Change by design, p.1
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       Change by Design, p.1

           Catrina Taylor
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Change by Design
Change by Design

  Copyright Catrina Taylor 2012

  Published by The Writing Network

  All Rights Reserved

  Edited by Jason Dodge

  Cover Designed by The Writing Network


  License Statement

  This ebook is intended for your enjoyment. The story within is entirely fictional and any resemblance to events outside the confines of this book are purely coincidental. This book may not be resold, or copied in any manner (digital or otherwise) without consent of the publisher, author or their representative.  If you would like to share this book with another individual, you are requested to purchase an additional copy for that reader.  If you would like to purchase either a gift copy or a copy for yourself, please visit your favorite online retailer.

  Thank you for respecting the hard work of the author.

  She sat in the cafeteria, listening to several people talk about the new changes coming to the design structure. The more she listened, the less she wanted to be involved. It wasn't uncommon for the military to seek out psionic defenses. It also wasn't uncommon for them to target psionic minds to achieve a goal, but this new ship... the new plans were more than she wanted to be a part of. The work they wanted done would only serve to injure the psionics involved. There were so many other areas they could be focusing on but weren't, and aren't. Designs had to be created to work with the goals of the meeting, but she found herself tired of dealing with those who didn't and don't want to understand the ramifications of their choices.

  Finally her director looked at her, “Kei, what do you think of the goals? Are they doable?”

  She sat up a little straighter, “Yea, they are, but we still don't know what it'll do to the soldiers we put into this thing.”

  “They are psionic soldiers. They know why they are being recruited. This is just a project we're designing for their group. We'll let life trials determine final results.”The director turned to the nearest soldier, “How many psionics have you recruited for this corps?”

  The man with sandy colored hair answered, “The psionic corps is officially twenty days old and we have a handful of impressive psionic soldiers and many more average strength and ability.”

  “So, not many for pre-life trial testing?”

  “Not many, yet ma'am.”

  The director turned back to Kei, “We all know your concerns. They are understandable. And as we would with the general population of our military, we would pretest the equipment and ship, but it's not a reasonable option given the current situation.”

  Kei leaned back in her chair with a frown evident, “Right.”

  The director returned to the meeting and specified the additional unique requests for this vessel. Once the meeting concluded, Kei walked back to her office. She was among the most experienced ship and weapons designers among the team, but she was nearing the end of her rope with this director. Her thoughts and emotions around the project left her distracted. She was tired of watching untested, underdeveloped technology being sent out to be tested in the field. She was overcome by frustration at the vast number of psionic specified items that were coming back for redesign because they killed or partially paralyzed otherwise healthy soldiers. She didn't want to be a part of it any longer.

  As she sat behind her desk, she reviewed the files before her. Nearly the entirety of the equipment being requested for the new ship was psionic targeted. She was glad to see that the long term habitation modifications were going to be implemented in this vessel. Limiting the number of resupply trips would be helpful to the crew of this new ship riddled with experimental technology. She was also pleased to see the new transwarp tunneling engines and appropriate shielding were being installed. Much of the new designs were already in development, but the psionic modifications were taking time. She was hopeful they would get a better understanding of the psionic lobe in the process.

  Her thoughts were interrupted by an old fashioned knock at the door. “Come in. It's not locked.”

  The sandy haired soldier entered her office. “Do you have a moment?”

  She pushed the data tablets aside, “Yeah, sure.” Gesturing to the chair in front of her desk she added, “Please, sit down soldier.”

  The younger man moved to and sat in the chair, “Thank you ma'am.”

  “How can I help you?”

  “It's not me you can help. I just wanted to say that I'm grateful there's a psionic on this project, as part of the design team.”

  Kei's face paled. She heard the beating of her greater heart overtaking all other sounds, “What makes you think I'm psionic?”

  He turned his head down, realizing she hadn't opened the fact to common knowledge, “I'm sorry. I'm... I just noticed that you leave a psionic impression. One like that of an astro-projector.”

  Kei leaned back in her chair, folded her arms and glared at the soldier in the chair, “Nothing of the sort. I have no idea what equipment you're using, but it's wrong.”She paused before asking, “What's your name, rank and position with this project?”

  “I'm PFC Dak Palrion, ma'am and my position is project and recruit liaison. I am to communicate with all aspects of the teams involved and report back to the senate oversight.”

  “Well, PFC Palrion, I outrank you. Don't suggest something derogatory to your superiors. I'll make sure the senate has the safest and best possible ship, for as long as I'm a part of this project. Nothing more and nothing less.” Kei's tone was frustrated and even.

  “Understood, ma'am. Thank you for your time, ma'am.” He stood and walked to the door,“Your support is appreciated.”

  As the door closed behind the soldier, Kei took a deep breath. Letting it out slowly, she asked out loud,“How in Xenonia did he learn that? Shaking her head, she returned to her work.

  The coming months of the new ship project yielded additional frustrations for Kei Salin. More minor designs came back with problems. More soldiers were injured or killed because of overuse of the psionic lobe. Finally, having heard the last story she could stomach, Commander Kei Salin marched into her director's office with a data tablet in hand. She demanded. “Permission to speak freely.”

  The director sat upright in her chair and looked directly into Commander Salin's eyes, “Granted.” Her jaw set as she waited for what she knew would be fire from her chief designer.

  Kei slammed the data tablet down on the desk, “Why don't we have a designer in the field? Why are these kids dying when we could prevent it? Why are we sending technology that's not ready out to the field?”

  “Kei, we're doing everything we can. The military wants the equipment, we need to supply it. There isn't a question about production. You and your team design it. Turim's team constructs your designs and we make sure they are sent to the military engineers for implementation or the shipyards for construction addition.” The director folded her arms, “The number of those lost is a regretful part of the process, but this psionic corps issue is still new. A review board is determining the best approach to minimizing the issues that are arising.”

  “You know what needs to be done. We can't send these kids out there with equipment and design flaws. Turnaround is not the priority.” Kei's anger blazed clear in her words, stature and movements. “We need someone who can act to do something. Get us someone on the ships, at the very least. Get a member of my team on every ship and we'll at least be able to act in the moment, and maybe save some of these kids.”

  “They are just psionics. That kind of implementation and movement would cost the team more than we can manage or budget for. Just drop it Kei.” The director dismissively pushed the data tablet aside, “Maybe you should take a break. Take a couple of days Kei
. Think about your position here, what you want to do or see done. Maybe the board will hear you, when you've calmed and returned.”

  Angered by the dismissive tone of the lives lost, Kei Salin snatches the data tablet from her director's table, “I won't need to think about it. I'll just clear my desk now. Find another experienced designer to review and approve your hideous developments. I'm going to explain the situation to the senate myself. Your lazy mass production won't continue to kill these soldiers.”

  As Kei turned to walk out the door, “I'll give you a week, Commander. If you're of the same disposition, I'll arrange your court martial for insubordination.”

  She stormed out of the office and down the hall to her office. Fuming, Commander Salin moved around her desk and gathered several items before leaving. On her way out of the building, she was angrily distracted enough to physically run into the senate liaison officer. Helping him back up she apologized, “I am distracted by the latest reports. I'm sorry, PFC.”

  PFC Palrion smiled slightly, “It's not a problem. I know how distracting the reports are. More so when I think about how many I handpicked for the program. I was just coming to check on the progress of the safety implementations.”

  Kei shrugged, “Don't ask me. Check with the director. She's got all the answers. I'm getting off this project.”

  Immediately PFC Palrion frowned,
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