2236-12-17 - Breaking Things Down

Tamlin gets some help in the raptor investigation. Rhona adds some new skills to her toolkit.

Date: 2236-12-17

Location: Hangar Deck, Deck 6, //Galactica//

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 925

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There actually are ladders for this sort of thing, but Tamlin really can't be bothered. That would mean getting the ladder, dragging it across the deck, positioning it against the raptor and then...no, that all takes too long. The deckhand, instead, simply tucks the last of her tools into her pockets, boots and whatever other handy receptacle she has on her person, grabs onto one of the inner clamps for the rear door and monkeys her way up to the roof of the raptor. This is the same one she's been working on for, well, most of the days since it was flown back. So, Echo's. And Rabbit, but poor Echo. Once she clambers up to the roof, she makes her way towards the front windscreen.

It's not yet Rhona's shift on standby, but she's all flightsuited up and down here on the deck nonetheless, and with a determined walk that stops any of the crew questioning just why she's here. There's been a certain amount of avoiding her anyway, not just by the deck crew, but by pilots and marines alike. This, after all, is the pilot who started the whole spate of losing Raptors that's been bugging the fleet. She's the Jonah, and the fleet being a superstitious lot at the best of times, has tended to be left alone wherever possible these past few weeks. Today, however, she eases her way over to what was Echo's Raptor, clanging her knuckles on the side to make her presence known before she calls up, "How's it going, PO?"

Tamlin settles in by the windscreen, plunking down a magnetic hand-rung, the sort one uses to support themselves when they're going to be hanging at some odd angle or some other precarious position. When she hears the rap, she grabs the ring and uses it to keep her steady as she leans over into thin air, looking at the pilot upside down, "I need a bigger wrench with which to beat this machine, sir." She pauses, lifting her head to look around the area, "I have some news, preliminary, any way, about your bird. Come up if you like. The ladder's over there, or you can use the high lift as a jungle gym." It's close enough you could climb into it, but you'd need to jump over to the raptor roof.

Rhona takes one look at the high lift, the gap involved, and then the roof she'd be aiming for. She shakes her head, traipsing over to haul the ladder up into place rather than risk an ignominious plummet to the deck in attempting acrobatics at height. "I'll leave the trapeze act to you guys," she allows drily, as she finally pokes her head up and crawls off the ladder and onto the roof of the aircraft. "Couldn't find a bigger wrench. Found a tin of lube and a roll of tape, though?" she offers. "I figure one of them ought to work, no matter the problem. What's the news?"

"Oh! My hero!" Tamlin holds out both hands for the lube and the tape, like a child grasping for a toy, because really, they are the spokes in her wheel, as it were, "Well, we're going to be sending divers down to collect your black box. I'm not sure if they've decided if they'll actually make an attempt to get the whole ship. But we're working on narrowing down the source of the problems. And, the ship that just went down, Gopnik's, is on its way back. It had the same problem as this one, loss of flight controls, sort of a hostile takeover of the autopilot." She makes a face, hand tapping out a rhythm on the top of the raptor, "Yours was the worst, of course, but we're going over them inch by inch."

"We had a loss of everything," Rhona points out, brow furrowing. "Controls, electrics, thrust. It's like somebody just flicked the big red switch - and if you tell me there's a big red switch built into these things I'm going to cut a fool. Any clues, though? I mean, there's not supposed to be anything on board that doesn't have a failsafe, right? And I wasn't even flying like a loony. What's the black box going to tell us more than that?"

"We're hoping it will tell us what started the failure." Tamlin taps the top of the raptor. "This is my second time going through this ship. My second time, and as far as I can see, there was no mechanical failure. No fittings loose, no fried connections, no malfunctioning circuits. I've been talking with the Chief, and I wondered if it might be some inadvertent error created because we had so many hands working on these ships. A lot of navy rats from a whole lot of navies. People who use different measurements and different calibrations and different specifications and tolerances for their parts. But that's only the mechanics. It won't tell me anything about the programmed systems, the software or how it interacted with the hardware. We need the box for that." She manages a hint of a smile. "There is a big red button...." A long pause, "But it only shoots out party streamers and unlocks the drink storage."

