Weekend at Sabin’s

DAL SYSTEM
FRIDAY 11:30PM

 The final grunts and moans subsided as she fell over onto her side, wrapping the bedsheets around her sweating form. “THAT was incredible.” She said as I stood to put my undergarments on. I always felt exposed when naked. It wasn’t that I was embarassed of my body, I just always had this paranoia that the moment I was naked was when some hoodlum would break in, trying to vandalize my quarters, or something would catch fire and I would have to flee the premises in all my nude glory. It was yet another quirk about me. I had no problem being nude in my pod, if it was needed, though the bio suit I usually wore while piloting left me more comfortable.

“I mean, three times. My God!” She was smiling ear to ear, her eyes glazed over with that satisfied and relaxed look. I had to agree with her, it had been good; very good. I gave her a kiss, then made my way out of her quarters, heading towards my own to get some sleep. She made me promise to be in touch soon. I most assuredly would be.

As I made the journey back to the militia decks I found myself in an unusually pleasant mood. Maybe it was getting laid, maybe it was the booze, maybe it was something else entirely. Whatever it was, I decided to give my crews the weekend off. I had been working them tirelessly for months. They had requested time off before to which my answer had always been “The enemy doesn’t take time off.” I just let that hang in the air, and they always understood where it was going if they persisted.

I collapsed into my bed, and dreamt wonderful dreams.

SATURDAY 5:30AM

I awoke early, as I always did, and did some pushups and situps by my bed. I would get to the gym later for a full workout. I ate some breakfast, caught up on the local news, then headed to my recently purchased Firetail to do some customization work on her.

I walked up the boarding ramp gleefully, always excited by this fine ship. “Good morning, Aura.” I chimed. The ship beeped at me. WTF?

“Aura?” I asked, a little concerned. Again the ship beeped. That was very peculiar. 

I spent the next thirteen hours cursing up a storm, trying to figure out what had gone with the central AI system on my ship, and more than likely making things worse, having even tried reformatting the system several times. It got to the point where the AI array was showing a degraded state even after reformatting the array. At best, the problem would’ve been intermittent as the ship should’ve been able to run even in a degraded state, but I did manage to get it back to a healthy state at one point, only to reformat it and have it show degraded.

I was fuming. I slammed my fists against the ship’s inner hull several times throughout the day, angry at my own ignorance and at the fact that my brand new ship was working 100%. I gave everything I had to everything I did and expected my people and my equipment to function the same. 

I contacted PyjamaSam at one point. Being the genius he was, I figured if anyone could fix it for me, it would be Sam. I screamed, I cursed, I whined, all the while Sam patiently chastising me “I need you to be calm, Roc. If you’re not calm, I can’t really help you remotely.”

Eventually Sam had to let me go, as I simply couldn’t remain calm and focused enough for his liking during the debugging process. At one point, he did make me laugh though. In a voice resembling a large retarded Brutor child, he said “Roc smash!” to me, causing us both to succumb to fits of laughter. It was the only highlight to my day.

SUNDAY 5:30AM

I skipped breakfast and working out, heading immediately for my broken Firetail. I thought that maybe if I came at it with a fresh mind I could figure it out. Within an hour I realized how wrong I was. I wasn’t even angry anymore. I was well beyond that; I was in a state of despair. I sent Sam a comm, asking if he could please come out and personally take a look at the issues I was suffering in the ship. 

Two hours later, I heard back from Sam. He was on the way. I felt guilty really, as it was a two hour round trip for Sam to get to Dal, but I really didn’t know what else to do.

We worked on the ship for hours, tearing apart her guts, putting her back together manually, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Sam hypothesized it could’ve been something as simple as the connecting AI Controller cable, or even the AI controller itself. I had even purchased an upgraded visual interface to the AI, but couldn’t seem to get that working either. “One problem at a time please.” Sam had said.

Finally, we agreed there was nothing more that could be done on our end. He had exhausted every option his brilliant mind could think of, and I was just fuming with rage at the entire situation. I thanked Sam as I saw him off, still feeling a pang of guilt at having wasted his time. He said not to worry about, yet I did. I appreciated Sam’s friendship, and felt no jealousy towards him, even though I felt he was the better man in every way.

2PM

I called Sabin, the guy I had bought the Firetail from originally. Ordinarily, a salesman was a salesman, but Sabin actually built the ships himself by hand. He took great pride in his work, and was a likeable fellow. “I’m really sorry to hear it, Roc. She was working when she was here.” Sabin said.

