Lio stared at his new craft with pride; the grin on his face grew larger the longer he stared. Running backward excitedly, he called out to Iley.
“Look at it, my sweet; look at how big it is.”
Iley looked up from the work she was doing on the computer to see Liopractically bouncing.
“It is by far our biggest purchase yet.”
“It barely fits in the hanger. It is so big. I had to put it on autopilot in order to get it in because I was afraid of smashing things.”
Iley laughed to herself. “I can so imagine you getting cocky in this and just ramming the fucking hanger.”
Lio scoffed and looked back to Iley with disappointment.
“Why do you have to imagine me in a bad situation? Don’t you want me to succeed?”
“Aww, baby.” Iley said condescendingly. “Of course, I do because I want to not be a broke bitch, and I have already sunk too much money into this business already.”
Liofrowned. “I thought that you would want me to succeed because you love me.”
“Sure, that one too.” Iley said as they patted Lio on the head and walked towards their new craft.
“Come on, you, we got a job to do. Ready for the biggest haul job of our career?”
“Yes, I am. I am gonna get to travel outside the solar system in my own craft. I am in a great mood.”
Many hours later, Liostood was on a docking platform for the outer point maintenance station with steam billowing from the front of his engine.
“I am in a terrible mood.” Lio announced as he waited for Iley to go over the diagnostics panel.
“What is wrong?”
“I don’t know yet; it is still scanning the system.”
“Well, can you hurry it up? I am bored of waiting for this.”
“This isn’t a person I can usher along; it is a machine, you know, those things that can only go as fast as they are programmed.”
“Well, then, program it to go faster. I want to know what is wrong.”
Iley rolled her eyes and remained silent until the panel eventually pinged and lit up with a diagnosis.
“So?” Lio asked.
Iley sighed. “You are not going to like this.”
“It seems that the engine seized in the reactor channel. Which has fried a lot of the electronics, so we can’t get a proper reading.”
“Did the pulse go through the distribution link, or was it re-routed through the emergency control?”
Iley erred as she tapped on the screen to get deeper into the diagnostics.
“I went through neither, it…”
“Fuck.” Lioscreamed. “So it ran through the goddamn control center, which means the cunt that sold me this knew there was a fucking problem.”
Liokicked a nearby stack of small containers and sent them flying, scattering the small collection of tools onto the deck.
“Wait, why does that mean he knew about the problem?”
“Because if there is a fault in the system, it would show on the main control panel and alert me about potential surges. Instead, I bet they bypassed the distribution link to avoid current traveling through the emergency control. Without any current in the emergency link, it can’t notify the main computer about potential issues, so it appears to be running fine. But now we have probably fried the whole damn engine.” Liopaused for a moment as he ran his hand through his hair. “It isn’t even an expensive fix to repair; it is one small part that needs to be replaced to stop the surge, not cheap, cheap, but not a whole new engine expensive.”
Liostarted to march towards his new ship, muttering under his breath.
“Where are you going?”
“We are going to fix the problem. Hurry up, I will need a hand.”
Iley pursed her lips and followed Lio into the depths of the ship. The two of them crawled through narrow access tunnels until. Eventually, they came to an opening that had a large, complicated piece of machinery sitting in the middle of a small room.
“Look at this, just look at this.”
“What is this?” Iley asked as she grabbed the grounding belts from the maintenance container next to Lio.
“This is our control center. This is what controls all of the electronics in the engine. It is a big computer that runs several very complicated systems of data transfer and manages to collate it all into readable information for us dumb humans.”
“Some dumber than others.” Iley added as she put the grounding belt on Lio and attached it to the lightning rod behind her.
“No, some more asshole than others. To run the main feed here like they have means that if anything goes wrong, the whole engine dies, instead of the big surge protector that shuts down everything when it gets fried.”
Lioclimbed down next to the control, tapping it cautiously. Electricity arced to him and transferred into the belt; once he could tap it with minimal electrical transfer, he started to get to work. Walking around the device, he pulled out narrow panels of fuses and checked each one individually.
“I am going to call out some information to you; I need you to write it down. These are all the connections that are fried; we are going to need to buy more of each of these.”
Iley nodded and pulled out her phone, opening a note app. “Ready.”
“CJ-18-4.” Lioput away the panel and pulled out the next. “None in this one, or this one. Maybe the damage isn’t that bad.” He said as he slammed his head into the control center, defeat sounding in his tone.
“The whole of CM, and CN, and…: He paused and started rapidly pulling out the panels and dropping them to the ground.
“Fucked, fucked, fucked. God dammit.” He screamed as the final panel burnt his hand. “Sweet, this is all fried; if we are lucky, it is only the fuses, but if it is not.”
“If it is not?”
“Well, the price is going to go up by like ten times, maybe even more. Fuck this; I am getting out of here.”
“Don’t we need to know what is wrong?”
“It is fucked; the only way to know for sure is to get the better machines in here to run a complete diagnostic of all the affected systems. This means paying a bunch of wanks to walk around with some fancy tools and spend hours sitting and watching the screens. Just so they can tell me, I need to spend a fortune repairing everything. So, let’s just get it started. I am fucking done.”
Iley sheepishly followed Lio out of the service tunnels and into the main office, where Liodid his best to not scream at the receptionist, only raising his voice slightly on one or two occasions.
