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Old November 7 2008, 08:49 PM   #13
SLWatson
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Arc of the Wolf: On the Nature of Wind - Part I, Chapter 3

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Morning came inevitably, bringing a still soft rain and the smell of sea so strong that it permeated everything and everyone. Corry drifted awake to the buzzer, reaching back with one hand to smack the off button... it was too early to go to class, too early to think of anything but staying in bed.

The secondary buzzer was the one that got him, though, and he pulled himself out of bed and stretched. The room was quiet and he rubbed at his eyes drowsily, stifling a yawn... yep, way too early for this. What happened to those carefree days when he was a kid, worrying only about grade school and recess? What happened to the long summer days he'd spent fishing, swimming and sailing?

Gone, long gone. Shaking his head, he glanced around for his roomie, but Scott was long since gone himself. His other pair of boots were even put away neatly -- testament that Corry must have struck a nerve. He hadn't been there when Corrigan had come in last night, and if not for the boots, Corry would never have guessed the other cadet had shown back up. Feeling a pang of self-recrimination, he sighed and opened his closet.

His uniforms hung neatly, sharp grays that he actually tried to keep nice and crisp for class. Reaching to grab one, he stopped short when he saw the note hanging by engineer's putty from the shelf, and after a moment puzzling over it, he pulled it down to read it.

Cor,

Here they are, every last one of them -- every last one of them that I could manage anyway. Albright should be able to check them and if he could finish the weight distribution studies, I would be in his debt.

Scott


Corry smiled slightly, folding the note and pulling the old-fashioned notebook down. Sure enough, in slightly shaky but otherwise neat block lettering were the equations, from the righting movement to the center of buoyancy above the keel. Even the inch-trim was worked out. He didn't want to think too much about how long and hard the night must've been for Scotty to have pulled off a feat like that, but he did think about where he could find a good bottle of Scotch. Afterall, fair was fair.

Slipping the note into the front cover, he set the notebook on his dresser and went back to getting dressed for the day.




It had been a long night, spent under the overhanging roof of a dockside building in the cold damp air, using the weak light from above to write. One hand with a pencil, the other turning the pages of the shipbuilding handbook... circa 1845... and Scott had worked out every single equation that he could until he was too tired to see straight.

Why he did was well beyond him. When he'd told Corry that he wouldn't have it until the deadline, he had been serious. Deciding wisely that he needed to cool off, he'd checked in with Security, let them think he was in for the night, then snuck out and headed down for a walk along the docks; maybe he'd never want to work on the ocean but he still enjoyed being near it. Pacing the concrete in the dark, listening to the lapping against the piers, somewhere around midnight he'd decided to just work on this a little -- cut down on what he'd have to do the next day. It was a quick walk back to the dorms, and it hadn't been hard to scale the fence and slip into the basement window that was always left open by the last cadet who had been doing laundry that night.

It took maybe a half-hour to get in and back out, a task Scotty had gotten damn good at since moving into the dorms. He'd gone back to the docks, found a spot out of the rain, pulled the books and notebook from where he'd shielded them under his coat, and gone to work.

Now, at not quite a quarter to ten in the morning, he could barely stay awake. The lecture hall was nice and warm, pleasant after being chilled all night by mist, and he really wanted to nod off and sleep through the rest of class. Or skip out altogether and go back to bed. Or even get a nice, hot cup of coffee... nevermind. Long hours were an unbeatable part of being an engineer in the service.

"Hey..."

And there was the other half of the reason he'd stayed out all night. Trying to muster up some indignation and failing, Scotty glanced sidelong at Corry, who'd somehow managed to slip into the hall without him noticing. "What?"

Corry winced slightly, setting his books down on the desk. "Thanks for finishing the equations."

"Welcome."

"...are you still mad?"

"Noooooo, o' course not." Really, he wasn't too angry, but it didn't hurt to make Corry squirm. As far as Scott was concerned, he deserved it a little at least -- walking around for two hours trying to face some unkind truths about oneself wasn't the least bit thrilling. Corry might have been right, but it didn't take the sting away. "Give those t' Albright?"

