The Project Chapter 238 A Fresh Start
Endor, one week later;
The transport finally arrived over Endor, and after conferring with the captain, the decision was made to land just outside New Coryville, along the road that led south to Dinocki. The crowd of newcomers were herded into one area through the efforts of Alex, Wyatt, Major Morford, and Donald Falkner, along with his security people. He then sent a few of them into town to retrieve the two M-113's, and the gators while Meghan Cook, along with Justin Saylor went to get the two horse drawn wagons used for local hauling. Using a megaphone, Donald Falkner spoke to the newcomers now gathered around him.
"Well what can I say everyone but welcome to Endor. New Coryville is about a mile up that road, the transport was just too large to get any closer. Currently, we are bringing transport to pick up your baggage as well as any who feel a mile hike given the difference in gravity would be too much for them. One of the first things we want to do once everyone gets into town is begin the registration process required by the Oxynian Trading Company. Everyone of you will receive an ID card¾don't loose it, whatever you do. Along with containing your personal identity information as well as planet of origin, it also acts as a type of credit card throughout the solar system. Here on Endor, we use a crude coinage system, but eventually all of you at some point will be getting out into the solar system and you're really going to need it, so hang onto it.
We are also going to be issuing translators similar to what you see me along with Alex and Wyatt are wearing. Some of you will be receiving more advanced models depending on your status. Right now, most of you will be issued basic headsets as your interaction with other races will be minimal for the time being. These units will not allow you to read alien languages, only conduct basic conversations. Take care of these things folks, they are very expensive, and we have to pay for them. Well that's all I've got to say for the time being, Alex Russom has a few words to say before we head up into town." Handing Alex the megaphone, Alex cleared his throat.
"Once again, everyone, welcome to Endor. I know everyone is probably pretty hungry, but we've got that covered, got a big cookout underway in town. Once you get up there, you will be directed over to the community center where representatives of the Oxynian Trading Company, the organization that runs things out here will have their agents standing by to take your information and issue you a card. Like Don said, DON'T LOOSE IT! That card is your life. Once you have been issued a card, make sure to stop by the electronics shop to be fitted for your translator. Once you're finished with that, the food should be ready."'
"Before we let you go, I'd like to say that I know that many, if not all of you are pretty discouraged and depressed over the situation back on earth. For many of you, this is probably one of the lowest points in your lives. Right now, every one of us is starting life from scratch. I know that some of you probably feel as though you can't teach an old dog new tricks, well that's a mindset that simply won't hold any water around here. Everybody will have something to contribute, and as the days go by, we will be conducting classes and seminars that will be teaching you all about Endor, as well as the solar system you now find yourselves in. On earth, you all thought in terms of being a US citizen, now you are citizens of the planet Endor. Instead of other countries, it's now other planets, and if anyone had any doubts before, we are definitely NOT ALONE. Some of you have already met some of our alien friends some may not have. At any rate, eventually you will, and at some point may even find yourself living and working on another planet. Perhaps it will be Golia, Ruddoria, Selantria, or even Asharia just to mention a few. I have visited most of them and I assure you the people are friendly, and simply living their lives as they like. Well, that's about all I've got to say, see you all up in town."
He and Wyatt then joined their parents for the half-mile walk with both sets of parents commenting about the slight change in gravity.
"You get used to it," said Alex, "Days are longer here as well but again you get used to it. Er, dad, I hope you don't expect to see some shining city on a hill or anything like that," he added. "Endor is still a pretty poor planet and all. The mining leases we own on Chanus 4 are really a godsend as far as paying for membership fees and galactic taxes. Most of the houses were here were built by the people the Neistrian's brought here from the original Coryville, we've just been adding on or remodeling."
Pointing to a couple white and gold structures off to the right Mr. Thomas asked.
"What are those buildings?"
"That's the NASA compound, all those are structures designed for people to live on places like mars. Naturally we've got plenty of oxygen on the planet so they have modified them." Wyatt also pointed out the Facility 605 building, explaining that that was where spacecraft were overhauled or repaired.
The community center was a hive of activity as people began forming lines to register and receive their new ID cards. Deev Mocon, along with his assistant Zeb Kifire, as well as two more Oxynian reps and their assistants were set up at four tables processing the newcomers, while Osnet Quora and his assistants were situated in another room fitting people for translators. Don Falkner, along with Major Morford were assisting them in selecting who got what as far as the level of translator went. Outside, Micki Hemming, Meghan Cook, Brad Cummings, Walter Topping, and James Sylvia, were getting the B-B-Que ready, roasting a boloth over a spit. Leaving his parents for a moment, Alex spoke with Deev about the increase in population.
"From the size of this crowd Alex, I'm guessing Endor has just jumped from a level ten planet up to lever eight, possibly a level seven."
"So what does that mean?" Asked Alex.
"It puts you in a higher category for aid and assistance," replied Deev.
