PHD #341: Of Gears and Balloons
PHD #341: Of Gears and Balloons
Summary: Bannik comes by to visit Rose, who convinces him to work on one of her computer systems. Chatting ensues.
Date: 02 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: None
Bannik Rose 
Hydroponics - MV Elpis
Encompassing most of the port cargo pod, this area has been reconfigured to host a massive hydroponics operation. A latticework of catwalks and narrow ladders, pipes and transparent plastic enclosures, and grow-lighting surrounds rows upon rows of vegetables at varying stages of growth. Evenly-distributed pump machinery rumbles and clatters along, pumping nutrition-enriched water throughout the quietly moving system. A small portion of the hydroponics area deals with the cultivation of seedlings, providing a plastic membrane for the young plants until they have larger root systems. Rows of tanks line the outside wall, apparently some sort of algae growing facility - greens, ambers, and reds all cast a colorful tint. And at the fore area of the pod, many bins and tables and several refrigeration and packaging stations have been set up to handle the processing of vegetables harvested from this constant process.
There are workers here at seemingly all hours, monitoring the machines and the flow of life-giving water to the thousands of plants, transplanting new seedlings, or harvesting and packaging vegetables that have grown to maturity. At all hours, the facility is guarded.
A small set of rooms at the fore of the hydroponics bay houses a triage and first aid treatment center. The freighter's sickbay is a minimal affair, containing a few beds and some basic equipment. A front desk is staffed by a corpsman at all times, and there's a small waiting area consisting of plastic chairs and some old magazines. A small office, shared by the doctors and nurses who work here, stands privately off to the side, where patient files are kept under lock and key.
Post-Holocaust Day: #341

Any evidence of this freighter once being a derelict husk resting on Aerilon's surface is long fading into the past. The carefully tamed jungle of hydropnics sprawls fore and aft in the converted port cargo pod, brilliant emerald plants at varying stages of growth, with approximately a quarter at or nearing the stage of producing edible harvest. The entire room smells of aquifer and freshness.

Today, Rose can be found in front of one of the computer consoles linked up to what appears to be the main nutrient regulator for the entire water pump system. A number of error messages flash on the screen, to which she smacks the monitor lightly on the side and gives a frustrated huff. "Stupid machine, third time this week," she complains, muttering to herself, resting a hand on her hip. Clearly, this is a job for someone with a deeper working knowledge of computer systems.

Enter the lone, unsuspecting, helpless Tyr Bannik. Poor Tyr. Little does he realize what he's walking right into. Or, put a different way, it's a trap! He pushes his glasses up a little bit so he can rub underneath them at the bridge of his nose. He looks tired. "Ms Ibbhanas?" he calls out into the cargo pod, as if he can't quite figure out where she is. "You about?"

Rising up on her tip-toes and peering over the rack of scientific equipment, Rose calls out, "Over here!" At the sight of Tyr, there's a hint of a relieved smile. "Oh, thank the gods, someone who can speak computer is here," she exclaims to herself. She comes out from behind the row of computers and pipes and leans against the housing frame, folding her arms across her chest, waiting for Bannik to approach, and putting on her most winning smile. "Please tell me you're here answering the request I made to have this infernal machine looked at? Please?"

Bannik is a sucker for cute readheads with winning smiles. Even if they are dating his boss. He's like putty in their hands. "Me? Oh. Uh. Well. Sure! I am now. I just came by to — say hi — I had a prayer group this morning over here, and — but now that I'm here, I can take a look at it, right?" Sputter, sputter, stammer. Boy, he looks tired. "What seems to be the problem?"

Once he's within reach Rose wastes no time and wraps her arm around his waist, leading him over to the infernal machine. "It's the damndest thing. See here?" She points at one of the monitors, which are showing a slew of error messages regarding mechanical failures throughout the hydroponics system. "We have eight monitors like this, ensuring constant and adjustable nutrient flow throughout the entire system. Seven of my machines are showing nominal values and are responding to commands. This one -" She smacks the monitor's frame again. "- is being petulant. I don't know if it's a software problem or what. Could be something as simple as faulty cabling. I've no clue." Without removing her arm just yet, Rose turns and places her other hand on Tyr's shoulder. Lashes flutter dramatically - she knows precisely how manipulated he currently is, and now she's teasing him about it. "Could you take a teeny look? Please?" She's even making the eyes. Oh, the eyes.

