Rendezvous II

A Hegemonic Explorer Scout is:
Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

- Hegemonic Scout Manual, 2432.013 AS

2435.147.12.00 AS
Jump Transit
Tiras -> Gateway

The science crew of the Hippocrates has devised a new experiment, to use the radiative output of the fusion engines on Kaufman-treated lab rats, to see if there are any types of radiation which affect the Kaufman nanites better more than the surrounding tissue. To this end, Dr. Andrews directs the chief engineer to tweak the left engine's operation, which he does from the bridge. Similarly, the researcher in charge of this particular experiment shows up to the engine room and insists that the engineer on duty tweak the engine's operation, which he also does. Then the engineer is dragged off to help carry boxes of rats to the engine room.

The engine, now tweaked twice as much as it should be, is no longer stable, and there is no one watching it, except for James Powell, who has been observing from behind a bit of machinery. As the fusion core begins to make an unhappy periodic throbbing noise, Jim looks the engine up in his scout manual.

On the bridge, Hippocrates and the Chief Engineer are coming to the same conclusion that Jim is - that the engine has become unstable and will need to be shut down. Unfortunately, it's not responding to bridge controls. Jim pages the bridge, which causes a bit of consternation as to who exactly he is, but then he says that he's going to shut the engine down manually.

The engine does get shut down, but while doing so, Jim receives a horrific dose of radiation. While the captain chews out the engineer on duty, Security Chief Tukhanov tries to find out who Jim is, who quickly evades the interrogation by fainting. The doctors take him to sickbay, but soon realize that he's received many times a lethal dose. The only hope of saving him is the Kaufman process - which he surely cannot afford, and what about parental permission? The scientists think that saving the ship should be good credit, and that Captain Bellarion ought to count as his parent while on ship. Plus, Dr. Andrews notes, they don't have any younger people as Kaufman subjects - as a research subject, he could be invaluable.

So Jim is put into the pods, and wakes some time thereafter, healed. He meets Cassandra Lyrae, and is interrogated by Chief Tukhanov, who decides that Jim is, in fact, a fairly harmless stowaway. The scientists find his manual and (now irradiated and broken) sonic screwdriver fascinating.

So that he can assist Dr. Andrews and the engineers, Jim is eventually assigned provisional crew status, but Captain Bellarion is adamant that he be transferred to the Kaufman Institute when they next pass by Ridena. Dr. Andrews tries very hard to convince both Jim and the captain that he belongs on the Hippocrates, but has not yet succeeded, when the Hippocrates's journey is interrupted on Ganfrey by a transmission from Elite Therive...