Ch 17 Hand

Hand Concert
Opera House, Kennedy Center
Washington, DC
Friday, November 26, 1999

Jill was backstage at the Hand concert with her mom who was going to interview the group after the concert.  Marsha and Tris were going to be speechless when I tell them.  Then I’ll tell them about meeting the Three-Fold Live-Mates and their whole squad.  Can I tell them that I might be joining a Team?  Mom was still against it.  I hope that when she meets the East coast Teams tomorrow, that would change her mind.  Will I have to move to join a Team?  Mom has spent so much time with me since Dad died.  Could I leave her?

“Stephanie, Jill.”  Jill had not notice Nancy until she spoke.  “I would like to introduce you to my friends, Jenni Wavi, E-fet, Rriizzaaavv, and Maria.  They wanted to meet you before they went on stage.”

Jill was speechless, but shook the offered hands.  Then she noticed the mental connection between the four singers.  “You’re bonded.  Like Nancy and Moiria but different.”

“Not many people noticed that even when we sing and usually they are Life-Mates.”  Jenni was surprised.

“Jill has Team level abilities.  She will be meeting with some Teams tomorrow to see if one of them might be right for her.”

“Nancy, did you have a hunch like you did when you got us together?”  E-fet asked.

“You are responsible for Hand getting together!”  Jill had heard all types of rumors about how the group formed.

“I guess that secret is out now.”  Nancy laughed when she saw that Stephanie hadn’t caught the significance of the information.  “No, the hunches and visions are growing fewer.  Which is good.  Now we are finding that we can see possibilities when we have just a little information.  We know that Jill is destined for one of the Teams but not which one.  When we meet with many of the East coast Team representatives tomorrow, we are hoping to find that one of those Teams is where Jill should be.”

“Jill just cannot join any Team?”  Stephanie was confused.

“Well that is the one thing that we knew when we met Jill yesterday.  There is a specific Team that she should join.  We had a long discussion about that last night.  The whole squad agreed but no one had any idea why.”

“You talked about me last night?  The whole squad?”

“Yes, when we have a hunch about something it is usually important.  This is the first hunch that the entire squad had.  You will be more than the average Team member.”

Jenni and Stephanie both tried to speak at once.  Jenni won out.

“What is important about us forming Hand?”

Jill was the one to answer.  “Hand shows how the four species can work together.”

“That is part of it, but I think that there is more.  I…”

The rest of what Nancy was going to say was interrupted as the stage manager told Hand that it is time to go on stage.

*******

Stephanie and Jill watched the performance from chairs far to the side of the area visible to the audience.  Jill was totally captivated by the performance, but Stephanie kept thinking about what Nancy had said.  Her Jill was important to what was going on with the Teams.  Nancy, her Life-Mates and her squad-mates believed this, but none of them was trying to force her to allow Jill to join the Teams.  It was more as if they knew it would happen.  They were just trying to find out where Jill fit into what was happening.  Stephanie wasn’t sure if she wouldn’t have been more comfortable with Jill not having any importance and the squad trying to get her to allow them to take away her daughter.

Mom, they are going to join Hand on stage.  Jill’s mental message interrupts Stephanie’s brooding.

The squad was lined up on the far side of the stage.  Jason and Teresa would be the first out.  Nancy, Claire, and Robert would be last.

“Now we have a surprise for you.  We have asked some friends to join us on stage and sing the next song with us.”  Jenni motioned the squad onto the stage and introduced them.

