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What Could Go Wrong (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 234 - What Could Go Wrong[]


Linden (Former Outworlds System)
16th August, 3046


Chief Engineer Vincent Zuniga had put the rubber seals on the back burner of his mind while he focused on getting the Elephant Class Tugs refueled and their fusion reactors back into action. Then it was time to get them both out and RWS Krait, Tracker Class Surveillance Ship, into the now clear construction bay. Even after all his time playing with the various data drives, Major Nathan Davis was having trouble navigating the more complex computer system of the Shipyard. A local computer whiz was brought in, and his fingers seemed to blur as they typed in commands, selected options as they came up, until he finally stopped as a message appeared on the screen.

"It says the current ship is not in its memory storage and is asking if we want to download the information stored inside the ships memory storage. Do we?" The local said

Chief Engineer Zuniga and Major Davis looked at each other before Chief Zuniga said "Sure, we might need it."

The local whiz answered yes, and another message flashed on the screen, only in bright red.
<{"Warning, Restricted Access, SLDF Override Needed, Insert Override Security Key."}>

The local whiz half turned, "No clue what it is talking about."

Major Davis slipped the "security" key from his neck and began searching for the right slot until he found it. Shrugging he inserted the key and waited. On the screen, the message vanished and was replaced with a new message <{"Download initiated. SLDF Override Confirmed."}>

While they waited, Major Davis asked "How did you learn Star League computer language?"

"It is normal code and commands to me. Was taught it as a kid. Same as my father, and his before him and so on. This is a little more complex than what I am used to on the other stations, but the same commands get me to where I need to go, there are just way more options." The local computer whiz replied

"So you learned Star League code as a kid?" Major Davis asked

"Is there any other? It is all I have ever worked with. Same as everyone that has taken basic computer skills in school." The whiz replied

Major Davis and Chief Zuniga shared a look that seemed to say, "We are so going to hire this guy and a few more."

A new message appeared that said <{"Download complete."}>

The computer whiz once again typed in commands faster than even Major Davis could follow until the whiz selected "Run Full Diagnostic."

Chief Zuniga watched thru a large plasti steel window as the construction bay seemed to come to life on it's own. Various automated arms began unfurling from their storage areas and extended toward RWS Krait. Extremely bright lights at the very end of the arms appeared as finely controlled cutting torches began removing exterior panels on both sides of the ship to expose the jump core. This station is almost fully automated, he thought to himself. He turned and asked, "How long is this going to take?"

The whiz checked the display and said "According to this, 43 hours until the full diagnostic is complete. It has already completed some checks, it must be talking to the ships systems also."

"Amazing. I wonder what else this lovely lady can do." Chief Zuniga asked out loud

"You want to find out?" The computer whiz asked

"If you can, hell yes." Chief Zuniga said

The computer whiz moved to another computer terminal and started typing in commands. "Let's see, the onboard data storage has four ships listed. Tracker Class Surveillance Ship, Star Lord Class Jumpship, Tramp Class Jumpship, and Carrack Class Transport. If I select one, we will choose the Carrack Class Transport. It now asks me if I want to preview, build, repair, service. Lets select preview. Okay, now it says that we are short 4,500 tons of Endo Steel for the structure, 135,750 tons of processed Germanium and Titanium for the jump core, no material for the 54,000 ton Transit Drive, 374 Double Heat Sinks, 87.5 tons of standard armor plate, 2 Dropship Collars and a host of other things. Pretty cool, I guess it reads the onboard inventory before it will even let you start anything. I have no clue what most of that is though. Lets see what else it can do." He typed a few commands and went back to a main menu.

"Well now, from here I can see that the Jump Core Forge is idle, Transit Drive Manufacturing is idle, and several other sections that are obvious production centers are idle for lack of raw material. I guess this station is pretty self contained." The whiz said

"Go back to the Carrack preview please." Chief Engineer Zuniga said as the computer whiz typed in the requested commands.

Chief Zuniga studied the display for a few minutes. "Pull up the Star Lord please." Again he studied the preview information before progressing to the Tramp and then the Tracker. "Thank you. Excellent work." He then left the command deck of the station.

"What was all that about?" Major Davis asked

"If we have the material, this station can build the Carrack, Star Lord, Tramp, and now it seems the Tracker. Except it did not list the capital weapons for the Tracker. This station cannot build capital weapons it seems. Small problem, but it can build the normal weapons and everything else. I wonder if every Star League era ship had it's very design information locked behind that sort of security firewall to prevent anyone from being able to easily copy a ship if captured but to enable emergency repairs on any Shipyard that the ship happens to be able to reach. Just one of those fancy SLDF security keys needed to override the firewall security." Chief Engineer Zuniga replied


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