trying to hide her irritation. It had been a long time since she let someone come up behind her with out noticing it first.
“Skipper, let me introduce Lieutenant Lilith Rios and Ensign William Kondo,” said Paulson with a slight bow.
‘Enter problems three and four,’ thought Watez. She didn’t bow or extend a hand, she just looked them both up and down and then turned back to the observation window. Both Rios and Kondo were habitat born and as tall and lanky as Paulson.
“To answer your question, Lieutenant, the legs extend outside the maximum jump diameter. Also, we will not be pushing any masses on this trip,” Watez said, a little colder than she’d meant to.
“Commander, as the senior Mitsubishi representative on this mission, my job is to see the ship returned in as close to original condition as possible,” said Rios
“Lieutenant, did you not watch the President's speech the other day? This is a Guard mission now and that ship belongs to the Federation. As doe you,” Watez continued as she turned to face Rios, “Whether it is returned in any condition at all is dependent on us coming back alive. And to that end Mister Kondo will be assisting Lieutenant Paulson on the modifications to the Leif Ericson while he learns the QTD. Rios, you need to learn the new flight control system. There is a simulator at the University and I will meet you there at 0800 tomorrow.”
Watez drifted at the center of a enclosed catwalk at the center of spin above the New Eden University. Being at the center meant that she was in zero G. At one end of the catwalk was an elevator back to the ground; the other end had a fight simulator. The simulator was also really and elevator, but a very special one: it moved up and down from the center line of the Habitat so it could use the it’s spin to simulate the Gs of an engine burn. It also could spin 360 degrees in the x and y axis. Since you could only see what the simulation showed once you were inside, it felt just like flying a ship in space.
Rios and Tanaka were in the simulator at the moment going through a series of maneuvers. Watez was outside, monitoring them through her computer's contact lenses and humming softly to herself. She now regretted the way their first meeting went. She’ d let her bitterness about the new crew members show through. Mitsubishi had insisted that they have some of their own on the crew, and since Rios - in her late twenties - had more flight time than Tanaka, she would be the natural choice to take over the right seat as the pilot. Tanaka was bumped down to being ‘just’ the astrogator. This had really made Watez mad. Tanaka and her had been working together for the last three years, hammering out the bugs on the fight controls of the X-301. She also didn’t like her command crew being scrambled up at this late date. She had less than two months time to teach Rios what it had taken them all years to learn. At least Kondo was not a real problem. He was second engineer after Paulson, and they seemed to like each other. Once they started their geek speak a troop of naked amazons could walk by and they would not notice.
They were in trouble. First the simulator moved farther from the zero G center, meaning they were picking up more simulated gravity. Then a slow roll in the X axis started and built faster and faster. Than a violent pitch in the Y axis, and then they were spinning.
“Crap!” said Watez she saw they were in a tumble. Once a ship started doing that, it was almost impossible to correct. The forward thrusters just didn’tt have the delta V to off set the momentum of the mass of the engines. If it went on to long, the lateral stresses could snap the ships spine.
“Ship loss.” announced the computer in Watez's ear piece. The simulator stopped its spinning and started to climb back up to the catwalk. When the simulator reached the top, its hatch popped open and Rios came out like a demon on a mission.
“Why the hell are we using those caveman controls?” shouted Rios
“Well, Lieutenant,” snapped Watez, “If you had read the materials you were given you would know that logic-based circuits are