|APAGear II Archives||Volume 2, Number 2||March, 2000|
William Barton Pierce led Miles Teg and Gwynn Raleigh out of the offices of the Leatherneck Delivery Company, and into the hot dusty air of Trinwood. It was about mid afternoon, and the Bill Pierce had just met his two new technical specialists after their siesta. The three made their way around the back of the main office building to the small garage that sat squatly in the dusty backyard. A few sandhoppers were groggily waddling around in the shade.
Bill Pierce walked up to the garage door, and kicked it hard three times. Miles and Gwynn stared in quiet curiosity as Bill grimaced, bent down, and hauled the garage door up by a small handle that had popped out after Bill had finished taking out his frustrations. He let the door fly up quickly, and waited as the dust settled. He turned to the two younger people behind him.
"Miles, Gwynn, I give you the GEAP," he said.
Light poured into the musty garage. Miles stepped forwards slowly, peering into the gloom. There, in the middle of the ferrocrete slab that was the floor was a big car. Or, well, it looked like a car under the grimy tarp that hid it from view. Gwynn watched as Bill turned on the lights. Miles was immediately stunned by the bright floodlights that illuminated the room in an eerie glow, and nearly tripped all over himself. She smiled to herself. Miles was the quintessential techno-geek, straight out of the trideo shows, but he was cute in a way.
The tarp was pulled off the car in the middle of the room, and Miles let out a low appreciative whistle.
"Whoah, Bill, this is something else! I didn't know you collected colonial era relics!" Miles chuckled to himself. The large vehicle was showing the signs of misuse, age, and that was combined with the fact that no one had removed the tarp in over fifteen cycles. The light beige-grey paintjob was in the process of flaking off. The frame was missing big chunks, indicating that the vehicle had survived some heavy action. There were dents, scratches and all sorts of things indicating that this vehicle would need some serious restoration work.
Bill gave Miles a dirty look. If it weren't for the fact that Miles was a certified genius and probably the only qualified geo-scientist and mechanical engineer in Trinwood, Bill would put up with a lot less of his shtick.
"This baby has gotten me out of more trouble than you two will ever see in your lives," he pounded the frame affectionately, "Miles, you and Gwynn have your work cut out for you."
Miles and Gwynn looked at each other warily, then back at the beat up truck. It was going to be an interesting couple of weeks.
"Gwynn, there is absolutely no way you're going to be able to adapt that to the geo-sensor, for Mahmoud's sake!" Miles exclaimed, while watching Gwynn install a rather unorthodox looking sensor control chip into the electronics bay of the GEAP. He was almost shocked watching this travesty to his know-how.
Gwynn was crouched under the dashboard, a screwdriver between her lips, as she tried to connect two wires to the non-standard electronics in her lap. She was continuously clearing her black hair from her eyes. "Listen Miles, I've done this a million times before, with even worse equipment. At least this thing already has an electronics bay. Trust me, it'll work!" she retorted back, mumbling, and then sighed softly to herself. 'These Northie boys and their formal education,' she thought, 'shit, I'd be able to upgrade, let alone fix my homestead's small collection of Prairie Dogs and Groundhogs with less than this!' She had to give Miles credit though. He knew his stuff. Better than she did even. But he just wouldn't improvise. It was getting to her.
Miles frowned, and brought up a technical schematic up on his portable CAD mainframe computer. He started an analysis of the transmission upgrades that he had planned for the GEAP. Then he visualized the schematics in his head, and before the mainframe's analysis was complete, he had a good idea of the results. He smiled smugly as the CAD mainframe only confirmed what he had thought: the transmission was going to work like a charm. He slid under the GEAP, started checking the modifications he had already done in the past week, and fumbled clumsily with his shoulder mounted tool rig. Who in the Prophet's name was Gwynn, telling him what would work or not? He was the one holding degrees from Wententhal University in medicine, mechanical engineering and geo-sciences! He was the one who worked for Northco for two cycles, as a V-engine design specialist. He had the photographic memory, the genius IQ! Who was this hick from the Badlands telling him what works and what doesn't? So far, all her work seemed to come together at the last second, and was held together by whatever string and smartglues she could find!
It had been a productive week. The vehicle needed some major overhauls, including a new engine, transmission, electronics bay, suspension and some major bodywork. Miles and Gwynn had worked well at first, but the discomfort of working in the confines of the small garage, Miles' eccentricities and Gwynn's gruffness had started to exact their toll on the two technicians. Things had gone smoothly in the overhaul until today. They got the new V-engine installed with the help of Bill's Groundhog, the bodywork was easy enough, since they just had to machine some pieces and weld them into the chassis, and even the suspension was easily replaced. But it all fell apart once the electronics and the transmission were overhauled.
