Year 579; Beldor Space Year 1 Post Republic
Captain Jon Velas was the obvious choice for the Chair Person of the Beldor Space Transit Authority. He approved of the plans and offered to market them, but did not wish to take the position. He suggested Vice-Captain Erin Raynard, his wife.
The BSTA Falcon was the first train put into service. It was ten years of hard labor to see it off the ground, and much of the planet was there at its launch. Based on ATSÃ¢â¬â¢s Hawk class, the train was a sight that put tears in many eyes on that day.
The most memorable experience for most of those gathered there that day, wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t the witnessing of the reopening of the main rail (the secondary had remained active throughout the interim), or that slow acceleration of the Falcon itself. The Governor-Elect, Mr. Jamis Tylor, gave his heartfelt and ad-libbed speech, which we now know as his Incredible Visions speech.
For all of us this is a momentous occasion, but little do we realize the significance of itÃ¢â¬Â¦ In this moment of great despair we seek hope. It is a decision that we shall not regret.
Ã¢â¬ÅBeldor IV Command, this is the BSTA Falcon requesting dock.Ã¢â¬Â
The newly appointed head of Beldor IVÃ¢â¬â¢s Orbital Docking Facility, Humber Crantz smiled to the cameramen as his stomach pretzelized. Ã¢â¬ÅBSTA Falcon, this is the Orbital Docking Facility, all rail status indicators are green, docking clearance granted.Ã¢â¬Â
The FalconÃ¢â¬â¢s approach was a textbook deceleration, but Humber Crantz couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t watch it. His eyes were glued to the numbers on his display. The media-people behind Crantz clapped as the Falcon docked. To Crantz, the rail intensity numbers steadily decreased as the new stealth software on his board sent hundreds of signals down the main rail, shutting it down until it was to be used again. Although the system could be shut down immediately via an emergency protocol from ASTÃ¢â¬â¢s software, such a derailing would have a dangerous effect on the train, which was still Ã¢â¬ÅinsideÃ¢â¬Â the rails.
The media saw the cerulean path fade until only a single weak blue strand was left connecting the two sister planets. A media person immediately asked the obvious question on why the secondary rail was left standing.
In the past ten years we have had the ardent task of rebuilding lost knowledge. One of the commitments we must make to ourselves is the commitment to public knowledge of the technologies that are our societyÃ¢â¬â¢s backbone.
Jer Niotsky was the head curator for the newly established
The Museum was one of the first buildings set up by the then
blue sky BSTA. Its first artifacts are
still its most prized, the Charter Plaque and Name Plate of the ATS
Connecticut, the Last Train to Beldor V.
As Jer walked past the
Ã¢â¬ÅMy mom says it was dismantled because it contained alien slime that might kill us all!Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬ÅYeah, well my dad says thatÃ¢â¬â¢s not true.Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬ÅWell then why?Ã¢â¬Â
Jer coughed and the boys turned around to face him. They recognized his face almost immediately. Ã¢â¬ÅHello boys. Mind if I tell you why?Ã¢â¬Â
They both were really excited by this idea. Ã¢â¬ÅSure, Jet Man, tell us!Ã¢â¬Â
He motioned to the bench against the far wall and they all sat down.
Ã¢â¬ÅSo, you all know the story about how the
Ã¢â¬ÅYou didnÃ¢â¬â¢t know how they worked?Ã¢â¬Â asked one of the pair.
Ã¢â¬ÅNo, Automated Train Systems kept most of the information secret.Ã¢â¬Â
It was decided by the People of this State, The Great Solar System of Beldor, that BSTA is to formally be given control of the entirety of ASTÃ¢â¬â¢s estate here in this system. They have done a stupendous job thus far, and I personally wish them good luck.
She still had a hard time dealing with the honorary title. It took seconds to realize that people were talking to her and not about her Grandfather. Ã¢â¬ÅYes, what can I do for you?Ã¢â¬Â
The reporter hesitated, slightly nervous. Ã¢â¬ÅWell, the paper wanted me toÃ¢â¬Â¦ and the Governor saidÃ¢â¬Â¦ and I just wanted toÃ¢â¬Â¦Ã¢â¬Â
She had a disarming chuckle that helped calm the reporterÃ¢â¬â¢s nerves. Ã¢â¬ÅLet me guess, you want a tour of BSTA for a write up in yourÃ¢â¬Â¦Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬ÅDo you have a name, or should I just call you Mr. Science Columnist?Ã¢â¬Â
He blushed, Ã¢â¬ÅIÃ¢â¬â¢m Mat Carrin.Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬ÅWell Mat, what you call BSTA is broken into two
corporations. The first and most
important one is the BSTA Foundation.
