TQB Base, Colorado – USA
Bethany Anne looked to her left as she was walking down the hallway. “Hey Kevin, how did the security review go?”
Kevin McCoullagh stepped out of the room he was in and joined Bethany Anne as they walked towards Lance’s office. “Well enough. Almost all of the troublemakers left without causing us a problem. Can’t say I’m terribly happy about letting Robert go without something to remember me by.”
Bethany Anne cocked an eyebrow at him, “My, someone’s in a bloodthirsty sort today aren’t they?”
Kevin shrugged, “It pisses me off that he would so easily sell out. I have to question if he would have done that while he had on the uniform? Anyway, I didn’t say anything.”
“Good, the team has a plan to monitor the software he installed and see what they were targeting and then feed false information upstream.” The two of them arrived at Lance’s office. Bethany Anne knocked a couple of times sharply, then opened the door.
“Bethany Anne!” Patricia grinned at her from behind her desk and stood up. Lance and Patricia had decided they wanted one large office with the desks at both sides of the office facing each other. If you placed a mirror in the middle of the room, it would look the same. Except the mirror wouldn’t show Lance’s occasionally grumpy face on the other side.
“Hey Patricia.” Bethany Anne accepted a hug from the woman. She didn’t look much older than Bethany Anne now. It solved the issue of calling her ‘mom’ when she looked more like her sister.
Bethany Anne turned to see her dad’s empty chair, “Dad around?”
Patricia sat back down, “Yes. He went to find a couple of Ding-Dongs. He can get grumpy in the middle of the afternoon if he didn’t sleep enough the previous night. I found the sugar and chocolate cheers him up.”
Kevin asked, “No worries for his health?” He turned to face the two young looking women who were staring at him. “My mistake, I wasn’t thinking. No calorie worries.”
A voice spoke behind them, “Hey Kevin, hey baby!” Bethany Anne received a hug from her dad, Kevin a slap on his back. “Ready to talk base?”
Kevin closed the door, “Yup.”
Patricia grabbed her laptop and Kevin turned one of Patricia’s chairs around and pulled it over so everyone was facing Lance.
Lance spoke, “We can talk about the three company R & D groups a little later.” He then asked Kevin, “What did we learn from Michael?”
Kevin answered, “We have a defense industry probe already into our business. It seems the fact that you are the big guy for TQB Industries and residing here on your former base has made everyone assume you have a huge military play going on. That was the ‘core focus’ of three people that Michael read. We haven’t fired any of them yet. We are waiting for additional people to help cover their roles before we let them go.”
Bethany Anne asked, “What kind of people do you need?”
Kevin replied, “Security, engineering, maintenance and operations. Pretty much all of the core people.”
Patricia interrupted, “Is it going to be hard to find people here in the States that know military and are safe?”
“No, we proved when selecting crew for the two ships that it can be done.” Bethany Anne answered, “However, we need to be thinking about merging more countries into our mix. I don’t want there to be an ‘all U.S.A. all the time’ answer to everything.”
“What about vetting them? When you crewed your ships, I understand from Frank that he took care of that for you.” Lance said as he unwrapped a cigar and bit on it.
Bethany Anne wrinkled her nose, “Gah! Those things don’t smell good anymore, not like they did when I was young.” She moved in her chair, trying to get more comfortable. “Dad, are you irritated with my comment about more Americans?”
“Honey,” Patricia said, “your dad knows we can’t stay so heavy U.S., but let him work through it his own way.”
Kevin hid a smile behind his hand which he quickly killed when Lance’s eye’s turned to him.
“Between Frank, Dan and ADAM I’m pretty sure we can accomplish the same as we did for the Polarus and the Ad Aeternitatem. Plus, we have Michael to do a final.”
“About Michael.” Kevin interrupted, “He says that the Pods are definitely a nice solution, but he would prefer a more personal experience and he requests a stewardess for his next flight.” This time, Kevin didn’t hide his smile when Bethany Anne blushed.
“I’ll give him a ‘stewardess’…”
“I think that’s his idea, sweetie.” Patricia said.