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Meeting the Maestro of Mechanics

Posted on Fri Oct 27th, 2023 @ 7:18am by Chief Of The Boat Terrence "Jack" Rumm & Chief Engineer Michael Burnstein

Mission: Fractures
Location: SS Mary Rose, Deck 16, Engineering
Timeline: December 2397
2086 words - 4.2 OF Standard Post Measure

Stepping into the hum and rhythmic pulse of Engineering, Jack's eyes widened slightly, taking in the orchestrated dance of crew members tending to the heart of the Mary Rose. The ambient glow of consoles and the steady throb of the ship's engines painted a vivid tapestry of both art and science in motion.

With a hearty laugh and a spirited step, he ambled deeper into the engineering bay. "Ah, the very belly of the beast! A place where magic and mechanics meld together," he mused aloud, his voice a harmonious blend of wonder and nostalgia. Guided by the resonating hum, he approached the core, his fingers grazing the cool metal railings.

"Looking for Chief Engineer Burnstein," he called out with a twinkle in his eye. "Heard tales of the mastermind behind this symphony of stars and steel. Thought it high time this old sailor introduced himself and discussed how I might be of service amidst these mechanical marvels." He paused, a genuine smile stretching across his face, eager to meet another key player in the grand ballet of the Mary Rose.

A slanted brow slanted higher as Liha turned to get a look at the speaker. In her experience, humans using language that flowery were usually trying to sell you something or run a con. Or they were just touched in the head, which given the description of Burnie, seemed a good bet. "The 'mastermind' is under the console over there. Replacing the circuit he blew trying to tweak anti-matter yield," she noted dryly, jerking her head to point a pointed ear in his direction. "Watch yourself. Most of the tales about Burnie feature explosions."

Jack's broad grin only grew wider, amusement evident in his eyes as he followed the direction of Liha's pointed ear. "Ah, explosions! The spirited punctuation marks in the ever-unfolding story of engineering, I'd wager." He chuckled heartily. "Sounds like a man after me own heart."

Carefully, he navigated his way towards the indicated console, the atmosphere in Engineering reminding him of the collective energy and passion each crew member brought aboard. "Chief Engineer Burnstein," he began with a slight bow, his eyes searching for the renowned engineer beneath the console. "Jack Rumm's the name, newly appointed Chief of the Boat. I've journeyed across vast star systems, and in each, there's always that one soul who can make or break a ship. I reckon you're that soul here. Thought I'd pop by, swap a story or two, and see where this old starfarer can lend a hand in your kingdom of cogs and cores."

Kingdom of cogs and cores? Did someone from Hysperia track us down for a berth? The engineer slid back and angled his head around to get a look at the guy. No Hysperian fancy clothes, but Burnie had worked with enough Hysperian techs during the refit and most of them wore regular regular work clothes on the job. "Hi, Jack, welcome aboard," he replied with a smile, and started to offer a hand. Then he caught a glimpse of the soot and grime all over it. "...erm... for right now, can you hand that rag over there?"

Jack glanced in the direction Burnie indicated, promptly grabbing the rag and handing it over with an easy-going smile. "Of course, no worries. Occupational hazard, I reckon," he remarked, his eyes twinkling with mirth. "I've been aboard quite a few ships in my time, and each has its own quirks and temperaments. I've come to find that it's the dedicated crew in Engineering who truly breathe life into these vessels."

He took a step back, allowing Burnie some room. "So, tell me, Chief Burnstein, what's the current state of our good ship, the Mary Rose? Any pressing issues or concerns I should be aware of as Chief of the Boat?" Jack's tone was genuine, showcasing his keen interest in the heart of the vessel and his desire to ensure a harmonious journey for all aboard.

"Rosie is doing fine. We just had a refit and several upgrades," Burnie replied with a touch of pride, as he wiped his hands off and slid out from under the console. "But we're going to be helping the Fenris Rangers take out some pirates, so I've been trying to push our power capability." He frowned briefly at the console. "Not entirely successfully at the moment, but nothing that needs intervention from Chief of the Boat."

Jack's eyebrows rose in appreciation, "Taking on pirates, eh? That's bound to be a challenge, but I'm sure with a ship as well-tuned as the Mary Rose and her crew, we'll give them more than they bargained for." Pausing, he cast an approving glance around Engineering. "Pushing power capability can be a delicate dance, especially with new upgrades. But every ship has its sweet spots, doesn't it?"

He leaned against a nearby console, arms folded. "And if there's anything this old salt can do, be it assisting with logistics or ensuring our crew remains in fighting form, don't hesitate to let me know. After all, from the darkest reaches of space to the brightest nebula, it's teamwork that sees us through."

"Eh, I've pushed enough power balance mid-battle, it's more like a tap dance," the engineer replied with a shrug and a grin. But on the question of what Jack could do, not hanging around jawing while there was work to do on hitting that sweet spot leapt to mind. However, Burnie wasn't Liha and so would never say that. Even if the inspirational-poster teamwork thing was giving him flashbacks to a stint working defense contracting at Galactic Dynamics, he was still enough Starfleet to imagine it was some cultural predisposition to be taken with a grain of IDIC (no matter how contrary it ran to his own New York City-ingrained predisposition to walk past anyone who sounded like they were engaged in theatric patter). "Engineering is good on readiness," he assured. "I'm a Starfleet vet, and Liha's former Galae. Between her and Jea, I pity any boarders who try engineering. Between Gregnol and Kali, I wouldn't worry a lot about the bridge either. A lot of our security team is newer though, so it wouldn't hurt to go over boarder drills with them."

