I finally had a berth, a place where I could let myself relax. So what did I do? I dove into the ships database trying to find out what I could about the company I had signed up with. I mean I knew that Titan ran one of the largest and most luxurious starship cruise lines in addition to their freighter service, but what didn't I know. A lot as it turned out. I didn't know that Titan Shipping was the company responsible for the newest E-F Jump drives, which allowed for for shorter jump times from a larger jump point. The math is complicated but imagine jumping from the head of a needle to the head of another needle from miles away. The newest E-F Drives mean instead of jumping from the head of a needle to the head of another needle you're jumping from the top of a pole to the top of another pole from even further away. It allows more room for error in the jumps, making them safer And at the same time using less fuel and power.
Pretty soon it was time for me to get down to Engineering for my first shift. I had met the Engineering second and the Ships Number Two when I checked in and presented my Folio Chip listing all of my certs and credentials, but I still hadn't met the Chief Engineer. I walked up to the hatch for engineering with some trepidation, the red and yellow outlines surrounding the hatch alerting people of the fact that there was a radiation hazard and multiple different gravities and zero gravity in parts of the Engineering section actually made me slightly uneasy. I had worked on Fission/Fusion Reactors before, on a Space Station at either 1 full gravity or zero gravity. But never had I worked on a reactor where there were differing gravity fields.
I reached out to key the hatch when it suddenly opened, and I was looking up at a person who was taller than my own almost 2 meters. He had to be at least 11 centimeters taller than my own 190 centimeters. He was wearing a filthy coverall over his skinsuit, it was so dirty I couldn't read his nametape to ID him. He just looked down at me in my E-suit, pushed his soft helmets visor back up on top of his head, then this great booming voice came out.
"Are you the new Tech the station agent hired?"
He wasn't yelling, but his voice carried very well. A deep basso rumble that seemed to come from the bottom of his chest to burst out of his mouth and carry over any other sounds in the area.
I looked up at him a little dumbstruck like an idiot, I'm sorry to say. I opened my mouth to try to reply, but nothing came out, so I dumbly just nodded my head. Right then I heard gales of laughter coming from within the Engineering sections as the Eng2 and the two other engineering techs I had briefly met when I boarded.
The giant in front of me still glowered down at me and then his face broke into an enormous smile and then he too joined the laughter, a deep pleasant belly laugh and stuck out his hand, which was surprisingly clean considering how dirty his coverall was and introduced himself.
"Commander Mahewn, welcome to the heart of the freighter Andros, well not really the heart more like it's digestive system."
I dumbly shook his hand while still looking up at him. Criptel, he was tall and looked as if he were a walking mountain. In the coverall over his skinsuit he looked to weigh maybe 120 kilos, I'd hate to imagine how much he weighed in his armor, or how much mass he would have on the hull if he had to go out for a repair. He made my 95 kilos look small and I am not a small person.
"Well, don't just stand in the hatch, come on in." Commander Mahewn said.
I stepped over the coming and into the main engineering compartment, looking around as I did so. I saw the main casings for 2 Fission reactors and their feed and power lines leading below the deck for what should be the Fusion reactors, one on the port side and one on the starboard side. I would find out later there was a third Fission reactor in the ventral bay as a back up. I could also see peeking out at me through the frames parts of the capacitor rings, the large capacitor banks that would help feed the jump drive could also be used to start the fusion reactors.
I was quickly introduced around as the newest crewman and Eng Tech 2nd.
"Well Felix, you finally found a way off that station." I said to myself.
Commander Mahewn or Pete as he preferred to be called on all but official occasions quickly put me to work by having me go through a pre-start checklist for the fission reactors. I'm pretty sure he was doing it to be sure I actually knew my stuff. I think I impressed him when I pointed out the feedline for the number 2 reactor vessel was 23 percent below its recommended operating parameters. That could cause temperature problems and one thing you didn't want to do in space was to overheat. Getting rid of excess heat is hard. He yelled at one of the other Techs, Gilmer was his name to thump the feedline for number two at the bracket. Gilmer grabbed a large non sparking line wrench almost half his size and swung it at the indicated line. After the hit, the readout came back up to where it was supposed to be.
I spent the next 6 hours getting familiar with the reactors and the engineering department. Learning where the damage control lockers were, every 3 meters, where the main and secondary shutoffs were, and even where the tertiary feedline shutoffs were.
As I went about my job something kept niggling at the back of my mind about main engineering.
A few minutes before I was to go off shift, Commander Mahewn, Pete, asked me if I had any questions.
I mentioned how there seemed to be more feeder lines and damage control lockers than necessary for a ship this size.
He laughed that loud laugh again, and everyone else joined in.
He then went on to explain how all of the ships for Titan had a third and sometimes a fourth fission reactor built in. I would find out later why that was but Pete sent me off for my downtime.
Now I can get my armor out of it's crate and try to bring it back to life.
But I was off Philbin Station. I had my armor, my pod and I had a job that would pay me a decent wage.
For now, that would have to do.