45-Valkyrie’s View: A Year Among the Stars

February 14th, 2552 Shakedown cruise
Pilot of the RS Gumbo/Lab Rat/mechanic in training – Katherine ‘Kat’ James Reporting

I have been informed by several people in several departments, that I am not taking myself and/or my position seriously enough.

Several people demanded I rename my ship with something more heroic but— that’s just not who I am. It kinda took me by surprise how many people haven’t figured out by now that I tend to be a tad irreverent. Don’t get me wrong, I love my ship— and I love that I built her but I have no illusion about her – she is a Franken-ship – She’s a little bit swap meet ketch and a lot of ‘throw everything in the pot and let it simmer’.

Cookie gets it, Mac— Mac just scratched his head and laughed before telling me, he’s calling her the Gumbo.

Then the really scary work began. The RS-Gumbo made her maiden flight. Everything checked out and we would have left it at that, but we needed to retrieve some of the folks on Twilight and the other ships were practicing taking off and landing on unpredictable surfaces.

I’m still not cleared for that— but I ended up putting the Gumbo through her paces landing on the Twilight – she was lurching and shuddering. Her gyro and guidance were off and they needed to evacuate everyone but the repair team – So I made about 10 uneventful runs before my luck started to turn.

I made it down, but unless the Twilight starts flying straight and true, I won’t be coming back, so The RS Gumbo is tethered down to the deck as the last escape vehicle. Good thing I’m an apprentice mechanic and allowed to work a welding rig, otherwise, I’d have been sitting there with too much time on my hands.

I got back around 2200 that night – tired and ready for bed – only to be intercepted by the Flight Officer.

To be honest, I was expecting an earful about my last landing on the Twighlight, but he told me that “Anybody who can land that nightmare of a ship on the Twilight when her pitch and yaw were out of whack— is cleared to land in my book – don’t let me down.”

That was it – he said his piece and walked on – leaving me there elated and more than a bit flabbergasted.

Tomorrow morning, I have to fix the damage that last landing did.

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