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 Outside - Proof of Friendship

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TerishD


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PostSubject: Outside - Proof of Friendship   September 2nd 2010, 7:43 am

Outside - Story Sixteen
Proof of Friendship

Part One

This is Rachel making this report. Nothing really important to talk about, but some might think so. I know that Darlene has her regular broadcast, but she actually does not get into the details of our lives. The usual reason is that most of the things that my crew does are actually not interesting to her. Of course, the other reason is that we don’t tell her everything. It is to assure that certain facts are in the record that I am making this report.

Thor and I do work to keep up with the intimate details of life aboard our ship. The primary reason is, of course, to assure that everything is being taken care of as it should. Truthfully, the actual fact is that we hired some of the best people available, and have found them to be very good people. When my husband or I learn about some private activity aboard our vessel, we are generally glad to have been privileged to share in their lives.

Usually, however, our snooping begins because we believe that there is a problem. That is how I am starting this series of events, although that was not the reason that I was where I was. I actually had my own motivation for moving through the corridors of the Menlo Park when I heard some rather loud voices.

I heard Naomi declare, “NO! Clover already has enough space for his computers, and I have taken my space for my medical stuff. I am not going to allow this project in here.”

Clover and Castle did not have dismay on their faces as they approached me, but were smiling as they began listing the rooms in the ship. They greeted me, although moved as if they were heading somewhere. I however stopped them.

“I heard Naomi kick you out.”

Castle replied, “I was working on Jane, and thought of incorporating a gravity plate into the plasma generator. When I researched it, I found others doing the same, but not to improve our space engine. They were trying to build an actual 3D reality environment. They felt the gravity plate would help them manipulate the plasma into simulated objects. I could not do what I planned without some computer management, so came to visit Clover. He and I were discussing building a limited module ourselves.”

Our young married pilot picked up on the topic. “Even a limited module would demand a lot of equipment. Naomi knew that we were joking, but she also knows that we would do such a thing. She just kicked us out to assure that if we started doing it, we did not start in our apartment.”

He looked at me with more of a serious expression as he added, “We are still pretty much loaded. Our extra repair bay is even stocked with food. I believe Castle and I are going to have to wait until some of our supplies begin to run low.”

Castle mumbled his agreement. “My room is filled with Jane. While I believe what others are doing might help with Jane, it would take a total redesign to test their projects. I am not going to do that to Jane.”

I thought for a moment, then said, “I believe that we have used enough supplies to clear Com Room Two.”

There were fourteen people aboard the Menlo Park, but we were not at capacity. Some rooms were thus empty due to a lack of personnel. Considering that our Medical Officer shared a room with our youngest pilot, and I, the Flight Commander, shared a room with the Captain, there were extra quarters. We however were out in space far from anyone, so left Inside with extra supplies of everything we considered essential. While we had the capability of making a number of things, the precision demanded by our modern technology caused us to load up on extra engine parts and gravity plates. In hiring the best crew, those extra parts seldom got used. Sandra could use her tools to fix anything that broke. She had selected parts to keep us running while she repaired a part, but I knew from the previous mission that most of what was stored aboard the Menlo Park would not be used except in the case of odd projects like what Castle and Clover proposed. I thus spoke to assure the two that they did have permission to act upon their concept.

“I can send you the overrides to access the room.”

The two shrugged. I understood the acts to mean that they actually had not yet decided to do anything. Castle however looked at me, and I waited for him to speak understanding that he did consider some plan of his to actually need authorization.

“Listen, Rachel, I do think that I am on the right track in building Jane. If I do get some positive responses, I will want to put her in a vehicle. I was thinking about using Old Tommy.”

My mind was already considering the extra supplies that I had aboard, so my brain easily came up with a counter. “I know that you and Clover redid Diamond’s boat, but Old Tommy is even more dated. I am not against refurbishing Old Tommy, but for what you are doing, Castle, I would believe that you are going to need a whole new boat. There should be all the right parts somewhere, or the right stuff to build what you don’t have.”

Castle replied, “I will need a repair bay for that, and our extra one is filled with food.”