This is a non-profit spaceflight organization led by my husband, Captain
Velas, and includes the
Mat had been nodding through much of the explanation; all of this was in the brochure packets. Ã¢â¬ÅHow do the Foundation and Meta-Corporation interact?Ã¢â¬Â
Mat laughed, Ã¢â¬ÅSo they have you by the collar, donÃ¢â¬â¢t they?Ã¢â¬Â
Today we come to share in an incredible vision. We hope to bridge the legacy of the past with the knowledge of the present and adaptations for the future. This is a hard struggle, but one that we do every day of our lives.
Ã¢â¬ÅSo, Jet, how do you become a Captain?Ã¢â¬Â
Jer smiled at the youngster, Ã¢â¬ÅWell I became an honorary
Captain by choosing to be the curator here at the museum. But the real way takes a lot of hard
work. First, you start as a Sloyder[MJB2]. As a Sloyder you must know the internals of
the Rail System as well as your own internals.
My first post out of the Academy was as a Sloyder on our own Beldor V
Orbital Docking Facility. There I was
the Assistant in Charge of The Board. I
got to watch the blinking lights until I could still see them after I closed my
eyes. Then you get promoted to
Fireman. My post as a Fireman was the
Both kids grinned at Jer and told him, Ã¢â¬ÅWe hope to be Captains someday.Ã¢â¬Â
Jer chuckled, Ã¢â¬ÅMaybe you will. Maybe you will.Ã¢â¬Â He reached into a pocket and dug out a couple of cards. He presented these to the kids, Ã¢â¬ÅIn a couple of years, when you two are old enough, come to the new Academy and weÃ¢â¬â¢ll be sure to find you some good sloyd.Ã¢â¬Â
Jer left the kids and continued on his wanderings. Soon he came into the building of the
Captain Jon Velas smiled. Ã¢â¬ÅThe Docking Simulator is nearly finished. IÃ¢â¬â¢ve been playing with the thing and seems almost as buggy as the old AcademyÃ¢â¬â¢s was.Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬ÅI remember that bucket of bolts. What year was it made again, 16 PR? I remember when I got to ODF here and kept waiting for the orange Ã¢â¬Ësimulation failed to startÃ¢â¬â¢ light.Ã¢â¬Â
They sat in the empty auditorium and smiled. Jon spread his arms towards the rest of the
room, Ã¢â¬ÅSomeday, this will all be filled.
Hard to imagine how long this auditorium might hold strong young
minds. Do you think that the builders of
Jer laughed, Ã¢â¬ÅIf I was them I wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t have even imagined ten years. Military construction has no imagination. ThatÃ¢â¬â¢s why the buildings were so unfriendly. This will be a much better place of learning.Ã¢â¬Â
Where the ATS Connecticut was the last train to Beldor V, the BSTA Falcon shall be the first train from Beldor V. Hopefully, it will be the first of a long line, and we, the people of this State, shall help to rebuild the Republic.
The new BSTA Train Yard was an impressive sight. Even from Beldor VÃ¢â¬â¢s surface, the Train Yard
could be seen to take up half of the Second MoonÃ¢â¬â¢s face. Having been built during the disassembly of
The Chief Foreman of the Yard, Mr. Robert Ã¢â¬ÅBeltÃ¢â¬Â Sander, was a tough and capable man hired out of BeldorÃ¢â¬â¢s small but lucrative Ã¢â¬ÅantiquesÃ¢â¬Â industry. He had already taken to the job like a fish to water and the Ã¢â¬ÅsloydoidsÃ¢â¬Â loved him. He was currently overseeing the production of three more Falcon class ships for Charter. A couple of the sloydoids smiled as he walked near the production area. They paused their welding to give him a short sharp salute. Sloyder Menarques and Fireman Stelfry, his supervisors, were already in the production area.
