Process Analysis Essays and the Art of Spaceship Maintenance

You’re supposed to write a process analysis essay. Now, this isn’t that hard. What’s gonna be hard, you suppose, is writing something you can read out loud in front of 15 to 30 people. And keeping it to around 400 words. If you write 1100 words again, you’re gonna be holding them hostage, and that sucks.

You’re supposed to write a process analysis essay. You start to wonder about processes. What’s a process you could analyse? You suppose you could bust out the old gag of writing an essay about how to write the essay. You used to get good grades for — There’s a beep in the other room. You don’t like when there’s beeps in the other room, because the other room is where all the equipment is. The other room is a dangerous room to have a beep in.

You walk away from your laptop, and wonder if you’re going to need the manual. You don’t like the manual, because you’re no good at the words the manual uses. You can get your head around “The thalmerite integrator isn’t responding to isolinear calls” but when the solution is to “frame the isolinear marker with a holobert” that’s when it loses you. In the other room, you admire the view. You wonder if you’re ever going to get tired of it.

You roll up your sleeves, stick your right arm into the hatch, and pull out the maintenance panel. Red light on the optical transceiver. You wonder what happens if the maintenance panel ever malfunctions, but decide you’d rather not find out. The optical transceiver, the optical transceiver. You’ve labelled every grey box in the ship, so you know you’ve got one of those. It’s with your fifth guess for where it is that you get it right. Loose chimera coil under the nav panel. Third loose coil this month. Fuse the links, close the rounds, double bolt it, done. You can keep fixing these, no problem, but you make a mental note to pick up a coil kit the next time you’re at the market station, so you can replace them all the next time you’re doing the slow warp to Mull Beta. Speaking of Mull Beta, you really ought to — There’s a beep in the other room. A beep in the other room usually means a notification on your phone. You get up.

In the other room, your phone reminds you of what you were doing before you were interrupted. Your process analysis essay is due this morning. You sit down, and wonder what you’ll end up writing.