A Free Online Science Fiction Novel- “Liberty”- Chapter 29
A short prologue is in chapter one. Each chapter has a link to the next to make reading it easier.
This is chapter twenty-nine of Liberty, A Daughter Universe Novel
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Billy re-entered the hotel through the rear entrance, the fire escape door. He had chocked it so it would not close and lock while he checked for exterior mechanical problems with the satellite’s receiver connections.
“Nothing outside is broken,” he told his father, Jack Donahoe. “I checked the main box and atrium connections, there’re all good. Nothing’s broken here. There must be something wrong with the satellite.”
The hotel’s glass-enclosed atrium had twenty-four ribs that served as the power receiver for a part of the hotel and transceiver service for anyone in or near Liberty. Billy had climbed up and down a ladder twenty-four times to examine every connection.
Jack looked at his son thoughtfully for a moment. He knew that if Billy said the equipment is good, then it is good. Billy was his ‘go-to’ person for anything pertaining to electrical, communications, and especially computer issues. “I was afraid you’d tell me that. I’d say we just call for satellite maintenance, but…”
“The satellite is the only phone out of the valley.”
Billy’s father just nodded. “There’s never been any reason to think we’d lose satellite service, of all things. At the next town hall, I’m going to suggest getting a backup of some sort in case we lose the sat link again. Any ideas on what to suggest?”
Billy thought for a moment. “I don’t know. I guess a second satellite would work, in case the one we have goes out again. But they’re real expensive. A lot more than the one we have cost.”
Jack Donahue smiled. “Expensive, Billy, is good, in this case. Tax season is coming up and if we had to lose the satellite it couldn’t have come at a better time. The town needs a big expenditure, and a new satellite just might do the trick. What we have isn’t exactly the latest model, anyway,” he said, with a nod toward the sky.
“Strange it’s not working, though. It’s rare for a Quantum Corp satellite to go bad, and QCore updated it with a new operating system.”
Jack gave Billy a friendly slap on the back and laughed. “Maybe the universe is telling us it’s time to replace that one. Nothing happens without a reason.” Jack Donahoe had always believed that the universe worked for the best for everyone, first impressions are usually right, there are no ‘coincidences’ and that ‘gut’ feelings, hunches, should be followed. That had always worked in his life so tried to follow wherever the universe led him. After Billy’s mother died in an accident when they lived in the city, Jack Donahoe bought the hotel so Billy could grow up anywhere other than the city. His former in-laws held ownership shares in the LVP and gave it to Jack so he could buy the hotel and move to the Liberty Valley Preserve.
Without the satellite, their family suite wouldn’t have power, but that would not be a big issue in June weather and Mr. Donahoe had kept as much of the original hotel as possible; he had many antiques, glass oil lamps. Billy would miss his online computer courses and daily view into the outside world, but he felt missing a few days would make no difference. From what Billy could see, city life was boring: everyone followed unseen rules, and did the same thing every day, day after day after day. Billy had been three-years old when they moved to Liberty.
Despite all the people and lights and activity in the city, as far as Billy could tell, nothing new ever happened.
“Thanks, son,” Jack said and put his hand on Billy’s shoulder. “I guess we’ll do without for now. You can catch up on your studies next week. Everything’s caught up here, so you have a free day.”
Billy smiled. “I’m going to Charlie’s. He has 2D games that don’t need a connection. Butch and Brandon are probably ever there, too.” Billy turned, left with a wave, and headed to Charlie’s house. But without the ‘net, Billy intended to stay outside.
“Hey guys,” Billy said when he walked into Charlie’ house, to acknowledgment they saw him enter. A vid show was on. Billy sat down, then, “Y’all want to go to the bunkers?” he asked, looking at Charlie. If he wanted to go, Brendon and Butch would, too. Not a lot else to do, anyway. “Yeah, let me tell my mom I’m leaving...” Charlie said and was to the kitchen and back in a few minutes.
“I found out why they’re called bunkers,” Billy said.
“It’s because they’re the outlets for the drainage tunnels,” Butch replied.
“That’s what I thought, too,” Charlie said.
“Okay Billy, I’ll bite. Why are they called “the bunkers”? Brandon asked.
“Because they were used by soldiers in a war hundreds of years ago. They kept cannons there, aimed across the ravine to the mountainside. It gave the soldiers the high ground. A good way to defend the town. The tunnels were used to carry ammunition and supplies to the men when they were fighting.”
“That’s cool,” Butch said, picturing being there, using a rifle. He had seen some very old 2D “movies” and especially liked the black and white “Westerns”; the cowboys and Indians type were his favorites. Those movies became common to watch when at Butch’s and they sometimes played Cowboys and Indians in the woods around town.
“And those brick arches that overlook the ravine don’t make sense for drainage; the water doesn’t even go through there. It goes out the culvert to the filter pond.”
“That would explain why the floors are mostly flat; for carts to haul stuff from town and back without being seen by the enemy,” Charlie said.
“Yeah, and those tunnels go everywhere under the town, and to some houses just outside of it, too. I’ve been here all my life and water never got high enough to need the kind of tunnels we have,” Butch said with a shrug. “They’re called drainage tunnels, so I never really thought about them. Just that we’re not supposed to be in them because they might collapse on us.”
“But if the tunnels were built for war,” Brandon said, “they make more sense and those brick columns added in the ‘drainage’ tunnels would be to help hold up the ceiling.”
“I brought a flashlight,” Charlie said. “They sound like more fun, now, we can explore them farther.”
“My wrist-com is charged up. I can use the light on that, too,” Billy said.
“Same here,” Butch and Brandon said and showed their arms.
“I’ll have my comm record where we go. Maybe we get a map drawn up in the computer.”
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This was originally posted on Simily.co
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About the Creator
I enjoy a quiet retirement with my life partner and our three dogs.
It is the little joys in life that matter.
I write fiction and some nonfiction.
A student of life, the flow of the Tao leads me on this plane of existence.
Spirit is Life.
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