Daily Prompt: Organize

Chapter 58 – AMC Mantis Refit Review

For the last four weeks, Sted had been working almost two full shifts per day. The demo part had been easy for the shipyard. The reconstruction was another matter. Once the new interior plans were complete, engineering went to work designing specifications for all of the new parts to be fit into the relatively small interior space.

Sted was just emerging from the hatch of the Mantis after his second shift of the day and was looking forward to some quiet time with Jessica when Rear Admiral Cunningham approached him.

“Hello, Captain. I would like you to give me a quick tour of the Mantis to see how close we are to squeezing everything in that we need. I’m getting some pressure from the Admiralty to get a final set of plans down to Luna so that AMC can begin working with us on the design of the Epsilon escort class.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Sted replied as he dropped back into the Mantis, signaling for her to follow him inside.

Once they were situated on the bridge, Sted began his tour. Since he had been involved in every phase of the new installation, he didn’t need any time to organize his thoughts. “As you can see, we have almost completed the bridge refit. I know you wanted to fly this fighter with a crew of two, but your decision to allow a third crew member has made the bridge design much easier. We were able to retain the main laser console in its original form. We had some trouble adapting the newly-designed missile console into the same operational area, so we had to take it apart and then rebuild it on the spot. I’m sure Lenny has taken his onsite corrections back to engineering to have the plans corrected to match what he had to do to make it fit properly into the space.

“Also, our double hull design has given the crew a few headaches, because they are not used to the restrictions imposed by having to maintain as much independence between the two hulls as possible. Every time the crew wants to run a wiring conduit or bolt down a new piece of equipment, they have to be reminded not to just forge ahead and drill holes wherever they need. We have to make absolutely sure that a breach of the outer hull does not find a weak point on the inner hull. Appropriate reinforcing has to be considered for even the most minor changes.”

Rear Admiral Cunningham nodded. “We have to make thorough notes for the refit of the other four Deltas so that we can get it right the first time and cut down on the total refit time. However, I don’t see how this will impact the Epsilon design. What are your thoughts?”

“I was thinking very seriously of a different approach for the Epsilons,” Sted admitted. “I think the new plans should take a radically different approach to the double hull design. I think the interior hull should be designed just like a normal exterior hull to allow for standard construction processes. Then the exterior hull could be manufactured and installed after the fact and configured by the Navy depending on the mission of the ship.

“One exterior hull could be manufactured with stealth capabilities. A second exterior hull could be manufactured with multiple offensive and defensive laser clusters for combat. This would also accommodate any future needs by just reconfiguring the outer hull. Once the mission has been decided, we can slap on the correct outer hull configuration prior to launch and then pump the shock-absorbing gel between the hulls. If we design the hull attachments properly, this should allow a hull reconfiguration in about the same time it takes to restock the ship.”

“I really like that approach, Captain,” Cunningham said. “I want to apologize for my earlier skepticism regarding your design capabilities. You obviously spent a great deal of time with the original design back at the AMC factory. Let me get our design team to work on the details. I’ll have them contact you with any questions. How much longer do you estimate it will take to get Mantis ready for its first trial run?”

“Three, maybe four days until we are ready to pump in the gel and test inner hull integrity. I would say we need a week after that to get everything in the interior cleaned up and ready for the crew.”

“Okay, Captain, I’ll let you go get some rest while I stay here and do a personal inspection of the ship over the next several hours. I will have a list of questions for you to review tomorrow. Thanks for staying a little longer to accommodate me. I must have a report ready to send in-system by the end of the week.”

“No problem, ma’am,” Sted replied as he headed for the hatch.



 

Book 1 of The Nu Trilogy is available free with Kindle Unlimited or for $2.99 on Amazon.

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A Taste of Nu Book 2 – The Esss Retreat

Here is a short chapter from my upcoming novel ‘Nu Book 2 – The Esss Retreat‘. If you find this intriguing, you might want to read the first novel in this trilogy ‘Nu Book 1 – The Esss Advance‘ which is available on Amazon by following the link.

Chapter 5 – A Nu Intervention

AlbuTang had set up an opportunity for Sted and Jessica to have the afternoon alone in their hotel room before meeting them in The Dome restaurant, hoping that they would mate. When he lifted Jessica onto the bar stool and held her hand, he knew that his hopes had been fulfilled.

