropriate. You have euthanized our old bodies and given youth to
us through our new bodies. Still, it sounds as though we’ve been
murdered. Better to stay away from the word.”

He nodded in agreement. Then asked, “So, Bet, you
have a daughter and grandchildren, tell me about them.”

The next hour was far more pleasant than the first
two had been. They exchanged stories of their youth and their
families. It was a very enjoyable time for both of them.

Bambi interrupted on the speakers. “Sorry to break
in, General, but the Naval officers you asked about are doing well
and I thought you might wish to speak with them.”

Bet stood up and said, “Well, Mike, this has been
very nice, but you obviously have work to do. I’ll need some help
getting back to the medical area. Perhaps you could escort me, or
have someone show me the way.”

“Bambi, have a robot take Dr. Fulwiler anywhere she
wants to go.”

“Yes sir. Doctor, there will be a robot chair outside
the door in thirty seconds. Just sit in it and tell me what you
wish to see.”

“Oh, thank you. Mike, I see that you have a very
competent assistant.”

“Bet, you have no idea how true that is.”

I like her, boss. Can I keep her?

She’s ours already. Show her the Bridge and give her
a look at the various planets. Answer her questions and if she
wants to meet you, tell her you are currently located deep in the
ship, in a restricted area, and you’re working on too many things
to break free at the moment.

Mike, I interpret that as meaning you don’t want her
to know I’m a sentient being.

Not yet. Let’s wait until people have been through
the upgrade to make them aware of that.

Got it.

He commed his son and asked how it was going. Wayne
assured him that the vets were dealing with this better than they
had hoped. Wayne had originally feared that many of them would want
to go back to Earth and use their regained youth. But thus far,
nearly half of them were leaning toward staying and getting the

Son, we need a higher percentage of return for our
efforts. Also, have you told them they would be restricted to the
Mother Ship and train out here, not on Earth? They might not be
going to Earth for quite a while, if ever. The last thing we need
is for the people of Earth to see our big men who can easily lift a
car, flexing their muscles. And how long would it be before one of
those guys wants to try out his new abilities in a bar fight. We’d
be explaining the dead bodies for months and the media would be
pressing for answers, as well as arrests and prosecutions.

I see your point, dad. We’ll explain it to them in
the next video.






Mike, was in conference with Mary and three
scientists, as they worked out the details of an idea Bet had
suggested. All of the highly prized scientists would use the same
reason for their disappearance. They would tell their relatives
that they were members of a group of elderly consultants who had
been invited to provide ideas and guidance for dealing with a
threat to the planet from outer space, such as an asteroid. This
was not entirely untrue and because it was technically accurate,
they were satisfied that, while they were misleading their
relatives, it was not an outright lie.

They kicked around several more ideas and asked many
more technical questions, which required direct input from Bambi.
It was very frustrating for the scientists, because Bambi was
unable to provide the details they sought. The Saurans were clever
in how they protected their knowledge of engineering, particularly
where the drive engines were concerned.

It was clear to Mike that the meeting had run its
coarse and he was just about to leave, when Bambi told him,
General, the president is calling. I told him you would be right
with him.

It had been decided from the very beginning that
ship’s time would be set to Earth Eastern Standard Time. So, when
the President called, it was nine in the evening, in Washington,
DC. Mike quickly excused himself. As he walked to his room, he
responded through the comm.

“Mr. President, how can I help you?”

“Mike, I have brought a few more people into the
loop. I felt it was necessary, in order to get things rolling, and
to add some brainpower to our side. If that offends you I’m sorry.
But you have to give me more leeway, to make these calls. After
all, I am the President of the United States.”

“I’m not upset, sir. I’ve already come to the same
conclusion. You’re correct sir, I have to trust you to make the
right call. Just remember that many of your decisions will not only
affect America, but the entire human race.

“May I ask who else you’ve brought in?”

As Bob Stassen read off the list of people in on the
project, Mike chuckled inwardly. He didn’t want the President to
know that he already knew of the additional people, because Bambi
had placed micro-stealth-drones in the White House and at Camp
David. She was also monitoring key offices and secure telephone
lines, such as Hardesty’s and Oldfield’s.

Bambi kept Mike apprised of the moves being made down
there, even the ones that the President was unaware of. Bob
Stassen’s advisors told each other it provided their boss with
plausible deniability.

For instance, the Secretary of Defense, Mike
Hardesty, had brought in a small team of men who he tasked with
some interesting duties. They were to find out where in space the
Mother Ship was located and to work up a plan to capture it, if
they could get out there.

Another team was tasked with capturing any of the
spacemen, as Hardesty had called them, especially Mike, or Jo. It
was a logical move and Mike was pleased that Hardesty had the balls
to consider those possibilities. It made sense to Mike and he
wasn’t worried about it, because they had no chance of succeeding,
although they didn’t know that.

Todd Pierpoint, the President’s National Security
Advisor, had his people looking for any friends and relatives of
Mike and Max, who could be used as leverage against them.

Mike had Bambi check to see if any effort was being
made to arrest or otherwise hassle any of Max’s friends and
relatives, as well as Mike’s, of course. She assured him that she
was watching very closely and saw no such moves and had not
overheard any calls, which would indicate plans to bring those
people in.

Bambi wrapped up her analysis,
Mike, Pierpoint
seems to be a decent guy. I think he’s just protecting his ass, by
covering all the bases. When one of his subordinates asked if they
should put pressure on a few relatives, he exploded and warned them
to stay away from them, but maintain a covert watch, just in case.
He did authorize phone taps on all of them.

