Planning for the Worst
after a lot of thought I’m giving you permission to proceed with your
plan to fill in the maintenance dock but not with rock as some
suggested instead we will use some the parts of old corridor ship
littering the dumps site to turn it into rooms which means make the
floors level as you put them in, that will aide in stopping the wall we
are pulling up to replace the airlock from collapsing at later date.”
Philip said looking directly at the Crystal Dawn structural engineer
who raised an eyebrow but didn‘t say anything about the extra work.
“I object! That will cost more than just shifting some of the rubble from the numerous milk dumps around this hell hole into there, the object Atwater is to get this done and out of here for as little time and cost as possible.” a shifty looking man at the end of the table said. “This will add days if not a few weeks of work to what should be a simple back fill. Why are you in charge you are nothing but an auditor hired to look over Ellsworth’s shoulder.” he grumbled.
“Stern shut up, you are a lazy bastard who is just objecting to the extra work,” Philip snapped. “In case it missed you notice I’m in charge until a replacement for Ellsworth is sent because I am the board rep so can make decisions until that person arrives. I also see the big picture unlike you and that is not just doing this reconstruction for as little time and Credits as possible as you stated but also doing damage control, who here thinks this town will be rebuilt before winter?” Philip asked dryly making everyone grimace.
“Exactly we have gotten out of rebuilding the town for the moment but if we don’t look like we are at least helping slightly Crystal Dawn could end up hit with the entire rebuilding cost which I can assure you that the Board would hit the roof about, for the moment everything we are doing in penny-credit stuff rebuilding that town wouldn‘t be and don‘t think Judge Travis wouldn‘t force that if he could. So far the Seven Regulators are attempting to arrange for the rebuilding of the town with what little insurance money that is left, so far it has been mainly building infrastructure to create the building supplies as they won’t be able to purchase them, it is a good plan but they know time is running out. They aren‘t fools they know there is a good chance they will be facing a nine month winter without shelter, and are contemplating a backup plan for that, I have heard them speculating about shifting the people into the mountain if that happens.”
Morgenstern nodded, “Makes sense inside the mountain would at least be out of the blizzards. I see what you are getting at, us taking that little extra step to add to the possible living space if that occurs is pure PR won’t really cost us more than a few extra days work and as all the miners are contract they will be getting paid work or not so why not aim for that PR, going that little extra will make us look a lot more sympathetic to the towns plight than just a backfill. As you said Mr. Atwater it’s all about damage control we have to make us look good and sympathetic for as little as possible. I‘ll work out the placement of the Corridor ship fill with occupation in mind.” he said thoughtfully drawing up his work pad and starting work.
“That doesn’t explains the order to cut a hull and put it near where we intend to dump the trees when we log.” another man said thoughtfully. “I now you said they are building a wood mill there but why aren’t they paying us for shifting that hull like the brick factory did they traded use of the heating elements for the hull?“
“Peterson think about it realistically we’ve already got inspectors sniffing around for any little infraction on this reconstruction, shifting that second hull is more for us then them, frankly at this point I don’t care if they never actually get a wood mill working inside that hull it’s all for show from our viewpoint, if they get one working more power to them and I’ll congratulate them but either way it makes no difference to us doing this reconstruction because as long that hull is sitting there and we call it a wood mill or even a future wood mill we can dump the trees we have to log from the high rips there with impunity without the inspectors already crawling all over us writing yet another illegal dumping citation for the mine. This time with our names all over it as the operators who did it.” snapped Philip.
Everyone winced at that and suddenly sat up straight no longer bored, as they all imagined what their future employment would be like with such a citation attached to their permanent records.
“Exactly all of you are either Guild Contract Miners waiting for recontract in the new Corridors or Independents hired just for this job, my records say none of you worked for Crystal Dawn during the original environmental infractions so if we keep our noses squeaky clean and play as helpful as possible and just here for the reconstruction our own reps should stay clean and out of the Crystal Dawn mess, we didn‘t make the mess we are just the cleaners fixing it as best we can, everyone please remember that little fact when the inspectors get annoying, I mean that don‘t make fucking waves with the Inspectors as I have seen some of you do when they start asking annoying questions about what you are doing.”
