Crisis upon Crisis by David Macfie
Jamie was meeting with the commander to discuss progress on the issues.
“Over the past two weeks,” he said. “I’ve monitored the progress of the twenty two leaders who joined me in solving the crises in the ships returning to Androm. All in all, there have been few issues that required my involvement and those were, fortunately, relatively easy to overcome. The end result is that ninety three ships are now continuing their return to Androm with harmony on board. As you know three ships chose to turn around and they are well on their way back to earth. All in all, the crisis took two and a half weeks to resolve in the affected ships. And to define and initiate the marketing plan to new recruits and start to effectively execute it took another week. So now, by my estimation, we, in ship one, are a bit over two months from Androm and everything seems to be going well again.”
“Your estimate is pretty close,” replied the commander. “And I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome to the immediate crisis. You and your team have done an outstanding job. We had high expectations and you haven’t disappointed us. Now tell me about the other part of the crisis.”
“Thank you for the compliments, commander. Perhaps, soon we should celebrate a job well done.”
“Good idea. I’ll see to it. Now you’ve given me the plug, are you going to tell me the rest?” The commander was grinning from ear to ear as he delivered this response that sounded like a reprimand but clearly wasn’t. Jamie grinned also.
“I suppose I must,” he drawled, dragging the moment out. Then he took pity on the commander, who was beginning to look as if his sense of humor was taking strain.
“My team is heavily involved in the recruitment campaign,” he said. “We’re busy working with the individuals who’ve been identified as candidates for the two hundred and fifty seven ships still to reach earth. eBrochures have been prepared that present details of the impending crisis on Taurus, the project with all its challenges and rewards, and pictures of life on Taurus and on Androm. The content summarizes the teams that are involved and the tasks they’re busy with. We included computer generated images of the way Androm will look when the work is done and finally there is a section with details of the employment options that include both returning to earth once the project is done or, alternatively, settling on Androm.
“That sounds great,” commented the commander. “But how are you approaching the candidates?”
“We start with an email to each member of each pair of candidates It includes the brochure as an attachment. We follow this up with voice calls from members of my team to each individual. We suggest a conference call between them, as a couple, and us so that we can discuss the whole thing. After that, if the couple want it, we take them on a video tour of the ship and suggest Skype calls with me, my team and you. We promise that all questions they ask will be fully answered.”
“I haven’t been in any Skype calls,” said Komando-Ka, with a puzzled frown.
“This is true,” replied Jamie with a grin. “Nobody has asked for that yet. The approach is time consuming, but largely effective. There have been rejections of course, but they have been few as a percentage of the total. Then we’ve just moved on to the next pair of candidates. When this got underway, we told the armada to get going again and gather in orbit round earth. So, by the time groups of ten couples had agreed to join up, there was a ship waiting to pick them up and the flow of recruits to the project began again. This time there have been no problems, since the passengers are all willing and excited and the crews of the ships made sure that the environment on board was conducive of harmony.”
“How many ships from the armada have now turned?”
“We started the program five days ago and the first ship turned two days ago. We’re now targeting a ship a day to get back on track. It’s been hard work but now the other leaders and their teams are getting involved so we’ll probably do better in a short while.”
“That is absolutely excellent,” enthused the commander, getting up to shake Jamie’s hand. “I can’t believe you and your team have managed to achieve so much in such a short time.”
“It’s a great team,” replied Jamie. He looked at Komando-Ka, expecting a response. But the commander was frowning and seemed distracted.
“OK, what’s on your mind?” he asked.
“It’s terrible timing, just after such a triumph from you and your people, but I have to ask for your help again. I won’t beat about the bush. A huge earthquake hit the north-eastern continent of Taurus three days ago. The damage is extensive and hundreds of people have been killed. There is an emergency evacuation under way and the refugees are going to be taken to Androm, where they will be housed in tents, if necessary, for the short term. We’re trying to determine if there is more disaster to come or not. But, assuming the worst, we have to prepare for this evacuation, perhaps, to be permanent, and so we have to develop and execute a plan for proper housing and sustainable food sources for about four thousand at the last estimate.”
A bit later Jamie came into his quarters where Jenny was hard at work.
“I shouldn’t have relaxed,” he said, with a sour face.
“What?” came the reply, from Jenny, who was clearly thinking about something else.
