Family Affair
Part 1 - Conception
by Tim Rumph


Chapter Two

Will and Brun watched as Viko assembled the roll mechanism. It was something that happened in every factory. Will was the Manufacturing Engineering Manager. Brun was the supervisor of the manufacturing operation. Viko was a newly hired technician, recently graduated from Curtisport Technical College and had been through a two week internal training program.

From there things were a little different from most factories in the rest of the Stellar Federation. Viko hadnít actually touched any of the components hy was assembling. Hy was a chakat-kin skunktaur of House Bluepaw. That meant that hy had a blue paw print on the white fur covering hys chest. It also meant that hy was a telekinetic, and was assembling the parts with hys mind rather than hys hands.

Brun, who was watching hym, had hys eyes closed. Hy was another skunktaur but of House Blackpaw. In addition to the black paw print on hys chest, hy was also an astral traveler. Hys point of view was inside of the mechanism, watching as Viko assembled it.

Will was the odd one out of this group, a human male. He didnít have any particular mental powers other than a knack for machinery and a Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering. He was mostly watching Viko, who seemed calm and collected. He knew this was a good indication that things were going well.

Viko looked at Brun who said, without opening his eyes, "That looks good. Apply a 500 kilonewton-metre moment along the drive axis."

Nothing seemed to happen, but Brun nodded and opened hys eyes, turning toward Viko. "Deflection is right on the money. Could you feel it?"

"Yes, Brun. This is a little different from school."

Brun smiled and said, "Welcome to the real world." Hy glanced at the clock and said, "It looks like quitting time. When you come in next week, get up with Taka and hyíll start teaching you the pitch mechanism. Enjoy your Longtail Day break."

"You too, Brun. Good night Will. Have a good trip to Amistad."

"Thanks Viko. Have a good holiday."

Viko went off to the locker room while Brun followed Will up to his office. Will sat down at his desk and turned around to face Brun, who had pulled up a Ďtaur pad. Will said, "The last six power assemblies will be here in the morning. Who are you bringing in?"

"Taka and Rinta will be here, and Iíve also asked Gentletouch, Gerand, and Kilsa to come in."

"They normally work on the Boronike line."

"Yes, but theyíve been mated for forty years. They are so comfortable with each othersí talents that I donít think they remember most of the time who is in which house." Hy smiled and said, "Weíll get three blackpaws and three bluepaws for the price of one team."

"They donít mind working in a different area?"

Brun shook hys head. "No, they enjoy shifting around from time to time." Hy grinned and added, "Besides, nobody minds a little O.T. with Yearís End coming up. Weíll get your TracBots done and youíll have them on time in Amistad."

Will and his family were walking through the passenger concourse of the Curtisport Spaceport. While the cargo side of the operation had quite a bit of traffic moving to orbit, there were only two shuttle flights scheduled per week on the passenger side. Skunktaurs, who made up the majority of the population of Curtisport, preferred not to travel. Most of the traffic was aircraft serving other parts of the Skunktaur Archipelago, and aircraft and sub-orbitals to other parts of Chakona.

Jo asked Andre, "Do you feel like a Longtail yet?"

Shi smiled and swished hir tail back and forth. "It doesnít feel any longer, but since Will is paying for the trip, Iíll accept being the family Longtail so I can shop in Amistad."

Peter, who was holding hir hand, said, "Youíve got a perfect tail, Grandma."

"Why, thank you, Peter."

They had dinner in a restaurant in the spaceport before catching their 11:82 flight to Amistad. They arrived in Amistad at 15:18, which was still early evening there, but it was past Peterís bedtime, so Will carried Peter and they took a PPT to the hotel. Peter didnít wake up when Will put him to bed in their three bedroom suite. He came back out to the living area where Teri and Andre were looking out of the window at the city.

Teri said, "It sure is different from home."

Andre said, "Itís the only real city on Chakona."

"Thatís the way it is on most colonies," added Will. "They start out at the landing site and thatís where the majority of the growth is. Other areas get developed as resources in those areas are required. Chakona is a little different since the skunktaurs settled the archipelago, which gave us two population centers to grow from."

Will and Jo woke up the next morning when Peter jumped on their bed. Will said, "Itís still dark outside! Why are you awake?" and then threw back the sheets and grabbed him before he started jumping up and down on the bed and gave him a hug and a kiss. That turned into a tickle match and Jo nearly rolled off of the bed just watching them.

