Before the Phoenix: Insufficient


“Ah, Flight, we may have a problem here. Give me the telemetry numbers on thrust, commanded versus actual?”

Skyreach, we show 92% actual versus 100% commanded. We’re running diagnostics, but assume you are still go at this time.”

“Status on the Roughneck?”, Laras queried the Taliths.

“Roughneck is sub-nominal, estrev –”

“- thrust is now at 89% of commanded, still decreasing –”

“- we have amber warnings, combustion chamber press low, temp low –”

“- performing drive-running self-diagnostic –”

Laras broke the wire seal, and flipped up the cover over the sealed sequence switches. “Advise on readiness for mode two abort.”

“Negative on that,” came from the Taliths and from Nellis together. The latter pressed his headset to his ears, then continued. “Skyreach vetoes abort request unless diagnostics show red.”

“We’ve got no reds-”

“- still working the problem.”

“Very well. Fíöré, how is this malfunction affecting the delta-v? Enough remaining to reach some sort of orbit?”

“Ah, negative on that, fuel consumption is holding on the nominal curve –”

“- we must be achieving only partial burn –”

“- we can reach altitude, but my preliminary numbers show us far short of orbital velocity.”

“Right,” Laras said. “Recompute trajectory for the longest suborbital hop you can give me, and transfer it to guidance. Tell Skyreach the new mission plan, and to stand by to implement. We’ll dump the Roughneck at apoapsis and reorient.”