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[Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#26
What is the Price of Truth?
by - Maico Tange
technical research by Shizuka Hayama
---A report on the Accident on Frigga 77. The trutht about what brough a settlement to the brink of disaster, and the coverup that followed.
---Part VII. One Final Question remains.


Our story, which began with a meeting with an engineer in a cafe, now comes to the final question.

Who is responsible for the accident on Frigga? Who is to blame?

Jet Jaguar is first under the glare of the inquiry - a cyber with a habit of going off half-cocked, of leaping before she looks and only figuring out how to land halfway down. As Baron Frigga, she first set the tone for the settlement - its character and its intrinsic nature. She fostered a culture of getting things done, almost in spite of the risks of doing them. It was her idea to use Uranium inside the reactor core, to improve its energy output.

The presence of which would have been near harmless, if not for a design flaw built in to the reactor itself. When subject to a thermal shock - such as that caused by an interruption and sudden resumption of coolant flow - the inner reactor liner is at risk of collapsing. A collapse of the liner would expose lithium breeder blankets inside the core to the full force of the reaction, triggering a miniature nuclear explosion which would wreck the core.

The presence of Uranium only increased the magnitude of this explosion and the resulting fallout. Three tons of TNT, became Thirty. An explosion that would have merely wrecked the reactor, instead threatened the entire containment structure and required rapid actions to prevent a far greater disaster and a release of radiation which would have led to hundreds of fatalities.

This collapse, might never have happened if the reactor operators had followed the procedure rather than improvising on the fly. Nobody in the room had any formal training in operating the reactor, but they did it anyway, thinking they understood what they were doing. What they did, was the exact same thing they had always done without fully understand why they were doing it.  Continuing the test after it should have been shut down primed the accident to happen. Their well-meaning actions in the last moments - instead of saving the reactor - acted as the final detonator switch.

Lensherr heavy industries knew of at least one occasion, prior to the accident on Frigga, where liner damage had occurred inside an operating reactor core. The possibility of this occurring was never mentioned in the company literature. The reactor documentation detailed thermal limits and heat up and cool-down rates based on the possibility of a coolant channel fracture. In truth, the company was aware that this was not the case. At stake were millions of euro, and two unfinished reactors at Bielefeld.

Privately, computer modelling had shown that a rapid change in temperature inside the liner, could cause damage. The circumstances that would cause this were thought to be unlikely.

A reactor after a decade of operation, with cracks and weaknesses accumulating in the carbon-carbon liner, having its coolant supply interrupted while operating at high power, and then having it restored again without any cooldown time, creating a shock cooling event. These circumstances were replicated exactly on Frigga.

The safety test was prompted by an internal review inside Lensherr, which suggested that there was a possibility these circumstances could occur, due to a delayed shut-down. Ultimately, the safety test could fail in a manner which caused these exact circumstances to occur.

Once they did, the reactor simply did exactly what physics required of it

The test is only being run, because Frigga had begun to experience energy shortages, and requests for funding to upgrade the system had been denied by Her Majesty’s Government. Feeling they had no alternative, the Station Council began a project to modify the reactors to produce more power by hybridising them, using the Fusion reaction to drive small scale fission reactions, extracting even more energy and pushing the reactors hotter again. The test program was begun to prove the integrity of the reactor, before the program advanced.

Data logs reported by Frigga to the Convention Active Reactor Safety Committee showed Reactor 2 and Reactor 4 regularly operating for long periods at an output at times at least twenty-five percent above their maximum rated operating level. This gave them an extra ten percent electrical output. This was not flagged as a deviation by the ARSC, and no investigation was begun. It was allowed to continue.

The accident requires all of the above to be in place to happen as it did. Each participant can rightfully claim that others forced their hand, or without the actions of others, the accident would not have happened.

No crime like this has ever been committed in Fenspace. In truth, nobody is even sure that what happened was a crime.  The accident on Frigga is almost unprecedented in human history.

Whether the actions of the station council, and the reactor operators could be considered as grave an offense as endangering the collective security and safety of one of her Majesty’s settlements remains to be decided.

It seems likely the Court will find those involved guilty of deceiving Her Majesty’s Government by first covering up the accident, and doing so again after the reality of the accident was revealed - trying to downplay its consequences.

Even still, to the Courts of the Crystal Millenium, a person’s actions are only part of the picture.

Of equal importance and specific interest to the Court is the content of their hearts at the moment of action.

In the agony of the moment, What were they feeling? Why did they make the decision they did? What did they expect was the outcome? What is the nature of the darkness that overcame them in that instant? What is the light that guides them? What in their nature drives them to act the way they do?

Not just a rational what and how, but a soulful why?

I put the question to Jet herself. After a few moments thought, the answer she gave me was a single sentence.

“Where once I feared the cost of lies, now I only ask, what is the price of the truth.”

Exactly what she meant, by paraphrasing the closing line of HBO’s  Chernobyl miniseries, is known only to Jet herself.

As for the price of the truth, that remains to be decided. Within the Courts of the Crystal Millenium, and the Office of the Convention Authority, the wheels of inquiry have begun to turn. The collective Juries in the Courts of public opinion have already begun their vociferous debate.

One is left only with the impression that the price of truth that Jet Jaguar fears, is far higher than anything within the powers of the Convention.

-----
-------------------------------------------------

I love the smell of rotaries in the morning. You know one time, I got to work early, before the rush hour. I walked through the empty carpark, I didn't see one bloody Prius or Golf. And that smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole carpark, smelled like.... ....speed.

One day they're going to ban them.
Reply
RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#27
Let's try this. See what happens....

Relevant Prior Reading

Relavant Image


---------
The office had little, to no decoration - a bare testament to how little time its occupant actually spent there. A desk finished in cheap printed plastic veneer carried no papers or computer. An office chair had been used exactly once, causing the shock to collapse.

The crystalline carbon walls had been rendered a milky white opaque by careful acid etching, patterns waved through layers mimicking the grain of timber.

Only a pair of battered steel blades in a presentation case, and a greyscale sketch framed on the wall gave it any sort of personality. Jet couldn’t help but stare at that smiling image of herself, soaring through the sky with a bright shining smile on her face.

Jet found it hard to remember a time when she’d been that happy.

Not recently anyway.

Her mind couldn’t quite put words to how she felt, while the image grinned back at her with a mockery of how she should be feeling.

Her muse did it’s best to be helpful, pinging off another dozen alerts that her name had appeared in another dozen blogs, a few forum posts, and even a Boskone darkweb site. The Chewy Gristle commentary hour had well and truly entered its second priapism.

