PHD #203: The Utility of Algae
The Utility of Algae
Summary: Damon meets Rose for the first time; she explains the military applications of algae.
Date: 17 Sept 2041 AE
Related Logs: None.
Damon Rose 
Hangar Deck - Starboard - Midship - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #203
This Hangar Bay is filled with boxes, crates and other various supplies that are needed throughout the ship. Most have been moved to one end and lashed with tarps to keep them out of the way. The place has gone from extra ship storage on one end and the ability to house over 450 people on the other end. Whatever could be made into cots has been set up like a huge barracks. Some areas have been made more presentable with a few items that belong to the person holding onto their small area in this world. Marines guard this area 24/7 and food is brought in cafeteria style, feeding people out of vats and buckets as they line up with their plates. One area has been tarped off to the side, that holds canvas showers and sinks. The 'Head' in this area has to be cleaned daily since it is a temporary military bathroom setup, due to there is no way to flush it out through pipes.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

Much of the starboard hangar pod tends to be portioned out to specific purposes. There are sleeping and private areas set up in one area, with sheets and tents and whatever could be found to wall it off from the rest of the cavernous room. Other areas are devoted to eating, socializing, even working.

That's where Rose is this evening, sitting on a throw rug, a variety of clothing piled up to her left. Whenever there's a rescue operation, a variety of material can be recovered, and tonight there's freshly washed, decontaminated hand-me-downs to go through. She's going through the pile, methodically examining each garment with her sense of touch to determine quality and type, folding it up, and placing it in a neat pile to the right. All the while, listening to a small playback device on her lap, earbuds in her ears.

It's been a while since Damon's shown his face in the Starboard Hangar - he spends most of his time in the opposite section, fixing ships. Or at least, trying to get enough paperwork done so he can go out on the floor and fix ships. Tonight, though, he's taking some time to visit the civilian side of the house. Still dressed in his bright orange coveralls, he enters carrying two stacked boxes which look to be fairly heavy by the way he's handling them. "Got some more goodies to pass around," he says to Rose, unaware that she's got earbuds in. The boxes get set down nearby to ad to the pile.

Rose nearly jumps out of her skin at the sudden 'whump!' of the boxes being dropped. Tugging her ear buds out of her ears, she reaches blindly out in the direction of the boxes. "Did someone drop something?" She asks the area. Not being able to touch anything new, she begins crawling on all fours in that general direction, and ends up colliding her shoulder into Damon's leg. "Ow! Who is this?" She asks, peering up at the slightly darker gray blur.

"Wh - uh - hi," Damon stammers, startled by the strangeness of Rose's reaction. "Hi, yes, this is me right here," he adds, crouching down to her level. "Sorry, I didn't realize you were…" How to finish that sentence? He doesn't even try. Instead, he just reaches out and touches her hand so she can get a sense of where exactly he is. "Er, Damon. This is Andreas Damon. I work in the Deck just across the way."

Rose takes the hand, and turns her hip so that she's sitting once again. "Oh, a pleasure," she says, bringing her legs underneath her, peering up at him. From the look of her cloudy eyes, it's no wonder she can't see much. "I take it you brought more salvaged clothing to go through? Having only four changes of clothes makes for a very uninteresting wardrobe."

Damon pats the boxes loudly. "Yep, there's some clothes in there - the top box is pretty much crammed full of 'em. The bottom box has got things that might be useful - y'know, little tools, rope, material, that kinda stuff," he explains. "Sorry, I didn't mean to surprise you or anything. I, uh, I don't think I caught your name…?"

Rose sighs, shaking her head. "I'm sorry, where are my manners? Rose Ibbhanas. And don't worry about surprising me. Everyone else dose it," she says with a wink and a mischevious grin. "It's these headphones. I tend to get lost in the music while working. It helps the time pass by faster, I suppose."

Damon chuckles. "Hey, no worries. I shoulda looked better, I guess I'm just a bit tired and all." He makes himself a bit more comfortable sitting down on the ground as well, adjusting his toolbelt to the side a bit to get them out of the way. "When I was a green mechanic in the Fleet, I'd pop in the earbuds while working on the floor. Completely against the safety regs, but like you said, it made the day go faster. I stopped doing that after I couldn't hear someone yelling at me to get out of the way - and got hit in the back of the head with a pallet on a forklift."

Rose cringes and winces at Damon's description. "Oh, that must've hurt. Back of the head? Did you lose any motor control or eyesight after that?" Blink. "Oh, that's a terrible thing to ask. I'm sorry. The biology geek in me kind of slipped out, there. Would you like some coffee?" She reaches over to where she was camped out, producing a thermos. "It's probably weaker than you're used to and lukewarm by now, but it's better than nothing…"

Damon smiles broadly - not that Rose can see it or anything. "Sure, that'd be great. I know Deck coffee has a reputation for being liquid tar, but I actually don't drink coffee much at all, so I'm sure I won't even notice the difference!" He pulls the top box down and rummages through it to find a shallow little cup. "Biology geek, huh? Are you a doctor or a scientist or some another kind of smart person that I'd be hopelessly lost in any kind of intelligent conversation with?"

Rose laughs softly, blushing a little. She unscrews the thermos top and offers it in his general direction - she's not quite homed in on him, yet. She has that vague blind person's stare, although she does blink normally. "Well, I was going to have a PhD in applied phycology, before the attack. Three months before defending my dissertation. My specialty is in biochemistry, phycology, marine plant biology… um, basically, my thesis was the application of phyc… er, algae, in military and energy applications. Rations, alternative fuel sources, that sort of thing. Algae can't quite replace a good MRE or tylium, but they can work in a pinch."

