This week with Arlene and Jeff:
..."So how long before all six are on line and tuned?"
The Chief Engineer barked out his equivalent of a laugh. "When it is done, it will be done. Remember, this is new territory I am exploring. No one, at least to my knowledge, has managed to tune coils in the field. And… I have not managed it - yet. I have been within a quarter cycle of perfect alignment of the third coil, and the next finest adjustment threw everything completely off, forcing me to start almost from the beginning. I have, however, discovered that there are plateaus as the coils reach approximate synchronization. After each plateau is reached, the adjustment process is different. But… after a failure, I have learned to return to the last plateau much more quickly than the original process took. Occasionally, I manage to reach a higher plateau, but as I add coils, the process will become more difficult. Thus, the elaborate setup that the repair facility uses as the coils are tuned when the ships are built."
There was a moment of silence before the First Officer offered, "Glad to hear of your progress, but I do not think that is the reason you wanted to meet in secret."
The Chief Engineer stared at the other for a moment before again checking his scanner. Finally, he faced the other, eye to eye. "I have spent much time in deliberation concerning my next statement. If I have misjudged…"
The First Officer stared back without shifting his gaze. "You have not."
"What are your thoughts should the Captain be jettisoned out an airlock - accidentally, of course?"
"Rogue?" The First Officer said as if testing the word. "No way would either of us survive if we went back to base."
"Rogue," the Engineer confirmed.
"You are asking if I would command the ship?"
Have a goodun;