Momo von Satan gleefully read out the possible consequences, while The Cock ejaculated over the deeper technical details of exactly what went wrong and the physics behind it.

She pushed it out of her mind. Of course, they’d all found the story they wanted.

She felt the ground shift under her feet - a momentary sense that the room had begun to turn around her, even as her own stabilisers insisted it wasn’t. That, and a building headache in the back of her skull warned that her blood sugar might be getting low.

Jet opened a drawer in her fibre-board desk and grabbed a fresh ‘Booster’’ pack. It took a moment to unclip the empty one from her waist, then mount the fresh one in its place. A blip from a chip in the pack’s own controller her told her it’d last for another twelve hours.

The booster-packs contained the majority of vitamins, minerals, sugars and proteins needed to keep her going, in a format that could be fed almost directly into her bloodstream.

They had been intended to keep Kunstler going on long missions in open vacuum where having an actual meal would be obviously impossible. Jet’d taken to using them just to keep going and save time on bothering to cook and clean up.

In the back of her mind, she noted it’d been weeks she’d she’d actually eaten anything, and almost as long since she’d felt hungry. Something about that idea warmed her inside, confirming her self-identity just that bit more.

A message from Frigga through her personal relay killed whatever small comfort that gave her.

Two more banal items that begged for her personal seal of approval. The interruption blistered her mind. A third had her snarling, wishing she had a phone she could launch through a window to escape from the stream of notifications.

She gave everyone the answers they could’ve found themselves if they’d bothered looking them up.

Baron Frigga had to be on call to make shit happen. Jet couldn’t say No. Things would start to unwind without her. On Frigga, the War on Kipple marched on and it had an insatiable appetite for bureaucracy.

It was necessary, she thought.

A knock at the door

“Yeah, who is it?”

The door opened with a squawk from an oil-starved hinge. She heard the rustle of fabric, followed by the groan of irritation of someone dealing with it. A smile crawled across her lips

Jet always thought that Anika Hansen never particularly looked comfortable in glacier-white gown made from spun diamond fibres and silk. Privately, she never ceased being glad she’d been spared the requirement to wear a similar level of plumage.

“We need to talk, Jet,” she said, before taking a seat on an unused couch.

Oh.

“I need you to tell me what happened.” said Anika. “I need you to tell me why you didn’t tell anyone. I need to know why this happened, Jet. I need the truth.”

Jet knew in her heart, Anika would be the one to understand. Finally, someone who wouldn’t just assume the fucking worst.

“There’s no truth - not really,” she said, looking right at Anika as if she’d understand from that. “Fenspace runs on the narrative, on the story. Some people want stories about heroes and not victims. Some want stories about victims and not heroes. But every good story needs a villain.” Jet didn’t break her gaze. “It doesn’t matter what the reality is. Now they have their story. And we have to be the villains.”

“That’s cynical,” said Anika, calmly.

Jet folded her arms. “The fact that we’re both here tells me otherwise.”

Anika took a breath. “We aren’t here because of the explosion - we’re standing here because of the coverup. Because for some reason you felt the need to keep quiet on what was almost another Crystal Osaka. Because everyone on Frigga was nearly killed.”

She placed her hands on her lap, obviously trying her best to keep things even - to keep the manner people expected of someone they called ‘Queen’.

“But they weren’t. We stopped the accident. Why should we tell anyone? Why should we let ourselves be dragged over the coals as the morons who blew up a reactor? We’d look like idiots who can’t do anything right. Who does that serve?”

The sense of betrayal stung in her heart and snapped from her tongue

“People could’ve helped.” said Anika, sounding more saddened, than annoyed. “Everyone would’ve helped. If only they’d been asked. Putting out the fire. Cleaning up the wreckage. Cleaning up the radiation. Making the existing systems safer. Even evacuating Frigga rather than risking hundreds of lives on a gamble.”

“You know damn well that they wouldn’t…” Jet snapped back at her. “And even if they did, they’d only do it so they could gloat over us afterwards, as proof that we weren’t capable of looking after ourselves.”

“So instead of trying to work with everyone,” Anika answered, softly “Instead you’ve convinced yourself, and every one Frigga, that everyone’s working against them, and that you’ll have to go it alone.”

Jet felt herself compelled to look her in the eyes.

“It’d help if the parliament didn’t start out treating us, like a rock full of children. No matter what happens, we can’t fucking win. We try ask for more funding to fix basic things and it gets turned down because, obviously we’re a fuckups if we can’t maintain basic shit on our own. And when shit breaks down because we can’t afford to fix it, and we miss our targets, we’re fucking incompetent and don’t deserve the money to fix the problem because obviously we’ll just piss it away into space.”

Why the hell couldn’t she understand that. “I’m doing what needs to be done to keep Frigga working the way everyone wants it to.”

“So you went somewhere else.”

Jet felt herself blink owlishly “What?”

Why did that sound like such an accusation?

“Ben told me about the project. That they’ve been funding it undercover.” Anika paused a moment, taking time to consider her words. “ I don’t know how I can let it continue after this. This has created an unholy mess”

“Like I said, I don’t have a choice,” said Jet. “We had to keep it secret.”

She gave Jet a look that seemed more disappointed, than angry. “If that’s what you’d told me earlier, I might’ve believed it.”

Jet felt her words die in her throat. She wanted to scream at her. To beg her to try and understand

Ben leaked.

“What did Ben tell you?”

“That you’re going to be making fuel for the next generation of Blackbirds. And this whole thing’s about keeping the Boskone from finding out.”

“Fuck’s sake.” she breathed. Jet buried her face in her hands, resisting the urge to scream. She probably could’ve crushed her own skull, if she tried. It might’ve been merciful.

Anika’s gown rustled again as she pushed herself to her feet.

“We can’t risk another Osaka. Not over something like Blackbird fuel.” she said. “And if you can’t understand that, maybe you need to find somewhere else to live.”

“Frigga is my home.”

The words came from her mouth before they even reached her mind.

“It’s also home for over five hundred people now. Being first in the door, doesn’t give you the right to stay if you’re making it a dangerous place for everyone else. I’ll leave you alone to think about that”

Jet stood there, spinlocked. The right thing to do, would’ve been to fill her in - to tell her the whole truth, or let her work it out on her own. Telling her, increased the risk of it all falling apart. One more datapoint that allowed one of the pattern-matchers out there to work it out.

The necessary thing, was to keep the secret and drive on, to close ranks just that little bit tighter - maybe to put things in motion in a way that couldn’t be stopped.

She heard the door lock again, and realised she’d been left alone with her thoughts. Jet paced the room, her heels clicking on the tiled floor, looking for a spark of inspiration - something to guide her towards the right answer.

