Here’s a little bit from the current WIP, the fourth Cassidy novel. I hope you enjoy it!
Wait, you expected CONTEXT? HA! No, no, no, no context for you!
“We’re doing this. Holy shit, we’re actually doing this. Mutant, we’re going to place a buoy in the fucking 40 Eridani system!”
“Yes, K-Pop, we are. Now, will you get back to your goddam boards?”
Keith ‘Mutant’ Glass, coxswain of the Al-Wahid, really couldn’t stand his engineer. Glass had been a pilot for decades, flying heavies for first the Sonoran military then for an air transportation company before being recruited by the Federation. He was somewhere on the north side of fifty and, while he loved flying his Wolf, didn’t really get hyped up by all the ‘explore the galaxy’ kool-aid that everyone else seemed to have drunk.
K-Pop, on the other hand, probably went back for seconds.
He was a True Believer in the mission of the Federation, which made him too gung ho for Mutant’s liking by several orders of magnitude.
Still, he knew his systems and did his job. That would probably be enough to keep Mutant from shoving him out the airlock on this mission.
This was going to be a tricky bit of flying. The warp buoy was half the size of his Wolf and damn near the same mass, and while they had the power to spare, inertia was a bitch. He also wasn’t crazy about moving an active antimatter reactor that was fifty meters away from his Wolf. Oh, he realized why, and it even made sense if you applied the particular brand of logic that the CO seemed to prefer. If you had to transport extra antimatter to power a reactor, you might as well transport it in the reactor, right? And have it running, albeit at low power, so that the magnetic bottle wouldn’t degrade.
At least he didn’t have to carry it inside his Wolf.
“Approaching deployment coordinates,” said the PO coordinating the mission, a woman who was young enough to be his daughter. Well, that wasn’t her fault, and Higbee was damn good at her job.
“Roger, Endeavour,” he answered. The Wolf slowed even further; he’d barely scratched the potential that the shuttle could deliver for fear of jostling the buoy, and now they were crawling at bare meters per second.
“Lock is good,” said K-Pop, the music that gave him his handle seeping out from around his earphones. At least he wasn’t playing over the shuttle’s speakers; that had lasted exactly one flight when they’d been first paired. “Fifty percent power.”
“And on coordinates. Shutting down engines, OMS active, holding position.”
“Confirmed,” said Higbee. “Prepare to deploy.”
“On your count,” said K-Pop. It wasn’t terribly complicated, mostly a matter of decreasing the tractor’s power until the buoy was untethered from the Wolf while gradually increasing the distance between them. Mutant was still glad to have someone else doing that part while he did the flying. Then would come activating the thing.
“Three. Two. One. Power down.”
“Powering down. Forty. Thirty. Twenty.”
As the tractor released its grip, Mutant played with the OMS and put some extra meters between them. The sooner he could get clear of this the happier he’d be.
“Fifteen. Ten. Eight. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. Zero. Buoy is on its own.”
Mutant fired the engines as soon as K-Pop hit zero and really started to put some distance between them and the buoy. Once it was activated, its warp bubble would expand outward, simultaneously putting it ‘outside’ the universe and holding it in position relative to the local gravity fields.
If it didn’t just go boom.
He was not sticking around to find out.