"Well, shit, that explains why we all got covered in silly string and confetti when we bailed out," Rhona muses, for all the world as though she's quite serious. "But look, seriously, is there a way we can turn everything off? All the clever bits and pieces, all the software that flies the plane for you, and take her out barebones?" She holds up a hand. "No, listen, bear with me here. If we take her out like that and she still blacks out, then we've got it narrowed down, right? And if we do it here, close to the ship, and stress test the bird, if it all goes to shit I can bail out in an EVA suit and aim for an airlock. But is it doable?"

"I aim to make flying in my birds an enjoyable experience, clearly I have succeeded." Just as seriously. "The failsafe..that's a good idea. There should be one on each system, and redundancy built in that stops a failure in one section from cascading into another. And the whole point of a failsafe, is that it isn't supposed to fail." Tamlin frowns, the tapping on the roof increasing in speed, "But it could possibly be tampered with." The question of flying, gets a tentative nod, "That would require some work, we'd have to disconnect each of the flight and guidance systems, because they're programmed to back each other up, but it'd be doable. And it would take someone in the pilot's chair who knows the systems. Would be nice to have a tech no board, but we lost ours to the air wing, apparently. You up for it, Ensign?"

"I'm up for it, sure," Rhona agrees, absently picking away at a flake of the paintwork. "As I see it, I'd rather have her fail under test conditions than battle conditions, and it's not like I haven't flown buckets of old bolts before without all the fancy tech. If Wasp's up for it, much as I hate to admit it, she'd be useful on board. She's got a head for all the technical stuff, and she can fly in a pinch. Then one of your guys on board, too, to see how it goes?"

"I'll take all of the help that I can get. It's a good plan. Keep eliminating systems until we find the fault." Tamlin pauses, even the tapping falling silent, as she considers, "I was asking the Chief about how these things work. Their systems. That's one of her areas of expertise, design, and she said it wasn't likely something radiated at the raptor, because the hull is shielded, and she thought it was unlikely it was some sort of static discharge, but the trouble is, that in a lot of ways, my knowledge of these ships and how they perform is very limited. I'm a mechanic. I keep thinking...there has to be a bug somewhere, but even if it is something in the software, that's not something we're trained for. We bring in contractors for that. So I only ever see one half of the picture. If you two, and any one else who wants to throw in can help put together the other half, I know we've got a shot at finding what's wrong."

Rhona gives a half grin, flicking a piece of paint off the side to the deck below. "Oh, I don't pretend to know how these things work, but I do know how to fly pieces of junk. So if you and the Chief can strip one of these down into a go-kart with wings, I'll fly her, and we can build up from there. If the CAG allows it, anyway. Fingers crossed."

"That's good enough for me. I'll put feelers out for anyone who might want to work on the systems. Perhaps your backseater. If not, someone else in the wing who knows the technical aspects. As for the CAG, I'll have the Chief talk to him. I'm sure he doesn't want to lose any more ships or crew down there." She considers, "How much do you actually know about how these things work, the mechanics of them, how to do repairs and keep them running under combat situations?"

Rhona takes a breath, then exhales. "Well, I know there's a big red button where the party streamers come out..?" She shakes her head. "Not much, though. I'm here to fly them, not fix them. I know the general principles, and I know enough to put tape over bits that have holes in where they shouldn't, but I don't claim to be an engineer."

"Engineers fix the plumbing." Tamlin chucks her head in the direction of the rest of the ship. "The deck works on small ship systems, engineers do HAVOC, large scale electrical, the FTL drives, like that. I thought about being an engineer, but I didn't want to plunge toilets. However, in your case, especially if we're flying combat, it would only be to your benefit to know how to make emergency repairs. I can even help you put together your own kit, and work you through the sorts of repairs you might need to do to get things working. If you're interested."

Rhona rubs at her face. "Well... sure, I can't say it'd hurt to pick up a few pointers. What do you want for it?"

