Haze Gray 116

"Why do we always say aft when we mean the money maker?"

"You can't say ast can you? Close as we can get."

"What's an ast? Oh, why don't we say stern?"

"Aft is closer, what don't you get?" Overture asked her squadron member, a bit exasperated really. Then she frowned "Money maker?" Overture arched a brow "You're twelve, the only thing that tiny aft is making you is pocket change." Brasslock, steaming not far away, fell over and rolled around on the light swell laughing. She wasn't alone as a ripple of hilarity swept the fleet.

Taylor sighed. Hawaii steamed up alongside "Come on, break is over, off to the ship for hand to hand."

Taylor nodded and turned over to a Des Moines before they both veered out of line and wove through the fleet headed for the seawaymax fast support ship they were using for both berthing space and support facilities other than medical.

Hand to hand combat had turned out to be something they needed as they all had a tendency to close past knife fighting range straight into jump on her and beat her to scrap range. Which, oddly enough, was uncontrollable once they got angry enough. Well past the red eyed stage, and into a sort of berserker rage.

"It's a good thing even the DE's are mostly proof against almost anything." She said thoughtfully.

Hawaii, her partner for this portion of the training nodded "It is. I mean as far as we can tell your, our, paint is DU penetrator proof. Serious SSGMBS. Maybe if we ever run into a ship girl who is on a different side than us it will be different. Meanwhile, its why we are doing this hand to hand thing. Though when we are in that range we can get hurt as has been proven. Plus, an overmatch is still possible like with Dreadnaught on Schim plain."

Taylor sighed "Experimenting up a system to use on other ship girls was not what I was envisioning when we agreed to this. Especially with all these SOCCOM guys and girls figuring out moves, holds, and strikes that will work."

Hawaii nodded "Pretty much give us a fire ax like Juggernaut uses and a normal ship is doomed add a hooligan tool and a DE can crack a BB. Could you imagine, one of those girls gets inside the belt? Still its good exercise." Taylor nodded in agreement after the shudder that comment got off the mental image of Juggernaut going berserk inside a heavy cruiser or above.

Haze Gray

Cuba looked at Puerto Rico and Guam. "Alaska shipped. Natural."

Guam shrugged "Waiting on her escorts and then will catch up. All Inuit."

Cuba shook her head "Lots of white girls in the escort. Native Alaskans, but still white."

Puerto Rico nodded "Who knew life in Alaska sucked that hard? Meanwhile Qatar got a Brockton Bay class I heard. I thought life there was getting better?"

Raem, steaming along in conversation range nodded "We did too. Of course, guys, so what are you going to do. Mozah is calling her husband and sons over it. Heads will roll, literally.

"Qatar is getting her land legs and then will catch a hop on an order of Tradewinds for Australia."

Leslie joined the conversation from extreme range "Aren't we building a full range yard in Australia?"

Shelly, an Australian Des Moines nodded "We are. Not up to full speed quite yet and the government wanted a squadron after the one they had on test. Thing can carry hundreds of mark forty eight mod Ks, stay up forever burning waste, and Simmie is right there. No one is really sure what she is doing. Belt and suspenders sort of thing I reckon."

Raem nodded "As governments do. She is Hoppu though and is going to join us fully." She pointed at the carrier group on the horizon. The one with the conventional Ford class carrier that none of the yards had built. "No idea where she got all that steel. I want a look at her automation though. Even if I have to wear a full suit."

Shelley shrugged, "And if she doesn't, well, we are right here."

Haze Gray

Amy came in the room smiling, she had just finished with Hawaii, now she got to work on Taylor. Apparently, they had gotten pretty serious in hand to hand. At least if those body shaped dents in the decks were any indication. That one with the boobs was hilarious. Not to the shipwrights in the base ship maintenance section but still. She pouted a bit, they really should have given her that one of Taylor. They were just being mean pounding it back out from below decks like that. 'Hey'

Amy shot a sidelong glance at her head nurse "Nothing. Hang it up in my quarters, what would you think I was going to do with it?" She blushed at the look she got and got on with checking Taylor who was sound asleep.

Haze Gray

Taylor looked at the math again "HC, a cluster of them, five-inch HC ship spaced down to flechette size in a sabot style shotcup until they clear the muzzle like the aircraft in the pistols. Western and Federal both made twelve guage rounds with flechettes during the indo china war. Uh, OK? I mean we can try one at least. Why haven't I heard of these rounds before? Plus twenty five projectiles with guidance fins?" She looked at the technical drawing of the gatling gun shotgun a bit apprehensively.

She shook herself "Now this lawsuit about a Dash dropping water on a garbage fire and paralyzing some redneck in South Carolina?"