By holding her hand, he could confirm the presence of a male fertilized egg in her left Fallopian tube descending into her uterus. He also detected the presence of one of the many human birth control substances in Jessica’s system that prevented the egg from attaching to the uterine wall. It was a simple matter to infuse into her system, through his hand contact, a countermeasure to the drug. This would insure that the egg attached successfully, and that Sted’s genetic makeup would be carried forward into the next generation.

If the Esss were successfully repelled from the solar system, Sted’s children would form the basis of a whole new genetically modified human species that could take to the stars and hopefully drive the Esss from this galaxy.

Lifestyles in Space

Lifestyles in space may alter significantly because encounters will be infrequent due to low population densities. I tried to portray this in the first book of my science fiction trilogy. Here is a chapter from Nu Book 1 – The Esss Advance where we see an example.

In this sample, I have italicized the change in lifestyle section for emphasis.


 

Chapter 38 – Party on the Shuttle Endeavour

 

The week at Rickover was just starting for Sted. Jessica had agreed to accompany him to the Lockheed Aerospace post-flight party on his second night after arriving. When they made their appearance on the shuttle, they were greeted warmly by their Lockheed hosts and then introduced to the principal staff members on board. From all of the conversations, it was clear to Sted that they were still trying to recruit him away from AMC.

The lavish party was being held in the grand ballroom aboard the Endeavour. The operative word was “grand.” The room had to be over 100 meters long and fifty meters wide with a domed ceiling at least twenty meters over their heads. At one end of the room was a stage with a ten-piece dance band. In front of the dance band was a thirty-meter square parquet wood dance floor. Around the dance floor were several dozen tables for guests. Because the shuttle was docked to the shipyard and spinning around at the end of the shuttle docking arm, everyone felt normal in the artificial gravity, allowing them to dance like they were back on the moon.

“Jessica, I have not danced since I got these new legs, but I would love to try dancing with you anyway. I hope you will excuse me if I flub a few steps,” Sted said as he held out his hand and then guided her onto the dance floor.

“From everything I’ve seen in the last two days, I don’t think you’ll have too many problems,” Jessica replied. She gave Sted one of her brightest smiles as she followed him out to the center of the dance floor. Then she melted into his arms for a dance she would never forget. Their bodies seemed to fit together like hand and glove, and she didn’t want the dance to end.

 

Sted was a little out of breath at the end of the dance, and he knew it wasn’t from the exertion of dancing. It was from the almost chemical reaction his body was having to both the scent and feel of Jessica’s body so close to his.

After that first dance, the sexual tension between the two was obvious to most of those attending the party. They could not seem to look anywhere else but into each other’s eyes.

After the party, they went back to the AMC suite reserved for Sted, where they spent the rest of the night getting to know each other on a more intimate basis. Sted had been worried the whole evening that Jessica would be put off by his abbreviated natural body with attached prosthetics once they were alone together. As it turned out, he had nothing to fear. Encounters out in the belt tended to be short but torrid. You did not have time to play games that could stretch over months or years. If you felt an attraction, you had to grab on right away to see if it might actually be something that had the promise of a future. If you passed on that first opportunity, you might never see the person again.

For Sted, this was his first intimate encounter with a woman since the accident, and his body was more than ready to satisfy its need for procreative activity. That body had been sending strong messages since the moment he had popped out of the hatch and seen Jessica in the reception area.

 

Jessica was swept up not only by Sted’s physical presence but also by his entire history. When she first met him, she had to be very careful not to reveal how she was truly feeling. That is, until she blushed after seeing his enthralled smile back in the corridor outside of the AMC offices. Unbeknownst to her, that smile and her blush had sealed their fate.

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Follow this link to Amazon if you are interested in finding out more about this first book in my new science fiction trilogy. Amazon Link.

 

The Daily Post: Aware

For today’s Daily Post, I want to give you a taste of Nu Book 2 – The Esss Retreat. Asteroid Mining Company (AMC) has developed a new fighter for the United Space Navy  and Sted Richardson is in the process of testing the main lasers on each of the new ships.

The Featured Image is a publicly available wallpaper from the site www.thesurge.com and can be accessed by following the link.