Morgenstern looked from his pad up with a frown, “Mr. Atwater if they intend to winter in the mountain we might have a problem I’m not sure if you realise that the end if the mountain next to the freight tunnel is still flooded Mr. Ellsworth was just going to leave it but the town will probably need that space as well.”
“What? I thought he mountain was done and checked?” asked Philip shocked.
“Most of it is drained and structurally sound unfortunately the freight tunnel end of the mountain, all of that end of town for that matter isn’t over the underground cistern so we couldn’t cut drain holes that end unfortunately it is also a self contained section as that side was made to hold all the internal loading bays even if we cut into the mountain at ground level so it drains into that dam of theirs we will still have thirty feet of water to pump out that side and I seriously doubt that dam can hold that much water anyway.“ snorted the engineer. “On the other hand there is another cart airlock based at the old landing port level directly under the freight tunnel that was used to access that side from the surface we could use to drain that side of the mountain but that has even more problems as it will flood all the silt of the landing platform and basically turn it to quicksand for months before it finally drains.”
Philip winced, inserting the Crystal Dawn map and bringing up the display letting Morgenstern show them exactly where the problem was.
“As you can see neither option has a good outcome, we flood the silt we basically have to rebuild the town ourselves and if we over fill the dam and it gives way it will flood the brick factory because that side of the dam is made of compacted rubble it won‘t hold especially given the water coming out of the mountain will quickly pour over the dam that side even if it doesn‘t give way immediately.” Morgenstern said seriously. “If I’d known that side needed drained as well I would have cut a drain hole into the side that was drained and empty it that way but now that will just undo all the clean up and drying work we have done frankly I would rather have another option as that was a bugger of a job.
“Suggestions anyone?” Philip asked with a sigh.
“Dig or blast the dam they made deep enough to hold the water from the mountain as well as reinforce the rubble side of the dam.” Stern finally said none of them wanting to clean and dry out the rest of the mountain again.
Morgenstern frowned, “Blasting won’t work it’s but up against the side of the landing platform, Standish got away with plasma blasting only because he wasn’t going that deep, it will have to be cutters, : he decided, “It would be the equivalent of cutting a deep vertical rip but it could be done how far we have to go down would have to be calculated according to the estimated volume of water we need to drain from the mountain and even then we would have to pump the last thirty feet out.”
“What about the rubble side how will we reinforce it?” Philip asked in interest.
Peterson snorted, “Just clear that all away and rebuild that side from scratch we will be ripping enough granite out of the dam rip to build a better dam any way so why take chances, we will have to purchase some crystal cement to put over what we build there because as you know it gets harder with age and that way the dam will be solid for centuries, we will be risking people drowning at some point other wise and it will not pass a safety inspection without it.”
“Safer to just go down a the extra thirty feet and have the top of the dam at the old ground level it’s all built up at the moment the rubble’s all that’s holding the water back I’d rather not have to deal with that at all, if we do that we also wouldn‘t have to pump the last thirty feet as we would be at the level of the airlock but wouldn’t flood the landing platform, that would save a lot of work as gravity would do most of the work. The real problem is keeping that much water from going stagnant Standish has a plasma sink in the dam connected to a solar panel to keep it drinkable.” Morgenstern said with a sigh maybe it would be better to just cut into the dividing wall and drain it internally and redo the clean up the other side.
“Plasma-Shift rubble is easy enough for us to get, we can cement a small vertical ridge down the rip to do the same thing.” Philip finally decided. “Work on that Mr. Morgenstern if you don’t think it is doable we will just have to clean up the mountain again after cutting the new drain holes internally.”
