Fort Weyr - Computer Lab
This large, square room next door to the library has been outfitted as a computer laboratory for fort's residents. The edge of the room is lined with desks on three sides. Upon each desk is a computer. In one corner of the room one can see three printers and three scanners set up for ease of records transcribing.
In the center of the room a screen for projecting pictures on can be pulled down. A large heavy oak table, battered and worn with time, sits in the middle of the room with rather uncomfortable looking wooden chairs. A projector for projecting slides, and even film if some enterprising fortian wanted to, is located on this meeting table and lines up perfectly with the pull down screen.
The final detail is that shelves and metal cabinets with office supplies and a comprehensive library of equipment manuals and books with titles like "Word Processing, a Weyr Archivist's guide" and "how to convert pictures to the large screen" and "Virtual Book Keeping, what every Headwoman and Steward Should Know" and still others with less original titles and still more with simple operating manuals for each of the pieces of equipment therein.

The door to the computer lab swings open, hard enough to make a jarring sound against the stone wall. The cause: Polsie, who stands in the doorway, cradling a metal container - two feet by one foot, shiny gray, and emblazoned with the Smithcraft logo - and two notebooks against her chest. The girl gives a startled twitch at the sound, then looks rather sheepish - it must not have been intentional - as she carefully pulls the abused wood away from the wall. Into the lab she goes, glancing around with studied casualness to see if anyone was witness to her failure to operate a door correctly.

Mekez is looking a little out of place here in the computer laboratory. He's seated at one of the desks along the room's wall, staring at the screen with a blank and confused expression, a word processor sitting open and unusued. He is distracted from whatever is puzzling him by the loud slam caused by Polsie's entrance, which prompts him to swivel around in his chair to face her, blinking. He calms down pretty quickly when he sees the cause of the noise. "Afternoon." He greets.

Sitting in a particularly remote corner of the lab, Jayashri's petite, almost childish frame might be overooked at first. The sound of the rattling door comes at a particularly comical moment for the Journeyman, her triumphant return keystroke coinciding with the BOOM of the protesting wood. A bemused expression creeps over her features as she examines her laptop carefully before her hazel gaze is drawn to the Smith at the entrace, logic prevailing over the more amusing notion that her terminal had developed a sense of humor. A chuckle erupts low in her throat, bubbling across her face in a broad grin. "Well, remind me not to challenge you Smith's to a test of strength. You'd break me." She turns sidewise and leans against her palm, arm slung over the chair's back.

"Sorry 'bout that!" chirps Polsie, shifting her armload from one arm to the other, then reaching with her newly freed hand to push the door shut again - gently. "Kinda misjudged the hinges on that, I think I was expecting 'em to have as much resistance as the ones for the library door…" The apprentice gives both of them cheerful nods of greeting. "Hey there!" She steps a little further into the room, glancing around. "Uh, maybe one of ya would know this - I want to cross-reference some documents against the ones at Landing. Journeyman Idralia thought I should be able to do it from this here lab," her free hand lifts and gestures gracefully to the room at large, "but I haven't the foggiest how I'd go 'bout it."

When the girl with the odd metal container requests help, Mekez peers at the object in question for a moment, as if hoping it will provide some clue as to her request. He thinks for a moment, scratching his head. "Well… I'm not one hundred percent sure that I've got these things figured out, but I could try to help you out, if you'd like." He sighs, glancing back at his screen. "Got to learn to use these shardin' things eventually. Captain wants us submitting all our reports on them now."

"Heh." Ashri's grin turns wry. "Happens to the best of us." The misjudging, at least. At the mention of needing computer assistance the Journeyman slides from her seat — turning briefly to save her work, putting the machine to sleep — and meanders toward the pair. "Well, maybe I can help the both of you." Her eyes sparkle. "That's my job, after all."

Polsie ambles towards where Mekez sits at one of the computer terminals, a strange metal container and notebooks clutched to her chest. Both the guard and the incoming Computercrafter are given the same amiable smile, before she focuses her attention on Jayashri. "Your job? You wouldn't happen to be Journeyman Jayashri, would ya? 'Cause if you are, you're exactly who I need to talk to." She glances down at Mekez, and amends her statement: "Exactly who both of us need to talk to, that is."

