Scotty was a miracle worker. Everyone in Starfleet knows it. Engines at max capacity, but you need a little more juice? He'll squeeze a little life out of the old girl. Half his staff blown to bits by an explosion? He'll keep the engines humming and oversee triage. Warp core on the fritz, with the Romulans bearing down? It's a twelve hour task, but if you want it today, he'll do it in six. He's the oppositve of every mechanic you've ever met in real life.
Long after he and Kirk's five year jaunt, Scotty came to visit the Enterprise-D. Now a captain, he takes advantage of his rank to seriously irritate Geordi LaForge—the chief engineer on the modern new ship. But at one point he gives a piece of advice that explains how he was always able to execute the impossible.
Pad your estimates of how long or how difficult every important task will take. Your captain may need something right now, but if you tell him it will take a month and get it done in an hour, everybody's happy.
Yesterday, ConEd did the Scotty trick. Knowing that nothing would enrage blacked-out residents more than missing a deadline for power restoration, they offered nothing but vagueness. Through the week, they kept mum about when power might return. By Thursday, they said that downtown Manhattan might be bright again Saturday. By Friday—late tonight, maybe. And then at seven o'clock last night, the lights came on nearly everywhere that had been dark.
The Scotty Trick. They learned from the best.