“Yes sir I should be able to tell you which way we will proceeding by the time we finish the maintenance hanger job.” the engineer sighed letting the meeting continue around him as he worked out the placement of he corridor ship floors inside the hanger, this job was a nightmare every time he turned around he was faced with a new problem to solve. Then a thought struck hum, “How much trouble should we go to for the Wood Mill hull, do you want us to spend the days cutting most of the internal rooms and corridors from the piece or leave them as possible extra living space if everything falls through with the town rebuild?”
Philip looked thoughtful, “Just cut to the needed size, Tanner and Standish brought the salvage cutters and tractors so should be able to clear it out themselves once they have some working, use the time saved to clear the ground were it’s going instead, I want that hull in place before we head up to log in two weeks.”
“I hear those rips have a lot of predators what are the chances of getting those mould corrupted as guards again, safety gear slows a man down so we would be sitting ducks up there in it?” the safety officer asked, that had him worried after the constant attacks down in the cistern rip. “The safety budget should cover the cost.” he added quickly when Atwater frowned.
Philip frowned, “I’ll ask?” he said simply knowing better than to point out all they needed was the filtration masks as the mould didn‘t enter through the skin, the Guild had miners pretty brainwashed and fearful of Mould contamination. “If not, I’m sure we can get some hunters at the port willing to just use filtration masks for the money although I would give preference to AMM who applied.”
The men frowned at that, “You think there are more Ghost in Redemption?” one asked finally.
“Tanner has a elderly Uncle up on the Docking Port working for a R & D Corporation he told me the Independents don’t care about age or anything else as long as you can do the job and work hard, the rest of the Corridors don’t like AMM and without their Ships they need jobs to survive so there are probably more AMM around the Independents then we think.” Philip said simply. “Not just Ghost either, Larabee and Wilmington are Federation Fleet their whole ship was infected during the War and the genetic correction failed on most of them, that ship would have had twenty to a hundred men on it depending on the ships size, the Federation offered the ones it failed on emigration out here and a pension, most of them probably took it.”
They all looked uneasy at that wondering just how many ships ended up that way during the war.
“Anything else needed to be brought up at this meeting?” asked Philip when everyone shook their heads he dismissed them.
“Mr. Morgenstern stay a moment I have a few questions about the Volcano outfit?” Philip ordered quietly as the others started to leave.
“Of course, Sir!” the man said polite as always as he finished packing up, the softer more generic tones of the northern Allcon Corridors betraying his birthplace. Phillip knew hiring the man had been just one more annoyance this job had been causing Ellsworth, as despite the man’s politeness there was a backbone of steel in the man that made Ellsworth’s Psi compulsion gift longer to take effect and Ellsworth was lazy enough not to add to his work load when he didn‘t think he needed to. Unfortunately all the other engineers while more compliant to Ellsworth’s gift had proven incompetents so Ellsworth finally caved and hired Morgenstern who despite the headaches he caused Ellsworth was an extremely competent mining Engineer, a fact Philip had been grateful for since Ellsworth died in the cistern. By the time the rest of the men were gone Morgenstern was packed up and waiting for Atwater to ask his questions.
“It’s getting colder, the next level where you and the men are housed may not be feeling it yet but this level was more than a bit chilly this morning and it isn’t even May yet, while I was having breakfast I had my new assistant Charles Trevallyn look through Ellsworth’s plans for the Volcano to see if he had a plan for heating this place and he couldn’t find any mention. Do you know of any plans or intentions to that effect he might not have had a chance to write down before his death?” Philip asked quietly.
Morgenstern frowned, “No I haven’t seen or heard of heating plans and that might be a problem because while this mountain had duct heating because the Higher grades of Data were stored here and checked for flaws before shipment by the Crystal Guild Circles, the plasma furnace feeding those ducts is long gone salvaged before they abandoned the mine and even if it wasn’t it was kept topped up by the old Warp Array running the place at the time and we are only operating on the Barge array we saved from the wreck.”
