This is the last section of the eighth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
Laurence barged his way through to the captain’s cabin and rapped to be let in
“Yes Laurence I was expecting you” grumbled the captain “Come in”
The door opened before Laurence. The cabin in front of him was much more finished than his. The walls were covered with a variety of displays that had clearly been the missing component in his cabin and the appliances seemed correctly plumbed in which again was a significant improvement. This made sense supposed Laurence since the ship would always have a Captain, whereas visiting dignitaries were the exception so priority would be given appropriately. Laurence took a seat on a large leather sofa that was also missing from his room, or a least he assumed that it was missing.
“So Laurence” continued the Captain “I assume you’re settling in okay if you feel the need to storm into my private abode.”
“If you tell me I’m always on call then I assume you are too.”
“To the ship yes, but not necessarily to you.”
“Well I’ll not beat about the bush any longer then” started Laurence and explained briefly his concerns about the weaponry mines and defences he anticipated the bats would have.
“Yes I know”
This reply from the captain caught Laurence off guard “How could you know?”
“You build engines, I think about things like this, and I have a team that does that even better than me.”
“I don’t build engines, I research physics that might have interesting applications. Anyway yes you knew this, yet you are still charging in?”
“Not that it is any of your business, but yes that appears to be the best way to deal with this. Maximum force. Chaff will be deployed when we’re at maximum speed. This will clear the target area of mines and point defence systems. The debris will form an elephant gun hundreds of miles across and will allow us to establish a perimeter where we can then go in and start securing the significant installations on the asteroids one by one. We have dozens of fighters ready to go as soon as we arrive to provide air cover and then we send in the marines to secure the installation.”
“You’re treating space as if it were a battle on Earth, it’s nothing like that”
“Indeed, one needs to think three dimensionally in space which you seem to be failing to do. Now don’t let me detain you.”
Laurence wasn’t sure if that last part was a threat but decided his point had been made.