"You're now approaching a level which will allow you to petition the Galactic Council for a seat on the council as well as increased level of security. Bad news is that your taxes will now go up but then so will the services available to you."
"Well right now, we're definitely going to need more housing," replied Alex, "And not tents either." Everyone agreed that remaining in good stead with the trading company was paramount especially considering the situation they now found themselves in. So far, the revenue from the mining leases on Chanus 4 was easily covering the expense of belonging to the trading company, (Union Dues,) as Tracy called it. The registering process continued well into the evening wrapping up shortly before midnight. Deev and his people were deadbeat, opting to remain overnight and leave in the morning.
Alex turned his house over to his folks as did Wyatt, along with any others whose parents or family arrived on the transport. Alex and Holliqua would be sharing a tent, camping out as it were. Over his parents objections he replied.
"Mom, dad, it's all right, you guys deserve it, until we start getting some decent housing put up, I'll be fine." Alex also noted a feeling of despair in his parents as neither felt they had any skills that would help in the growth of New Coryville.
His father had originally sold insurance, and his mother was a loan officer at one of the banks in Durango. The fact that both felt that they had nothing to contribute was weighing heavily on their minds.
"Mom, we're going to need you over in the government," said Alex, "One of our next major tasks is getting some decent industry here on the planet, which also means making sure we set up a fair and equitable tax system. Right now, everything is mainly understandings and handshakes. Bric, for one knows it's coming, and has asked me what we are going to do about the tax situation. Right now, Mos Eisley and the distillery are the main industry here on Endor. As far as the distillery goes, it's going to be another four or five years before that place starts paying off. At any rate, we simply don't have enough people involved in our treasury and financial system if you could even call it that. Dad, right now insurance really isn't a big thing here on Endor."
"Well I've been giving it some thought son, and even though I'm not as young as I once was, perhaps you could use me over in your building department. Earlier, I was talking to Walter Topping about building more houses. For three summers while I was in college, I worked for CavCo building homes. Skills like that tend to stay with you. In fact, at the time, I almost went to work for them full time but then there was a slump in the housing market, so I stayed on in school. Son, don't let my age fool you, I'm ready to jump back into the game."
Alex remained skeptical, but wasn't about to stand in his dad's way.
"You know dad, he replied, "Before all this crap got us sidetracked, Major Morford, and Colonel Valmont were talking about constructing homes more environmentally in tune with conditions here on Endor. In case you haven't noticed, each home draws it's power from a plasma reactor."
""Yeah, I was noticing that," replied Mr. Russom, "What's up with that?"
"Garmik set it all up, and at first, we were drawing all our power off the plasma reactor that used to power the raider spaceship we're now using as an armory. It's been since upgraded thanks to help from the trading company but with all these extra people we'll probably have to upgrade it some more, that's why we all feel it's so important to remain in good standing with those people."
"So basically, every home and building draws it's power off something like wi-fi?" Asked Mr. Russom.
"Well it's a little more complicated that that," replied Alex, "But basically…yeah."
"How about housing design?" continued Mr. Russom, "Do any of these aliens have any designs that might fit in with our situation?"
"Actually they do dad," replied Alex, "Pretty much everyone has something but right now, we're looking at stuff built primarily from wood, brick and stone. Before we got sidetracked by this rescue effort, we were starting a housing project over on the west side by the big mushroom. Dalomac industries is the company we contracted to cut wood here on Endor. They supplied us with design plans for basic wood homes. Walter and Brad have added their own touches to them. We're not talking about anything real fancy here," he continued, "Might even call them cottages or bungalows. However they are good solid homes."
"What about water and sewer?" Asked Mr. Thomas.
"Right now, all we need is water lines," replied Wyatt, "waste and garbage are handled by the kind of toilets and garbage disposal units they have aboard ships that recycles, and sterilizes the waste matter."
The next day, another meeting was held where questions were answered, along with discussions over where people wanted to live. After a full explanation of all locations, most chose New Coryville with some opting for Coromere. However, families such as the Best family, Jim Lindsey, the Crosby family, and the Hays family, along with a couple of soldiers from the SAS unit thought the 100 Mile site looked promising. They were ranchers and farmers, and the land town around there looked ideal. Even the lakeside site appealed to several people. The next item on the agenda concerned the actual construction of the homes. Speaking for those interested in locating to Hundred Mile, Jim Lindsey announced that his group were a rather self-sufficient bunch so all they needed were the tools and they could get started right away. Some of the men who, along with their families were planning on living in New Coryville volunteered to help with construction. Roy VonDran even suggested that he might be able to persuade some of his elves to assist in constructing Hundred Mile.
One of the first things brought back from earth back when Alex started making trips home was a sawmill. Run off the power of a gas engine (which they used for a short time) Garmik had converted it's power source to a single-stage Ionic drive motor utilizing a solar back-up. Up to now, Brad Cummings and his maintenance crew had used it only as needed, but now it looked like a full-time crew was going to be needed.
