Despite the ship looking huge on the outside, the inside was actually kinda small. There were three decks to the ship, the lower one with the barracks, machine shop and cargo hold, then the main deck with six cabins, the recreational room, galley, and engine room, with the bridge right at the nose. The final cabin was the captain’s one, above and behind the bridge, the only room on the third deck. I guess that means we should only count the ship as having two real floors, but there were a whole ton of ship components and crawl space up there, so I did.
Most of the volume of the ship was taken up by armour, various isolated ammunition storage lockers, and a crapton of components and even more crawl spaces. It wasn’t really a surprise that a ship required most of its space to be taken up with the shit that made it work properly.
Thankfully, the hallways and doors were wide enough for us to get all of our shit into the ship. We moved the Turshen to a pad that would allow us to load our stuff on using the large ramps rather than the much smaller airlocks, then had everything delivered.
It turned into a steady stream of deliveries, like some sort of amazon christmas or whatever. I left my personal belongings from Galicorp in their box, since they weren’t really all that personal to me right now, and got to work laying out my machine shop instead. I knew that whatever layout I came up with for my tools would inevitably shift and morph into something that actually worked, but starting off with a logical setup seemed like a good idea.
Outside of my machine shop, things were incredibly busy as well. Ship components were arriving, along with crews who would do a first time installation. I watched them carefully as they did so, since I’d be maintaining all this stuff once they were done, and I wanted all the experience I could get my hands on.
As the afternoon wore on, I found myself staring at a massive crate labelled, Miscellaneous Parts 1/3. I was, to put it mildly, very excited. Only one problem… I was too short to get a good angle on the lid. The crates they had used were huge. Like seriously, why did they stick all of my parts in three massive crates instead of a few smaller ones?
“What’s in there that has you salivating?” a voice said, and I turned to find David approaching.
“Power, wonder… and ship parts,” I told him with a grin.
He came to a stop next to me, glancing between me and the crate that was quite literally larger than I was. “You need help don’t you?”
“I have my crowbar,” I said defensively, holding up the tool in question.
“Let’s see you open it then,” he laughed, stepping back and gesturing for me to try.
“Okay, fine. I might need a little help,” I grumbled, giving up before I made a fool of myself. “Please help me.”
“Pass the crowbar then,” he said with a rueful roll of his eyes. “Honestly, am I going to need to follow you around and open everything for you? You could have at least made a stronger character.”
“No,” I said adamantly, shaking my head as I passed him the crowbar. “I wanted to be… like this.”
He paused as he took the tool from me, giving me a long look as he thumbed absently at the steel in his hand. Finally, his voice quiet, he told me, “Come talk to me whenever we log out.”
I frowned. “What do you mean?”
“That’s for future Alia to find out,” he shrugged, hefting the crowbar and wedging it into the wood of the crate. Wait, why did they still use wood for crates?
I frowned again, or rather my frown switched targets and I leaned forward to brush my fingers against the material. Huh… it wasn’t real wood. Not the type that used to be a tree at least, the grain was too fine and even. Lab grown wood. It was still a luxury outside of this game, but apparently they had the process down cheap enough to make crates out of the stuff.
David pried the three crates open with irritating ease, going on to take all the parts out of the crates and place them on the floor where I could reach them. I needed my little mech like, as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, it was polite to thank people, and I was grateful for his assistance. “Thanks for helping David.”
“Anytime Alia,” he said with a calm nod. “You need anything opened or punched, I’m your man.”
I giggled, brushing his leg briefly with my tail. “Okay, I hereby bestow you with a new title! Pry bar and percussion maintenance assistant.”
“That’s me,” he winked, giving a sloppy salute. “I’m going to go see if anyone else needs help. I’m floating, since all I really needed to put away was my shiny new guns and my clothes from Galicorp.”
“Alright,” I waved. “Thanks again!”
When the door closed, I turned back to all the parts strewn about the room and absently caught the tip of my tail in my hand. So fluffy. Anyway… I had a mech to build!
My first order of business was to gut the farming drone I got. Most of the innards were stuff I didn’t need, or stuff I wanted to upgrade. The legs unfortunately did not have the range of motion I needed from a mech that would be clambering around a ship.
As I got to work on the thing, I also realised that I’d need to cut up the front of the mech in order to create a door so I could get inside it. I figured I’d make the whole front open up, because I’d seen that happen in mechs in movies and it was super cool.
Clearing everything out of the chassis turned out to be harder than I thought, as it looked like the internals had been constructed first, and the chassis then fitted around it and sealed with some sort of futuristic welding. I had a sneaking suspicion that the drones had been designed to be purposefully hard to repair, requiring expensive first party technicians to do the work. Typical corporate bullshit designed to wring as much money as possible out of their customers.
Too bad for them I wasn’t interested in repairing it. I put my wrenches and screwdrivers down and picked up the plasma saw. Aw baby, here we go! When I had learned about these things, I’d bought one straight away. Apparently in this future, we’d figured out how to compress plasma down into some sort of pseudo-solid state. Needless to say, it was used in a lot of shit, from saws like mine to the cannons on the outside of the Turshen.
Setting the blade to cut just the depth of the plating the chassis was made of, I got to work cutting the two panels that would become the door into the cockpit. It was fast work with this thing, and didn’t require a whole lot of muscle power from me. I’d made sure all my tools would work without needing to be strong. Except that damned traitorous crowbar.
When the first panel fell away, I got yet another surprise. The chassis wasn’t made out of one solid material as I’d thought. The whole thing was a compact sandwich of different materials, and my mechanic bun got all excited to tell me what they were, a little speech bubble popping up so it could talk to me.
The outer layer is a composite of R52403-B and carbon nanotubes, a fairly common choice for environments with corrosive properties. The next layer is actually several materials laminated on top of one another and then compressed in a vacuum for very effective radiation shielding. The final layer is insulation, a plastic foam that protects the internal mechanisms from becoming too cold. Cold is bad, it makes electronics sad.
I gave that last line a funny look, but otherwise shrugged. It was a cool set of materials, and perfect for my mech as a baseline. I might be adding a little armour to that though, since I never knew what kind of wild shit I’d be doing in this thing when it was finished.
Getting the door cut out was the easy part. The hard part was removing as much of the internals as possible without ruining it all. Well, except the central computing block, that could be yanked out without ceremony. The power unit, on the other hand, was treated with the utmost respect. Tiny reactors should always be treated with respect, otherwise they might get upset and detonate.
I made sure to preserve any of the components that interfaced with the parts I wanted to keep. The electronics paired with the legs that probably made them move were one example, but I also found some other crap that looked important too.
It took me way longer than I expected, but eventually I did get the chassis cleared of everything. I stared down at it with hands on hips and tail swishing. Goodness, that had been work. Now I just had to make sure I actually fit in the thing, because I would totally cry if I couldn’t.
Making sure I had it secured to the ground first, I then carefully stepped inside the chassis and sat down. Huh… I had tons of room in here! I could definitely fit that cup-holder.
It was also pretty cozy, warming up nicely with the insulation keeping my body heat in. Twisting my body, I snuggled down into a ball and placed my cheek on the material. It was so soft, like velvet or teflon or something, but also felt sort of gently warm.
I settled my tail on top of my body as a blanket and let myself relax. I was so tired after all that work, my small muscles had gotten a bit of a workout, that was for sure. I’d actually probably end up being pretty nicely toned once I had settled into the job a bit. Would I be okay with having muscles? I mean, I guess so… if I was still small and they weren’t huge, just nice and defined. Yeah, that sounded nice. Would help me work too… but all that could happen after I rested my eyes just a little. So… exhausted...