"Awww...shit! Miles come here!" Gwynn shouted from the driver's seat.
Miles got out from under the GEAP, with a smug look on his face. 'See? I knew she'd screw it up. You can't use an S-4B to control a geo-sensor. It just can't work,' he thought to himself. The scene that appeared before him was not what he expected.
Gwynn had managed to connect the main wires to the S-4B sensor chip. Indeed, she used a very minimal amount of smartglue, Miles noted with some annoyance.
"What's the problem?" Miles asked.
That's when he saw a hopper's head poke out of the dashboard. Gwynn was staring it in the eyes while sitting in the driver's seat, and visibly gulped.
"It's a longfang..shit!" she said softly.
"How can you tell?" Miles asked in a low whisper.
"Well, shit," she deadpanned to him, never taking her eyes off the pointy-nosed predator only thirty centimetres from her face, "I have lived in the desert all my life, Miles!" she said in a harsh whisper.
"What should we do?"
"Get the smartglue gun. Get the foam catalyst. Zap it," was the angry reply. The longfang hopper was eyeing Gwynn and baring its teeth. Its venomous fangs were easily noticeable.
Miles slowly backed away, and nearly tripped over his CAD mainframe. He recovered fast enough, and grabbed the nearest glue gun, and quickly and quietly returned to the driver's door of the GEAP. He opened the safety nozzle, and aimed it at the longfang. The predator let out a hiss, and Miles jerked the trigger hard.
The glue splattered out of the nozzle, and drenched the longfang hopper, the interior of the GEAP, and of course, Gwynn in a torrent of sludge.
The hopper tried to move, but its feet were suddenly covered in sticky, sludgy and fast drying glue. Gwynn was having similar problems.
"Miles, that's the fast drying catalyst!" Gwynn shouted, and was struggling to extricate herself from the front seat. It was not going well. She was well smeared with the increasingly sticky chemical mixture, and was finding it increasingly difficult to move her posterior. The hopper snapped its jaw at Gwynn, but was unable to get close enough to bite. Miles slowly put down the glue gun, and grinned. Gwynn just looked at him for a second.
"I'm going to get you, Miles," she said. And with that, pulled herself, and a bit of the upholstery out of the GEAP.
A loud clang resonated from the garage, and Bill quickly got up from his seat inside the Leatherneck Delivery Company's office, and went out back to see if he could lend a hand. He turned the corner, and stopped cold. The garage door was open, and before him were Miles and Gwynn, covered in something that smelled like glue. There were bits and pieces of spare parts and dirt and who knows what stuck to both of them. Actually, he noticed, Miles and Gwynn were stuck to each other in a rather provocative way.
"Uh...Bill, do you mind getting the longfang hopper out of the electronics bay in the GEAP?" Miles asked, with a dazed look on his face. His hands were stuck to Gwynn in such a way that would have made most Northerners blush.
"Miles, sweetie," Gwynn said in a tone far too sugary for Miles' comfort, "would you mind waiting until after work?"
Miles stared in horror as Gwynn levelled the glue gun's nozzle at his face with her free hand.
It would be another week until Miles' hair was fully free of the quick drying glue.
And what an interesting week it was.
Name: GEAP Production Code: GEAP-3A Production Type: Mass Produced Cost: 123,183 Manufacturer: Unknown Use: General Exploration, All Purpose Height: 1.8 m Length: 4.15 m Width: 1.8 m Average Armor Thickness: 21 mm Armor Material: Durasheet Standard Operational Mass: 4125 kg Primary Movement Mode: Ground (72 kph) Deployment Range: 450 km Sensor Range: 2 km Communications Range: 10 km Powerplant: V-Engine Horsepower: 645 hp
Threat Value: 218 Offensive/Defensive: 0/43.4 Miscellaneous: 613 Size: 5 Original Default Size: 6 Individual Lemon Dice: 4 Crew: 1 Bonus Actions: 0
Primary Movement Mode: Ground Combat Speed: 6 Top Speed: 12 Maneuver: -2
Sensor Rating: -1 Communications Rating: -1 Fire Control Rating: -5
Improved off Road (-1 to MP costs over 1) Passenger Seating (4 seats) Geological Sensor HEP: Desert Cargo Bay: Enclosed (8 cubic meters 2.6x1.5x2) Rugged Movement Systems (ignore first movement hit) High Towing Capacity (Double towing capacity)
Exposed Auxiliary Systems
|APAGear II Archives||Volume 2, Number 2||March, 2000|
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