Well, well, well. Seems I did it again. Skipped a chapter.
So, before I work up the NEXT post, let’s put out there the post that should have been up LAST WEEK.
Oh, boy, I’ve got to get better at this or Adam’s going to take this job away from me, then you won’t get my stories, you’ll get his. You don’t want that!
The good news for you readers is it’s a short chapter which just shows some of the back-and-forth that Cass and I do when we’re talking things out.
“You know, I feel kinda bad,” said Kendra later from her side of the bed.
“Mmm?” replied a sleepy Cass. Unlike Kendra, she wasn’t a natural night owl, and the meeting had dragged on. And on. And on. Lynch had eventually come to, but was spending his night at San Raphael Hospital, being treated for a concussion, three cracked ribs, a shattered jaw, and a possible hairline skull fracture. Hartman and O’Quinn, and their aides, had returned to their rooms in town. “In case we wanted to continue the discussion,” explained Hartman. Although Cass had begged off, citing her suddenly-full Friday at HLC, Kendra had agreed to comm them at ten.
“We sorta ambushed them.”
“Mmmf. What did you tell me?”
“I’ve told you lots of things.”
“Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance?”
“That. We planned. They didn’t.” Cass snuggled closer.
“I can’t believe that they built this whole thing out of an old television show!”
“Good thing that’s your hobby.”
“I’m just happy that they didn’t try to rope Enterprise into their little war.”
Cass sat up. Apparently, this was going to be one of those nights. “Ken-doll, Enterprise is going to have to be involved.”
Kendra sighed unhappily. “I know, but –”
“You know that she’s going to have the ability to thrash any ship the Union has,” continued Cass.
“Yes, but –”
“The biggest risk is that the Union will sniff out what we’re trying to do and take her out while she’s still in the yard.”
“I had a thought about that,” said Kendra.
“I know that look! It’s not a crazy idea!”
“Hon, most of your ideas are crazy, but that’s something I love about you.” She kissed her. “What’s your idea?”
“Space fighters,” admitted a sheepish Kendra.
“Space fighters? Oh, babe, that’s just so far beyond our current tech I can’t even begin to tell you.” Cass sat up straighter, fully engaged now.
“Hold on, hold on! Let me explain,” pleaded Kendra. “I’ve been talking to Val about this, and I think we’ve got solutions to most issues.”
“You think so? Okay, Ms. Secret Agent, let’s go.”
“Here’s what we were thinking. You remember the designs for the shuttles they were going to use on the Enterprise before you came along with your teleport?”
This was an interesting direction. Cass was expecting something pulled from Kendra’s obsession with television, but the proposed shuttles were a different matter. They were large craft, relatively speaking, about thirty meters long by seven wide by five high, with a slightly aerodynamic shape since they had been intended for atmospheric work. The design called for retractable wings and landing struts as well, and were intended to carry up to eight crew from orbit to ground and back.
“We hadn’t planned to build any because we’re installing your transporters.”
“Quantum teleportation modules.”
“My ship. Transporters.”
“The point is we have the plans, and the ability to build small, independently maneuverable spaceships.”
“I’m getting to that.”
“Is this what you do while I sleep? Sit there and dream up these wild ideas?”
“No, usually I think of ways to wake you up. Do you want to talk about my idea to protect Enterprise or not?”
“I’d rather talk about your ways to wake me up.” That stopped conversation for the night.
At breakfast, once the girls had gone charging off to their routines, dragging a bemused and somewhat bedraggled Aunt Mikki, the discussion resumed.
“You were saying something about the shuttles last night,” offered Cass.
“Before someone distracted me, yes.”
Mac interrupted. “I don’t want to hear about it, I mean I’m glad you’re happy, I know you’re happy, and I’m still a little freaked out by your restraint room, you do you and all that, but maybe not at breakfast okay?”
Cass and Kendra’s laughter filled the room.
“Kendra has an idea to turn shuttles into space fighters,” explained Cass.
“Ooh, that would be cool!”
“Where were we when we left off?”
“Right. The shuttles were intended to be overpowered for their planned uses.”
“I remember that. The thinking was they wouldn’t have to be redesigned for other missions.”
“Exactly, so what I’m thinking is we take some of that excess power and reroute it to a phased particle emitter.”
Cass quirked an eyebrow. “Phased particle emitter? You been taking some quantum mechanics courses on the side?”
“No, just asking Val smart questions. Like, what sort of by-product from shuttle engines could be used for a weapons system.”
“Uh-huh. How long have you been thinking about space fighters? This is way too detailed to be a recent idea.”
Kendra tried to look innocent. “Oh, not that long. Maybe a couple, three, years. Possibly four. Would you believe four?” Cass was shaking her head and smiling. “Okay, okay, five years and a bit, ever since we found out about Enterprise.”
Something Kendra said the night before finally clicked. “I’ll bet you actually have some built.”
Cass rolled her eyes. “I have to get to Houston, but we’re going to talk when I get home tonight, young lady,” she intoned in her best mock stern voice.
“Young lady? You’re all of three weeks older than me!”
“I said what I said.” Cass stood, kissed Kendra’s forehead.
“You think you’re getting out of here with that?”
“Uh, guys, still here,” said Mac. They walked out together; a moment later, Kendra walked back in.
“Mac, we need to plan.”
And now for the audio version of the chapter!