Monday, April 15, 1946
Château Saint-Ulrich, Gallia
"I have to admit I'm not sure why you're doing this," Chris Barkhorn said from her perch on Ursula Hartmann's vacant workbench.
Gryphon looked up from his work, a puzzled expression on his face. "Doing what?"
"Fixing that... thing," Chris replied, gesturing toward the item laid out on FUEL STORAGE's central table in front of him.
Gryphon looked down at the carcass of the XT-474 pressure suit, then back up at her. "Because it's broken," he said.
"Well... yeah, but..." Chris shrugged. "Do you really think you can make it work again?"
"I doubt it," Gryphon said, sounding unconcerned, as he returned to work. "The electrical system is completely trashed, and we had to wreck most of the powered exoskeleton to get me out of it. The best I can do there is free up the superstructure so that I can wear it as an unpowered suit. With a little luck, though, I might be able to make it pressure-ready again."
"I guess I just don't see the point."
Gryphon rolled his eyes with mock irritation. "Witches," he said. "Don't see the point of being able to breathe above 30,000 feet. Give me a hand with this, will you? This main actuator is completely fused, but between us, I think we can probably break it loose."
Chris hopped down from the bench and trotted over, the ears and tail of her magical familiar manifesting on the way. When using magic, her marked resemblance to Yoshika Miyafuji was blunted a little bit, since they had quite dissimilar familiars - the ears of a Karlsland Rex cat might resemble those of a Fusō mameshiba a bit, but the tails were completely different.
Thus geared up for maximum strength, Chris laid hold of the long handle of the wrench Gryphon had fixed to the suit's fused central actuator, and both of them applied themselves to it.
For a few seconds, nothing happened, apart from man and witch grunting and grumbling as the actuator defied them. Then, after a moment's eye contact and a shared nod, they both doubled their efforts -
And the actuator gave way with a sudden, sharp crack. The wrench, suddenly released from its toil, went spinning across the room, while the people who had been hauling on it tumbled to the floor in a disconcerted heap.
"Ow," said Gryphon matter-of-factly.
"Well... I think we got it," Chris offered.