I had planned a regular feature of Shipyard Journals to be released in small episodic installments on an earlier version of my blog. This journal would cover the time while the Jakob Waltz was being assembled at the Ceres Alpha shipyard. I intended to use it to explain some of the details of the ship and I liked the character of Lukas Rodriguez that I created as the Shipyard Master.
I wanted to include more of him in the the mainline of the story but he nearly got edited out entirely as I had to pare down what was originally a 150K epic tome. As it ended up, he appears in only one scene, and is referenced in several other places … including a bit of backstory that exists between him and Admiral Nakamiru that ties the two of them to another major event in the history of the Union.
This journal entry was also the first time I wrote anything in the pidgin speak patter of “slango” and it was something I really wanted to keep in the final version. My concept was that it would be a “dock worker” shorthand and that it would be common in casual conversation in much the same way that some of the “val-speak” and “Spanglish” speech patterns have infiltrated mainstream American English.
Those that pay attention will also notice there’s a reference to Seva Johansen in there… she was actually one of the characters that stayed with the story through all its incarnations, even though she was mostly a supporting player in the bigger picture.
Ceres Alpha Shipyard
Operations log: Lukas Rodriguez
“Orders came this morning to prep fabrication berth A-5 for a new keel. Don’t know much about what we be building, other than it be a custom-designed, medium hull. A-5 is always holding for large transports or ice haulers, so it seem odd they’d assign a big berth to the project.
“Sent no specifications other than estimated total mass and fab-power loads. I expect they be sending detailed juice in few weeks, but in the nowtime I’m supposed to torque up the shops and staff the pods.
“I hate when they give me no data, but I been thirty-seven years doing this shit, you think I be used to it.
“The only thing interesting to grab from the file is that the ship will be chartered under the name of Jakob Waltz. I scanned the nodes to see if it cough me out an idea what we be building. Only hit is Waltz was the name of a hard rock prospector from the old American Southwest. He pulled a line of bad luck for a lot of years tils he struck rich in a place called the Superstition Mountains. Don’t know much about the old west, since the area’s burnt wasteland now.
“Seems odd they’d name something after this flatch. Story says he be fruity as a poundcake and ended up lost in the mountains along with his goldmine.
“Don’t know if that’s the right story for who they’re naming this barge after, but if it’s a clue as to what this new keel will be, then maybe it does float. Why we be building something this big to do what we’ve done with robots for the last hundred years? Prospecting with people is a no thinkin’ idea, but maybe that’s why they named it after The Lost Dutchman.
“Team-Rigger Tandu didn’t show for shift. Not like him to be hung so bad from a night bingeing to miss his duty. Problem be, that his crew all tell about him getting into a pissing contest with the Valkyrie-Bitch Johansen last night.
“I’d hate thinking she vented Tandu, he was a pretty straight crewrunner, but damn clear had no idea when to shut his windhole. You don’t pick a goto with a two-meter heavy-worlder. Damn Meso can make your arms into origami.
“She be working all normal today running a podshuttle over in Fab-8, so maybe I need to call Sec in and have them yak at her a bit. She be a pretty real handful when she gets wound up, and I don’t want to be trying to hammer with her.
“We’ll call them in and have them push her buttons. No way this one’s not going to stink deep.
“End File. Store to records.”