The JAG nodded 'Hey, hey hey, hey.' "So, he gets nothing because he was flown to a Haven and healed. Then dropped off at his house. Okay." Taylor shrugged and kept defishing hooks.

Amy, standing at the bait station snorted "Healed him better than he was or could have ever been. That fat bastard was four minutes from a heart attack."

"And this union threatening us with a labor action because of the automated dollies?" Taylor arched a brow.

Danny, from his position on the defishing line snorted "Teamsters, letting them in would make it half as safe and eighty percent less efficient. They are pissed because they have to work for regional or long-haul companies and can't get three guys doing the work of one dolly drone, poorly, for three jobs at eight hours a day for high pay in the port container yards. All your container handling in the yards is automated. Ship to shore all the way to the spine dollies moving spines to pick up lots. Them striking means nothing to us as most of our stuff loads on trains from the spines the dollies are pulling. The portion that doesn't goes on your trucks and into convoys for local movement, regional at most.

"They can't drive those B series anyway as they belong to the Kanmusu Navy. Now you got the F model Macks' pulling two forty-foot containers on spines for hotshot freight you cut them out of a lot of that, well, all of your regional and over the road. The Cruise Liners and Ultra Liners too. The Fords, Freightliners, Kenworths, Peterbuilts, Internationals, Marmons. All those day cab cab overs. Found in junk yards, brought back to zero miles, repowered to burn flare gas in those gas engines of course. The best ones will go into production. Class eights when they were built but they added those tag air bag axels so class nine now.

"Your automated yards are faster and safer than humans doing it anyway. The humans just watch screens for problems, the operators. The mechanics are a different story. The longshoremen hooking, unhooking and securing containers too.

"Those teamster guys just picked the wrong occupation. They can apprentice as longshoremen or mechanics. Labor action has already been disapproved so if they do anything it will be a wildcat action.

"Upside, we get the owner operators into an association if they do. They can do regional for us. Or haul six to eight hours a day to your terminals at the stores, then back to their 'home store' the next day. The stores being about three hundred miles apart is working out great. Plus them having transient housing and mess decks."

Taylor grinned "Yeah, automating that stuff was not that hard and its beautiful to watch it all working, like Wall E and EVE dancing."

Maria nodded, then frowned "Until some idiot rips off a barcode."

Rachel nodded from the baiting line "Roll mark."

Taylor blinked "Roll mark the barcode in the frame of the container. Hmm." Danny sighed as a yeoman started writing as Taylor spoke to her quietly.

He was about to say something when Tammi slalomed up, coasted down and stepped on the swim platform then through the transom "Hey, what are we doing about dread pirate Chinky Dink."

Taylor opened her mouth and said 'Hey. Hey, hey hey hey hey. Hey.'

Everyone blinked. Taylor counted on her fingers a bit as she looked at her JAG, "So, just to confirm I got this straight, He actually calls himself that, I wrote myself a letter of Mark and Reprisal so am a privateer of Hispaniola and can take them on pirate to pirate, take all his hostages, sell them to myself as Hispaniola and take his ships, oh, and any islands he has claimed, or treasure he has." 'Hey' "But I have to fly the Skull and Crossbones."

Hue came up in the net "Kidd just lit up and is headed your way." Taylor face palmed.

Maria frowned "Or we can declare war on the pirates as the United States of Hispaniola."

Hue continued "Oh hey, Kidds group is coming to you. My group too apparently. Teddy is happy as faff, she didnt get much action in the punitive action against the Russian Mafia. She was too far out, time she got close enough we were wrapping that up. Price you pay for all those beautiful port calls.

Danny frowned "Do you even have to formally declare war on pirates?"

The discussion got started fairly quickly and went on for a while.

Haze Gray

In Taylor's battle two later the ship girls all looked at Taylor. Taylor huffed, "Simmie first. They aren't going to get to her. Or past her." The girls nodded. Taylor continued, "training for ship assaults, Airborne and subsurface penetrations. Secure the people by killing the pirates."

Cuba nodded but asked "Just for clarification Dona, we aren't taking prisoners."

"Whole islands of women and girls." Taylor looked in all the girls' eyes.

Cuba grinned "We will sharpen our knives Dona." Cuba had led her team of teenage girls on Cuba. They had been one of the better, strike, teams let's say, since we weren't mentioning emasculations.

Taylor nodded "Antietam's, I need some force generation."

Noelle smiled "Twenty eight divisions, five or six of them Marine divisions, and five numbered air forces coming right up Babe."

Lisa sighed "Another Front. People are already nervous and talking. Aside from you, as Taylor Hebert owning ten million acres of arable land, a number growing every day, You as La Dona Hispaniola killing a hundred thousand gangers, you as Brockton Bay fighting Naval engagements.

