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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Imperial Destiny Page 22

       The Hermus slowly lifted itself off the planetoid.  Prallan could feel the difference as the artificial gravity of the ship took hold of him instead of the planetoid.

     "Twenty seconds until we've escaped the gravity well, sir."  Wurstol said.  "Status?"

     "Engine One is stable, ma'am." Lily said, running her scanner along the engine.

     "Engine Two is stable as well, Chief."  Jenkol said.  "Power transfer rates are all in the green."

     "How is our fuel consumption?"  Prallan asked.

     "Twenty percent less than projected.  Fifteen percent less than specs indicate for our engine profile."

     The engines changed pitch again as they broke from the gravity well.  "We have left orbit, sir.  Everything appears green."

    "Very good, Chief.  As you were."  Prallan left engineering to head to the bridge.

-----------

   Prallan walked onto the bridge, finding Lieutenant Itran in command.  "Sir, the Captain is wanting to see you in the conference room."

    "Thank you, Lieutenant.  Everything good up here?"

    "Golden, sir.  The new engine seems to be working well."

     Prallan headed to the briefing room, where Rickler was sitting in the darkness, meditating like he had been when Prallan had first come aboard.  "Sit, Lieutenant."

     "Yes, sir." Prallan sat at the large conference table.  "You wanted to see me, sir?"

     "A first officer has a unique position in this Navy that I think you have begun to appreciate."  He snuffed the candles and turned the lights up in the room.  "You are an insulator between the crew and the Captain.  You handle issues that do not warrant the Captain's attention, and allow the Captain to make decisions that someone who knows the crew on a more personal level could not.  It is the Captains duty to remain aloof and mysterious to his crew, so they fear and respect him, and follow his orders without question.  It is the First Officer's duty to maintain morale and the chain of command."

     "Yes, sir."  Prallan said.  He had suspected much of what the Captain was saying, having discovered many of these unwritten duties during his brief tenure in the role.

      "I don't want you to tell me the details about what went on over the last few days.  I know something happened between you and your wife, which I have removed the records of.  I have elected to award the six engineering crew members who worked on the Inducers the Silver Technicians Badge, including your wife.  Be wary, Prallan, she is more decorated than you."

     "Sir, I think...."

      "Follow orders, XO.  That is all."


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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Imperial Destiny Page 21

     Prallan watched from the corner of Engineering as Lily and the other Engineers finished assembling the new engine.  In a few minutes, the Hermus would power up its engines and struggle to free itself from the planetoid.

     "Everything is about ready, sir." Chief Wurstol said, handing him an InfoTab.  "Tests are good, much better than I expected.  Crewman Tigrole was able to configure the inducer coil with the old engine, and everything seems to work fine.  We will know about the new engine shortly."

    "Very good, Chief."  Prallan said, handing the InfoTab back.  "Give me one good reason I should keep you as Chief after this."

    "Well, sir, if we get off this planetoid, that will be reason enough.  If not, then the Captain will take it out of your hands anyway."  She headed to help the other engineers with the coil.

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    "Bring engine one up to 50% power." Wurstol said.  The lights in engineering brightened from their emergency levels to a normal level.  Both engines hummed softly.  "Readings?"

     "Everything good here, Chief."  Lily said, running a scanner over the engine.  "Inducer is working at 70% efficiency."

     "Bring engine two up to full baseline power."  The engine noise increased in pitch, but the lack of sparks and fire was a good sign.

      "Engine two's inducer is at 90% efficiency.  Recommend we can push this engine by another 25% without risking burnout."  Jenkol said, scanning the other engine.

     "Let's not push our luck, Chief.  Bring engine one up to par with engine two."  Prallan said.  Both engines now hummed loudly.

     "Engine one's inducer is at 87% efficiency and stable."  Lily said.

     "Engineering to the bridge."  Prallan said into the comm panel.  "Sir, we are at baseline power levels, and stable."

     "Copy that, XO, all hands, brace for takeoff."

     Prallan placed a hand on the brace railing by the console.  If anything went wrong he wanted to be on site in Engineering.  His fate, as well as that of the Engineering crew, relied on the engines working.  The Hermus shook as it lifted off its landing skids.  As power was transferred away from the engines and into the thrusters and other systems, their noise changed pitch.  "Report?"

     "That's normal, sir."  Jenkol said.  "Transferring power away reduces the engine feedback loop.  Inducer two at 75% efficiency and falling slightly."

     Prallan gritted his teeth.  The inducers had to hold.


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