The Return of The Silverin, Chapter 61-62

A strategy session concerning testimony. A devise was moved.

Chapter 61.

Beltain

After breakfast, Tom gathered Adiun, Cornaith, Bill, Bill’s grandfather and his chief of ships subsystems procurement, Captain Jerrald Willings into a room and said, “I wanted to have a strategy session over the hearing today.”

“I’ve been a bit out of the loop on this, sir,” Captain Willings said. “Just what is going on?”

The Plateau types are looking to grab on to my grandson here’s discovery and get their cut,” Caldin said.

“Just what are we talking about?”

“Last year, I went up to the Empire to get tested,” Bill said. “Charlie Beinan took me to the Lower City book warrens and I found two books on “Solid State Electronics, that is electronics made using crystals. I’ve been experimenting and made some components. When Gatherer showed up off of the Peninsula, I was working at the Scourge Suppressor factory, was called up to the listening station, took up a circuit that I have been playing with for RDR and installed two of them in the listening station there. I sent two more to the Hidden City and made two more for the RDR station on Tanyl’s Island, but since that is a Beinan installation, it doesn’t count.”
“Presumably that was handled in the general RDR contract, wasn’t it? Testing and upgrades have always been part of the contract as the RDR sets were experimental until recently.”

“Yes it was,” Adiun said. “We handled the payment to Wavechaser through Bill’s regular royalty account. Bill’s father and I set that up after Bill went and installed his circuits.”

“So, since there are no real irregularities, what are the issues here?”

“Bill and the contractor that he is using to produce special equipment have had their patent filings challenged by Chatsrey Radio. They are making the claim that since the components and the furnace were based on things that had existed in the past, there was no new art involved. Of course what is happening is that Senator Burnet has spies in Desert Howl, picked up on what Bill was doing and smelled money.”

“The Senator and his friends are using the threat of an irregularities investigation to get Beinan’s to cut Bill off so that he caves on the patents and arranges a joint filing or some such. Is there more?”

“Bill works for me at Beinan’s after school,” Cornaith said. “What he is doing is unrelated to his solid state electronics experiments, since it involves RDR work and he hasn’t developed the manufacturing methods to make the solid state components in quantity.”

“That may be where the perception of irregularity comes in. Beinan’s has a conflict of interest in having the young man as an employee and purchasing components from him.  CRC has also sent proposals for RDR work and if the solid state components are as good as you seem to be saying, they would be left out in the cold by Beinan’s having a monopoly on the components.”

“We haven’t asked Bill for a monopoly on the components,” Adiun said. “The solid state work is independant of the work he does for us, though the company has provided resources at cost and Bill does have an account with us for purchasing through his father.”

“Where is Bill’s father? That is Captain Wavechaser, is it not?”

“He’s at sea at present, on Gatherer,” Tom said.

“Has the navy purchased any additional components or parts containing the components from Beinan’s”
“No,” Bill said. “I have made test components, but I need to get together with my contractor and start developing the machines to manufacture the components. I wasn’t planning to start on that until I started college in Ironton later this year.”

“Has CRC aproached you for components?”
“No, they have not. If they had, they would have to wait, as I have other projects ongoing and my work at Beinan’s. Until the people at the plant return from reserve service, I’m stuck at the plant, the company is drastically short handed and has contracts for the navy that need to be filled. Between my work and a portal class, I don’t have time for making components right now. Also, any contracts would have to be counter signed by my dad and he is not available”
“We can use that, Bill,” Caldin said. “You are doing valuable war work and your father is serving at sea. Admiral, could you send a message to Gatherer and see if CRC sent something to Terrel.”
“I’ll do that. Of course, due to the ship being Gatherer, the staff office probably tables Terrel’s mail. So if CRC has sent something to Terrel, it’s probably sitting in his shoreside mail until Gatherer returns to Cleadsgate or stays in Milport long enough for the mail to be forwarded.”