“There have been many rumors about how the four of us met.  We had decided not to tell the story until we could also thank the people that brought us together.”  Jenni motioned the three Life-Mates towards her.  I have known Nancy since she was a baby.  Her sister Linda and I were close friends through school together.  The three of them met E-fet the night of their first talks with the Glazen on Kartan.  E-fet heard the humans singing and joined them at their campfire.  They sung together and shared songs.  When they toured the Mirrraaattee after the silent ones were killed, they heard Rriizzaaavv singing.  Nancy had one of her hunches and contacted me to come to Carlisle.  I arrived the same day as the rest of the Glazen from Kartan.  They introduced the three of us to each other.  That night at the compound on Friendship where the three of us were staying, they brought Maria to meet us.  She had just arrived at the main Kin camp.  When she approached us, I was singing Maria from West Side Story.  Why, I cannot remember.  I think I was trying to explain the difference in Human male and female voices.  Maria became completely enthralled by the song.  When E-fet asked her name, she sang Maria.”  She turns to Nancy, Claire, and Robert.  “So we have asked our friends that brought us together here tonight to thank them.  We had planned to have just the three of them join us in our next song, but when we found out that their whole squad had come with them, we knew we wanted all of them to help us with this song.”

Without urging from Hand, the audience stood and gave a long applause to the three that had brought Hand together.

When Maria stepped forward, the applause ended and she spoke.  Or rather, she sang the English words of what she had to say.  She told of being a story keeper among the Kin.  She had gone from pack to pack telling the history of the Kin.  Yes, the Kin could communicate easily over long distances but they needed individuals to retain the important history of their people.  The story keepers circulated among the Kin packs and retold their history.  Maria was unusual in that she had added sound to the stories, not words, but tunes that set the mood.  She was the first among the Kin to want to be able to use the vocal communication of the other species.  Not that it was needed for ideas but for the beauty that she saw in it.

“The next song is one that we choose for this occasion.  This is our first time performing this song in public.  We have made some changes but it is still the Carol King tune that was a number one hit for James Taylor.  We told our friends what the song would be but we are just telling them the words to the version that we will sing.”

Jenni mentally told the squad the words they would sing.

When your down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of us
And soon we will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.


You just call out our name and you know wherever we are
We’ll come running,

To lend a hand.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
All you have to do is call
And we’ll be there.
You’ve got friends.


If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together and call our name out loud
And soon we will be visiting your world. 


You just call out our name and you know where ever we are
We’ll come running to lend a hand.
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you got to do is call
And we’ll be there.

 
Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got friends?
Qoof can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you.
Well they’ll take your mind if you let them.
Oh yeah, but don’t you let them.


You just call out our name and you know wherever we are
We’ll come running to lend a hand.
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
All you’ve got to do is call.
We’ll be there.
You’ve got friends.
You’ve got friends.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got friends.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got friends.
You’ve got friends.

The audience could see the startled look on the faces of the three Life-Mates.  Hand had surprised them.  They hadn’t expected new words.  No one had surprised them since Jason and Teresa had contacted them on another world.  Their faces turned to big smiles as they thought about the words.

E-fet signaled the band to start the music.  She knew that none of the squad-mates needed to learn the words.  By the end of the song, the audience had joined them in singing the song.

Hand was startled by how the audience had responded to the song.

Maria was the first to understand.  It is like when you were singing Maria when I first met all of you.  The song has meaning to everyone in the audience.
 
More than just them.  Remember your concert is being televised.  Reach out.  You can feel how it has affected them.  Claire and her Life-Mates were holding hands.  Repeat the song and ask everyone to join in with us.
 
When they repeated the song with everyone joining in, there was a unity that hadn’t been felt before among those who had joined in.

*******

The three Life-Mates didn’t explain what they had found to smile about in the words of the song until they got back to the White House after the concert.  They had told their squad to enjoy the show and they would explain later.  After the first three attempts during the song to find out, the squad decided to wait for the answer.  Not that it kept them from speculating about it.

They had left after a short thank you to Hand and a reminded to Stephanie and Jill that they would see them tomorrow.

Once back at the White House, the squad joined by Claire’s parents and brother, who had been at the concert, sat around the same table that they had Thanksgiving dinner at.

“We have asked the Townsville Teams and some others to join us.”  Robert told those seated with him as the others mentally joined those in the White House.  As all of you know, we were not sure how to start off our conversation when we go to meet the Clar.  We will start it off with this song.  Those seated with them saw the big smiles the three Life-Mates let show on their faces as they conveyed the words of the song to those who had not been at the concert.

Perfect!  Bruce Jenson conveyed for Alyca and himself.

