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Artifice by S. H. Jucha

Artifice by S. H. Jucha

Author:S. H. Jucha
Language: eng
Format: mobi
ISBN: 9780999492864
Publisher: Hannon Books, Inc.
Published: 2018-11-25T07:00:00+00:00


-22-

Herrick

Mickey was having a wonderful dream of his partner, Pia. She was calling his name over and over, and in a jarring transition, her face morphed into Alex’s. Instantly, his eyes popped open.

<Alex?> Mickey sent in confusion.

<I need you, Mickey,> Alex sent. <Come outside. I’m in the cave.>

Mickey brought his cabin seat upright, donned his deck shoes, and tiptoed down the traveler’s aisle and rear ramp to prevent waking the others.

Julien set hot thé in front of Mickey, as the engineer took a seat at the table next to Alex. Mickey grumbled his thanks, while he fought to wake up. “What’s happening?” he asked, after taking a deep swallow on his drink.

“We’re waiting for Miranda,” Alex replied. “I sent her to collect Tittra.”

“I didn’t think he slept at the cavern,” Mickey mused.

“I don’t think he does. That’s a problem for Miranda to solve,” Alex said.

In fact, Miranda traveled to the cavern to collect one of the on-duty techs. She had him direct her to Tittra’s abode. She woke the department head from his sleep and wound her way back to the cave, with Tittra and his tech riding behind her.

Mickey was working on his second cup of thé, when Miranda’s steerable, gas-powered, grav pallet slipped out of the tunnel.

Tittra loosed a few desultory croaks, and Mickey heartily sympathized with him.

“Apologies for the late-night interruption of your rest,” Alex said, “but my idea is time sensitive. Tittra, I think I have a solution to your dilemma, namely the lack of challenges to Herrick during our travel.”

In an instant, Tittra was alert and concentrating on every word Julien translated.

“I believe the plan is viable, but we have a few hurdles to overcome,” Alex explained. “It entails making two copies of the final entity, Herrick, and transporting all three units. First, Tittra, can you accommodate that? Can you prepare two more copies of Herrick, in a short period of time?”

“But, you said —” Tittra started to say, but Julien cut him off and requested he answer the question. “Yes,” Tittra answered.

“Julien, will the SADEs assent to the creation and destruction of two more digital entities?” Alex asked.

Julien could see the pain in his friend’s eyes and knew what it took for Alex to ask.

“Consensus has been reached, Alex,” Julien replied. “The SADEs see this as the simplest way to solve the problem, and we extend our apology for not offering this solution to you.”

“I didn’t think of it either. Ser did,” Alex replied, which made Julien smile.

“Next hurdle … Mickey can you put together the engineering materials in time?” Alex requested.

“Two days … certainly … I’ll get …” Mickey started to say, and then halted. “Black space,” he swore.

Alex broke out laughing. “That’s what I said to Renée, along with a few more select expressions. You better contact the Freedom, get your engineering teams on it, and conscript two more cargo shuttles.”

Mickey closed his eyes, linked with the traveler’s sister and Miriam, and started contacting SADEs and humans aboard the city-ship. The Freedom was headed out of system, and it would take engineering a while to put together the equipment.



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