He might have left it there - sending the CoB off to check in with their equally new armory chief - but his curiosity was a bit peaked. The man talked like he had a pretty grandiose opinion of Mary Rose, despite being newly arrived on the ship. While Burnie took a certain pride at having kept the old girl running, and overseen her upgrades, he was an engineer, and therefore a realist. Their best advantage in the coming fight would be that the Sons of Charon would remember Rosie as the merchant vessel they stole the Temperance from, and therefore they'd have an element of surprise. So, it did make him wonder what Jack had heard and where. "But if you don't mind me asking, you seem to have a lofty opinion of us. I'm kind of curious where that's coming from, since until pretty recently we were just a merchant vessel," he smirked slightly, "...if one prone to getting in a bit trouble."

Jack chuckled, a genuine warmth in his laughter. "Ah, Chief, word travels fast in space, especially when one has a knack for ending up in the thick of it, as I tend to do. Merchant vessels, in my experience, have some of the most intriguing tales to tell. They're not bound by strict military codes or diplomatic niceties. They see the raw, unfiltered universe."

Leaning a tad closer, he added, "And as for the Mary Rose, well, I've crossed paths with a few souls in my travels who've had dealings with her crew. None went into the details, but the common thread was always this – underestimation. They looked at the Mary Rose and saw a merchant vessel, but what they got was a ship with a backbone and a crew to match."

He straightened up, a twinkle in his eye, "Besides, any ship that can stand toe-to-toe with pirates, attract the attention of the Fenris Rangers, and keep afloat despite the odds is bound to have something special about it. And while I might layer on the theatrics," he winked, "I've always believed in giving credit where credit's due. So, whether you're a battlecruiser, a merchant vessel, or a hybrid of both, the Mary Rose has certainly made an impression on this old starfarer."

That was ...disconcerting. Space was BIG and while scuttlebutt was known to travel Warp 12, there were a fair number of merchant vessels out there. When he'd been Starfleet, there'd been precious few famous, or infamous, enough for anyone to remember much about them, and in the years he'd spent hopping between jobs afterward, most of what he'd heard on various ships had more to do with work environment and whether the captain treated crew fairly. Information like their recent (and supposedly clandestine) association with the Fenris Rangers was something that shouldn't have made it around space ports, and even if it was only a rumor about having assisted once with refugees, it was the sort of thing the FR would be unhappy to hear was being bandied about.

...which made him grateful Liha was far enough on the other side of the bay that even her Romulan hearing should be out of range. He did NOT need to deal with pointy-eared paranoia alternately focused on their mission and the Chief of the Boat right now. "Well, so much for counting on the element of surprise." He blew out a breath, glancing back at the console. "I guess I should get back to giving us every other advantage I can."

Jack raised a hand, palm out, in a placating gesture. "Easy there, Chief," he said, his tone one of genuine reassurance. "As I said, my knowledge is pieced together from snippets and whispers, and none of it mentioned anything about clandestine operations or specific affiliations. As for the Fenris Rangers, my knowledge of them came solely from Captain Gregnol. Your secrets, whatever they might be, are safe as far as I'm concerned."

He gave a slight shrug, his face taking on a thoughtful expression. "Space might be vast, but tales of ships that stand out, for whatever reason, tend to drift about. Still, rest assured, I've always been one to keep confidences. And in my experience, a rumour is just a story half-told. It's up to us to decide how the rest gets written."

Jack flashed a quick grin. "But you're right; preparation is key. If there's anything you need assistance with or if you think I can be of any use down here in Engineering, don't hesitate to shout. I've got a fair hand with tools and a knack for improvisation. And should you find yourself needing more hands on deck or specific resources, it's part of my role to see if they can be mustered up."

"I'll keep it in mind," Burnie answered neutrally, albeit with a small smile. His own knack for improvision was perhaps the one thing anyone in Starfleet remembered of him, but he was an engineer; he tended to avoid letting non-engineers improvise around his engines. Still, even civvies could generally splice a relay or handle purely mechanical issues, so it was good to have one more person who could help out there. "For now, even if it's just whispers or whatever, that idea that we're memorable and specifically for being a ship not to be underestimated, means I need to get back to making us even more so. Thanks for dropping in, Chief. If you want to trade stories, find me when my hands aren't quite so full."

Jack gave a respectful nod, his eyes glinting. "Fair enough. I'll let you get back to your engines and innovations. Always found there's a kind of magic in the hands of a skilled engineer." He chuckled lightly, "And believe me, there's plenty of time in the stars for stories. I'll take you up on that offer when the timing's right."

With a wink and a jaunty doff of his cap, Jack took a step back, "Till then, Chief. May your engines run smoother than a well-aged whiskey and may your hands craft tales that'll keep the galaxies talking. And I'll ensure we've got the crew and resources to back up whatever challenges come our way."


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