No wonder we couldn’t figure it out.  Willy Maclaren was as stunned as everyone else was.

Should we invite Hand to sing with us?  Jason idea surprised the three Life-Mates for the second time that night.

Yes, that is a great idea.  Claire was the first to respond.

Cole Field House
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland
Saturday, November 27, 1999

Like Stanford, the University of Maryland had found itself with a Team that had a lot of the Team members in their sports department.  Unlike the Stanford Team members, the University of Maryland Team members came from a number of Teams, both men’s and women’s.  Also unlike Stanford, they had identified themselves.  They were one of the first Teams to organize on the East Coast.  Because of their connection to the university, they took the name the Terrapin Team after their school mascot.  They were also one of the largest Teams in the world with sixty-eight human members made up of thirty-four sets of Life-Mates.  When the Three-Fold Life-Mates had decided to meet with the East Coast Teams, the Terrapins were asked to host the meeting.

Thirty-seven Teams had accepted the invitation and almost all of their members including children were in attendance.  Thirteen hundred thirty-two humans, four hundred fourteen Kin, forty-six Swizz, and forty-six Glazen were present from the local Teams.  Patty Douglas and David Meir had brought their squad to represent the West Coast.

The meeting had been kept secret with Stephanie Adams being the only newsperson that knew of it that was not a Team member.  She was there not as a newsperson but as a mother, though Claire had told her that they had no problem on her reporting on the meeting afterwards.

“Good evening everyone.  I am Aretha Jones.  Mike Parks and I are the Team leads for the Terrapin Team, which is your host tonight.  With almost two thousand of us, this was the only place on campus besides the football stadium that would hold us.  Free soft drinks and water is located up at the concession stands.  Food will be delivered in a couple of hours.  It’s also at no cost.  All of this is thanks to our Australian friends that recently struck it rich.  Now I’ll turn the meeting over to them since they’re the ones that called us together.”

“Thank you Aretha.”  Claire took over the meeting.  “We did find a little bit of gold on our return from Mars.  Initially Jerome and Eric Maclaren, who actually found it, decided that they did not want to keep their finder’s fee but that it should go to our three Teams and those traveling with us.  When we discussed it with everyone there and a little later with my father, and the prime ministers of Australia and Great Britain, it was agreed that our find would not be taxed and only the processing of the gold would be taxed.  We also decided that we wanted to use the gold to help with the work that we started and was now continuing with your Teams, other Teams here on Earth, and those forming on the Swizz, Kin, and Glazen planets.  Some of it will go for meetings like this that bring Teams together to meet so they can discuss and plan what they will be doing.  Money will go to third world Teams so that they can advance to a support level where they can have the time to study and make use of their talents.  We expect that many of you have ideas of what you want to do.  Money will be made available where needed to start up those plans though I expect that many of you will find ways to earn or find the money you need.  One of the biggest expenses we see is helping those wishing to migrate to other worlds to join Teams on other than their home worlds.  Given that there are more Swizz or Glazens than Humans, we expect a large number of Team member candidates will be leaving Earth.  We also expect that many of the Teams that form on Earth will migrate to planets that are adjacent to Earth.  We expect a lot of the gold to be used to support these migrations.”

“But you are rich so you can give it away.”  Someone in the back of the crowd called out.

“No, I am rich because I have two Life-Mate, many brothers and sisters through them, and many Team mates.  This is not just the Australian Teams but also all of you.  We expect over time, the number of Teams to grow.  How can we keep this gold to ourselves?  However, we do not expect you to be dependent on us for monetary support.  The abilities you now have enable you to do more.  Joined with your Life-Mate you can accomplish much more than you could before.  The squads that are forming when members of our different species join together will be able to do even more.  When you join together as a Team what you can accomplish increases again.”  Claire paused.

“How many of you watched the Hand concert last night?”  She and her Life-Mates could tell that no more than a dozen had missed the televised concert.  “You felt the connection between everyone that sung ‘You Got a Friend.’  That included even those that are not part of any Team.  When we all work together, we can do so much more.  Let us sing the song together so that we can be reminded about the unity that we can have together and what working together we can accomplish.”  Claire mentally passed the words to the song to all that were there.