“What the fuck am I supposed to do?”

The picture didn’t answer. It smiled back at her, mocking her on some level. That was the person she wanted to be. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t who she became.

An idea entered her mind. Before she’d even recognised it, it’d carried her through the citie’s airlock, and out into open space.

Venus receded into a point of light. She had a sense where it changed - she just needed to see where it happened.

------

Breaking into the asteroid proved far easier than she remembered. Where once there’d been monitored deadlocks and automated defence turrets - only a simple padlock and a pressure seal remained.

The blast-marks on the surface still seemed as fresh as the day she’d made them.

A few guards from Great Justice remained to patrol the ruin, keeping the Stalkers away. Otherwise, the rock had been empty for nearly a decade. It’d been stripped bare of anything that might’ve been valuable, or could’ve been of use in a court of law, on a test bench or to an intelligence analyst. Only the structure and framework remained,

The metal framework supporting the tunnels had already begun to split and fray like rotting timber. The hopes and dreams that’d built the place had long since gone, replaced first by a nightmare of violence, then by nothing at all.

The wave had a funny way about it. Things would last for years without maintenance or repair, so long as someone still lived there and gave it a spark of life. Once abandoned, things could unwind themselves in months, turning to kipple as the energy and intent that filled them evaporated and left them to come apart and become kipple. Once Kippleisation set in - almost nothing could stop it. People just stopped caring.

It happened to people too, Jet figured. The wave broke both ways like that. What people thought you could do mattered as much as what you thought you could do.

Jet moved on with that thought, carrying it with her.

Papers, cloth, toys, smashed fragments of peoples lives gathered in the corners to hide, or waited patiently for their owners to come back.

Some were in prison. Some had been released. A few lived out their lives in rehabilitation or long term care. Many died when the station fell. Most had been forgotten.

Only the darkness seemed to remember. It resisted a cyber’s unnatural eyesight. It fooled the image intensifiers in her visor, throwing back shades of threats that’d long since passed. The sense of dread lingered in her heart,

Her mind mutated the static of her radios into the sounds of a distant war - shards of dead voices playing in the back of her mind, begging for rescue she couldn’t give.

Alone in the dark Jet felt herself being stalked by some unseen predator, biding its time, waiting for a door to close and lock behind her. The sensation pulled her body tight, begging her to bolt and run for it - to get out.

She dared to use her torchlight, risking discovery by a passing patrol. Jet knew she could stay ahead of them

Alone in the depths she found herself wondering at whatever impulse had compelled her to come back. In the back of her mind she felt a thrill rise in her body as her navigation maps fixed her position.

She’d stood on that spot, years before.

A brief pause, while she’d gotten her bearings.

Rubble blocked her path back. Only the Gruppe had raced ahead, riding the shockwave. Dozens had been buried under tons of rock - the few survivors begging for help through their radios while an entire asteroid crushed in around them.

It took far too long for them to stop. Longer again to find what was left.

Jet kept moving. Forward was the only way to go

She could walk through the moments, as clear and vivid as if they’d happened the day before. Brass shell casings still littered the floor, mingling with fragments of grenades and the few shards of bone the cleanup missed.

Jet drew a long breath through her nose, flooding her nostrils with the same familiar scent - a mix of wet iron, dry concrete and burnt gunpowder. She felt that flash of panic. That thrill of survival - of being one step ahead and leaving death in her wake. Faster. Smarter. Stronger. Keeping one breath ahead.

She felt herself hunted again, the darkness chasing her forward. Of course, the security grid must’ve still been up. The guards must’ve spotted her.

Jet reached out with her sensors, finding only glimmers of distant energy. Nothing close. Nothing active.

She waited, holding her breath, expecting anybody. But nobody came.

Jet took a breath, moving deeper, past research labs that’d been stripped bare and bunkrooms whose occupants might’ve survived and found their way home, even if they never really left.

She passed the moments where she’d found her friends, dead on the ground. Jet stood, staring at blank stone where Alex had died.

Jet took a breath. Her heart ached to fly with Alex again, even after thirteen years. Her face still shone in Jet’s memory.

She moved on before too much could be dredged up. Maybe if she’d been faster the first time around, they could’ve linked up and made it out together, but that didn’t happen.

She scattered the Gruppe so they could each use their speed to their advantage and spread the enemy, rather than being tied together. It meant they’d died alone without help if they got pinned down.

Another collapsed tunnel marked the graves of some Chaos Marines. Jet found another way around this time - through a tunnel that’d been laser-cut by the teams following her through. Glassified walls threw back warped reflections of herself.

She thought she might’ve looked that bit too clean compared to how she felt.

Someone had taken a photograph of her on the way out. Bloodied, but not her own blood. Battered, but still standing. She’d looked like the Mad Max version of herself - armour strapped together, but with blades on her arms still shining clean.

Look at those eyes, as cold and hard the ice at the bottom of a glacier.

That was how a random voice online had put it. That was how they pigeonholed her. What people expected her to be good at, what they expected from her when she wasn’t going off half-cocked or figuring out how to land when she’d already leapt.

They didn’t understand. Doing nothing meant death. At least if you acted, you could fix your mistakes later.

What people thought you could do mattered as much as what you thought you could do, she recalled.

Jet took a breath.

It’d been founded under the name ‘Olympus Heights’. Official records called it Boskone Four. Most who’d been there called it Jusenkyou. What began as an experiment in meritocracy with a libertarian bent, ended in nightmares and nemesis.

What began with the basic idea that success was earned, mutated into the assurance that failure was deserved, a might-makes-right Kratocracy where those with more money, strength or influence could do what they willed with those who had less, assuring themselves the entire time that if you weren’t strong enough, wise enough, or wealthy enough to stop someone doing something to you - then it was your fault it happened.

Survival of the fittest, dog-eat-dog, an unplanned experiment in Social Darwinism - a Randian Gulch turned into a grim authoritarian parody of itself. Even the true Randroids had been horrified by what happened.

She entered the main concourse, a rusting sign hanging from the ceiling, showing a tournament bracket,. still announcing ‘Bitches’ as the challenger for top dog. Jet mused that, since she killed the man in the centre circle, technically that made her the last lord and master of the rock. She passed the spot where she’d watched a catgirl exact revenge on her handler. The man didn’t scream as he died - but it wasn’t from lack of trying.

She’d killed anyone armed, in case they shot her in the back - no matter how panicked they seemed to be. It could’ve been an act. It had been for one of them. It was about neutralising the potential threat, removing their capability to act.

She’d put that in her report. In a cold office, the review board had rubber stamped it as justified.