Damon takes the thermos from her - slowly, gripping it so that his fingers tough hers just a bit so she knows he's got it. "Thanks," he says, pouring himself a little bit and giving it back. "And, uh, that stuff sounds pretty… y'know, smart." He allows a small self-deprecating laugh. "But still useful in a real way, a tangible way. I don't know how I feel about the thought of eating algae or launching Vipers off of it, but… well, I've never even heard of the possibility before. I mean, is it even possible to do something like that now after what happened?"

"I'm not sure," Rose says, screwing the thermos shut and placing it by her knees, inbetween the two. She folds her hands in her lap. "From what I understand, Voram turbothrust engines require tylium for their output. The chemical fuel produced from algae farms could certainly be adapted for tylium processing, since it takes energy to crunch rocks. Part of my study was to leave the engineering to the engineers and to simply describe how comparable energy outputs might be achieved. There's a lot of energy in algae oil."

"Huh." Damon rubs at his stubble with his thumb, face screwed up in thought. The coffee is momentarily forgotten in his other hand, resting the cup on his knee. "So the algae might not be necessarily used for fuel itself, but as part of the whole process?" She's definitely piqued his interest. "I'm a knuckledragger - er, mechanic, that is - not an engineer, but we have Engineering Officers who specialize in that kind of stuff. Either way, it's definitely something worth looking into if it's going to help with supplies. Especially supplies that we burn through so damn quickly."

Rose smiles slightly. "Support vehicles, like your forklifts, and like Harvey - they could run on fuel derived from alternative sources. Sure, they don't require a lot of tylium to run, comparable to a Raptor or Viper, but little odds and ends -do- add up over time." She shrugs, looking down at her hands. "I never had a chance to defend my thesis."

"Well…" Damon drawls, licking his lips. "How'd you like to defend your thesis by way of actual application? I mean, if you can put together a proposal and plan for producing this - this algae fuel, I can make sure it ends up on the right desk. Us knuckledraggers could help you find or build what you need to make it happen, and of course the engineers would have to figure out how to make it work with our equipment… What kind of logistics would be involved in something like this, anyway? To produce fuel or food like you said on a significant enough level to dent our tylium use and boost ration supplies?"

Rose shakes her head, scowling a little. "It's way off. There's some talk about possibly salvaging gear from Aerilon to establish an independent ship for civilian use, and *maybe* we'll be able to start mass-producing hyrdoponics there. But it's a long shot. I suppose with the same equipment we could start testing an algae farm, but, like I said, it's far, far off." She glances up, finding Andreas' face through luck or perhaps finally zeroing in on his voice. "Thank you, though, Mr. Damon."

"Hm." All that excitement, but the project is far, far off? Damon seems disappointed. "Hm," he repeats just for good measure. "Just Andreas, please - 'Mr. Damon' makes me feel like my - father." There's a slight hesitation before 'father'. If she could see his face, she'd know that he looks away, a brief shadow passing over his visage. "But if you don't mind, I'm gonna try bringing up the idea to a few people, see what they think. Because as far as I can see it, something like this would be a huge boost to Cerberus. We can even try to get you set up with a test algae farm like you said, something to show to the brass to see if they'd back a project to get a whole ship or something for this stuff. And what better place than Aerilon? I mean, it's the breadbasket of the Colonies, right?"

Rose nods slowly. "I know. Colchis University, on Aerilon, is my alma mater," she says. She wraps her arms around her midsection, and glances aside, as if chilled by a memory. "It was only by circumstance that I was on Sagittaron when the attack happened." Sobering, she looks back to Andreas, and puts on her best fake smile. "No point in being sad, I suppose. Yes, if you like, you can mention it. You may want to touch base with Major Cavanaugh and Major Hahn and Lieutenant Lunair. I think they're all involved one way or another in the possibility of hydroponics resources."

Damon cringes when Rose mentions that her alma mater is on Aerilon. "I'm sorry," he murmurs, reaching out to give her a reassuring touch on the shoulder. "I'm from Tauron myself." A pause. "I'll see if I can't get in touch with those people about the hydroponics stuff. I hate doing the rank thing - especially with civilians - but if you need to reference me or look for me anytime, I'm a Petty Officer First Class. So, 'PO1 Damon'. I'm usually on the Deck, anyway. If you, uh, move around the ship much at all."

Rose shakes her head, with a grin. "Only when there's escorts to an enlisted head for showers and whatnot, and even then I couldn't tell you where it was, just how far in paces. And if I see the Majors or the Lieutenant, I'll let them know you want to be included."

"Ah. Yeah. I guess you wouldn't just up and roam the ship," Damon says sheepishly. "Sorry, I'm not thinking much tonight, it seems." There's an awkward silence in which he realizes he's had coffee sitting on his knee for a few minutes now and takes a sip. "Speaking of showers, I should probably go and get this grease and filth cleaned offa me," he says, looking down at his coveralls. "It was nice to meet you - just let me know if there's anything you need, yeah? And I'll see what I can do on my end."

"Thank you for the clothes, Mr. Da- I mean, Andreus," Rose says with a pretty smile. "The more you find, the happier the civilians will be. And I hope you enjoyed the coffee!"

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