"Thank the gods they haven't put together five square miles gives us thirty two hundred acres per deck and those five acres universally go to good bedrock under the stores. And are lit with the Daylight grow LEDS. The smallest one is three hundred thousand acres.

"We, as in the PAO, are having to work pretty hard. We need to get Jeff and his folks out here and embed them. Maybe some real reporters, not that he does bad work, and his folks do better, but…." She left it hanging for a minute "We don't have anything to hide as we really aren't trying to conquer the world and we do try to keep casualties to the minimum possible but people are, well, pretty soft really."

Taylor snorted "Not really, we feed the fish or make enormous messes when we have to mist people or blow them apart too. Not that we are trying to hide it. Don't even try that innocent face Jugs, I saw you after you Leroy Jenkins that last group of Russians. None of us like it. Satisfied we got the job done, and held casualties to a minimum? Yep. Happy we had to do it in the first place? Nope. Tweed Jacket and his partners as well as the Chaplains and Chiefs are pretty busy, word gets back to me, not what they talk to you all about, but that there is some discussion. We just know we have reduced all the other possibilities by the time it gets to that. Might help if we explained that. Though it will make some politicians look really bad." She looked around at the group.

Lisa nodded "Yes, education, fact based, not based in emotion or feels, is probably going to be a key. Civilians have no idea really. It's a problem for the PRT, police, military, anyone who has to enforce rules or make people not do heinous shit. Always someone who can talk a better game though. That talking has no basis in reality though. Talking ain't walking it as my COB says. Step them through the process. I 'm not sure it will help much, it might help some though. Enough to make it worth the effort."

Tess nodded "Not to change the subject, but we have come up with a portal to sell to other refineries to help them meet emission standards. They are buying lots of them. All of the refinery owners. Well, leasing them."

Taylor blinked "Good? I mean I know we use a lot of flare gas and it helps the environment?"

Tess nodded but shrugged "I had to build a void, or make the walls impermeable, to put all the gas in which then feeds our distribution system, it was a little expensive."

Taylor frowned "But it gets us tons of things besides methane which should pay for it, or them, and the storage and distribution soon? Outside of the internal sales I mean?"

Tess poked at a tablet for a minute then blinked "Well, erh, it is actually making us money. Sorry?"

Taylor chuckled "Everything that should cost us money makes money. Plus, with the yards now building OTR trucks with five-hundred-liter gas engines in them." She shrugged.

Cassidy snorted "The biggest is fifteen liters of displacement, all of them are combined cycle and the containers are solar equipped. The spines wheel motors give about a hundred horsepower per axel when hooked up and under the control of the tractors. The dolly another hundred per axel, they have APUs, auxiliary power units which are ship spaced and combined cycle, for charging the batteries and supplying air and limp power. If it wasn't for the length laws we could run road trains like Australia with just the dollies. Well, if people weren't luddites.

"As it is now we can only run two spines with forty footers so four TEU. And we have to have four axels under the spine because of weight. Sixty-seven odd thousand pounds per forty-footer, then the spine and the truck, gets pretty heavy so no gripes. They do let us run them. We don't move empty containers. Not by truck anyway, those get loaded at the stores and go to wherever is next by whatever method. All of them can be refers down to four degrees C because of the portals and your water thing. Put stuff in them frozen and it will stay that way for days. If you really want it below zero then the solar panels and APUs can run a set of Peltier plates with the hot side in that four degree water. Drops them way below zero.

"The trains make our freight cheaper and the barges do even better. People are starting to use our freight system. All of those are built for our forty footers and the circulation on those is getting pretty good. Plus we built them out of stuff we would have to dispose of, junk glass for fiber glass, some bad fractions for resin, some really bad ones for hardener. And the yards and stores can all make them when they are running all up. Ours are lighter too, so more paying weight. Other companies are buying spines, dollies, and containers, from us. Then the sensors they have on them, well, we report a lot of stuff to local State and Federal law enforcement. That lets us hire a bunch of differently physically abled people to run dollies and watch sensors."

Jie, a Chinese CL154 class, Super Atlanta, who worked in Ginny's political group spoke up "Which makes our position worse not better. As unfortunately we are the lowest cost shipper due to the fuel we burn, even with building our own barges and tow boats now. Though that will even out as we hire everyone who has ever even seen a barge or driven a car and pay them a quarter more an hour than what the other companies pay. Its amazing how well that suggestion of Danny's works. The inland water way locals of the DWU named after the rivers or streams they operate on too. The other Unions are terrified of Lucy. Also of full automation."

That comment changed the subject to Lucy Johns and Alexander. Chang Chang snorted "She is shipped, minus sticking even a toe in a dock one more time."

