Chapter 12

An uneditted version of chapter 12, and the only chapter that doesn’t give away any major plot lines or story developments, No spoilers here  🙂

12

Life aboard the THOLEN had become a routine, wake, eat, sleep, and then repeat as needed. Hiro Sotahara, sat for hours with hand at the ready for any needed course correction, with would have been pointless as the onboard computers were guiding the ship on a preplaned optimal course down to specific point in space in three dimensional to mere meters over a distance of millions of kilometers. His only diversions while at the helm, were his audio collection of jazz from the war years of 1940’s , and playing with a word game on a display pad. During his off time, he spend all his time working out in the gymnasium on the ship. Cutting his already defined frame into a copy of a mable statue from antiquity.

 Captain Grey, not needed on the bridge, after setting the course, spent a great deal of her time with Dr Lin in either of the two old modules on the ship, and doing spacewalks on the cargo deck to inspect the three new mystery containers. DiCadimain and Katz both were no closer to finding out what were in the moduals. Despite both of them spending most mealtimes and recreational times in the company of both women. Grey was not open to begin with and was becoming more withdrawn. She was more than ever less talkative and smiled much less often. Her face was being to show signs of the mission.

 Allyson’s thoughts were torn between the mission on hand, on which a major portion of the whole operation depended but she was spening more time dwelling upon the events of the which had led up to the loss of the BODE and her father. Ten years ago she was on a ship of similar design and size under the command of her father. The THOLEN was on a similar mission as the BODE had been. They had been carrying out a secret mission and enroute to a destination which was off limits to all ships. Traveling in radio blackout and silent mode. But the most troubling fact was that they had the exact same cargo on board and it was the cargo that cost her father his ship and his life. Reoccuring nightmares everynight kept that fresh in her mind.

 Without many dangerous medical situations arising on the ship, Virgina Lin had devoted all her time to studying by herself. Expanding her knowledge of child physiology and pediatric health. This she knew she would have to learn as the Mars base and all Company assests would soon be swarming with families and their children. So every bit of information information on these stange little creatures would be of value back on Mars.

 What was of greatest interest to here were the research and documentation materials on the what was called Childhood Psychotic Disorder or CPD, and then L-GEP for Low-Gravity Environment Psychosis was extensive and the on board copies of reports for many of the Earth-Luna governments and corporation where all marked as “classified”, “eyes only” or “restricted”, She had long since quit wondering how the Company seemed to have access to everything that was other peoples business. She like everyone on the ship, was more concerned where the Project was going and its ulitimate success and not on either past or how the goals were achieved. It was a fine balance of personal commitment and choice played off against her Hypocratic oath and the ethics invovled with that oath.

 Without any answers to their questions, Jason and Mike, spent a great deal of their time working with real materials and in real time. The THOLEN used its exisitng engine to power itself out of the Belt towards Jupiter, and with the ship travelling in the ‘shadow’ of the habitation and command moduals, they and their crew attached another plasma-ion engine to increase the thrust. Working in deep space was unnerving enough, but while travelling at almost 150,000 kilometers an hour, was not for the faint of heart.

 Working nine or ten, even twelve hour shifts in a hard vaccuum, in the cold and dark with a high energy plasma field close enough to touch, meant most of their fifeteen hour down time was stictly eating and sleeping. They completed the work on schedule and spent the next 4 weeks in the heat sauna, whirpools and given the occasional light duty, which included familiarizing themselves with the new robot miners and recovery drones which they had loaded on board from one of the containers they picked up back at point 20-199.

 They were making better time than they expected, the new Chang-Diaz was stronger than the main  engine on the THOLEN, so speed, or more aptly, velocity was up by an addition two-thirds.

 “Day 34 since the project was initated, the first two weeks were ahead of projected schedules and production and effieceny of the personnel on Mars has been exemplrary. However, over that time we have had a few setbacks, we have lost on drill rig in Asria due to dust, one atmospheric transport shuttle enroute to Wendy, had crashed with one fatality, the pilot. Further to that there have been an additional 4 base fatalies, two from electrocution and two on the surface. There have been an additional 14 injuries, two of which were serious enough for Dr. Ellards to list as crtical, 4 have require extended stays in the infirmary and remaining 8 have been assigned passive duties.”

 “This third week, there have been other major issues. Tunnelling in Annie, the drills hit void under a mass of large mass of loose aggrate basalt, causing the collapse of one and one-half kilometers of tunnels and a 5 kilometer new redirected tunnel to by-pass the fracture zone. The geologists said this type of sub-surface anomily had a possibility of being in that area but they were unaware of this particular ones existence.”

 “There was an addition problem with, two of the air pump-filter recyclers out on site, but I have been told that, that has been rectified and air pressure is being raised in Wendy and ice transfer from the southern cap will top of that operation on time. So, Wendy is at 80%, Nikki at about 75, and Annie is just past 40%, and that could cause a casacade effect on relocation.”

 “As for the off world efforts: Long range scanners on Phobos, have comfirmed THOLEN is on course and making best speed. The BOVA has delivered 4 new hex moduals from your region and is outward bound to retreive another set. The CLARKE is running in Company dark mode, and parked with the Luna-Earth Forces at L4.” Then adding her personal sequence of code notes, Winters, had Lange, transmit the message in a repeating pulse format outwards to Ceres.

 Other than Winters, Lange was the only person on Mars who had knowlegde of CIRCUS and was also aware what of the CIRCUS was up to. Lange however was also aware of most other things on Mars, in the Earth-Luna system and elsewhere as well. Having personal and unlimited access to what was agruably the most sophisticated radio net in the solar system. He knew more about things than Winters knew, and even Lawyta knew, but what he knew most of all was how to survive.

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