When they sang together, everyone felt the unity that the song had invoked the night before.

“Soon we will go out to meet the Clar.  We will use this song as our introduction to them.  We expect the song to show the Clar the unity that we can have together.”  Claire allowed them to think about and discuss what they had just learned.

When the discussions started to die down, Robert took over the meeting.  “Now we want to hear your plans and ideas.  I think that this is a good time to switch over to mental communications.”  Let us start off with the Terrapin Team since they are the home Team.

“Friendship.”  Mike Parks calls out then remembered to switch to mental communications.  We want to go to Friendship and ensure the Kin don’t lose their home world.  We have met a number of Kin but they were seeking other worlds.  We plan to go over to Friendship and find out what we can do to help.  As we get our degrees, we will move there.  We don’t know if we’ll be able to stay together since our Team is so large.  It would be nice to find a location nearby where we can setup a window to Friendship.

There is an island on Friendship to the southeast of here.  A large pack has formed to move there.  They asked me to find them Team members from the other species.  Moiria wasn’t surprised how fast that quest was completed.  She had seen so many things go together quickly is the past few months.

Moiria, Arethea, Mike, and other members of the Terrapin Team joined together separate from the main in a discussion about moving to Friendship.

The presentation of goals goes on with the other Teams.  More than half of them express an interest of moving to other worlds.  It is obvious that many of them had just decided at the meeting.

About an hour later, a Team from Cleveland, Ohio expressed an interest in wandering from world to world.  Brendon Paul and his wife Sharon were the leaders of that Team.  Our Team would like to travel from world to world to report on the differences and similarities.  Most of the Teams will be concentrating on one world.  We see a need for an overview of the worlds.
 
In Australia, Jon Albright noted a need for that before the exploration started.  He directed Dr. Charles Siftarski to lead that effort.  Since Charlie and Cindy joined AU Team 3, I do not know of any effort to expand our comparison of worlds.  Such an effort is needed.  The nature of such work does not lend itself to many ways of self-support, unless you discover something extremely valuable or you write a travel book.  This is a good example of a project that we would use the gold to supportRobert paused as he consults mentally with a number of people not at the meeting.  I see you as not being the first-in group on any world but you may end up surveying worlds where a colony has not been set up.  Definitely, they would not be worlds under Nartak or Qoof control.  Dr. White and Dr. Siftarski will contact you.  They can help you work out your plans and see that you are provided the equipment you will need.  It will take a while to get for you the new model shuttles that you can take through a window and assemble but most of the other equipment can be ready in a month.

What are your plans for your children?  The type of nomadic life that you are contemplating will be hard on them.  Nancy asks.

We were hoping that they could join the training you have set up in Queensland.  We aren’t sure what to do with are younger ones.

We have so many now that it is hard to give them the attention that they need.
 
Maybe we could help?  Everyone turned to look at the man that had stood up. 
 
Nancy nodded to him to continue.
 
I am Professor Dan Whitner of the Pittsburgh Team.  We are looking at investigating new methods of interfacing computers, machine tools, and other equipment to individuals with the new talents that we now have.  Carnegie Mellon University has given us some initial funding but we are looking for outside funding.  Microsoft, Caterpillar, and Siemens have offered funding, but we want to have a wide range of funding so that our work will be available to anyone.  He paused for a second.  Helen told me to get on subject.  We are also studying computer-aided instruction.  We had been using our own children to test but the ones still at home are older.
 
The woman besides him stood up.  What my husband should be stating is that our Team is mostly older academics whose children are out on their own now.  We would love to guest any children from other Teams when those Teams activities preclude the children being with them.  They could help us with our projects, since the young have taken most readily to the new talents.
 
Could my daughter Jill stay with you and learn about the Teams.  They say she has Team level ability but I would like it if she stayed on Earth until she was older.  That way I can visit her.  Stephanie Adams looked very nervous.