"Believe me, it is not the sort of thing most pilots want to think about when they're on a mission, but if it means being able to fly back out of a mission, it's worth learning." As for payment, she shakes her head, "No payment. I think of it as being part of my job. The more work you do, the less I have to do later. It's a win, win." Tamlin rises, leaving her tools and the hand magnet on the roof, "I'll show you the tool room and we can put something together."

"I don't believe anyone does anything for free," Rhona offers, digging into her flight suit for a tattered pack of gum, which she offers over. "Altruism is all very well, but I'd be happier with good old fashioned capitalism. I'll keep my eyes open if there's something you need in return."

"Clearly, you've been speaking to my father." Tamlin pauses, just before she starts down the ladder you so kindly brought over, "This isn't altruism. My job is to do everything that I can do to ensure that these ships perform, and that you have everything you need to keep them working. Because clearly, I cannot fit in your pocket." A toss of her head to get hair out of her face, "Although...there is this marine I met. I wouldn't mind fitting in his pocket." Tamlin starts down the ladder, "But that's a story for another day. What matters now, is that I'm in the same squadron as you are. And in a squadron, we all get to the finish line together or we don't get there at all. So what I need, is for you not to lose another one of my ships. And if we work together, maybe we can insure that."

Rhona waits her turn before descending the ladder likewise, calling back over her shoulder as she goes down. "Well, damn, there go my plans to just keep flying aircraft into freezing cold lakes... that was a joke!" she adds with a glare towards an indignant looking crewman who looked to be about to object. "Holy Hera on a pogo stick, it's like you can't even make a joke around here without getting lynched. But go on, brighten my day. Tell me about this marine, then?" she suggests, already tagging along to follow Tamlin to the tool room.

"They'll loosen up once they get into the swing of things. We've got a lot of young kids in here. I don't think many of them have been exposed to pilot humour. Or learned that sometimes jokes are the only thing that keep you from losing your mind when the work becomes relentless." Which it's starting too, what with all the missions, raider attacks and pilots who keep trying to get blown up. She ducks into the tool room, "I honestly don't know much about him. I've seen him in here a few times when he's on the security rotation, but I don't think I've seen him on a mission with the Wolfpack." Some of the marines do tend to work more with the Argonauts. "He's about 6'4", best as I could measure, dark hair, scar across his left eyebrow. Tanned. Really broad in the shoulders." Which could be a lot of marines, sadly.

Rhona leans against the hatch as she listens, brows raising. "Phhh... tell you what, if you don't want him, send him my way? I could stand something like that to look at when I'm off duty."

Tamlin laughs, as she moves over to one of the benches, reaching into the cabinet there and pulling out a toolbox, "You got it. If I see him in here and you're in, I'll point him out to you. These Marines, though, they're squirrelly. I don't know where they hide when they're not on duty, because I have never seen him except when he has a gun. And believe me, I've already pushed a few of the marines to the point where they might consider shooting me, I don't want to add even one more." She starts rummaging through drawers, pulling out various and sundry wrenches, screwdrivers, calipers, and other assorted sundry, placing them all in the kit.

"It's the uniform," Rhona insists, perching on a crate and taking items out of the kit as fast as Tamlin puts them in, inspecting each up to the light before replacing it. "It's designed for them to hide. Do I really need two of these?"

Tamlin looks over, "Actually, yes. Some genius who laid out the HVAC system had the bright idea to install a fitting in the left rear compartment that you have to adjust both ends simultaneously." She considers, "You know, we did get upgrades when they built us these raptors, but I think someone took a few too many liberties trying to design something they could show off later. I like a challenge as much as the next girl, but I also like systems that work." Once she has all the tools in place, she chucks in another roll of tape. "Now, this is the genius of the tool room." She points over in the corner, where there are various bits and bobs of the raptors and vipers, "We have quite a few of these in storage as well. They're system components we can experiment and practice on."

Rhona brandishes a spanner in one hand and a screwdriver in the other. "Let me at it!" She pauses. "Or, alternatively, give me a clue what we're doing. In fact, probably the latter. I think it'll be more helpful."

