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How Mazzy Got her Groove Back


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How Mazzy Got her Groove Back



I first met Mazzy when Aerie and I were headed up to the "Aran Linvale" the space station constructed to house the crew building the first Rotovator in Toril orbit. Man, that was a project and a half. We first met Mazzy Fentan in the crew compartment of the space shuttle "Firkraag". Aerie and I had just got married, and we didn't really pay much attention to the halfling sitting two rows ahead of us. I did note her foreman's insignia on her coveralls, and I figured she was going up to join the crew. Since I was a Section Manager, I assumed I would meet her in the course of my duties.


A week later, General Manager Firecam called me in to his office to let me know that Fentan would be joining my crew, and to let me know she was a good foreman, very much into safety, and regulations. He also let me know that she was quite unpopular with her section, since she always went by the "Book", and there was the right way, the wrong way, and the N.A.S.T.I way. (National Aeronautics and Space Transportation Incorporated) He relied on me to calm her down, and to show her how things were really done in low Toril orbit, on the construction site of the Throne of Bhaal. Yeah, even before the ink was dry on the blueprints, the Bhaal Corporation's Joint Advanced Near-orbit Sling-transportation Energy-transfer Node was already called the Throne of Bhaal. ( I guess no one wanted to call it J.A.N.S.E.N...I wonder why?) Mazzy was all full of the training jargon, and knew all the buzzwords and the letter of the regulations by heart. She needed to be taught the thousand and one little real life habits and procedures that the crew paid in blood to learn, because low Toril orbit, and Space itself can kill the unwary. And the safety procedures taught groundside were hopelessly out of date (Crap), and you have to really learn from the men and women who actually are up here, how to survive in this most inhospitable of enviroments.


She listened patiently to my critique of all the things she was doing wrong, and I could tell she was fuming inside. As far as she was concerned, I was wrong, she was right, and she didn't need no stinking human Manager telling her that the highly technical and rigourous training she had received was all so much griffin dung, and that she should listen to her men and women, and that they actually had stuff to teach her. Well, I tried, and I would keep an eye out for her, and to let the boys and girls keep and eye out for her too. They soon learn, or they die. Its a tough unforgiving enviroment we live and work in. I was really worried that she might get someone else killed, if she managed to make that fatal mistep.


As it turned out, she nearly did, to one of the most popular and valuable members of my crew. She nearly got Boo killed, and that really tore it with the rest of the crew, not only with Minsc. We had to hold down the big lug from ripping her into little halfling pieces, when she tried to space Boo, calling him "Rat" and "Non-Regulation". As it was, I personally carried the poor hurt hamster to my wife, Aerie. Aerie fixed up a tiny little spint for his poor paw, and immediately put Boo into a comfy nest on her desk in the infirmary. I then went back to Mazzy, and proceeded to give her the chewing out of her life.


" WHAT IN TORM'S NAME WERE YOU THINKING OF!!! BOO IS ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE MEMBERS OF MY TEAM, AND YOU'VE HURT HIM! YOU WERE ACTUALLY GOING TO SPACE HIM! " I shouted at her in the airlock, about the only place in the highly crowded space station that was semi-private.


"Bhaal corporation company charter prohibits unnecessary biologicals running around in space stations!" Mazzy shouted back defiantly.


I took a deep breath of air, and tried to calm myself. "Boo is a valuable member of the construction crew, much more valuable than I am. Also, he's extremely popular, to the point that the boys and girls really spend a lot of their offshift hours pampering him, and treating him like he's their own. He's incredibly important to morale, and his duties makes him the darling of the entire station. He is not to be harmed under any circumstances, and as you just noted, not only is Minsc his only protector, but the entire station would take it very badly if he was mistreated in any way." I said, trying to keep my temper in check.


"Duties? A rat with duties?" Mazzy was utterly perplexed when I mentioned Boo's job.


