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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 122: Beam 103
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Takano 49
The day started with breakfast, and Beam again treated his work crew special with steak and eggs for them, standard breakfast sandwiches for everyone else. He ordered a huge quantity of hoagies to be delivered at lunch time, along with chips and soda, and was soon on the move.
The hardware and lumber supply was again the first stop, and Beam expected this to go quickly as all he needed was more wood. However, while he was getting the lumber he realized that he’d lost Bron.
The errant blacksmith reappeared before he was finished, with a separate cart in which he had loaded a power saw, a power drill, bit and blade sets for both, a collection of spare batteries and some kind of charger. The white-haired man raised an eyebrow, and Bron spoke. “We’ve taught them how to do the work with simple tools; now the point is to finish it as quickly as we can, and these will help. Besides, I’m taking these with me.”
Beam only nodded. “All right, let’s go finish this bridge,” he said, and led the way.
When they reached the ramp, they were met with an unpleasant surprise. It appeared that the repair robot had managed to get the mining mole operational without doing anything about its operating system, and the digging machine had dug its way through both of the restaurants at the work site, leaving debris where there had been tables and serving systems. A crew of repair robots were now working in the wake of the destroyer, but they were going to have to get food somewhere else. Unloading the wood by the ramp, he walked everyone back to the next nearest retail outlet, where he found a terminal and ordered steak sandwiches and French fries for the crew to be delivered to their location. They could eat on their feet and drink the beer.
Once everyone had been fed and rested, they started once more hauling lumber. Although there was slightly less because they hadn’t purchased more nails or screws this time, it was still three trips. The crews continued where they had left off as soon as they reached the site, but things picked up significantly when Bron started cutting boards and beams with his new power saw.
It still took several hours to finish the job, Bron using a screwdriver bit on his drill to speed the process of securing the plywood surface. Beam wished in retrospect that he had picked up a couple of hinges so he could put a trap door in the surface and get beneath it, but it would have been a weak spot he probably shouldn’t have risked anyway. He would just have to trust that everything held--and after all, if it didn’t, there would be a gate to the lower area that had not been planned.
They stacked the leftovers along the wall below the site, Beam saying that if anything happened overnight they would be able to make repairs in the morning. He was satisfied that it was solid enough, and took everyone back to the camp where again he treated them to steak dinners. He asked if anyone was sick of steak, but no one said they were. He was in a celebratory mood, though, so he ordered steak for everyone, and hoped that there weren’t any citizens who were vegetarians or something.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #401: Characters Hiking. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: