Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome – Chapter 5 Excerpt

Astrid Maxxim 2Just after five, she pulled her phone from her pocket and called Mrs. Purcell, the office manager.

“What do you need, Astrid?”

“Can you get both Mr. Gortner and Mrs. Trent from Production for me?”

Mr. Gortner was first on the line.

“Good afternoon, Astrid,” he said. “You caught me just as I was leaving.”

“Well, I don’t want to keep you; just one quick question. Do we have a supply of hydrophobic sand on site?”

“I’m sure we have some. How much do you need?”

“I’d like about a hundred pounds, if possible.”

“I’ll have it sent over first thing tomorrow.”

“Thanks, Mr. Gortner,” said Astrid. “And how is the battery facility coming?”

He laughed. “Don’t be too impatient, Astrid. We won’t even break ground till next month.”

Seconds after Astrid said goodbye to Mr. Gortner, Mrs. Trent was on the line.

“How is the hoverbike production going?” asked Astrid.

“We’re producing 200 a day,” replied Mrs. Trent. “Nobody seems to know how many we need though. Some of our accounts people are predicting an initial order of 10,000. But I think it could be ten times that many.”

“Well, I have a couple of other things that I need,” said the girl inventor. “I want to build a second undersea dome, with thicker Astridium panels. I’ll send you the measurements tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d appreciate it if you could send me a hundred pounds of ground Astridium.”

“I can send you all the ground material you want,” said Mrs. Trent. “I can just grind up some parts that aren’t up to spec. As for building another dome, Astrid, I’m afraid that’s out of the question.”

“What?”

“We don’t have the capacity or the man-hours. I’ve got to finish this run of hoverbikes, and then your father has three different projects waiting in the queue. His work takes priority.”

“Oh, um, all right,” said Astrid.

She ended the call and stuffed the phone back into her pocket.

“Are you still here, Astrid?” Mr. Brown stepped into the lab.

“Yes, I’m here.”

“What’s the matter, Astrid?”

“Um, nothing. Why?”

“You look like somebody just shot your dog.”

Astrid laughed. “Nothing that horrible. I’m just not used to not getting my way. I guess I’m spoiled.”

“You are the least spoiled girl I know,” he replied smiling. “What are you not getting your way about?”

“Oh, nothing.”

“Are you working on something new?” he asked.

“I was thinking about how hydrophobic sand was originally designed to clean up oil spills, and I thought that ground Astridium might work equally well. And since we might have extra after making hoverbikes, it could be repurposed to help the environment.”

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