"Iím awake. You awake! Teri and Grandma awake! Want to go!"

Jo said, "Everybody is still asleep, youíre going to wake up the whole city!" She smiled as she wrapped the combatants in the sheets and gave Peter a hug and a nuzzle and licked Will. How do you explain to a two year old the three hour time difference between Curtisport and Amistad? She said, "If you will settle down Iíll tell you about the first Longtail."

Peter squirmed around as Jo got back under the sheet with them, turning toward his mother with Willís arms still around him. This gave Will a chance to give Joís breast a good squeeze, and Jo repaid that with a toothy grin and a kiss, crushing Peter, who giggled, between them. Jo said, "Now settle down. Who was the first Longtail?"

Peter settled himself in his fatherís arms and said, "Zig-Zag!"

"Thatí correct. Now, Chakat Zig-Zag was old and had lots of children and grandchildren and great-grandchildrenÖ."

"How many?"

"I donít know. Ask Teri to look it up for you. Do you remember who Charles and Katherine Turner were?"

"They made the chakats."

"Yes, they were the humans who made the chakats. Now, when they died, the chakats werenít finished yet, so Zig-Zag and hir sisters kept working to make the chakats better. That means that all of the chakats are Zig-Zagís children."

"Thatís lots."

"Yes. A chakatís tail never stops growing, so by then Zig-Zag had a very long tail. Everybody loved hir, and they decided to have a big birthday party for hir. Many chakats came from all over Earth and some from other places in the Sol system. Not just chakats came to the party but also their friends and families that included all sorts of people. Especially the skunktaurs because they were grateful to have been freed by the chakats."

"Like on Freedom Day?"

"Yes, but we are talking about Longtail Day. Now, there were lots of chakats on Chakona, but they couldnít come back to Earth for the party, so they decided to have their own party. They made a huge cake so that everyone could have a piece of it who wanted to. In the middle of the cake was a picture of Zig-Zag made of icing, with a very long tail that zig-zaged all over the cake. They invited all of their friends too, so that everyone on Chakona felt like Zig-Zag was their grandmother."

"I saw a picture of it."

"Yes, and later today, when the sun is up and everyone is awake, we will go down to Landing Square where the cake was. They sent the picture to Zig-Zag so that shi could see how much everybody loved hir, and from then on we have celebrated Longtail Day on Chakona."

Willís stomach grumbled and Peter giggled. "Daddyís hungry."

"Iím hungry too, but we need a bath first."

"Donít need a bath!"

Will said, "Come in and take a bath with Momma and me and Iíll make you pancakes for breakfast."

"Okay." They got out of bed and saw Teri and Andre standing inside of the door. Peter jumped off of the bed and ran over to them. "Grandma, are you in the parade?"

"No, my tail isnít long enough yet," shi said, swishing hir tail back and forth. Peter caught it and gave it a kiss before running into the bathroom with his parents.

After breakfast they got dressed and went down to catch the tram. The first tram passed their station without stopping. Peter asked, "Papa, why didnít it stop?"

"That one was full. There wasnít any room for us."

The next one came in a few minutes and they got on, but it was crowded too. Andre and Jo pulled down two seats and sat down, and Peter sat on Joís lap. Will and Teri stood up and held onto a pole. They squeezed together so that all five of them occupied the space normally allotted to one Ďtaur.

When they got to Landing Square everyone got off. They found an area set up with games for kids and Jo and Peter stayed there while Will, Andre, and Teri went to look at the rest of the fair. There were games for tossing rings and balls, and a game made with tubes, ladders, and slides. One of the chakat cubs started a game of tag there, the others trying to get the tail bow as shi ran through the game. Peter only had two feet, but he could get around corners faster than the Ďtaur kids could, so he could almost keep up. Then they then found a game of "Zig-Zag Says".

When they took a break from the games, Peter and Jo found a dunk tank. Peter couldnít throw well enough to hit the target but enjoyed the chakat on the platform giving everyone a hard time. "You couldnít hit the side of a barn! When I was a cub I knew how to throw a ball."

There were some teenagers giving hir a hard time and they had put the smallest target they had on the tank, and no-one was hitting it. "I can take a nap, you guys canít hit anything!" A shot hit the target, but not hard enough to trip it. "Wussy Arm! You need to throw Ö" Someone elseís throw bounced off the top of the cage, into the air, and landed on top of hir head. Shi turned that way and said, "Hey! Iím not the Ö"

Peter ducked under the rope while shi was distracted and even he could hit the target from there, and the chakat fell into the tank with a huge splash. Shi looked at Peter through the transparent side of the tank, sticking hir thumbs in hir ears and blowing bubbles, which made Peter laugh. Shi climbed out of the tank and then shook hirself, and everybody around the ring got wet.