Crystal shrugged "Juanita says Alexander brought a ring on the trip and isn't going to wait. She will probably ship as soon as he ask her."

Amy frowned "We can hook her to portals from the fast support ships and they can tow her until she wakes up."

Taylor shrugged "Or we can stop at Kwajalein."

Alina asked "Can we look at Midway, since they gave it to us anyway?"

All the girls looked in their CICs at the charts. Midway looked interesting and was sort of on the way.

Haze Gray

Taylor looked at Midway Island, with its two airfields and five thousand acre harbor and then at the blockhouse that housed the two hundred by two hundred foot personnel and aircraft elevator and the dry dock that was lowering away with Lucy in it. Earth covered magazines really. Then she turned to the entrance to what could only be an underhill type arrangement. "Let me guess, bad ground."

Tess nodded "Horrible. Lots."

Lisa chimed in "And since they gave us all the leeward islands and shoals but most of them were sanctuaries of one sort of another, logically it was easiest to go down."

Taylor nodded "Runway is a solar panel, both runways, All the runways and taxi ways in the Leewards' now. They let us get away with the wind generators. Hard on the birds, aren't they?"

Cassidy shrugged "Statistically, no harder than trees, whose limbs move too. Plus, water turbines tethered in the currents below where most life exist. Geothermal because all of these are old volcanoes. Power isn't exactly a problem. At least electricity or steam. Selling it to Hawaii as well."

Taylor nodded "So how much area was 'bad ground'?" Tess blushed. Taylor sighed "So a couple hundred million acres which we mined and probably somewhere around ten million acres layer caked."

Tess snorted "A couple million acres layer caked. Maybe five tops, so far, you really don't want to go to deep or fighting the water gets too problematic. Five thousand meters of water develops some pretty serious pressure. Even our ceramacrete has problems with it. Big jelly zone, hundred thirty-five million acres mined and the good stuff stored. Lots of old volcanoes so lots of good stuff. Lots of seamounts just under the surface with missiles and torpedoes on them. We can layer cake those as needed. Or when one of the big states talks trash. Hawaii wants us to work on their islands. They are getting a plan together. Guess they have already had it with big state trash talking. Last iteration I saw was all out. Made the windward part of the chain bigger than Alaska. I dont think they will be able to afford it, they do have a lot of resources stored though even after paying us to stabilize them and do some volcano control work."

Jie nodded "Which is going to make them even more interested in sovereignty as we supply them power generation equipment."

Vicky laughed "Pineapples, coconuts and tourist do not a vibrant, stable, economy make. They will need more ground."

Tess nodded "They have asked about our industrial facilities and how much it would cost to duplicate them."

Taylor frowned "They've got a population of one point four million. They will have the same problem I have, getting enough workers. As far as I know they are sort of prejudiced and only want Hawaiians, they aren't immigration friendly.

"I think they have a much bigger problem than not having facilities."

Jie nodded. "Nail on the head boss lady. The unemployment rate is like eight plus percent, somewhere around a hundred twenty-five thousand people they could put to work, and not affect their other industries, barely enough for all the operations in one of your full up yards with its transportation. One shift of one of your all up yards. We know our yards run three shifts. Some of those processes can't be shut down."

"Their population will increase if they get better return on investment. Then they would have the space and funds." Amy offered.

Stephanie frowned "Living is so easy now. I don't think you can expect much of an upturn in the population growth rate. I mean its not like the infant mortality is higher than the rest of the US. Neither are the work or traffic related fatalities. Really the numbers are the same for them in every category as anywhere else. Including the birthrate per couple being one point five or so. They're in negative real population growth. To be positive they would need to be at least two point something. Takes two to make one after all.

"In the continental US it isn't a problem because immigration, legal and not, replaces that one percent the citizens are running behind in the birthrate. Here, its damn expensive if you don't have space to grow your own vegetables and cereals and fish for proteins, and if you don't already have a support group you better have a damn good job. Really their farms are sort of subsistence plus family holdings. At least what isn't sugar, pineapple, cattle, coffee, and cacao. Oh! Macadamia nuts are big now.

"Though they could do what we do and take some of the abandoned people in the world. Though that is expensive and time consuming. The Abuela are why we are succeeding with that. They run those groups and people we find get integrated into one of the Abuela's clans."

Taylor nodded "OK, come on. We'll talk about it on the way to the baths. We are going to the baths, right? Wait, are there baths here?"

Missy nodded "Boy in the bath remember. Alexander rode down with Lucy." The girls all dawed, rolled their eyes at each other, then laughed.

Danny trailed along with Maria "So finally getting in a bath I guess." Maria gave him a sultry smile. The Hispaniola ship girls all giggled.

Juggernaut huffed. "Cruisers!"