Jet found herself standing at an open door labelled ‘Station Director’. She could remember the sound it made as it hissed open, revealing the man at the centre of it all. In the darkness beyond she could almost see his ghost still standing in his own armour.

A flash from her torch exorcised the room. The little kick of adrenaline remained in her veins.

In a strange way, she’d still expected him to be there - but nobody came.

It’d taken her three hours to reach it. It’d take her two days and dozens of bodies to make it the first time. Like going back over an empty level in a videogame to find that last pickup secret. Nothing remained but dead desolation and echoes of what had been.

She entered the Director’s office. The blast-mark on the wall that marked his passing still remained, two great gouges torn from the concrete floor and ceiling where the arms of her balisword had embedded themselves. Bits of the director himself probably still lived in the cracks of the floor.

Immortal maybe, but not indestructible.

His office had been stripped of anything valuable. Only bare walls and the empty skeletons of computer consoles remained. Power cables had been tied into hanging nooses to keep them from dangling.

Jet felt grateful she’d come unarmed this time.

She pondered on who Rosebottom had been. A person who’d come up with the same hopes, dreams and ideals as the rest, became their anthesis. Someone who’d gone from Sad Puppy to Mad Dog, desperate to test himself against the best so he could prove himself better.

She remembered finding some of his blog posts, from right after he’d come up. He’d seemed so damned happy and excited, the same as everyone else. Then it all began to rot. With the benefit of hindsight, it seemed almost Greek.

Ultimately, the universe concluded he’d become exactly what everyone expected him to be. They’d put him in a pigeonhole and he’d expanded to fill it.

She paced around, her heels tick-ticking on the concrete floor, looking for something, while still not being sure what it had been. Whatever epiphany Jet had expected by going there, eluded her.

In the end, it had just been an empty office.

Jet took a breath.

She’d traced her entire route through Jusenkyo and found nothing. Except for one last place.

She had to backtrack. A blown tunnel had blocked it off.

Jet found herself dreading it. But she couldn’t avoid it. The closer she got, the more she felt certain it was the root of it all, where she’d find her answer

Excercise Control.

The room had been stripoped bare, leaving only a single steel desk that’d been bolted to the floor. Underneath it, a scratch on the floor marked the point where one of them had tried to hide - and failed.

Please, You don’t have to do this.

She stood in echo of that moment from a decade ago, letting it wash over her. She remembered how she’d written it up at the time.

"Drone operators neutralised to prevent any repair or retasking of the station systems."

Whether they deserved to die or not, didn’t matter. The review board called their deaths acceptable and justifiable. In the cold light of windowless office, a panel of three anonymous arbiters had agreed with her and given it the rubber stamp. Justified by circumstances.

Maybe if she’d described what actually happened,- maybe the bureaucrats might’ve had a different opinion. It might’ve even made the Kratmanites nope the fuck out.

It’d been the necessary thing. Enemy combatants didn’t just carry a gun. It didn’t feel right - but it had been. It must've attracted attention. A week later, she'd been offered her first warrant card.

She felt in her soul, that the ability to see past what felt ‘right’ and do what was necessary in the moment, had burned her in some undetectable way.

She did what was necessary. To keep the lights on on Frigga. To keep the Boskone from rising back up. To keep the world from falling apart. Jet was the one who knew where the line was - and could operate in those grey spaces where what ‘felt’ right, and what was right were two different things.

The sound of footsteps snapped her out of it, shuffling down the concrete. Loud, either incompetent, or doing their level best to announce their presence. They wanted her to know they were coming.

Either they were supremely confident. Or they didn’t know who and what she was.

Jet readied herself.

“Great Justice. I’m not armed,” a man’s voice called out.“I’m here to talk.”

She prepared herself, incase they were lying. Her engines spooled, energy charging her body, waiting to be unleashed in a high-speed run for open space.

A man in a light tactical uniform stepped around the door, gloved hands raised above his head. Jet guessed from his face that he couldn’t have been more than 20 years old, with deep, hazelnut eyes, and a dark, full beard

“I’m not armed,” he said again. “I just want to talk.”

Jet felt her body relax.

“I’m fine,” she said, curtly.

“I know,” he said. “But people like you come back here all the time. We just make sure they aren’t going to hurt themselves.”

Of course, he was insinuating she’d come there to kill herself.

“I’m fine,” Jet answered again. “I just wanted to see something.”

He looked up to her, then took a breath, looking in to the empty room

“They found seven bodies in here. Some station technicians who’d been running the drones. Basically unarmed IT people. They re-programmed the drones to turn on the Boskone and someone murdered ‘em for it. Complete cold-blood slaughter - some of them were hiding under the table - they weren’t even armed.”

“I was here,” she said, in a quiet voice.

“I’m sorry you had to find that,” he said, trying to console her. His gaze settled on the desk. “Rosebottom was a psycho. Good thing A.C. put him down when she did,”

Jet’s jaw hinged open, distraught. She wondered for a moment if she’d mis-remembered the entire thing

Reality didn’t matter, not when faced with the narrative. In the end, history was nothing more than what people collectively agreed had happened. People preferred the narrative -- it was so much more comfortable than the real thing.

Heroes were heroes. Villains were villains. Once the narrative decided what path you were on, every decision it allowed you to make just reinforced it.

Like a shite game of Dungeons and Dragons.

“I’m on a train that’s going somewhere,” she said. “That I don’t want it to go.”

“I can’t help you with that,” the guard said. “There’s a counselor at the outpost.”

Jet felt a soft smile curl her lips. “I don’t think they can help with this problem. It’s something different.”

It left her with the idea , that she needed to do something to get off the railroad -s something that ran across the story and into a new direction - something intelligent.

She needed to talk with someone - she just didn’t know who.

She needed to know what the narrative expected her to do.

-------------------------------

I love the smell of rotaries in the morning. You know one time, I got to work early, before the rush hour. I walked through the empty carpark, I didn't see one bloody Prius or Golf. And that smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole carpark, smelled like.... ....speed.

One day they're going to ban them.
Reply
RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#28
Dartz, this has been combobulating in my head for a few days now, but I've only just managed to put it into words here.

What's the pay-off for this story?  IMO it seems to just get darker and grimmer.  Honestly?  It seems to violate the spirit (if not the wording, I checked) of Rule 0, and that is worrying me.

Storywise:
Ben spilling the beans - This is something I think fits his character for jumping ahead, but there will have to be consequences for him/the Roughriders.

Dialogue sample (not canon) Wrote:"Ben, talking to Anika will have consequences you know."

"I was trying to-"

"You DIDN'T. CONSULT.  That's caused further issues to deal with.  And it doesn't look good for you."