“Bill, send a protest concerning your patent filings,” Adiuin said. “There is a lot of precedence for patents being filed for things redeveloped from ancient technologies and you have not been working from existing hardware or tools, but developing new ones.”

“I did get some ideas from my Scourge suppressor work.”
“You didn’t actually copy things directly, did you?”

“No, and the Suppressor stuff is all secret anyway.”
“That’s because it will take years to get the patents squared away for that and there will be joint filings as well. Your father’s name will be on some of them.”

“Frankly, I’m going to need dad to help me with the manufacturing stuff.”

“I hope that you have secured your materials,” Tom said.

“Yes. I have a safe and the things I collected from the Lower City and the Sanctuary are at Beinan’s and not at home, simply because I’m at Beinan’s most of the time now and I don’t have room for them at home.”

“How much improvement in a RDR set do you get with your components, Bill?” The captain asked.

“Between ten and fifteen percent improvement in noise reduction over my circuit that does the same thing,” Bill said. “That is replacing tubes with solid state diodes. Since the diodes do not have filaments, there are power saving gains there as well. That was with the components that I fabricated by hand and there were probably resistance issues with the joints and casing. I also had a high rejection rate in the components.”

“So, significant noise reduction, probably some sensitivity gains, and lower power requirements. The navy will want that in any new RDR, and probably radio. If Beinan’s has an exclusivity deal with you, everyone else is out of the military market and maybe everything else as well. I think that I see why CRC is poking at you, Bill.”

“All I did was spot some books and buy them. So far I’ve just been playing around a bit.”

“You took what the books contained and made things that worked,” Adiun said.

“People keep trying to steal things.”
“CRC won’t call it stealing,” the captain said. “Were they the first ones?”

“No, Ayre Eiljeon wanted the furnace that I made for my Science faire project.”
“Was it related?”
“Somewhat. It could grow crystals, but they were not pure enough. That was why I went to a family of a friend and contracted for that part of the project.”
“You aren’t using your components in the next science faire, are you?” Tom asked.

“My friend Jimmy and I are doing something based on the material that the pilotless airplane that crashed into Torry was made of. The material was some kind of cloth. We figured out that it was glass and had a glue spread all over it to make it stiff. We went to Racketgarde, asked around and found the cloth and a similar glue.  Jimmy is making surfboards and I’m making boards with copper stuck to them so that I can etch circuits on them.”

“My office will want to see those, Bill,” the captain said. “Could your friend make a boat from the material?”
“I could ask. Not for the science faire, because there isn’t time. Boats where I live are a big deal and maybe we can make a racing boat and run it in the power boat races.”

“You and Jimmy come and talk to me and Feno, Bill,” Cornaith said with a grin. “I think that Beinan’s will be interested in a boat for the races. The trick will be keeping the Fellies from finding out about it.”

“Ok, there don’t seem to be any irregularities,” The captain said. “I didn’t think that there were.”
“We also go after CRC on the patents,” Caldin said. “I’ll put some people on that.”

“Good, we know how to handle this,” Tom said. “Bill, I heard how you handled yourself at that briefing. Just handle the Senators the same way. You are not a citizen as yet, your business dealings are confidential and your work is as well. You don’t need to worry about this.”

“What about my things being stolen?”
“I wouldn’t worry about that. As you said, you are only in the early stages of things. You probably shouldn’t have brought those circuits up to the listening station, but you did and I did have the other circuits made up. The proof was that Gatherer bought the beer for the listening post.”
“They did?”

“The captain and the officers met and took them to a party.”

“Somebody owes me a lot of the beer.”
Tom laughed. He looked around and said, “I think that we have a plan.”

Chapter 62.

Luggergate

 It took George a twentieth to get the bomb truck and his crew together. The five man FSA Luggergate bomb unit headed to the garage, only to find a circus with the devise in the middle. George looked at it and bellowed, “Who moved this?!”
Ironcutter said, “I had it moved George.”