Jill hugged her mother.

We met Stephanie and Jill when we had Thanksgiving dinner with Claire’s parents.  Nancy and her Life-Mates knew that Stephanie would have a hard time being separated from Jill.  Jill has very strong abilities and she would benefit from working with a Team.  Her father, Fred, died earlier this year.  We were looking for a Team for Jill that would allow her and her mother the ability to spend time together.

We would love Jill to come and live with us.  Helen Whitner replies.
 
Stephanie, you live in DC.  We don’t have any of our married Team members who have space for Jill to live with them but we should be able to work something out so that you and Jill could live together and we would pick her up to do things with our Team.  Aretha Jones offered.
 
We could move out to College Park.  Stephanie suggested.
 
Stephanie, there were some other offers from other Teams also.  You should take the time to hear all of them.  Then you and Jill should talk about them and decide which one will be best for the two of you.  Let us get back to hearing what the other Teams are doing.  Claire gave Stephanie and Jill the chance to consider all the possibilities that they had while they returned to hearing other Teams plans.
 
After the rest of the Teams had spoken on what they had done and what their plans were, there was a question and answer session.  After a few questions, the Three-fold Life-Mates were asked one that surprised them.
 
How much money do you earn for your work?  Mike Parks asked.  We are trying to figure out once our Team starts earning money how much we should pay ourselves.  Until then we will have to take jobs to support ourselves and pay our student loans.
 
We’re teenagers.  We are not getting paid.  Claire answered.
 
Nonsense.  You and the rest of your Team are working and you should get paid.  Your Teams have money.  You as individuals need your own money.  You don’t want to have to go to the Team every time you want to buy something.  How can you get married someday without your own money?  The tone of Helen Whitner’s thoughts reminded each of them of their mother.
 
That is why they haven’t asked them yet!  Nancy exclaimed privately to Robert and Claire.

Ben and Charles have not asked my sisters to marry them because they don’t want to live on my sisters’ money from MME.  We need to talk to my mom and dad later on setting up salaries for everyone.

We did not think of that.  Before I met Robert, the future that I looked forward to was when dad was out of office so we would be like other families.  Claire smiled as she remembers how things use to be.  Since then we have been so busy that we have not stepped back and looked at our lives.  I believe we have to take in to account that we need to plan for normal things also.

 
Conference Room
MME Headquarters
Townsville, Australia
Tuesday, November 30, 1999
 
The AU Teams had requested a meeting with Leslie, Will, Jess, and Jamie Wong concerning the Teams finances.  Leslie had been expecting the meeting since Team members had been traveling to meet with Teams in a number of countries and they were expected to come back with recommendation on which Team projects from the Teams that they had met with to fund.  She hadn’t commented when they wanted Jess to attend but that may have been because of technical nature of some of the projects.  She was surprised when the full lead squad for AU Team 1 had shown up along with the human members of the 2nd and 3rd Teams lead squad, Patty Douglas and David Meir representing the CA Team and Bruno Fusco.

“Leslie, we want to hire Bruno Fusco to be the Financial Controller for the Teams.”  Claire knew that they needed to resolve Bruno status before they proceeded.  “We felt the need to take charge of our own finances.  We have no problem with MME or The Fruits of Friendship but we felt that the Teams needed to take on more responsibility for them.  Mr. Fusco seemed like the logical choice.  He has agreed to accept the position after he has fulfilled his obligation to MME.”

Leslie smiled.  They were growing up.  “I see no conflict in Bruno taking the position.  I trust him to balance the requirements of both until he can hand off his work at MME.  I had expected something like this but not until after the meeting with the Clar.”

“We heard something on our trip that made us understand why Mary and Brenda are not engaged yet.  We wanted to see that done before we went to meet the Clar.”  Claire’s reason for the change surprised everyone but her Life-Mates.

Will was the first to realize the reasoning.  “Their Life-Mates have much in common with me.”

Leslie laughed as Will’s comment gave the clue to the puzzle.  “At least they won’t have to be shot first before they come to their senses.  You wouldn’t take the job that father had been offering until you got shot up in the Falklands.”  She turned back to Claire.  “Have you figured out how much Team members should be paid?”

