Chapter 12 - Services Rendered
Evelyn sat in a broom closet sized “office” near the back corner of Main Engineering. Wearing a pair of microscopic goggles she slowly and carefully worked on a microchip no bigger than a pebble. She felt like a surgeon, afraid to even breathe as she set the connectors.
The door to engineering swished open and Statzia entered, a soft *clack* of her crutch following each footstep. Engineering seemed deserted, which wasn’t surprising. Honestly, she’d hoped it would be exactly that, since all she needed was a sonic scrub of her prosthesis to remove the sand and grit that had gummed up the ankle joint. After that, barring any minor recalibrations, she would be good to go.
Statzia glanced around, leaning the prosthetic leg against a console. Taking a few more steps, she–
The prosthetic fell to the floor with a clatter.
Evelyn didn’t look up at first, her eyes focused on what she’d been doing but she didn’t hear voices, even a complaint about somebody dropping something. “Hello?” She set down her tools and turned to stand but almost fell over off balance from her vision and took the goggles off. After a moment she got her equilibrium and stepped out, spotting Statzia. “Uh, can I help you?”
Statzia glanced back over her shoulder as she balanced on her lone leg, reaching for the fallen prosthetic. “I’m–I can fix it myself.” She held up the leg. “Sand on the away mission gummed up the joint. Just needs a sonic scrub.”
Evelyn walked over, looking at the leg. “Yea, looks filthy. What kind of model is this, looks a few generations older than current.”
“Had issues with the new technology.” Statzia gave a shrug. “Cybernetic implants didn’t work out so well. Found something that worked, and stuck with it.”
“May I?” Evelyn held out her hands for the leg.
Statzia seemed to hesitate for a moment before handing over the prosthetic. “Just don’t break it.”
Evelyn examined it closely. “Oh boy, this whole thing is…well, junk.” She walked over to a console and laid the leg on a scanner. “Before it’s cleaned out, let’s see how it ticks.” The screen brought up several diagnostic tools. “Have you noticed if it’s slow to respond sometimes, or maybe a little unsteady on a step?”
Statzia couldn’t stop the indignant laugh that escaped her lips. “Junk? That thing is the most functioning leg I’ve ever had, and the fact that I can walk around without excruciating pain is because of a very dedicated doctor who isn’t here to fix it.” She leaned on her crutch, pausing. “It’s unsteady on uneven ground.”
Evelyn nodded, pointing to one of the screens. “The gyros all need to be recalibrated and your sensor operating systems…” she gave a low whistle.
Statzia’s eyes furrowed. “What?”
“This thing reminds me of something I had to work with as a first year cadet in basic programming.” She taped furiously as screens lit up showing several progress bars. “Okay downloading new operating systems and recalibrating. We’re also gonna be able to make it look a little more presentable. You have a color or finish in mind?”
Statzia leaned against the console, folding her arms across her chest. “What’s wrong with the way it looks now?”
“Nothing if you’re into steampunk pirate chic.”
That warranted a chuckle. “I suppose that look has worked for the last decade. But can’t make it too new-looking. If I get sent back out, I need to look like I’m not a Starfleet lackey.”
That brought a silent series of small nods. The console beeped and Evelyn carried it over to another device to be cleaned of the sand. “So given your concern about that, we’ll leave it go but you’re going to find it much more sensitive. Might take a day or so for you to get completely in sync with it but I think you’ll notice performance improvements.” A few minutes later she walked to Statzia and offered the leg. “Give it a try.”
Statzia gave a couple of hops to one of the stools at a console, seating herself. She slipped on the prosthetic, strapping it into place. She stood, testing her weight and range of motion. She took a couple of steps and stumbled, catching herself before she tumbled. “Well, it’s certainly more sensitive.”
“Once you’re comfortable with it, there are other upgrades available but no big deal. You’re all upgraded for the most important functions. On your way back to your quarters act like you’re trying on new high heels when you step. May help.”
Statzia raised an eyebrow. “I have never once in my life ever worn a pair of high heels.”
“Lucky you. Not to be rude but if I have any hope of getting to bed by 0400, I need to get back to what I was working on.”
Statzia gave a nod. “Yeah, got it.” She started towards the door, picking up her crutch. “If you could do me a favor, and just not tell Chief K’Naut that I came in, it’d save me a lot of trouble.”
“Never saw ya.”