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The Science Fiction Comedy Adventure Continues
In Space, no one can hear you chortle.
I hope you enjoy this snippet from Chapter 3 of The Surrana Identity.
Andel-Kreit Coalition Minesweeper The Giblet
The Asteroid Belt
Standing outside the bridge, Lieutenant Commander Dex punched the entry pad to open the door. A soft tone sounded, but the door remained stubbornly shut. Not again, Dex thought, reaching for the multi-tool in his pocket. But as he selected the screwdriver blade, the door juddered open with the whirring drone of reluctant motors, and Dex eyed it suspiciously before stepping through.
The cramped bridge was dimly lit, and the only other occupant, Captain Drumph, scarcely looked up as Dex made his way to his station.
“Get that coupling fixed?” Drumph demanded, scratching at his armpit as he pored over the displays on his semicircular console. “I damned well hope so. We’re behind on our schedule.”
“The coupling wasn’t the problem, sir,” Dex replied smartly. “The primary servos in the manipulator arm were out of sync. Both servos were badly damaged, so I replaced them.”
Drumph swiveled in his seat to stare at Dex. “I gave you no authorization to replace those parts, mister. And now I know why you took so damned long. I sent you down there to slap some grease on the coupling to get it running smoothly again, and that’s what I expected you to do.”
Dex almost laughed. “But, sir, that would only have deferred the problem. If I’d done that, sooner or later, the servos would seize up, and then the actuators would almost certainly snap. Then we’d be forced to strip the whole assembly down, and that’s a big job.”
“A job which you could’ve done when we dock on Drammadon Four tomorrow.”
“I suppose so, but with respect, Captain, I need to keep ahead on maintenance because when we reach the space station, I was going to take some leave. I made the request some time ago.”
“Request denied.” Drumph turned back to his console. “And you might want to think about that before you go around replacing perfectly serviceable parts.”
Dex clenched his jaw, his fists, and any other muscles he could think of. One day, he thought. One day I’ll finish this tour of duty, but Drumph will be on this ship until he retires. He ran his eyes over his workstation then opened a messaging window, selecting Zeb as the recipient.
Thanks for helping me replace those servos, Zeb. Bad news on the leave though. I have to stay on the ship, but you should go ahead. Take a tour of Drammadon Four. Visit the leisure decks. You deserve some downtime.
He hit send, and almost immediately a reply winked on his screen:
Thanks, Dex, but if you’re staying aboard, I’ll keep you company. We can overhaul the guidance system, and then we could scrub down the exhaust ducts. We’ve been intending to complete that task for months. Also, when our shifts are done, we could finish that game of skirmish chess.
Dex smiled as he replied with just one word: Thanks. read more…