"First of all, Mazzy, he's a hamster. Haven't you seen him scurry around all over the station? Ok, I guess no one explained it to you. You know how miners used to take canaries down into coal mines underground hundreds of years ago? Well, the canary would pass out if the air was bad cause they're more sensitive to gasses. Boo does the same thing. There are dozens of men and women on this station that owe their lives to little Boo. Just last month, he detected and pointed out a air leak in the main Rotovator Hub section, while a bunch of engineers were running calibrations on the new induction motor they just installed. Anoxia, (oxygen deprivation) is incredibly subtle and hard to detect, up to the point where you pass out. Boo found the air leak, and if he hadn't, 24 engineers would be most likely dead." I patiently explained to Mazzy.


Her eyes grew rounder and rounder as I explained how that "rat" actually served a function on the staff.


"But what about the oxygen alarms? They're designed to detect any drop in pressure, right?" asked Mazzy.


"Lowest bidder contractor junk. 80% Fail self diagnostics, and sure, they'll sound the alarm, if you dump it out the airlock. Boo is far more reliable, and he can detect not only drops in pressure, but also hazardous fumes, like the new Cyanoturnipzine based lubricant they experimented with a while back in the hub room." I was still more than a little miffed about that fiasco. Bhaal Industrial had guarenteed that the new lubricant would be hermetically sealed in the 90 feet wide rotors, and that it released no dangerous fumes if exposed to air. As we found out, both were utterly false. The hub is probably the most important part of the Rotovator, and if it wasn't for Boo, it would have been a death trap 6 months ago when we started work on the giant rotors. You see, the Rotovator is essentially a giant sling shot. Two giant cables, (Tapered Mono-molecule diamond fibre) each hundreds of miles long, rotated in Toril orbit, the ends touching down to the edge of the atmosphere once every 4 hours. The atmosphere skim would allow it to pick up on a hook a hypersonic scramjet loitering at the rendevous, and move it up into orbit, for a tiny fraction of the cost of a standard Toril to orbit spaceshuttle. But since atmospheric braking would reduce the velocity of the skyhooks, huge counter-rotating weights in the rotor room spun up, using solar energy, and kept the skyhooks moving, imparting angular velocity to the spindle. Its conceptually a brilliant design, and one that is quite old, and only in the last decade were we actually able to make it a reality. Too bad Werner von Jansen lived over 200 years ago. He would have loved to see his visionary ideas become real.


I could see that Mazzy was taking the tromping over in heavy work boots her precious rules and regulations a little badly. I recognize the type, she had a dole family, and her brains and ability took her to the notice for a headhunter for Bhaal, International. And because the company had given her a hand, when no one else would, she took to the corporate mentality, a bit much. I tried to ease her out of it, since me and my sister Imoen, in engineering had much the same story. (yeah, its hard for Immy in a profession dominated by gnomes, but hey, she's smart, and her capacity for turnip beer and grog can put most gnomes under the table. that gets their respect.)


Mazzy had hard going still. I mean most foremen are pretty popular, at least respected by the Space Rigger's Guild Members. But poor Mazzy. She was not liked at all, not with Boo still in the hospital. Someone poured machine oil into her locker all over her clothes and possessions. I took her with me when she dropped by, on my way to see Aerie (She was crying, something I recognized as being for her very close to breaking point.). I figured to take her to the food court ring, and Aerie and I could get her drunk. Then I'll talk to the guys and gals, and try to get them to give her a second chance to correct a really bad first impression. But she needed some major booze. Maybe Immy and some of the engineering staff could join us. Nothing cheers you up like a party of gnome engineers. They are so funny when drunk!


"Supervisor, what's in those totes everyone seems to carry all the time offshift?" asked Mazzy. The prospect of some time with people who didn't hate her and booze cheered her up completely.


"Our skinsuits. We each carry our skinsuits where-ever you go on the station. You know, the sections on the station are pretty sturdy, but we've had some close calls with old orbital sats. Where's yours?" I replied.


"Oh, that's one of the things I have to learn, I guess. I follow regs and stow it in my quarters." She replied.


"Get a tote later. Tonite, we'll get you drunk!"


We showed up at the infirmary in Ring 6 and Aerie was there with Patric Took, a Vacuum welder in section 31. He's not in one of my sections, but we knew each other. His face closed down when he saw Mazzy. Mazzy flinched when she saw that.


