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Fan Fiction

Lewis and Clark, Ch 2 - Dressler
Posted By: Society for the Ancients<sfta@thewaytheirworldended.com>
Date: 14 May 2010, 12:57 am

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Something So Simple

Okay, one of the first important rules of engineering: the more complicated something is, the more likely it is to fall apart-- and then, thanks to Murphy's law, it's inevitable.

"Do you require assistance, Dr. Dressler?" the A.I. asked.

"Not a doctor, Sacagewea," Noah said, his hands still digging in the guts of the food processor.

"Of course. Do you require assistance, Mr. Dressler?" She did have a sense of humor. It was drier than a creek bed in a summer drought, but it was there.

"Do you have any idea why this thing is malfunctioning?" He asked.


"Do you have a guess?"

"I would say that judging by its current appearance, it is a mechanical error." She paused for a beat, hoping to get a reaction from Noah. He grunted - not quite what she was hoping for. She continued, "This processor does utilize some new technology. While certainly safe and decidedly well-programmed, it has many parts, some with which I am not yet familiar."

He could have done with just the first part of that, but he agreed. "Good, as long as I'm not going insane. I just need to find which part isn't working."

Various bits and pieces were laid out before him, along with a data pad holding the factory specs for every one of them, and there were still more parts to pull out. Noah was slightly stubborn - he knew Sacagawea would be able to pinpoint the problem precisely if she had access to the specs on his data pad, but what good would he be as the ship's engineer if he didn't know precisely how these things worked? He needed to solve the problem himself.

The processor was not the most complex piece of equipment on board, but it was in concept and mostly in execution, an impressive machine. It could take unprocessed or left over food and quickly turn it into one of many, many programmed dishes, from the mundane to the gourmet. Hamburgers in under one minute, fettuccine alfredo in two.

Or so it worked in a five star hotel -- not on this rust bucket.

He shook his head. He should have known better than to sign up when he saw the processor on the equipment manifest. Dr. Sheridan was very persuasive though, or at least the Lewis and Clark - and the good doctor's money - was. Aside from being a rust bucket with a malfunctioning food processor, the ship was a virtual work of art, a scientific yacht that was refitted to pull duty as a deep space scout. He couldn't resist being the team's engineer, even with what he was going to be paid in times like this. And while Noah wasn't as excited as Pandora about the archaeological aspect of their mission, he was moreso about the technical side. If Pandora's mission was to seek out and study ancient Forerunner culture, his was to dismantle and rebuild Forerunner tech, like a child with new toys.

Dressler gently pulled another part out and retrieved its specs, scrutinizing over its details. Good to go on this one, too. He put it down and returned to the processor.

"We have a kitchen and we have supplies," he mumbled to himself, "Unfortunately, we don't have a cook."

"I can try," Sacagawea said. He turned and looked at her avatar hovering over the console, adorned and shimmering in violet serenity. "I simply have to select and upload some recipes before we launch. All I would need to cook is a pair of hands."

Noah contemplated the idea. The Lewis and Clark allowed for anything to be run by the ship A.I., including the galley. Perhaps with some last minute make-shift mechanics, she would be able to cook without human hands at all. He'd never met an A.I. of her caliber who would want to take up such a measly, restrictive task though.

"You really want to do this? You want to be our chef too?"

She gave a quick smile. "It will be an adventure for me, something I've not done before."

He looked at the half-gutted processor, looked at the parts, and then back to her. He could in theory build some mechanical limbs in the galley and hook them in to the ship for her to control. It would, at least, serve as a fallback if the food processor failed again, assuming he were able to fix it. It would be nice to wake from cryostasis with the guarantee of having a warm meal waiting. "If you're sure, Chef Sacagawea."

"I am. And please call me Essy, Mr. Dressler. It is too long a voyage for so many syllables."