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Prepping

Posted on 08 Sep 2017 @ 8:03pm by Lieutenant Gemma Alexander & Chief Petty Officer Odette Farrar

Mission: The Finnean Crisis
Location: Shuttle Storage and Maintenance
Timeline: MD 6/0600

It wasn't a design flaw as such. As vessels go, Erica felt sure the Gryphon was destined to go down in the annals of flight with such aerospace creations as the Fairchild Thunderbolt of Earth or the Sovhali of Vulcan. It was a solidly designed and solidly built craft that did its job well and with few, if any, complications.

Unfortunately, in order to perform a Level 3 Diagnostics on a Gryphon's computational system, one had to access a panel in the aft section of the fighter, and "lean in" to initiate it the diagnostics and connect the readouts to one's PADD. This in and of itself wasn't a problem for most maintenance personnel, but Erica was approximately five centimeters too short to do so without a platform of some type. She could have left that particular duty to the rest of the crews but, since she had added an additional half hour's worth of diagnostic to the regular maintenance schedule of the Black Hawk's fighters, she felt that she couldn't, in good conscience, saddle her techs with extra work without getting her own hands dirty. And Erica was the sort who didn't want to be slowed down by lugging a step of some type around.

Which is why that particular watch found her torso in the interior of a Gryphon while her feet hung two inches above the deck.

Gemma walked briskly toward her fighter in her standard flight suit, red hair tied back in her working style. It was a bit early a bit before her morning shift at 0700 but she liked to check her fighter first thing before the day.well second thing, first was coffee. Thankfully she could still bounce back from a late night and was going to hold that for as long as she could. She was humming an old pilot tune called, Danger Zone, when she stopped near her fighter with a minor frown as her blue eyes skimmed it, concerned. "Oy" She said politely in her British accented English, "Excuse me but what's gone off with Arrow" she asked hoping it wasn't serious.

Erica slid out of the Gryphon in question, landing on the deck and turning around to the owner of the voice that had posed question. "Nothing has gone off with your fighter, Lieutenant," Erica informed the redheaded pilot. Erica produced a PADD from her coveralls and made some entries, as she continued addressing Gemma in a semi-absentminded fashion. "We are running Level 3 diagnostics on both your fighter's computational and energy weapon systems. The former is running at optimum levels, while the latter..." Erica paused and yelled at the tall, lanky redhead Petty Officer emerging from the front of the fighter. "Perceval, where are the numbers on the primary phaser coupling?"

"Sending them now, Chief," Perceval replied, giving an abashed nod toward Gemma.

Erica nodded as she turned her attention back to her PADD while Perceval and the rest of the maintenance crew working on Arrow began sealing her back up. "You will be happy to know, Lieutenant, that your fighter is ready for flight." Erica putt her PADD away and seemed to take actual notice of Gemma for the first time. "I don't believe we've met yet, Lieutenant. Chief Petty Officer Farrar, chief of fighter maintenance," Erica added, extending her hand, her countenance displaying an emotionless that would have done a Vulcan proud.

Mentally shrugging at the deadpan expression on the Chief’s face, she smiled readily and shook the offered hand briefly before releasing it. “Lt. Gemma Alexander, aka Archer, glad you found the issue before I had to fire phasers, would have thrown off the full output equations.” Those responsible for determining a craft’s max level of boom basically.

"Which is why I've ordered a level three diagnostic on the primary coupling as part of the standard maintenance schedule on all the Gryphons, Lieutenant. At least as long as the 325th is in a volatile situation," Erica added. "Not that there is any problem with your Gryphon's primary phaser coupling, ma'am. Or any of her components." The last was said with an air of pride as Erica placed a hand on the Arrow, a small smile momentarily appearing on her face. "But, as efficiently designed as the Gryphon's energy armament is, doubling the power does add to the stress on the system. So it's something I want to make sure an eye is kept on. Fighter maintenance chiefs are belt and suspenders by nature."

Gemma nodded approvingly, she understood what the Chief meant. Farrar was taking no chances with the craft which Archer appreciated greatly. She walked closer to the craft also laying her hand on it briefly but it was more a gentle pat than anything. "Arrow's a good craft, I'm glad to see she's in good hands." She was too, it was obvious the Chief knew her bailiwick pretty well.