The eyes are really what seals the deal. The physical contact is nice, mind, but it's tempered with the knowledge that Rose is already taken. But the eyes? Well, all truth lies in the eyes, right? The eyes could never possibly lie or manipulate or totally lure Bannik into doing work during a few of his precious free hours. Right? He is dutifully led, and he peers down at the keyboard and machine in front of him. His wheels are slowly turning. Finally, he asks: "Do you have a toolkit handy? A small one?" Hook. Line. Sinker.

Smiling triumphantly, Rose disengages her side-hug and walks over to her desk, heels striking the deck in a flouncy, 'I win' sort of way. She returns with a small plastic case which has your usual assortment of computer-sized screwdrivers, hex keys, and the like. "You've no idea how much I appreciate this, Tyr. Thank you. Again. It seems that you're always there when I need you the most." A beat. "How was your prayer circle? I have to admit I've only had time lately for some quiet, private worship at night. Things here have been non-stop, between the hydroponics facility, my teaching science for Mrs. Koios… oh, and the occasional Marine raid. Love those." Naturally, she has a sarcastic tone towards the end, smirking wryly.

"Oh, Rose. I'd say that working here in the hydroponics facility and teaching science is just as much the Lords' work as sitting around and praying out loud." Even when he's getting to work, Tyr has time to dispense nuggets of folk religion. "'Gods lift those that lift each other,' right?" Even through his exhaustion, he manages a bright smile for her, going to kneel in front of the computer terminal. "So has the problem been intermittent? Like, you can't reproduce it well or point out what makes it happen? If so, I bet it's one of the memory boards. Problem is the sectors are used pretty much at random, so — " Talky, talky, talky, computer stuff. Does it really matter? " — like, if the fried sectors aren't used all the time, you might think things are fine, but then, BLAMO, when it is used, the whole thing comes tumbling down." Yes, he actually says BLAMO.

Rose rests her hands on her hips, peering down above Bannik as he works. She smiles kindly at the computer jargon - she understands some of it, but most of it flies right over her head. "It's intermittent. Sometimes this thing behaves like there's nothing wrong. Then… as you say, blamo - it refuses to cooperate until I shut the whole system down and reinitialize it. Makes it difficult to get accurate trends for data sampling." She adjusts how her glasses sit on her face so she can better observe him working - even if she doesn't understand some of it, it's still nerdy, and therefore, good.

Bannik takes a small screw-driver from the toolkit and pops the case on the computer system. Next comes the pen-light, which he shines inside inquisitively, like a teen in a horror movie entering the abandoned house. "Ah! Yep! There it is, I think. One of the memory boards is black, black, black. That's usually a sign, but." He scoots out and stands. "I can run a diagnostic to see, one that'll cycle through all the sectors and let me know when it trips." He begins to work on the keyboard, turning his head over the shoulder to smile at Rose. "So. Uh. How are you and the Chief doing?"

Brow creasing in a small frown, Rose straightens back up and gives a soft hmph. It's not clear if she's disappointed at the equipment failure, or if she's put off by the topic of Bannik's question. It's probably both. "Burnt out, huh," she says, vaguely. "I've not seen Andreas in over a month." A beat. "Well, fortunately, ailing computers can be fixed faster than relationships can, hmm?" Whoah. She catches her own snotty tone and sighs, resting a hand on Bannik's shoulder. "I'm sorry. That was awful of me. I've just… not seen him. Things have been very busy over there, and it's not very mature for me to assume his duties would be anything but first on his mind."

There's a mixed look on Bannik's face. Is he surprised? Maybe. Is he — intrigued? Likely. Is he — nah. It couldn't be that was a flash of hope. If it is, it's suppressed quickly. "Really? Wow, Rose. I'm really sorry, that sucks. I mean — we've got a big — thing —" Vague, vague. "Going on. But still. He can't. Not for a whole month?"

Shrugging lightly, Rose wraps her lab coat and her arms around her midsection, as if suddenly chilled. "We've talked by wireless on occasion, but it's become infrequent. I'll just need to be patient. After all, it's not like I am sitting around pining for him to sweep me off my feet or anything; I have responsibilities too." Although, that's very much how their relationship began, with Andreas coming to her as a friend during a very vulnerable time for her. Much like poor Tyr.

"Yeah. Sure. Of course." But even as Tyr says it, Rose can hear the gears slowly grinding in Bannik's head. What are they planning? Who knows. But they're grinding. "Well. Maybe soon, huh? After things calm down a little bit." But when are things ever 'calm' on Cerberus?

