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A Night at the Hangar
Summary: Taeren and Karlan help patch up the NLM Hobart, and head down to the pub for some drinks and an argument.
Cast: Taeren, Karlan, Merram
Air Date: 2006.04.24



Landing Bay <Hancock Station>

This incredible chamber sports almost a square mile of poured plascrete, all watched over by a high communications tower. Most of the ceiling of this chamber is of a lightly buzzing blue energy, allowing ships in and out with a minimum of atmosphere loss. Cheery lighting fixtures line the walls in stark contrast to the otherwise utilitarian nature of the bay. There is a set of double doors near the back of the bay, manned by half a dozen armed New Luna Militia members.

Taeren is talking with Merram, about halfway between the Hobart and the Franklin. Karlan strides into the landing bay, adjusting his uniform and standing with his arms clasped behind his back, feet roughly a metre apart from each other, head raised as he surveys the landing bay.

Merram doesn't notice the 2nd Lt, yet one of the others on the deck does and with a sharp voice, he barks. "Attention on Deck!" Merram himself is in comment to Tay, yet the call reaches his voice, and with a smooth (experienced) ease. He turns on heel and snaps to attention with eyes buck forward. Old habits die hard.

Taeren lifts both eyebrows. He turns to follow Merram's eyes, letting them settle on Karlan. Cheerfully ignorant of protocol, the Timonae waves to the 2nd Lieutenant rather than stand at attention. "Oh, hey, Karlan. Finished up on the Franklin, you get my memo?" He looks around, puzzled, and slips his hands in his pockets.

Karlan smiles at Taeren, nodding at him. "Ah, yes. Good work up there, by the way. You sure you don't want to join the militia properly? We could use people like-" He stops, mouth gaping open for a second as if he had forgot something. After a while, he rolls his eyes at himself and turns to the enlisted crew. "At ease," he says, bemused.

Merram slides his hands to the small of his back, grasping his right wrist/hand with his left, and settles with feet shoulder-width part. A smooth motion from long years of practice and he lets his gaze settle as well. He gazes about slowly and looks to Karlan as he rests at perfect 'at-ease'.

"Only if they'll pay me more than they're paying me now," Tay says, gesturing to the Hobart. "You wanna help me out with this beast? The throttle body is all wonky and I can't be in the cockpit and over the engines at the same time." He turns to look at Merram. "Maybe you could help too."

Karlan rubs his chin, looking at the Hobart for a moment before turning to the Snappy Comeback. "Not sure, Tay. I'd rather get the Snappy up and running, since she's both less damaged and more powerful than the Hobart," he says. "Unless you have a compelling reason to want to patch up the Hobart first?"

Merram nods once to Tay, a slight tilt of his head, as he keeps his position. Nary a word leaves his lips as he stands there.

"That other new pilot - Rukais?" Tay says. "He's really itching to get into a seat. Thing is, he's green - I'm not sure how much flying he's done before - and I feel like if we've got a working fighter for him to get some practice on maybe we could get him some flight hours behind this guy before having to trust him with something like the Kestrel or the Franklin.

Karlan nods, walking towards the Hobart and scanning it thoughtfully. "That much is true... Lots of green pilots around. It might be good to have a training vessel. Hm." He turns to Taeren. "How long do you estimate it would take us to repair the Hobart, if we focused on her? I want that Kestrel fully functional as soon as possible."

Taeren shrugs. "After we finish work on the throttle body, all we'll need to do is patch up the hull and she'll be flyable. The fire control computer will need some more work, though."

Merram tilts his head as he looks to towards Karlan and Tay, he offers in a smooth voice. "I could offer to fly with the green horn, sir." He rumbles in a smooth tone of voice as he gazes to both of them easily.

"If we patch up her armour and get the thrusters working, she'll be a nice practice vessel and a decent roundabout, even without fire control," Karlan says, nodding at Taeren. "Then we focus on the Kestrel."

Taeren grins back at Merram. "That would be good," he says with a nod. "You'd go tandem in that one?" He nods to the Defiant, then gestures to Karlan. "C'mere. Let me show you what I'm working on." His field kit is collected from the ground underneath the engines, closed and offered to the 2nd Lieutenant.