Shi said, "Is this little cub the only one that can dunk me?"

Peter pointed at Teri, who had just come up, and said, "My sister can dunk you!"

One of the teenaged chakats said, "Shi canít even throw that far."

Several others called for hir to give it a try, so Teri took Peterís hand and walked up to the throwing line. The chakat there handed hir three balls, and shi handed two of them to Peter, asking, "Will you hold these for me?"

Peter took two of the balls and the chakat turned and said, "Put on the middle sized target"

Peter said, "My sister doesnít need it."

The chakat looked at Teri, who just smiled, and waved them away from the target, then indicated that Teri could throw.

Three throws landed the chakat in the tank three times, and Peter turned to the teenagers and said, "I told you so!"

Peter and Teri rode the Ferris Wheel and could see all of Landing Square from the top, and then met the others, who had gotten lunch, and they found a spot along the parade route where they could eat. The parade had floats and bands, dancers, and lots of Longtails.

The Chakonan Prime Minister gave a speech after the parade, but the Cochrans got back on the tram and went to the Amistad Zoo. As they looked at the exhibits, Peter said, "Hey look! Buunas, just like at home!" pointing at a flying marsupial a little bigger than a chicken. He looked at Will and asked, "Why do they have Buunas? We see them all the time."

"Buunas donít live on Flinders Continent, so the people here never get to see then except at the zoo."

One of the scimitar cats roared just as they got to that exhibit and Peter hid behind Willís legs. "Will it eat me?"

"No, it canít get out and they feed them every day, so it isnít hungry."

Peter fell asleep on the tram going back to the hotel and was a little grumpy during dinner, but fell asleep again afterwards.

Jo walked into the kitchenette in their suite the next morning and handed Will her PADD. "Will, you need to look at this."

Will hit the play button on a CNN report and the chakat anchor started. "The first official Longtail Day celebration yesterday in San Francisco, Greater North America on Terra was marred by shootings and a bombing. A human reported to be Edward Hughes, an Earth for Humanity activist wanted in several jurisdictions, jumped onto the stage at Turner Square before a scheduled concert and shot the president of the Chakona-Terran Society, Chakat Quickbrook, child of Willowleaf and Runsquiet. He is said to have also killed a San Francisco City police officer as he was fleeing the scene.

"In addition to the shootings, there were also multiple bombings in the square, killing dozens and injuring hundreds in the crowd. Two more police officers were seriously injured in a gun battle while trying to apprehend the EH terrorists, who were reported to have escaped in a shuttle.

"Chakona News Network will have updated bulletins as additional information becomes available."

Will put the PADD down on the counter and turned to wrap Jo in his arms.  She just stood there and shook for a few minutes before saying, "I'm a terrible mother."

Will held her at arms length and lifted her chin up so that she looked him in the eye. "Have I ever lied to you?" Jo shook her head and Will continued, "Well, Iím not going to start now. You are not a terrible mother. What made you think that?"

Jo stared at his chest for a moment, then looked him in the eyes.  "Will, the first thing I thought of when I saw that was 'I wish Teri had killed him.'"

Will gently kissed her and embraced her again.  He whispered, "Jo, Love, that wasn't the mother in you who thought that.  That was the little girl who had just been badly frightened.  I know that you wouldn't wish that on our daughter."

Jo hugged him tighter, her face pressed against his shoulder, sobbing quietly.

Will heard wet feet approaching and Teri came into the room, still dripping from the shower.  "I heard ... What happened?"

Will looked up at Teri and then turned away, taking a deep breath. He turned back to hir and said, "Teri, there was a story on the news this morning.  Hughes attacked the Longtail celebration in San Francisco yesterday and killed several people, including a police officer."

Will watched as Teri's expression went from worried to absolutely dead flat neutral, staring at nothing.  It only lasted a moment before Teri shook hir head and came up to hug hir mother and Will.  Shi said, "I love you Mom."

Jo let go of Will with one arm and wrapped it around Teri's shoulders.  She said, "I love you too Honey."

Will held them both; staring into the center of the kitchen thinking about the look he had just seen on his daughter's face.  He decided that Jo didn't need to know about that.

