The flight examiner seated behind Chell taps some notes onto his PADD, then glances out the cockpit of the Peregrine Falcon. “Alright, we’re almost finished here. I’m taking primary navigation offline. Take us back to hangar 27. Here comes the viewshield.”
The two-seat fighter’s windows quickly fade to fully opaque, blocking the view through them. With primary navigation down, synthetic vision is unavailable. But Chell knows she’s about to intercept the hangar’s first marker on bearing 210, which means a right turn for 60 degrees will align them with hangar 27 at the starbase, several thousand kilometers away. Without the navigation computer’s help, timing is the only way to be precise, so she manually fires a 6 degree turn to the right and waits ten seconds before correcting it.
Seven Defera, Eight Defera, Nine Defera, There.
“Time to final marker?” asks the examiner.
No point in looking at the blank navigation computer. Knowing the distance from the first marker to the last and checking their speed at one half impulse, she does a quick calculation in her head while making sure there isn’t any residual drift from their turn.
“Ok, vision coming back.”
The windows de-fog, but just as Chell begins visually adjusting her bearing to the rapidly approaching hangar, the fighter rolls violently to the left.
“Thruster misfire,” she reports dutifully, identifying the offending drive and disabling it. But when she tries to input a correction to the roll, it aggravates in the same direction. “Wait… no, gyro malfunction,” she corrects herself and switches the fighter’s auto-stabalizer off, bringing the perfectly functional thruster back online and halting the spin with a manual input.
“Final marker- reducing speed,” she gets out hurriedly, almost missing the callout amidst the busywork as the fighter’s retro engines engage.
“Simulated power failure,” warns the examiner as he disables main engines just as they cross below one quarter impulse. Non-essential screens and lights inside the fighter go dark, leaving only the backup-powered emergency instrumentation.
Chell takes manual control of the RCS thrusters, first adjusting their vector to the hangar then resuming deceleration to coast at a comfortable speed. A few more conservative burns from the thrusters and she’s finally happy with the approach, letting it take its course before bringing them to a stop over the appropriate pad. An easy landing and shutdown sequence later, she anxiously awaits the examiner’s determination.
Glancing up from his PADD to note her expression, the examiner chuckles. “You shouldn’t need me to tell you you’ve passed, Petty Officer. You’ve very comfortably exceeded recertification standard.”
Chell lets out a breath she had been holding in, and nods with a small smile. “Great. But um, what was my score, exactly?”
The examiner lifts a brow, then looks back to his PADD to tally a few numbers. “You know, Petty Officer, it’s not really that kind of test. The point is to maintain your skills, not necessarily make the highest score.”
Chell bobs her head side to side, “I know, I know, but…”
“Eighty-nine out of one-hundred points,” he finally obligues. “You should be very pleased. It’s the highest score I’ve marked today.”
Chell swallows, nods again, and forces a smile. “Thanks! Can I ask for a list of the test items I didn’t get perfect marks on?”
“Sure, I’ll send it your way. But you should take the rest of the evening off. Share the good news, relax.” A brief pause follows, but he has more to say. “I’ve been advised about your perfectionist streak. It’s not a negative quality to strive for greatness, but it’s also healthy to acknowledge to ourselves when we’re good enough.”
“Oh, haha, you were warned about me, huh? Don’t worry about me, Sir, I’ve got it all under control. I’ll take it easy! Have a good day!”
“You as well, Petty Officer.”
Chell beams a broad smile, then takes a brisk stride to the turbolift. She pulls out her PADD, ignoring a handful of messages from friends to see if any of the starbase’s holodecks are available this evening. She’ll need one to run through the mistakes she made on the test.