Clover said, “You only need the repair bay for final assembly. We can get the parts and put them in Com Room Two.”

Now it was I that shrugged shoulders. “I will send you the overrides for whatever you plan.”

The two young men smiled as they thanked me. They then moved on. I assumed that they would go to Castle’s room and discuss their plans as they examined Jane. I made a mental note to check on them later, but I presently felt a need to check on someone else.

When I touched the pad next to Clover’s door, the voice of Naomi quickly spoke to invite me inside. I stepped into the apartment to find her cleaning the table. She did not look angry, but I spoke to assure her true attitude.

“I heard you kick your husband out.”

She continued wiping the table as she said, “Oh, he and Castle were talking about something. Castle can fill his room with this large contraption, but I don’t want my apartment looking like that.”

“I don’t remember Clover having this room looking like Castle’s.”

“No. Whatever mess he makes is usually inside a computer. He has his work area where he does some electronic projects, but keeps it rather organized. My medical training equipment is often more of a mess.”

I assured a conclusion as I asked, “So, no problem?”

“No, no problem. I am not going to let them build that thing in here, though.”

I moved to sit down at the table as I brought up the matter that had caused me to walk the corridors of my ship. “Well, can I give you a problem?”

She stopped cleaning, put up her cloth, then came to sit down at the table with me before saying, “Sure, Rachel, what problem?”

“I’m pregnant.”

“Congratulations. Have you told Thor yet?”

“No, but I am going to.” I quickly added, “I am not scared of telling him, but it is a step in our relationship that we had yet to take.”

“I don’t see the problem.”

“You’re the Medical Officer.”

A shocked expression crossed her face as she asked, “Okay, but is there a problem?”

“Not that I am aware of. Listen, Clover’s father invented our gravity plates. Your husband is the major stockholder of the major factories that produce gravity plates. I want to know the real evidence about children that grow up in the influence of artificial gravity.”

“None. Clover opened up those reports for me. Almost all reports of problems are due to people using a low gravity setting, then going into a strong gravity well. This ship runs at a one-G setting, except for the docking bays, so we and our children should have no problems.”

I was actually worried, so focused on something the lady said. “You said ‘almost.’”

“Some places actually work at a higher gravity setting. These are not constant, but used in certain areas for specific reasons. Bringing a developing child into a variety of gravity settings seems to produce problems. Again, this ship runs at a unified gravity level, so we should not have any problems with our children. I would just restrict your movements to inside the ship with very limited visits to the berthing halls. Sorry, but we are grounded until the baby is born.” She looked at me strangely, then added, “I said ‘we,’ because I want to have children as well. Indigo has also mentioned wanting children, but I don’t believe her and Felix are that far along in their relationship.”

Feeling some relief, I asked, “What are you and Clover waiting for?”

“I don’t want to share Clover at the moment. There is some destination that he wants to wait for, but I am enjoying this new life and him. I don’t really want my time with him taken by a baby.”

Feeling that Naomi had become part of the family and crew of my ship, I went ahead and said something. “We really don’t talk about a coming destination.”

“Clover has admitted that it has something to do with aliens, but that is about all he will say. He gets reports on the terraforming of Neosalem and will talk with me about alien environments. He will also look at the chemical reports of our systems and discuss what type of life forms might have existed.”

“Do you talk with him on that topic?”

“Yes, as it actually gets close to my real interest. I wish we had animals on board. I grew up working with animals. Clover has his horses. I thus feel slightly alone in that there are no animals on board, and will discuss with Clover possibly finding alien animals.”

Those sounded like positive words to me, so I moved back to my reason for being here. “Now that I am pregnant, what do you recommend?”

“Uh.” I could tell that she was attempting to remember some of her training. “We need to check your vitamins. We also need to just check some basic things that can be used to help track your development, and help to determine how to respond if problems do develop.”

“Can we do that here, or do we need to go to your office?”

“My office.”