"Wha-?"

"If that's what you do to a supposed friend, what else?"

So yeah, not a good look there.  Posibly contracts will get a bit stiffer, and him/his faction loose rep and influence.

The Senshi - The way the politics seems to be going, there is a rot in the parliament that will blow up soon.  This could be the major consequence of all the events in story.  I can easily see the other factions going "Hey, we've been helping keep a lid on this, but we can't spare the resources anymore so *sound of file being slapped on table* here's what we've got.  We figure you've got six months before something happens that's loud enough to be public.  Good Luck."
(Then they use the extra resource to keep a better lid on the actual problem.)

Jet - I'm gonna be honest here.  Jet needs a good talking to, but if that fails I can only see A.C. (as Cyber-Doc of record) declaring her medically unfit for duty and pulling her in hard.  Especially if she realises Jet's been abusing the booster-packs.
(The slightest bright spot I can see is A.C. going "Hello?  No, she's still unfit to resume her duties.  Deal with it yourself. <link terminated>"

This is all My Opinion Only.

(Danm, I feel horrible that this is the most I've written on Fenspace for years.

Sorry Dartz.

Sorry Gang.)
Reply
RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#29
Thanks.

You're not the first person to make that comment about it not feeling like Fenspace. Some of it reflects a lot about how I've been feeling. As far as direction is, I've been letting it roll and seeing what happens. Feedback is always helpful at correcting a wayward system - unless it's positive feedback and then you blow the top of it.

I imagined Ben thought he was being helpful by telling a half-truth - that was my intent anyway - and it'd also be in character for him. I'd be curious what BA had to contribute - but he's busy on the other project. Jet is disappointed, where AC might be angry. There's probably a scene there. It might give me an out - a way to shift the narrative and make it both out in the open, and completely hidden - like project Azorian. Even call it a proliferation risk issue - where somebody's enriching Uranium for starship fuel - and the RBMK thing is to fix it. The real truth his hidden in the lie that everyone will accept as the truth. It sounds smart - but I've never run a real conspiracy.

I do want to do a few scenes of everyone else doing their thing --- Mackie's 'OK' and coping, Anika (Daini) is getting a big head and our Chernobyl operator gets his tour of wonder on the way to the rock.

With regards to Senshi politics, I was trying to strike a note of 'Both sides'. The political types are being cliguey - I've seen it so many times in certain strains of fandom, while Jet's being Jet - and covering up the initial accident was probably a bonehead move on her part. Frigga is starting to 'work' as a settlement, but it's been rough....

Jet being put on medical leave would be - embarrassing for her. She'd be afraid of what people would think - she has the idea in her head that she can only be successful at what people think she can be successful at. Maybe madness - but with Handwavium's nature, maybe not.

I love the smell of rotaries in the morning. You know one time, I got to work early, before the rush hour. I walked through the empty carpark, I didn't see one bloody Prius or Golf. And that smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole carpark, smelled like.... ....speed.

One day they're going to ban them.
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RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#30
I kind of hope it doesn't need to get darker and grimmer, because if it does, I recently burned out at work and that would be bad news for me personally.  It seems like pretty classic burnout to me -- the feeling of having a lot of responsibility, but things never improving.  The feeling of giving the best you can still barely manage, and still feeling like a screw-up.  Being cynical about one's job, and feeling constantly emotionally drained.  Using drugs a coping mechanism only helps her temporarily.

From talking to Dartz, I think he's probably suffering burnout as well.

Stupid question because I don't really know the setting at all, but does Jet have vacation time saved up?  Like several months?  Because the only thing that's going to fix it is getting away for a while to get some perspective, and possibly a change in the job so she feels she has more support.  To me, if you want a story to tell going forward, it's this: Jet steps away on a quest to find her true path, and later when someone's in trouble, she appears at the last minute as a big damn hero.
"Kitto daijoubu da yo." - Sakura Kinomoto
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RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#31
You're not wrong about burnout. But it's not as bad as it was.


Technically, as much holiday as Jet wants, she can take. She's not 'employed' as such. She's effectively a free contractor, for want of a better term. She doesn't have to do anything - the only restriction is public opinion and reputation - and having money. The real limit - the best way to understand how Jet sees her position in the world, is that of a youtube channel operator trying to get into the big self-sustaining space. Where you have to be constantly on, and on message, the entire time - or else it'll start to loose relevance, or will start to fall down the search rankings. You lose mindshare.

She's already started to try and get out of some of the loops she's in --- one of the projects on Frigga that's sort of been hinted at is a local implementation of something approximating Project Cybersyn (Only without an intelligent mind created specifically to be happy to oversee it) to reduce her and everyone else's workload. It's the other kind of cybernetics. It's even starting to work.....

I love the smell of rotaries in the morning. You know one time, I got to work early, before the rush hour. I walked through the empty carpark, I didn't see one bloody Prius or Golf. And that smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole carpark, smelled like.... ....speed.

One day they're going to ban them.
Reply
RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#32
“Instrumentality Committee Meeting”

That was how it always appeared in her dayplanner. She preferred the reference to what it was actually called. It matched how she felt about it, even if it lacked the truly ‘scure cachet the real name had.

The worst part of her job, Jet thought, were the group calls and conferences. At least the meetings on Frigga could be held in person - but calls to Mars, to other members of parliament, to the mundanes - all had to be done by remote. By hologram, by video, or by ominous sound-only monolith.

She hated how nobody ever managed to get their damned mic levels right. Someone was too loud. Someone was too quiet. Someone spoke in jitters and starts, fractions of a syllable being lost to cosmic rays and encoding errors. Someone lagged by long seconds, perpetually speaking out of sync and killing the flow of conversation.

Jet gave thanks that the camera on her monitor had long broken - it gave her the freedom to walk around a little. Moving helped her think. It sparked the mind. It earthed the restless energy in her bones.

Eddie had the characteristics of the still to be built reactors finalised. They existed in their complete form in his mind, running already for years. He had a roadmap for the life of the reactors, from first fuelling, through to their eventual decommissioning. He had the characteristics for the reactor’s plutonium confirmed.

Jet kept her usual misgivings about his simulations to herself. She’d be the odd one out in the group - especially with A.C. having decided to join in. Jet suspected Eddie had begun to hate her.

Oh ye of little faith. Jet wondered where they got theirs, or where hers had gone.

Kohran had begun designing weapons, based on that characteristic.

“It’d be as powerful as a truck bomb” she said, “But a truck bomb with some stolen nuclear waste would be a lot easier to build, a lot easier to hide and wouldn’t have to worry about it meltin’ itself to destruction.”