George wanted to pull out his gun and shoot the man on the spot. Instead, he said, “Ok, as of now, I am taking site command. Senior Agent, you are perimeter. I want everyone cleared out of at least a one block area.”

That would at least get rid of the idiot. Hal Billings had put a stethoscope on the devise and said, “There’s noise in there. There’s an electric or mechanical timer going. This devise is live.”

“Ok, get the drill. We’re going to have to go in.”

Roger and Chief Ironcutter drove up to the roadblock and using an alley, managed to get to the garage where the bomb truck and a crew was working on the devise. George saw them and said, “Do you have something for me, Roger?”
“We were supposed to tell you not to move the devise, because the devise had an arming pin tied to the cart wheel and a timer. The timer has a ten twentieth trip.”

“Who is this with you?”
“Chief Joe Ironcutter. He’s defused devises before.”
“Is there a portal on the way?”
“It will be. The portal had an accident as it was being loaded on the truck. We have top portal people from the Empire on it, but we may need parts ported down and getting the portal into the city is going to be tricky.”

“How did you find out about the timer?”

“Don’t ask how the captain got him to cooperate, but the man who built the devise is cooperating.”

“What were your orders?”

“To tell you not to move the devise, hand you the briefing notes and then clear out.”

George turned to Hal and said, “You and Vance go with them and set up a phone line with the captain until the portal is repaired or another one is available. Jim, Gertag and I can handle the devise.”

“We can help.”

“Hal, right now, the captain has the character that built this thing and I need him and anything the captain gets as fast as possible. So you take the film we have from the borescope, you and Vance get these two back to their boss and a phone running. At least we have this end set up. Get going.”

The GP left again and as they disappeared, Jim turned to George and said, “Good move. Hal has a kid on the way and Vance is getting married. Their families are already out.”

“I thought so. Now the trick is to keep the rest of us alive.”

George watched the train leave with a grin. Every passenger car, box or cattle car within a hundred miles had been drafted and gangs of men had been going through neighborhoods pounding on doors and arranging for people to leave, sometimes rather forcefully. The big problem was that so many would not and that the bomb squad was working at the devise as if they were short of time. His brother and the portal had not turned up and that was worrisome. At least he had managed to get his mother as well as the rest of the family out of the city. All he needed was time to get as many as he could out.

Ishendell

Wyrran blinked as Nebula came in. “What are you doing here?”
Nebula held up a list. “I need to pull these from the stores. I also want a portal and truck to move it at the big portal.”
“What happened?”
“The portal the navy was being moved to a truck, the brake on the derrick failed and the portal dropped into the truck and then out of the truck. I need to pull parts here and in Fayspire, while somebody sets up the truck and I port it back.”

“What about the devise?”
“If we’re lucky, the FSA hasn’t found it and worse, moved it. Rob thinks that it has been found and probably moved. We’re hoping that we can get it ported before the timer winds down.”

“Ok, scan me a copy of the list. I will have Jerereth get the things together here and requisition a truck and a portal. I do not want you and Hal to do something stupid.”

 Nebula grinned, “That already happened and it wasn’t us.”
“What happened?”
“Instead of being dropped where Rob was, we were dropped where the portal was going to end up. We were picked up, so it wasn’t a big deal.”

“Other than the portal having an accident, how are things going?”
“Not as well as Rob wants. It’s been one thing or another. We did have some fun with the Steward’s boat last night.”

“What did you do?”
“I’m going to protect the guilty and not say.”

Ironton

Tim looked at the grungy building and said, “Let’s get this done.”

They went inside and Tim asked Tim, “Can you pick locks?”
“I’m not sure if I should say.”
“You’re older and about to graduate, so you keep an eye out while I do it.”
“Just what was the outfit you were in like?”

“The major wanted us trained in all sorts of things. The section could be doing a lot of different things if necessary and being able to get into places and not be detected was important.”

“We have permission from the man renting the office.”

“He didn’t have a key and we didn’t have time to go to the jail and get it. We’re in anyway.”

