The deck shimmied sideways, then rose and fell under my feet, or so it felt. A couple of the people in line staggered, one fell and everyone reached for the nearest handhold. "That's not a good sign," I muttered to myself.
The usual hubbub started up - "What happened," "You okay?" "Whoo!" and so on.
My friend turned and gave me the eye, walked to the parcel gate. "Hey! Bobbi, what just happened?"
When six feet of Security officer ask, you answer; besides, she's good folks. "I know as much as you, right now. Um, if I had to guess, the 'Drives fluttered and the ion engines compensated—" And then my pager went off, what a su-prise.
RX, NEED YOU AT DRIVE ROOM ASAP, CALL WHEN YOU ARE MOVING. And the Chief's initials. Uh-oh. "Gotta git, T. Duty calls."
The Chief didn't have a lot to add to his page and what I'd felt; the #2 Phantasmajector had glitched off, hard, and wouldn't come back up. The 'Drives were idling;
When I reached the 'Drive Room (in the goofy little electric car, after a quick jog - rest - jog across a mile of slidewalk and sundry utility corridors), it didn't smell right. Too much ozone and fried phenolic. But nary an overload showin' on the Christmas Trees (red/green fault/normal indicators on each big phantasmajector amplifier). #2 was sitting in BACK HEAT; I punched the LOCAL button on the panel, then STANDBY. Drive Amp Cooling came up, fine, and...
And nothin'. Next step should be green lights for FULL HEAT, DRIVER POWER, and after five minutes, HEATER DELAY and READY. Should. Didn't. If it wasn't so loud I had to wear earplugs, I'd probably be hearing' crickets.
Greeeeeeeat. Time to open 'er up and that's not a one-tech job; there are too many ways to A) harm yourself and B) more importantly, damage the 'Drive. Called the Chief: "It's not an easy one, Boss; I'll need another pair of hands. Maybe Dave."
"Yeah? I need him here, we lost half the MUXes in that lurch. I've got Johnny Zed on his way."
Double great. But the surest way to get on the Chief's bad side is to whine; he's fond of pointing out that we're in the results business, not the excuse business. Besides, how dead could I get? "That'll be fine, Boss! Lookin' forward to it."
(TO BE CONTINUED)
* There's quite a complicated little arrangement of springs, latches and weights to switch these overhead doors between zero-G and normal, 1-G acceleration function. It breaks frequently. I'm startin' to develop a theory about the real reason why HAL was so weird about the pod bay doors.