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How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Explosive Yield...

Posted on Mon Feb 24th, 2020 @ 8:47pm by Chief Engineer Michael Burnstein

Mission: Mission 10 - Temperance
Tags: romance post
772 words - 1.5 OF Standard Post Measure

Burnie strolled into the engineering lab and spread his hands like a director setting a scene.

Bang! Boom! Bam! KaBOOM!

His face lit with anticipatory elation as he imagined the display. Bouncing on his toes, he nearly danced toward the containment area near the rear bulkhead.

"Oh, cabrodine, bilitrium, infernite, and sorium... thalmerite, Sternbachium, triceron, ultritium!" he sang to himself, as he set up a line a of canisters - a veritable buffet of explosives. If they were going to celebrate Cassie getting past the feelings that made her want to torch stuff, he figured there it should be with a bang. A lot bangs in fact. And who knew? Maybe she'd transition to just enjoying that for the pure beauty of it.

Not that he held much hope of that. He felt that way, but he knew he was ...a little outside the norm there. From his earliest memories he'd been fascinated by fire- the way it moved, the colors shifting and flickering like a language just beyond his ability to understand. But when he learned that spark added to the right substance could produce not only flame, but a stunning burst of heat and light and pressure and sound he found his first True Love. And like all first boyhood crushes, he fell hard - obsessing over chemical compounds, mix ratios, temperatures, pressures, rate of burn and explosive yield the way most love-struck fanboys obsessed over every detail of some music or holovid star's life.

But unlike a tween-age crush, this love never faded. It was visceral, but pure; the kind of love that defied standard descriptions and definitions. When asked - and heavens knew, any number of people, including several Starfleet counselors had asked - he was at loss to explain it. But Burnie was an engineer, and words weren't really his medium (give him high energy materials and an accelerant though... then you were talking!) but he could at least get across that they didn't need to commit him. Despite his favorite Marvin the Martian poster, it wasn't earth shattering death and destruction that he loved in things that went 'KaBoom!'. He was a born engineer so his primary interest lay in application and control.

Sure, that included weaponry. Photon torpedoes and tri-cobalt devices were things of beauty, and he was justifiably proud of his mastery of shaped charges, as well as of his ability to mock up a useful IED out of just about anything he that came to hand (at last one date with a nurse had ended quite suddenly when he described - in useful detail, in case she ever needed it! - why medbay was practically an arsenal). And sure, he'd once nearly proposed on the spot to a woman who described her chosen field as 'massively destructive testing' (sadly, she was already married, and to a woman, so he was doubly out luck). But the true apex of application, the reason he'd originally joined Starfleet, was the warp engine. His Romulan friend could argue for hours about the superiority of a drive powered by a singularity, but while that was pretty cool and all, she was Wrong. There was simply nothing more awesome than a drive system whose heart was matter/anti-matter reaction - the most powerfully explosive combination known to man - harnessed and controlled, all of the incredible yield of that explosion directed into the Terajoules of energy necessary to form and sustain a warp envelope while propelling a ship along it. How could anyone not LOVE that?

However, he'd learned that not that many people did. Even some engineers who'd wax poetic about the beauty of a ship's nacelles would look at him oddly when he talked about the glory of directed plasma combustion or the explosive potential of a core breach.

He suspected Cassie might too. But he could give her a nice show anyway. It would be nothing on the level of supernova-ing a progenitor star to create a blackhole prison for a dangerous artifact, or destroying a terrorist's attempt at producing red matter by igniting his product (he really wished the vid from those weren't classified...), but even if this was just a step above fireworks, fireworks were the first explosions he'd ever seen and so had a special place in his heart. Besides, they were right for a celebration, even if it was the celebration of a friend getting past wanting to blow things up.

But maybe, someday, he'd meet someone who'd really understand why blasts of fire they were so much better than roses.


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