Sunday, 15 February 2009

Design Flaw

Station Commander Arisin Korth leaned with his elbows on his desk, holding his head in his hands, wishing he could have a drink on-duty. Or several drinks. He needed them.

Nobody seemed to understand what station commanders had to go through every day. Yes, they had a vast command and sub-command network to maintain and manage the metropolis-sized platforms and their thousands of residents, let alone the transient spacefaring population. At the end of the day, when people didn't know what to do -- or were reluctant to take responsibility for difficult decisions -- it all came back to land on his overflowing in-box.

As if that wasn't bad enough, being in Gallente space meant that certain Amarrian standards had to be relaxed lest they rankle the delicate democratic sensibilities of their gracious hosts. The maintainence and service staff had to be hired and paid reasonable wages, rather than being brought in from a nearby slave colony -- immensely more convenient, and it meant he wouldn't have them all threatening to go on strike if their wages were not raised.

There was a hesitant tap at the door. 'Sir?'

His voice muffled behind his hands, Korth answered, 'Yes, Vernire, what is it now?'

The door opened. Docking Supervisor Scott Vernire looked more apologetic than ever. 'I'm terribly sorry, sir, but... there's a problem in hangar 4212-B.'

Sighing, Korth ran his hands back over his hair, carefully shaved to look respectably recessed, then clasped them on the desk in front of him, regarding the supervisor tiredly. 'What kind of problem?'

'Well...' The younger man bit his lip and straightened his jacket nervously. 'One of the capsuleers bought a capital ship. He's having it assembled just now and... Well, sir... It doesn't fit.'

Korth's long features sagged. 'Doesn't fit. The grandest cathedral complex on Amarr Prime could fit in those hangars with room to rattle, and someone's bought a ship which doesn't fit?'

Vernire's face crumpled unhappily. 'Yes sir. You... I think you should see for yourself.'

They left the office and took a lift down to the hangar in question and went to the observation lounge. When he saw the problem, Korth stopped dead, his mouth falling open. 'My God...' he breathed. 'What is that?'

It was dark, rusty red, marking it clearly as a Minmatar design, eye-achingly ugly against the soft golds and ivories of the hangar, its jagged lines threatening to pierce the graceful Amarrian arches. The null-gravity field suspended it upright above the platform as crew and construction drones swarmed around it like a cloud of insects, buzzing and snapping with bursts of welding sparks and crackles of raw electricity. The looming hulk rose from a delicate point into a towering blade shape bristling with solar panels and antennae, and ended in ragged, unfinished plates and gaping mid-construction holes a hundred metres short of the domed ceiling.

'It's... the pilot said it's a Naglfar,' Vernire says, stumbling a little over the unfamiliar name. 'Minmatar dreadnaught.'



'But for Heaven's sake,' Korth exclaimed, gesturing to the unfinished top of the ship. 'How far up does it go?! The hangar is only three kilometres high!'

Swallowing hard, the Supervisor retrieved a notepad and pulled up the design specifications. 'According to this, the dreadnaught is... f-four kilometres tall.' He blanched and looked at the Station Commander uncertainly. 'We'd have to remove twenty decks plus services -- at least! -- for that to fit.'

Korth rubbed his face, groaning inwardly. 'Well, best get started on it, then.'

'Uh. S-sir?'

'Start figuring out how to cut a Naglfar-sized hole in the hangar.' He looked at Vernire. 'Do you have any idea what these people pay us in terms of berthing, apartment rental, crew housing, entertainment? What we earn in a year is nothing to them. Get on the logistics to open up the ceiling in here.'

'But sir... how will he undock?'

Both men looked at the smaller arch of the hangar's exit into the docking lanes. Korth sighed, looking even more tired.

'You'll think of something.'

11 comments:

Havohej said...

Epic. It's freaking VERTICAL, man! :D Nice read (but you already knew that)

Anonymous said...

It could become freaking horizontal when docked, possibly?

Quintrala said...

"Minmatar Dread flight 2FAT2FIT, you are cleared to undock. Have a nice day, boys."

Myrhial Arkenath said...

That thing makes me lol each time I see it. Must be part of the tactics, make your opponent giggle and make vertical jokes and use their distraction to your advantage.

Ombeve said...

Ahaha, brilliant :) Doesn't help they are the rubbish of all Dreads as well as being vertical and not fitting in some stations ;)

Tony said...

LOL that is win. I wonder whose dread it is...

Also. Never knew a dread could dock haha.

Shae Tiann said...

@Tony - that pic was taken... oh, November 2007 I think, by Matthias Ungabii ^_^

Tony said...

Oh details, details...

Leumas said...

Great story to go with the pic.

X1376 said...

Lovely story Shae! :) Pitty I get to reading stuff first today.

Corpies picture from SiSi: http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/7833/20090210144700gh8.jpg

TarSky said...

lol .. hey where are the guns :D ?!

Hail Minmatar !!!

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