Outward Bound
Chapter 2

Copyright© 2020 by UtIdArWa

Tapping her spoon against the coffee cup, Grandmother raised her voice, “Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s bring this meeting to order.”

Pausing for a moment, she turned to the burly man at the door. “Provost Marshall, is everybody here?”

“Aye Grandmother all present. We’re swept sealed and shielded.”

“Thank you, David,” turning back to the assembled group she started.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this meeting of the Seward’s Folly command group is called to order. We’ll start with the minutes.”

“Motion to waive the minutes.” a voice from the back of the room called. Followed quickly by another, seconding the motion.

“Ah, the impatience of youth. Jason, Eric, it warms my heart that you have taken to your new positions so enthusiastically. Enough to read Robert’s Rules. However, this is the ‘Seward’s Folly,’ not parliament. But to encourage this educational zeal of yours, I require a weekly report from both of you about Robert’s Rules. Just to make sure that you aren’t cheating, which I know you wouldn’t do. But to ensure you stick to the righteous path, Jason, you start at chapter one and work forward. Eric, you begin at the end and work backward. Reports due on Fridays at shift start. Motion overruled. Please proceed, Mary.”

“Thank you, Grandmother, at the last meeting of the command group, seven standard days ago, Purser Reykjavik reported that the proceeds from expedition number 10 had been below the expectations set at the mission beginning. A follow-up report is due at this meeting.”

“How about it, Paul? where did we mess up?”

“Well, Grandmother, we neglected to take into account the fluctuation on ore prices. We based our projections on the probable increases in semi-refined iron. The mistake was mine. The only explanation I can give is that there appears to have been a flooding of the iron market a year ago. There is currently a surplus available. This may or may not change. My personal feelings are that big corporate mining operations are influencing the base metal markets. I strongly doubt that prices will go up in the near future.”

“However, the market in other commodities have mostly tracked with my projections. The market for water has shown the best return and increase. I have gotten together with Mr. Gomez from Reclamation. We are currently supplied far above our requirements. That excess is currently being stored on the outside of the ship. It is unsecured, and I request that we sell off this excess water as quickly as possible. And use those funds for our current refit and repair schedule.”

Grandmother smiled and said, “Thank you, Paul. Mary put that first on the schedule for the next meeting.”

“Yes, Grandmother. Next item, Engineer Golden reported that required maintenance and refit had commenced and that no complications were expected.”

Looking towards the lady in immaculate white coveralls, Grandmother asked, “How about it, Lucy? any complications?”

“No, Grandmother, we are on schedule and tracking true to course.”

“Very good, next item.”

“Warehouse Manager Lowe reported that supplies for the in-port stay of permanent staff are sufficient. And that he has begun negotiations for our next expeditions supplies.”

Looking towards her logistics expert, “Robert, I can see you bouncing around in your seat. What in the world has got you so excited?”

“Grandmother, I have been told that there are several derelict ships in the Demos boneyard. They probably have hardware and electronics that we desperately need. We could pick these items at bargain-basement prices if we act quickly.”

“Well, what are you waiting for, Robert? get to it.”

“I am, Grandmother. but I need a couple of people from Engineering and Electronics to make sure we’re are getting quality goods.”

“Lucy, Jack, any problems? can you cut loose a couple of techs?”

Lucy Golden shook her head. “I’m short-handed now. But I could probably cut loose some apprentices next week.”

Jack Reynolds, the sub-boss for Electronics, had a big grin “Grandmother, my problem will be picking the best out of the volunteers.” looking towards Lowe. “How about it Robert, just a couple? I can spare an even dozen?”

Grandmother spoke up, “Robert, it seems your problem is solved. Unless something outrageous happens, we’ll consider you are working on it. I’ll expect a weekly written report on your progress. If you need funds talk to Paul. Try to keep costs down. If there is a problem, get ahold of me, and we’ll see what we can do. What’s next, Mary?

“Payroll Director Hermine reported that all contracted staff had been paid off. HR Manager Newsome added that all temp and terminal staff had been escorted off the ship.”

Turning to the Provost Marshall, “David, I want a very thorough search of the ship. Please make sure that we don’t have any stowaways.”

“Already on it, Grandmother. I’ve gotten together with Environmental and Reclamation. They will report any unusual life support activity for follow up. I would also like you to start a comprehensive inspection of our outer hull. I want to know if someone has added anything without our permission. I’m also putting a close guard on that ice we’ve got secured outside. Until we sell it off, it’ll be a temptation.”

“After the ore was stripped and all the contractor pods disconnected, I began a photo survey of all exterior surfaces. I’ve also started planning on those areas that need a more personal touch. I am recruiting folks that want some EVA suit time. The response so far is spotty but improving.”

“Very good, David. HR, I want a review of the files. Let’s see if we can dig up some warm bodies. Electronics I expect a better than average turn out from your people. EVA time is important and shouldn’t be neglected for a shop bench.”

“Aye Aye Grandmother. Again, I don’t think I’ll be lacking in volunteers. I’ve got a very enthusiastic group of youngsters.”

“Well, don’t sacrifice safety for bravado. Additionally, anything out of the ordinary needs to be reported to David’s people as quickly as possible.”

“Yes, Grandmother. Can I ask your thinking on this?”

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