Philip grimaced, “We can’t get a plasma furnace big enough to heat this place through the board and even if we could a Warp Array is out of the question to maintain it.” he acknowledged Morgenstern’s evaluation was spot on. “That expense might have been viable while this place was ripping billions in Crystal it won’t pass for a PR environmental cleanup.” he said with a sigh. “Any ideas off the top of your head that won’t cost us much so I can get away with spending the credits yet still heat this place at least enough for us to be comfortable in the coming months?”
“That means any of the easy Crystal solutions are out for a start because while efficient and clean any Crystal powered heating like that are always energy hogs, if we were staying here that could be gotten around by a lot of Solar augmentation to fill Plasma banks dedicated to powering heating units throughout the volcano like they do at the Port but for a temporary job it’s out of the question.” mused Morgenstern. “That only leaves a Dis-Pater special, a combustion furnace to heat the air for the ducts, we have most of the materials to make one of the big wood burning furnaces used to heat the factories outside the Port, we still have the space grade insulation we salvaged from the barge before giving it away, we can always find granite to form it as well but we’ll need a few bags of Crystal-Cement to seal it all, other than that we’ll have to pay the town blacksmiths to make the grates and door but as we’ll be supplying the iron that won’t cost much at all.”
Philip frowned, “Like a giant concrete version of the pot belly stoves the town uses to heat rooms?” he asked tentatively burning wood was such a outrageous concept and unique to Dis-Pater in all the Corridors and even that was pretty new, the mines he had worked in all used Crystal for everything it was only with the influx of settlers and the Terra Forming advancing enough that it became viable and even then it was only because something about Dis-Pater made the Terran Trees grow at an unnatural rate which added to the fact the seeding made from stolen Ghost bio-stock was a lot more diverse than the Corridors had before the Ghost returned so better at maintaining the Terra Forming. The freakish growth rate on Dis-Pater was commonly thought to be due to the Ghost Legion although they didn’t admit it but it made a lot of sense given they would stop and Terra Form, harvest and then move on at a very fast turnover of planets on their Journey they had to be very skilled at Terra Forming and getting a planet to harvest stage in record time so the Ghost adding something to fast grow their seeding for the first few decades wasn‘t too way out as they would have moved on before it ran out and reverted to normal growth the Federation had indeed found some strange growth hormones in Dis-Pater soil and were attempting to duplicate it as the Ghosts had destroyed their databanks instead of surrendering them after the war.
“Not quite the same but the same general engineering principles, I wouldn’t chance a winter stay with just one in place but for the next few months a single furnace should do us, I’ll plan on building another one later in the season when I see how cold it gets, hopefully we may get away with building only one furnace as we‘ll be gone before Winter and the unused levels in the volcano will have the vents shut so the heat isn’t wasted. The only real problem I see is fuel even if we cut up a few of the trees we’ll be logging in the high rips in a few weeks, I’ve lived on Dis-Pater long enough to know green fresh cut firewood has to dry out before use it’s called seasoning.”
“So we’ll have to wait for the wood to dry before we have heat?” Philip asked with a frown remembering Tanner and Standish had been talking about a hull to store and dry the cut timber before it became useable as well so drying must be one of those constants to make wood useable for any purpose.
Morgenstern frowned thinking of a solution but could only think of one, “Maybe not, without a harvester, keeping up with a family’s firewood needs is a big non stop chore for a family especially as you don’t just need it for the nine month Winter, late Autumn and early Spring also need a lot of firewood as well as they both get cold because of that I’m pretty sure the homesteads around here have been already stockpiling firewood for months, I use to start in Summer when I had a Homestead. Given that we might be able to do a trade, offer them twice or even triple as much cut green wood as they call it in exchange for some of their present already seasoned stores, as it isn’t even May yet they might take the trade for some of it as it will build their winter stockpile faster yet still leave it time to season the wood we given them for their Winter use and be a lot less pre-winter work for them.” Morgenstern said thoughtfully.
