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.

Midday arrives and the weather in Fort Weyr and the surrounding area could not be anymore miserable for the few unlucky souls having to venture outside. Sleet falls from the cold skies, intermittently spitting ice or rain, leaving most of the outdoors a mess of mud and ice and the winds just add to the misery. It’s no surprise that the tunnels and inner rooms are crowded and busy, save for a few. The exception seems to be the computer lab and only one lone figure sits in the spacious cavern, bent over a keyboard and staring at it as if it’s the most alien thing ever to grace Pern. Th’ero’s brows are drawn in a heavy scowl and his hand comes up to tentatively press some of the keys, eyes downcast to follow each movement before flicking to the screen. Aside from the sounds of his typing and the whirr of machinery, the Weyrleader is alone and very much distracted and lost in his thoughts.

An impromptu visit to Fort Weyr finds Kimmila wet and shivering, shaking sleet from her jacket as she asks an old drudge friend about Th’ero’s whereabouts. Having been directed to the computer lab, the bluerider makes her way down the familiar tunnels until she enters the room, running fingers through her wet hair and lifting it off her scalp to fluff it a bit, trying to warm and dry it. “Hey,” she says as she steps into the room, green eyes scanning before they settle on the Weyrleader. “What’s up?”

Th’ero hasn’t been outdoors in some time, as his dry clothing and hair so clearly show. His jacket is folded over a chair next to him, though the one on his other side remains empty. The Weyrleader himself is dressed in somber colors perfect to match the weather’s dreariness and as he glances up from his work, his expression seems just as moody. That is, until recognition wedges it’s way into his distracted thoughts. Leaning back and with an almost relieved slump to his shoulders, Th’ero gestures for Kimmila to join him, a small but crooked smile in his lips. “Work.” He mutters glumly, giving the computer a sidelong look that borders on (playful) hatred. “Research. Have to use /these/ apparently though because some idiot figured it was time to “update”.” This is grumbled and it’s then that his eyes catch the fact that the bluerider’s hair is wet and similarily her clothes. “Yourself? I’m surprised to see you here. Weather is as miserable as Between.”

Kimmila snorts as she walks forward, greeting him with a brief touch of her hand to his shoulder before she spins the offered chair around and straddles it, arms resting on the back. “So I’ve discovered,” she says with a wry twist to her lips. “Thought I’d come for a visit,” she answers, her gaze traveling to the computer screen with a twist of distaste. “Ugh. What are you working on?” Leaning forward, she tries to read what he’s doing.

Smiling a little more from the brief touch, Th’ero then runs a hand over his face, pausing to scrub along his jaw and then down along the back of his neck. Who knows how long the Weyrleader has been sitting here, trying to do what most these days would finds as an easy task. “Didn’t think to check the weather?” he teases Kimmila lightly as she settles herself into the free chair. Her look of distaste has him turning his head back to the screen, mouth twisting into something similar. Th’ero’s hand reaches down from his neck to give a dismissive gesture to the computer. “Research,” The Weyrleader repeats, though now continuing on, “Old transcripts and records. Some minor border dispute.” It’s all he can or will tell her though as no more details are shared. “That is, if I could sharing find the damn information. This is why I prefer books. You don’t need commands for books.” He mutters, turning in his seat and facing the keyboard once more. With a look of concentration, he lightly taps a few more keys and is rewarded … with a chime of error. Sighing and cursing in frustration, the Weyrleader points a hand in accusation towards the screen. “This is what I mean!” Th’ero growls.

Kimmila smirks a bit at him. “Since when has the weather stopped me from going where I wanted?” she replies. Quieting, she squints at the screen and glances back at him with a frown. “Ugh. Yeah. I hate technology now,” she mutters. “It was fun when I was a kid and it didn’t matter, but there’s nothing worse than relying on it and having it break on you.” Reaching over, she tries a few key strokes of her own, and gets another error chime. “Have you tried restarting it?”

“Only now?” Th’ero side glances to Kimmila now, frustration switching to idle curiosity. “I never had access to technology when I was young. Even electricity was a marvel, since Torince Hold had it, but wasn’t a large enough Hold to have much else.” Not that he would have bothered even if they had had the wealth to have as much technology as the Weyrs and major Holds. Leaning back to allow the bluerider to attempt fixing the issue, he watches which keys she taps in hopes that it is correct. At the chime, the Weyrleader only scowls again before giving Kimmila a blank look. “Tried what?” he asks, a slight flush creeping up his neck. Embarrassed? Oh yes he is, as his lack of understanding is apparent then.

Kimmila nods as she scoots her chair closer to the computer. “I loved it when I was a kid. Of course I grew up here. Mother could never stand it, but I’d take things apart and figure out how they worked, and all that stuff. Until I discovered the woods and the wilderness had far more appeal to me.” All this she says as she tries a few more keystrokes, gets more error messages, and huffs in frustration. “Mmmrrrr,” she mutters under her breath, reaching for the power button and holding it down. “Restarting it. Turning it off and back on again.” If she’s surprised he doesn’t know what that is, it doesn’t show as she tries to reboot the machine.