"You work with these things?" Mekez asks, scanning Jayashri for signs of a knot. "Well, thank goodness. For all I hear about these things being timesavers, this seems much more difficult than writing reports by hand…" He stands from his seat at the computer, giving Polsie a little smile. "But by all means, please help her with her research first. Ladies first, after all."

"Guilty as charged." The Journeyman chuckles, spreading her hands. "Ashri will do just fine, though. No need for all that formal stuff." Her fingers waggle dismissively. "We've got enough to worry about without trying to be stiff all the time." A nod is given to the guard. "I do. Day in and out, possibly for more hours than are truly healthy for me, truth me told." She rubs the back of her nack somewhat ruefully. "Well, have a seat and let's see what we can do." Down to business!

Polsie dutifully takes the chair for the computer next to Mekez's, saying "Ashri, then. I'm Polsie, by the by." Once she's seated she unlatches the metal container, pulling out a piece of hide. That's right - not the paper common on Pern nowadays, but old-fashioned hide. *Old* looking hide, too, from its faded and musty look. "I found a chest fulla old documents the other day," the girl explains, tapping gently on the edge of the hide, "and I'd like to get some sense of, ya know, how old they are, whether the stuff in them is known information," she waves a hand about vaguely, "that kinda thing. Idralia thought a good place to start would be crosschecking with Landing." She holds the hide out for both of them to see more clearly. "This seemed like a good place to start - it's a recipe for a burn ointment for people who have numbweed allergies."

"Pleased to meet you both, then. Ashri, Polsie." Mekez says with a smile for each. "My name's Mekez, I'm with the weyr guards… you don't mind if I watch you work, do you? The more I can learn about these things, the better." Polsie's mention of the documents earns a little raised eyebrow of curiosity. "Oh, that was you? I've heard about them. Sounds like quite the historical curiosity you've unearthed. Well done."

Leaning in as Polsie slides into the seat, Ashri watches with curiosity as the box is unsealed and the Smith draws out the document. "Well, they're certainly well preserved." She holds her hand out for the document. "I'm sure the Healers will be quite interested in this if they don't know it already." She peruses the document briefly if handed it, her touch light and obviously familiar with handling delicate things, handing it back shortly. "Something like this should be found easily enough." A sage nod before she grins at Mekez. "Feels free. Saves me the time of having to teach you both seperately. I /really/ should start doing group classes." She gestures to the pointing device. "Here, let's start by getting to the database Search program." She points to the round button at the top left screen corner.

"From what I can tell, the box they were in - real sturdy thing, lined with cedar - was stuffed away somewhere dry and dark. For centuries, probably." Polsie sounds as proud of this as if she had hidden the box away herself. "But these ones here are just the ones that're sturdy enough to handle - a bunch of 'em are real fragile. I'm hoping you'll be able to gimme some help scanning those, Ashri - I'm figuring that's the best idea, save the text before those hides crumble away altogether." Setting the hide down on top of the container, she follows the Computercrafter's instructions, tapping on the button.

Mekez pulls a chair over from an unoccupied desk nearby, settling into it in order to watch the instruction. "Those classes would probably be an excellent idea. I know a lot of guards will be needing some help with these things soon, what with the new policy." He leans in to sneak a look at the documents for himself, curiosity getting the better of him. "That's really quite a find… are you a Harper? I imagine your instructors must have been very pleased. Well done."

A row of icons and text drop down once the button is pressed and the CompuCrafter points to the magnifying glass icon labled 'Search'. "Let's see what a basic search will get us." Ash waits for the girl to click. "That's really quite an amazing find. Treasures like that are one of the reasons Master Gaytes is so focused on seeing the Weyr digitized." A nod. "We'll start scanning them in a minute. Keep the box closed in the meanwhile. The less air and light they get the better." She nods to Mekez. "I've been so busy trying to do, well, most everything." A chuckle. "The idea hadn't quite occured to me, but I'm sure they would go over well and save everyone time and avoid redundancy. Shells, might even help us write a book on guiding new users. Most current users started either young or were technically minded to begin with."