The medical facility was a small room with a bed on each side and a long work table with a desk for the computer along the back wall. The beds, as far I knew, had never been used. Even Thor and I on our first voyage in this ship, when we were all alone, never sought this room for certain activities. We did have health problems on our last voyage, but in finding Terry to be a horrible medic we mostly only came into the medical facility to do our own prescribing of drugs. That was something Naomi had clamped down upon, and as we found her actually interested in our health everybody accepted her authority. I thus went with her to her office actually feeling that I was going someplace that actually now had a purpose on my ship.

Naomi basically did the same thing that Terry would have done, she filled in questions on a form presented on the computer. She however took an interest in me and the data that our chemist would never have shown. While she was a lady, I did not feel that she only considered my problems to be something that she would also experience one day. I actually felt that she saw me as a unique individual whose specific physical problems would be hers to unravel. I believe that we both got so involved in the doctor-patient relationship that it surprised both of us to look up from transcribing some data to the computer form and see my husband.

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PostSubject: Part Two   September 7th 2010, 7:41 am

Outside - Story Sixteen
Proof of Friendship

Part Two

Before Thor could ask any questions, I provided an answer. “I’m pregnant.”

“Oh.” I watched the face of my husband as he shifted his thoughts. “I guess that I am responsible, as – even after what you two ladies did to assure me a supply of condoms – I did not always use them.”

“I am responsible as well, Thor, as I stopped using my protection.”

“So, this is a joint predicament?”

I was glad to see him approach to kiss me, and I gave him some affection before replying, “Yes, Thor, it is a joint predicament.”

He turned to Naomi to ask, “How is Clover coming along with his project?”

She replied, “It is a lovely vessel, Thor. Castle has him hoping that a really powerful engine that can take us anywhere can be installed, but Clover believes that the actual ship design and room layout are set.”

“Well, I guess that it does not matter anymore.”

“Why doesn’t it matter?”

I answered the question. “We agreed that once I have the first child, that I become a baby machine. We don’t want only one child, and really don’t want them spread out too much on age. Being out in space they will probably only have each other to play with.”

“Well, by the time that the next one comes, I should be pregnant or already have one as well.”

I looked to my husband as I said, “And it does matter, Thor. By the time we return they will be old enough to needing room to play. That new ship design should be more accommodating the activities of a child.”

I saw his features relax as he said, “Well, I simply checked on you. When the computer said that you were in here with Naomi, I felt a need to personally come to you.”

I kissed him again before saying, “I am glad that you did.”

A look of concern again crossed his face as he asked, “Do we tell the crew?”

“Well, we don’t hide it, Thor. I don’t want Darlene blathering it all through the universe, but that will happen whether I like it or not. This is however our first, and we are way out in space. I would thus prefer to save any official announcement until I am further along.”

“Okay, that…”

All three of us looked around as we felt a jerk. Both my husband and I shouted to our ship to provide information. The logic of the programming caused it to make the chatter from our bridge to come across the speakers.

“Tornado, what caused you to do that?” Darlene’s voice demanded.

Whatever program altered the voice of our shadows seemed to cut in and out, giving us chances to actually hear the person. “The damn controls for this round vessel are acting up. I apologize, Menlo Park.”

The voice of Castle now came over the speaker. “Listen, you have some of the best mechanics right here. We can open up a repair bay if you will open up your circuits to us.”

A clear electronic voice said, “No. We can handle it ourselves. Thank you for the offer, Menlo Park.”

Thor took off. I reached for my shirt to follow, but saw Naomi move to her computer. She quickly sent it some commands, and the image from a camera showing a view of the bridge appeared on the screen. I relaxed and watched while we finished the examination.

Soon enough, Thor came into view as he demanded, “What is the situation, Darlene?”

“Don’t really know. The Tornado just started moving erratically. Almost hit us.”

The image on the front monitor had shifted to a camera that had a good view of the small saucer, but Thor altered the magnification of the image as he sought advice. “Castle, can you propose a reason for their problem?”

The voice came over a speaker, “I was not watching, Thor. I simply provided the offer.”

“Sandra?”

Her voice came over the speaker without any need for an explanation as to why her name was called. “I am looking at the video now, Thor. It seems that they are using an impure fuel mixture for their propulsion. Something in its composition reacted with the plasma of their Kert Field.”

