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Dagnabit, machine! [Flashback]

Posted on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 @ 7:32pm by Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan

Mission: Interlude 4
Location: USS Constellation
Timeline: 2361

Harlan was furiously trying to work on something as the minutes ticked by. His stupid head of engineering had given all of the newest members of the crew some impossible problem to do within one day. It wasn't exactly like the Kobayashi Maru, but it was about as close as engineering got with its emphasis on energy fluctuations and such. It made for stressful training.

He was in the holodeck at the moment. Every student got two nonconsecutive hours to work on the problem. It involved trying to find the most optimal energy route for the subspace pulse-wave. This ordinarily wouldn't be a problem except there both a starboard and port subspace wave and they had gotten out of sync. The trick was to find the correct adjustment to the ship's energy system to resync them without overloading either. You also weren't allowed to shut them down because this was a combat simulation and every time the ship performed evasive maneuvers or fired its phasers, the imbalance between the two pulse-waves would grow. This was apparently a test that Chief McGruber loved to put his new people through.

Harlan was wracking his brains as he pondered. Nothing seemed to work. His first few solutions all seemed to cause a catastrophic failure in one or both of the pulse waves which led to collapses in the Dermatiraelian plate. It was all the young engineer could do to not throw stuff in frustration. There were just 15 minutes left in his appointment. He would have only a few hours after that to finalize his solution for the chief.

He eventually threw something in frustration. Harlan chucked his PADD through the simulated model of the system in question. The projection didn't change, but the PADD landed in such a way that the screen changed. The frustrated engineer walked over and picked it up. The solution stared back at him like a bolt of lightning from the heavens.

"Of course! I can feed all of the energy in the pulse-waves through the replicator system! I'll set each replicator for a different item, which will use up known quantities of energy. That will do enough to the starboard and port waves, respectively, to get them back in sync when the projects are done! Sure, it might ruin the replicator system for a day or two, but this is just crazy enough to work!"

Harlan ended the sim, saved his PADD data and locked it. He then ran to his quarters to finish the calculations, nearly knocking over someone he didn't care to know in the process. "Suck this, Chief! I'm gonna show you what Arlan Harlan can do!"

At the end of the project, Harlan presented his solution Chief McGruber, who didn't react as expected. He spent the next 15 minutes berating the young engineer about how it was about finding a clear solution, but instead was meant to push them as hard as the infamous Kobayashi Maru test. Harlan took it all in stride as he began to think about his career in Starfleet while trying not to glare back at McGruber. Certainly, not all chiefs would be as obstinate as this one. Young Harlan intended to find out as soon as he could.



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Comments (2)

By Captain Malcom Llwyedd on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 @ 7:37pm

Nice! At least Harlan isn't throwing things anymore.... is he? :D

By Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 @ 7:45pm

Nope! He only makes them whither under his intense scrutiny!