The Last Rocket
“Gentlemen, that concludes my presentation. Are there any questions?”Click here to return to the book page
Professor Bringham looked up at his audience having spent the last hour and a half talking, almost non-stop. The seven senior scientists, the ruling council, stared at him, their faces impenetrable masks. Finally, the committee chairman spoke up.
“Are you sure you can pull this off?”
“You think there is enough metal left?”
“In this particular area, yes, sir.”
“That rocket will take thousands of tons of metal, and you cannot hope to keep a project of this scale a secret.” “I know, sir. That’s why we’ll build a secure facility and use the troops for security the way I laid it out.”
“Allowing their wives onto the rocket as a way of securing their loyalty is a good concept, especially the genetics bit. What about the construction workers? How will you select the crew from them?”
“By lot, sir, green tickets will be selected by lottery.”
The seven scientists looked at each other. Bringham could see their lips moving but the privacy screens had dropped, disconnecting him from their discussions. They’d forgotten he was an excellent lip reader. He smiled. He could already sense the decision was going to go his way.
* * * *
Three years later . . .
“There was another incursion in sector nine last night.”
“Yeah, quite bad, seventeen security bods, and twenty-one workers.”
Hope flared in Bob’s mind.
“Any of them green tickets?”
Tony shook his head, “Nope, not one. How come you didn’t hear it?”
“I was down in the rocket pit helping Professor Bringham; we were testing the auxiliary pod motors.”
“Ah. I thought that’s what the rumble was. I think the pops tried to coincide their attack with that.”
“Suppose it makes sense, I never heard a thing.”
The lunch line moved slowly forward. Finally, the two of them were able to take their metal plates loaded with bread and cheese together with a tin beaker of coffee flavoured water and they headed to sit on the grass outside. Most of the workers stayed inside the mess hall, but Tony loved the outdoors and Bob usually kept him company.
Suddenly, the public address system barked into life. Now hear this, now hear this. The populace attempted an incursion last night in sector nine. Although there were casualties the break was rectified and the fence patched. There is no cause for alarm.
“See, told you.”
“Yeah right, but the people out there are going to become more desperate as time goes on now. Surely they can see the rocket is finished.”
Tony shrugged in response.