Over the next couple month, we consolidate the power base. Begin to organize things. Covington begins scientific studies in earnest on railway, his own projects, as well as something special he has been researching: atomic transportation.
He also begins working with the local scienctific minds to sow the seeds of Percy Holdings future Scientific Division.
Lord Lanthoon shows up, has his duel with Percy
LP is losing, but takes him down with a critical shot. He spares his life, however. Lanthoon swears allegiance.
We decide to make the trip back to Sirtus Major, to report to Brit gov. all that has occurred. We stop off at Sigius Portus and Moab on the way to report victory and plant seeds of Seldon religion in each.
William and Crammond stay behind to train recruits in military and combat.
It’s a 3 week trip there, including stops.
Gerald flies the Prince of Parhoon. Other than crew, we bring the Bug, Martin, LP, Brutus, Kip, Galahad, Percival, Covey, (he has a lab set up on the ship), Percy’s wife; Bumpo comes as well to return to British area.
Crammond has written a terrific letter of merit for us, to hopefully get us some stuff at a good price. We want to upgrade the armament for the Prince and Nimrod.
Once there, we start shopping for guns.
Upon our return, Covey makes right for Grant, it a big hug of science.
Grant has the aether flyer ship shape. Martin and Annabelle have a happy reunion.
LP puts request in to see the Governor in Sirtus Major.
Percy meets with HBTC (Hesperidan Basin Trading Company), aka The George Company, led by Henry Price Mumford, Lord Calvan. Secretary says he is in conference. He says it’s going to be difficult as ‘the proverbial excrement has hit the fan’.
LP leaves his card.
He says the war, er police action, with Oenitrians has cut severely into profits. There has been no contact with one of their forts for 5 days. He takes the card in immediately.
Seconds later he returns “Lord Calvan will see you now”.
There are a dozen men in the office. 2 British army captains, several others in pseudo military dress: HBTC private army.
Calvan says bankruptcy is near if they continue to lose trading posts. Fort Dickerson is the latest. The troops that were due to be rotated out should have been to Sirtus Minor 5 days ago, and have not. It is right on the edge of the undeclared conflict. They may have taken it out. One of original causes of the war.
Dr. Philip Whitehead went there 6 months ago, digging series of trenches after supposed ancient Martian Tech. had been found in an underground ruin of some sorts. This historian has made some significant discoveries but nothing earth shaking. He had sent back the claim of finding something that will change all we know of Martian history, about a month ago.
50 civilians there, plus 65 soldiers. Plus the 15 man rotation who went to replace the ones who never came back.
There are not enough George troops in Sirtus Minor to send anyone to the Dickinson.
They want to send a company from here, plus an archaeologist and company reps, Roving Officers, as trouble shooters. All are otherwise detained, and one has died recently.
Lt. Franklin Broadstone (graduated Sandhurst, found India dull, retired at earliest opportunity, joined HBTC; follows orders blindly) takes offence at Calvan’s notion that he can’t just trust soldiers to look into this.
He will talk to LP about a joint venture on Mars. They could make the rail spikes we will need, and resources we will need to cut trees for railroad ties.
So, what happened at the fort; what is this discovery; it’s right at border conflicts.
LP “I’m just the man you’re looking for.”
Calvan “My god, good man. Surely you have more important things to do than this.”
Covey “I’m going, too.”
We spend much of the day securing armament. Grant will install on the ships while we are gone, using Covey’s range finder and quick loading upgrades where we have chosen.
All of our previous guns are sold for half price. British artillery is bought to replace at an overall 10% discount thanks to Crammond and Percy.
As soon as we have the funds, we will use Covington’s Range Finder combined with Grant’s Analytical Engine to invent our own Ballistic Computer.
They have room for 8 of us maximum on the merchant ship. Percy’s wife, our crew, Kip stay here.
The captain of the ship is a Seldonite! The ship is called Seldon’s Pride!
The captain offers LP his personal cabin. LP politely declines with great thanks, as a show of respect to the captain.
We sail to Carcharum. A 6 day trip.