Tim opened the door, they slipped inside and started to poke around. Tim said, “This is the file I think.”

 “Roger made a big mistake with you. You could have made his life pure misery if you wanted.”

“That’s going to happen, but I had nothing to do with it.”
“What do you know?”
“Roger’s first commission has already been chosen. It will be cold and wet.”

“How do you know?”
“I have relatives already in. They thought that I would enjoy the tidbit.”
“What about my first commission?”
“I don’t know anything about it. Of course this will make you friends in the right places. I think I have everything I can Jump with. Let’s get the rest to the car.”

As they were moving the files, a rather dirty dwarvish man appeared in the downstairs hall and said, “What are you boys doing?”
“Mr. Hammer wanted some files moved.”

“Did he give you the key to his office? What are your names?”

“I’m Tim Brownlow.” Tim held up the key. “We have the key and written permission. Who are you?”
“I’m Garad Goldfinder. I’m the super of this building. Ok, then, you are legit. Do you need help?”

“We could use it. There were more boxes than we were told about.”

They moved the boxes and Garad waved as they drove off. Tim grinned and said, “You had the key?”
“I had a key. Nobody ever checks to see if it was the right key.”

“Ok, pull over. I need to Jump back.”

“That is a handy thing to be able to do.”
“Not so much here. The other boys and me got ourselves tested by the fae as soon as we could after Ishendell. Of course the Darkmage had a suppressor going most of the time. Bye.”

Tim disappeared and Tim headed to a phone booth. He called Jorge’s dorm and said, “Jorge sent me. Could I visit for a bit.”
“Who are you?”
“Tim Brownlow.”
“Have you visited your cousins yet?”
“No, I haven’t.”

“Ok your good. Come on over. Ask for Bill at the door.”

Tim drove over to Ironton and Jorge’s dorm. He walked up to the desk and said, “I was told to ask for Bill in Dorm 14.”

The student at the desk said, “Let me call, midshipman. Why are you here?”
“I’m dropping something off for Jorge.”
“For Jorge?”
“Don’t ask questions. He can tell you about the caper after it’s over.”

The student smiled and said, “One of those.”

“Yes.”

The student called and Bill came down. “Tim? You have some stuff to drop off?”
“Is there a handtruck or cart available? There is quite a lot.”

“I’ll get one. Why don’t you wait at your car?”
Tim went to the car and Bill came out with the handtruck. As they loaded the boxes, Bill said, “Jorge said to give you access to his small portal. What is going on?”

“If nothing happens, you are better off not knowing. If it does happen, you will know.”

They got the boxes to the room, Bill pulled out the small portal, Tim activated it and started to send boxes through. Bill said, “This is the first time I have seen this work.”
“This is my first time too. Jorge is tied up and I was sent because I was handy.”

“How did you get involved in this whatever it is?”
“By being nosy and being right. I poked into something and was right about something.”
“What did you poke into?”
“The Stewards and their boat. I was right about what they were doing with it.”

“That sounds heavy.”
“It is.”
 
 Billingston

Roger and the chief arrived in the GP with two other men. The portal was on the quay with Jorge and Hal working on it. Rob looked at the GP and said, “Chief, who are these two?”
“This is Hal and Vance with the Luggergate bomb squad. They want to set up a phone line between us and Senior Agent Tillings. He’s in charge at the site.”

“As you can see the portal isn’t ready. We have some more material coming from the man who made the thing. What were your instructions?”

“To be the offsite support,” Hal said. “We have an open phone line and take commentary and bring stuff to the site as needed. I think that the Senior Agent wanted us off the site, because my wife is expecting and Vance is getting married. Our ladies and other family were evacuated already when the Senior Agent arranged it.”

“How many have evacuated?”
“Maybe a third of the city at this point. Your brother has done everything but kidnap people to get them out. The big problem is transport and time. Of course getting into the city is almost impossible when we go back. Let’s get the phone set up.”
 

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