“Did you hear that, Zephyr?”

An electronic voice returned, “Yes, and we thank you for the advice. You should be able to verify that the Tornado is being brought back in now. We will be checking things.”

“Uh, you only have the two?”

“Yes.”

“Listen, we have a spare.”

The voice of Castle came over the speaker, “I don’t believe that they want Old Tommy, Thor.”

“Listen, I went out in Old Tommy. None of you youngsters might want Old Tommy, but I will bet you that it is better designed for being out here than those saucers.”

I found it strange that nobody from the saucers interrupted the conversation as Castle returned, “What will we use as a spare?”

“I believe that I just heard you say that I have some of the best mechanics right here. Okay, I will put them to work building me a new spare.”

“Uh, we were already speaking with Rachel about something like that. I was wanting something to test Jane in should I get her working.”

“Sounds like this new spare would thus get used occasionally, unlike Old Tommy.” The tone of my husband’s voice changed as he asked, “Are you listening, Zephyr?”

An electronic voice replied, “You would charge us.”

“Not immediately. Let us say that you could have it for some test drives. If you like the feel and handling, we can talk price.”

“We will think about it. At the next stop, we might take you up on the offer.”

Naomi might have left the computer stay on that camera, but I gave the computer my own instructions. We don’t usually use voice commands, but our computers are smart enough to respond to our voices. Considering that the medical computer was set to handle emergencies, I knew it had been set to recognize verbal instructions. I gave it my name simply to assure authorization when it accessed the internal ship cameras to track the movement of my husband.

I gave an apologetic smile to Naomi when I realized that Thor only went to speak to Castle. Of course, Clover was with him. The three men then went into an in-depth conversation of ship construction. The topic did not really interest me or Naomi, although the smile that came in return showed that she understood the type of men that we married.

She asked, “Why did you marry Thor?”

“The same reason that I am having his baby. I felt that he was a good man, and I still believe that he is a good man. While some of the things that he does are rather annoying, they also mark him as dependable. I have always been able to trust him.”

“Yes, I believe that I can trust Clover as well. While I don’t like some of the things that he does, I know that there is nothing wrong with those things. They are just things that I don’t like. There is enough that I do like however that I love him.”

“And our men do have to put up with us.”

She laughed with me, and spent some time talking about our own interests. I knew that she cooked, so mentioned certain recipes that I enjoyed. She spoke of Clover telling her about my expertise in using knives. The conversation ended up with me in the kitchen being the chef. The rest of the crew had seen my routines in chopping up vegetables and slicing meat, so only gathered around to watch again while waiting for things to cook. Naomi however stayed fascinated by the entire show.

Even though we stayed in the kitchen and spoke on a number of topics, Naomi never said anything about me being pregnant. I appreciated that, and seeking to know more about the young lady I kept talking to her. Clover did come in to kiss his wife before moving to perform his duty at point. She and I however stayed in the kitchen, so were present when Malcolm suddenly reacted to another strange action of the Tornado.

I found myself surprised to hear the voice of Terry, our chemist, come over the speaker. “That problem should have been resolved. I believe that you were told the problem was an impure fuel mixture.”

An electronic voice returned, “I checked that fuel mixture myself. The composition is correct.”

“That problem is not due to an improper composition. If the fuel was improper, you would only have a lack of power. It is your mix. Check your blending to assure homogeneity.”

“Homo… what?”

The voice of Sandra now came over the speaker. “Listen, do you have separate tanks for refueling?”

A different electronic voice replied, “Yes, they are separate tanks, as the two bays are on different sides of the ship. The fuel for each tank comes from a single large tank that supplies the Zephyr.”

“Okay, then check the Tornado’s tank. I would suspect that its blender is out.”

“Explain, please.”

“Listen, it is just a small motor that turns a set of blades inside the fuel vat. It doesn’t do much, but it does keep the particle mixture from separating. Bring the Tornado back in, and have it dump its fuel back into the vat. In the meantime, have the motor fixed or replaced. I would replace it to give me time to make a good repair on the problem motor. I would also over-charge the replacement motor to have it run a little faster than normal for a time to assure a complete re-blending of the fuel. I would then put everything back to normal, and the Tornado should return to normal.”