Archer paused then considering Farrar's last words, decided something and asked, "So while I'm sure of that, I rather like to help with repairs myself from time to time but I don't want to get in the way or be foolish about it. Do you have a recommendation in the way of training resources? If nothing else the resources would help. The better I know my craft, the better I can fly after all. I've had some engineering extension courses if that helps." She said turning to Farrar. Gemma had her own resources obviously but never turned down the chance to pick a professionals brain. She tried not to assume she knew all there was to know even about flying, thought it never stopped her from trying too.

"The first thing we would need to do," Erica began, her eyebrow furrowed, "Is get you the safety briefing. And not just the obvious. If a fighter is being worked on, that work needs to be coordinated. If you come down and start working on a fighter without knowing what else is going on, either you or someone else is going to get hurt. That's a solid guarantee."

"Lieutenant, if you don't mind me asking, what was your educational background before entering Starfleet?" Erica asked. "Academy graduate, Officer Candidate School?"

"Fair enough" She nodded, "Academy Graduate. It's partly a matter of family history, in ancient times my family would look after their own mounts. And partly because I rather like to." She said wanting to be clear its not just an obligation, she did love small craft. Similar to the way way some old timers loved ancient cars. "Now that's not possible to know or do it all, and I get that but if I can do a bit or at least understand better that's at least something." Gemma replied honestly.

"I know a little bit about horses. We have them on the colony world I grew up on. From Earth stock," Erica added. "Our colony founders had...well, I won't bore you with a lecture on the history of New Dayton. Anyway, one of the things I do know about horses is that the veterinarians who treat them need eight years of schooling. It's sort of like the people who work on fighters. Perceval over there," Erica continued, pointing to the lanky redhead who had been working on Gemma's fighter earlier, "Is pretty close to getting a master's in applied warp field application. If something really serious happens to any fighter's propulsion system, Perceval is the one we call. Perceval is also probably the best maintenance crew chief on the Black Hawk. Everyone working down here is good," Erica stated, gesturing at the workers crawling over the various fighter. "Everybody down here is good at their job. Just like I know you're good at your job, Lieutenant. And just like a few hours in the simulator wouldn't let any of my people match the skills training and experience has given you in the cockpit, me showing you around the insides of a Gryphon is not going to make you an instant expert who is going to be able to out diagnostic and out repair the people who do this day in and day out. No disrespect meant, ma'am. I'd be happy to help you learn everything you want. I just want to make sure you know the limitations on that knowledge."

Gemma nodded, the Chief was very good. Managed to lay out how it was without being insulting, excellent trait in a Chief to an officer. Archer understood she wouldn't be rebuilding engines while riding two fighters, there were limits. She held up her hands her mouth curving into an easy smile, "I get it, you lot are brilliant and I will defend that against all on comers." She said sincerity an obvious thread through her humor. She knew they were good but sometimes it was easy to over look how good. She put her hands down, "I understand the limits, Let's start with me knowing more than I do now. Fair enough?" She asked in a mild, questioning tone.

"Oh, I wouldn't say we're brilliant, particularly where one of us might overhear it," Erica replied, a hint of a smile playing across her lips. "We stumble over our own feet with the best of them. But I like to think we do justice by our job titles. So if you'll follow me, ma'am, I'll introduce you to the mysteries of the maintenance board, I have a few holodeck training programs I'll sign you up for, and we'll do a walkabout Veronica. Veronica is the mockup of a Gryphon fighter on the maintenance deck that's use for cross training. If that works for you ma'am," Erica added deferentially.

Gemma smiled and gestured for the Chief to precede her, "That works well, Chief. I've only got a little time now but we can set something more meaty up later." Her ready smile appearing again as they walk and she considered her future. It would be rough with the extra work but worth it. And the Chief seemed a solid, experienced sort just the kind of person to keep a newly learning officer from blowing themselves up. All in all, a grand start to a collaboration and maybe a friendship. They walked side by side toward the maintenance board, Gemma's head bent to what the Chief was saying.

 

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