"Yep. He was overjoyed... he says he can have them all polished and finished by Tuesday, a whole three days before deadline," Corrigan said, quietly, leaning on his books and looking down at the guest lecturer. "I really like the design, you know."

Scotty frowned slightly, leaning back and crossing his arms. He wasn't in the mood for small talk, being friendly, or anything that required energy. "Aye."

"And I went out and got you something." Corry grinned in sudden good-humored pride, pulling an old bottle out of his carryon and offering it over. "Fair's fair and all."

"Cor! Bloody Hell, put that away!" Scott squeaked quietly, once he got a good look at the label. "Are ye daft, pullin' that out in here?"

"Nah, he's not paying attention," Corrigan answered, but he put the Scotch away just in case. "It's some good stuff though, cost me a bundle so you'd better appreciate it."

"Ye're bribin' me."

"Is it working?"

Scotty chuckled, shaking his head. So much for staying mad. "Aye. It's workin'."




Barrett was indeed pleased, having never expected the cadets from Team C to finish stage one early. He had assigned Corrigan as the leader, partly for the sake of prior experience and partly because he was reasonably people-oriented, and they had drawn wood to work with as their primary material. Team A had gotten aluminum, no easy find in the modern day. Team B had gotten steel, Team D had fiberglass, and so forth. So looking over the finished equations, he was looked happy with the progress. "Gentlemen, I'm impressed."

"Thank you, sir," Corry answered for the rest of his team. He tried to ignore the looks they were getting from the rest of the class... it wasn't their fault they seemed to have the majority of the talent. "Do we have permission to move onto the next stage?"

"Absolutely. I'll give you a list of distributors... I take it you've worked out which woods you'll be using?"

Albright spoke up, having adjusted Scotty's figures enough to work with the different densities, "Aye, sir, we've decided we're going to work with oak primarily."

"Very good. I'll expect your detailed schematics by the next deadline," Commander Barrett said, offering the notebook back to Corry. "Good luck."

Corrigan took the notebook and turned to leave, the rest of his team following on his heels. Most of the twenty-member crew was waiting to start the actual work, reading up on the physical process of building a ship and working with the timbers -- the design team was the one working on the more mental level. Jansson was in charge of working on the material plans, Albright was the man who was to adjust the initial equations for every change made in the ship, and Scotty was heading up the overall design... in charge of the schematics. Not that he had to do it alone, since Albright and Jansson were damn good designers as well, and Corry was willing to help even if his main strengths were based on maintenance instead of creation.

It was a good design team, and Corrigan was pretty sure they wouldn't have any trouble with the rest of the cadets either. He just regretted Maggie being assigned to Kelley's team and not his... it just tickled him when she returned his smile on the way out of the hall.

"Now we're movin', baaaaby," Jansson sang, impromptu, skipping a step. "Team C, as in c-ya later."

"Ye're too cheerful. Stop it," Scotty teased, in a good mood himself. With the worst of the achitectural math out of the way, his disposition had improved considerably.

"I'm just thinking about the looks on all of their faces when we came trotting in with our finished math. I mean, you could just smell the stench of anguish." Jerry stopped outside of another theater. "I'll catch up to you three later, and we'll see what we can get done before break."

Corry grinned, waving. "Thanks, Jer." Albright had just peeled off to chase after his girlfriend Joyce, and the entire atmosphere at the academy had taken a turn for the better... it might have been the rain pausing for a break, but it was more likely the vacation prospect. Tossing a glance at Scott, he asked, "Ready for another stretch?"

Scotty thought about it for a moment, shifting his books from one arm to the other. "Honestly? Nu uh. But I can do it."

"We still have that whole bottle of Scotch to celebrate with..."

"Aye, but we have class tomorrow, too."

Corrigan shrugged, but let it drop at that. "What're you doing over break?"

"Mum wants me home for Christmas. You?"

"Eh, same here. Care to hang out for New Years?"

Scott stepped out of the building, holding the door open with his foot for Corry, mulling the idea over. "Aye, why not? But you come home with me this time..." he shrugged, "give ye a chance to meet my family."
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