The bluerider certainly has Th’ero’s interest now and he gives a tilt of his head while she speaks. He had likely forgotten, for a short half second, that Kimmila was born in Fort Weyr. This is more her home then his, which would explain her better understanding of the technology it holds and that little notion brings a wry look to his features. “You can actually take one of these apart?” he asks, before turning his attention and focus back to Kimmila as she tries again with a certain set of keystrokes. Her huff of frustration is echoed by a snort from the Weyrleader. See? “Oh. That fixes it then?” The Weyrleader asks, a touch uncomfortable at his own ignorance. “This means I have to begin my search again, doesn’t it?” He’s not that clueless it seems, but his tone carries some vague hope. The computer response well enough to start when Kimmila begins the shut down sequence, but just as it goes to tick off, it makes a series of unusual noises and clicks before the screen goes dark. A second passes, then two, then three and it’s obvious then that the computer is unresponsive. Unknown to Th’ero, the Weyrleader had chosen one of the older computers and today seems the day it decides to just up and die.

Kimmila nods, “I can,” she says, tapping her fingers lightly against the keys as she waits. “Sometimes it does. It just…lets the computer start over again. Like if you’re having a bad day and you get a good night’s sleep,” she says with a slightly crooked grin. “And yeah, you would have to start over again. But it wasn’t working to begin with, so it’s not like you’ve lost a whole lot.” She leans back with a deeper frown on her lips when the computer fades into death, and she exhales. “Might as well go try that one,” she says, pointing to another computer. “I’ll see if I can get this one working again.” With a faint roll of her eyes, the bluerider gets to her feet and walks to one of the shelves and cabinets, pulling out drawers and hunting for tools.

Th’ero frowns a little at Kimmila’s explanation, suddenly unsure if she meant to make it so simple unintentionally or as a little tease. “I see.” Is all the Weyrleader murmurs with a slight nod of his head. He then smirks at her next words, which are the truth. There wasn’t much work to be lost, so the bronzerider’s mood seems to lighten a little then. Kimmila’s frown and exhale confirm the computer’s death and Th’ero shakes his head at her suggestion. “Shards no. I’m done with fiddling with these things. I’ll get Miki or Xanshalla to retrieve the information.” He grumbles, folding his arms across his chest in an almost immature act of rebellion. Damn technology! The mention of repairing the computer seems far more of interest though and Th’ero tilts his head to watch as Kimmila moves off to the shelves and cabinets, “Are they usually salvageable when they do this?” he asks her, though makes no move to actually go help.

Kimmila shrugs, “Depends on what’s wrong,” she says, returning to the table with a screwdriver and a few other little things. “I haven’t done this in turns, though,” she admits with a crooked grin for the Weyrleader. “But this is an older model, so I might recognize something inside of it. If it’s just a loose connection, it’s easily fixed by just sticking it back together again. Anything else, though, and it’s beyond /my/ abilities at least. But maybe it’s fixable.” She shrugs again before unplugging the system and turning it around so she can start unscrewing it. “Figure I can’t break it because it’s already broken, right?” she asks with another grin. Now that it’s broken, she seems to have lost her frustration, instead getting a bit excited at the idea of getting to take something apart. “Ahh, yes. Xanshalla. Zi’on’s…friend.”

Th’ero adjusts his chair a little as Kimmila returns with tools and other supplies in hand, giving the bluerider room to work with. “You make it seem easy,” he implies, though her logic and explanation seem to make sense to the Weyrleader, as he doesn’t stop her or question her methods. What he does do though is quietly watch as she begins to move the computer and start unscrewing it. “I suppose not. But try too keep the damage minimal?” Th’ero teases with a smirk. “I’d hate to have to go hunt down a tech crafter in this weather.” With something else then a malfunctioning computer to occupy his time and some actual company other then his own thoughts, the Weyrleader is also taking on a more relaxed attitude and is no longer so grumpy. “His… friend?” For a moment, Th’ero’s memory fails him until with a start, he realizes Zi’on had in fact told him of that development. Right before — and that’s where the bronzerider abruptly drops that line of thought. “Oh right.” He snorts, “And here I figured his boasts about finding himself a girl that one night were nothing but jests over something to do for fun.”

Kimmila chuckles, “Sometimes ignorance can come across as knowledge,” she says, grinning. “I’ll try not to break it any more than it’s already broken,” she reassures the Weyrleader. “Yes, winter is well and truly coming,” she remarks absently, pushing still-drying hair away from her face with a faint shiver. “Yeah, his friend. It’s kind of sweet, actually, that he hasn’t slept with her yet.” She laughs, glancing over at him. “Finding himself a girl…what one night?” she asks as she removes the cover from the computer, setting it aside and gently blowing dust out of the tower. “Ugh. I hate this dust. It’s so fine and smells so…unnatural.”