This work has not been through professional editing, so any corrections or thoughts would be appreciated.

Chapter 12 – Coordinated Testing Begins

Sted was afraid to be too optimistic about their first coordinated test. They were using the shuttle Endeavour as their mock target. The shuttle had finally arrived in lunar orbit three weeks after Sted and Jessica and, after being emptied of all unnecessary personnel, it was placed in an orbit that allowed the training attack runs to be hidden from anywhere on Earth.

The initial testing was strictly to see how well hidden the Scorpions could remain, so two naval destroyers were placed in orbit with the Endeavour. Once everything was in place, the group of five fighters streamed up from the lunar surface toward the flotilla in orbit so that they could establish baseline radar and visible and infrared spectrum readings as they approached.

With the fighters under power, they were easy to detect from the output of their engines. Once the engines were cut, however, they were undetectable. Their exterior panels successfully absorbed almost all wavelengths of radiation, or at least failed to reflect that radiation back to any active sensors. The Scorpions were, in effect, the stealthiest ships ever constructed by humanity.

Sted had been anticipating the laser targeting tests for the last couple of weeks. He had worked with Captain Evans on finding the quickest way to test all the new equipment and crews and they had settled on doing individual ship tests for this phase.

“Scorpion One, this is Scorpion Leader,” said Sted over the command channel. “Commence your initial laser test run.  I will light up the Endeavor on my mark.”

“Commencing first pass,” replied Captain Evans from Scorpion One.  “Awaiting your mark.”

Sted held back for a few more seconds to allow Scorpion One to achieve an optimal position for their first test laser shot, then looked over at Lieutenant Wessel and gave her a slight head nod telling her to activate the spotting laser.  He then opened the command channel once more and called out “Mark!”

The spotting laser painted a small target in the center of the number “2” on the tail of the Endeavor.  Since Scorpion One was not aware where the spot would be painted on the hull of the target, Sted figured it would take several seconds to acquire the target point and get the main laser properly aligned.  He was pleasantly surprised when Scorpion One’s main laser got off their initial shot in under three seconds. Accuracy, however, did not match quickness of the delivery.

“Scorpion One, you were eight meters wide of the target at 290 degrees.  Adjust your targeting optics for the next pass. Scorpion Two, commence your first pass and fire on my mark,” commanded Sted.

“Scorpion Two commencing first pass,” replied Captain Elizabeth Bell.

“Lieutenant Wessel, adjust the initial target to the center of the airlock door at loading bay three on Endeavour,” said Sted.  He wanted to adjust the initial target for each ship so there could be no anticipation by that crew.”

“Ready at the door to loading bay three,” replied his weapons specialist.

“Mark!” barked Sted over the command channel.

Nothing happened. Sted waited patiently for all of 30 seconds before commanding “Report, Captain Bell!”

“Scorpion Leader, this is Scorpion Two,” replied Captain Bell. “We have a main laser malfunction. I repeat, we have a main laser malfunction. We have no clue what is causing the problem.”

“Scorpion Two,” said Sted.  “Report back to the AMC factory. We need that laser fixed as quickly as possible.”

“Damn,” whispered Sted to himself. He was really feeling the time pressure for getting these ships up to speed, and this setback would be costly in lost time.  Well, there was nothing he could do about that right now. He had to complete the testing of Scorpions Three and Four.

Pushing this problem back into a compartment of his mind for later consideration, Sted ordered the next pass

“Scorpion Three, commence your first pass and fire on my mark,” commanded Sted.

“Lieutenant Wessel, move your target 100 meters toward the bow of Endeavor.”

“Target moved 100 meters toward the bow,” replied Lieutenant Wessel.

“Mark!” said Sted when Scorpion Three was in position.

Testing went on for the next twenty minutes as Scorpion One, Three, and Four each made several more passes.

After five complete passes, two of the Scorpion targeting systems had been tuned to strike the laser spot on every attempt. Scorpion Two and Four were returning to the factory. Scorpion Four required hardware changes in the targeting system and Scorpion Two had to have the main laser completely replaced. Both crews would miss the next set of drills while the factory worked on the fixes. Sted split up those crews so that they could be observers in the remaining Scorpions while the drills continued.  As far as Sted was concerned, the test was a real disaster.