"I think we should start with the HVAC system. As long as you haven't been shot or otherwise damaged, you and your pilot will normally be fine, given you've got your suits, but most of the marines are not going to be so lucky. So I think we should start there. I'll walk you through the basic system, and then show you where failures tend to happen, and how to switch out the parts that are damaged for new ones. All of the raptors have spare parts on board."

"Bear in mind I'm flying," Rhona warns. "If I'm repairing anything, we're either lost in space or we've set down planetside one way or another. Hopefully a less wet way than the last, but beggars, choosers, etc."

Tamlin shakes her head, "Sorry, I got the two of your confused." You know because people mistake Wasp and Taxi all the time, right? "But yes, any repairs you do, or Wasp does are going to be absolutely emergencies. But they could very well spell the difference between life and death. Even if you never use it, you wouldn't believe how valuable having that knowledge is. Especially when they do pilot rotations. The more you know, the more likely you are to get an ECO worth their salt." She moves to a part that looks like it was pulled right out of the ship's floor, minus the usual deck plating cover. it is indeed the main hvac and oxygen deliver system. "You work better hands on, or do you prefer the books first?"

Rhona waves a hand as though to ward off the books. "Oh, give me the practical, PO. Books are only good for hiding the important parts. Show me what does what, and I'll remember it far better. Is this all the air controls, basically? Heating, ventilation... uh... pressure? Is that here?"

Tamlin nods, pulling it over, as it's sitting on one of those flat dollies more often used to get under the belly of a ship. "Yes, these are the main controls. Now there is the pipe work, of course, but normally, if one of those is damaged, you'll see it venting and you can pull up the floor panel and patch it, which you already know how to do." Find the hole, stick some tape on it.

Rhona wriggles her fingers, eyes widening. "Magic tape, fixes all ills," she half sings. It may or may not be an old commercial jingle from Virgon TV. Either way, she looks suitably embarrassed for a moment, clearing her throat. "Right, right. But if the controls are frakked, what's the deal? How do I know it's the HVAC to start with? And then what do I do?"

"Remember we were talking about failsafes?" Tamlin points to a small electrical unit sort of clamped on to the side, riding on the main control panel. "You'll know if you feel the loss of pressure, you have trouble breathing, or you feel a change in temperature in either direction. It's one of the systems you can tell just by what you're experiencing, even if the system isn't telling you that. But this," she indicates the unit, "Is it's own built in alarm. It's hardwired to give you an alert if there's a failure in the system." She indicates the light, which is attached to the unit. "It's an easy job to pull up the panel and give it a gander."

"How's it powered?" Rhona asks, leaning in to have a closer look. "If we lose all power, isn't it frakked, no matter what? Or does it have emergency batteries or something?"

"It's got a rechargeable battery. It leeches a charge to keep itself at 100 percent while the power is on in the ship. But the battery's pretty reliable and can go for days, if it has to." Tamlin reaches over, pulling a rolling chair for you, before she grabs one for herself. "I'll walk you through the connections and the whole system. You can practice pulling it apart and putting it back together."

"Every day's a school day," Rhona murmurs, settling in with her elbows on her knees. "So in theory this keeps going, even if the power's out. I wish I could remember if it was still going when we went down, but... well, it was all a bit rushed. I didn't take notes."

"Another reason we want that box. But yes," Tamlin intersperses her words with gestures as she points out the key components, "It should keep pumping, at least for a while. It's the one system that you absolutely can't do without. I mean, in space, you can find ways to vent gasses to propel yourself, you can maneuver a little bit to, you can even find ways to communicate, if needs be, but oxygen is fundamental."

Rhona nods as she listens and watches carefully, committing every part to memory. "Mmm, I've heard that breathing is very fashionable these days. Everyone's doing it. And it's important to be fashionable in space. You unscrew this here, do you?"

