"Sorry sir, but you cannot take them into space." I looked at him. "The law prohibits the transportation of pets or indigenous intelligent life forms without their consent."
"Justis, I represent the Company."
"Yes sir, and its Company law."
"Hmm we will have to see about changing that law as well." Marcus turned to Zeke. "You need to see what you can salvage from the lab equipment discs about our Orfies."
"I believe Charles is on duty at the lab." I said looking at the daily roster. "He will get the boxes of what we were able to recover after the cave-in."
"He?" Zeke started. "Yes the embryo units. But obviously your generation came from the units."
"Yes sir." I said as I looked around the ever-crowding office. "The units were damaged around the time the programming began for our group. Our immediate predecessors were able to keep most of the units functioning until we had matured sufficiently to be safely removed."
"Yes but that would have been ..." Zeke stared. "What about higher learning functions - the education programs?"
"One of the elders managed to rig learning helmets to complete most of the education." Jesse explained. "That's why the learning center was established to provide our children with needed education."
Bert stood by the door. "Jesse if you have a list of what we'll need, I can transmit that information to headquarters." "Best have it delivered by robots only." Marcus said looking at his disc. "Until we have this Orfie situation understood, it would be best not to have other humans land here." He paused. "And do not mention the Orfies."
"Wasn't planning to mention the Orfies." Bert acknowledged.
I waited at my desk until Bert, Jesse and Zeke and their Orfies had left. I looked at the keyboard and began to enter the days events into the logs. Marcus seemed to be concentrating on something on his disc unit. My Orfies were getting acquainted with the new group, their low orfiee sounds were barely audible.
Try as I might I could not find any rules to cover planet visitors, or any rules or protocols as to Company personnel. Was I still in charge, or were they?
"Justis, I see by my information that very few of your predecessors left the planet?" He looked at his disc.
'Strange this never came to our attention.' He muttered and then looked up. "Yes I see there were a few, but they never mentioned the Orfies."
"Rules sir." I reminded him. "Those who left went through proper mind erasure of all knowledge including information about the Orfies. They were reprogrammed according to Company needs."
"Yes, but what about the ones who did not leave? Where are they?"
"They are still here." I hesitated, not quite sure how much to tell him. They had somewhat violated Company rules to stay when their time had expired.
Marcus shook his head and put the disc unit back into his case. "It appears we will be here for an extended time, while I figure out what can be done about this situation." "Yes sir." I agreed. "I'm sure we can find appropriate quarters for you while you are here." I gave a mental sigh, at least that was something we could do. "There are several empty units. I'll get someone from maintenance to get them ready."
Bert walked back into the office. "Equipment to make the needed repairs to the landing field will be here within a few days."
"They didn't say anything about just sending robots?"
"No sir, I ah," Bert grinned. "I told them we had enough people here to operate the equipment and didn't need more than a couple of robots to help with installations."
Marcus nodded. "Justis said there are quarters we can use while we are here, but I want you to stay in the shuttle until the equipment arrives."
"They don't like going into the shuttle." Bert said looking at his Orfies. "They stayed outside while I was in. They seemed upset until I came back out."
"Maybe we can rig up a speaker system to alert you if there are incoming messages?" Marcus looked at me.
I looked at existing maps. "Yes, I believe you could stay at this unit." I showed Bert an unoccupied unit on the lower level. "I believe the electrical staff can accommodate you."
"What about those communicators in the storage area?" Marcus asked.
"Yes, I forgot we still had those." Bert smiled. "I'll see what range they have if I can get someone from the staff to help."
"Will have someone meet you on lower level." I said as I punched in the code on the counsel. "Our inner communications still work." I explained. "It was just the Intra-Stellar com that won't work."
"I'll get right on that." Bert said leaving once more.
I looked at the map again. "There's only one other unit on first level that can be occupied."
Marcus looked at the map. "I see there are several over here." He pointed to a level three group."
"They are quite a ways from headquarters. I assumed you'd rather..."
"No no, this is your domain Justis. I'm sure Zeke will want a place close to the lab area, and these seem to be close enough. I don't need anyplace special. Though I will have to get to the store rooms for something a bit more appropriate to wear while I look over the work being done and see if there is anything else needed here."
"Either of these two will give you a central location, and this one is larger and has room for desks if you need them." I pointed to some units on this floor.
Marcus looked at the map. "This one should be just fine." He pointed to the one I had recommended.
"Orfie orfie" one of my three cried out. I looked over to the door to see Karl and his three Orfies. My three were surrounded his littlest Orfie.
"Afternoon Linn, sorry I'm a bit late ..." He started.
I smiled. "Well I see why." I looked at the smallest of his trio.
"Ya arrived about an hour ago." He grinned. "I tried to buzz you."
"Karl Reeves - this is Marcus.." I started. "He and his crew arrived earlier." I was glad to see Karl acknowledge the company badges and nod.
"Reeves," Marcus greeted.
"Yes, sir." Karl answered. "Right gender, wrong education program." He explained.
Marcus nodded and turned back to the map. "I see the commons light is on, perhaps we should get something to eat and then you can show me these quarters."
"I'll buzz Jesse to meet us there." I walked back over to my desk. I coded the message to Jesse then turned to Karl. "Engineer group eight is still downside. Make sure they get extra rations sent down. They are not planning to come topside until they are sure the supports are stable."
Karl looked at the reports. "What about ... oh I see they are finished with that one. No problems then?"
"No." I answered. "Everything was settled earlier this morning. You can set up new schedule for tomorrow." I turned and started to walk to the door. "Oh be sure to buzz Lexi and let her know about your little one she was worried."
"Will do." Karl promised.
I removed my badge and put it into my pocket. "We will have to use the alternate route to the commons. They are still doing the repair work on the 'J' elevators."
"Orfies?" Marcus asked.
"Not this time sir." I answered as we walked down the tunnel to the elevators.