StelfryÃ¢â¬â¢s semi-permanent scowl became worse when he noticed Sander approach. Ã¢â¬ÅWe are behind schedule by four days.Ã¢â¬Â It wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t a question, and it wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t a mere statement. In seven words Stelfry had delivered an accusation, a court trial, and a corporal punishment. Menarques merely looked blank.
Ã¢â¬ÂWell,Ã¢â¬Â Sander began, Ã¢â¬ÅIÃ¢â¬â¢ve been telling the boys that they wonÃ¢â¬â¢t get their slop buckets if they donÃ¢â¬â¢t pick up the pace.Ã¢â¬Â
One of the sloydoids laughed. Another sounded like he had fatal case of cough. Menarques cracked a slight smile. Stelfry merely scowled on. Ã¢â¬ÅEnough with the jokes Sander. We promised the Board that we would have full service to the entire system by the end of the year.Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬ÅCome on, Fireman, lighten up. I donÃ¢â¬â¢t tell you how to scowl and you donÃ¢â¬â¢t tell me how to run my boys. WeÃ¢â¬â¢ve still got 12 more milestones to pick up the slack, and weÃ¢â¬â¢ve been having a tough job of engine installation. Another couple of hours and weÃ¢â¬â¢ll be two days ahead of schedule. I promise. Go back to bed or whatever pleasure reading you brought.Ã¢â¬Â
Sander truly hated Stelfry. Stelfry had spent one afternoon on a field trip to the Titan Train Yard at the old Academy and thought he knew how things worked on the Floor. Sure they had the ATS milestone documents to work from, but knowing the milestones, and knowing how to pass the milestones were completely different concepts. Ironically, the production of the BSTA Falcon had gone without a hitch in its five-year design and production. However, they could certainly expect hiccups as they ramped up from five-years and one under production to five-months and three under production. ATS, after all, had 500 years to get things streamlined!
Menarques was what frightened Sander, though. Stelfry was the Ã¢â¬ÅOld HandÃ¢â¬Â, a stereotype repeated many times throughout history. Menarques was as young as most of SanderÃ¢â¬â¢s sloydoids. He was also as new to this as Sander was, having gone through the same BSTA Ã¢â¬ÅBoot CampÃ¢â¬Â, as it had been called, a three-week-long class that tried to cram down 3-years of Academy study. Sander wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t even trusted with the title of Sloyder due to his past, and Foremen were rarely Academy-trained anyway, but Menarques already had that air of self-importance around him that the Ã¢â¬ÅOld HandsÃ¢â¬Â had without the experience.
After that conversation, a distressed Sander walked to his room. He fell onto his bed and ruminated until a railgram came through. He read through the document, titled Ã¢â¬ÅCharter PlansÃ¢â¬Â and gave a loud belly laugh. Fireman Stelfry was to be given active duty on one of the as yet unnamed ships on the Floor. Even better, the Board had been watching things here and had decided that Sander was a better man for the position of Train Yard Fireman than Sloyder Menarques. Although the position changes werenÃ¢â¬â¢t to take place until after the Charter, he was allowed to tell his men immediately. He jumped up and ran all the way to production floor.
When his sloydoids saw him huffing and puffing towards them they immediately stopped what they were doing, afraid of bad news. He caught his breath and began, Ã¢â¬ÅIÃ¢â¬â¢m sorry boys, but after the Charter I wonÃ¢â¬â¢t be your Foreman anymore. They gave me the Ã¢â¬ËiÃ¢â¬â¢.Ã¢â¬Â
While the gang pondered this, one of the slower ones yelled, Ã¢â¬ÅBut Chief, they canÃ¢â¬â¢t sack you, youÃ¢â¬â¢re the best they have.Ã¢â¬Â
When one of the others guys clapped Sander on the back, the speaker said, Ã¢â¬ÅWhat? WhyÃ¢â¬â¢s it such a good thing?Ã¢â¬Â Ã¢â¬ÅSander is going to be Yard Fireman!Ã¢â¬Â
Now did I hear something about a luncheon planned by the BSTA? IÃ¢â¬â¢m starved.
Not all speeches have great endings.
 Assistant Engineer, term borrowed from old Steam Railroads
 Complex Meta-Corporation
 BSTA Sub Company
 It wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t hard to blackmail him into the position.