Chapter Forty Eight
Dewey was on his way to Mars when he finished reading Knolls' report. He sipped on the coffee the captain had brought and switched on the news. They were digging the deep hole in Mars again.
Plans were being made to tow the tragic Venus station to drop into the sun. It had been argued that if they dropped it on Venus it would incinerate from the friction with Venus' thick carbon dioxide atmosphere, but some lesser educated people were afraid that the disease might somehow survive Venus' hellish surface.
Charles was back on the video talking about pirates. He was glad it was Charles and not him, Dewey hated video cameras.
He emailed Kowalski, telling him that when Kelly got back to Earth to have a couple of his best electrical engineers, one who was good with batteries and one that was good with engines, to talk to him and find out how he got a third gravity out of batteries. Nobody else had managed to do that before, and some engineers claimed it was physically impossible.
John and Destiny had left the houseboat parked on a space port pad they had rented at the spaceport at the Meridian Bay dome and got in a cab. Destiny had said “I don't want to shop on an empty stomach. Taxi, take us to a restaurant that serves eggs and pork sausage this time of day.”
“Wow,” John said. “That's going to be an expensive place.”
“Well, I'm buying. You said you never tried pork sausage, now's your chance, it's my treat. Besides, I've been thinking about pork sausage for half the trip and I don't want to wait any longer!”
They were really busy on Mars the next few days, mostly shopping. First shopping for a wedding ring, then for real estate; they would buy a house and a bar. The houseboat was big as houseboats go, but was a bit small for someone as wealthy as Destiny who had lived all her life in very large homes, especially since the houseboat was half full of beer.
After signing papers for the house they went for breakfast at a nice restaurant, where Destiny bought John another omelette and pork sausage. John wasn't any more impressed with this sausage than at the other restaurant.
Then they visited Tammy in her hotel room. Her face was still a little bruised but she wasn't wearing the sling.
“Hi, come on in, guys. Want some coffee?”
“Sure,” Destiny said. “So how are you coming with your research?”
“Well, we haven't had time to do much except move them into the facility and acquaint them with it, but Rilla had really come a long way and Lek was almost cured already, at least from the physical withdrawal symptoms, by the time we got to Mars. She's to the point that withdrawal is still torture to her, but no longer deadly. She's still in mental and physical pain but she's not dropping any more. The physical pain should be gone in a few weeks. Of course, full therapy will probably take years.”
John said “Yes, Lek sure did change during the trip. This is great coffee, Tammy!”
She laughed. “It's robot coffee!”
“No way,” John said.
“Yep, and it's one of your company's robots that made it, too!”
“No way in hell!” John exclaimed.
“It's true,” she said. “Your company updated all their coffeebots' operating systems and other programs. And it perks a whole pot of coffee in five minutes, and a cup in less than a minute. You have one of their robots, now it can make good coffee. I only found out because they're advertising it all over everywhere. I'm surprised you didn't notice.”
“I saw the ads, I just didn't believe them.”
Destiny laughed. “Dad must have tried a cup of his own robots' nasty coffee, I think he fired his head engineer. He should get here in another week.”
John said “Bill lands in two days. I'm still reeling from the trip here. God, but that was a damned nightmare!”
They continued chatting a while before going home to the houseboat, still parked at the spaceport. They would be moving into their new home about the time Bill showed up two days later and would have more shopping to do; they would need furniture, curtains, and so forth.
John and Destiny met him at the spaceport, and they stopped at a bar for the beer he'd promised John. He bought John and Destiny several, in fact.
“Excuse me, Bartender, but I want to buy a round,” John said. The bartender told John what they cost.
“Wow,” he said. “That's pretty high! Is it like that everywhere here?”
The bartender told him the reason was the cost of shipping it to Mars from Earth. He was going to clean up in the tavern business, it seemed, since Destiny would get a huge discount on shipping. He decided that while he was learning business he'd learn how to make beer and open a microbrewery in his tavern, too. He'd have really cheap beer, at least compared to other taverns, that he could sell for a huge profit and still be way cheaper than anyone else's if he could learn to make good beer.
Bill said “Bartender, don't take his money, this is all on me.
“I have to write a damned report tomorrow, I don't know why,” he said, turning to John.
“I had to write one and they really wanted detail,” John said. “Maybe they changed policies and everybody has to write reports now.”
A few days after that they met Dewey at the spaceport. After Dewey and his daughter hugged she said “Where's Mom?”
Dewey said “Come on, Destiny, you know how your mom is. She's scared to death to even get on an airplane, let alone a space ship. I'm going to wear a camera at the wedding, though, so she'll be there in a way.”
He stuck out his hand. “Good seeing you again, John. That was some great work you did on that trip. Between you and Commander Ramos and his fleet there are only a quarter as many pirates left. We're going to be rewriting the book. I wish I could talk you out of retiring.”
“Well, thank you, Mister Green...”
“Call me Dewey, John. You're family now.”