“Cookin” he explained as he laid out the ingredients “is a lot like manufacturin T2 stuff.”
His audiences was his crew chiefs from the planetary installations in the system. Most of them had never met an ‘owner’ before and wondered what the hell was going on. They looked from on to another and then shrugged and went back to drinking the free booze. The podder grinned and stepped back from the table to explain.
“First ting is ya gots to have a recipe, ta know what you is makin. In this case, say we is makin a Warrior II” He nodded at one man on the far side who was frowning.
“How do you decide what to make?”
“Good question. Most times it depends on what blueprints are available and what I can invent. T2 is not just buy the prints and go, they have to go through a sub research process. But I already done all that, so assume it is setup ahead of time, kinda like this pastry here. I made it in advance so it don’t slow tings down.” Mike started to roll the pastry out as he spoke. “Now before I start cookin I makes sure I gots all the ingredients ready. Gots the meat, the veggies, the spices and condiments all bought and measured ahead of time so that I don’t have to run off and buy things in the middle of cookin. Doin that is a waste of time and can ruin a meal. Same thing goes for making T2 stuff. Before I start the factories I gots to make sure that I have the right things on hand.”
Same guy asked. “How do you know what you need?”
“I look at the recipe. Both for this and for the Warrior.
This here is the recipe for a warrior. I set it up earlier, just like the pastry. Now ya see, mineral wise, it don’t take much at all. 2 units of Morphite and that is it. It is the EXTRA stuff that makes it interesting, There is where the spices and flavours come in. Ya notice anyting special bout dem?”
“Guidance systems and Robotics. They are planetary products.” This from an older man in the middle, but a bunch of others were nodding as well.
“Riiiight. Stuff you do is a crucial part of stuff I do when I is making tings.” As Mike spoke the meal had been coming together, chopped onions and spices had joined meat in a pan and now was being wrapped in the pastry and set into a wire basket. “Now some folks like to just be part of the final step of a process. I like to understand the whole ting so I know where this meat came from. I visited the farm where these onions were grown. I may not have a complete track on all the spices but I know their sources and quality control well enough to know I ain’t adding anyting extra, like bugs or rat droppins. I like ta take care of what comes and goes through my systems.” The basket dropped into a pot of hot oil with a muted roar.
“So I makes sure all the materials be in the hanger. I makes sure the hanger be someplace where there is factory floor space that ain’t being monopolized by someone else. Then I set the order in and click a few buttons here and there and the little warrior will be ought before y’all finish eatin.” Mike brought the meatrolls out and dropped them onto beds of salad waiting for them. Small dishes of sauces were waiting for one side and he gestured. “Go on, dig in. First batch be still hot and another batch is on the way.”
As they ate the older one asked. “You make much profit on Warriors?”
Mike laughed. “Nah, I just used that as an example. But the steps are the same for damn near anyting. Takes a lot of research and calculations to find something that will sell, that I can make, and that makes a profit. But unless the universe if full of poor fools, most tings are made and someone is making a profit on them somewhere.”
“Wouldn’t be so fast to rule out foolishness.” The man grumbled.
“True enough, we both have to deal with our fair share of them.” Mike laughed and scooped another set of rolls to as bowl.
The man paused and looked at Mike like there was another question.
“Go ahead. Ask whatever, tonight this is Liberty Hall.”
“Why?” The hand swept back to take in the room but then swung again to take in the hangers beyond. “You don’t have to do all this. We boith know you could buy a property on any planet and settle down but you work, you research, you leartn again and a again, just so you can work some more. I saw that slide and read it closer than the guys who were looking at the materials. I saw the levels of training you needed and every damn one was ticked off. And you don’t even plan on making the damn things.”
“There is overlap of skills.” Mike objected.
“If this was a game you would be accused of not playing it right. You seem to do a bit of everything well enough to get by but . . . ” He stopped, taking in Mikes smile. “Not even the industry side is a serious venture for you, is it? Are we all just toys?”
Mikes smile dropped from his face. “No. That is why you all are here. I am putting faces to names. People to projects. I am bad at a lot of things, combat with other capsuleers, industry, invention, market combat. But I finally found the one thing I like doing, what I like to think I have a modicum of talent for.” He left the sentence hang there as he returned to cooking and feeding and eating and drinking with the crew chiefs. In the end it was a great party.
The next morning a Warrior II was delivered to the hanger.
As always I welcome correction/comments
There is no mystery to manufacture. Lots of button clicking, yes, but no mystery.
The hard part (and the real secrets) is finding something you can make that people want to buy and that has a decent profit margin after all is said and done. In a week or three I will write the last of the skipping steps series and talk about marketing what I make.
A shade over 2 weeks till Rubicon. That is long enough to have one more comment for ships run with the next few posts, this one included.
fly it like you won it