“How is that possible?” Intrigued by that tidbit of logic, Th’ero leans forwards in his chair now, arms now crossing over the desk’s surface. A brief smile of thanks is given to her reassurances over not breaking the computer any worse then it is before it shifts to a somber look as his mouth draws downwards into a thin line. “Indeed.” He murmurs in agreement before giving himself the most minute of shakes. No sense in brooding over that. “Sweet?” The Weyrleader echoes, giving Kimmila a look as if to say he isn’t sure that would be the word he’d use. “I suppose so. Must mean he has more interest in her then just a passing fling.” At her inquiry over the night past, Th’ero makes another dismissive gesture with his hand, gaze focused on the bluerider’s work on the computer. “He found me one night earlier in the summer when I was in Shenanigan’s.” Drinking, but that he doesn’t mention. It’s easy enough to assume, after all. “He started to joke about going to find some lower cavern girls to spark up some fun. Kept trying to persuade me to join him.” There’s a smirk given to that and a dry chuckle. At the dust, Th’ero’s nose wrinkles a bit. “Shards, that’s a fair bit too.” He remarks, rather unhelpfully. “Didn’t think dust had a smell.” He tells Kimmila as his eyes dart up to her, half teasing, half serious and definitely not about to find out himself.

Kimmila grins, “If you act like you know what you’re doing, people usually assume you know what you’re doing. And yeah, it does seem that he does, though I was surprised he and Enka didn’t stick it out longer.” But the bluerider shrugs, not all /that/ interested in picking apart Zi’on’s love life. Then she laughs. “Did he now?” she asks, her grin crooked and green eyes amused and teasing. “And did you?” Though it’s clearly a joke question, as she’d be pretty darn shocked if he ever did such a thing – and not just because they’re together, either. Then she’s back to blowing dust out of the computer. “It does. It’s got a..charged smell to it. Dust around technology always smells different, to me, than dust you find in the caverns or outside. Ugh.” Still, she peers into the metal cavity and reaches her hand in, pushing on this bit, wiggling that bit…and then the bluerider yelps, her body giving a reflexive jerk as the power supply – still holding some charge – gives her fingertips a zap. With a swear, she yanks her arm out of the computer, managing to catch her arm on one of the sharp edges of the frame. It’s not a deep cut that now graces the back of her forearm, and certainly not enough to need stitches, but it begins to bleed all the same as she clamps her other hand over it and lets out a string of angry swear words directed at the computer.

“That… actually makes some sense.” Th’ero admits as he mulls it over in his mind. Something to tuck away and perhaps use some time down the road. The Weyrleader shrugs as well, not entirely interested in picking apart his friend’s love life despite the fact that both of them know most of the details. So he lets the comment regarding Enka slide, instead turning to reply back to the teasing, even if it makes him a little uncomfortable. Smirking, Th’ero meets her gaze and playfully narrows his eyes in a mock glare. “Do I seem the type?” he asks her, and then begins to chuckle dryly. “No,” the bronzerider exhales, “That’s not my idea of fun. I did, however, tell Zi’on he had leave to go find as many women as would satisfy him, if that was his desire.” How – nice, of the Weyrleader? Focusing back on the computer and the repairs underway, Th’ero frowns, not quite believing Kimmila’s claim. “I suppose it’s possible. I just figured dust was dust and could have no properties like smell.” As she reaches in, the bronzerider tilts his head to watch, curious. When she yelps and swears, he moves with surprising speed to his feet, instantly alert and by the bluerider’s side. “What happened?” he asks, concern clear as day in his tone. He makes to reach for her arm, his intent only to see the wound and it’s severity, but even as he does, he shoots a reproachful look at the now half dismantled computer. “Damn thing.” The Weyrleader grumbles.

Kimmila lifts her arm to let him take it, her hand moving so she can try to assess the damage as well. But it’s difficult to see with the blood oozing out of the 1 1/2 inch cut in a steady, seeping trickle. “The power supply zapped me, and when I yanked my arm out, it caught on the case,” she mutters, half angry at the machine and half angry with herself. “Stupid thing,” she adds. Just because being angry with inanimate objects is fun. “And no,” she says, returning to a previous topic, “you’re not the type at all.” Then she laughs. “As many as would satisfy him? Can that truly be quantified?” Poor Zi’on.

It may be difficult to see, but the steady, seeping trickle of blood is enough for Th’ero. Without even flinching or much of a grimace, he untucks his tunic and uses the edge of it to press up against the cut with a firm and even pressure before Kimmila can protest. It’s not a serious wound, but the Weyrleader isn’t about to leave her to bleed while they discuss matters. “But it’s unplugged. I saw you do that. How can it still zap you with no power?” he asks, a touch rougher then intended but mostly caused by his own lack of understanding frustrating him. Shaking his head, Th’ero turns his head down to where his hand holds the cloth of his tunic to her arm, frowning and all but hiding the small smile that creeps back to his features when the topics change again and Kimmila laughs. “Who knows?” he teases in turn and poor Zi’on indeed. “But no, that’s just mean to consider.” Still funny though, as his amused tone would suggest and with a slow exhale, he adds, “You want this to be seen?” Th’ero glances up at Kimmila then, letting his hand lift the cloth from the wound long enough for the bluerider to make her decision.

Kimmila does protest, as soon as his tunic is pressed against her cut. “Th’ero! Now I owe you /another/ one!” It’s not meant as a joke, but right after she says it she snorts with a sudden amusement, giving him a slightly wicked look. At this rate he’ll have a brand new wardrobe in no time. “I think the power supply is faulty. It shouldn’t have held a charge for that long after it was unplugged…” She doesn’t think so, anyway. Green eyes look at the cut on her arm and then lift to his eyes. “By the Healers, you mean?” She scowls, no more a fan of Healers than she is of technology. But then she grudgingly sighs. “It should probably be cleaned and bandaged, since I can’t very well walk around with you holding your tunic over my arm until it stops.”

