Director Jethro Hodge reported that after two months of intensive work, the power, water (treatment and sewage), and transportation infrastructure is in place in the priority industrial sector of Genesis City. The work was interrupted for three days as a company of Navy marines scoured the nearby jungle for any sign of the black creatures. Intense scans from UNS Divine Scepter of the entire planetary surface, including the oceans, was carried out as well. Nothing was found, so ArcGeneral Hastings gave Hodge the green light to continue work on the site, and ordered half the marines there to remain and patrol the adjacent jungle.
With the basic infrastructure in place, sections of prefab factory buildings, shuttled from Scepter’s manufacturing center, are being assembled on the site’s industrial sector. These factories will produce the necessary materials to be used in the construction of the city’s permanent buildings, roadways, and other infrastructure projects. The plan is for the Genesis factories to provide all products needed on the surface as quickly as possible. Then, the ship’s manufacturing center can focus on the construction of a Navy yard and new ships for defense and exploration.
Divine Scepter was built by the United Nations Space Agency (UNSA) in their lunar yard facility in 2080 CE. For a description of this mighty starship, click here.
On this day, Giorgio Pinto, a high school botany teacher from Laurier Secondary, of the Canadian Pod, was shepherding his senior class through the corridor connecting their pod to the transport tube inside the hull of Scepter. From there, the ‘Bullet’ whisked them to the aft shuttle bay to board a passenger shuttle to the construction site. Once the ‘Bullet’ arrived, they would take a lift, connected to the Bullet tube, down to the deck of the shuttle bay. Pinto had applied for this field trip even before Scepter arrived at Genesis. Approval had been given two months ago, but the trip had been postponed one week for security reasons. Now they were aboard Shuttle P34 speeding toward the surface.
“Oh look, Mr. Pinto! Isn’t that the most magnificent sight, ever!” Carla Ashikwe was beside herself with excitement, pointing to the forward hull monitor. Sensors on the exterior connected to four large monitors inside the shuttle, affording real-time visuals as if the passengers were looking through giant glass panels.
Pinto was speechless. He just grinned at Carla and kept checking each monitor screen, in turn, not wanting to miss anything. It was the first trip any of them had taken outside of the colonizer vessel. All of his students were as excited as Carla; some watched in quiet awe, while others were a little more vocal.
The teacher was very comfortable taking this group to the surface. They were serious about their studies and had comported themselves well when he had conducted field trips to the botanical and industrial history pods. Now they were on their way to the jungle area near the construction site to collect samples and then conduct experiments upon their return.
“Okay class, we’ll be landing shortly. Once you’re free of the seat restraints, gather your backpacks and follow the instructions of the shuttle staff. From the landing field, we’ll be escorted to the HQ building where Director Hodge will address us. Any questions?”
Jonathan Stanton raised his hand. “Sir, how many marines will be going along with us? Do you think they’ll let us look at their weapons?” That gave rise to a few catcalls from Stanton’s buddies. Pinto knew it was a serious question – Stanton had confided to him his plans to join the marines after finishing his degree.
“Well, the peanut gallery has been heard from.” Pinto directed a sour look at the vocal few, and that garnered a few laughs as Stanton grinned at his buddies. “I don’t know, Jonathan,” the teacher continued, “but if Director Hodge is taking questions today, you may ask him.”
At that moment, the craft settled on the surface, the landing thrusters kicking up clouds of green dust from the unpaved landing field. While the students gathered their belongings, a shuttle attendant directed them towards the aft hatch which descended to the surface as an exit ramp. Living up to Pinto’s expectations, the students trooped down the ramp in a safe, orderly fashion and gathered into a group where a woman with long blond hair greeted them. She waited patiently for Pinto, who exited the craft last, and greeted her warmly. That raised a lot of eyebrows!
Stay tuned for their adventure in the untamed jungle!