Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Fic: Technical Difficulties

Glitter Text Generator -

Here is a story I hope you'll like. :-)

Technical Difficulties

Avon was working on another gadget.

Vila knew this because he had seen him furtively carrying some equipment to his cabin. He'd asked what Avon was up to and been told to mind his own business, but that was pretty much par for old Ave.

Still, Vila's interest was piqued. Going by the assorted hardware Avon had with him, he was building something a lot larger than a detector shield. And why wasn't he doing it on the flight deck where Vila could pass him probes and annoy him while apparently be helpful?

It wasn't fair. Spoiled a chap's fun, that did.

Perhaps it was something Blake wasn’t supposed to know about, in which case Vila's desire to find out became almost unbearable. But when he broke into Avon's cabin, he couldn't figure out what the contraption was. Could be a weapon, of course; it must use a lot of energy to need air cooling, which must be what that propeller thingy inside did. But in that case, what were the tubes spiraling around the outside?

Vila didn't much care for weapons, so he backed quietly away and let himself out.


A couple of nights later, he was woken by an explosion. Terrified, he leaped out of bed and panicked around his cabin like a trapped bumblebee, trying to find his spacesuit before realizing that there was no sound of air escaping. He cautiously opened his door and saw a white gas seeping under Avon's and across the floor like forest mist in a fantasy vid.

"Avon!" He pounded on the door. It opened a crack and revealed a narrow sliver of Avon, enough to show that bits of white debris had adhered to him.

"You all right?" asked Vila.

"Demonstrably. Go away."

"What was that explosion?"

"A failure of containment."

Well, that was informative. Wasn't that was all explosions were? "All right, what's that gas, then?"

"CO2. Something with which you should be familiar given how much you produce with your endless chatter."

That was scraping the bottom of the snark barrel; Avon must be rattled. Vila tried to see more, but Avon reached out through the gap and pushed him away. "Remove your nose from my business unless you would like it jammed in the door."

Now that was uncalled for, especially considering the closer proximity of Avon's to the door jamb. And to add injury to insult, Avon had smeared some of the white stuff on Vila's nice new suede tunic. Vila wiped ineffectually at it, rubbing it further into the nap, then, puzzled, sniffed his fingers.


Then he grinned. So that was what Avon was up to.

Ice cream.


"You know," Via said to Avon the next day, "You don't need all the hardware. Why don't you just put a spacesuit on, stand in an airlock holding a container of the cream and whatnot, and let the air out so it'll all expand and freeze."

Avon stared at him.

"I'll operate the airlock," Vila said helpfully.

Avon turned and walked away, then stopped. "Well? Are you coming?"

"Bloody hell," Vila said impressed, whacking a metal spoon with a boing on the hard and unyielding foam. "You could use that as building material."

Avon bared his teeth. "Why don't you try licking some?"

"Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you? I know the temperature of space: about 3 Kelvin." Vila waved the steam away. "Just let it warm up a bit."

But by the time it did, it had slumped into a runny mess.

"Thank you, Vila. I do not need any more of your help."

"Suit yourself. Speaking of which, it'd hard to eat it through a helmet, wouldn't it?"

Avon looked despondent as he removed it. "I thought it would be easy. You remember how good that ice cream was at Freedom City."

"I do, yeah." Vila took pity on Avon. "You know, you could just put the stuff in a bowl and stir liquid nitrogen into it."

"Do you think I'm an idiot?"

"Nah, it works, really! We did it on CF1. You just need a wooden spoon so it doesn't get too cold and freeze your hands through the gloves while you're stirring." Vila grinned. "Those leather gauntlets of yours'd be perfect, except that the studs might conduct the cold too well."

"Cold is not conducted, idiot. Heat is, in this case into the nitrogen."

"Have it your way," Vila said amiably, and reached out for the airlock light switch. "Want me to turn the dark on?"

He was rewarded with a sudden appreciative grin.


"Liquid nitrogen, you say? Very impressive," said Jenna, licking her spoon. "And so creamy."

"It produces smaller ice crystals and hence a superior product," said Avon, looking elaborately casual.

Blake frowned. "I admire the diligence and application you show here, Avon, but--"

"It's a waste of time when I could be applying myself to your precious cause?"

"Not if you make chocolate next time."

Avon waved a languid hand. "Take an order, Vila."

"Eh?" Vila looked offended for form's sake, but really he didn't mind. After all, you had to do constant quality checks.

"Of course," Cally said gravely, "I could have offered you guerilla ice cream if I had known that was what you wanted."

"I prefer mine vegetarian, thanks," said Vila.

Cally smiled. "Ice cream made in the field, Vila. All you do is put the ingredients in a plastic bag, then put it inside another plastic bag of ice mixed with coarse salt, then shake it up until it freezes."

Via laughed. "Hear that, Avon? After all that mucking about with tubing and stuff!"

But Avon failed to take the bait. He just served himself a second bowl and smiled. Just for now, all was right with the universe.
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