However, as Brad pointed out to Alex and the others,
"We've got the sawmill set up just where we need it mainly for New Coryville, how about you simply have Garmik and his whiz-kids just build another one…they aren't too complicated. They could probably make a few improvements in the process." When asked about it Garmik readily agreed to look the mill over and get back with the committee.
They also had six or so chain saws but only a limited amount of gasoline and oil left. Since the location of Hundred Mile was right on the edge of a massive forest, Wyatt told Mr. Lindsey to take the saws along with the rest of the gas and chain saw oil and head down there.
"Do what you can, Mr. Lindsey, but work on clearing a decent road through that forest as much as you can. Take our pay loader along with four drums of diesel fuel. Use it carefully, as that fuel is all you're going to get for awhile."
This was the crux of an ongoing problem now exacerbated by the prospect of getting no more fuel from earth. Converting existing engines from vehicles and replacing them with motors that ran on Florazyne batteries, plasma, and proton energy. The hard part was adapting a replacement motor that could mesh with the existing transmission. The John Deere Gator's had already been converted but their engines were small, and thus were converted over to electric motors that were powered off Florazyne batteries… Large equipment like the pay loader, the D8 Caterpillar dozers, and now the recently acquired military equipment was another matter. At one of the planning meetings, Alex was sitting with Captain Steven Paul, one of the astronauts rescued from the space station who was fascinated by the elves. Sitting with them was Zargek, and Ontana Stauell who were discussing guild business. Before long, Gabe sat down, and began talking to Alex about the problems of converting gasoline or diesel engines.
"We just don't have the facilities to do that kind of work here. It's easier just to go to a scrap yard and pick up something we can adapt. Not the best way, but it's the best we can do right now."
Then Ontana asked him,
"Out of curiosity, where are these scrap yards you've been visiting?"
"Mostly Xindus, and on Selantria," came the reply.
"Ever been to Phiea? It's a small moon to the planet Vao 7. While not in the uncharted zone it's right out there on the very fringe of the Zan-Argo system. In fact it's one of the boundary planets. The Selantrian navy started to build a base there many, many yeans ago, or so I'm told. Anyway, there is a fellow there by the name of Ehid Kads who owns a salvage yard there. I happened to stop there a couple yeans ago as my ship was in need of repairs."
"What were you doing way out in that sector?" Asked Zargek .
"I was on my way to Baitune to pick up a prisoner when I was jumped by raiders. Up till then I had never heard of the place, but my computer indicated there was an inhabitable planet nearby so I went for it."
"Excuse me," said Captain Paul, "But you said something about raiders?" Both Zargek and Ontana looked at each other and grinned.
"I'm afraid so Captain," injected Alex, things are not quite as bad right now, but there are raiders out here. Mostly Vel'Takz, and Diyari races who live on the outer fringes, generally on old mining planets.
"It's not just them anymore," added Zargek. "We're starting to see a few Khufrian's, and even renegade Uwanian's."
"Pardon me for my ignorance gentlemen," replied the captain, "Being new out here and all. I'm still trying to familiarize myself with all the various races." Ontana chuckled,
"Well once you do, buy yourself a ship and join the guild, we're always looking for new members, and from what I've seen so far, you humans have all the makings of members in good standing. Well, as I was saying, this Kads fellow didn't look like any race I'd ever seen. Not Golian, not Selantrian, not even Moriedian much less anyone I'd ever run into out in the uncharted zone. He wasn't very friendly and only took gold in trade. You might want to keep that in mind if you plan to go there young human. Also, be advised that he openly admits to doing business with raiders, so there's that. However, if you make the trip out there, you won't be disappointed; he has ships and related scrap I've never seen before. Those that I have mentioned this to that have been there as well all report the same thing. Where he's getting his junk from only he knows and he certainly isn't telling."
Captain Paul then asked Gabe about the skunk works, and how he could get into working there. Gabe shrugged.
"Just talk to Garmik sir, we're always looking for new people. If you want to get into some really cutting edge stuff it's all happening over at the skunk works.' He then started singing the Simon and Garfunkel song "It's all happening at the zoo."
Then Captain Paul asked Zargek,
"Pardon me if you have been asked this before, but were you folks involved in all those UFO reports that were occurring back on earth? Both Alex and Gabe snickered.
"Wasn't us or anyone I or anyone else I'm aware of was. Now that's not to say we weren't aware of your planet, but earth is just too far away for any kind of meaningful trade or whatever. You of all people captain Paul must realize how large the universe is, we're just a small part of it. I, along with others have been all through this with Alex over there. Sad to say, but there's no little naked green beings with large eyes living out here. I were to hazard a guess, I'd say the chances of who ever was buzzing around earth was more than likely from a parallel universe or possibly even another dimension. At any rate, I'm not the one you should be speaking with about this. I, along with my friends are simply living our lives centon to centon as best we can."
"Well for what it's worth," replied the captain, "Ever since I was a kid, I always believed there was other life out there." Zargek grunted,
"Well captain, now you know."