As we walked in, I kissed Aerie and checked Boo. Every time I meet someone, they'd ask me to check on Boo. He looked fine now, and Aerie had him in observation. The station's low gravity meant that bone regrowth was fairly serious, even though people lived longer in low g. I explained my plan to get some food and a wink told her some booze. Aerie is empathic, like many Avariel, and agreed immediately. I picked up her tote, and she got her medical bag, when a huge jolt threw everyone on the floor.


" BANG!!! "


After much cursing, we managed to plant our magnetic shoes on the deck in the suddenly weightless Infirmary. I got to Aerie's desk, and I called Emergency.


"Station Damage Control, Captain De'Arnise!" Said the comm.


Nalia explained that a chunk of the thousands of tons of sats orbiting Toril hit us. It was missed by the automated radar and lidar defense grid equipped with computer guided Autocannon we installed the first year up here. Gun 11 was down for maintainence, and it slipped by. It popped our section of the ring after demolishing part of Ring 5, blowing a old storage area, without casualties. (And getting old Korgan's vacuum still. Pity.) So the infirmary section was floating free, (Thank Torm that the emergency Loss-of-Pressure Lockdown in the Infirmary hatch worked!) actually flung out of the station with enough force to re-enter atmosphere in about half hour.(The infirmary is kept to near Toril gravity, to make surgical operations easier, so it spun much faster than most of the station.) This has been officially a bad day. We had a Jitney standing by, with a pressure tent. They would be able to catch up to us in about 20 minutes.(A jitney was basically a cockpit, a big tank of Hydrazine-turnip fuel, lots of rocket motors and a Pressure tent and portable airlock. It was mainly used in transporting passengers, but in station emergencies, they became rescue vehicles.)


"Ok, its a bit of a bother, but we got 20 minutes to get into suits and into the jitney or we die."


Mazzy turned white. I realized immediately that she didn't have her suit with her. We were in a section that didn't have an airlock out to space so we needed to depressurize the compartment, and travel a few yards into the jitney's airlock(if we had a airlock out to space, the jitney could directly dock. as it was, the infirmary only had standard hatches.). Everyone had suits, we even had a custom pressurized cage for Boo, but Mazzy didn't have hers. A skin suit is tough, skin tight layers of polymer. They were computer built to each owner, and no one, unless they have the identical body shape could fit into another person's skin suit.


"It's all right." Said Mazzy. It might even have been convincing if her knees weren't shaking so hard.


"No, its not!!! Jan, we have a problem..." I explained the situation to the chief engineer of the station. He is not the smartest guy I know, but the most (insanely) creative. He would have all these wild ideas, and Imoen and his staff would pick it all apart, and pull off the genius stuff from the raving insanity. If anyone could come up with something to get us out of this, it would be Jan Jansen, and his chief assistant, Sis.


I could hear shouting and arguing as the Bhaal Corporation's Brain Trust tried to come up with some way to let Mazzy survive her brief necessary exposure to space. Some people might think it unusual to put the entire corporation's engineers and scientists into a space station in orbit. However, since they're mostly gnomes, it keeps the noise level down, and doesn't fill the head office with the smell of Turnip Grog. Besides, there's always the hope that a stray meteor will take care of them once and for all...


"We've got an idea, Bro!!!" Said Imoen excitedly. Mazzy looked up, and there were tears on her face.


"Ok, if we can keep her blood from boiling in the ultra-low pressure, my young friend, we're in the clear. The face, we can rig up a cover plate, or something. But the body...that's going to be hard. The best way, we think will be space Tape. We think the best way is for Mazzy to shed her coveralls, and apply as many layers of Space Tape to her exposed skin. The layers will act sort of like a skin suit, in that it protects the skin from vacuum." Said Jan Jansen, chief engineer of the Bhaal Corp.


"Ok, Everyone, strip. Patrick, give me all your rolls of space tape, and begin prepping all our suits for eva. Aerie, can you think of something we can cover her face with? Mazzy, you've had pressure training, right? Just before we seal you in your face plate, hyperventilate." I spoke rapidly. We stripped, and then pulled our skinsuits out of our totes, and put them on. The skin suits went over our underwear.


Aerie handed me a bedpan with a slightly impish, but mostly very anxious face. I started to tape up Mazzy, who still looked scared, but was trying to be brave. I saw young Patrick look very impressed at how much Mazzy was holding in a major freakout, while he was checking our suits.