“You owe me nothing,” Th’ero fires right back at Kimmila, though the grin that follows shows that while he’s serious on the matter, it’s still lighthearted in nature. Perhaps he can be persuaded? The Weyrleader blinks and then shakes his head when she begins mentioning power supplies and faultiness. What did he expect? He asked, after all! “Should have left it to a tech crafter after all. Now I have all the more reason to dislike these computers. Sharding waste of time and at least records don’t shock you.” He mutters, rambling for a bit as he wipes as much of the blood from her arm as possible before letting the cloth of his tunic fall back to his side. Kimmila will likely find that Th’ero is sympathetic on the matters of Healer’s as well, though he will not force her if she puts up enough of a protest. “Yes, Healer’s. And no, that would be awkward, wouldn’t it?” The Weyrleader muses, before frowning thoughtfully. An alternative solution must strike him, as his smile returns not long afterwards. “It’s a minor wound though. If I had the supplies, we could do it ourselves. So,” And he tilts his head up then and to the side, giving Kimmila a long look though his eyes flicker with amusement. “The choice is yours: to the Healers? Or we venture somewhere else and I will go fetch the supplies.”

Kimmila snorts as she gets to her feet, holding her arm level and looking at the blood that’s on her other hand. “I’d rather we just do it ourselves,” she admits. “I’ll go wash it off at least, and you can go get the supplies. All it needs is a little salve and a bandage.”

Th’ero nods his head the moment Kimmila has made her decision. “Probably the best way,” he agrees. Gesturing for her to sit, the Weyrleader then begins to turn away but not before informing the bluerider of his intent. “I’ll bring something for you to wash it, along with the salve and bandage. Just wait here.” He tells her gently, not entirely making it a command. She could completely ignore him if she chose to do so! Th’ero doesn’t linger for her reaction though and the moment he’s done, the bronzerider is already striding away to slip out the doors. A short amount of time will pass before he’ll return, granting that Kimmila hadn’t left. If the bluerider is there, Th’ero will stride over to wherever she’s chosen to settle herself, placing the various supplies and materials, including a skin filled with fresh water, nearby.

Kimmila has moved away from the computers, to the center table to wait for his return, making sure not to get blood on anything other than herself. She didn’t protest his suggestion, so she’s just been sitting and waiting somewhat patiently, with the occasional angry glare for the offending computer. “Thanks,” she says, reaching for the water skin to rinse off the cut and the blood from her arm. She gives him a slightly sheepish smile. “Why must we always have bloodshed?” she says teasingly. It’s a cold day at Fort Weyr, with sleet and snow and rain coming down hard outside, though the computer lab is warm, if empty except for the Weyrleader and the bluerider.

“Just seems to be part of our luck?” Th’ero muses dryly as he settles himself into a chair next to Kimmila, pulling it close though he makes no move to aid the bluerider in her mending of her arm. “Now I know not to touch the inside of one of those sharding things. See why I don’t trust technology?” Seems the Weyrleader is still grumbling over it, his ignorance and dislike only being heightened now. The sleet, rain and over all miserable conditions over Fort right now have left the bronzerider penned up inside to do the more tedious work of reports and research and that may also be grating on his mood a little. But with a deep, calming breath Th’ero manages to shake it off and smirk. “I think this makes us about even though, hmm? A bloodied arm for a bloodied nose seems fair enough.”

Kimmila finishes washing her arm and dabs it dry with a cloth before she smears salve on it, her touch gentle but thorough, making sure to get the entire scratch covered. Then she holds her arm out towards him, and the bandage in the other. “Could you?” she asks. Then she smirks. “But /I/ bloodied your nose. The /computer/ bloodied my arm,” she counters. “No, technology and I no longer get along, and this little incident did not improve our relationship.” Glancing at him, she reaches out to put two fingers lightly and briefly on his chest before she pulls her hand back. “It’s okay.”

Reaching without hesitation, Th’ero takes the bandages and begins to wrap the scratch and Kimmila’s arm with the quiet and confidence of one trained in the minor basics of healing. Her counter is met with a snort and another dry, low chuckle. “Does it make a difference?” The Weyrleader tosses back at her, before taking on a more sober and serious mood. “Glad we are of like minds on that issue. I’ll leave a note to have a tech crafter come by and tinker with it.” He pauses, and then adds with a wry smile. “And I think I’ll leave anything to do with computer, period, to those of my staff who are more ah… capable.” At her brief touch, Th’ero glances downwards, blinking for a moment and then with a soft exhale and shake of his head, grins as he takes on a slightly sheepish look. “Sorry.” He murmurs just as he completes the bandage and withdraws his touch from Kimmila.

Kimmila watches as he wraps her arm, holding still through the process. “Maybe,” she says with a soft chuckle, but then she lets that topic go without further discussion. “Mmm, that seems like the best plan. And I’ll stop sticking my arm into places where it doesn’t belong,” she adds with a little grin. “Hopefully the techcrafter can fix it. And yes, me too. This should be a lesson to me to stay away from things I’m not so sure about.” Her smile for him is gentle and understanding. “It’s okay. It’s fine, really,” she says by way of trying to reassure him, pulling her arm back and turning it, looking at the bandage. “Feels good, thank you,” she says, leaning forward to offer him a little kiss. “Sorry I startled you.”

