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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 100 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

The ship's hull had a production number, but no name...

...there was a blank space with fastening points for the dedication plaque. " a new ship." Bryn Cooper noted.

"Ayeh. It is Sirrah." Elizabeth explained, as she led him through. "Wouldn't want your guys claiming we gave you bum goods, also...crewing issues-we can turn the ships out faster than we can staff them, so a few get put in reserve storage, like this one, until we have people to put in the seats."

Sampan III Class Cutter in Orbit (Ngoverse)

Sampan III Class Cutter

He frowned, "You have half a billion Belters, I find it unlikely you can not find crew for every ship you can put out."

"Training time." she said with a shrug, "Also? while Pat got Tharkad to ease up on the Militia restrictions, we still have to deal with restrictions, also, Manpower budgets. Coast Guard can't draw from the National Tax, we have to self-fund, some of the ships on this row are waiting for this one. Her Majesty has to justify every vessel, and that's with contractors in two realms fighting tooth-and-nail for every purchase order, sometimes Boeing or Ioto or Alarion beat us for a cycle-so we end up with 'white tails' like these-nothing wrong with them, just no buyers and I can't roll them straight into service."

He noticed some things immediately. "Your controls...they are...big."

"For working suited." she commented off-hand. "It's not as fine as shirtsleeves, but this is a seventy one thousand ton Sampan III, there are limits to how much armor you can lather on, and breaches happen, so it's best to run her full-suited because in a fight, the ship is likely to take a couple serious hits that breach the hull envelope-if you're suited, then it makes putting out the fires and patching the holes so much easier."

He nodded, "Basic spacing. I would suspect you vent the atmosphere before you go into combat, quiaff?"

"Ayeh. It's common sense, right? no medium to transmit shockwaves, no oxygen to feed fires..."

"When this is over, I think I will recommend to the Clan Council a purchase order...for ships like this one-provided it performs up to the spec sheet you showed me-we will, of course, want to install our own weapons and sensors."

"Fair enough." she nodded, "We can deal-after."

"Of course, if we WIN..."

"That's a big 'if' SaKhan Cooper." she noted. "Are you going to want to do any work on her before the Trial? besides the acceptance inspections that is?"

"We will see. I want to have a look at each of them with my Techs, to verify they are spaceworthy first."

"Fair. I need to get back to my job." Liz said, presenting him a clip of coded chits. "These are keys, they unlock the main computers and airlocks, you'll want to be setting your own codes instead of using factory defaults. You already have the traffic control frequencies and codes, I'm going to assume you'll get your missile munitions from the battlewagon, but the fuel dock is open and your chits are good for fueling up a couple of times before we need to have a talk about extending credit. I'll be down on Boojum Three until tomorrow, that gives you and your men a day or so, if you need more, just let me know first. Got it?"

"Aff." he nodded.

She went back through the airlock, donning her helmet before the inner door sealed.

He looked around the inner hull, the coatings were scuffed. There's a certain 'crispness' to a brand new ship. "I already know what changes I would make on you..." he said, "...later."

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