That's A Lotta Bananas! (Day 1 Late Afternoon)

After stowing the food supplies, Patch made his way through the cargo bay with one last box, its contents made muffled metallic clanks with each step. When he arrived in the Engine Room, he found a clear spot on the workbench to set the box down, which wasn’t too difficult given the area was completely spotless. Did they even have a mechanic?, he mused as he looked over the unnaturally tidy room. He was certain he could get the place looking ‘lived in’ in no time at all. By his calculation, he had about an hour til dust-off. He figured that should be enough time to get the main bypass completed in time and finish it off en route. He gave the old Trace a good once over to familiarize himself.

Drake whistled his way down the hall after his flight check. So as he got the green light they were ready to go! He ambled through the galley and headed to the engine room to check out how the mechanic was getting along. As far as he knew, the mechanic lived so that had to be a good sign. “Heya Patch? How are things going? Heard you survived your first encounter with Riley. Congrats.” He joked leaning on the frame of the door.

The burly old mechanic let out a big sigh as his eyebrows raised and his eyes widened. “Hadn’t been chewed out like that since Boot!” he laughed, still shaking off the nerves. “She, uh...she always like that?” Patch inquired sheepishly.

“Lets just say we hit a real bad run before we hit Pelorum and everyone’s ass is kinda clenched at the moment.” Drake explained. “Need a hand with anything? Figure whatever you’re doing will go faster with four hands.” He offered.

“Oh yeah!” the old mechanic brightened as he recalled his first meeting with the pilot, “you know your way around this bird’s guts. Sure, sure!” he motioned Drake over excitedly as he squatted down by a rectangular silvery protrusion coming off of the main body of the engine. “See, what I’m lookin’ to do is run a bypass to the ionic converter and feed the exhaust line straight into the recycler.” The old man explained as he traced a finger from the silvery rectangular object and ended at a dull grey cylinder with metal tubes attached to either side.

“Makes you wonder why they didn’t do that in the first place.” Drake muttered.

“Well,” the old man confessed with a smirk, “cuz it ain’t exactly legal. Ya can’t drop into port spewin’ like a Reaver ship in atmo. People get testy about stuff like that.” he chuckled.

“So you're saying it compromised the radiation shield and we'll be leaving a radioactive trail as we fly through space?” Drake asked with an eyebrow raised.

And” Patch punctuated pointing his finger, “savin’ about 15 percent or so on spent fuel!” He looked proud. “Besides, half the Alliance fleet’s rigged like this.” he admitted. “Ain’t like there’s emission checks out in the Black!” the old man kidded. All we gotta do is run a tandem line with a kill switch, hide it….under….” he grunted and struggled to get his large to a spot underneath the engine cowl, “...here...and voila! We’re all good and legal planetside!” He smiled all proud of himself.
“No 180’s back into our wake. Noted.” Though the massive trail they would be leaving was concerning if they ever got busted. “That’d be a lotta bananas of glow to have to fly through.”

Patch laughed. “Kid, it’s space! Ya got options when it comes to directions!” he kidded.

“Spoken like an engineer.” Drake jibbed back.

The old man clapped a hand on the pilot’s shoulder with a grin. “Two engineers today, flyboy!”

“Ha! Shouldn’t be too hard … though how you're gonna fit those mitts in thought tight corners is going to be an interesting spectacle.” Drake mused with a wry smile.

Patch considered the dilemma Drake proposed and then smirked. “Well,” he pointed out, “your hands look kinda small and…”

“Don’t you dare say ‘ladylike’, Ham Fists.” Drake interjected.

The mechanic laughed. “I was gonna say…’delicate’. You sure you worked on rigs before?” The big man teased. “I mean, those nails...they’re immaculate! Just get ‘em done?” he kidded the pilot.

“What happens at the day spa stays at the day spa. Either way it was WORTH it!” Drake replied with a sly smirk. “Yoga instructors, man …”

Patch laughed out loud. “You’re alright, kid!” He looked over at the intercom screen to check the time. “Way I figure,” we got about an hour til we gotta get this baby spun up. I figured I would finish the job on the way, but since you’re here, we might be able to get her all squared.”

“Shiney. Maybe we can add some extra shielding … you may be old and happy to stay warm from the extra radiation, but I'm’ young and got plenty to live for I might wanna have kids someday.” Drake teased.

Patch mocked offense, “Ay! Everything works just fine, thank you very much! Besides,” he raised a finger to punctuate his point, “I didn’t have kids by choice.” The old mechanic laughed.

“Uh-hu … keep telling yourself that.” The pilot retorted.

Patch stopped mid laugh, paused and looked down at the lower half of his body. “Nah,” he thought to himself out loud with an air of concern, “it’s gotta all be workin’ right…” The old man then looked back at Drake as the two men broke out in laughter. “But ya make a good point about the trail.” He thought for a moment. “Maybe after we get the main set up rigged, we can figure out a way to recapture or minimize the rad levels in her wake. Whaddya say?”
“I think this ‘ell be a fun project!” Drake admitted. It was the first time in a long time he liked the idea of being in an engine room again.

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