Despite the nasty weather, Mahlia has made good use of her day of being excused from assignments at Eastern. The morning was spent in hunting practice with Quorel, the afternoon working on setting her bow weight and measurements, a little trip to Xanadu’s Hatching facility, and now a stop at Fort to visit the computer lab to supplement her research. Her classic attire is worn, but crimson cloak is layered with a heavier leather for storm proofing. What were once curly locks, are weighted down straight by the liquid weather outside. She is ruffled, barging in what she expected to be a heavy door, with a loud bang. All three firelizards on her shoulder squawk and squeel, flapping their wings to and fro as she scurries in. Noticing the bandaging process her eyes widen, and then kiss occurs and all she can express is “Oh my! I’m uhh.. sorry Kimmila, Th’ero, Sir” Ehhemm, she clears her throat “I didn’t mean to um.. interrupt, was just uh.. doin som research n’I uh..” Awkwardness aside, she stops there.

“Mhm,” Th’ero tries his best to be casual about Kimmila’s remark of keeping her arm out of places and to stay away from things, but his hidden amusement and the laugh he has to bite back is clear enough for anyone bothering to look. “I’m sure they’ll be able to fix it.” And he seems pretty confidant, to judge by his tone. Her reassurances are about to be met with some gentle protesting, but the Weyrleader is silenced by the kiss. Which he would have continued eagerly enough were it not for Mahlia’s perfect timing. As the doors bang open, Th’ero withdraws sharply and is immediately tense and on alert again, head turning to seek out the source of the interruption. As his eyes flick from the trio of squealing firelizards to Mahlia herself, recognition dawns and awkwardness settles in, nice and heavily. “Mahlia,” Th’ero’s tone is reserved, to start, but eventually the Weyrleader relaxes enough from his initial shock to manage a slight, yet strained, smile. “Research? And in this weather?” he asks her, not bothering to touch on what she may or may not have barged in on.

Kimmila is also startled away from the kiss by Mahlia’s grand entrance, sitting up sharply and turning her head to see who has barged in so spectacularly. And Mahlia was about the last person Kimm expected to see, as she blinks in surprise. “Oh. Um.” Eloquent. “Hi,” she says, biting on her lower lip and darting a glance at Th’ero, both awkward and holding back a nervous laugh at the absurdness of it all. Soooo awkward.

Mahlia frowns a little at the mutually displeasing situation, definitely not what she expected to find in the depths of the technology ridden room, but she chokes tdown the overwhelming feeling of making an excuse to run with a pleasant smile. Each hatchling takes their chance to warble, wobble and examine at will, some more gracefully than others. Her tanned sanguine complexion is tell-tale.. interesting situation, to say the very least. So she does one of the things she does best, and explains, maybe over explains “Well y’see Th’ero, Sir” she bows her head quickly “I’been talking to Syra and Thea between working at Xanadu n’I think I may be on to something with a few ideas to quell the clutching problems thas’ been goin ’round. Specially Easterns infertility problem” The last part she says under her breath as if to misplace the bad juju by saying so. “Kimmila, good to see you” she says cordially “N’m sorry for my grand entrance, been swingin that heavy Infirmary door all sevenday long!” Ahh small talk.

Sparing only the barest and quickest of side-glances to Kimmila, Th’ero’s eyes soon lock on to Mahlia as she begins to over explain her reasons for venturing to Fort in the middle of some rather unpleasant weather. What she does share has the Weyrleader’s attention immediately though and his gaze becomes far more focused on the young Easterner. “I wasn’t aware that the situation was so grievous.” He murmurs thoughtfully, fingers of his one hand drumming idly on the desk’s surface. Surely he had some idea? Without much else to say, Th’ero drifts into silence and the awkwardness of the whole situation returns. And all it was was a simple kiss! It’s not like they had been engaged in some shameful activity. Suddenly, the Weyrleader’s head lifts subtly and tilts, as if listening and his eyes take on that telltale far away look. When he refocuses, Th’ero slowly gets to his feet, straightening his tunic and trying his best to hide the bloodstains on the lower portion on one side. “If you’ll both excuse me. Something urgent needs my attention.” To judge by his apologetic look and the seriousness in his eyes, he’s not joking. But he’s not about to leave without some “fun” and before Kimmila can (hopefully) move away, Th’ero will give a chaste kiss to her cheek and then grip her shoulder briefly in a reassuring squeeze before stepping away. To Mahlia, as he passes her, he’ll nod briskly and offer a partial wave of farewell. “Good luck with your research.” And with that, he’s striding from the room at a quick pace and disappearing into the tunnels towards whatever situation has called him away.

Kimmila’s green eyes lift to follow Th’ero’s movements, frowning at those stains on his tunic that he tries to hide. Concern shows in her expression as well at his news, head tilting and about to press for more information. But then he’s bending to kiss her cheek and squeeze her shoulder, so the bluerider says nothing. “See you later,” she says to the Weyrleader, watching him go before she clears her throat and rests her bandaged arm across her lap, looking now at Mahlia. There’s a moment of awkward silence before Kimmila says, “Eastern’s having fertility problems? What’s that got to do with you?” She motions her hand to a chair, offering the other woman a seat if she so wishes. Or there are a few computers available, though one is off and open, mid-repair.