"Nah - Smith," Polsie tells Mekez, smiling. "The Weyrwoman gave me a bunch of old junk from the storage caverns that she wanted looked at, and the box these were in was on the list. So it's kinda my responsibility for now - if it turns out to be a real interesting find, I'll give 'em over to the Harpers or somebody and let *them* do the investigating." Her smile turns to a grin as she adds, "Sarz - uh, Journeyman Sarzin, that is - doesn't mind me flitting off investigating, though, so long as I still get my coursework done." Speaking of technically minded people, she follows Jayashri's instructions comfortably, and starts to type out a search query. "I'm thinking 'burn ointments', then refine it to make sure we're only looking at the ones without numbweed in 'em?"

Mekez nods back to Jayashri. "Those sound like excellent ideas. I'm certain there are a great many people who would appreciate a guide or a class. These things can be a little confusing for a first timer." He shoots Polsie a quick smile. "Ah. Well, even if it isn't exactly your field, it is a commendable accomplishment regardless. Well done."

The snort of sound from the doorway comes from P'rius, leaned there against the frame, "Why should you have it any easier than I did, eh?" He takes a step into the room, "Ash, you promised to show me the new document scanners for the wing reports." He waves the file in his hands, "And I doubt my laptop could handle it." He nods to each Polsie and Mekez, "Afternoon."

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease, sir." Polsie glances over her shoulder to grin at P'rius, lifting one hand to give him a small wave. "Or the one that makes a nuisance of itself asking for help, anyhow. My regards to Zhieth." Her attention diverts briefly to Mekez, commenting, "Aw, thanks. Can't say I'm not hoping I accidentally made an major antiquities find, but even if none of the documents are real important, it'll still be good research practice." Then the girl returns her attention to the keyboard, pulling up a short listing of burn ointments without numbweed, which she begins to click through.

Mekez raises his hand to give a friendly wave to the unfamiliar rider approaching the workstation, giving him a smile. "Afternoon to you as well, sir." Greeting provided, his attention returns to the other computer novice present. "Aren't all documents from that long ago 'important'? Important to someone, I'm sure. Even if they're of a rather mundane nature, they can still provide valuable historical insight. You should be proud."

P'rius moves the rest of the way in and plops near the other three, "P'rius, blue Zhieth's" He supplies to Mekez before nodding to Polsie, "He's resting in the sun and dreaming of flying." He sets the file beside him near one of the aforementioned scanners, "That box of yours came to something, huh? I'll have to swing in and see if there's anything the Healer Hall would want."

Polsie picks up a venerable looking piece of hide, gently, and holds it out to P'rius. "It's looking like it might very well come to something, yeah." She shoots Mekez a grin, adding, "Beyond just general historical interest." She returns her gaze to P'rius, then nods towards the hide. "Right, you're a Healer, aren't you? Maybe you can gimme some idea of how useful this might be - it's a burn ointment without numbweed in it. It's hard to read, but there's a bit at the top saying it's for 'those in whom numbweed brings out a rash', so, people with allergies, I'm guessing." The girl nods towards the computer screen in front of her. "I'm seeing if I can cross-reference it with any preexisting recipes in the Landing database."

P'rius takes the hide carefully by its edges and examines it carefully, "We already have numbweedless burn treatments that use aloe or dragon's tongue. Numbweed tends to trap the heat in, though that doesn't stop some people from preferring numbweed against healer recommendation." He holds the hide back to her, "Still. If there's one healing thing in there, there might be more. You'd probably need Harpers to restore the hides, though."

"Ahhh. Makes sense. There were some other Healer recipes in there, from what I could tell - I picked this one 'cause it's the most legible." Polsie takes the hide back, glancing down at it thoughtfully. "Wonder if I could at least cross-reference this recipe to get some idea of how old this hide is… Harpers might help with that, too." She places the document gently back into the metal container, then looks back up. "The hides need to be restored, although I'd like to have some of them scanned, too. There's a whole container's worth of ones too frail to handle safely, or where the ink's real faded… computer might be able to help preserve 'em, or let them be read in some cases." The apprentice glances around the room. "Journeyman Idralia was telling me the other day how Fort has one of the best tech setups, so I might as well use the tools I've got!"

Mekez continues to watch in silence as the search results scroll through the screen. He is being attentive right up until a small device at his belt gives out a beep. He frowns, glancing down on it. "Ah, shards. Guard business. I'll have to come back later… excuse me, it was nice meeting all of you." With that, he rather abruptly stands and prepares to depart.

