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The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet Chapter (Cover Art)

Chapter 34 - The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet[]

KCGS Mila Weintraub...
Colleen Star System...

Take a nickel-iron asteroid roughly 2 KM long and 1 KM wide, and core it out, pack with ice.

Stretch out 200 km of mylar mirror and hope nobody's looking in that direction. Curve it to keep the rock in the focus after you weld the end back on using naval lasers.

Yes, I said back on.

You can do it with lasers, but the effect won't be even and you'll burn more power than you have.

The outside of the rock melts first, as it spins in the focal point, and as it melts, it will spin faster. (Pinwheel effect, the heated portions and the slag will bubble to the surface and release.)

Now here's the thing. the nickel-iron will translate heat slowly, and the ice packed into the center will sink that heat as the outer layers melt and plasticize.

Eventually, the water-ice sublimates, only it's sublimating in a flexible metallic jacket spinning to distribute the mass evenly. The water-ice becomes steam, and it blows up like a balloon.

Then you take the mirrors down and you've got a roughly cylindrical/spherical 'football' of nickel-iron with a nice, big, hollow center.

Add internal decking and airlocks, compartments along the walls and a solatube to conduct light into the structure. It's not quite an O'Neill colony but, it's a quick and dirty process for building a station suitable for doing spin-gravity agriculture after you've added the racks upon racks of soil and plants.

It's been four weeks, the Star Adders haven't shown up yet, except for a couple of their dropships that tried to leave Haven and got shot down.

It's only taken a month of intensive work and high-risk, high-casualty work to get the Spirit survivors to where they're pretty good at identifying the right kind of rocks, drilling the holes, packing the ice, fitting the caps, and spinning them up.

It works like this: First your farms, which also provide your living quarters. move them out to where the rocks and debris are plentiful and there is something loud on the EM to make it hard to distinguish coded radio chatter from background noise-like the two Gas Giants in the Colleen system and their rings.

Which incidentally, made finding frozen ice and gases a breeze.

Moving the soil samples, cuttings and clippings from Haven and Honor were a little more difficult, and sneaking out a couple of granaries turned out to be a real stunt amidst the evacuation of civilians and survivors.


Four weeks and one hundred fifty thousand Blood Spirits are spread out across the star system in little pockets that are hard to spot, and the enemy is, thus far, none the far.

Farms are always the first thing you need. The second, is a transportation network. This is where the real difficulty starts, because that requires industries that the Clans didn't bring with them, and didn't (for the most part) build for themselves when they had their 'golden' century.

There are limits to what the machine shop on a Cutter can do, luckily, there were the machine shops aboard two wrecked warships, plus other wreckage that could be salvaged and brought on-line. Mostly fighters and a few shuttle craft that either ran out of gas in the black, or were shot up but still had good engines and other systems to make them able to be repaired.

The big barrier is jump travel, because days under thrust become weeks at the kind of spread needed.

Amanda Ngo was getting a lot of practice jumping from point to point in-system.

"We need more JumpShips." she said.

"Yeah, that has occurred to me, but if we had them, we could evacuate everyone outright to another planet." Sam groused.

"And then they could die because that's what the Clanners would do, and they'll be expecting it." Amanda interjected. "I looked at the ammunition salvage from both ships-we don't have Naval cannons and there's no way we can fit them without a shipyard."

Cimbral stared at her porridge while the two women who'd become the de-facto leaders of the recovery effort discussed things.

"I can try another transmission." she spoke.


"I said, I can try another transmission, it'll be a long shot, but we can modulate the core of the ship to act as an HPG, like the Rockjacks did in the past, maybe contact help that way."

"Do it." Sam said, "Amanda, help her line up the pulse."

"Aye mum."

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