Aerie put Boo into his pressurized cage.


"Manager Bondari, we need to reload a new cannister of O2 into your suit. You're a little low, boss."


"Ready?" I asked as the Jitney matched relative velocity and pulled up along side. Mazzy nodded, and I put the bedpan on her face, as she inhaled her last lungful. I taped faceplate up tight, and literally tucked her silvery mummified body under one arm. I blew the hatch, And we were hauled in by Damage Control Space Rescue team, in Hard suits liberally fitted with propulsion packs. As soon as we were under pressure, Aerie took out her shears, and cut Mazzy's facemask(bedpan) off.


She was literally shaking so hard, it was hard for Aerie to place diagnostic sensors on her body.


We got back to the station, which had actually suffered minimal damage, aside from our little adventure. I later found out from Nalia that that the rogue satellite hit section G of ring 5, lost much of its velocity, then hit the infirmary deflected by the initial impact. It banked into the infirmary section of Ring 6, sorta like a difficult billiards shot. The infirmary didn't even have space rescue bags, it was so well protected. (Bags of very tough mylar, in which people can be put into with air tanks to be transported through vacuum to rescue.)


The fun part was peeling the tape off. Like most halflings, Mazzy had a lot of body hair, and since she was stripped down to her knickers, I had to yank off a lot of hair along with the tape. (Aerie was too weak to pull the tape off Mazzy.) Aerie finally got a good reading on her vitals, and it looked like she was all right. It hurt like hell, and Mazzy did not have fun when I peeled off her tape, but she never cried out once. Patrick was very impressed. At this point, after Aerie checked her out in the backup infirmary, I proposed a we head up to the food court, as originally planned, and apply alcohol internally to treat her symptoms. The gnomes were already there...especially Jan, with this big smile on his face, in front of a full keg of old Korgan's Space-shine, standing at the door of "Newton's Turnip" the engineer's favorite bar.


As sobriety fled screaming into space, I have some very distinct memory flashes of that night. We celebrated Mazzy making it thru space without the benefit of a space suit. And the good fortune that the satellite hit the Infirmary after losing most of its kinetic energy so we were not immediately holed, and dying instantly in a very painful fashion. Mazzy got hosed enough to start singing with the gnomes. As usual, I was bartending, which consisted of pouring the mugs, cups and in Mazzy's case, a bedpan full of Korgan Bloodaxe's Space-Shine. That was an unusually good batch, strong enough to be rocketfuel. The drunken, giggling and utterly loud gnome would come up to the bar, where I was tipsy and necking with Aerie, also tipsy, and slam their drinking implement of choice and ask, "Bondari, Reload, please!" God, gnomes think the stupidest things are funny! Back when our foster father was alive, Me and Im attended the Gnomish Institute of Technology both on the engineering track. I spent a year as freshman, and got a job as gofer for the G.I.T. radio station. The disc jockeys would call me over while on the air, and have me bring over cds for their song selection, and have me load up the player. "Bondari, reload!" I get along with both Engineers and Sweats, since when Gorion died, I took construction jobs to pay for Im to finish. She always was the brains in the family.


Then Mazzy, the remains of the hair that Aerie had to cut away tied up in little pony tails tied off by rubber bands, started singing. Oy...


Remember when I ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to space tape me 'cause I'd go berserk?? Well...

You all taped me anyhow and then the seconds got worse and worse and now you see

I've gone completely out of my mind.. And..

They're coming to peel off the tape away, ha-haaa!!

They're coming to peel off the tape away , ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa

To the sickbay, in Ring 6.

Where you're all going to cut off the tape, and I'll be

screaming as you peel off the horrible horrible tape and all my hair will be yanked off, and they're coming to peel off the tape away, ha-haaa!!!!!


Aerie thought it was a joke and so you laughed, you all laughed when Bondari pulled out the huge roll of space tape.. RIGHT???

I know she laughed, I heard you laugh, you all laughed you laughed and

laughed and then you peeled off a strip, but now you know I'm utterly mad... And..


They're coming to peel off the tape away, ha-haaa!!

