Another snippet from: “Let Us Tell You Again”

Mike Morse was in Kansas and driving late at night which he didn’t like. He was well away from any town in the middle of seemingly endless fields. Some were just showing early sprouts. Most of the farmhouses were empty. The owners having sold out to huge mega-farms and the new owners saw no urgency about tearing them down for the little extra acreage they’d get. Some were visibly well on their way to falling down. So, there was no traffic and nobody to note a strange vehicle passing by. The police didn’t patrol it unless called since almost nobody lived on these county roads now and fuel was too dear to drive around looking at cornfields during the day, much less at night.

Why didn’t they drop his package closer to his destination? Mike wondered irritably. Probably because the coasts were heavily guarded and any small object falling on Kansas corn fields would be assumed harmless. He figured that out for himself.

The GPS told Mike the next intersection was the place he was instructed to pick up his load. He stopped at his yield sign and inspected the road signs. They matched but there was no package visible. He was ten minutes early and a stopped vehicle was more suspicious than a moving one, so he did a sweeping U-turn in the intersection and drove three kilometers back the way he’d come. Reversing in a field access carefully he approached the intersection again and pulled over where the shoulder was wider in front of the yield sign.

He had a powerful spotlight if he needed to hunt for it. If it landed out in the fields it would be a difficult hunt and trespassing. It was still thirty seconds early but he took his light and walked into the crossroads. Nothing showed in the beam either way.

A noise made him turn around. There was a half-meter long black box in the center of the intersection with a gossamer black parachute still collapsing to one side. As he watched the box tipped on its side and a cylinder rolled out. Immediately a mechanism reeled the parachute in and a clear plastic balloon started inflating. It soon lifted the box, still expanding. The wind was slight but it carried the delivery vehicle away over one of the fields.

Mike tracked it with his spotlight until suddenly the box part hanging vanished in an orange flash. The balloon above, unencumbered, rose faster but it also vanished with a blue flame. There was a report from the orange detonation but the balloon was a silent flash.

He walked over and tapped the cylinder tentatively but it wasn’t hot. It was exactly in the middle of both roads. Mike looked at the stars overhead and shouted, “Show off!” before he took the cylinder and headed west to find a cheap motel.

11 Responses to Another snippet from: “Let Us Tell You Again”

  1. Big Ben May 22, 2022 at 5:49 pm #

    Thanks for the snippet, Mac. Looking forward to whatever you put out next.

    Uncanny precision aside, smuggling is so much easier when the packages are headed down … 🤫 Developing the small-scale stealth tech to do the same thing from the ground into orbit would be a trick worthy of Jeff! (Though what small items the Luddite Earthers would have that the spacers would want to smuggle up escapes me at the moment …)

  2. Zebulon Dakota May 22, 2022 at 11:23 pm #

    Fascinating 🙂

  3. Stephen Wiley May 23, 2022 at 12:16 am #

    Thanks for the snippet.

    What Central gets from regolith should be a fraction of the material removed from crustal tunneling.

    Lunar regolith on young mares is just metres thick but on older mares regolith is more than 10m thick (and about 50% of regolith is around 75um in size). Regolith should contain evidence of the asteroids that created all the craters.
    Regolith: SiO2 42.5%. FeO 15.8%, Iron 0.1%, Al2O3 13.8%, CaO 12.1%, MgO 8.2%, TiO2 7.7%, Na2O 0.44%, K2O 0.15%, Sulfur 0.12%, P2O5 0.12%, Carbon 0.014%.
    Highland regolith: plus Rare Earth Elements, more K2O and P2O5.
    Polar craters: Waterice?
    Mascons: possible heavier metal ores.

    Central was tunnelling 2m & 3m vertical, sloping and horizontal tunnels many kilometers long and deep with branching side and vertical tunnels going nowhere. The amount of matter removed is many times the volume of regolith processed. The major elements in regolith are roughly the same in crustal matter.

    Crust: Major to Minor to Trace.
    Oxygen 46-47%, Silicon 27-28%, Aluminium 8-8.2%, Iron 4-6.3%, Calcium 3.6-5%, Sodium 2.3-2.7%, Magnesium 2-2.9%, potassium 1.5-2.5%, Titanium 0.4-0.6%;’

    hydrogen 1,400-1,500ppm, phosphorus 1,000-1,300ppm, Manganese 900-1,100ppm;

    fluorine* 290-950ppm, barium 340-500ppm, carbon* 300-1,800ppm, Strontium 360-370ppm, Sulfur 260-520ppm, Zirconium 130-250ppm, Vanadium 100-190ppm, chlorine* 130-500ppm, Chromium 100-350ppm, rubidium 60-300ppm, Nickel 80-190ppm;

