No One Sh*t Til High Gate (Part 2)

The old mechanic hid a wince at the ‘trace compression block’ comment. You don’t just “pick one of those up”. He ever so briefly entertained the idea of correcting her but chose discretion as the better part of valor, and the better part of saving his own neck! His eyes brightened when the Lieutenant mentioned the fuel and waste costs, but it was her last words that struck him. “I know I’m new here, Lieutenant.” he started, “but...I’m not new new. Maybe no one but you can see the big picture because...maybe ya don’t make ‘em privy to the details?” The old man steeled himself for the incoming verbal assault but it had to be said.

Riley nodded, and thoughtfully stroked her chin, resting her other hand on her elbow. “Or maybe I expect that my ruttin’ mechanic will stick to the ruttin’ engine room instead of trying to undermine the cook. You haven’t heard a gorram word I’ve said about the additional weight, fuel cost or removal fees, but that’s likely because that’s not your concern. You want to make friends on this ship? It’s easy. Don’t be an asshole. It’s easy, and you won’t bankrupt us in the process. JAT! Why am I dealing with crew shit!” She hollered.

“Depends on who started the conver- Is that rice?” Vas said, screeching to a halt eyes huge. “No way!” He said star forming. “SERENA LIEUTENANT GOT US RICE!” He yelled back. “See here she thought you didn’t like no one …” Riley was his new Hero.

“I love rice!” The teen called back, excitedly.

The mechanic winced as Vas just unintentionally made this so much worse. “Uh, Lieutenant?” he asked, putting up a finger to make a point. “I think I could help ya with that fuel cost issue.” Patch threw out the line, hoping the topic of saving money might get the Lieutenant to bite.

Riley lowered her chin to look over the new mechanic over the bridge of her nose, feeling like at any moment her beret would catch fire a top her head as she gestured with her hand for him to continue.”

Patch got a twinkle in his eye and the formality fell away as he explained. “Ok, so one of the things these transport ships do is feed the exhaust through an ionic converter to clear up the emissions planetside. Ya with me so far?” His enthusiasm was palpable.

“I’m guna just … stow this … OH BEANS!!! SERENA SHE GOT BEANS TOO!! No way Roose can muck up beans and rice!” Vas cooed hauling the goods at a trot to the galley.

“I love beans!” Serena’s voice echoed.

“No, I’m a ruttin’ moron,” Riley replied, side-eyeing Vas as he started toting the bags.

“Well, these converters shed a ton a waste heat,” Patch continued, not missing a beat, “requirin’ venting systems, secondary exhaust cooling systems…” The mechanic waved his hands. “Anyway...what if…” he held for a beat for effect, “...we bypass the ionic converter and shunt the exhaust directly into the recycler!” The old man clapped his hands together to further punctuate his point and waited expectantly for an enthusiastic reply.

“So you’re saying we circumvent the converter, and re-enable it upon entry? And this is going to directly offset the amount of fuel the extra weight will consume?” She asked, rubbing the vein that was now throbbing in her temple.

Patch’s shoulders fell slightly, disappointed at the muted reaction, but happy, at least, that the Lieutenant gets it. “Well, you work the books,” the old man pointed out, “does 15% cover it?” He felt like he was making ground. “Hell, I could even rig it to a kill switch and conceal it so it even passes inspection! Even eventually wire it to the cockpit.” the mechanic added proudly.

“Fine, we’ll try it your way, but if this ends up costing my ship money - it comes out of everyone’s pay,” Riley warned. “And you can explain why. Also? If you challenge my authority again, you will get left on whatever rock we happen to be nearest to. I was held hostage by one mechanic, and I’ll be damned if I let it happen again. Find Roose and get this shit out of my cargo bay,” she paused for a beat, her dander up. “Now.”

“Right away, Lieutenant!” Patch snapped to and hustled the rest of the cargo off the buggy, gave the driver a nice tip and followed after the Crew Chief. He wondered about that ‘last mechanic’ comment but figured now wasn’t the time. He was determined, now more than ever, to show Riley that she wouldn’t regret taking the old man on her crew.

< Prev : No One Sh*t til High Gate! (Part 1) Next > : Bye-Bye Pelorum Part 2