((Denali Invitational Start Line - Ensigns’ Joyride))
Well, this was it. With little attention to spare for the view out of the swooping canopy, Ksivi-Sava was too focussed on his controls to indulge in his nervousness. Which was convenient, because said swooping canopy was a makeshift replacement, and just reflective enough so his crew might have noticed a terrified look on his face, had he been any less focussed on said controls. As it were though, seeing to the flight-readiness of their ageing shuttle was a distracting enough puzzle not to be too concerned with all the things that could go wrong about this ill-planned, frivolous venture of theirs.
Wethern: I've run the final system check. Engines and plasma inter-cooler are running within parameters, but we can redline them if we need to. Structural integrity field is running at 110%. I've got programmed controls ready to divert power to necessary systems. I'm getting an error message on relay 315 however I think it is just a false positive. How is our secret weapon holding up?
Marsh: Hull systems are nominal. I do not see any faults at this point. Hopefully, this remains the case and I do not have to make too many adjustments.
Ksivi-Sava: ::thoroughly engaged in his readouts:: Well, uh… 315 is largely redundant, anyway. oO At least that’s what Zel kept insisting. Goodness, what a terrible idea! oO Confirm critical systems green across the board… very much confirm tentative hope that this remains the case… which shouldn’t be too far fetched, considering the sheer workload put in.
That, along with the pleasantly muted background chatter from the comms, served to calm Ksivi-Sava’s nerves somewhat. Had the pilot noticed Corey superstitiously stroking his console and, more importantly, sipping coffee literally seconds before the starting signal, his frame of mind might have taken a different turn.
Wethern: I know it seems like no down time. Although she is running the best we can hope for, we couldn't have done it without Zel's help. Madison, I've kept a separate power-cell to divert to the reactive hull should we need it however it will knock our warp drive out for a bit. How is our famed pilot doing, more importantly....are the fluffy dice in the right place?
Marsh: Thank you for the update Corey, understood.
Ksivi-Sava: Confirm pilot status mildly flurry, dice status highly fluffy.
Wethern: Madison you ready to adjust the hull to give us a low drag in atmosphere, we might be able to make up some easy points here as the other ships might have a benefit over us in orbit. Ksivi-Sava I'm giving you full thrust control and diverting some power from the inertial dampeners, it might give us a bit of a boost, and a showy flare of the engines just like your arrival landing. Which I maintain was still a classy entrance. ::Corey clipped his 5 point harness in place:: Just in case Ksivi-Sava and keep an eye on that junker over there it keeps veering right.
Ksivi-Sava made a conscious effort to gratefully nod at the advice rather than harrumphing at the last-moment clicking sound of Corey’s harness. For what it was worth, it did fit the cadence of the countdown, and seemed to command just that little bit of extra attention a beat before the go signal.
It was on the stroke that Ksivi-Sava released the impulse exhaust, for conservation of momentum to work its awe-inspiring duty. Any lingering feeling of flurry on his part melted away with the remainder of g-forces permitted by Cory’s toning down of the dampeners—a tiny fraction of what the escaping fusion plasma imparted on the nimble shuttle, yet a formidable impression on a humanoid being. No more nervous doubts, no more world outside the canopy, no more wondering what Corey had done with his coffee mug. Just the instruments and physics violently grabbing hold of Ksivi-Sava’s puny bodily existence. It was a pleasantly liberating experience.
Marsh: Time to soar boys, lets win this race!
That, and the crew’s enthusiasm. That was surprisingly pleasant, too.
Marsh: This is so much fun! All of the parts are working well together. We have come a long way from where we had started.
Ksivi-Sava: Confirm fun status… ::checking the acceleration readouts that were wildly fluctuating, but also around a wildly higher mark than projected:: And I have to admit, Zel’s work on those impulse engines is… Well, I’m not going to call it “worrying” while they work like this.
Marsh: Did you need me to make any further modifications to the reactive hull at this point? We seem to be alright, but just want to make sure that we are achieving the most optimal results possible.
For a moment, Ksivi-Sava pondered asking Madison to actually route some power away from the bio-reactive hull to attempt and push impulse output even further. It was tempting enough to convince him it was a terrible idea. Their current acceleration was exceeding projected limits already, placing their current flight condition firmly in the “less safe than Ksivi-Sava was comfortable with” range. Just because he was pushing the boundaries of the comfortable already didn’t mean he would have to tear them to shreds. There was no such thing as slippery-slope-flying and living to make the argument.
Ksivi-Sava: ::with the slightest hint of a surprised tone:: We seem to be doing fine, if I’m not mistaken.
Collision evasion aside, it was only briefly that he spared some attention for the status of the competing vessels. As far as the whole racing aspect of racing was concerned, they were indeed doing shockingly fine. No need for slippery slopes whatsoever. If their impulse output would hold up, all of this might end up being more than just a failed exercise in not letting himself get talked into something stupid. Goodness, they were actually doing fine! Who would have thought?
Starbase 118 Ops