Mahlia’s shock twinged eyes also follow Th’ero as he watches her explain and then moves for departure. Partial wave is returned as the Weyrleader leaves, the crick in the corners of her lips remaining, despite the pressure in the atmosphere and she says “Thank you, Sir” but, nothing more. Each of the bobble head firelizards are given some love and lifted to perch on nearest chair to the one offered. Her eyes meander over the bluerider, noticing her wrapped arm, she first addresses the question. “Well, s’got nuthin to do with me directly, I suppose. I just been pickin up the dragonhealing thing I started at Ierne ‘fore moving n’the more I talk ’bout it with riders and weyrfolk, the more serious the situation seems. By the looks of it, if a healthy gold isn’t impressed at Eastern next clutch, they might crumble or even have ta go ‘cross Weyrs for a queen!” On a different note, her tone changes “Look, Kimmila., I wanted to pologize bout the archery thing, twas turns ago I ranked n’ didn’t wanna bugle m’own horn..”

Kimmila studies Mahlia thoughtfully, with a frown on her lips. “Huh. Didn’t know you did dragonhealing either. Or that the situation was that serious at Eastern,” she admits, biting her lower lip as she looks towards the broken computer. Then her green gaze focuses back on the younger woman, and she shrugs. “It’s okay, I was just surprised that you were already so skilled. Just…wasn’t the impression I had of you when I first met you,” she admits.

Mahlia’s forced smile becmes genuine, a few deep but unnoticed breaths helping to calm the air about her. In unison, but off key the flit trio coo and nuzzle their pet in attempts to help, but really it just seems like tiny wedged heads are charging closest shoulder to the chair they are perched on. The outside downpour has dried from her locks, that hhave now suctioned back towards an uncontrollable curly mess, which her prodding fireliards are more than delighted to climb off perch and towards their ‘nest.’ Her eyes linger on Kimmila a moment “‘Suppose there’s a lot ’bout eachother we don’t know” no implications, just observation “N bein’ good in the range doesn’t mean my audacity transferrs to hunting. I’ve got a long way ta’ go till I’m even distant to your expertise.. n’m still training, got a bow on the way, but I realized the near turn spent at Ierne training wasn’t wasted n’m actually quite interested in walkin’ the tables and helping, not only at Eastern, but Xanadu’s having their issues too..”

Kimmila sits at the long table in the middle of the room, her bandaged forearm resting across her lap. Her hair is still damp from the sleet and rain that still comes down outside, but it’s drying quickly enough in the warmth of this cavern. Some of the computers are on and running, but there’s one that’s off, unplugged, and open. The bluerider looks over at Mahlia, a brow arching at her first statement. “Seems that there is,” she agrees, shifting a bit in her chair. Then she chuckles. “No, that’s true enough. It’s harder when your target is moving. Or trying to kill you.” She pauses, frowning a bit when she tries to follow how quickly Mahlia jumps subjects, but then she nods. “What troubles is Xanadu having?”

Mahlia finds a way to co-mingle the two subjects, adding some flattery as buffer “Right you are, the way you moved through the jungle, listening, aware of everything, tracking with instinct.. that takes turns to learn, n’just trailing your lead.. ’twas amazing really, I mean thas’ prolly why I took ta’it so quickly, someone skilled as you to look up to. That Quorel’s not bad either” she jokes, obviously impressed by his demanding repertoire “‘e even got me on this track that mebbe, just mebbe, some of the recent clutching and flight problems could be related to them awful feral cats ’round ‘ere. Thea says Xanadu’s queens rise at astounding, near unhealthy rates! I’ve got other ideas too, but need to collaborate with Syra more first. By the way” she motions to her arm “Are you ok?”

Kimmila blinks at Mahlia, shaking her head as the younger woman starts in with the flattery. “Um…please…” she says, shaking her head again and holding up her unbandaged arm, hand up and palm out. Clearly the flattery makes her very uncomfortable. Then she frowns a bit. “Eastern’s queens aren’t rising, but Xanadu’s are rising too much? That’s strange.”

Kimmila blinks at Mahlia, shaking her head as the younger woman starts in with the flattery. “Um…please…” she says, shaking her head again and holding up her unbandaged arm, hand up and palm out. Clearly the flattery makes her very uncomfortable. Then she frowns a bit. “Eastern’s queens aren’t rising, but Xanadu’s are rising too much? That’s strange.” Then her eyes move down to her arm, and she snorts and looks to the half disassembled computer. “I was working on that, trying to fix it. The power supply gave me a jolt, I jerked my arm out, and scratched it on the case. Nothing major.”

Meandering through computer Lab, Lacus smirks at the the sound of people and dragon dicussiuon. She raises an eyebrow. “I couldn’t help over hearing, but did I hear you say that some of the dragons are rising too much and some not enough? Have you considering, climates and perhaps the rate of desire in the dragons, why not move some of the dragons to the other weyr and seeing if they ‘speed up’ as it were.” she spoke polite and calmly. “I don’t mean to pry though..”