That upset Mike; but on second thought he realized it
should not have surprised him. Throughout the history of mankind,
it had been shown that people in power were capable of doing
anything to protect their status, no matter how despicable. The
sycophants around them were some of the worst; Heinrich Himmler,
Hitler’s chief of the SS, for example.

The fact that the Americans were this paranoid, made
him wonder how bad the other governments of the free world would
be. And then, there were the governments of nations who didn’t have
a track record of high moral standards or ethics. He would need to
talk with Max about internal security. I hate to admit it, he
thought, but I might need my own Himmler. That possibility sent a
chill down his back.

The President wrapped up the short list of new
insiders, and then told Mike, “I can’t emphasize this enough, Mr.
Hurst, and I don’t mean to impugn your integrity or loyalty to
America or the human race. However, after reviewing your record,
it’s obvious that you simply don’t have the experience or staff to
deal with the enormity of this dilemma. If you would just come down
to Earth and set up base here, we can work together on this.”

Mike was glad the President couldn’t see his evil
grin, as he responded, “Sir, my small staff and I have had the same
thought. We, that is to say both of our people, need to get rolling
on a number of projects, which will be critical if we’re to have
any chance at all. We need the help of the best scientific minds
you can put on this project and those will be your people.

“The need for secrecy and manufacturing space is
vital, for as long as we can maintain it. I’m suggesting that you
authorize the use of land on Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, where
we can begin to build production facilities. We think initially
five hundred acres, but there might be a need to grow larger, so
you might want to have your people keep that in mind. I am not
insisting, sir; I merely suggesting.”

Mike Hardesty spoke up. “Mr. Hurst, do you have any
preferred location on the base?”

Mike thought that was a subtle way to see how much
info Mike already had about Nellis.

“Not really, Mr. Hardesty. But I would think that
anywhere inside the basin would be preferred. It’s already very
secure and we definitely want to keep prying eyes from seeing
what’s going on there.

“Incidentally, when we return in a few weeks, we’ll
be bringing two fabricators with us. The small one is capable of
producing a number of interesting gadgets and the larger one will
be able to produce a combination of space and atmospheric fighters,
the likes of which you won’t believe. They’ll have targeting
abilities that don’t currently exist anywhere on Earth; and the
plasma weapons are amazingly accurate. One of the best things about
these weapons is that they recharge and fire in nanoseconds. With
these, you could annihilate an entire air fleet of Russian bombers
in ten seconds, using two fighters.”

Mike heard whistles and comments of awe and

“It’s true sir. They exist and can be made fairly
quickly. We ask that you put an emphasis on the space fighters, but
it’s your call, gentlemen.

“We will also be bringing a new type of anti-air
deterrent system. It can locate and shoot down incoming aircraft
and missiles many hundreds of miles away and it, too, has a rapid
fire mode that can be used hundreds of times a minute.”

Stassen said, “That’s very kind of you, Mike. Thank

Mike let out a sigh. “Mr. President, again, lets’ cut
through the bullshit. You don’t trust me and I don’t trust you. The
difference is, you don’t realize you have no choice but to trust
me. But I have no choice either; I must trust you. Our motivations
are different and our goals are different. But ultimately, we must
work together, or the Earth is going tits up, pardon my language,

“That’s all right, Mike. I understand that you’re
under a lot of stress.”

“We both are, sir. I hate to beat a dead horse, but I
can’t impress upon you enough the truth of what I have told you.
The aliens will come and I believe they will either destroy the
Earth, or, at the very least, enslave us all.”

Pierpoint said, “Mr. Hurst, isn’t it true that you’re
basing all of this on the word of a single alien. Certainly you can
understand our concern that he is your only source of intelligence
on this. We would like to speak with him in person and judge for
ourselves the voracity of his statements.”

“Mr. Pierpoint, he will be with us on our next visit
and I feel certain he will avail himself for your

“We won’t interrogate him. We just want to get a few
things clear, before we commit a massive amount of funds to some
project that doesn’t attack the real problem.”

Mike’s blood pressure was rising, but he managed to
maintain his cool, as he asked, “And what is the primary problem,
as you see it, Mr. Pierpoint?”

“Well frankly, you. Look at it from our position. You
break into Camp David and make a speech to the President of the
United States, which asserts we are going to be attacked by beings
from outer space. It’s a little bit too sci-fi for some of us. We
are men who deal with tangible proof, whenever possible. You’ve
given us some intriguing trinkets, but not hard proof.”

“All right, Mr. Pierpoint, what sort of proof can I
offer you.”

“Give us everything you have. We will evaluate it and
gladly include you in our efforts to defend the planet, providing
it becomes obvious that it is truly necessary. We are not your
enemy, but we are very worried that you might be ours.”

“Thank you, Mr. Pierpoint. You’re the first one there
to call a spade a spade. Perhaps we can truly get to work, now that
your concerns are out in the open. If I had a better way to give
you proof, at the moment, I would do it. I’ll bring what I can,
when I return. There is a practical limit to what will fit in the

Mike changed direction on them. “Now, have you
decided who you want me to upgrade for you? I am prepared to accept
as many as ten people to go through the process, so choose wisely.
They should be prepared to be off planet for approximately seven
weeks. Once they have been upgraded, they will have comm units
placed in their bodies and they will be functional by simply
utilizing their thoughts, without actually speaking. They will have
immediate comm with all of the other people who have been

BOOK: Starting from Scratch
9.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Drake's Lair by Dawn Thompson
Rednecks Who Shoot Zombies on the Next Geraldo by Paoletti, Marc, Lacher, Chris
Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block
The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind
Ardor by Roberto Calasso
20 by John Edgar Wideman