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Lt Hober Mallow | If you ain't first you're last

Posted on 242303.04 @ 3:15pm by Lieutenant Hober Mallow
Edited on on 242303.04 @ 3:16pm

Mission: Nova Lux

Mallow's eyes narrowed, drilling holes into the pad before him. The recently delivered device lay on his desk innocently, but he stopped his hand momentarily as he reached to pick it up, expecting it to lash out with dull grey claws to scratch any fool that dared touch it. He shook his head and picked it up with both hands. He released the breath he didn't realize he had been holding and leaned forward. The screen on the pad lit up, recognizing the data it contained was being called forth to be served. Mallow began pouring over the scores.

Mallow had enticed, encouraged, and all but bullied --Lieutenant Daynes came around; they just needed a gentle push-- as many starship engineering departments to participate in an engineering competition. The Chief Engineer, the ever competitor, was devouring the most recent ship efficiency reports and benchmarks received on what he thought was disrepectful, irregular intervals from participating ships in the fleet. He devised an elaborate scoring system to rank things such as spatial manifold intermix efficiency, eps encabulator transient loss percentages, and the like. He tabbed past what he considered the lesser important scores but still took enough time to note Enterprises's position until he got to the main attraction of the show—the overall fleet rankings.

He looked over the list twice, eyes narrowing and widening as if adjusting his focus would change the content on the screen. It was true; there it was, an angry red arrow of failure denoting the Enterprise's loss of two positions on the board. The pad made a dull thunk as it hit the wall on the far side of the office, quickly sliding to the floor. Mallow imagined it continuing to soar through the bulkheads and out into space, eventually captured by the gravity well of a red giant. He smiled, picturing the unassuming device being consumed by the cold fury of a star.

He pushed himself out of his chair and went to pick up the device, thumbing through the results again. Where had they lost points?

Gluonic isodyne stress--nope, still first.
Subsurface displacer diagnostic--not that, no position changes.
Microfilament phase inverting--can't be that.
Inertial dampening collection--wait, he thumbed back a page.

Microfilament phase inversion stress results. There it was, the source of the Enterprise's diminished score. New excited energy tingled in Mallow's fingertips. He tossed the pad back onto his desk and strode out of the office looking for an undoubtedly responsible engineer, mission for the afternoon defined.


Lieutenant Hober Mallow
Chief Engineering Officer


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