“No, we don’t want it to be a lot but we also want the Team members who had jobs to get at least as much as they had before.  We got full professor, pilots, scientist, and senior military officers on the Teams.  We also have apprentices, student members, and temporary exchange members from other Teams.  That is not even taking into account the members from the other species.  The Kin did not even have the concept of money before they met us.  What we do will set precedent for all the Teams.”

“Yes, that will take a while to sort out.  Maybe, you should start out with a payment for the past few months as well as a bonus for the gold that was found.  That should end the jitters of Ben and Charles about proposing.  It will also help anyone else who has financial concerns.  Does that sound like a good place to start?”  She looked at all of the Team members.

“Ben and Charles would not ‘marry’ your daughters because of money?”  Moiria had a better idea about the alien concept of money that most of the Kin but she was mystified about the connection between money and marriage.  “I had thought that the women had to have a dowry so she could marry in some of your ‘cultures’.  Nazma has told of how her parents had thought she had to have a much larger dowry so she could marry Ian.  They were ready to take the money from her sisters’ dowries until you had a talk with them.”

“No, the men want to be able to provide for their wives without having to use her money or her family’s money.  It is another instance of honor getting in the way of common sense.  I know that I was guilty of it.”  Will was actually blushing.

“Thank you, Leslie.  That is one of the reasons that we came to you with this problem.”  Claire smiled at her future mother-in-law.

“You know that the three of you will have to have the highest salary.”  Jamie Wong knew that they were going to resist that idea.

“We are only teenagers.  We have couples with children on the Teams.  They need the money more than we do.”  Claire and her Life-Mates had not thought of that.  “All the Team leads should be in the same pay grade.”

“No, you three are more than Team leaders.  You are the leaders of all the Teams.”  Alyca surprised even herself when she spoke up.  “You have a squad you work with but even there you lead it more than any of us do.  You have Jason, Teresa, Patty, and David that you are helping to become senior Team leaders.  You have Kevin and Jane as your pilots.  You are set up to be the Commodores for the fleet we will take to meet the Clar.  You don’t do it for yourself.  It is just the best way to get things done and that leads you to set things up that way.  We see how you resist it at times but when you cannot find another solution you go with it.”

The three Life-Mates realized that everyone was in agreement with what Alyca had said.  The implication of how they were seen would cause many long discussions among themselves.  Finally, they accepted the idea but they would talk to the Group Mind before they fully accepted their role among the Teams.

Boeing Helicopter Plant
Mesa, Arizona
December 6, 1999
 
Boeing had shut down helicopter manufacturing when they had realized that anti-gravity had put an end to military aircraft.  The plane manufacturing plants were changed over to manufacture shuttles and larger spacecraft.  The helicopter plant in Mesa, Arizona was assigned the job of making major assemblies for the shuttles.  When the Teams had requested bids for a shuttle design that they had developed that would be able to be taken through a window and assembled on another world, Boeing had based their bid for the two dozen plus spacecraft that had been requested on construction at the former helicopter plant in Mesa.

Patty Douglas’s parents were glad to have her home even for a short visit.  They didn’t have room to put up David and the rest of their squad let alone another squad, so all of the Team members were staying at the Painted Mountain Resort, which was equally close to Boeing and her parents’ home.

Mel and Rich Douglas pulled into the parking lot to find the Team members already ready to go.  “I guess they were hungry.”  Mel told her husband.

“Or they are eager to check out the new shuttles.”  Rich was closer to the truth.  Kevin and Jane Gilbert were eager to fly the new shuttle though that wouldn’t do that until tomorrow.

Eight minutes later, they pulled into the Boeing parking lot.

As they walked up to the security office, Rich informed them.  “It will take a while to get the security passes squared away.  I’m not sure that they have a procedure to handle non-human visitors.”

