[M - E01] The Engineer

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Location: E01 - Donwarr.

Tags: Military, Building, Spaceship.

Previous chapters can be read on my website here.

Chapter 12: The Engineer.

First engineer Elliana Seyka had a buzz about her this morning. She was generally regarded as being spritely but this morning she was particularly excited. While Darksight was undergoing repairs, an opportunity had arisen. The game was afoot and whatever move they were making needed a Quadstar… An Octan Quadstar and by virtue of the unexpected outcome of Yseult's mission in Darksight, they had one. What they didn't have was a means of getting it where it needed to be. The Quadstar was a short-range superiority starfighter; very fast, very maneuverable but at a cost. The fuel tanks were small and they had no GATE drive so they relied on a carrier for trans-anomaly deployment, and an Octan carrier… Well, they're harder to come by.

That's where Ellie came in. She had a reputation for her design and engineering skills; Big Sal had identified her potential early on and brought her into MANTIS. She shared his enthusiasm for science, if not quite his approach to it but from the very beginning, she felt that he understood her, her dreams, her ideas, her passion; and she hadn't regretted accepting his invitation. She had risen through MANTIS quickly and now commanded a substantial engineering research and development effort, of which Darksight had been the latest product. What they needed now was different, and she didn't have long to come up with a solution. In the end, she had decided that delivery by carrier was impossible, carriers were as incognito as a slap in the face, no, something else was required… And she had delivered. There was risk involved though. This is MANTIS… She thought to herself as she entered the engineering bay… We eat 'risk' for breakfast!


To keep operation details on a need to know basis. Ellie’s brief was very specific and almost impossible… She liked ‘almost impossible’. There was no way to fit a GATE drive and the extra fuel capacity needed into the tight design of a Quadstar, not without modifying it beyond recognition and that wouldn’t do; it had to look legitimate or the plan wouldn’t work. Instead, she put them outside the Quastar in a bolt-on booster… A Jump drive. The unit contained all of the components needed for trans-anomaly flight; simulations had suggested that the Quadstar’s compact design would be very sensitive to the gravitational turbulence that caused so many pre-G.A.T.E. explorers to get lost. To combat this, the drive needed large gravitational stabilisers; they were a little cumbersome and prevented the Quadstar from landing with the drive attached but they did look awesome, she thought.

Riddaeon was stood waiting for her, admiring her work while he did. The unit rested on its back, the four protruding stabilisers acting like legs. “I assume the fighter attaches up there.” He stated upon hearing Ellie approach, gesturing upwards. “That will make it a little awkward for the pilot won’t it?” he asked, turning his gaze to Ellie. There goes my carefully planned introduction.  She thought. “The unit remains in orbit. The fighter attaches for trans-anomaly and detaches at the other side”. Riddaeon stepped back, taking in a wider view of the jump drive. “What if it’s captured?” He asked. “That’s the risk.” Ellie responded, a hint of stern-ness in her tone. She wasn’t about to let this… administrator tell her she should have done a better job in the ridiculously short time she had to conceive, design and build this thing. “If you want a unit that’s more compact, more secure… Fine, give me six months. If you want a unit now… This is what you get”. Riddaeon thought for a moment. “Any restricted tech?” He asked calmly. “No.” Ellie replied, a flash of confidence in her voice. He’s conceded the point. She realised. Now he’s just making sure he’s I’ve covered the bases. “Fine...” Riddaeon finally said, turning to her. “Walk me through it.”


They walked over to the engineering console and Ellie tapped the controls to bring up the file she'd originally prepared for what was left of her introduction.


"Quadstar fighters..." She began. "... Are heavily modified versions of an old Space Utility Vessel from the pre-G.A.T.E. era. Basically a multi purpose tug and docking unit, They'd fly out to unmanned cargo carriers, dock with them and take control to pilot them in. That connectivity is still there in every Quadstar so I designed a unit the fighter can dock with." The display showed a simulation of the Octan vessel with the jump drive attached.


"What if someone finds it?" Riddaeon asked. "The on-board flight system will try to keep out of sight and avoid proximity to other craft..." Ellie answered. "... But in the event that a vessel other than this Quadstar gets too close, it automatically self-destructs." There was a moment of silence. The reason for this measure was obvious but so were the consequences. "And the pilot?" He finally asked. Ellie knew the answer would be harsh but it had to be said. "They'd be stranded... They'd need to ditch the ship and find another way back". Riddaeon stared at the screen; he knew which pilot he was about to put at risk., and that he'd have to be the one to tell her. "Alright..." He said. "...Test-flight it and let me know when it's ready to deploy." Ellie nodded and Riddaeon proceeded to the exit. "Erm..." Ellie tried to say something but didn't quite know how to start it. Riddaeon stopped and gave her a moment to decide. He soon realised what she wanted to ask. "I saw the transmission too..." He said. His tone had softened, they had both been close to BigSal. "He was a friend. We must remember that... But he is also an enemy of the corporation now... We must remember that too."


NOTE FOR JUDGES: Do not judge the Octan Quadstar. The 'old model' Quadstar can be judged for its cosmetic differences which are apparent from the images (structurally, it is not significantly different). The 'engineering bay' is new and should be judged. Thank you.




Thank you for reading. All comments and feedback welcome.

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On 10/23/2016 at 3:50 PM, LucByard said:

This is MANTISWe eat 'risk' for breakfast!

Actually, it's larvae. :tongue:

I love the modular design of the booster to the Quadstar, and the bay looks impressive.

I've mentioned it before, but I just love reading your writing, as well. The characters are solid and the story is good, and most importantly it is told very well. :thumbup:

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Another amazing build! I like the wall of the bay in particular :wub:

I always find it tricky to get the right amount of red and green in Octan builds - I think there's maybe a little too much here, but that may just be my personal taste and/or how well your photography makes the colours pop.

I'm also very jealous of the green booster piece! Didn't even realise you could get it in that colour!

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I love the landing platform and story. I agree with Big Sal, the red, green, and white all work well together but it is a balancing act. Personal preference but the green booster with the red is a bit jarring for me and it feels like overall too much green. I find it tough to work with sometimes since the logo is like 45% green, 45% red, 10% white ... and yet you see most often that the Octan stuff is mostly white.

Compelling story and look forward to seeing more!

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You're both right about the balancing act. I look to Octan sets which seem to me to follow a 'green bottom, red stripe, white top' motif so I think I like a bit more green, although, like Kodan says, most Octan builds here tend towards white with red/green hints. Personally though, I loved the way Pombe's GARC was all red and played with the scheme. For all my desires, however, it's what bricks I have in stock that is usually the biggest factor. : P

The green 2x2 to 4x4 cone booster is from the Gasgano podracer in Watto's Junkyard if memory serves me correct.

Thanks for the story feedback everyone. It means a lot that people enjoy it.

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I think the color combination looks great. If there were less red and green, as others are suggesting, I think it would be too boringly white. Octan will always be kind of Christmas-y, but that is unavoidable with that color scheme. As it stands, you have a solid amount of white but enough green and red, especially the green, to make the shape pop. And it does. I love the use of the two canopies to form the cockpit like that, and those tails add a sense of speed and grace. The story was good, too.  

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