I've been continuing to further my relationship with the Engineers, including one in particular. Since moving into the Jameson Memorial orbital I've visited with Lori Jameson at Jameson Base several times. She's also been up to the orbital several times to visit as well. She's a charming woman who I'm blessed to know and we seem to enjoy spending time together. Who'd have thought an engineer and a former soldier could find so much in common?
I've also studied power systems with Marco Qwent, weapons technology with Tod McQuinn and a mysterious criminal known only as 'the Dweller', and am currently working my way through basic shielding theory with Lei Cheung. Although the costs incurred with such training is extremely high, the skills and knowledge I've gained is without equal.
I continue to apply what I've learned to the fleet of ships I currently posess, as well as stockpile the materials needed to make such modifications. Some are very hard to come by. The rare mineral Selenium, for instance, is used for many modifications. It's ability to conduct energy is useful in creating more efficient weapon systems and power distribution. I'm always looking for new sources of it.
Heat build-up is one of the most challenging things to overcome when re-engineering ship systems to surpass their intended capabilities. Therefore, anything having to do with heat removal is of paramount importance. Heat Vanes, Heat Exchangers, even Heat Dispersion Plates come in handy. If I manage to find some Prototype Heat Radiators, I can do some incredible things.
The new mechanics have been a big help. They're quick to try out some of my ideas, even offering suggestions here and there. I never really set out to bond with these guys but they're pretty decent guys and girls. I have to admit it's been fun letting go on the occasions that we get to hang out together, even if they can still drink me under the table.
The operation has gotten big enough that I want to bring in one more guy. Maybe someone with a real background in ship engineering...
- - - -
So this guy comes walking into Mikey's, right? And he's wearing a suit and tie for chrissakes! No one's done that since the banker dropped off the deed when Mikey first bought the place.
Now Mikey's isn't a regular bar, see? It's more of what you might call a club. You don't get in unless you're either a mechanic or else you get invited. So I figure this guy's either lost or else he bought his way in. Then he starts asking Mikey if he knows a good engineer or mechanic who's lookin' for some work and get this: Mikey seems to know the guy!
I figure I'll have a little fun with him, start asking him some questions about plasma flow variables and thermal ceramics and such. Damn if he doesn't know more than I expected. I'll admit I was surprised. I figure I was probably planning on retiring from the Federal Navy while this guy was learning to shave. I used to be the chief of a crew that worked on the old Federal Dropships back before they retired most of them.
That's when he pulls out his datapad, starts showing me some pretty advanced theoretical stuff about modifications to existing designs and such. So next thing you know he's buying us a round, then I'm buying us a round. Meanwhile the regulars are coming in, and I know they're all watching as me and my new friend talk shop. And it hits me; I actually like this guy. The fellows will tell you, I don't like nobody, but this guy? He gets it, you know? So he offers me a job. I promise to come take a look around, but I'm thinking I'll never see him again as he leaves.
Funny thing, the next day I just happen by his building. He doesn't take me up to show off the view. No, he takes me below to the heart of his company. The repair bay. Man, this guy has a layout. More parts and junk than you can believe, a good bunch of guys working there, and some nice ships. Next thing I know, I'm considering his offer.
That's when he shows me the Federal Dropship sitting neglected in the corner. He was at a loss, but I knew the problem right away. These guys are IMPERIALS. Of course they don't know nothing about how we Feds design things. Man, does he know how to close a deal or what?
So I explain to the grandkids that I'm going back to work. I guess retirement doesn't take for old birds like me.
From the personal accounts of Master Chief Petty Officer Leopold "ol' Lee" Mueller
Federal Navy, retired.
- - - -
The Rheuman Grant is back in service. Don't ask me how he did it, but ol' Lee had her up and running in no time. He's a natural at mechanical engineering. He's also a pain in the ass, but I really like the guy. He speaks his mind, doesn't tell you something unless he's sure of it, and despite his rough exterior, he really cares. Family, friends, ships, whatever he allows into his orbit, he adopts as his own. I owe Mikey a big 'thank you' for inviting me to show up just in time to meet him. I might be overpaying him, but I still think I got the better end of the deal.
Lori Jameson spent the night after dinner and a look at some of the work I've been doing since meeting her and the other Engineers. Fantastic woman. I'm really glad I decided to make the move here. Things couldn't have worked out better.