The voice of Thor now asked, “Uh, why are you needing to fire your thrusters anyway?”

Even with the electronic modification, I could tell that it was the voice of the pilot of the Tornado that now answered. “These things spin. We just need little bursts to keep us with a steady facing.”

“More inefficiency in your design. Anyway, you just got free advice. While we both know how much worth that can be, I recommend that you follow it.”

Before anyone could reply, all of us watching the monitors saw the Tornado lurch from an explosion then disappear.

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PostSubject: Part 3   September 12th 2010, 8:14 am

Outside - Story Sixteen
Proof of Friendship

Part Three

Malcolm shut off our field. I saw relief in the eyes of Naomi as the voice of the pilot of the Tornado informed everyone that he was all right. She did not stay still however, but moved into the bridge and stood next to our helmsman before speaking.

“This is the medical officer of the Menlo Park. Do you need my assistance?”

A very clear voice from the Zephyr returned, “No, thank you. We have a very capable medic over here. Let me also say that while our pilot claims to be all right, we will look him over. Looking at the damage to the Tornado, we however would like to consider that offer of a boat.”

The voice of Castle now came over the speaker. “I am looking at the Tornado, and the damage does not appear that bad. While you are working the metal to reform an outer hull, how about doing a little work along an axis? A little ridge could provide enough aerodynamic design to keep a basically straight flight.”

“Well, we actually have a difference of opinion on that. Still, your words are appreciated. In fact, Menlo Park, it is appreciated that you even stopped.”

I had moved to the doorway between the kitchen and the bridge, so I saw Malcolm look to Naomi with an annoyed expression. She smiled in return. While his microphone was active, so others in space heard him, I believe that he really only intended for the young lady to hear.

“Yes, Thor might fuss at me for that. I just acted on one of those human traits that we have not bred out for some reason. It’s called a conscience.”

The electronic voice of someone on the Zephyr replied, “Sometimes in dealing with my crew over here, I believe that the human race is managing to bred out that annoying trait. Listen, that was Castle that I heard earlier?” Our pilot confirmed before the electronic voice continued, “I was interested in your report about Jane. I then heard you mention Jane just some time earlier. Could you use some more of those dense diamonds from that carbon field we entered? We really have no use for them over here.”

The voice of Thor returned, “Why are you asking?”

“I don’t believe their value is much, but could they be taken as a type of goodwill offering towards an eventual payment for fuel or even Old Tommy?”

“I believe that there was even a suggestion of some payment for your work in putting together the report where we found those diamonds.”

“I thank you for remembering.”

“A moment on this end, Zephyr.”

Naomi turned to return to the kitchen as she said, “I really do not need to hear that conversation.”

Our helmsman laughed as he returned, “Yes, especially since you will probably hear it all over again when your husband returns off duty.”

“Especially when he and Castle get back together. Still, it is nice that we are all talking.”

“Yes, but I wish those saucer people would talk without using those electronic voices.”

Naomi smiled at Malcolm, then headed back into the kitchen to speak to me. “Does Thor speak about ship construction around you?”

“You forget, Naomi, that I am a pilot as well. I thus am actually a little interested in the topic.”

“Oh, yes, well… I am glad that Clover will talk to me. I want him to talk to me. I really am not interested in his topics however.”

I sought to help resolve any problem by asking, “He listens as you mention your medical stuff?”

“Yes.” She waited for me to speak, but then said some more. “I have tried to gain some interest in the topic by helping him design that new spaceship. I have found some enjoyment working with the interior designs.”

“Thor and I will be pushing Castle and Clover to build a new spare boat. I suspect that your husband will just pull another set of old computer equipment to go into the vessel. Castle does put thought into his interiors, but I would prefer it to have less of a manly touch.”

“The men might be constrained by the parts available.”