“Problem solved then” Jet’s muse added her reply to the conversation, correctly guessing what she would’ve felt.

“There is still the benefit to producing such a weapon - the radiation pulse of fission,” Eddie remarked. “It would be extremely radiotoxic.”

“Well yeah. You can’t make it impossible. So you just make it like doing a tooth extraction on an angry badger - from the wrong end.” A few people smirked in response to that. “And it can’t trigger a secondary.”

“There are easier options, to do far more damage.” A.C added.

“Best we can do I guess,” Benjamin Rhodes added with an almost incongruous cheerfulness. “No more city-killers.”

The buck passed to Jet, responsible for the practicalities of getting things done. Her mouth regurgitated the details of the funding plans.

“I’ve got deals with some former Belt Alliance mines.” she said. “They’ve been hammered lately but since we’re subsidised by Venus to supply Bristol, we can sell them ore well below their cost of production - they can compete with the Rockhounds and line their pockets with the difference.”

If they had an attack of conscience, they had to worry about whatever evidence might’ve potentially been gathered on their own specific activities as part of the Belt Alliance protection racket.

A.C’s expression flattened, her lips pursing as it sat a little ill with her.

“I know we’re breaking the Parliament’s agreement with RDA” Jet continued, feeling a little bit giddy inside at getting one over the powerful. “ Some of it’s going to the station fund to pay for everyone’s pet projects and quality of life things here on Frigga, but I’ve had to cut a few MP’s in so they’ve an interest in keeping quiet. The Project gets less than half of it.”

“I might like to know who they are when this is done,” A.C mused

“There;ll be hell to pay if this gets out. The Rockhounds have political influence,” said Kohran. “They’ll go to legal war.”

“We can always buy a coupla shipments,” said Ben. “Send a regular ship over that comes back empty. Take it into stock on paper and then lose it to production issues. It never actually exists. I think everyone can do that.”

“That’ll help.” Jet said, with a quick smile. “We’re doing some production efficiency things to increase output aswell, but there’re limits. The more we sell, the more the cost of doing business goes up.”

“You might approach the RDA under the table” A.C. suggested. “If the sale price is lower than their production costs, they may be interested, and that flips the scandal from Frigga breaking an agreement her Majesty’s government made, to Frigga being forced to look elsewhere.”

Jet felt her stomach drop, appalled at the idea for reasons she couldn’t explain.

“It’d embarrass them, rather than give them more ammunition,” A.C added.

Of course, the idea drew a few nods of agreement from the rest of those present. It made perfect sense. It sat wrong with Jet’s soul in a way she couldn’t place - as if it violated the basic tenant of her being - an anathema to her existence.

The faces on the call waited for an answer.

“Yeah, I can do that,” she said, with all the enthusiasm of a child for their homework.

Jet had long learned the art of separating how she felt about doing a thing, from the necessity of actually doing it. These tasks were essential, no matter how wrong they felt.

Her mind still clutched at straws, looking for anything to justify her instincts.

“But the power dynamic changes,” she said.“The Rockhounds have no incentive for keeping the arrangement secret. I can’t push them harder either.”

The corrupt could be relied upon to do what was necessary to keep their face in the trough. The RDA had no such incentive - they could make demands. They could take control.

“I’ll have to make the introduction, of course,” said A.C., not seeming particularly enthused about it. “Marsden may need some convincing.”

Of course, Jet thought. Her presence changed the dynamic. The orbit of the conspiracy shifted.
The sense of powerlessness simmered inside Jet - of having no choice, no matter what, of being swept along in the narrative, no matter how she thought things should be.

Dealing with Big Name Fans always came with a cost. But they all brought their own strengths to the table.

Ben contributed the bulk of the engine technology, the nuclear fuels and, on the surface, a lot of the overt funding. Kohran contributed the weapons knowledge with Eddie as a backstop. Eddie himself brought the biggest technical mind in Fenspace, even if it strained against the mundane limits of Frigga’s own engineers.. A.C. had been the unwitting participant, not even knowing about her involvement, until it had to be explained to her. She now had enough influence to maybe keep things smooth - that tendency to shape the narrative and help it flow. Of all things, it made success more likely.

Jet contributed a space station with a lot of space and a history of successfully containing a reactor explosion, along with the willingness to go so far out on a limb, she couldn’t even see the tree - and the ability to figure out how to land when the limb finally snapped.

Jet Jaguar could be seen to be that bit reckless. It fit how the narrative of Fenspace saw her.

It’s how everybody believed she’d snapped when she chased down Asmodeus Grey. It’s why nobody believed she’d been the lead on the mission - after one attempt to cover for her backfired.

Jet’s eyes had fallen to her reflection in the monitor.

The woman who stared at the wall behind her, looked tired beyond belief, like an echo of who she’d been over a decade before, when a random photographer had caught a picture of what’d been left after Jusenkyou had been finished.

She looked like she felt - like the dregs of a drink sitting in last night’s glass. Little left to give, and what was left had long gone stale. Little left to look forward to.

“There’s another fly in the ointment,” she said. “Anika knows what we’re doing out here - Anika Springfield.”

That moment’s silence, invited her to speak more. Of course, she’d have to drop a friend in it.

“I told her,” Ben announced, saving Jet the trouble of dropping him. “She asked me questions, and I couldn’t lie to her, so I told her it was our project - “ he smiled again “To hide the real truth.”

The worst part of it being, he’d thought he’d been doing the right thing.

"Ben, talking to Anika will have consequences you know."

Consequences that could range from a calm chiding, to having to bring the chocolate cheesecake the next time the ‘committee’ met, to time, costs or influence as needs be. A.C. spoke in a tone that didn’t

"I was trying to-"

"You DIDN'T. CONSULT. That's caused further issues to deal with. And it doesn't look good for you."

"Wha-?" Benjamin’s avatar blinked on screen

"If that's what you do to a supposed friend, what else?"

“Anika’s my friend too.” Ben had his hackles up. “She asked me if I knew anything. I couldn’t lie to her.”

“Yeh still coulda sent me a bleedin’ message before she knocked on me door,”

That moment of silence warned her that her frustration had bubbled up - the mask had slipped. Eddies little avatar seemed to inflate a little with barely contained smugness, as if to say ‘See what I’ve been dealing with.

“This won’t get us further,” A.C. warned in a plain tone. “The next step is, of course, either to try and convince her that it’s best if this remains a secret, or to try get ahead of it.”

The discussion began - what, how and who. What did the narrative expect. They each offered the solutions expected of them.

