Though jump engines were the preferred way of moving the Alliance Fleet, they still maintained a large number of sailers since those were the preferred ships of pirates and smugglers, who frequently established bases with rogue planets and asteroids off trade routes. So Ensign Peter Flynn was not surprised that his first posting on a ship, the Bridgeton, was on a sailer.
He was surprised, though, to learn how little he knew about sailing. Of course he had the requisite courses and all of the theory behind sailing, and he had been on simulators. But the reality was different.
Under the watchful eye of Chief Petty Officer Duncan, Flynn took the helm as they crossed the bow shock to interstellar space. The ship shuddered hard as it made the transition, which it was supposed to, but then it maintained a small shudder.
“What’s wrong?” Flynn asked.
“Nothing, son.” Chief Petty officers could get away with calling wet-behind-the-ears ensigns son despite being outranked by them. “Gotta adjust your trim is all. Look at the telltales on the ventral sails.” He pointed to the readouts for the sensors flags on the sails. “Both the main and the mizzen got some luff to ‘em.”
Flynn adjusted his trim until the telltale readouts were in the proper area.
“A little more, son.”
“But the readings—“
“I know what the readings say, but the ship is telling you different. She’s still got a bit of a shimmy to her. Sensors are fine things, but they can only get you so far. You need to know the soul of your ship. And Battlin’ Bridget needs a little more trim than that.”
Battlin’ Bridget was the nickname of the Bridgeton, named for her resiliency and ferocity in several fights.
Flynn trimmed the sails a little more, dipping the sensor readings too far, now, but the latent shimmy of the ship disappeared.
“There you go, son. We’ll make a true sailor out of you, yet.”