Mariana entered the room to see Andy slumped back in the chair massaging his temples with the obvious pain of a headache etched on his face.
“So what’s got you killing brain cells?” she asked.
“The fact that I am in about 10 miles over my head,” He replied. “I can handle the Captains request about communications but, the rest of this stuff is way out of my specialty. Astronavigation, I know just enough of that stuff to pass my Pilots Boards. All of this Gravity Field stuff yeah, I know how it affects signals propagation; little else! Deep range scans of the planets, it’s all chemical stuff. I do not even know how to catalog this stuff!”
“OK, so why the headache; yell for help and get some sleep!” Her questioning tone very clear!
He just grimaced “Because I know the perfect person for this Augean Stables job. The very thought of which is in and of itself my worst headache”!
She stared for a long moment, “Oh My God, you gotta mean Ash?”
He moaned into His cupped hands, “Aeronautical Engineer, Atmosphere and Orbital; Physicist, Propulsion Systems Endorsed and a Masters in Computer Sciences. Got anybody better qualified? Remember that’s why they had him in Plans & Training while he was grounded!”
Mariana returned the groan, “Question is, do you have a big enough problem to keep him task fixated? Remember that high octane brain is what always causes the problem with the Hound Dog!”
Andy grinned at last, “Oh, only about 5 or 6 years worth I would guess! But, changing subjects; how did the equipment search go?”
This evoked a return grin from Mariana, “Not as well as I hoped but, better than we could reasonably expect. R. J.’s manifests reflected that he had planned for a full Level 4 Bio lab. The problem is most all of the high end Level 3 and Level 4 gear was supposed to be on the ship carrying the perishable supplies. What we have is a high end Level 2, call it a 2+. My worry is that I have nothing to do viral isolation. The only thing I can do for virus infections is the old fashioned way; blood samples from infected victims and try to develop a vaccine! But, I can do DNA and Micro-Bio no problem. Most pleasant news is that Linda seems to know her stuff. She can run the joint procedure wise, while I concentrate on the real elbow work”
Andy grunted,”Yeah, Dave Webber dropped by while you were searching. He and Sandy Kellerman have an idea for a Central Communications Center to funnel data and samples from exploration teams into your Lab. I told him to find me a power source and an antenna.”
Mariana grinned again, “So, what are you going to do?”
Andy smiled ruefully, “Set this rig on Auto, take a shower and find Capt. Travis. Then I am going eat a big helping of humble pie and get Ash up.”
Walking out the door Mariana tossed over her shoulder, “As the Chinese said, “May you live in interesting times.”
She actually got the door shut before the coffee cup hit it!