“Legal thinks that the Space Piracy charges will probably be beaten, but the grand larceny charges will not,” Victor said. “They are being tried in Oregon, which has a firm judicial system. However, based on the condition of the ships, on Ms. Bell’s recommendation and Space Guard inspection they have all been fired and will not be given any back pay. Not that they will need it in Club Oregon.”
“Fired?” Five said. “What about union litigation, the Spacer’s Guild? That gets expensive.”
“Curiously,” Victor said, “after the Guild representatives had a tour of the Mighty Transporter, they completely agreed that the crew should be fired. Summarily.”
“There are these reports,” Two said, “that we rejected tenders from the Space Guard. That’s bad publicity, bad business, and legal issues.”
“I’ve heard about these,” Victor said. “There would be all sorts of legal hazards if the reports were true. We can’t find any records of such tenders, and the Guard says they are still looking to see if there was anything. In fact, we are in contact with the Space Guard, which does have certain interests in equipment purchases. I know what they would like to buy, and they know that we can’t build some of them until our yards are fixed.
Obstacles to Repair
“Victor?” Mrs. Brixton’s voice came clearly though the intercom, “Ms. Bell and Mr. Bronson to see you.”
Chelan looked at his schedule. He hadn’t expected anyone until after lunch. “Very well. Send them in.”
A few moments settled his current visitors into chairs at one corner of the room. “I take it there is some issue?”
“I’m assigned to clean up the shops, enough that we can get equipment up and running,” Bronson answered. “Chief Ransom asked if we had a deep cleaning system up and running, so he could get the robots from the Mighty Transporter up and running. We have a bunch of them, but every one had a safety override triggered. The water recycling tanks are full, so we can’t put the waste water from the deep cleaning units anywhere.”
“Don’t we have water purifying units?” Chelan asked.
“Yes, sir, getting to that, sir.” Bronson answered. “So I found where the units are, and we checked. They’re turned off because their power is off. They draw from one of the yards’ fusactors, and someone shut all three of them down, properly, about a year ago. We’d need some reactor techs to bring them back up.”
“I missed these on my walkabouts!” Elaine Bell said.
“I don’t remember them from the property lists,” Chelan said. He spoke a few words to his computer. “A minor question. If the reactors were shut down, where is the electricity coming from? “ He spoke a few more words into his computer. “We don’t seem to be receiving power bills.”
“We could switch the purifiers over to municipal power, couldn’t we?” Bronson asked.
“That gets expensive,” Bell remarked. “Water purifiers are power hogs.”