Wistfully, Rose says, "Maybe soon." Then, she replaces her disappointment with a hopeful smile. "You know, Tyr, you're a fantastic listener. You've always known exactly what to say to me to make me feel better. You're like my cute little knight in shining armor." Hopefully the gear-grinding sounds aren't replaced by the sound of a balloon rapidly deflating. "Thirsty? I've some tea on the hot plate, here." And she turns to head over to her desk.

Smile goes the Tyr. Smile, smile. "I just try to make things easier for other people, that's all." And in that, he sounds perfectly genuine. "But sure. If you have a pot ready, I'll take a cup while the test runs. But if not, you don't need to go to all that trouble just for me." The grindy sound continues. It's just softer now.

She begins fixing two mugs, likely just refilling hers. "I've got that awful sugar and cream powdered substitute you military folk seem to like; there won't be any real sugar until I complete a test run of special beets and sweet potatoes to see if they'll have an increased sugar yield. Even then I'll need proper machinery to extract and process it." She comes back over with two mugs in one hand and a handful of the powdered stuff in packets. "Better living through chemistry," she says with a grin. "I can't wait for real sugar again." Blink. "Well, real-ish."

The talk of beets and sweet potatoes and sugar yields is to Bannik like the computer talk was to Rose. Bzz-bzz-bzz. He can get individual words, but all of them, in conjunction? "Yeah?" is all he can muster up. "Wow. That'd be — really cool, if you could make that happen." Beat. "What else are you working on?"

"Oh, this and that," Rose offers coyly. "My only other main research is my continued biofuel experiments. See those over there?" She indicates the tanks of varied-colored fluid. "That's algae. Genetically and chemically modified algae. The different strains have different chemical yields when treated, which can be processed easily into a variety of high-energy alcohols. I'm working on adapting these alcohols to our energy needs so we're not dependent on tylium for simple electricity needs."

Bzz-bzz-bzz. "Awesome." Bannik grins over at Rose. He's at least able to gin up the appropriate visceral response to her experiments. "We're making some progress on upgrading Raptor fuel efficiency, too, so we're hopefully going to be able to cut our Tylium needs. Hopefully." He holds up crossed fingers on his hand that doesn't have tea in it.

"And hopefully, once this awful war is over and done with, we'll need to begin again on someplace that's not irradiated," Rose addendums. "Having these fuel techniques will get us over the hump until more conventional means are established. The future of the human race is vegetables and fruits and algae." She winks, grinning impishly - she knows she's instrumental to the fleet's survival, but she rarely lets herself show it.

"No. I don't think that's it." Bannik comes over and kisses her lightly on the forehead, friend-like. "The future of the human race is people. People like you, Rose. And don't ever forget that, huh?" Though he smiles, there's a certain dead-seriousness behind it. A beep! goes off behind them, signaling that the diagnostic's done. Tyr turns around to look at the screen. "Yep! That's board I thought it was." He turns off the computer and ducks under, going to yank out the board with a firm tug. "I'll pull it for now. You'll have a slower system, but at least one that doesn't crash on you. I'll see what I can scrounge up by way of a replacement, salvage or something. But for now, that'll get you through." A beat. "All right?"

Rose seems rather surprised by the kiss, and it illicits a reddening of her cheeks and a wan smile. "You're so sweet, Tyr," she murmurs in response. At the discovery of the faulty equipment, she clears her throat, hopefully regaining her composure. Back to business. "Thank you, Specialist. Do you… want to see the paperwork that I submitted? Just in case someone actually comes down here today? Or is it something you can handle?"

'Specialist?' Tyr looks confused. "Uh. You know what? Just give me the ticket number, and I'll make sure it gets cleared out of the system, okay? Just. It wasn't official or anything, what I just did." A pause. "If you ever have any more problems, feel free to send me a message. I've got — uh." Pause. Counting on fingers. "I can usually find an hour to spare somewhere, see if I can use it to help all the really good work you guys are doing here." He waves with the pulled board, putting his tea cup back down near Rose's hot plate. "But I ought to get on back for my shift on the Deck. So. I'll see you soon, maybe?"

Reaching over to her desk, she moves a stack of papers around until she sees what she was looking for, and jots down a number on a sticky note, which gets handed to Bannik. "Thank you again. Come down any time… when it's less hectic over there. All right?" An invitation? She gives him a small wave, and sips on her tea mug, watching him go.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License