Bubbles?

“Patch,” Marisol’s voice was muffled by a wall of fur. “You’re such a good boy.” The gigantic dog whined pleasure as she nestled his ears. “Okay…okay…thpdth!” she spat at the errant strands which had attached themselves to her face. “I gotta…”

A mild shudder rolled through the deck. Marisol stopped. She listened carefully, but heard nothing. It hadn’t been much. Even the movement of a heavy crate could be the culprit…but none of the deckhands was in sight. “Okay, big guy,” she said to the complaining dog, “I gotta go.”

The mechanic tied back stray wisps of hair as she climbed the steps. A few hasty pats on her coveralls released most of the dog’s dander. Once she felt reasonably cleaned off, she made her way into the engine room.

The data screen showed nothing out of the ordinary. Fuzzy green numbers rose and fell with the minor variations of core temperature and output. The automation log held an item. “Auto-switch to tank two,” Marisol noted, before running comparison numbers on their actual fuel consumption. Again, the results pointed toward nothing of significance. The true burn was well within the margin of her calculations.

“Maybe an air bubble,” she ventured aloud. With the sudden change in mechanics, it was possible that her predecessor didn’t bleed the cells after fueling. That could introduce air bubbles into the fuel line, with such hiccups as the logical result. No matter, she thought. Bleeding the tanks while in flight was a simple process…one that she could get started on momentarily.

But for now, it might be wise to study the numbers for any other symptoms. Marisol toggled the image back to the basic performance screen. She pored over the stats as they varied. She laid a palm upon the worktop.

Normal.

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