They already had plans for the day, and Andre left after breakfast to check out some of the shopping opportunities in the colonyís capitol. Jo gave her mate and children a hug and said, "Have a good time," and turned to Will. "I donít want to hear anything about you taking stuff apart or Ďimprovingí it."

Will sputtered, and Peter said, "Iíll watch him, Momma."

"Watch him or help him?"

Peter giggled at that and Jo gave him another hug before she went off to meet with some of the people she had met at the weaving tent at the Highland Gathering.

Will, Teri, and Peter went to a reenactment of the original colonial landing on Chakona. It wasnít practical to do this in Landing Square anymore and Amistad had grown considerably, so first they had a long tram ride out to the edge of the city. They got there just in time to see a shuttle settle in the landing field. Teri tugged on hir dadís arm and whispered, "Thatís not a real shuttle."

Seeing that Peter was distracted, Will asked, "Why do you think so?"

"Itís not big enough. There isnít even room for an anti-matter core."

Will smiled and nodded as Peter ran back to him and took his hand, pulling him toward the shuttle. People were filing through the shuttle and Peter asked a chakat dressed in an old style Star Corp uniform, "Where did you fly from?"

"We just came down from the Woomera."

"Weíre from Curtisport!"

"What? In Queensland?"

"No! Mephitis!"

"Mephitis! we barely have a colony on Flinders Continent, thereís no one on Mephitis yet!"

Peter giggled and they went through the rest of the shuttle.

They left the shuttle and went to a simulated survey party camp. Will and Peter left Teri talking to one of the docents and looked at some of the biological samples on display. When they returned the chakat was saying, "Have you considered joining the Star Corps when you get finished with school?"

Teri shook hir head. "Iím going to the Star Fleet Academy."

"Well, if you change your mind, think about Star Corps. Weíre always looking for people who know how to get around in the wild."

They went into the settlement and looked at the school and the medical facilities and then went to the community dining hall for lunch.

Will thought that Peter had had about enough of early Amistad, so they got back on the tram, but took a different route back that passed an amusement park. Will told Teri to meet them back at the gate at 13:50 and then he and Peter when to see what they could find.

After they got some lunch at a hot-dog stand, Will was watching as Peter rode on a small roller coaster for the little ones. He heard a child say, "Thereís one, Mama!"

He turned to his left and saw a female cat morph picking up the little one in one hand while trying to get out her com with the other one. She said, "We donít want your Ö" and dropped the com. She tried to pick it up and almost dropped her kitten, who looked a little younger than Peter. She set him down and said, "Get behind me, dear," and picked up the com. Pointing the com at Will, she said, "Iím calling the police if you donít Ö" and then her child started crying.

Will saw the roller coaster stop. Peter ran up to him and Will picked him up. Peter asked, "Why is he crying?"

Before Will could answer, the cat morph had picked up her child again and said, "You put the kit down! Iíll Ö"

A chakat in the uniform of park security interrupted her and asked, "What is going on here?"

"You arrest that Ö that H1 goon and get that poor kit away from him!"

A crowd was starting to gather and the attendant at the roller coaster, a Voxxan, closed the gate and latched it. The chakat said, "Could I please see both of your IDís?"

Will shifted Peter to his other arm and took his ID out of his pocket. While he was handing it to the chakat, the cat dropped her com again.

The chakat picked up the com and handed it to her as she got out her ID. Looking at them, shi said, "Mrs. Carstairs, you and Mr. Cochran are both citizens of Chakona."

"Well, if I knew you let human terrorists settle here I wouldnít have come."

"Maíam, our deputy finance minister is a human."

She just snorted and then turned around and left. Her child said, "Mama, wanna ride Ö"

The chakat turned to Will and said, "Iím sorry sir," and handed him back his ID.

Will just shook his head. "You donít have anything to apologize for, officer."

The chakat gave his a little smile and then turned around and said, "Alright people. Move on, the showís over." As the crowd started breaking up, shi went to see if shi could catch up with Mrs. Carstairs to return her ID.

Peter said, "Dad, why was she like that?"

Will said, "I think she just didnít like me. What do you want to do now?"

Peter tried to get his dad into the wave pool, but the spring weather in Amistad was a little cool for Will. When they met Teri, Peter said, "Teri got to swim!"

Shi was still dripping slightly and grinned sheepishly. Will said, "We can go swimming when we get back to the hotel."

"Thereís no waves."

