a science-fiction adventure game

Chapter 3: The Laeril Commission
(part two)

The junior engineer stood up as Alavaji entered the room. “Thank you for coming, Chief.”

Alavaji nodded. “You had something to show me, Rienne?”

Rienne Teleda nodded and tapped on the viewscreen behind her. Engineering blueprints of the vanguard ship's cargo hold came up. “I think I've come up with a solution to the power problem in the manufacturing area.”

She pointed at a small protrusion extending from the stern bulkhead of the cargo hold area. “This is the control hub for a climate monitoring system on the old ship design. It was to insure the cargo hold maintained a constant temperature and humidity. Originally, we were going to either leave it in, unused, or remove it completely if it interfered with the arcs of the utility crane. Luckily, the utility crane's arc is here,” she gestured to an area arcing south of the bow bulkhead. “We also had plans to build a manufacturing control room here...” she gestured to an area in the center of the manufacturing room floor, “... and a cargo control room here...” she gestured to another area in the new cargo hold, north of the manufacturing area. “The problem is that these control rooms need power from the engine room, and the conduits heading down to the manufacturing area are already maxed... we'd need to run new conduits for both control rooms. Plus, we're having problems finding a good way to route the central computer's data and power lines through the middle deck of the ship. With this design, we'll be running into time constraints.”

Alavaji nodded. “Fair enough. Your solution?” he asked.

Rienne adjusted her glasses. “Well, sir, what if we extended this climate control hub into the center of the bulkhead that separates the cargo area from the manufacturing area?” She doubletapped on the viewer and the scene changed. She pointed to the large box now straddling the two sections. “We build this room at the end of a skyway of sorts by extending the climate control area further, and then run the conduits along this enclosed catwalk. We save space on the floor of the manufacturing area and the cable lines running to the reactor are shorter, saving energy.”

Alavaji raised an eyebrow. “Interesting. And where's the cargo control room?”

She pointed to the central box and smiled. “Same room. I've made the room larger to support the necessary controls for both operations. Since manufacturing and cargo will need to be in close contact, there's no reason why they can't just be all in the same room. Plus, the new control room's vantage point allows the control crew to see what's actually happening down there. The elevator that's coming down to the cargo hold can also stop here.”

Alavaji pursed his lips and then smiled. “The High Council's decision to have you along on the vanguard team was well-advised. This is a brilliant idea, Rienne.”

A touch of color came to Teleda's cheeks and she looked down, smiling. “Thank you, sir.”

“You mentioned something about the data conduits from the central computer?”

Rienne looked back up. “Yes, sir.” She turned to the screen and gestured, bringing back the levels above the deck they had been looking at. “As you can see, there's an access shaft that we can make to run down to the ceiling of the manufacturing area. So, we can send the power and data conduits through here and across the skyway with relative ease. If we put the skyway in, the data and power conduits come down here...” She removed the higher levels and tapped the area just beyond the climate control area currently on the ship. “We could put a service maintenance terminal here, which would double as a conduit bridge point and the terminal could be used as an auxiliary control terminal for manufacturing, to allow for some redundancy in our systems in this area...”

Alavaji nodded. “It wouldn't have to be anything complicated, either. A low level OS system would even do.” He beamed at Rienne. “Excellent design. Formalize it, have another engineer check it over, and then send it to the shipyard.”

* * *

“So, have you thought of a name for her?” Councilor ren Jerroll glanced over at Alavaji. He raised his cup to his lips and took a sip from his tea.

Alavaji shook his head. “Nothing's really come to mind. Might have the crew come up with ideas. Maybe the captain will have an idea.”

ren Jerroll made a face. “This ship might be his to command, but it's your creation. I think it should bear the name given by its creator. Besides, a captain never names his own ship. Jened Asarin didn't, and I don't think this captain should either.” He took another sip of tea. “Tradition should be followed.”

Alavaji sighed. “Well, that may be true, but really, this ship is not just my creation, but the creation of all the engineers who worked on her. My design team and the shipbuilders at the shipyard who actually built her.”

ren Jerroll looked at Alavaji. “You aren't suggesting that those kharsi ought to name the vanguard ship, are you?”

Alavaji glanced down. “No, I guess not.”

“Certainly, some name must be appropriate...”

“Nearly everything I've thought of has already been used on some transport vessel during one of the earlier migrations.”

ren Jerroll tossed one out. “Lonira.” Hope.

Alavaji shook his head. “It was a migration ship during the Renmasa, eighth one to land on Pelonnes.”

ren Jeroll tried again. “Khendova.” Perserverence.

“Used on a Talmasa vessel. I think it landed on Teratha, if I recall correctly.”

ren Jerroll smiled. “What about Laeril?” he asked quietly.

Laeril?” Alavaji echoed. “What kind of a name is that?”

“When you called me the first night after you went to see it, you said it was a laeril. 'Fortuitous gift' is an apt name for it, isn't it?”

“But a laeril is also the name of the gift given to children on the morning of the Renmasa-terenu,” the chief engineer protested.

“And yet, it is the word you used to describe it.” He emptied his cup and set it down. “I think it's a very appropriate name, since this ship was a gift to us, either through fate or just sheer luck.” He stood up. “Unless you have a better idea...”