Merram looks o the Defiant and he dips his head into a nod. "I can do that, hai." He agrees and his pda beeps, picking it off his belt, and reads it. He grunts smoothly and salutes sharply to Karlan. "Good evening, Sir. Taeren." He rumbles in smooth voice, he pivots on heel, and jogs off the deck.

Karlan nods, moving close to the Hobart and peering into it intently. "Alright, show me what you've been working on..." He says, attentively.

Taeren pulls off a loose hull panel just fore of the thruster assemblies. Reaching in with both hands, he tugs several bunches of new-looking wires aside to reveal the thigh-sized mass of metal and plastic that is the throttle body, the part of the thruster assembly that converts messages sent from the throttle into adjustments to actual thrust and acceleration. "See?" He points to an area where the body is blackened. "It's an original part. I don't want to replace it because just this spot here is damaged. I'm just not sure which part of the power band is affected, and the only way to find out is to plug it into a dyno instead of the thrusters and send throttling instructions through the computer."

Karlan nods, staring at the part intently for a moment. "Alright, then. Let me go get our drive kit so we can pull her out and run the diagnosis. I don't want to run it with the part in there," he says.

Taeren nods. "Yeah," he says. "I'll get the hookups all ready for the dyno while you're gone." Setting his field kit down again, he opens it and pulls out a spanner.

Karlan strides out of the landing bay, signaling for an assistant to follow.

[Few minutes later]

Karlan comes back into the landing bay, an enlisted assistant dragging a drive kit behind him, rattling softly on its wheels. Karlan nods at him as he leaves the large cabinet next to the Hobart, walking away to perform some other chore.

Karlan nods and takes a large drill from the drive kit, attaching something to it. He presses the trigger a few times, making a satisfying whirring noise, and proceeds to unscrew the bolts holding the drive assembly in place. Before removing the last two bolts, he secures the throttle body with a large clamp. "Help take it out, Tay."

Taeren nods, wincing as he reaches his hands in at an awkward angle. "Got it," he says. "One, two, three." He holds the throttle body up for Karlan to grab, arm shaking. "C'mon, thing's kinda heavy."

Karlan takes the throttle body and moves it over the drive kit's level surface. Rummaging around a bottom drawer, he produces a small device. Taking a tiny screwdriver, he holds it close to one of the throttle body's ends, trying to fit it. Shaking his head, he leaves the device and the screwdriver next to the part, looking around another drawer. "Hm, where did I leave those adapters," he mutters.

Taeren exhales as Karlan takes the thing off his hands, watching him struggle for a while. "Try the top drawer," he calls, turning to hop up into the cockpit. "I'm going to get the computers warm." Karlan opens the top drawer, shakes his head, and then opens the drawer beneath it, taking a couple of differently-sized mechanical parts from it. They attach to each other with a snap, and Karlan proceeds to attach one end to the throttle body carefully.

"Aha!" Tay says, looking over his shoulder at Karlan. "I was close." He beams a shit-eating grin down at the other Timonae. "Is she hooked up to the dyno, Karlan?"

Karlan takes the instrument and aligns it with the smaller adapter, connecting it safely and attaching a wire from the drive kit's computer to it. Tapping the computer pad, Karlan nods. "Alright, start running the test."

"Okay!" Tay calls. The NLM Hobart begins to whine and thrum as its power plant starts delivering power to the engines. An acceptable amount of waste heat stirs the debris underneath the Hobart and swirls around Karlan's pant legs as the throttle body accepts power and fuel and pushes it through the engines to the dyno in the drivekit.

INPUT POWER: 20 PERCENT
OUTPUT: 20 PERCENT
EFFICIENCY: 100 PERCENT

Karlan stares a the screen output, nodding and raising his hand to give Taeren a thumbs up. "Alright, more power, Taeren," he bellows over the Hobart's noise. Tay's reply is unintelligible, but he sends a thumbs-up to mirror Karlan's.

