Lending a Hand, and an Arm

The leak in the nuclear reactor cooling system needs to be fixed. And it's more accurate to describe the leak as a major rupture in a critical pipe.

'Weld it with your laser pistol!' suggests George-R.

'You mean, shoot it with my laser pistol? Because shooting the pipe is kind of what made it rupture in the first place.' Thankfully, Betty-R, with her experience on fixing vehicles as a job, believes she can actually weld some spare lead in to place to seal the pipe, just not with her laser pistol. And if only there weren't so much scalding steam spewing from the pipe.

The steam needs to be bunged for the pipe to be mended. And although shoving Eric-R's annoying scrubbot in to the pipe sounds like a good idea, then welding it in place so that steam becomes permanently blocked seems almost as bad for the cooling system as the leak. No, what's needed is something that will block the steam for a short period, only to melt away once the weld is in place.

Where can the Troubleshooters find anything pliable enough to shove in to a pipe, that is also susceptible to radioactive steam? Betty-R knows just the thing. Quite how she knows just the thing is best left unasked, as she takes the sharpest object to hand—a crowbar—and hacks an arm off Eric-R's body, lying dead in the toxic water below.

Well, he seems dead. He was shot in the head and fell under the water a minute or so ago, so he's definitely not as perky as he was when he entered the facility. And lopping off an arm—with a crowbar—doesn't appear to have elicited much reaction beyond a few gurgles, which must be just residual noises a corpse makes.

Betty-R stuffs Eric-R's arm in to the pipe, slowing the leak of steam significantly. But not quite enough, apparently. It's a judgment call. She goes back down the spiral staircase with her crowbar and gets a second arm, which plugs the flow of steam enough to let her weld a section of lead in place. Job's a good 'un.

The rest of Eric-R, almost very probably dead now, is fed to the slime mould the Troubleshooters found that had wandered from D&D in to their living quarters. George-R found it, in fact. His previous clone, that is, mistaking the mould for a plush couch and dissolving when trying to get comfy. 'Do we really want to keep feeding the slime mould?'

'Would you rather have a hungry slime mould in here with us?'

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