“Well, what do you want me to do? I can’t really bring the ship to you, as I have nobody to help me setup a tow. I need it working, Sabin, and I mean today.” I was trying not to sound hostile with him, as if it was simply a manufacturer defect, that’s not really his fault.

“Pull out the AI assembly, and bring me the unit.” Sabin replied. “I’m here til 5PM today; I’ll make it my top priority.”

I quickly removed the requested unit, casing and all, then headed towards Sabine in another ship. I didn’t feel so guilty about Sam now as getting to Sabine’s was a two hour trip.

Then the woman from Friday night called. We enjoyed a lengthy conversation until I noticed in my distraction that I had overshot my intended system by 5 jumps. I was so distracted by this delightful woman that I had been flying on human “auto pilot”. I quickly wrapped up the phone call, then turned around, feeling my mood sour even more.

3:30PM

I finally got to Sabin’s and gave him the unit. He apologized profusely again, and told me he would get right on it. I gestured towards him to not delay himself on my account, hovering over him to see if I could learn a thing or two. After several minutes he turned to me and spoke. “Roc, this will go much easier if you’re not brooding over me like a rathawk. Go for a walk. You look tense. Grab a bite to eat and come back in thirty minutes. I should have it diagnosed by then.”

I felt myself growing irritable, and was going to snap back at him, but held my tongue. Sabin was a good guy, and had helped me immeasuably in the past with my Firetails. I really did appreciate him prioritizing my issue, so simply said “Thank you”, and walked away.

Sabin’s shop was located planetside in the city of Vaughan. It’s surface was a nonstop mess of commuter and pedestrian traffic every which way you looked. I found a nearby place to grab a bite, spent a few minutes standing around enjoying the sunshine, then decided to head back.

As I stood waiting for a traffic pedestrian signal, I noticed a young couple waiting with me. The boy, maybe in his early twenties, was a skinny Sebeistor. The girl, a chubby Achura. At least I thought she was Achura; it was hard to tell really. 

As it turned out, the opposing traffic had an advanced right of way at the intersection, so the pedestrian signal was delayed by that traffic for a few additional seconds. It was a common thing in busy areas, and I really wasn’t that impatient as to worry about losing a few extra seconds of my life to a traffic signal. Apparently the couple in front of me was. They began to cross the intersection into the advanced traffic. A heavy industrial truck was turning left towards them, and applied its braking thrusters upon seeing them. The driver honked at them, urging them to cross quickly, the couple standing there urging the driver to finish his turn. By now the advanced right of way indicator had passed its allotted time, and the main traffic was joining in the honking at the industrial truck and vehicles behind it stuck midturn. Finally, the young couple crossed, with me pretty much right behind them. As the truck finished its turn behind us, the young man could be heard cursing the industrialist’s apparent lack of driving skill, smiling and preening proudly to his chubby girlfriend. I shook my head at this, as they were clearly the offenders here.

“Excuse me.” I said cordially. Once I had their attention, I politely explained my reason for stopping them. “You do realize that the vehicles had the right of way there, yes? If anyone was to blame, it wasn’t the driver you were swearing at. It might’ve impressed your mule here, but if that driver had stopped, you would’ve found yourself in a whole world of hurt. You really should be careful who you shoot your mouth off to.”

The young man’s face went red with embarassment and anger. He let go of his girlfriend’s hand, and decided getting in my face was the appropriate course of action. “Fuck you, you piece of shit. Who the fuck are you?” He said, inches from my face. To be honest, it centered me, bringing me to a place of calm amidst the storm that had been my weekend.

I smiled at him and simply said “I’m the guy that handed you your teeth.” He got that confused look on his face that you often seen when two people are sharing some humourous secret that a third party isn’t privy to. It was then that my closed fist found his face, dropping him to the ground. I told him not to get up. His girlfriend started swearing at me, telling me to do things I didn’t physically think were possible.

“You eat with that mouth?” I asked, as her boyfriend stood to his feet, preparing to lunge at me. It was predictable and telegraphed. He was completely inexperienced, just another punk ass kid that thought he was tough because he’d never learned the hard way that he wasn’t. I sidestepped as he attempted to tackle me, grabbing the collar of his shirt so he didn’t dive face first into the traffic behind us. I then held him up, his toes barely touching the ground, and told him politely. “Learn from this. The next guy you piss off might not stop until you’re dead.” With that, I let him go, then turned and walked away. They both cursed at me until I was out of earshot. I wouldn’t be surprised if either of them ended up dead by their thirtieth birthday.