“I’ll ask Charlie Trevallyn my assistant if it’s a good deal he has a homestead close by so should know, he might even take the deal himself if he has the wood to spare,” Philip said thoughtfully suddenly realising that might be another problem for the town in the coming months as he hadn‘t seen any big firewood stacks around town just small ones. “Meanwhile we’ll get the combustion furnace ready, even if no one takes the trade we can probably season our own firewood for the coldest months of Autumn and find something less efficient to heat individual rooms for now.” he decided you could pick up older reconditioned small wood stoves all over Dis-Pater they should be able to pick up some cheap to at least heat the Crew bunkrooms and this level where most of the office work and meetings took place.
Morgenstern nodded making a note to start designing the furnace construction grimacing at the reminder note he found in his roster notes about something he hadn‘t want to bring up during the meeting without warning the Auditor of the problem first. “Sir, while I have you alone I want to request a change in the reconstruction sequence as it is presently planned, if you agree it will change the present work roster drastically?” Morgenstern warned with a wince knowing full well the upset it would cause in the months to come. “I want to switch some of the work orders around and tackle the Geode Mountain next.”
Philip frowned calling up the blueprints of the mine confused, “Why the sudden decision to check it? We were going to do that last as it should be a simple check as it’s listed as Crystal processing and storage rooms like this volcano so nothing dangerous needing a lot of work.”
“It’s the position of the place more than anything that’s setting off my warning instincts, you can see by the blueprint map it’s the processing rooms closet to those high open cut Generator rips, so it makes sense they used the Geode to processes the ripped Power and Warp and given their blatant disregard of life and safety I think the sooner we check that Geode out the better.” the Engineer said simply but the worry in his voice made Philip’s eyes widened in shock suddenly realising what was making the man worry. Generator Crystal Processing meant Mould Killer and lots of it.
“I see by the look on your face you have the same reaction and immediate thoughts I did,” Morgenstern said dryly. “Which was immediately thinking the worst, which was if they were negligent enough to open cut Generator on a Habited Planet, did I really think they cared enough to dispose of the used Mould Killer in the proscribed manner?”
“God in Heaven!” Philip said in horror having his fear confirmed by the other man, “You’re right, they open cut Generator one of the worst mining infraction in the Corridors proving they haven’t a moral bone in their bodies, they probably just put the used Mould Killer back in the tanks it came in and left it there!” he said bleakly.
“Makes sense, breakdown catalyst cost money doing that would save a lot of Credits over the years, I’m actually hoping that’s where the used tanks are because we can deal with that easy enough by adding catalyst to the tanks and taking them to an approved dumpsite to breakdown into something a lot less deadly.” Morgenstern said quietly.
“You’re hoping for that?” Philip exclaimed incredulously Crystal Dawn‘s board would spew at the cost.
“Yes I am,” Morgenstern said with a shiver. “Because the only other place they could have dumped it is making my blood run cold contemplating it and that fix might prove lot more expensive and dangerous because one wrong move will end with the Dawn declared a disaster area along with all the surrounding counties and end up with them having to have them evacuated and the whole area sealed off for a Century.” he said frankly.
Philip paled, “You better tell me about that possibility then and I’ll start planning for the worst because if finding old tanks of used Mould Killer in the work rooms of the Geode, Isn’t the worst you can contemplate, I’m getting chills as well?”
“Think about it Mr. Atwater,” Morgenstern said dryly. “The bottom of the Geode is a gigantic water cistern because a lot of the streams from the high rips back there behind that Geode mountain feed into it and then the Geode overflows into the lake behind this volcano through a big hole in the middle of the Geode in the form of a waterfall into the lake then the lake feeds the rest of the system including the Plasma cut cisterns for this town. Nothing wrong with that as once we finish eco forming the rest of the blown mountains to drain properly it will be a very stable system, our trouble is we know they used the bottom of the Geode as a dump site long before it filled with water. I‘m not surprised or complaining about that as the bottom of the Geode was the obvious place to dump all the scrap shatter matrix from the Geode after they cut the good Data bits out of the Geode unfortunately we have no ideas what else ended up in there over the years.” Morgenstern said tiredly. “Crystal Dawn was operating over a century and we have no idea when they stopped caring about safety or what they ended up doing to save a few credits, with that in mind I started looking at worst possible scenarios’ and realised there was nothing to stop them from just dumping the used Mould Killer tanks into that Geode and let the water hide the crime.”