INPUT POWER: 50 PERCENT
OUTPUT: 50 PERCENT
EFFICIENCY: 100 PERCENT

Karlan nods thoughtfully and continues to hold his thumb up in approval.

INPUT POWER: 75 PERCENT
OUTPUT: 60 PERCENT
EFFICIENCY: 91.667 PERCENT

Karlan shakes his head at the screen, but continues moving his hand in an upwards gesture, asking for more power."

INPUT POWER: 80 PERCENT
OUTPUT: 65 PERCENT
EFFICIENCY: 81.25 PERCENT

Tay turns to look out the cockpit at Karlan, one eyebrow raised. He points upwards, looking questioningly.

INPUT POWER: 80 PERCENT
OUTPUT: 65 PERCENT
EFFICIENCY: 81.25 PERCENT

Karlan rubs his chin and nods at himself, making a distinctive 'slit throat' gesture, telling Tay to cut the power silently.

The ship's engines chuggachugchug to a halt, the power plant whines down, and Taeren M'nammran hops out of the Hobart's cockpit.

Karlan nods at Taeren, tapping a key to have the computer display a graph. "It runs fine until you get to seventy-five percent, then it just starts to lose output. Looks like she can't make it over sixty-five percent output."

Taeren leans over Karlan's shoulder at the graph. He points. "Look, at sixty-five percent it's still got 81 percent efficiency ... we still don't know where the delta for efficiency zeroes out," he observes.

Karlan nods, pointing at the cockpit. "Run another test, finer this time, increments of five percent, start at eighty percent," he says.

Taeren holds a thumbs up to Karlan. "You got it, boss," he says. "Let me know when we redline!" He jogs back to the cockpit and hops in again.

Karlan raises a hand to signal Taeren. "Alright, start as soon as you're ready."

The ship's power plant whines up again, and the engines start generating heat again. Tay looks over his shoulder and sketches a salute to Karlan with two fingers. "Ready?" He yells, although it's probably impossible to hear from where Karlan stands.

Karlan nods, giving Taeren a thumbs up. "Whenever you are," he says, soundlessly.

The engines whir and groan as they pass the 85 percent mark, and the status marker reads:

INPUT POWER: 85 PERCENT
OUTPUT: 65 PERCENT
EFFICIENCY: 76.47 PERCENT

Karlan continues to wave absently at Taeren, staring at the screen.

INPUT POWER: 90 PERCENT
OUTPUT: 66 PERCENT
EFFICIENCY: 73.33 PERCENT

Karlan turns around and nods at Taeren, still keeping an eye on the screen.

INPUT POWER: 95 PERCENT
OUTPUT: 69.66 PERCENT
EFFICIENCY: 73.33 PERCENT

Karlan nods at the screen, signaling Taeren to continue.

Tay looks over his shoulder at Karlan, eyebrow raised. He mouths, "Full Power?" Then nods and turns again.

INPUT POWER: 100 PERCENT
OUTPUT: 73.33 PERCENT
EFFICIENCY: 73.33 PERCENT

Karlan nods at Taeren and signals for him to cut the power.

The breeze stops and the power plant whirs dead once more; Tay hops out of the cockpit. "What'd you find out?" He asks, walking back to the dyno and Karlan. "Where'd we peak?"

Karlan displays a graph on the computer screen, nodding at Taeren. "Efficiency hits a low of seventy-three point three percent and just stays there, so we peak at that output. What do you make of it?"

"It means it ain't as broke as it used to be," Tay says. "Otherwise we'd either see another steep drop at full input power. And it isn't a calibration issue, otherwise we might see efficiency rise again as we get up to factory spec." He points at the graph. "There'd be deviations there somewhere." He scratches his temple. "So, there's got to be something wrong with fuel regulation. I think. It can't handle more than a set amount of fuel, set amount of power ... so we've got to have some scoring or something at the widest setting of the throttle body." He cracks open the instrument, peering inside. "See anything?"

"Yeah, here it is... the fuel input manifold has a little jam in it, see? Doesn't turn to full throttle like it's supposed to," he says, rolling his eyes. "Funny it took us that long to find out, actually..."