    Zinc 70-79ppm, Copper 50-100ppm, cerium 60-68ppm, neodymium 33-41.5ppm, lanthanum 32-39ppm, Yttrium 30-33ppm, Nitrogen 20-50ppm, Cobalt 20-30ppm, Lithium 20ppm, Niobium 20ppm, gallium 18-19ppm, scandium 16-26ppm, Lead 10-14ppm;

    samarium 6-7.9ppm, thorium 6-12ppm, praseodymium 8.7-9.5ppm, Boron 10ppm, gadolinium 5.2-7.7ppm, dysprosium 5-6ppm, hafnium 3-5.3ppm, erbium 3-3.8ppm, ytterbium 2.8-3.3ppm, caesium 1.9-3ppm, Beryllium 1.9-2.8ppm, Tin 2.2-2.3ppm, europium 1.8-2.1ppm, Uranium 1.8-2.7ppm, Tantalum 1.7-2ppm, Germanium 1.4-1.8ppm, Tungsten 1.1-1.25ppm, Molybdenum 1.1-1.5ppm, Arsenic 1.5-2.1ppm, holmium 1.2-1.4ppm, terbium 1.1-1.2ppm;

    thulium 0.45-0.52ppm, Bromine 0.37-3ppm, Thallium 0.53-0.850ppm, lutetium 0.5ppm, Antimony 0.2ppm, Iodine 0.14-0.49ppm, Cadmium 0.11-0.15ppm, Silver 0.07-0.08ppm, Mercury 0.050-0.085ppm, Selenium 0.0500ppm, Indium 0.16-0.0490ppm, Bismuth 0.025-0.0480ppm, Tellurium 0.001-0.0050ppm, Platinum 0.0030-0.005ppm, Gold 0.0011-0.004ppm, ruthenium 0.0010ppm, Palladium 0.0006-0.015ppm, Rhenium 0.0004-0.0026ppm, iridium 0.0003-0.001ppm, rhodium 0.0002-0.001ppm, osmium 0.0001-0.0015ppm.

    Capitalised elements are needed in mass amounts. However some elements are better acquired from asteroids and iceballs than crustal matter but no-one on the moon is short of oxygen if they can process regolith or crust.
    * important for chemistry and metallurgy.

    ‘Soil’ on the moon contains active compounds that can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and fuels, lunar matter and solar radiation, iron-rich and titanium-rich catalystic substances make desired products such as oxygen using sunlight and carbon dioxide. The system uses lunar soil to electrolyze water extracted from the moon and in astronauts’ breathing exhaust into oxygen and hydrogen powered by sunlight. The carbon dioxide exhaled by moon inhabitants is also collected and combined with hydrogen from water electrolysis during a hydrogenation process catalyzed by lunar soil. The process yields hydrocarbons such as methane, which could be used as fuel. The strategy uses no external energy but sunlight to produce a variety of desirable products such as water, oxygen, and fuel that could support life on a moonbase.

  4. Jim May 23, 2022 at 4:17 am #

    Thank you, Mac! Loved both snippets. And I must agree with Mike Morse! 😉

  5. Teresa May 23, 2022 at 5:30 pm #

    Thanks for the snippet! Can’t wait to read the full novel!

  6. Stephen Wiley May 23, 2022 at 6:49 pm #

    Jeff has lost income from the thousand people renting cubic in his 0G habitat that had to move into Home. Home has become crowded with a thousand extra homeless and possibly jobless people. Anger and resentment can build and a thousand 1 issue voters can make a big difference and a run on his bank is just one possibility that they can do.
    Some people lost both home and business and business equipment, some lost their home and job, some just lost their home. While Jeff (and others?) owned the 0G habitats there were rental and business contracts in place that Jeff can’t just walk away from but must try for a win/win solution.

    April & Jeff should want to return the Rock (original or it’s replacement) and the (1-4) iceballs to Home as both their family’s own shares in them, as does Jeff himself who gets gold and platinum from the Rock (unless its all gone). But it is complicted. The Rock and iceball syndicates have probably been selling to many people and provided materials for the expansion of Home, the development of Beta, Gamma, & WPS and any other new habitats developed in orbit (national shipyards, and ships, etc) or on the moon.

    The iceball syndicates may also have been selling water to these places and fuel (LOX & LH2) to the orbit-to-orbit shuttle companies, orbital construction companies, and to Luna craft (rovers, jumpbuggies, lifters and landers) and possibly to earth’s orbital lifting craft for futher orbital travel or powered landings. They possibly have fuel depots in LEO, MEO, GEO, EML1, EML4 & 5 and moon orbit.

