Fort Weyr - Living Caverns
This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.
Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.

Night has fallen at Fort Weyr, dusk fading into the blackness of an overcast sky. The warmth of the summer day has faded with the light, leaving the air damp and cool. While the majority of the Weyr has supped already, those who were busy, or just prefer to avoid the rush, remain in the caverns yet. Among these is Idralia, the techcrafter looking worn but content as she lingers over a hearty bowl of stew at one of the larger tables, lost in her own thoughts.

After several hours of failed attempts and whispered songs, Miki has finally put all of the littles and brats to sleep. She heaves a deep sigh as she strides into the caverns, opting for a few breadrolls and grabbing an empty spot at the table. It just so happens that she sits down right across from a woman that looks like she doesn't want to be particularly bothered. Willing to give it a try anyways, Miki whispers a soft hello and offers up a smile.

Idralia starts slightly when Miki settles in across from her, blinking at her unexpected tablemate in surprise. "Oh, sorry, hello!" she replies after gathering her wits back, smiling brieftly. "I don't mean to stare, I was just a little distracted and you surprised me," she adds, as if it hadn't been obvious. Idra pokes at her stew with her spoon, glancing at Miki, before continuing to speak quickly. "Mmmm, I don't know that we've met, and if we have I'm sorry, I don't recall. I'm a bit bad with faces and names, honestly. I'm Idralia."

Miki grins and shakes her head, "No we haven't, I'm Miki, it's nice to meet you." The girl tears off a small piece of her breadroll and pops it into her mouth, "Sorry, am I intruding? It's just that I still don't know many people hear and well, you honestly just looked the friendliest."

Idralia's smile returns at Miki's reply, nodding slightly. "Miki. I'll try to remember," she answers. "No, you aren't intruding, I wasn't thinking about anything important or private. Just wandering thoughts - I'm sure you've had moments like that." A pause, as Idra actually eats a bite of her stew. "Well, I haven't met many strictly unpleasant people, so saying hello shouldn't get you in much trouble," she offers. "I'm glad you think I look friendly, even when I'm staring off at nothing."

Miki chuckles a bit and nods, "Oh yes, I've definitely done that. But I usually don't even have time for that. Been looking after kids my entire life and if there's one thing they do, it's never give you a moment of pease." The young woman takes a moment to eat a bit more before continuing, "The few I have met are pleasant. Let's see there's P'rius and R'oc. Though the latter doesn't seem to have a very good repuation…probably for a good reason." Miki chuckles a bit before taking another bite.

Idralia shrugs slightly, admitting, "I've never really had much to do with children, honestly. But I'll certainly take your word for it. I can imagine them being unlikely to remain calmly occupied for long." When Miki mentions P'rius the crafter nods, latching onto that name. "I know P'rius. Or have at least met him, anyhow. He seems like a good sort. He was quite helpful when I moved here, explaining how the craft functions are handled under the current Weyrleaders. I can't say that I know R'oc, though the name seems familiar."

Miki nods and shrugs her shoulders, "R'oc was the former weyrleader, and boy does he have an inflated ego, though he's quite nice when it comes down to it. And P'rius really is nice, pretty blunt too now that I think of it." There's a small chuckle at the mention of children, "I've too many siblings to count and now I'm taking care of the ones at the weyr. I think you're rather lucky in this sense."

A soft 'Ah!' escapes Idra as she nods. "That's right. The change happened right around the time I moved here. I've been so busy since that it slipped my mind that R'oc was his name." She shakes her head slightly, blushing. "That's going to get me in trouble one of these days. It's funny - I remember the names I give the machines I work with, but not those of the people I meet." A shrug, and then she's listening to Miki talk of her siblings and her job. "If you say so. What kinds of things do you have to take care of? Aren't they mostly occupied in chores and lessons?"

Miki smiles, "It's just the opposite for me. I can remember the names of faces but not for machines fo the life of me. You're a techcrafter then right? What're you working on right now? I always found the topic interesting but there's hardly anyone that knows about it." There's a tilt of the head and a slight shrug about the littles, "I'm pretty much a nanny. Help out with the ones too young to do any of that. Keep the other ones occupied when they get some free time. It's a job in and of itslef unfortunately."

"I guess it comes of working with the machines more than the people," Idralia muses before nodding. "Yes, I am. I've been working on mapping the vent shafts for the heating system and removing any blockages. I'm hoping that once all the shafts are clear the system will operate more smoothly because of improved air draw. But I won't know until I've verified there are no collapsed or cluttered shafts," she replies with a warm smile. "Oh, that makes sense. I guess someone would have to keep them out of mischief, wouldn't they?" she says about the children.

Miki tilts her head a bit, nodding, "That /is/ important. In the last hold I stayed there was a problem with the heating, probably a blockage, like you're talking about. It was downright horrid in the winter, had to use a fire to keep me warm, and when it died, I went cold for the rest of the night." Thre's a nod and a giggle, "Oh yes, you wouldn't believe the things some of them have gotten in to, crazy ones they are."

Idralia nods again, firmly. "That's a large part of why I'm here. The heating system has been struggling lately, and since it is one of the original hypocaust arrangements laid out during Fort's construction, making changes is a delicate process. There have been new rooms chiseled out since the vent system was established, and it can't get warm air into them right now," she explains. "I'm hoping some drawing fans will do the trick and increase the air circulation enough to resolve the problem, but new vents might have to be sunk for some of those rooms. But that's a project that will take some time, whatever direction it goes in," she adds. "So, what kinds of things /do/ the children get into? It can't be all that bad, can it?"

Miki bobs her head along with the explanation, "It's a good thing they have you on the project. Heating is definitely an important issue, it can be really bad for illnesses especially." The girl's mouth twists up in a wry grin at the question, "It's not all bad, sometimes they're just trying to be nice. Like they pull out all the garden's flowers to give to you as presents. Other times it's pretty bad. They caught dozens of trundlebugs once and decided to put them in the nannies beds….not pretty!"

Idralia doesn't comment on the vote of confidence but she does smile, agreeing, "Heating is very important." A pause, then, "That would be a right mess. Trundlebugs have a truly impressive stench. How did they get them in without the smell giving it all away?" she asks curiously. "I would have expected the bugs to give the trick away long before making it to anyone's bed."

Miki grins, "Oh the little ones are clever. Put 'em all in sealed jars to bring them in. Stuck 'em in the bed and then spread numbweed around the room to get rid of the smell. I've no idea how they think of these things!" The girl pops her last bit of roll into her mouth and stands up, stretching, "Well it was definitely nice to meet you, but I've got to go check on the kids. They've been having nightmares lately. Goodbye, and goodnight!" She gives the girl a warm smile and wave before turning away and heading out.

'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.