This was the first WritingPrompts I had done in 2018 on Reddit. It seemed fairly easy enough; overdramatize a mundane, everyday situation. I took the situation of my broken Jeep to task, transforming it into this story. Let’s see if you can spot how many technical references I make to a 42RE transmission.
Done in April 17, 2018.
Note: My writing for Reddit writing prompts is different for brevity. While this is a good example of my writing, I often omit backstory and several details to create a concise post. Please look at my other works if you’re looking for my more regular style of writing.
Groceries. I hated getting them.
Not because of the trip, but because that my mom would always call when I was at the checkout and ask for more things. It wouldn’t matter that I call her 3-4 times before to ask what she wanted. She’d always call without fail when half the cart was empty onto the conveyer belt.
I closed my eyes and let the hot water go over my skin. Hopefully the ride won’t be too bad this time.
The face of an Asian woman appears in mid-air in my shower, in the middle of a holographic screen.
“Yes Comm- are you calling me from the shower again?!”
“And what could possibly be so important to call me when you’re wet and naked?”
“I need to sortie with Brittanica. Prep her for launch and spool her up. I leave in 10.”
“But the MAP and overdrive lock-ups haven’t been swapped yet! What if you’re stranded again like a couple of weeks ago?” Ryoko sputters.
“I don’t have a choice, Dad’s pissy because I used Atlantica for his errands two days ago, so I’m not going anywhere near the thing. Just make sure the maintenance boys flushed the OD unit with clean ATF + 4. That’s the best we’re going to have to do.”
The screen disappeared as I shut the water off. Hopefully that’s 10 minutes less I’ll have to spend.
I get dressed, grabbing my knapsack and pulling on my leather jacket. I head out to the hangar.
It was empty, a warm air blowing in from the late spring afternoon. I could see clouds in the distance from the pending storm. My menagerie of a work crew were scurrying around, mainly consisting of friends I met abroad. An F-16 sat in the corner, collecting dust and half-covered with a tarp.
An older blonde woman joined me in stride, dressed in Catholic-esque robes and a huge fez hat.
“Lemme guess…someone didn’t like the last job I did.” While she did keep my affairs in order, she often was the bearer of bad news.
“Quite the contrary. I have your mother’s grocery list.” She poked at a tablet in her hand. Her voice was aged and had the hints of someone with a more cultured upbringing.
“AM-Distributors has released their shipment of the primary valve body. It will be here Thursday.”
“Finally, good news I can get behind.”
The smell of exhaust reached my nose. I smiled inwardly; Ryoko had her running ready.
In the middle of the hangar sat a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The dull silver paint had a few scratches, a venting duct over the exhaust. No less than 30 diagnosis wires hung out from the open hood, running to two computer stations. A large fuel hose stuck out of the gas tank.
A blue-skinned girl was at one of the computers, fingers flying over the keyboard. Three horn-like appendages curled back out of her head, form clad in a white lab coat and a business blouse and skirt. Upon seeing me, she rushed over, clipboard in hand.
“How’s she look?”
“Tash!” She bobbed excitedly, shoving the clipboard to me.
I quickly scanned over the notes.
No Class-2 error codes. Erratic drive engagement, especially in 2nd stage. Refusal to engage final drive systems determined to be a computer issue. 2nd induction port on governor pressure sensor clogged to mechanical failure. Possibility that all electronic components in TRAN-5 are compromised needs to be replaced. Suspect TPS module to be faulty as well. All parts on order.
“Those results appear questionable; are you sure about this?”
“Like I said, pissy Dad. This’ll have to do. We all ran the simulations, nothing physically is wrong with the drive systems.”
“But, it can get damaged if these components fail completely.” My advisor noted.
“Yeah, true.” I stared at Brittanica’s aged hull, making a calculated decision. Will she last the distance? Was a family grudge worth being stranded out in the middle of nowhere?
“Nalth’a, anything about the valve body? Did the crew say anything about that?” I handed the blue girl back the clipboard.
She glanced back at one of the computer screens, replying in heavily accented and broken English.
“Valve body passed…manual engagement test. No breaches detected.”
“All good, yes!” She nodded eagerly.
That was good enough for me.
“All right, let’s do this. Blow all umbilicals. I’m strapping in.”
My advisor took my bag, throwing it in the backseat. I shed the jacket, climbing into the familiar seat as I knobbed on the A/C, linking my comms device to the onboard system. Nalth’a shut the door as people yanked cables and hoses free, clearing my path. The hood was slammed shut.
I tapped the gas pedal, watching the tachometer go up before returning to idle. I sidled more comfortably in my seat, queueing the 24th Street Sounds album to start playing. That barely got 12 seconds in before I was interrupted by Ryoko over my comms.
“Yeah, what happened?”
“I think Nalth’a forgot to mention this to you, but you have another issue, mainly involving the fuel supply system. or rather, the powerplant using fuel.”
I barely had remembered it. The last repair didn’t fix it?
“We think when the old girl was in mothball, the lack of the primary battery erased the main computer and it has to relearn your piloting patterns all over again. But you’re going to get a 40% efficiency per the rated fuel consumption; so don’t be alarmed if the gauge drops a lot faster than usual.”
My foot that was on the brake was about to come off. I could deal with a faulty drive system. But eating up as much fuel as a 53-class freighter?
“Ryoko, that’s actually something to be alarmed about.”
“Oh pish, relax. The problem strangely goes away if you keep your speed up. In example, Warp 7 on a Federation space lane?”
“Yeah, but the neighborhood grocery store is inter-system. Not helpful.”
“You’ll be fine. Plus Dione has you covered, I think.”
I looked out my driver’s side window. Dione was making the cross motion with her hand in prayer. Nalth’a had hands folded, nodding to me for my next move.
“Heh, fine. Interlock coils released, Jettisoning exhaust hose. Engaging.”
I pulled the stick back to engage drives. There was a loud clunk, lurching forward as the shaft was locked into place. That was a lot rougher than usual. I looked back at my technician in worry.
“Was that supposed to happen?”
“Eh…..still no Class-2 codes. Hang on.”
Nalth’a and Dione were staring intently at the screens when the blue girl looked up, jabbing a thumbs up for go.
“ODB came back. You’re still clean. Go get ‘em, tiger.”
“Roger that. Brittanica launching.”
I nodded to the technician, saluting with two fingers as I mashed the gas, roaring out into the open.