Canopus Station
Previous Next

Classic Ice Cream Scoop No.3

Posted on Mon Aug 9th, 2021 @ 12:10am by The Narrator & Major Samuel Braddock

Mission: S2:3: Snow Drift
Location: Flight Deck Maintenance Hanger, Canopus Station.
Timeline: MD-2 1900


The Mk3 Gryphon hung in a support frame, it's landing struts retracted back into the hull so that you might think it was flying. But with it's port side engine removed, and disassembled before it in exacting detail, it was as flight worthy as a kitchen stove.

The Tellarite engineer, in the khaki green overalls and yellow shoulder boards of a Marine Engineer Specialist, knelt down and uses one of his thick fingered hands to pick out an item from an assortment of parts stripped from the engine module.

"Look at this. What is this?" he asked one of the other specialists who were pawing through manuals.

"Er...according to the write up that is the port side engine inertial direction vein."

"It's too small. Look at it. If a pilot goes into a high gee turn with this thing, the vein will just spot weld itself along the thrust vector. Next to useless," the Tellar through the vein, and it tinked and dinked its way across the deck. "Get a proper spare from stores."

"But...the manual says that the new model-"

"New model just means we get to test it, and by test I mean put pilots lives at risk doing it. None of these factory fresh fighters goes out with any new experimental tech that hasn't had at least ten thousand hours of testing to its lineage," he stood up, and looked at his engineers. "I find out that anything on any bird we send up is non-standard, and you'll find out what it feels like to go for a walk on Carpathia without a water bottle!"

Sam walked down the hall to the maintenance bay from the Ready Room where he'd been reviewing the flight recorder data from their previous training flight. Overall, most of the pilots were capable, despite having only undergone abbreviated flight training but they were also sloppy, with their maneuvers lacking snap and polish. Often, they were making last minute adjustments to overcorrect their mistakes. This is something that he would aim to change in the coming weeks along with getting some more qualified pilots transferred from the Normandy to balance out the inexperienced crop he had on hand. Hearing the exchange as he walked over, he waited for the Tellarite to finish. Catching a glimpse of his shoulder boards, he could see the small gold and black lozenge of a Chief Warrant Officer.

"That's a pretty creative promise, Chief." he said over the din of the bay.

"Being this far from anything looking like an official supply chain, creativity is the meal of the day," the Tellarite said. He looked at his thick fingered hands. "I'd offer to shake your hand Major, but my skin's a little thicker than yours. Hate to see those fingernails melt off."

He turned to look at Samuels, giving him the appraising eye all NCO tool pushers give to men and women to who they entrust their prides and joys to.

"Chief Methias, 14th Aviation Mechanical Support Unit. Came out with the Canopus Expedition, so I know crap when I see it," he gestured to the disassembled engine. "Gryphon Mk3 Block 5, fitted with a pair of Lockheed-Energia impulse drives with vectored thrust capabilities. Except this is a Mk3 Block 5'a' mounting a pair of engines from Fusion Systems. Same design blue print, same replicator template, and yet they just can't help tinkering with what was a perfectly good engine."

He sighed.

Sam nodded. "Good to meet you, Chief." He took a look at the engine that was in pieces. "The Fusion Systems engines like to vibrate themselves right out of their mounts- my Plane Captains were replacing the brackets every hundred space hours a few years back- something about substandard shock insulation. So I definitely understand the frustration."

"The Normandy offloaded two squadrons worth of machines, and almost all of'em are gonna be Hangar Queens for six months," Mithias said with another snort. "Crying shame that."

Sam bit his tongue as he heard the Chief's estimate. He wasn't the type to argue with a seasoned maintenance chief's estimate but . "Six months isn't feasible for me, Chief. What do you need so we can have these birds ready? More people or more equipment?" he asked.

"More space," Mithais said. He gestured with a spare part that looked like an ice cream scoop towards a part of the hanger complex blocked with flashing light poles. What was behind the poles was a mystery as a privacy screen was projected behind them, turning the space beyond into a pale grey cloud.

"Office of Special Investigation, the 'science police' I think is what the ratings call them. That side of the hanger according to the blueprints is an automated servicing facility. Broken Grphons go in one side, fixed ones come out the other. Dumb AI operated expert systems controlling next-generation robotic fabricators," the Tellarite engineer said. He looked at Samuel. "We got a fancy Bajoran coffee machine from Pagie Industries when they installed it. Does the work of two full shifts of workers, and doesn't quit until the feeder stock for its printers goes dry. God's perfect mechanic."

He pointed the scoop at the foggy wall behind the light poles.

"And the OSI took the entire thing. Moved a lot of kit in there under tarps. Including two lightly damaged Reka fighter craft, we salvaged from the Battle of Carpathia. One of my techies tried to get in there once," the Tellarite grumbled. "Got shipped to Carpathia to work on the colonies fusion reactor. A fusion reactor, in a sandpit. Look bottom line, I can do six months with three shifts going hell for leather. Or I can do it in one with that end of the hanger freed up to do the heavy lifting."

Sam winced at this. Obviously someone important didn't want them poking about but if it was impacting his command, he needed to do something about it. "Listen, Chief. I'll talk to the Captain. No promises but I think we've got space elsewhere, don't you?" he asked.

"For now," the Chief said with a grunt. "Right now we have the older birds all on ready status. We're rotating them out as flight hours accumulate. Constant patrols in the two main asteroid belts is doing wonderings for our flight hours log."

There was a clag of something off in the distance, and Mathias winced.

"If you'll pardon me Sir, I need to go see what someone broke." he sighed. He paused for a moment. "Oh, and welcome to Messier 4."

Sam gave the man a slight nod. "Carry on, Chief." he said respectfully. It was a rarity that Sam was impressed but this was one of those times- this Warrant Officer knew his craft and would come in handy if things got any rougher.


Previous Next