I saw hope as I told the lady of a certain fact. “Most of the ‘parts’ are just sheets of metal. Thor was in ship construction, and he loaded this ship with a number of fabrication machines. Felix does metalwork, so has a number of fine crafting machines. You might find yourself surprised by how doable some of your design ideas might be.”

I saw doubt in her eyes as she said, “Clover will do most of that work on computer.”

“You can feed those computer designs to our equipment, and they will make it happen.” I did frown as I considered some facts. “I don’t think our machines are that automated, but Sandra can let you know how to help the machines through certain steps. She works with you at cooking, so should be happy to work with you on running those machines.”

Malcolm spoke from the bridge, “There is not just the metal. Cloth and such will be needed.”

Suddenly, the eyes of Naomi lit up. “We have cloth? I could make some clothes?”

I answered, “I believe that I have a number of bolts. Mostly it is thicker stuff for laminating and spacesuit repair.” I showed her the material covering a few chairs, then showed her some pillows in the bridge before saying, “There are a few bolts for furniture, sheets, and other things. Still, have Clover show you how to access our stores. You might find something you want.”

“He showed me so I could look for medical supplies. I didn’t think we had cloth, or I would have looked.”

I touched the fabric of her dress as I said, “We don’t have wool or cotton. They claim our modern fabrics are better, but I believe you might disagree.”

An expression of disgust showed on her face, although her voice sounded positive. “Thanks, Rachel.”

“No pro…”

I hushed hearing the sound of my husband over the speaker. “Zephyr, those diamonds would be appreciated. I see that you have brought back in the Tornado. Do you just want me to release Old Tommy for you to pick up?”

“Yes, Menlo Park, and we can direct a canister with the diamonds to you. We don’t have missiles, but we do have the tubes.”

I guess Thor was at Harley’s desk, because he quickly replied, “I just released Old Tommy. The computer is an old eighty-four, but it ran clean the last time I checked. Tutorials should not be hard to find if you know how to turn the computer on.”

“We shouldn’t have a problem, Menlo Park. We like even-bit technology over here. I hear Clover talk about the quality of his fives, but I am truthfully waiting for the development of sixes.”

“Oh, then you had better stay away, because he will go on for hours about how much better odd-bit technology is.”

Naomi said, “And he will, too.”

She moved to start cleaning the kitchen, and I went to help. The type of cooking that I do does create a bit of a mess. I however leave it out until I am certain that all have helped themselves. I agreed that enough time had passed, so worked to help the lady.

Thor came through the kitchen, kissed me as he passed, then went to Malcolm. “Did you get the canister?” Our helmsman simply pointed at a light on his panel, to which Thor said, “Okay, I am ready to leave.” He punched a button on the board, then spoke to others. “No hard feelings, but I have been nice enough. Still, my conscience requires me to ask if you need anything more.”

An electronic voice returned, “No, Menlo Park. We should not be that far behind you. Thank you for your help. We understand that it was not required of you.”

“Yes, well, I gained that permission because I was scared of you being stupid. I believe that you were stupid for starting your journey, but you have been trying to prove yourself not entirely crazy. You are not welcome out here, but that it is not a reason for us deny kindness.”

“Again, we thank you, Menlo Park.”

I saw my husband almost turn to leave the bridge, but he instead said, “Take care of Old Tommy.”

“According to what I read on its side, it is named the Thomas Edison.”

“Yes, it is, and this ship is the Menlo Park, where it belongs.”

Even though electronically modified, I sensed a hesitation as the speaker tried a tactful reply. “Hopefully, seeing it fly nearby will not trouble you as much our saucers.”

“I have been troubled by the fact that it has not been used. It needs to fly. It actually belongs out here.”

“It is a more substantial craft than what we have. Thank you again, Menlo Park.”

Thor now turned, and as he entered the kitchen he pointed a finger at me as he said, “Don’t say anything.”

I did not obey. “I love you.”

He smiled, then said, “Castle would have completely redone it. It is probably in better hands with our saucer people.” Seeing me nod, he turned his attention to the other lady in the room. “Naomi, how much have you spoken with Terry?”

“Very little, Thor.”