“The tanks will be rusted from being under water,” Philip mused knowing the factory shipped it in metal tanks. “If they are there they aren’t leaking at the moment as nothing would be alive for miles around us, as it would contaminate the water coming from that section of Crystal Dawn. On the other hand if they are down there they can’t be left there as it’s only a matter of time before they do start leaking?” Philip said horrified no wonder they were both getting chills wondering what else the original owners of Crystal Dawn had hidden from their new partners when they had been absorbed by the present Conglomerate. The mining arm of the multi corporate conglomerate was in for a big shake up and a lot of those old owners assets confiscated to placate the rest of the conglomerate so it could survive the restructure needed to salvage the mining arm. No wonder his Psi instincts had been to take out Ellsworth when the chance occurred, Philip was quickly realising his cover as a simple Contract Auditor was about to explode in the face of all these infractions coming to light and if that happened while Ellsworth was still in place Philip would have quickly been a dead Auditor.
“Exactly if they are there, they will eventually leak, that will poison the water of half the Counties around Crystal Dawn simply because that Geode cistern and lake it feeds is the main source of their water.” Morgenstern said.
“I can see why you are hoping for the storage rooms instead, we’d have to temporary divert the streams from the rips to stop the flow of water into the geode, then pump out enough water so we can go down to check for tanks, the dangerous part will be removing them hoping they stay intact.” Philip said horrified at the danger and precautions that would be needed at least he would be able to operate out in the open soon if either of the Mould Killer infractions were found, the open cut Generator Ripping should have been cause to declare the hostile takeover and asset recovery on criminal grounds but the fact Matralca Moss ate the Mould lowered the infraction as the Mining Arm could argue it lowered the danger to acceptable levels and unfortunately the laboratory results agreed the Moss had made those rips reasonably safe all it would need was regular logging to maintain it. Glindala’s message had among other things contained the Mining Guild Evaluation Board’s reluctant ruling on that particular infraction, as long as the Moss was viable those rips were safer than most mines so the legal penalties for the mine were much lower than they should have been.
“And if a drum breaks we’d still have to finish removing the intact drums then seal of the Geode after adding a lot of catalyst to eventually neutralise the rupture but that would take a decade to break it down, so the stream diversion would have to be made permanent taking the sealed Geode out of the water system.” Morgenstern said bleakly.
Philip grimaced but nodded seeing the problem and need to shift the schedule to move the Geode into first place it was best they know how much of a disaster it was sooner rather than later. “If you need to delay the hanger work to check out the Geode do so it’s more important we need to know the extent of the danger.” Philip said tiredly working under the limitations of a Contract Auditor was more than just tiring it was exhausting.
“Not needed, now that I have your permission I’ll cancel everything else for the moment that will let me rearrange the roster. I can move the men who have no Generator or Mould Killer experience onto the hanger work as they would be a liability working on the Geode if I’m right. If I do that we can do both jobs which is good because I want that barge airlock in place and resined into the Volcano hull cap before the next storm.”
“How long are we looking at for the Hanger work to be complete?” Philip said making a few notes.
“Even with the added work of installing rooms and corridors in the hole before sealing it, the Hanger should be done by Monday afternoon at the latest as it isn’t a big job just tricky getting the floors level.” Morgenstern mused softly. “As soon as the hanger is done I’ll send a few of them to cut and shift the hull for the Brick Factory while the rest of them start preparing the ground for the Wood Mill hull. By my estimate the hanger, brick factory and wood mill work should all be finished by Wednesday any delays might stretch that to Friday but that is worst estimate as it’s all pretty easy work for miners.”
