"By the time we were ready for liftoff, Pancake and Molly came back from the storage bay and strapped into their couches. We got off the ground without a problem, and we hit the bottom of the clouds pretty fast, maybe at fifteen hundred feet; their tops were at about five grand. By the time we came up on top of them, we had to start our descent right away, and we plunged right back into the overcast. We descended over the clearing as slowly as we could, and we went out of our way to give everybun on the ground time to get away from under us. After all, there were not just bipeds, but all sort of creatures, and lagomorphs like us. Or somewhat like us. Hopmeric could be there with his warren. I scanned the video streams of the outside, and luckily I didn't catch any welcoming comity. We caused a few brushfires but thanks to the damp, cold air, they died out quickly.
By the time we touched down, whatever the bipeds had going on there was gone. But the slabs stayed where they were. The rest of the day was just full of physical, hard labor. We had a problem getting the loading dolly started. Joey had to replace one of the power packs because it was corroded and kept shorting and blowing a couple of fuses. The good news was Molly and Penny were back to their usual selves, at least for the time being. Molly did find a strange contraption in the storage bay that let her move about in the air. It had a large round base a bun could stand on, and its control handles were mounted on a tall cylinder. I guess bun could use as a step ladder or something. Maybe you could use it to visually inspect the outside of the ship and things like that. Joey worked the dolly, and Abby and I tried to use the scooter for towing the slabs, but they were just too heavy. So we used it to run the carbon lines to some of the stones so we could winch them close to the ship. Surprisingly enough, we didn't get one visitor. The surrounding woods stayed quiet. When we had landed, we blew away quite a bit of the immediate vegetation. As much as I hated it, it cleared the perimeter around us and prevented things from sneaking up on us.
We managed to arrange most of the slabs before the day's end, and for once, we finished the day early. All we would have left to do the next day was to start standing the slabs up. That would be the difficult part, and we wanted to be rested for it. After securing the ship for the night, we ate supper and watched if anyone would come out of the forest. We were secretly hoping Homeric would show up. Of course, he was probably too smart to be seen in the open. "They" had to have seen us land, but the forest kept its curiosity in check. We made sure the infrared cameras were turned on for the night, and we retired to our sleeping quarters. Only Joey stayed on the deck. He was convinced something had to stick out its neck from behind those trees, and he didn't want to miss it. I thought Abby would dress him down for goofing off when he should be getting proper rest, but she only said, "Sure, good luck with that," and she let him be.
The next morning, I realized why she didn't give him any hard time. Joey fell asleep five minutes into his improvised watch, and he was out cold when we started breakfast.
We congregated around one of the monitors and watched the infrared recording captured overnight. Sure enough, the bipeds showed up. The edge of the woods brimmed with them, and their heat signatures glowed like a sunrise! There had to be quite a few of them to give off this much heat, but only a couple of them approached the ship.
Instinctively, we looked outside, but there was no one there, and it was still misty and foggy, so we couldn't see very far. Then, Pancake and Molly started to giggle. We looked at them and expected them to share with the rest of the class what was so funny, but Pancake just waved us off.
Well, we had to get on with the stone business, and so we did. Joey did most of the work this time because only the loading dolly had enough power to lift and move the stones. Molly and Pancake marked up the ground for him to indicate where each stone had to go. Penny and Ava flew the scooter along the perimeter and looked for anything trying to come out of the woods. The fog finally started to burn off, and it seemed like we would have a beautiful day, just perfect for that picnic we had never had. Abby and I stayed on the flight deck and kept a bird's eye view on everything. Abby switched places with Joey in the early afternoon and finished the job.