“Well, he is getting paid for doing very little. If you thus find yourself needing some chemical that you cannot find, get him to formulate it for you. I don’t want any problems with my ship, or with my crew.”

She saw him look to me as he said that, and smiled as she replied, “I know my job, Thor. Considering my own thoughts, I have every intention to keep us all in good shape.”

The chatter of Harley communicating with our point pilots came over the speaker. I turned with my husband to look into the bridge as Malcolm set things on his board, then launched us back into tachy velocities. Seeing Thor turn to me, I showed that I knew his thoughts as I whispered.

“The saucers will catch right back up with us as we work in the next system.”

He whispered in response, “Yes, that bothers me too. Still, I don’t believe that we just have the best mechanics among our crew, but the best minds as well. Conscience or no conscience, we will strand those saucers.” Thor turned to Naomi to ask, “Do you have a problem with that?”

She confidently replied, “I am the wife of who most consider the luckiest man alive. He found my world against magnificent odds, and now is making money even after selling it to people who could not pay. Even though our backgrounds are completely different, we are finding ourselves glad to have been stuck with each other. I really don’t care what your plans are, Thor, as I feel that all of us had better be ready to be surprised.”

“Tell your husband that I gave you permission to learn about where we are going. After you hear about our last mission, see if you are going to say those words to me again.”

A puzzled expression came to her face as she asked, “You found aliens?”

“Yes, we did, but we could not do anything about it. I have a crew that has had at least a few years to try and figure out the answer to certain questions. Talk to your husband, Mrs. Clover, and see if his great mind has any answers.”

The young lady showed that she did have some knowledge of our history as she said, “So that is why you kept Terry.”

“No, I kept Terry because I believe he actually has the best chance of giving us the answers I need. Talk to your husband though before you make any opinions.”

“Okay.” She looked around to check the appearance of the kitchen, then said, “Clover is flying point at the moment. I have some work to do to assure that I can help your wife, but when Clover gets back I will speak to him.”

I said, “You are a wonderful addition to the crew, Naomi. You are one of the reasons that I felt now was the time to get pregnant. Hopefully, we can do more together.”

“Clover likes both of you, and is pleased to consider you friends. I might have argued with the elders of Neosalem, but I hope to never get either of you mad at me.”

“It might happen, Naomi, but always understand that we are friends. What we did for those in the saucer, we would do even more for you.”

She nodded, then left. I looked over the kitchen, then almost left myself, but remembered that I mentioned being pregnant. I thus turned to speak to the one at the helm.

“You did not hear any of that, Malcolm.”

“I did hear, Rachel, but I am not the one to go blathering things. Your secret is safe with me, Mother.”

I have known Malcolm longer than any other member of my crew, besides my husband. The two had worked together in construction, and Thor had chosen Malcolm to be in charge of the building of this ship. I thus met Malcolm as I was dating Thor. While I consider all those aboard my ship as my friends, I did consider Malcolm as a little closer of a friend.

“You still setting your hopes on the alien chick?”

“Yep. I am still planning on being the guy who gets alien DNA pumped into his innards, then has his chest explode with alien larva pouring out to feast on the rest of you. Sorry about the rest of the life in the universe, but my genes will prove superior.”

Thor said, “Besides that little scenario, you really have no answers for me?”

“Nope. Sorry. All I offer is that if you need someone to face the aliens, I will be the man.”

“It takes all types. I just hope that it doesn’t take those in the saucers.”

“While I agree, they are trying to prove themselves as not being the worse shadows we could have.”

I moved up to Malcolm, looked to his panel to assure that the microphones had been off, then said, “I am glad that they are there, as they remind us that others are listening. Seeing Old Tommy flying nearby had better not cause you to blather something you should not.”

He pointed to the microphone icon showing an ‘off’ condition as he said, “I know my job. Of all of us, I believe that I count the money the closest.”

“Glad to have you on board.”

I moved back into the kitchen feeling hungry. While I had just eaten, a compulsion to begin eating for two came over me. Knowing that the life was very small, I simply grabbed something to drink and sat thinking of the possible future that my child would claim as his or her own.

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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