Peter was cross on the tram ride back to the hotel. When they got there, Will and Peter tried to make waves in the pool but Peter wasnít buying it when Jo slipped into the pool without Peter seeing her. Jo swam up and started tickling Peter and that was the last of the thoughts of waves as he tried to tickle her back.

They dried off and went back up to the suite to meet Andre. Will and Jo collected the bag that Jo had packed earlier, and then she said to Peter, "You be good and do what Grandma Andre says. Your Papa and I are going to go to the university tonight. Weíll be back on Fourthday."

"Okay Mamma."

She hugged him and then Will and Jo went to the train station while Andre took Teri and Peter to dinner at a place shi had found earlier that day.

Will and Jo sat down in the tram on the way to the train station. Will asked her, "Why so mopey?"

She turned away from the window and gave him a lick on the chin. "Somebody today made a crack about running all of the humans off of the planet. Things got quiet, because about half of them had met you, then Spindle, you remember hir?"

"The chakat with the restored 19th Century power loom in hir basement?"

Jo nodded. "Shi told her that I was mated to a human, and then it got a little cold in there. We broke up early and some of us went and got something to eat."

Jo looked at Will for a moment and then licked his chin. He turned toward her and Jo smile and said, "Youíve got your engineer eyes. Whatís up?"

"I just had an idea about the Boronike application," Will said, and then he kissed her and told her about the incident in the park, hamming it up a little and Jo was chuckling by the time they got to the train station.

Will and Jo were shown to their berth. It was considered a single, but since the single they had in mind was a chakat, there was plenty of room for both of them. They sat down as the train pulled out of the station. Jo said, "I asked Vutoz to send our gene sequences to Dr. Springstep."

Will just gave her a cross look, and Jo continued, "I know you havenít decided to do this yet, but it doesnít hurt anything to look into it."

"I thought we were going to ask Sean again when we got to Sydney."

Jo looked away. "Iíve felt bad about that. When we asked him, we were planning on seeing him and his family several times a year."

Will turned her head toward him and gave her a kiss. "I know, we talk on the com regularly, but it isnít the same. Is there anyone else that could help us?"

Jo took his shirt in both hands and said, "I want you to sire our next kit."

"I havenít said no yet. What about Lewis? He and Kathy live right up on Gateway. They have three fine kits with another on the way."

"Will! Lewis works for me! Thatís going too far even on Chakona."

"I suppose youíre right. It wonít hurt to see what Dr. Springstep has to say."

"I donít understand your objection. If shi can do it, itís a simple procedure. Thereís not even any surgery involved."

Before Will could answer, the AI on the train told them that it was time for their dinner reservation.

Will and Jo entered the dining car as the train was leaving the city. A female collie morph asked them, "Two for dinner?" They agreed and she said, "Right this way."

As they walked through the car two chairs unfolded from the floor at a table across from a pair of chakats. They sat down and Jo said, "Hello, Iím Jo Cochran and this is my mate, Will."

"Good to meet you. I am Windstream and this is Lightning. Do you make this trip often?"

Will said, "No, this is our first time, though we do get to Amistad once in a while. We live in Curtisport. Are you going to Berdoovia?"

"No, weíre visiting out daughter in Marpletown."

A tiny fennec foxtaur vixen came up and said, "Good evening gentle beings. Have you decided what you would like tonight?"

Lightning asked, "Is your seafood special tonight the alpalanai?"

"Yes shir."

"Very well, Iíll have that. Please pick out a nice wine to go with it."

"Of course." She looked at Windstream, and they all decided to follow Lightningís example.

She went down to the next table and Jo said, "We go through Marpletown in the middle of the night. Iím surprised you didnít take an earlier train."

Lightning waved at the window. "The sunset over the sea is so beautiful on this train; itís worth getting there late."

Windstream piped in, "Besides, we just flew in from Esperanta so itís still early for us."

After dinner Jo and Will returned to their compartment. Jo sat down and said, "Good company makes a good meal even better."

Will slid the door shut and turned out the light. The crescent Chaíturna was following the sun down, its light rippling on the sea. They didnít notice when Chaíturna set.

The next morning Will and Jo left their bag in a locker in the train station and took the tram from Berdoovia to Dewclaw University. They found a kiosk and got directions to where they were going. Will kissed Jo and said, "Meet you back here about 13:00?"

"Sounds good to me. Have a good time."

Will headed for the College of Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He found the office he was looking for and stuck his head in the open door.

"Professor Slipstick? Iím Will Cochran."

