From the Logs of MechWarrior Mellisa Blake.

 12 February 3027
Camlaan, Somerset
Trellshire, Lyran Commonwealth

 After finishing with us at Fort Maxim, Dent moved down to Camlaan to check out the mechs in Charlie Company. It was obvious that his prime interest lay with Justice, El Ponderosa, and the rest of our Star League mechs. He usually was filled with disparaging comments about the skills of our techs and the tools available (he brought his own multi-scanner with him, and turned up his nose at all of ours).

It soon became apparent that the Baron makes disparing comments about EVERYTHING. He's not really being cruel. Not really. It's just that he IS that good. And if one can put up with his moaning one can pick out the occasional tidbit of technical advice.

 Like in this story Joshua got from Ralph Sherman.

Ralph is Grex's tech. Officially. As it happens, Grex is a decent tech himself, and likes to work on El Ponderosa when he can. This frees Ralph up for his REAL job: keeping the battalion's still running, which he does with the help of Vinnie Steiner's aide, Gator. They turn an excellent profit, and of course provide complimentary bottles to the Major and other top officers. All QUITE unofficial, you understand.

 One day the Baron Dent was snooping around and found the still. When Ralph happened by he saw Dent there, and at first thought he might be in trouble. However, it soon became apparent that Dent was examining the contraption with a technical eye. He would look at the tubing, nod, then check the heat exchanger, then go around to the other side and mumble to himself....

Bravely, Ralph approached.

Dent noticed him, and sighed. In a bored, detatched voice he asked, "How many have died?"

Then Dent started off moaning in that dull monotone about the quality of the materials, the curvature of the tubing, and other nits, and wondered how it could POSSIBLY produce non-poisonous material...

Now by this time Ralph was really starting to see red. He takes great pride in that still and the fine squeezings it produces. But just when Ralph was seriously considering borrowing Grex's full auto shotgun (the "Room Broom", Grex calls it), he heard in the midst of the moaning statements like, "If you would just change the curvature of the tubing here, and raise the temperature four degrees during the first stage..."

Ralph dropped all thoughts of gunning Dent down as the impact of his words hit home. He quickly implemented the changes with the Baron breathing down his neck. ("No, no," he would sigh, "I said 14.7 degrees at 5.84 mm, not 14.65 degrees. Why have I been surrounded by people who can't follow simple directions?")

After a rather long while the Baron Dent finally nodded. "That should be... adequate. Barely. Have the first bottle sent to my cabin."

 The results have been noticably better brew with shorter brew times. This new product is currently making its way through the Harriers and will probably cause envy on the part of local Highland distilleries.

Written and © Copyright 2002 by Ed Barach
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