“I said, I shouldn’t have relaxed,” repeated Jamie, with just a hint of tension in his voice.
“Are you listening to me?”
“No. I’m sorry. I was thinking about a problem on my part of the project,” answered Jenny. “OK, I really am sorry. Why shouldn’t you have relaxed?”
“I just heard from the commander. There’s been a disaster on Taurus. We have been asked to help. I’ve called a meeting of the team with the commander and his people for us to get started. It starts in fifteen minutes, so let’s go.”
“I’ll be ready in two minutes,” said Jenny, looking shaken.
The couple hurried to the meeting rooms next to the large training venue, where they found the other humans, milling about, and all talking at once.
“Settle down, people,” ordered Jamie crisply. The team quieted and looked at him expectantly. He filled them in on the details and the task required of them.
“So get your thinking caps on. The Taurians will be here in five,” he finished, checking his watch.
The commander and his leaders arrived one minute early and the meeting was convened.
“The situation has worsened,” announced Komando-Ka, wasting no time. “Secondary quakes have hit the same area, with more casualties and more refugees. We are up to close to five thousand now. The only good news is that this isn’t a very highly populated area so the maximum number of evacuees shouldn’t exceed eight thousand. I’m sure Jamie has explained why we are here. It’s a sort of compliment, in a way. It seems that we have become the ‘go to guys’. I’ve told you before, I think, that Taurians are not good at coping with crises. We’ve been stable for so long, you see. So what do you think? Can we develop a plan?”
“Of course we can,” replied Gillian, immediately assuming the project manager role. “We have to prepare the following infrastructure. First, the accommodation. Peter will deal with that. Second we need water and sewage for the settlement that we will build. That will also be handled by Peter, since it is part of creating the settlement. Third we need power that Peter can utilize. The generation infrastructure and power distribution will be created by George and Elizabeth, although they will rely a lot on Peter and the engineering team to get things built. Fourth, obviously, Brian and Amy will design the hospital and Peter will manage the construction, while our two medics and their colleagues are training staff for it, from the refugee community. Finally we must consider feeding all these people. That will be down to Robert and Laura. I will assume overall responsibility for this project.”
“I’m impressed,” said the commander, with a grin of huge proportions. “So sure and so concise. But you made it sound so easy. Surely it can’t be?”
“No, it’s not,” smiled Peter. “Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s a shit-load of work. And we have to develop an idea for rapid construction of homes, a hospital and other necessary structures that are robust, comfortable, energy efficient and somewhat stylish. And the challenge is that we have to come up with the approach yesterday, since the refugees will start to arrive in days or weeks, I’m not really sure.”
“I’ve been doing some calculations,” offered Tipanapo-Zu. Our two planets are about the same distance apart as your Mars and Venus. That is to say about a hundred and twenty million kilometers. Your fastest airliners travel at a maximum speed of around a thousand kilometers an hour so the trip would take them about fourteen years. Our interplanetary transports can do the same trip in a month. That’s the time we have to get ready.”
“Then we’re going to need all the help we can get,” said Jamie quietly. “The logistics will be a bit tricky since we still have the recruiting to do. I’m going to bring the other twenty three ships into the team. Commander, we have a month and we, in this ship, are two months away from Androm. Can we assume that all the resources we need will be available on Androm in the meantime?”
“If you can tell me what you need, I will make sure that our fastest transports move whatever is not already on the planet to get there soonest.”
“Then the first thing we have to do,” said Peter, decisively. “Is to decide where to build the settlement to take the best advantage of work already completed. Then we need to create a site map of the development, with details of all the required services infrastructures. We should plan for the worst and cater for eight thousand. Do we have any details of the make-up of the refugees in terms of family units?”
“Not at the moment,” answered Sandaro-Ji. “But I will have them for you in a couple of days.”
“Thank you,” replied Peter. “My next priority is to come up with a construction blueprint that gives us the ability to cater for the needs with robust, but stylish buildings that can be manufactured and erected in short order. They must be functional, energy efficient, comfortable and at least as good as what these people are used to. So can we have some details of what they have been living in before the quakes?”
“I have some contacts that can arrange that,” responded Tipanapo-Zu. “It’ll take a couple of days.”
“Fine. Thanks,” replied Peter. “That’s all, from me, for now, so I suggest we adjourn and get busy.”