Philip nodded he had expected as much which was the reason he was willing to go that little extra distance and fill the hanger with more than rubble, for miners this was indeed very easy work. “Once that’s all done have those men start work on draining the rest of the mountain however you decide is best.“ decided Philip knowing if the Geode was bad the other men would still be busy. “What about the Geode how soon before I get a report and risk assessment on it?” he asked, he had to know as soon as possible if he was justified in recommending he drop the Contract Auditor cover and move straight on to Asset and Reputation Salvage for the rest of the Corporations under the rules of Conglomeration Charter breech due to extreme infractions of a illegal nature.
“We’ll know what we are dealing with in that Geode long before then and lets pray it‘s the lesser of the two evils we envision but I’m warning you I’m going to demand the use of a diving team to check that bottom half anyway just to make sure for my own piece of mind even if we do find the tanks in the work rooms.” Morgenstern stated.
Philip frowned, “Crystal Dawn won’t pay for divers that’s admitting they might have done wrong, if we can get it cleaned up without it going on record they are more likely to approve the bill, if we are lucky and it is in the workrooms, the tanks after the catalyst is added can be taken to a space dumpsite and passed off as being from Crystal Dawn’s asteroid workshops instead of from the old Dis-Pater works.” Philip knew it was a shitty cover-up but even during a internal hostile takeover a main part of his job was to protect the Conglomeration as much as possible, the infraction would be reported to the Mining Guild of course, Philip as the Board Rep for the other Corporations had to stay totally legal but as long as the rest of the Corporations dealt with the infractions like this fully in the proscribed manner during the clean up the Mining Guild would let them do those little harmless cover-ups so the Conglomerate would survive better and let them reform and rebuild the Mining Arm as it should be while they only arrested the management of Crystal Dawn Mining Corp who actually did the crimes.
Morgenstern sighed, “Without divers we have to check the hard way which means divert and drain and then go down for a look see.” the complaint in his voice obvious.
“A lot of extra work but from the Crystal Dawn‘s point of view worth it as their object is to cover up as much wrong doing as possible while still doing the clean up, hiring divers would blow all chance of that.” Philip said his own disgust of such thinking plain but knowing it had to be done. “If it makes you feel better remember we are at least fixing the problem even as we cover it up, Ellsworth would have just sealed the top half of the Geode if he found the tanks and not even bothered to check the bottom half.”
Morgenstern sighed, “Yeah I‘ve worked for him before it didn’t take me long to work out he was a bastard and a miserly skin flint no matter how much he covered it up. I wasn’t really surprised when I heard he had been turning off the lights that way while you were down in the Cistern, I just thought he had more self preservation than to do it while his own life was at risk, it was damn lucky he was the only death from the sound of it. To be honest I’m still not sure how I ended up taking this job. As I said, I’ve worked for Ellsworth before and swore I’d never do it again, yet all he had to do was ask and I found myself happily accepting the job.” he grumbled, that still confused him he hadn’t needed a job he had already used the money for the sale of his Homestead on Hecate to purchase a old space capable mining barge to live and work from in the asteroid fields and had been about to sign on as a Contract Miner working one of the Crystallum Claims for Lanthorn Corp. of Tartarus Conglomerate. While Independent Contract Mining wasn’t glamorous it was a good living if you didn’t mind being alone most of the time, it all depended on the Corporation you contracted too but unlike Crystal Dawn, Lanthorn who now owned Crystallum had a solid reputation as good safe employers so it had sounded a good deal, homesteading had long lost it’s enjoyment after his wife died so some time alone in the asteroids to do some thinking sounded perfect. All of which didn‘t explain why he had suddenly accepted a planet bound job from a man he hated instead of signing the Crystallum Contract he had been looking forward too. “Let me get back to work, we’ll start shoring up the Senata exchange this afternoon after the midday break that will give me the time to rearrange the roster and assign the two teams between the hanger and the Geode.”
