A snippet of April 11

Irwin Hall had a very productive meeting in Havana with a number of bankers and investment professionals from South America. None of them were interested in provoking the Giant to their north. Irwin assured them the habitat offering would be structured in a company totally divorced from any association with the System Trade Bank or other entities subject to North American sanctions.

Instead of going back to Hawaii, Irwin received private invitations to have a smaller meeting with some investors in Belgium who had complex reasons for not wanting to be seen with the South Americans with whom he’d just met. That was fine, Irwin didn’t really care about their internal squabbles and would accommodate them as long as they didn’t require him to publicly disassociate himself from one side and support the other.

Cuba had heavy traffic in hypersonic connections, which were forbidden in North America for supposedly environmental reasons. That was a big reason they’d met in Cuba, besides a lovely climate, relatively cheap accommodations compared to Singapore or Tokyo, some of the best duty-free rum and whisky in the world, and they still made well-regarded cigars even if they were subject to tobacco bans in a number of countries.

He could get a very quick flight to Brussels and probably just keep going east after. He could get a direct flight to reconnect to Hawaii that direction and lift for home. The flight to Brussels was Air France and he had one of the twelve first class seats at the front. There was only one couch to each side of the aisle in first class. The rear had one seat to a side and two to the other in two staggered sections, with the service bay for drinks and such in the middle. First class had their own services and kitchen even as short as the flight was.

The plane took off aimed south a bit to avoid the Keys and American airspace. They would build altitude and then turn north accelerating through the transition to a semi-ram engine, then shut down that engine entirely at about forty thousand meters. They would pick up enough speed from the compact rocket in the tail to go ballistic until they dropped back in the atmosphere passing off the coast of Ireland and made a long supersonic turn to the South East over the North Sea, going subsonic before crossing the coast of the Netherlands lined up to land at Brussels.

The attendant offered Irwin a mini-quiche and champagne or a freshly prepared sandwich if he was hungrier. He declined and asked for coffee. The eighteen seats in the rear had to make do with pre-mixed drinks or soda, and bag nuts or pretzels.
The coffee was served in a delicate handled-cup, but its appearance was deceiving. It was a glassy ceramic that would not shatter and produce shards that might injure someone. At least it wouldn’t if you didn’t have a hydraulic press or an anvil and heavy hammer handy.

Irwin took a sip and was pleased with it when there was a >WHAM< and the cup flew off his serving tray and splashed the coffee up the left bulkhead. The hypersonic slewed clockwise so hard it thrust Irwin’s head down against his left shoulder and then it decelerated so hard his chin went against his chest and his arms went out straight in front of him. He was belted in and the crew made sure the passengers stayed that way until they went ballistic, just in case something like this happened. The crew was not all so fortunate and several of them were injured severely. The first class seats were in pods, and the top of Irwin’s pod came down like a clamshell and locked closed. Emergency lighting from under the seat illuminated it indirectly. There were a rumbling and pitching motions, then a long hard turn to the left. “This is your Captain. We lost our starboard engine and shut both down. We are already cleared to land straight in at Miami which is easily in our glide range. I’ll announce when we are on approach. We expect an orderly exit without hazard on the ground aided by airport personnel. Well, that was interesting. Irwin never intended to, but he was going to have opportunity to test the free travel provisions of Home’s on again – off again treaty with North America. He sent a text to Jeff and Eddie, then canceled his Brussels meetings.

15 Responses to A snippet of April 11

  1. Mike G. July 14, 2019 at 3:07 pm #

    Heh, why do I suspect the free travel provisions might not be totally honoured here?

    Good snippet!

  2. boballab July 14, 2019 at 3:43 pm #

    I’m suspicious of the whole thing. There is just too many coincidences for my taste. A Home citizen just so happens to be in Cuba on business and when it is concluded someone from “Belgium” wants him to come to Europe for said business that they couldn’t come to Cuba for…well “reasons”. Then the aircraft he is on just so happens to lose its engine while in convenient happenstance that Miami is the closest place they can glide too. Or could it be that the USNA finds out Irwin will be in Cuba and how long, places an agent to watch him. They have another agent call and pretend to want him to come to Europe, place a small charge on the engine of his aircraft and set it to detonate when the best place to glide to is Miami. From there it would be simple to grab Irwin and claim they never kidnapped him he came to them.

    • Mac July 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm #

      My, what a suspicious mind.

      • boballab July 14, 2019 at 6:58 pm #

        I’m just channeling my inner Chen.

        • Anonymous July 14, 2019 at 7:54 pm #

          You are doing very well. Chen would be proud!

      • Ann July 14, 2019 at 8:39 pm #

        That was also my thoughts. USNA has many factions some of whom hate spacers.

        I’ll also consider whether Miami is the only possible destination – orbital mechanics rules.

        • boballab July 14, 2019 at 9:42 pm #

          Yep could be a faction, rogue group or something like that or just a group looking for revenge because of Pensacola getting Nuked when the USNA tried to steal Jeff’s satellite.

        • Glen Fletcher July 14, 2019 at 10:04 pm #

          They shouldn’t have to shut down the other engine, back in the 90s or possibly 80s not sure (I saw this on an old episode of a show called air crash investigation, several years ago), a twin-engine aircraft lost one engine, and the pilot was able to keep it in the air for an hour or something by using the control surfaces, while they still ended up crashing as the pilot wasn’t able to keep up the correction. This event lead to the development of software that all aircraft now carry to allow the flight computer to make the necessary correction this allows any modern multi-engine aircraft to safely maintain flight and land using a single-engine. Hence they should be able to reach quite a few destinations safely, although they would still need to do an emergency landing as I don’t think the control surfaces would be sufficient for supersonic flight so they would have to go subsonic.

          Mac, you should see if you can find out any more detail about this system as it sounds like one of those facts Jeff always seems to know about.

  3. Cheryl July 14, 2019 at 4:34 pm #

    Can’t wait. How much done

    • boballab July 14, 2019 at 9:50 pm #

      He said 33K words on his Facebook page.

  4. Pseudo July 15, 2019 at 11:31 pm #

    I finished Friends In The Stars yesterday, and will certainly be looking forward to this!

  5. Jerry July 19, 2019 at 5:19 pm #

    I have been thinking about the pea shooter. When it misses that pellet will just keep going.
    It would be a shame for it to hit some random target years later.

    It should fire a pellet that will dissipate like a bit of frozen hydrogen. Eventually that will evaporate and disperse.

    Might as well make it frozen deuterium. Will that fusion when it hits? This could be the pea shooter mark II upgrade.

    • WM September 9, 2019 at 4:49 pm #

      That’s interesting. I have always presumed dust and gas would erode the ‘pea’ – space is filled with junk. Fail-safing something the size of a grain of rice will be challenging.

  6. Jerry July 22, 2019 at 6:26 pm #

    Is Miami under Republic of Texas control? It seems unlikely they would target Irwin. Jeff or April have shot at them but Irwin is just a banker. And they could have just crashed the plane.

    Maybe they just see this as an opportunity for an off the record chat with Irwin.

  7. Ann July 31, 2019 at 9:52 pm #

    Chris, mushrooms are being made into food on the moon and a mushroom parasite should be considered – common name – Lobster Mushroom – as it has a seafood taste and smell and is chewy, so very little tweaking could be required. It would make a nice alternative to the meaty mushrooms.

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