"Hello Dr. Cochran. Please come in and have a seat." The chakat got up and moved a pile of assorted equipment off of a chair and set it next to the desk.

"Please call me Will," said Will, giving Slipstick a hug and taking a seat.

"I trust you had a good trip from Amistad."

"We took the train down the coast."

"Yes, very pretty along there. Your mate is not with you?"

Will chuckled, "She prefers having engineers in small doses. Jo went over to the College of Medicine."

"Yes, well I can understand that. You did mention that she was a surgeon. Can I get you anything?"

"No, thank you. We had breakfast on the train."

"In that case, let me show you our labs."

After a tour of the facilities and lunch with some of the faculty, including Slipstickís mates who were both faculty members as well, in Engineering and Physics, Will presented the paper that he and Jerry Oxendine had presented in London several years before about bonding Boronike to steel. He updated it with some of his recent experiences at Cargo Engineering.

One of the faculty members attending asked, "Have you done any more with application apparatus that you and Professor Oxendine used?"

"No shir, Iíve been concentrating on getting our operations up and running. We also have the advantage of having six skunktaur teams doing this work for us."

"Any chance you could send one of them our way?"

"If I did, Slirparton would skin me."

That got a good chuckle and Slipstick got up and said, "I would like to thank Dr. Cochran for coming out and sharing this with us."

Will said, "Youíre welcome. If any of you are out in Curtisport, please contact me and Iíll arrange a tour of the plant."

As Will answered some questions, an all-black foxtaur approached and said, "Hello Will."

Will smiled and gave hir a hug. "Hello Nova. I wasnít sure whether that was you or Nebula back there. What brings you down here?"

"I talked the company into this being valuable continuing education. It wasnít much of a stretch. Iíve several ideas lined up for those TracBots when you go into production."

The others had cleared out and Will asked, "Nova, do you know Slipstick?"

Slipstick gave Nova a hug. "Nova was one of my students." He looked at Nova. "How do you know Will?"

"One of my mates works with Jo, his mate. Will and his family have been up to visit several times."

"Speaking of mates, Will, if you and Jo are going to catch the train back to Amistad, you had better get going."

"No, weíre taking the direct line back, so we have a couple of hours yet."

They all arrived at the kiosk just as Jo walked up. She gave Will a hug and a kiss, and then turned around and said, "Hello Nova," and gave hir a hug.

Will introduce Jo to Slipstick, who also got a hug. Slipstick said, "Well, since you arenít leaving for a while, thereís a nice little place right around the corner."

They all joined Slipstick and hir mates for dinner. Will and Nova managed to steer the conversation so that it wasnít entirely about engineering. After dinner Will, Jo, and Nova caught the tram for Berdoovia. Jo asked Nova, "You sure that eating on a planet doesnít upset your stomach?"

Shi grinned and said, "If you start that, Iíll forget that I told Astra that I wouldnít pester you about eating at our place next week."

Jo looked a little sheepish. "You know I love your family, but Ö"

"Donít worry, the kits might grumble, but we donít mind providing a little gravity for our friends." Shi turned to Will. "Nebula and I will be down on Seventhday to take a look at those TracBots."

"Do you think that Cloudstar will buy some?"

"I wouldnít hold your breath. Shiís already got most of hir capital budget set for next year. With everything that the stationmaster has to juggle, and still show a bit of a profit for the corporation, your little robots probably wonít fit unless you can pull off something that really convinces hir. Iím afraid that unloading a pod sitting on a planet wonít do it."

"What about Nebula?"

"Shi has a better chance of talking hir boss into it. Gateway Shipfitters is a privately held company, so all shi has to do is talk Frintas into it."

Jo asked, "Are you taking the train to Amistad?"

"I wish! While I would love to join you and Will, Iíve got to get back home and get some sleep before my shift starts."

Jo hugged hir and said, "Be careful. I donít want to see you at work!"

"No, tonight will be a full shift of reports. You know how it is, ĎThe projectís not done until the paperwork is approved!í"

They sympathized with that, each having their share of paperwork to content with. Shi hugged Will and Jo and then got off the tram to go to the Gateway Corp. offices and Will and Jo continued on to the train station.


To be continued in Chapter Three.

Copyright © 2009 Tim Rumph – tarumph AT

Chakats, Chakona and the Chakat Universe are the creation of Bernard Doove and are used with his permission.

Skunktaurs were created by Bob Reijns.

Quange were created by Roy D. Pounds II.


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