Her mind drifted away. A few people on Frigga offered their problems, hoping Baron Frigga would solve them with the personal touch. Sign off on a project. Put a word in with the council. Ask a question of a minister. Figure out which node had gone corrupt. Simple things - stupid things - but solving them made people happy and say thanks. Local politics never changed - she may be a loon who’ll kill us all, but sure she fixed the roads and got the jobs in, and didn’t she get those two steam locomotives approved for the Sparks?

Even that didn’t seem to matter. Part of her mind still lingered in that room on Jusenkyou, terrified at being discovered, and still hoping nobody ever learned of her side-trip.

The only way she could win, was get off the path the narrative expected of her.

What’s the last thing you do in a conspiracy?

“We go public,” Jet said. It wasn’t a proposal. ”Everything except the bomb. We go with Ben’s explanation.”

The silence that followed, politely requested an explanation. She figured out the reason why, after coming up with the action.

"When it all comes out, they'll all be happy that we got caught, and they'll be happy that they know and they're smarter than us and we didn't get away with it. And maybe they'll understand why we kept it all secret, without really knowing. " Jet felt a savage smirk draw across her face. “So long as they’re happy with the story, they’ll stop looking and nothing ever needs to be hidden again.”

The ordinary fan could be glad about being smarter than the Big Names. They could be happy with the narrative - so long as it fit what was expected of the participants. The narrative would become truth. The reality would be forgotten.

Ben made a face like someone had stepped on his grave. “Yikes!”

A moment’s silence followed. Kohran glanced at Eddie’s Avatar.

“Marsden might not want to support a competitor, in the case,” A.C. remarked. “But that might also be a matter of discussion,”

Of course, she’d also understand, on some level. They both worked as Troubleshooters. A good hang out could hide a great many things, especially when that hangout confirmed people’s biases.

In the back of her mind, Jet’s muse made notes on an angle that could be played. Play into Marsden’s impression of Frigga, the Millenium and Government enterprise.

“Well, there’re other things that can be done with a nuclear reactor, too,” said Jet, “I’m sure we can find something of value we can do for the Rockhounds.”

Kohran glanced offscreen momentarily. “Yeah, that’ll be easy an’ I know they use some isotopes for densimeters.”

“We use them too,” added Ben. “For deep penetration inspection and in the infirmary.”

A.C’s avatar paused a moment. “I’ve requested a meeting with Marsden.”

Jets eyes glanced at all the window. “Speaking of meetings, I’ve to get to Venus in an hour.”

“Good luck,” Ben Chuckled.

She gave a shrug of her shoulders. “I can be late. It’ll be nice to be fashionable for once.” Jet took a breath. “By the next meeting, I think we’ll have a press release ready, our engineers will have the construction plans done.”

Another message pinged off inside her mind - one requesting Sylia attend an urgent meeting. Keeping that deception going be telepresence wouldn’t last much longer, but it had to. Jet thought she could take it while flying.

“The Prototype bird with the new engines will be ready by then,” and Ben seemed positively proud of that. “We’re getting a little more kick out of the engines too”

“I might wanna try one of those,” said Kohran.

“I’ll get you one of the first batch,” Ben promised, showing the first

“Just a test is fine.”

“I will have the blast shields ready,” said Eddie. And he would be so pleased to do it. “Along with the final stability calculations in a format which is human interpretable - and for public consumption.”

Through it all, it seemed like they were still on track. She realised she’d stopped pacing around the room.

The participants logged off in turn, each with their own traditional goodbyes. Jet watched them go, one by one, until only A.C. herself remained, her green eyes not able to see Jet, but somehow still watching.

She sat back in her seat, and Jet found herself wondering what was left to discuss.

“Are you alright, Jet?”

She hadn’t expected that. Her breath caught in her throat. She felt like a child who’d been caught with her hand in the biscuit tin.

“It’s not hard to tell that you haven’t had time to sleep for at least a month.” A.C. gave a gentle smile, not threatening. “Which means you’re probably neglecting your maintenance.” The chiding was gentle - non-threatening. Just a warning that it’d been spotted. “No matter how much we want to think otherwise, we’re only human,:

Jet could tell she was being deliberately careful, like she was offering a hand.

“I’ve too much to do right now.”

Back of on any of it, and it all fell apart.

“Other people can carry the torch, if you let them.”

Other people would probably fuck it up. Jet bit her lip a moment, getting the sense she was being led into a minefield.

“I’ve a meeting with an advocate about the reactor inquiry in an hour,” she said, as a deflection. “I need to get to that. I’d rather a barrister in that room than me.”

A.C. simple nodded again.

“I’m asking you as a friend,” she said. “Before I have to step in as your Doctor. Please look after yourself.”

The call cut, leaving Jet alone in the room, shaking inside her armour. She screamed at the blank screen, before launching it across the floor at an inhuman speed. It burst into a shower of electric sparks.

Rage. Betrayal. Fear, she couldn’t explain what it was, even to herself. How the fuck was she supposed to take a break anyway?

Stingray begged for more attention from an owner who never existed, and who had kess to give. If that collapsed, she’d be the person who let an entire company and those who it employed collapse into the ground - for no good reason at all..

Frigga and the War on Kipple raged on. A flamewar needed to be headed off after someone accidentally modded themself into some artist’s closed species. Something always broke, and it was always something she had to fix.

Followed by the duties expected of Baron Frigga to Her Majesty’s parliament, which seemed to actively reject her presence but still demanded she attend to them.

Asagiri needed work to stay relevant and in people’s minds. Someone wanted to buy a spacecraft and it needed to be tweaked for a test-flight. The last remaining racing team since Daryl pulled out pushed for more and more technical support to stay ahead. Let that fall, and the one thing that might’ve been interesting would wither and be forgotten as it fell out of the collective mindshare of enthusiasts everywhere.

And then, The Reactors, which ate hours between local planning and negotiations with suppliers and keeping an eye on the Boskone to make sure they hadn’t figured it out. Leave it alone, and risk the end of the world.

The one thing A.C. didn’t understand - a controlled shutdown of all four machines couldn’t be possible. And trying to stop them would have her taking the blame as the person who ruined it for everyone who relied on it. Nobody would care.

Even if she succeeded, nobody would know and she’d have to put up with everyone thinking she was a loon.

Worse than that…

…given a few quiet moments she really wasn’t sure what she could do to take a break. Nothing in life was fun anymore. Most were just a slow march towards an inevitable disappointment.

Jet worked in what had once been the Station Chief Engineer’s office, surrounded by dozens of half-finished projects that’d been abandoned as whatever spark that’d momentarily inspired them guttered and died. Mackie’s hacked-open skull still stared from a shelf where it’d been put.

She couldn’t bring herself to do anything else with it.

Her meeting on Venus still insisted she attend.