Mahlia pushes her pink complexion with a shake of the head and shrug of the shoulders, a chuckle is paired with a lil scoff as she smiles at Kimmila “M’just sayin.” With that, shee starts to explain, hearing an unfamiliar voice call out with an answer “Ahh good thinking, s’a bit more complicated than just that, but it could definitely help. The real problem’s with the inbred lineage, lack of process ‘n dragon, rider and candidate care alike. Boils down to the basics of mentasynth, dragons can clutch almost anywhere, but if there’s thin spots in the basics of the ancient connection than it’s easy for things to get off.” She’s not sure if it makes sense to anyone else, definitely needing guidance from higher Ranked dragon healers, so she shrugs again to cover it cordially “But great consideration..? M’names Mahlia, of Eastern Weyr.. n’watch out for the technology ’round here, eh?” Beaming smile and teasing wink are sent Kimmila’s way.

Kimmila looks up when someone else enters, giving the newly arrived young woman a quick once-over. A little nod of agreement to Lacus’ suggestion, and then Kimm looks to Mahlia to hear the explanation. But hearing it doesn’t mean she’s understanding it, as a baffled look passes over her face. “I thought inbreeding didn’t matter with dragons.” Then she smirks, lifting her arm and nodding. “Yeah, it’s killer technology.”

Mahlia does take this in to consideration, and jots down a quick note on the leather bound pad she keeps in her hip belt “I thought the same thing, but Syra mentioned something ’bout Fenrith and Aro being clutchmates n’havin’ some problems since. I also thought a good ol churn and fan of the sands to clear any residual particles might be a good idea, freshen things up a bit. As for the inbreeding” she moves the mouse on the closest computer, all flits croon with delight as the screen comes up, wiggling about to get a look from all angles. A few keywords are typed, articles here, a few printouts there and a handful of articles about the topic are printed. “I still got some research ta’ do, but I think a few rest and relaxation sessions n’ hopefully most queens can regulate. I just think there’s some herbs and practices that’ve fallen through the cracks, y’could say. But it’s jus’ ideas”

Lacus ponders. “I’d think it would matter, you don’t want to cause problems farther down, but so many dragons came from a limited ‘batch source’ so in effect all dragons are imbred to some degree.” she moves closer. “Lacus of Two Rivers.” she introduces herself coridally. “Though I think what might be done is.. get greens breedable. If we could make them more… like Queens.. er… queens in their own right, perhaps the imbreading could be worked out? Or breed fertile ones?”

Kimmila stays well clear of the computer and the printouts, safe at the table in the middle of the room. “Kimmila,” she says, offering her own name when the others are presented. “And getting greens on the sands would still be inbreeding, since the greens are related to the golds anyway.” She shrugs. “I don’t know anything about it, really, but I don’t think inbreeding is the issue. Not after so many thousands of turns without problems, /and/ the other dragons still doing just fine, in the other weyrs. My thought would be that it’s an Eastern problem. And maybe some new blood would fix it.” She shrugs.

Lacus nods. “True. I mean I can only guesss, but perhaps new would slow the queens down. unkown males… always a reason to slow down and survey things. And yes, but when I think about it wild firelizards- the green clutches get ‘eaten’ and a few hatch.. queens probably don’t have to rise as often and there re more males to breed with. Green-bred.”

Mahlia does reflect deeply on this input, and is happy to collaborate. She extends a hand “Well met Lacus of Two Rivers. “Kimmila e’res gotta point, it started with five so there’s bound to be overlap. Gettin’ em outta the weyr sounds good in theory, but I don’t suppose it’d be easy to relocate a queen” she frowns a little, looking over her articles brifely before folding them up and replacing them to her hip with the notepad. “I found some good stuff.. /new blood/ is an option, but I wouldn’t tell J’em it was my idea.” She leaves out the green debate, pro’s and con’s, if it comes up again she might share perspective.

Kimmila shakes her head at Lacus, “All the more reason that greens shouldn’t breed, even if we /could/ find a way to make that happen. Green-bred eggs wouldn’t be as strong, or as cared for, I’d think. Just like in the firelizard world.” She shrugs. “Queens relocate just fine, if the rider and both weyrs are willing. Maybe Eastern finds a weyr with too many queens and lets one of them transfer, maybe just for a few clutches or something. But that’s not up to us. That’s up to the leadership of all those weyrs.” She shrugs. “If Eastern doesn’t get a gold this clutch, that’s what they’ll have to do if they want to remain a weyr.”

Lacus taps her foot in a kind of annoyed fashion but stops after a moment. “It might not need need to be all of them. I mean I just think its unfair to automatically assume that greens are somehow inferior to queens. They’re not.. they’re…” she brings her hand down into the palm of her other hand. “THey’re dragons.”

Mahlia lets out a little sigh as Kimmila makes a firm point “Ahh the lovely greenies, they just wanna be green and be loved.. I figure, golds are gold fer a reason, n’greens don’t cbreed under a similar premise. Figure Eastern could shake things up and host a queen from elsewhere, maybe for awhile, maybe forever? Definitely nothing of the sort is up to us.. I was mentioning relocation as in sending them to different climates, trading hot for cold and vice versa.. ‘specially if they’re bout to take flight. S’not about being inferior Lacus m’dear, s’like comparing metals, they all serve their purpose.”

