“We aren’t paying for power,” Chelan said. “I just checked. Someplace, unpaid bills are piling up. In fact, until a year ago, we seem to have been selling electric power to Crescent Nova, the municipal electrical system. OK, we don’t want the lights going out. Legal – Tara – should contact the City, see if we owe them money and pay them, as soon as possible. See what they have to say about power agreements. See whether our fusactors can be brought up or not.”
“Will do,” Bell answered.
“I gather shop cleanup has a long ways to go?” Chelan asked.
“On it,” Branson answered. “A long, long way. Though we’re sort of stuck until we clear a water recycling tank.”
“Elaine, please work out what needs to be done,” Chelan said. “I keep seeing articles about west coast electrical power shortages, so we may have a chicken and egg issue. We may need to pay the electric company to clear a tank, or get the level down, or something.”
“Will do,” she responded.
“We are obliged to pay the bill to keep operating,” Chelan asked. “Charles can handle that.”
A half hour later, Chelan’s intercom chirped. “Hello?” he said.
“Miss Bell on line 3,” Mrs. Brixton said. “Says it is an emergency.”
“Taking it,” Chelan answered. He tapped a button on his phone. “Hello?” he said.
“Victor. Elaine here.” She was speaking, Chelan thought, a mile a minute. “We have an emergency. Act or we lose all electrical power.”
“Yes?” What was this? he wondered.
“Cut the graving docks pumps. Turn off all vents and lighting, except the fine focus molecular sprays. Cut all outside lighting. Now!” She could, Chelan thought, be extremely emphatic.
You hired her, he thought, because she had the highest imaginable recommendations. “On it,” he said.
“Mrs. Brixton,” he called. “Is there an emergency enunciator system? Someplace I can speak, and everyone hears me?”
“On my desk,” she answered.
Mnutes later, with power to most of the yards cut, Chelan waited in the parking lot. Bell said she’d explain so soon as she returned.