Before Hans could reach the professor’s tent there was a hair-raising shriek emitted from it. “Eureka! I haf found it! I haf found where to dig for the copper!”
Hans began to run up the path. The old man’s timing could not be better! With useful work to do the men should settle down. At least he hoped so since he really didn’t have any intention of shooting at anyone, let alone hitting him. Hans laughed in relief!
“Herr professor! Herr professor! Is it true? We can start with the mining now?”
The professor grunted smugly. “You seemed to be in need of some, shall we say, assistance, so I came to your aid.”
Hans looked puzzled.
“Ja, I put my head out of the tent more often than you think.
“Yes! I am so happy now. The men are more and more unruly. But now there is some useful work to be done. Now they will be busy and not have time for the mischief!”
“Indeed.” He peered over his glasses at the younger man. “Yes, it is high time that we started.” He pointed at the geological survey maps spread over the camp-desk before him. “Here und here. I knew the copper veins must be here. I know for certain now. Here they shall start the digging. Then we must store the ore until we can send it to a smelter. That will not be easy. Hmmm.” He lapsed into silence.
Hans nodded in assent.
“Hans, soon we must speak with our friends in Virginia.”
“Sir, isn’t this a little bit too soon?”
“It vill take some time to set-up so, no. And we are behind schedule as it iz. They will be expecting some answers soon.
“Yes sir!” Hans nodded.
Meanwhile in Charleston, the Captain and his crew drank their ginger beer and the discussion returned to their original topic. Mike opined that the French must be behind the suspected mining operation but Captain Willie disagreed.
“What good would that do them? It is too far away from their remaining strongholds. They would have to ship it on barges down river to the Mississippi river and then down to New Orleans.”
“Maybe through Shawnee territory?”
“I don’t think so. You know how they feel about folks passing through their lands without permission. And I don’t see them giving permission any time soon.”
“What about shipping the ore upriver to the Great Lakes area?” asked Tira. “There’s ore smelters there already.”
“Pardon me, Miss Tira, for contradictin’ a lady. But what would be the point of running mines this far south?”
“I don’t know,” said the Captain. “And I don’t want to speculate. Let’s just get out there and find-out.” He turned to Kennia, “Be sure and bring lots of the dynamite you cooked-up. I expect we’re gonna need it!”