Once Tamlin has shown Rhona all of the parts, she's very hands off. Rather than being one of those teachers who wants to direct every movement, she's happy to let the pilot explore the system at her own pace, answering questions or giving tips only as necessary. Learn by trying, and doing, and experimenting, "Yes, exactly, and you'll follow it down to the end of the coupling." She scoots away, coming back with a ban full of tubing. "You won't have this variety, of course, but you can cut most of what you have to fit if it doesn't. Or, just tape it."

"Maaaagic tape," Rhona half sings under her breath again, this time without really noticing that she's doing it. The advertising apparently works on some subliminal level. "Shit," she adds, in a less magical tone of voice, finger immediately going up to her mouth to suck on it. "Tight fit, isn't it?"

Tamlin reaches into the toolbox, pulling out a pair of pliers, she scoots around, so that she can get in on your offside, "Take these and use them to push the pieces apart, it'll give you a bit of clearance." It's a bit of an awkward movement, because you have to push the handles apart, rather than pulling them together, but you don't have much to work with.

"Gods, what an utter ballache," Rhona opines, nodding thanks for the pliers and doing her best with them. It's a messy job she does of it, but for a first time it's not so awful that it wouldn't do in a pinch. But then, this is how she does it under these conditions. Who knows how she'd manage under fire. "Annnnd... tada!"

"I'll tell you the most important I ever learned in school. 'As long as it works, it doesn't matter if it looks like shit.'" Tamlin nods, approving, "For a first attempt, that's perfect. "Of course, we all want our work to look good, but you're not going to be thinking or caring about that. If you had been losing oxygen, what you just did kept those Marines in your raptor alive."

"Including that 6'4 one with the scar and the broad shoulders, hm?" Rhona asks, casting a sly smile aside to the other woman.

Tamlin laughs, nodding as she reaches over, "Absolutely that one. I mean, to heck with the rest, if you have to make a choice," indicating four connection points, "Now try disconnecting the compressor and changing it out. After that, I'll show you how to juryrig if, if you don't have a replacement or the connections are fried."

"Compressor... here?" Rhona queries, then shrugs and just goes to disconnect it anyway. In for a penny. Again the pliers come out, teeth are gritted, and there's a certain amount of brute force rather than elegance. If one wanted to use that compressor again, it might need a few couplings bent back into place. "I'm going to go out on a limb and day that if you don't have a replacement... magic tape?"

"Actually, even better, two options, one has no tape required." Tamlin reaches over, indicating two segments going to and from the compressor unit. "You can either pull it completely, and just connect the lines together, or if the couplings are also damaged, you can take it. It's not going to scrub the moisture from the air, so you're going to end up getting condensation on your panels if you have to run without it for too long, but it'll keep the air flowing."

Rhona sits back a little, considering. "We could probably take the whole thing offline, then. And suit up on board, and put some silica gel out for the moisture. Which means we can rule this whole system out, if the bird still conks out, right?"

"I think so. In terms of flight, it isn't really a system that normally triggers failures in any other part of the ship. Now if the goal is to sabotage your oxygen supply, this is where we'd start. But you were in a closed environment, in a ship full of people, and it took you a while to get out." So the oxygen lasted you at least that long. Tamlin settles back, turning her attention to the bigger question, rather than focusing on training for the small problem.

Rhona nods, giving her bruised finger another little suck. "Mmm... but I've an idea how to fix this if it does go, though. Hopefully. Look, I need to get on duty - would you mind if I come by again tomorrow, though, to go over this again, and maybe try the next system? I know you're busy, but..?"

Tamlin shakes her head, "I don't mind at all. If I'm not eating, sleeping, or trying to teach a man how not to embarrass himself at his own wedding, I'm here. And he's getting married in a few months. Chief's not giving us light shifts. Not until we figure this out." Tamlin takes a moment, looking over at the Ensign, "Thank you for being willing to help. And more than that, that you're willing to learn. That's a rare quality in an officer, especially a pilot." Tamlin rises, "You get on to duty. I'll put your tools away in your raptor."

"I was enlisted first," Rhona admits with the ghost of a smile. "So I've still got some of my soul left. I'll catch you tomorrow, PO."


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