"An engine assembly is a complicated thing," Tay says, "and sometimes it's better to work things out methodically than trust to luck." The Timonae leans over to grab a pair of tools and offer them blindly back to Karlan. "See if you can't clear out the manifold and buff out all that scoring? I'll work on rewiring it the way it's sposedta be in the engines." He pulls out another set of tools and hops from the top of the drivekit to the top of the Hobart, leaning over the side of the vessel to peer into the open side access hatch.

Karlan takes a tiny screwdriver and opens the manifold carefully, peering into the small component and nodding at himself, taking out a small bit of solidified debris from it with a tweezer. "Hm. Here's the culprit," he says, throwing away the debris. After reattaching the top, he fiddles with the piece to check if it is rotating properly.

"How's it look?" Tay asks, voice muffled by the starfighter.

Karlan nods at Taeren, carefully tightening a screw. "I think it looks good. Once you're done rewiring, hop down here to help me fit it back in place."

"Got it." Tay hangs from the bottom edge of the panel and drops to his feet, then saunters over to Karlan. "I don't like this part." With a grunt, he shifts his weight under the throttle body, to lift it into place. "Ready when you are."

Karlan lifts the throttle body, moving over to the access port, lowering the part carefully in place. "Hold that for me while I screw it in, will you," he says, hastily moving to take a drill.

"Yeah sure," Tay grunts, arms shaking again. "Take your time. Could do this all day." He exhales as his face gets a little red over his olive skin. "Think you could run and get me a coffee?"

Karlan rolls his eyes. "Can't take a little weight, can you?" He says, firmly attaching several hefty bolts to hold the throttle body in place. "There you go, you can stop clinging to it like you're emotionally attached to the poor thing."

"I can take a little weight," Tay says. "Just remember that you're doing the easy part." He exhales as Karlan bolts in the throttle body, and sets about reattaching wiring and cabling. "There," he says. "Good as new."

Karlan nods, closing the access port and patting the Hobart's hood. "Alright, then, I'll just move everything away a bit," he says, pushing the drivekit away from the ship. "And you can fire 'er up."

"All right." The Timonae walks back and hops up in the cockpit. A moment later, the groans and whines of systems coming to life fills the hollow cavern.

Karlan stands in front of the Hobart, a bit to the starboard side, and gives Tay a thumbs up. "Whenever you're ready."

Karlan successfully repairs the NLM Hobart.

The whines suddenly turn less plaintive, and Hobart's engines flare to life. With a triumphant whoop from the cockpit, the Hobart hovers off the ground and turns - keeping Karlan out of the arc of its engine wash - and moves to settle just behind the Franklin.

Karlan grins as he watches the Hobart move, rolling his eyes. "Show off," he mutters to himself, shaking his head.

The NLM Hobart hovers up again, whirring back to its original place so that the still-broken landing strut settles gently once more upon its cinderblock throne.

Karlan executes a diagnostic scan of the NLM Hobart. Karlan steps closer to the Hobart, moving a scanner close to the ship and looking at it. "Well, I think this concludes our acceleration repairs. She should be spaceworthy soon."

Taeren hops down from the Hobart's cockpit, nodding. "Not long now," he agrees. "Tomorrow, I bet we could get all of her armor work done, if we're careful."

Karlan nods at Taeren. "Well, we're over shift. Head up to the pub?" He asks, shutting off the scanner and motioning a few remaining assistants to carry the bulky drive kit away.

Taeren nods. "Pub," he agrees, grabbing his field kit and a spanner that roamed astray. He tucks the spanner into a hoop at his belt and saunters off, field kit in hand.

[A short while later]


McGillicutty's <Hancock Station>

An open, homey kind of bar and grill, it features four rows of vinyl-and-wood booths and a long wooden counter with barstools. The walls are of bright wood, and feature old photographs of various landmarks on Luna. The food is down-home and hearty, and the restaurant's signature garlic mashed potatoes are served with almost every dish. The bar is simple, focusing mainly on beer, but with some facilities for mixed drinks. A sliding door leads out to the Residence Deck.

