Making It Work

Started by Ick Rosewater, November 18, 2021, 01:41:03 PM

Ick Rosewater

November 18, 2021, 01:41:03 PM Last Edit: November 18, 2021, 01:47:50 PM by Ick Rosewater
The crappy thing about making a living off of captains who didn't employ a mechanic on their crew was that it was usually because the captain couldn't KEEP a mechanic on their crew. Ick didn't take kindly to being treated poorly in his own place of business. No, for his money Ick preferred a sad-faced, slump-shouldered skipper mourning the recent loss of their beloved mechanic. Give Ick an absolutely devastated customer who couldn't put a price on the work their dearly departed wrenchmonkey did. It was always a good day when those lamentable folk, nearly paralyzed by woe, shambled into Echo Valley Parts & Fix-It. Today, however, was not a good day.

"Hey! You run this chop shop or what?"

Ick extinguished his welding torch and flicked back his head to flip up his safety mask. He didn't like what he saw- A square-jawed, scowling fella whose haircut alone would have announced him to be an asshole had it not already been done by calling Ick's establishment a "chop shop."

"That's right," he said, letting the insult slide.

Square-Jaw thumbed back to the Peregrine-Class transport Ick hadn't heard land over the sound of his own tools. "Fix it."

Ick appraised the ship as he pulled off his flame retardant gloves and apron. The insignia on the hull revealed the name to be Cunning Linguist. Well he may be an asshole, thought Ick, containing a groan. But at least he appears to care about his partners' orgasm.

The ship itself was what Ick called a "calico." He always thought that calico cats looked like they'd been made with the spare parts of other cats. And by the looks of her, this Peregrine didn't have a single original part or panel.

"Looks like she's been through hell."

Square-Jaw smirked and rocked proudly on his heels and toes. "Boy, you wouldn't believe."

Ick knew Square-Jaw was just begging to be asked to elaborate, but Ick just nodded. If this ship had been through hell, it was because this guy had put her through it. And as far as Ick was concerned, that was nothing to be proud of. And certainly nothing to brag about.

"What's ailing her?" Ick asked.

"I thought YOU were the expert here," said Square-Jaw.

"Yes," said Ick, explaining slowly so this guy could understand. "But you see, YOU are the captain, right? You don't know what's wrong with your own boat?"

Square-Jaw's scowl intensified. "She won't break atmo," he said.

"Gotcha," said Ick. Ick could relate. He wouldn't break bread, let alone break atmo with this chump. "Mind if I open her up and take a look?"

As if on cue, the cargo ramp opened up and three men and a woman came out of the ship, duffels slung. The woman caught sight of Ick and pointed.

"Hey look, fellas! There's the mechanic that'll get paid our wages THIS time."

"Connie, where the hell do you think you're going?" asked Square-Jaw.

"We're out, Carp," said Connie. "Before you owe our backpay to our estates."


"Meaning we're sick of your reckless cowboy crap. You haven't paid us since we signed on because every cent from jobs goes to repairs that your stupidity caused. If you're going to get us killed, I'd rather not die broke."

At that point, Ick stopped listening and ran his diagnostic of the ship. The problem was so obvious, it was the first thing he checked. Potpourri of parts that she was, Cunning Linguist was in pretty good shape, save one thing: The atmospheric rudders. They were in fine condition, it's just that in order to break atmo, the rudders had to transfer control to the burners once the atmo got too thin for the rudders to be effective. The relay that allowed that to happen just happened to not be there anymore. Like it was deliberately removed.

After a little more back and forth, the crew of Cunning Linguist successfully quit and left to find a bar. Ick found the captain kicking dirt and spitting on the ground.

"Bad news, fella," said Ick. "She's finished."

"The hell you talking about?"

"I'm talking I'm surprised you got her into the air in the first place and she ain't going back up. She's worth more as parts. Let me make you an offer."

After a bout of angry disbelief and more spitting, the haggling began.

"I'll throw in some advice," said Ick, paying out the two hundred platinum they'd agreed upon. "Take this money and whatever you were going to pay me, and pay your former crew. Prolly a lot more money than you want to part with, but enemies are even more expensive, yeah?"

Without any direction available to him but his own self-interest, Square-Jaw nodded in begrudging agreement.

Square-Jaw actually got a good price out of Ick. It would have bothered Ick, except it really didn't matter...

...A couple hours later when Square-Jaw left the bar harboring his former crew, looking deflated both in attitude and in pocketbook, Ick went on over for a drink of his own. Connie and the others were bellied up and in much higher spirits. Ick nodded familiarly at the bartender and a beer appeared in front of him.

"On the tab?" asked the bartender.

"Nope, these folk'll be buying," said Ick, indicating the wayward crew.

Connie looked surly and incredulous. "Oh yeah? What makes you think so?"

"I figure it's the least you can do. See, I got my hands on a ship I'd like to sell. Not much wrong with it. It just needs an atmospheric relay. I'd let you have it for the incredibly low price of two-hundred platinum plus the cost of the relay. Of course...if any of you just happen to have an atmospheric relay laying around somewhere, just call it two-hundred platinum. Yeah?"

Connie's smirk became more friendly. "As a matter of fact, we DO have an atmospheric relay. Two-hundred it is. And you're right. Beer's on us." And they shook on it.

"Just one request," said Ick.

"What's that?"

"Change the ruttin' name immediately."

It ended up being a good day, after all. Ick bought a perfectly fine ship from a complete rutter of a captain for super cheap, then sold that same ship for the same amount to the crew who had sabotaged it to begin with, thereby keeping another dangerous idiot out of the black. It wasn't a particularly profitable transaction...but a free beer was a free beer.

Powered by EzPortal