Within minutes she was hurtling through open space aboard XR, pushing up against Magnificent Midnight’s speed records. Of course, if she dared to try and beat them the response would be swift and crushing. She cut it close inside the orbit of Mercury - close enough for the paint to blister, panels to pop and the sunshades to start to fizzle.

She plunged the black, dagger-like aircraft towards the planet, crashing it into a high parking orbit, annoying some tool of a pilot who an alert from his TCAS and acted like it was the worst thing in the world

Rather than bother with spending a half hour in the swarm of traffic control to get down into the cities, Jet left he spacecraft in orbit on autopilot, set the transponder to broadcast the ‘crew resting’ signal, popped the canopy and snuck herself down through the traffic with her private transponder off.

XR remained in orbit, pilotlessly cruising through traffic.
—-

I love the smell of rotaries in the morning. You know one time, I got to work early, before the rush hour. I walked through the empty carpark, I didn't see one bloody Prius or Golf. And that smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole carpark, smelled like.... ....speed.

One day they're going to ban them.
Reply
RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#33
Dialing your X at Stupid O'Clock in the morning


------


“Hey?-----How ya doin? It’s been a while?”

“It has” —-- “I’m on the right side of the ground.”

“That’s always a start,”

“What’ve you been doing?”

“Well yeah I got the Cat running and I got the permits from the city at last - so it seems my Aunt’s family name still carries some weight with the mayor’s office.” —--- “Actually kind of surprised I didn’t hear from you before now.”

“I couldn’t think of anything to say,”

“We were going out for ten years. I would’ve thought…”

“I wanted to be friends, but I didn’t want to be the friend who only called up when had the world to unload. It’s been tough.”

“I read about the accident” —--- “And Mackie. I’m sorry - by the time I got the news, everything had moved on and I didn’t want to re-open a wound like that.”

“There’s more to it, that you don’t know about” —--- “And that I can’t talk about right now, but I appreciate it.”


“I don’t think you wanted to catch up thought….”


“I just needed to talk to someone - I guess. Someone who had a different perspective - who was outside the flow of things. Everyone else is caught up in it all. And you’ve been on the ground for a year.”



“Alright. What’s the problem?”


“I’m stuck into something that’s forcing me to go one way, with an end that I don’t want to go to, but is going to happen anyway. Like being in quicksand - where every choice I make, will just make everything worse in a way I can’t deal with. There’s no good ending, just different shades of bad and I can’t see a way out of it.”





“You’re not thinking of hurting yourself, are you?” —------------------“Jet?” —----------- “Or harming yourself?”




“I didn’t realise it, until you said it”------------------- “If I burn out, or have a bad accident, it stops. I’m out, it all stops before everything goes bad.”








“I’m glad you spoke to someone, at least” —---- “I wish it wasn’t me this early in the morning but goddamn I wanted to hear from you. And I still want to hear from you”





“I still have to figure out how to stop all this.”





“You stop, and figure it out afterwards.”-------- “And this from the person who’se known for figuring out how to land, after she jumps”





“I suppose your right. You always had a better head for this sort of stuff.”




“I guess I grew up with feelings.” —------------”I need you to tell me you’re not going to hurt yourself”





“I’m alright right now.”





“Promise me you’re not going to hurt yourself.”




“I promise I won’t hurt myself.”



“Thanks.”



“Maybe if you’re up in the near future, you could stop by for coffee. There’s a lot of cool stuff we’ve started.”


“It’d be nice to talk again. About better things.”


“I’d like that.”


“Later Jet.”


“Later….”


------

I love the smell of rotaries in the morning. You know one time, I got to work early, before the rush hour. I walked through the empty carpark, I didn't see one bloody Prius or Golf. And that smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole carpark, smelled like.... ....speed.

One day they're going to ban them.
Reply
RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#34
I've turned this into a sort of story on Spacebattles - it's a bit more filtered as a story:
https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/...rk.962443/

I'm finding it hard to figure out where to take this that doesn't end in a firearm cleaning accident. That's why I sort of spat out the last piece just to sort of reassure people that - on some level - it wouldn't go in that direction. Jet tried to reach out to *someone* who has some level of emotional intelligence and who'll know that if their ex is calling them at stupid O'clock in the morning it might not be a friendly call.

Some of how Jet's feeling sort of reflects how I've felt in the last year or so - but then, that changed in the last few months after I started going in this direction.

It's a sort of feeling that made it difficult to write in that other project while I could sort of have some freedom to flow here in the direction and talk about it. It's okay to have feelings here.

---

The hard part is that, unlike the other Fenspace characters, it's really hard to tell what Jet does in her downtime. What is she when she's not 'on' - because most of her life has turned into various shades of being 'on' and nothing else is really enjoyable. I don't think Jet knows what she can do that'll be enjoyable anymore

---

I love the smell of rotaries in the morning. You know one time, I got to work early, before the rush hour. I walked through the empty carpark, I didn't see one bloody Prius or Golf. And that smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole carpark, smelled like.... ....speed.

One day they're going to ban them.
Reply
RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#35
(02-19-2022, 07:37 PM)Dartz Wrote: The hard part is that, unlike the other Fenspace characters, it's really hard to tell what Jet does in her downtime. What is she when she's not 'on' - because most of her life has turned into various shades of being 'on' and nothing else is really enjoyable. I don't think Jet knows what she can do that'll be enjoyable anymore

Yeah, that's a tricky one.

Ask me about any other Fenspace character except The Professor and I can give you a good guess as to what they do in their time off. (Even Noah Scott has time off.) But Jet... I don't know.
--
Rob Kelk

Sticks and stones can break your bones,
But words can break your heart.
- unknown
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RE: [Situation Vacant] Reactor Chief Engineer
#36
Thus lies the path of burnout. One needs a road out. Unwinding the tangle of obligations she has or shutting down any of the machines would be difficult at best and probably catastrophic at worse.

It doesn't help that Jet has a belief - maybe born of the youtube era - that she has to keep going in order to be seen to keep going. That you can only do what people believe you can do - people's public opinion matters more than anything. If she gets some form of public intervention - that'd probably destroy people's belief in her and what she can do.

It's why she went with an RBMK-type reactor. It can be done and it will work. And if it's done right, it will work right - Physics doesn't give a shit how you or the universe feels about it, while a handwave solution might pick up on her moods, or what people think about her and just go crazy.

I love the smell of rotaries in the morning. You know one time, I got to work early, before the rush hour. I walked through the empty carpark, I didn't see one bloody Prius or Golf. And that smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole carpark, smelled like.... ....speed.

One day they're going to ban them.
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