“I’ll leave you to it, just keep me informed.” Philip said watching him go realising with a sigh Morgenstern was another person Ellsworth had been playing Psi games with. Frowning he packed his own things and left the conference room heading for the security airlock on this level leading to the main site office where he and Trevallyn worked the Crystal Dawn account books, the extra security on that section was because it also had the reinforced strong room containing anything of real value for the site such as their banking access Crystals and the spare replacement Crystal for the machines, this Level was also where everything portable and sellable on the black market was stored when not in use. The suite of rooms he and Ellsworth had set up was also on this level but was completely separate with their own security, Ellsworth had claimed it was because it would be close to the office but the truth was Ellsworth had been paranoid and refused to sleep on the same level as the men, he wanted the extra security of this level for his rooms and put in the extra security on top of it, as board rep Philips room had been made here as well but Philip knew that had only been to justify Ellsworth’s decision, the miners bunkrooms were up a level, they were sharing for the moment only Morgenstern having his own room as they were still setting up the Volcano but over the next month they would spread out on that level into their own rooms, the bunks had come from the asteroid base and had originally been salvaged from old ships so didn’t cost anything only the big bed Ellsworth bought for himself cost credits, they had months of work to do yet and plenty of space in the Volcano so there was no reason the men couldn’t have a room of their own and have some privacy when not working.
Entering the Office he found Trevallyn working on the petty cash account as expected as most of their funds for this job were coming out of that so it had to be kept up to date at all times. “Charlie, you’re in luck you get to forget about petty cash for a few hours and learn how to set up a complicated account scan to find all traces of a specific purchase listed in the account data records!“ he said with a smirk.
Charlie frowned, “The way you’re smirking it isn’t as easy as it sounds and I’ll probably be pulling my precious hair out in frustration by day’s end.” Auditing was a lot harder than the bookkeeping he was use to which meant he had a lot of learning and frustration ahead of him. “And this isn’t like any Petty Cash I’ve even seen it’s a full account book in it’s own right as complicated as any full business account I’ve looked after.” he complained.
Philip chuckled, “You’re working for the big boys now, Corporate and Conglomerate accounting is like nothing you have ever worked on before, don‘t forget a lot of Corporations are not only multi-company but multi-Corridor and a Conglomerate of Corporations often have ten to twenty such Corporations making them up. Don’t look so horrified you weren‘t hired to do that, just keep track of the expenditure and update the Petty Cash accounts as needed so I can actually find time to Audit, other than that your mainly here to run the office and act as my assistant in everything else. As to whether you end up pulling out your hair today that depends on how much the programming I‘ll be teaching you frustrates you before you get it because you’re right, it’s not as easy as it sounds.” he laughed. “Nether-the-less it’s a useful auditing tool you need to learn because unlike simple bookkeeping, Auditing is an Art and even inside that Art there are different types and levels of Auditors.”
Charlie sighed for show but nodded eyes bright at the thought of learning something new, “So what will we be finding?” he asked eagerly, he was already loving this job and he hadn’t really done much yet, from the sound of it he would be learning a heck of a lot from the older man plus even if he didn’t it sure beat feeding the pigs and would ensure they had the money for things like warmer winter coats and boots without going short this winter, plus supply the credits for the extra Senata seed they intended to purchase later in the year but the real reason he took the job was that he wanted to start a baby fund because while Catherine having babies was pretty simple and he was determined Tommy and Catherine got to work on that soon or he would start paddling their behinds because wanting him to go first was ridiculous, his family was gigantic so he figured his contribution to the gene pool could easily wait a few more years as Tommy hadn’t much family left so he should go first. He figured Catherine would be ready for a second one in a few years and he could wait that long easily and it wasn’t as if he wouldn’t adore a baby made from his two lovers he’d probably like it more than his own if he was truthful meanwhile he intended to save every spare credit he could as he was also planning on him and Tommy having one the Shield Way some year which would take a gestation bank and that would cost credits to rent use of because it might be greedy but if he was having kids he wanted one with each of his spouses not just his wife.
Atwater’s eyes lost their amusement as he said tiredly. “All purchase orders for Mould Killer since the Hades mine started, as well as the corresponding purchase orders for the Mould Killer breakdown Catalyst!”