“The FBI and the DOD have come up with procedures for each of the species.  The Secret Service reviewed and accepted them.  Australia, Great Britain, and seven other countries have also accepted them.  The Swizz and Glazen have been sent the information.  The procedures were sent last Friday to all US classified facilities working with the Teams.”  Claire sounded amused.  “We will see how efficient Boeing security is in implementing it.”

“You don’t think the procedures are any good.”  Rich misinterpreted Claire’s attitude towards the new procedures.

“It does little good to keep a Team member from learning what is going on inside the plant.”  Patty smiled as she told her dad.  “We can look at anything in there from a distance.  Haven’t you tried it?”

“That would be illegal and I could lose my security clearance.”

They all laughed.

“Rich, what they are saying is that this type of security cannot stop someone from spying.”  Mel explained.

Getting the security passes took only an hour.  They weren’t sure whether it was the fact that the White House Secret Service office sent the visit request or the personal attention of the plant manager, Marvin Shelly.  He had arrived shortly after they did and was talking with them about the work on their shuttles as there passes were processed.

“Unit one is ready for its test flight.  Unit two is ready for your transfer and assembly test.”  Marvin informs them.  “You have indicated that you are in a hurry to take shipment of the other disassembled shuttles.  If you split up, you could run the transfer and assembly test and the flight test both today.  That would save you a day.”

“We will be monitoring the flight test and space for Kev and Jane.  We will let them know if there are any problems.”  Robert smiled at the look on the Marvin’s face.  “Either squad can monitor a known spacecraft within the moon’s orbit.  We have not had much practice with it, so the two squads will be working separately.  A little competition to see who can do the better job will keep it interesting.”

“You have more people on your squad.  Will that be an even match?”

“My Life-Mates and I will not be competing.  Jason and Teresa will be the human members of the squad.  That will make things a little more even.”

“They are young to be leading.”

“What they will be doing is more of a joint effort.”  Robert doesn’t explain further.  “For the transfer and assembly test, Kev, Jane, Jason, Teresa, Atter, and Elsen will be monitoring and keeping notes.  We are looking to come up with procedures for the transfer and assemble operations.”

Marvin didn’t say any more about the testing.  He realized that what they were doing wasn’t as lacks as his people had thought.  “I guess that your being able to monitor from afar explains the change notices that we got several times when we got into trouble on the build.”

“Yes, Bruce and Alyca sent the change notices when they had a particular way they wanted a problem solved.”

“We have been pleasantly surprised at how few problems were encountered.  For a first build, we would not expect the first few crafts to be flyable let alone deliverable.  They would normally take a number of major revisions.”

“The next design will be much better.  It will most likely only be a partial redesign.  Those shuttles will be for Mossly.  The exact number and changes have not been decided.  We will know more after we have met the Clar.  We will take the testing into consideration but we do not expect to find anything doing the testing that will need to be changed.”

“You want more shuttles?  We had thought that the need for shuttles that could be taken through a window was a one-time contract.”

“Yes, the second build will be at least a dozen, but probably more.  We have to communicate with the Clar in the Mossly star system.”  Robert realized that Boeing hadn’t understood the importance of this type of shuttle.  “Mr. Shelly, there are almost one hundred worlds that we can access from Earth and Mars via windows.  We need shuttles to map these worlds and explore their solar systems.  That means initially one per system.  How many more will be needed will differ for each system but I expect most will need three.  Then we need shuttles to protect Friendship until we can get more spacecraft to help the Mirrraaattee in defending the Friendship star system.”

“You will want over three hundred of the revised shuttle design?”  Marvin was stunned.  That is more than Boeing had orders for the other type of shuttle.

“No, it will be an entirely new type of shuttle.  It will incorporate new ideas as we begin to combine the engineering knowledge from all five species.  It will go through a number of changes as we learn more.  Boeing will not be the only company making these shuttles.  We will need to spread the work around both on Earth and among the other four species.  Though the other species built shuttles will be used on even more worlds.”

“That brings up another contract that we would like to offer Boeing.  The Kin would like Boeing to build a spacecraft factory on Friendship.  It would supply spacecraft, both shuttles and larger ones for use in the Friendship star system.”  Patty told Mr. Shelly.

