Everyone has a little bit of deviance somewhere, even if they hide it well. Cha found herself quite normal, apart from this thing with him. That, and how she was determined to build her own first combat drone. Come to think of it, both had to do with exhilaration, technophilia, and a knack to prove the impossible.
When she was small she had learned everything her grandma had found useful. How to start a fire. How to carve a carrot doll. How to extract ink out of squids. How to read drone assembly manuals. How to find the right man. O wait - no, not that. Why is it so hard for women to find men that are sensitive, caring, and good-looking? Because those men already have boyfriends. She giggled at her own cheesy humor and then frowned at the screen.
Download these instructions for assembling T1 Hobgoblin I. First click. Need It, then click on the link to download. Okay, she Needed It. Click. The graphic jumped to 'Got It'. "Got it where", she mumbled. She queried her local system. Nothing. 'Got it' means you've already downloaded it, right? Hmmm. Apparently she also just had lost it. No worries - download it again. Click.
Got it. Or not.
The neocom tab blinked. Mail! Mail? Do drone assembly manuals come by mail?
"Do you want to go for a ride?" She looked at his picture, the cruelest, meanest, vilest person she had ever known. "I always wanted to go for rides, but now i'd just scream at you!", she hammered the keyboard. She closed neocom, and returned to finding the damned manual. She had demons to exorcise and hobgoblins to build. Need It. Click. Got It. She counted. 23 manuals. Somewhere.
Would she let a small setback like this get under her skin? No sir! How tough could it be anyway, a toy drone like that!?
Merrily she turned to the crate and started unpacking. She remembered the assembly courses, and was determined to not make any of the mistakes anyone could make. No sir! She reconsidered. Duct tape! Duct tape duct tape duct tape. Grandma solved everything with duct tape, including keeping small loose parts in one spot. "Poss", she asked the comp, "do we have duct tape?". The comp hesitated, clearly not used to its new name yet. Or maybe it couldn't find the duct tape. "46° NNW 45'' from local position." Cha stretched her arm sideways and found the drawer, and consequently the duct tape. She brought her hands together, crossed her fingers and stretched. Now she was ready to become an example for mankind when it came to assembling T1 Hobgoblin I drones.
The amount of screws, struts and otherwise undefinable parts that kept coming out of the crate was simply amazing. She saw things she had never seen before, and she had seen many, including all parts of a certain tall, dark, intelligent, distrustful and having-blurry-feelings man. Small, but not quite that small. Small but interesting. Not small at all, actually. On the contrary, even.
She only got small here.
The crate packager deserved the Elite Drone Trade & Manufacturing Prize for Efficient Space Utilization.
"Inhale!", she reminded herself and started to be efficient. All small stuff she found she carefull pasted on the sticky-side up duct tape. There were some parts she recognized. Vaguely, but still. They seemed to be combinable with the cabinet. Hmm. Odd how 1/2" sides fitted into slots in the 3/4" fronts and backs. It even left a nice little cavity for the 1/8" ply to sit. It did make sense. A hinge with gas filled struts. She raised it all the way up and the ratcheting supports released. "Kewl", she cheered for herself, "now i can put the whole thing back down". It even started to look like the label on the crate. A whole bunch of screws actually fitted in the remaining holes, keeping it all together.
It was real good duct tape. Some screws got a bit sticky and moderately fussy, because they preferred to stay on her fingers rather than on the metal. She was having most difficulty getting the rail and stile overlaps to match cleanly. Now her fingers where sticky too, and one very important looking screw didn't want to come off her left hand, and then when she tried to get it off with her right, it cosily nested itself on there. She waved her hand rapidly, counting on centrifugal force, and boy did centrifugal force do what it was supposed to do. The screw sailed through the air and rolled comfortably invisibly away under the baseboard. For a moment she was thrown off, but then she gathered herself. Not that she would let one cocky screw tamper with her efficiency. After all, she had duct tape!
The last piece was the metabox with the datacore inside, now with taped flat metal sides and half the runner molded in at the top. She mounted it on the other half of the runner on the cabinet, and tadaaaa!
Love of her own excellence filled her.
Behind her, neocom made a sound. "Only during." was his reply. She melted. Damn him for knowing how to push her buttons. Life was great, and so was her shiny T1 Hobgoblin I, waiting for his first space adventure.