Karlan taps the counter at the bar, startling a Sivadian bartender who was calmly surveying the empty bar. "Er, what can I get you, chief?" the man asks, glancing warily at a clock set on the wall. "Beer," Karlan replies bemusedly.

Taeren strides in not long after Karlan. "Mazes, dude," Tay drawls to the 'tender. "It's 2 AM and the place is empty. Two grease-stained Timonese come in from the landing bay. And you're surprised? Like this hasn't happened every other night since we got on this rock?" The Timonae scoffs. "Can you fix me a Valsho Sunrise, mate?"

Karlan laughs, shaking his head to himself as a tall glass of beer is deposited before him. "Giles, meet Taeren. And yes, I'm afraid you'll have to get used to this kind of thing," he says.

Taeren leans both elbows on the bar and looks solemnly at Karlan. "Buddy, I hate to be the one to have to tell you this." He looks from Karlan to his beer and back. "But your beverage is not colorful."

Karlan sips the glass, nodding. "And at room temperature, too. It's a bit of an acquired taste," he says. "Although, yellow and white are colours."

Taeren's beverage, the rainbow-like Valsho Sunrise, arrives, and he takes a sip. Taeren plays up the deliciousness with an affected "Ahhhhh," looking up at the ceiling, then looks over at Karlan. "This is cold. And also hits many more points on the spectrum." He leans an elbow on the bar again. "You know why I always drink Valsho Sunrises? There's a very important health reason."

"You need to be inebriated more or less constantly to avoid realising Valsho Sunrises aren't exactly the manliest of drinks?" He asks, smirking.

Taeren shakes his head. "Not at all," Tay replies. "It's very manly." He takes another sip, brushing the colorful miniature umbrella out of the way. "It's because colorful drinks mean that you're ingesting particles that vibrate at different wavelengths." He nods. "The more variegated the wavelengths in my body, the less chance I have of hitting a harmonic frequency during faster-than-light travel that will cause me to distintegrate, since there's a fewer number of particles in my body on any one frequency." Tay nods soberly. "Colors are important. There's a reason the Outcast is painted yellow, also."

Karlan rolls his eyes. "If you had bothered to study faster-than-light particle dynamics for four years like I did, you'd know that this is, as a matter of fact," he says, pausing to sip his beer for effect, and finishes: "Bullshit."

Taeren points an angry finger at Karlan and waggles it. "Not so," he says. "One time I drank ten beers before I took the Outcast out on an FTL run. Harmonic frequencies got all piggly-wiggly." He nods soberly. "I was sick as a dog." He leans forward. "Almost yakked all over my console. Now," The finger points knowingly. "One night not long after, I had seven Sunrises - and these are much more potent than beers, mind." His eyebrows raise and he holds both hands out, palms open. "I was fine." Taeren adds, "And you know why?" He pauses for effect. "Harmonic frequencies, that's why."

Karlan stares at Taeren for a moment, biting his lip, before he starts to laugh uncontrollably. Giles gives him a sheepish grin. Karlan spends some ten seconds doing this, before nodding at Taeren. "Whatever you say, Tay," he manages, still snickering.

"See, each color is charged with a different amount of energy, has a different harmonic frequency," Tay says, leaning back. He nods. "That's right." He takes a moment to soak in his victory before taking another sip of his Sunrise. "The Outcast is yellow. Not just any yellow, but Valsho Ocean Kaibalai Algae #56 yellow. Wanna know why?" Before Karlan can voice an opinion, Tay has finished his drink and is digging in his pocket for rayden. "Because Valsho Ocean Kaibalai Algae #56 yellow actually reaches relativistic speeds before any other color. Science has proven, but has yet to explain, this strange fact." He sets rayden on the counter and rises. "Some think it has to do with a reaction between paint particles and hullsteel at relativistic speeds, rearranging their component strings in ways that shed particles the same way ion drives do." Tay shrugs. "I don't question it." He beams at Karlan. "I'm going to bed." He turns to leave the pub. "Enjoy your beer."

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