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The History of a Wingnut

By Cyndi Wingnut Smith

Word Count:1,491
Date: 2004
Series: Mini
Rating: T
Category: Challenge
Pairing/Focus: Original Characters
Warnings:
Summary:
Spoilers/Disclaimers:


Cyndi Slea joined the Colonial Military at a relatively young age. Since the recent end to the Cylon War, the military was happy to take anyone in who showed interest. Like everyone else, she wanted to be a pilot, but her vision would keep her from the flight program. So she decided to become the next best thing: a flight mechanic. She spent every waking hour under the wing of one type of craft or another, becoming acquainted with the design specifications of the viper and the raptor, as well as their history and their forms. By the age of eighteen, she had learned the specifics of almost every ship in the fleet. By the age of twenty, she had fallen head over heels for a pilot by the name of Lt. Brian Smith, known to the crew by call sign "Bolt."

Bolt was, like any other pilot, totally unaware of his ground crew. He knew the chief and he was aware of others who hovered around his aircraft, but he had no need to recognize them by name unless he was threatening to fly his ship up their proverbial asses. Most pilots knew their vipers better than they knew their own name, and Bolt was no different. He often would be found under the wing or belly of his craft, until one day he arrived in the hold to find someone else was tucked under his viper.

"Can I help you son?" he growled.

Cyndi looked up. Her face was smudged with oil and grease. Seeing who it was, she returned to what she was doing, never even removing her hand from the inner workings of wing.

"No, sir," she returned. "Sir."

"Ensign, get your ass out from under my bird and find someplace else to play before I find one for you."

"No can do, sir," she rebutted.

Not in any mood to be talked back to, he grabbed the ensign's feet and pulled her from out from under the security of the wing. She let out a yelp as the hand that was tucked within the wing of the craft was dragged out. A layer of skin had been pulled its back and a gash ripped thru the middle.

"What are you, some kind of idiot?!" the pilot yelled. "I say move, I mean move! Do you see these pretty decorations I wear? They mean I am your boss and if I say get out, I mean, GET OUT!!"

Still holding onto her wrist, she stepped closer to the irate officer. "Sir, I am quite aware of all the emblems on the uniforms and what they mean. On the other hand, it would appear that you are the one who is not. So let me explain them to you. You and your pretty decorations belong inside the little hole in the top of this plane. Me, in my nice bright orange uniform, am a mechanic. I belong wherever I am needed to be sure that when you get your ass killed in this damn thing, it is not due to mechanical error…. Sir."

Totally thrown off by her direct attack, he was about two seconds from decking her, when Chief Milo showed up, dragging two other crewmen behind him.

"Is there a problem, sir?"

"Yeah. Get this… this mechanic... away from my craft. I don't ever want to see her near it again. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, sir." Turning his attention to Cyndi, he noticed she was still clutching her hand, and blood seemed to be oozing out between her fingers. "Slea, what's up with the hand?"

"Nothing, sir," she winced, desperately wanting to leave the bay to keep from showing any kind of weakness in front of the lieutenant. "It's a scratch."

He quickly removed her covering hand, revealing a gash from the back of the wrist to the top of the knuckles.

What happened?"

"Nothing!"

He stared at her for what seemed like hours, then turned to one of the men who had been with him and said, "See that she gets to Sickbay."

Cyndi started to object.

"NOW, SLEA!"

She gave one last glare at the lieutenant, then handed something she had been holding onto over to the Chief. "I found this under the wing this morning," she remarked, nonchalantly pointing to the viper as she was escorted from the bay.

He looked down to find a large, three-inch nut covered with grease and blood in his hand.

"Here you go, sir." Milo handed over the filthy part to the lieutenant.

"What's this?"

"It's a wing nut, sir. There are five of them that hold your ship securely to the rockets. If this belongs to your viper, and you actually got launched without losing your engine, your ship would have rattled apart before you had a chance to land." He handed him the bolt and started to walk away. Then he paused and turned back to the officer. "One other thing, sir." Milo looked up to make certain that the lieutenant was listening. "If you ever pull one of my men out from under this or any bird again, I will make it my mission in life to see that you never feel safe behind the throttle."

Still hanging onto the nut he was given, Brian wandered back through the Galactica, finding his way to the Life Station. He waited outside the doors until the young mechanic came out. Her hand freshly cleaned, sewn up and bandaged, she stopped only long enough to avoid running over the lieutenant, snapped a salute, and then walked away.

"Ensign," he barked.

She stopped, then turned around looking up at him.

"Ensign, I owe you an apology."

"Yes, sir, you do."

"You're not going to let me off that easy, are you?"

She just glared at him again.

"No, I thought not."

"Here," he stopped and handed her the wing nut that was given to him moments before. Then, taking a chain off his neck, he looped it through the nut and placed it around her neck.

"What's this for?"

"You could say I am tagging you," he laughed

"Sir?" she questioned, not sure whether she should wait for an explanation or just deck him.

"It's a reminder to me and any other pilot on board that you can work on my ship anytime you want. According to the Chief, you saved my can."

"Sir, you should know that when you pulled me out from under you plane I was just checking the last of the wing nuts. They were all there. This one did not come from your plane," she admitted.

"That's not the point, Ensign. The point was, you found something out of place and you didn't assume that it was just junk, you checked it out. I, on the other hand, didn't ask questions. I just made a total ass of myself." Then he smiled. "This is where I ask for your forgiveness."

That is not where the story ended but began. Cyndi and Brian began a good friendship and it grew into something more. He eventually replaced the original Wingnut with a gold replica on a gold chain that she never took off. She gave up her career to marry him. The golden string that bound their hands had a painted gold nut and bolt tied to either end of it. She never found out who did that but she always suspected it was Milo. Brian died only five years after they had wed. He had left the Galactica to become a test pilot for the Colonial Fleet. They said he died a hero, Though they wouldn't say what happened to the plane, they did say he did manage to steer it out of civilian airspace and away from an inhabited area before it crashed. Commander Adama had come to his funeral; he was Captain Adama at the time, the new CAG of the Galactica. When she asked if he thought she could go back, he told her she could fly with him anytime. Within two weeks, she was back on board and reinstated at the rank of Lieutenant. Her new dog tags read, "Lieutenant Cyndi "Wingnut" Smith." Call signs were usually something the flyboys had and they only handed them out to a special few outside their ranks. Now the golden wing nut sits on her tag chain just as Brian wore the gold bolt she gave him with his tags. They have been in her pocket or on her person since the day the priest came by with the area commander to tell her of his death. She knows Bolt would get a kick out of her call sign. She knows he would be happy that she survived the holocaust and is back on board the Galactica where he said she always belonged. **I guess neither one of us were ready for retirement. ***