“While we service your vehicle, would you like to wait in the drivers lounge? It is a little nicer than our usual short-term waiting room.” The receptionist asked
“Yeah, that would be lovely.” Iley answered as she squeezed Lio.’s hand to let him know she was there to help.
The two of them followed the receptionist until they were seated in a large air-conditioned room filled with creature comforts to aid in the passage of time.
Liowas restless and constantly looked through the available windows to see if he was able to see his craft being worked on, despite the fact that none of the windows were pointed in the right direction. Iley played on her phone for a while before getting up to look around the room. She tried changing the channel on the tv but found nothing that she liked. She tossed the remote down in defeat and looked around for more entertainment, the magazines were nothing she was interested in, and there was a small showroom that she had no desire to look through.
“Ugh, for a fancy lounge, this is pretty shit. But there is a showroom through there if you are interested, Lio.”
Lio looked up from the magazine he had his head in and raised his eyebrows.
“Oh, yes. Maybe if they do a good job here, I will buy something from them.”
Liogot up and walked into the display room, leaving Iley alone. Iley sighed and looked around again, her eyes stopping on a hot drink machine.
“Oh, hello, free drinks.” She grinned as she approached the machine.
Eventually returned to the lounge with a pamphlet in his hand, and his eyes concentrated on it.
“This place actually has quite a few hard-to-get items, which is actually….” Liopaused as he looked up from the pamphlet. “What is happening here? Did a group of people come through while I was gone?”
Iley lay reclined in her chair with a dozen hot drink cups sitting on the table in front of her and a queasy grin on her face.
“They had so many flavors, I wanted to try them all. But I also didn’t want to not drink everything. That would be wasteful.” Iley let out a lasting burp which soured her face. “Oh god, but all those flavors coming back up was not a nice experience.”
Liolaughed at her and walked over as the door opened, and the receptionist walked in.
“The mechanic wants to talk to you.” They said as they held the door open for Lio and Iley to walk through.
They walked from the room, and the receptionist looked at the table with confusion before following them through.
“Mike, the mechanic that was on your craft, has come back with his diagnostics and his opinion but needs your go-ahead before he can do what he wants.”
“Yup, that is fine.” Lioreplied as he looked through the hall window out at his ship.
The receptionist gestured to a man standing in the corner of the reception and passed them on to Mike.
The three of them shook hands and introduced themselves to one another before the mechanic started to explain.
“So.” He paused for a long time. “There are a couple of things we found. The main one is that there has been some bad wiring in your system. Your surge protector has been bi-passed and rerouted into your….”
“I am sorry.” Liointerrupted. “We already knew that, and about the surge that kicked the system, have you seriously spent this entire time looking for a fault that we clearly laid out on the paperwork?”
“So we had to confirm it. Because we can’t just go off the words of the customer; not all of them know what they are talking about.”
“Okay, that is fine. But we have been waiting for over two hours. How long does it take to walk down a couple of service corridors?”
“We didn’t go through them; we were running your systems at max capacity to see where the fault was.”
“I am sorry, but what fuck did you just say?” Lioyelled. “Are you telling me that instead of crawling for ten minutes through easily accessible halls where you could use a computer to see the systems in about five minutes, you instead ran my ship at full power just to wait for something to fail?”
The mechanic looked around, nervous, with his panel in his hand.
“I can’t go through the tunnels; I have bad knees.”
“The fuck?” Lioscreamed as he snatched the small computer out of the mechanic’s hands.
The receptionist watching the situation dialed a number and hung up immediately.
Lioflicked through the diagnostics of his system with an increasing rage.
“Lio, is everything okay?” Iley asked quietly.
One of Lio.’s eyes twitched as he read the report, a single blood vessel bursting as he read the final notes.
“He fucked my ship is what is wrong.” Lio looked up at the mechanic. “Bad knees, really? If you have bad fucking knees, get a desk job, my whole system is fucking fried because you were too fucking lazy to do your job, you fat sack of shit. Maybe if you didn’t have such a gut, your knees would be fine, you goddamn idiot.”
Iley took the control panel off of Lioto to make sure he couldn’t use it as a weapon but also went over diagnostics herself.
“You got several warning flags and ignored them? She interrupted. “Look here, Lio, these warning flags were skipped because, oh, to check them out, you have to use the service tunnels. So not only did he fry our system, he fucking knew it would die.”
The two of them looked to the mechanic and started to yell at him over one another when a man in a suit came down; the receptionist pointed to the chaos, and the man corrected his tie before stepping forward.
“Hello there, I am the owner of this establishment. How can I help you?”
Iley spun around with her anger and directed her screaming to the owner.
“Look at this; look at what your dumb-ass mechanic did, noting the warning signs and the notes we made before the job began.”
The owner scanned the document with disbelief before looking up at Mike with disappointment.
Iley and Lio flew off with their ship after a short discussion with the owner and two days stuck on the station.
“Are you happy now?” Iley asked.
Lio turned toIleyy with a massive grin across his face.
“I am Tickety fuckin boo.”
“Looks like buying from a dodgy dealer was actually a good thing; we got a full system repair for free, and not that it counts for much but an apology letter for our client.”
Liohummed to himself as he flew the craft to their job, passing the solar system borders. He grinned so hard his cheeks hurt, and he was incapable of stopping.
“I am in a great fucking mood.”