We are sorry to have been so long getting back to this. Minion got put down hard for a few weeks way back in February with what we strongly suspect was that nasty corona virus that is on everyone’s these days. For a few weeks after that, she was mildly ambulatory but would have a relapse every time she went out of the house…and in that period the lockdown happened.
Since then she has been poking at a couple other projects, and it has been very difficult getting her back to paying attention to ME. Hopefully, I have her attention now, but she has been shopping for microphones and learning about making podcasts with the stories she wrote for that purpose over a year ago. Focus and attention may still be an issue. Oh well. (Husband Minion never did find all the bits he wanted for his picture, but then he is the one who brought the crud into the house from his coworkers who returned from South Korea and Japan, so we forgive him.)
Several weeks of trial and error later, Marmaduke tilted his head to examine one side of his creation. It had already failed an integrity structure test (and several others) once already. He made this second iteration was made of tougher materials and while he was at it, he made some improvements to the control mechanisms, and he added a larger rotor as well. He polished the aluminum and titanium rotor until it gleamed in his workshop lights humming to himself, until the wolf scratched stone in lieu of a cough to announce himself as had become his habit.
“Almost ready to go! This version has more speed and lift among other things,” commented Marmaduke to his young lupine friend.
“So…I will not be falling from the sky again? I am glad that we got a second opinion, so the parachute worked the first time,” exclaimed the wolf.
Marmaduke did not even look up from the bolt he was adjusting with his torque wrench when he responded. He was used to that sort of reaction to his designs, even though no one had ever come to significant harm from a malfunction of one of his designs. A few might have had the pants frightened off of them (if they were the sort to wear pants), but that could hardly be called his fault. “You worry too much. My safety precautions always work, and the escape rocket would have worked just as well as the parachute you insisted upon. Even Miltin will tell you that my safety mechanisms always work just the way that they should, no matter how much we diverge in our approaches to engineering.”
“I am very glad to hear that,” the wolf said with a wry note in his customary growl.
Marmaduke fiddled with the helicopter pack where it lay in the one clear spot on his cluttered workbench, making a faint squeaky noise. “Machines are much easier to redesign and fix than friends. I am always careful and cautious with things that are important.”
“And the occasional, unexpected plunge out of the sky certainly does make the whole process more…interesting,” said the wolf. “And I fully acknowledge that usually take the role of test pilot for yourself, and I am the one who insisted on the change. I am very grateful that you have put forth so much effort on my behalf, but we can tease our friends without giving offence.”
Something in the way the wolf said the last, not so much in the words, but in the way his head and tail sank slightly, made it clear to Marmaduke that the wolf was not as sure about that as he sounded. “You are welcome,” Marmaduke grumped. He let the silence stretch out for a moment or two before he glanced over at the wolf and winked, proving that he could give as good as he got on the teasing front.