They're coming to peel off the tape away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa

To the sickbay, in Ring 6.

Where you're all going to cut off the tape,and I'll be

screaming as you peel off the horrible horrible tape and all my hair will be yanked off, and they're coming to peel off the tape away, ha-haaa!!!!!


I gave you the rules, I cited regs, and this is how you pay me back for all my kind unselfish hard work... Huh??

Well you just wait, I've got my own roll of space tape, and just you wait until you're asleep, you mangy mutt!!! And...


They're coming to peel off the tape away, ha-haaa!!

They're coming to peel off the tape away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa

To the sickbay, in the Ring 6.

Where you're all going to cut off the tape,and I'll be

screaming as you peel off the horrible horrible tape and all my hair will be yanked off, and they're coming to peel off the tape away, ha-haaa!!!!!


"Hey Mazzy!"

"Yes, Manager Bondari?"

"Sorry about the whole tape thing...I hope you won't hold it against us..."

"Nope, just you Sir...Muwahahahahahhahhah!!!!!!!!!!"

"Oh crap!"


She even did the impersonation of me precisely. Of course the gnomes loved it. Like how humans still love the Elven Bard Elvis to this day, Gnomes go nuts for Dr. Demento. They even have Doctor impersonators, along with Wierd Al impersonators in Gnome Vegas.


Then she started another number, after taking a big pull of her bedpan, which impressed the heck out of the gnomish engineers who were already making tests of the space-shine to see if it could be made into rocket fuel.


I'm too sexy for Space Tape too sexy for Space Tape

Get this stuff off me!


I'm too sexy for my shirt too sexy for my shirt

So sexy it hurts!

And I'm too sexy for space too sexy for space

Get this pan off my face!


And I'm too sexy for your party

Too sexy for your party

No way I'm Bar dancing!


(Of course, at this point Mazzy ripped off her shirt, and clad only in a bra, and pants started dancing and singing on the bar! still managing to take drinks off her bed pan...)


I'm a foreman you know what I mean

And I do my little turn on the catwalk

wearing my hardhat on the catwalk yeah

I do my little turn on the catwalk


I'm too sexy for my hat too sexy for my hat

Too sexy by far

And I'm too sexy for my hat

Too sexy for my hat what do you think about that


(then she put the bedpan on her head. Oy...)


I'm a foreman you know what I mean

And I do my little turn on the catwalk

Wearing my pink hardhat on the catwalk yeah

I shake my little tushie on the catwalk


I'm too sexy for my too sexy for my too sexy for my


'Cos I'm a forman you know what I mean

And I do my little turn on the catwalk

wearing my hardhat on the catwalk yeah

I shake my little tushie on the catwalk


I'm too sexy for this bar too sexy for this bar

I almost became a shooting star!

I'm too sexy for Space Tape too sexy for Space Tape

Get this stuff off me!


And I'm too sexy for this song!




"You know hun, I always thought it was just a figure of expression?" slurred my wife as we saw the half naked Mazzy jump off the Bar, and land in a tangle with Patrick, and unceremoniously pass out.


"What?" I asked brilliantly.


"Don't get your knickers in a twist." replied Aerie.


I remember starting to laugh my head off, while gnomes, as gnomes inevitably do when a bunch of them get drunk, start singing the "Gnome Beret".


Fighting gnomes from the sky

Arms flapping, trying to fly

Gnomes who take forever to say

That they're from the Gnome Beret


Turnip wings upon their chest

These are gnomes, Amn's very best

One hundred gnomes will test today

But only the long-winded will be asked to stay


Trained to live off nature's land

Trained in combat, hand-to-hand

Gnomes who fight by night and day

Chewing on turnips, all the way!


Turnip wings upon their chest

These are gnomes, Amn's very best

One hundred gnomes will test today

But only the long-winded will be asked to stay


Back at home a young wife waits

Her Gnome Beret has met his fate

He has died for those turnip-less

Leaving her his last request


Put Turnip wings on my son's chest

Make him one of Amn's very best

He'll be a Gnome they'll test one day

Have him win the Gnome Beret.


Mazzy's crew heard about the party, and decided she was ok, and to give her a new chance. That was how Mazzy got her groove back.

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