I looked at my watch. Four minutes until Sabin said he would be ready.

4PM

“Looks like it was a loose cable, Roc.” Sabin said, showing me the flimsy socket that was causing all my stress. “System’s reinitializing now from a clean format. Should be done in a few minutes.” Sabin turned away, tending to his other customers.

His good news made me happy. I made my way to a washroom, plunging my hand into some cold water. I had actually cut my knuckles on the kid’s teeth somehow, and could feel my hand shaking. I didn’t want it to get infected, but really didn’t want to let anyone know what I had done. 

After cleaning my wound, I returned to Sabin’s work counter. My AI unit was sitting there waiting for me. “There you go, Colonel. I’m really sorry about that. Everything’s good to go now.” I shook his hand, not thinking of my hand, and cringed a little as his firm grip found mine. “Again, really sorry Roc. I only let top quality go out of here usually.” I forced a smile to my face, masking my discomfort, though my affection in the following sentence was genuine.

“Sabin, sincerely, I appreciate what you do. Thank you. Really.” It never hurt to let people know when you were thankful for them and their efforts. It was a lesson I had learned a long time ago. Sabin reinforced it was a lesson well learned. “You know, Roc, I’m not sure really how to put it other than that takes a load of stress off of me right now.”

“Anytime my friend. See you in Dal sometime soon?” I asked.

“Actually, I was down there not too long ago. I applied to your corporation like you suggested last time, but they denied me.”

“Did you tell them you were a friend of mine?” I asked, a little perplexed.

“Nah, I was actually pretty shy about it.” Sabin replied.

“Well, do so. I’ll slip a message to Cy. I don’t ask him for much so I’ll ask him to re-examine your application ok?”

“That would be fantastic, Roc. Thanks.”

“No problem at all my friend. And thank you for getting this all sorted.”

I looked at my chrono. 4:30PM and another hour to get back to Dal. What a crappy weekend but at least the worst of it was over.

6 PM

Traffic advisories on the way back to Dal. I didn’t see them very often and really was just so happy to have my AI system working again that it didn’t bother me in the least. When I got back to my hangar bay, I applied some antiseptic to my hand, then set about putting my Firetail back together. Once I was sure everything was in place, I powered up the main systems.

“Nice to have you back, Aura.” I chimed.

The ship beeped at me. Shit. I looked at the AI unit status. System degraded. I sincerely felt every last ounce of joy leave me on seeing that error message.

I quickly sent a comm to Sabin, but he had closed shop for the day. I left him a message, then shut down the Firetail. If I spent another minute aboard I was bound to just start tearing things apart, and not in a good way. Then I thought of Sam’s “Roc smash!” and chuckled to myself. 

I headed back to my quarters and gave the woman from Friday night a call. She was busy and couldn’t see me, but it was enjoyable talking with her.

11PM

Sabin contacted me, apologizing profusely. I told him I was so at the end of my rope that I had two options left and he could choose which he preferred. 

  1. I bring the unit back to him, he keeps it until its fixed, and if I bring it back here and it doesn’t work there will be hell to pay
  2. He comes out here and gets it all working for me. 

There were downsides to either option. The first option left me without my Firetail for a good week, and there was no guarantee that once I brought it back it wouldn’t give the same errors anyway. 

The second option seemed better to me, but if there were hardware issues I highly doubt Sabin would have the replacement hardware with him.

Still, I just wanted it fixed. 

Hope you had a better weekend than I did.

8 responses to “Weekend at Sabin’s

  1. I never leave a problem until its fixed, so you can guarantee that Firetail will be up and running once I’m done with it. so you can fall in love with her all over again.

  2. Bummer, hope things are resolved quickly.

    Roc’s got nothing but tough love for the younger generation. Beat the majority of them, explode the rest. I wonder if a softer, more paternal side will ever show?

  3. @Sard – Maybe when the younger generation smartens the hell up Roc will go easier on them. Until then I wouldn’t hold my hand over my ass waiting for that to happen.

  4. I love the day-to-day stuff. You manage to make it so real. Considering how hectic your life is right now I can only imagine you’re pulling on so powerful motivation. You’re a trooper.

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