    So the Rock and iceball syndicates possibly want to continue to do business in earth orbit (even if it is depressed from USNA’s absence) and need local business agents and workers for Rock exploitation and Iceball exploitation and transport from their accommodation to their job site.
    Could they use the 0G habs? If so where should they orbit? Possibly very close to some multi nation habitat (WPS?) or national habitat (French, Russian, Japanese, etc) or more risky orbiting the Rock and iceballs. The iceballs are possibly using the Rock as a sunshade and each other.

    Larkin and other orbit-to-orbit shuttle syndicates also lost their business (and lack of movement of people and goods will bring orbital and earth orbit commerce to almost a stop). The orbit-to-orbit shuttle syndicates may also have stranded passengers and goods they were contracted to move but can’t unless their shuttles are returned, their crew have secure accommodation and they also need local business agents and repair yard access. Derfhome does not have the orbital infrastructure to need more than a couple of orbit-to-orbit shuttles if Home stays.
    Temporary free movement of people and mass won’t solve the problem for the orbit-to-orbit shuttle syndicates as they also need their shuttles returned and need secure accommodation (0G habitats?).

    So return the 0G habitats to earth orbit, return most of the orbit-to-orbit shuttles, return OG business equipment to their owners (or owners to their equipment), allow free one off return travel from Home, Beta and Gamma to the 0G habitats for Rock, Iceball, and Shuttle craft owners and workers and their possessions and for the 1,000 inhabitants of the OG habs (some of whom possibly had jobs or businesses on Gamma, Beta or Home). Buy up cheapest surplus cubic or business equipment in 1G, .87G, .75G, .67G .5G and 0G in Gamma, Beta or Home.

  7. Pcj70 May 26, 2022 at 4:11 pm #

    Thank you!

  8. BvL May 27, 2022 at 12:37 am #

    For those who are interested Fair Trade: An Alien Invasion Story is now available on audible. The book was narrated by TJ Clark, and the audio sample sounds good!

    https://www.audible.com/pd/B09ZN1Z6QX
    https://www.audible.ca/pd/B09ZMWZLSK

    Thought I would mention it here since it was 2 days ago and there was no announcement.

  9. Todd Stewart May 27, 2022 at 11:32 am #

    Thanks for the teaser Mac! Can’t wait.

  10. Stephen Wiley May 28, 2022 at 12:43 am #

    “Moon or beyond?” Gunny asked, surprised and interested.
    “Did you think we just aspired to run the equivalent of an orbital taxi stand?” April asked amused. “There’s a lot of stuff going on we never talked about.”

    The Rock is not likely to be the only asteroid exploited by humanity. As any PHA that appeared on a collision course with Earth or passing close to earth would be exploited for water and/or metals or chemicals saving over USNA$250 kg in lift.

    There are ~20,000 NEOs larger than 100 m diameter, and 10 million larger than 20 m diameter. Benner has computed the outbound Hohmann delta-v values for all known NEOs from low Earth orbit (LEO) to an asteroid rendezvous orbit. Values range for 3.8 km/s to 28.0 km/s, with a median of 6.65 km/s. Elvis (2011) show that choosing an NEO with delta-v = 4.5 km/s can double, or even quadruple, the payload delivered to the NEO compared with the median. Lewis Couriers can match the orbit of any NEO and Luna landers can attain at least 6.3 km/s and need a little more if landing at the poles so these craft could reach many NEOs.

    When seeking metals exploit Pallasite & M-type NEO asteroids but the total population of Ni-Fe-PGM ore-bearing asteroids larger than 100 m diameter is around 10 +/-. Smaller asteroids are likely to have significantly less total pgm but the varied range of pgm ppm is wide and influenced by chemistry (with Rhodium–Platinum–Palladium also found in some chalcophile sulfides and all pgms found in siderophile asteroids). Siderophile asteroids are best for many metals but lithophile asteroids have many light metals and some siderophile matter, and some chalcophile asteroids have metals.

    Besides metals, water extracted from C-Type & D-Type asteroids is also important in space for fuel, food production, energy generation (H2), breathing (O2), etc and in earth orbit it is priced according to distance from earth with GEO twice as expensive as LEO. The score or so water-ore-bearing NEOs larger than 100 m diameter would be easier objects to find but water-ore-bearing NEOs (with diameters >18 m) number a few thousands.

  11. Cheryl June 1, 2022 at 4:26 pm #

    I agree with Zebulon. Absolutely Fascinating!

    Can’t wait

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