"Regular maintenance?" Marcus asked casually and the taller of his Orfies ran off ahead of the group.
"No sir." I answered. I knew it would have to be told sooner or later. "Orfies are not the only living creatures on this planet."
"How many others?" He stopped at the elevator door.
"At least five that we know about." I started as we entered the elevator and waited until the Orfies were inside. I pushed the button to go down to the commons area. "But three of those are insects that live topside."
"And the other two?"
"One is a sort of worm, rather small though."
"We aren't sure. Its only been seen by a few people."
"So what do any of these others have to do with maintenance?"
"It's the little worms. They like hydraulic oils."
"All of this information or I mean all the information you have is in the lab computers."
"I don't think so." I admitted. "The worms and the other one were only discovered recently. I know Charles was trying to find out more on the worms, but you'd have to talk to him or maybe someone in engineering or mining group about the latest one."
The elevator stopped and we opened the door to go out into the tunnel to the commons. Jesse signaled us over to a table.
"After I gave Bert the list of what was needed, I located some safe wires for him to use between his quarters and the ship. There was just too much static for a clear signal in case he needs to answer incoming calls." Jesse informed Marcus as we sat down at the table. The Orfies took off to where others were gathered in a far corner.
I laughed. "They sure enjoy those balls you found." I watched for a minute as my own group of Orfies looked back before joining the larger group.
"I think they've been watching the kids play with them." Jesse smiled. "See how they've changed their objectives."
I looked over to where the group had split into two distinct sides and were moving an empty container to the center. "It's not quite what the kids do, but looks like it works." I watched as first one side tried to toss a ball into the container, then the other side.
"Food may not be what you are used to eating." Jesse said as they brought around a platter of raw fruits followed by some covered containers. "But it's nutritious."
I took a small apple from the platter, and then filled my bowl with hot soup. "This is gonna have to cool a bit."
"Justis was telling me about the worm problem."
Jesse looked over, shrugged and finished his orange slice. "They can be a problem at times. The Orfies usually take care of any they find, but even they miss a few."
"How long have the worms been a problem?"
"Not really sure." Jesse answered.
"There are notes in my office about dealing with them shortly after the second generation started working, but they weren't exactly sure what had caused the few problems. They thought it was age and maybe some of the more toxic ores that were being dug." I answered. "According to the arbitor's reports when they found it was worms, they voted to use some poison and it seemed to solve the problem."
"Then this was before you found the Orfies." Marcus said.
"Yes sir." I answered.
Marcus jotted some notes on his disc. "These fresh fruits are a treat. We don't get very many when traveling. They don't keep well in storage."
"I think these apples are the first of the new crops." I said as I tasted the still hot soup.
"I was not aware of greenhouse allocations for trees." Marcus said as he finished his bowl of soup. "This does have a unique taste."
"These came from the topside greenhouse and are really not tall trees." I started to explain. "When the group before ours discovered they could build a greenhouse topside that would be tall enough for the dwarf fruit trees, they voted to do so."
"Topside, that's several mentions you've made referring to them."
"Anything above mine level is called topside." Jesse said as he finished his soup.
"So who takes care of the greenhouses?"
"The older generations who decided to remain here," I answered. "They also help in the learning centers. The outgoing council group set it up by vote, so those who stayed could continue to work and stay with their Orfies." I handed my empty bowl down to Jesse to put on the stack.
"Hmm. I think I have a lot to learn that is not in any of my notes about this planet." Marcus said as he added his empty bowl to the stack.
"You have a map to all the tunnels and work stations." I said as I stood up. "Its my rest time."
"Yes, yes." Marcus said as he got up from the table. "I can find the quarters and get set up."
"Your orfies will help." Jesse said. "Just tell them the quarters name and they will lead you there if your disc quits working. We have some areas in these tunnels where those discs don't always work properly. Metal ya know."
Marcus nodded. "I will see you later then."
"Well I am on my two day break time, but you can contact me if you need to." I answered.
"Oh ok." Marcus looked down at his Orfies.
We watched as he left the commons with his three Orfies. Jesse smiled. "The twins are off to do their greenhouse lessons, and Paulie has taken over in programming."
I grinned as I took his hand and we headed toward our quarters. Our six Orfies would see to it we were undisturbed.