“Why are you mentioning this to me?  This is something corporate will have to consider.”  Marvin is surprised that these teenagers were discussing contracts worth billions of dollars.  “They and the Kin would have to work out the details.”

Through me, the Kin asks this.  I have asked Patty to speak of this for the Kin.  Moiria mentally communicated to Marvin.

“We didn’t decide on where the factory would go until last night.  Friendship is easily assessable from here in Mesa.  The area is a flat plain.  It is a much wetter environment since the ocean is about twelve miles away.  You can co-locate the new factory with this one.  You would be a likely choice to be in charge of the facilities on both worlds.”

“Are you trying to sway me to back the idea?”

Patty laughed.  “No.  We want your help in understanding if this is as good of an idea as we think that it is.  The continent on Friendship isn’t the one that the Kin currently live on.  That means that they can offer Boeing land there.  More than enough land for a manufacturing facility, a testing facility, and home sites for the workers and their families.  Protection of the home worlds of all five species is important.  This would be the first major effort for the protection of Friendship.”

“I will have to call corporate about this.  It will take a while to determine what we could do.  What is your timeline?  What do you want to build first?  Who will we be negotiating with?”  Marvin knew that there were many questions to be answered, but he thought that these would be the most important.

“Friendship is vulnerable since we had Nartak and Qoof spacecraft fighting there less than a year ago.  We need spacecraft there as fast as we can get them built.”  Patty consults mentally with the other Team members.  “We think that we need to have the defenses no more than a year behind Earth’s defenses.  We would like to have it shorter, but we have some stopgap ideas that we could implement.  Standard shuttles first, then in-system protection spacecraft.  We can move long distant spacecraft in before we can build our own there.  You can discuss it with us for now.  We have some folks in mind for the contract negotiation since we will need to be spending a lot of time away from Earth for the next couple of months.”

“Ok, I will need to go make some calls.  Rich, can handle the items that we had scheduled.”  Marvin hurried to his office as he got out his cell phone.  He needed to call some of his people in for the initial phone conversation.

Rich Douglas was surprised as his boss’s boss practically ran out of the office to start discussions on the possible new business.

Patty laughed at her father’s expression.  Dad, this is what my life has been like for the past few months.

*******

Boeing Testing New Shuttle in Mesa – Mini Glassman, AZ Republic
 
December 7, 1999 – Boeing has begun testing a new shuttle designed for exploring new worlds.  The disassembled shuttle can be moved through a window to another world, assembled, and flown within a day.  The shuttle will be used by the Australian Teams to contact the Clar.  Kevin Gilbert and Jane Withel Gilbert will be the test pilots.  They are members of the Australian Teams.  They met on the first trip to Mars.  On hand to witness the testing are Claire Clarke, Nancy Tohe, Robert Maclaren, and the other members of the AU-1A squad.  Also witnessing the testing are Patty Douglass, David Meir, and members of their squad.  Patty graduated this year from Mesa’s Red Mountain High School. … 

*******

Boeing and Kin in Negotiation for Spacecraft Manufacturing Facility to be build on Friendship – Lawrence Brown, Wall Street Journal
 
December 9, 1999 – Multiple sources within Boeing have told the Journal, that preliminary negotiations are underway for Boeing to build a facility on Friendship to build spacecraft.  The spacecraft would be used for the defense of the Kin home world.  One source indicated that on Monday, the Kin approached Marvin Shelly, Vice President and Plant Manager of the Boeing Spacecraft Facility in Mesa, Arizona about building spacecraft on Friendship.  It was previously reported that squads from the Australian Team were in Mesa this week for the testing of the newest version of a space shuttle.  …
 
When we contacted Douglas Richards who is a reporter for The Scotsman and embedded with the Australian Teams, we were told that Eugene and Charlotte Tuttle of California Team 1 would be representing the Kin when negotiations with Boeing began.  Currently both sides are working to identify the requirements of the spacecraft that would be manufactured.  … 

Chapter 18 – Talks with the Clar

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