"Sounds perfect," Ash nods with Polsie's suggested search terms. Pral's voice causes the short woman to twist about, tossing a grin the bluerider's way. "Well, maybe you should come down to my lair more often," she teases him, holding her hand out for the documents. She's silent a while, waiting the Smith's progress and listening to the general banter. "I wouldn't say Fort has the best setup," she ammends to the group." Anding has that, followed by Eastern. But we're certainly more advanced than Ista." Mekez gets a nod and a smile as he flees, but then she looks back to the search results with a frown. "Try that one?" A point.

P'rius chuckles, "Sorry, Ash. If I spent all my time here I wouldn't have reports to file. Now, about this scanner." He winks, one hand patting the object as the other waves farewell to Mekez, "Harpers are best at restoring hides… who was that? He never did give me his name."

Polsie pulls up the selected link, and gives a low whistle. "The exact recipe. Good eye, Ash." She scrolls down, examining some extra information given. "No hint about how old it is - just 'traditional', apparently. Well, that's no help." The girl huffs a soft sigh, then shrugs, more to herself than the others. "I'll have to dig through the safe records and see if there are any others that might gimme some clues about age. And send a message to the Harpercraft." She leans back in her seat, glancing at the metal container. "Probably oughta get back to the Smithy, anyhow. I'll have to dig through the documents next time I've got the time, see if there's anything that might yield more clues." The girl tosses Jayashri a grin, "Thanks for your help. Don't lemme take up more of your time, since it sounds like he," a nod at P'rius, "needs a hand."

Jayashri grins easily at the Healer. "Well, I /guess/ you have /family/ to hang with." She flips through the pages, getting a feel for what they're importing. "This should go quickly enough…Unless you need it fully indexed?" Her head raises and she quirks a brow at P'rius. Polsie warrents a chuckle. "You make it sound like I can't multitask." She puts her hand on the box. "I can start digitizing these when I'm done with his." A head jerk toward the bluerider. "I might be able to enhance the image, pull up impressions of faded ink. Might have been used numerous times though, so it might be a /lot/ of sifting. We might find a date that way, however."

P'rius flaps his hand lightly at Polsie, "Don't leave on my account. Once she gets me started I'll mostly handle myself." He glances back at Ash, "I still owe you that picnic with Wyn and Darius. What do you mean by fully indexed? I do want to be able to pull them up by date or by wing member…"

"Would it be too much to ask if I left 'em here for ya?" Polsie gives Jayashri a look that can only be described as 'puppy eyes'. "I kinda do need to get going. Sarz wants me to do actual *blacksmithing* today," her nose wrinkles in distaste, "and I better leave myself extra time for fixing the inevitable screwups. Or, if you've got other work to do, I can always just come back." She pats the box affectionately. "These have waited at least a couple centuries, they can wait a little longer."

"Mekez," Jaya supplies belatedly for the Healer as she sets the files down on the long counter. "And as for your documents, we can do a simple index by things like date, roster, wing numbers, et cetra. However we also can do a full index where we digitize the entire text and format of the report, which will mean you can search for words specific to an incident and find things much faster. It's more work up front, but less work down the line." Polsie gets a glance and a quirked brow. "Well, if you must leave, I recommend leaving the box" a pat on the side " here for me to get started on. It may have waited centuries, but now that it's been exposed to air — meaning all manner of spores and insects as well — it's best we work quickly."

P'rius nods, making a quick mental note and then asking, "What's he do around the Weyr?" Not that his attention doesn't slide just as easily back to his reports, "You never know, Polsie. They might deteriorate now that they've been exposed to oxygen. It is a corrosive, you know." Someone's had a bit too much time with the AIVAS records, it seems. Then he nods to Ash, "The text being searchable would be nice… just in case."

"Very well then," Polsie says, chipper. "I'll stop by and help as soon as I'm done with my work. And I'll see if I can't track down a Harper to get some help with the more fragile 'uns." She clears her search off the computer, then rises, stretching stiffened muscles with a few small contortions. The apprentice pulls her notebooks off the top of the box, running a slightly possessive finger over the container's utilitarian surface as she does so. Something about the box seems to create an urge to gladhandle it, at least in Polsie. "Good day to ya both, and thank you again for all the help, Jayashri."

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.