Kimmila blinks at Lacus in surprise. “Greens…/are/ inferior to queens, when it comes to breeding. That’s why they don’t breed. Just look at how firelizard greens take care of their clutches. Greens are meant for speed and flame. Not clutching.” Though Mahlia says basically the same thing, but much more diplomatically.

Mahlia chuckles, finding the conversation slightly amusing like some witty banter “M’sure not all greenies are as reckless as Kimm is making it seem, but if all them dragons were clutching, survival rates aside, jus’ not really gonna fix the core of the problem, ya know? It’s in the behavior patterns m’tellin ya, treat the riders, treat the dragons, treat the problems!” Ahh an epiphany of a motto, this is jotted down for further contemplation.

Lacus thinks. She remains quiet. “Perhaps we should choose a different topic. I just think it was wrong to remove something that makes them /female/ so implicity… and at such a level. There were other things they can and could be done.” she says quietly. “I just find that …. wrong on some level. Its like tell a woman ‘oh right while we were fixing sometihng else.. we removed your uterus, and all your other woman bits, for no reason other then we were down there…”

Kimmila blinks at Lacus again, with a frown. “But…that’s not what they did…” she protests, but then she shrugs. “Another topic is fine by me,” the bluerider says, glancing towards the exit and then down at her arm. There’s a soft chuckle and another shrug, before she looks up at Mahlia and shrugs. “Personality does play a part, sure, no matter what the dragon’s color.”

Lacus leans back a moment and tries to relax. “So what should be actually talk about?”

Mahlia raises an eyebrow towards Lacus, looking between her and Kimmila, maybe dumbfounded as she was quite enjoying the topic. The dashingly wreckless trio on her shoulder, make themselves the center of attention on cue. Twin hatchling pair hop on to the table and make their way towards Lacus, crooning, wobbling *attentionplease* and, of course Foawr nuzzles his pet while cooing calmly towards his fellow bluie lover Kimmila. Mahlia to leans back, taking a deep breath “No harm done friends, we’re all entitled to our opinions aye? But we can only change, what we can change. The past is done, it’s about cultivating a present state of ease to relieve the tension riding on it all!” Hand smacks down on the table as if to conjure a release. She smiles at them both “N’yes gettin’ in a tizzy ’bout it prolly won’t help one bit. So.. Lacus, what’s yer story?” She scritches Foawr idly, mental wheels turning all the while.

Kimmila shrugs her shoulders again and leans back in her seat, stretching her legs beneath the table before she glances at Lacus once more. “What brings you to Fort?”

Lacus smiles. “What brings to me For ant what’s my story?” she asks softly. “I am the daughter of a Seaholder, who wanted to becomea Healer. I wanted to visit a friend of mine who lives here..”

Mahlia nods “Ahh healers, m’mums a healer, good craft.. how’s that goin’?” A glance is sent Kimmila’s way, not that she has any pull, but hoping to take some gravity off the situation.

Kimmila glances at Mahlia and shrugs with a grin, before she looks back at Lacus. “Which friend is that?”

Mahlia leans over to Kimmila and whispers “Mebbe we were a bit overwhelming? ‘least we didna shock er with that ‘puter over there, eh?” with a snicker.

Lacus thinks. “Its pretty good, Its a long road, but one worth it.” She rubs the bridge of her nose and is montearily distracted by the firelizards. “I don’t have anything, no food and nothing shiney.” she says in a gentle tone holding up her hands. “A young man, Ventus… though I doubt he’s around.”

Kimmila glances at Mahlia with a brow lifted, before she smirks. “I’m nothing but sweet and innocent,” she says, but there’s sarcasm in her tone as she says it. Her green eyes flick back to Lacus thoughtfully, and shakes her head. “I’m afraid I don’t know him. But, then again, I don’t live here. So.” She shrugs with a crooked grin.

Mahlia smiles “All roads are long, unless they’re short.. gotta make a choice at some point in our turns, eh? I m’self just wandered from Benden a few back ta’ find m’own calling, a turn at Ierne studying didn’t teach me, but now m’living at Eastern n’dragon healin’s the only thing makes sense. Kind of a fusion ‘tween m’parents passions I guess.” A finger is wagged playfully at Kimmila’s remark, she smirks back with retort “I’unno bout /nothing/ but sweet n’ innocent, but m’sure that’s part of it.. somewhere..” She chuckles and rocks in her chair a bit adding “Ventus, nope dunno’em

Lacus grins. “Weyrd are big, he’s a beastcrafter, and is into lineages and breeding… all kinds of breeding. ” She setts down into a chair.

Kimmila chokes a laugh. “All kinds of breeding?” she asks. Surely there’s an inuendo in there somewhere. The bluerider pushes to her feet and touches her fingers to her brow. “S’been fun, ladies, but I’ve got things to do. Later.” Then she exits, as abrupt as her usual, slightly rude departures.

Mahlia laughs a little and shakes her head while waving to Kimmila, Foawr and the hatchlings also warble goodbyes. “Seeya Kimm” with that she turns back to Lacus with a tilt of the head and says “M’be a good person to talk to ’bout all this stuff.. n’don’t worry, she just looks at Pern in an uncomprihensible way. We all got opinions, n’y'sbest to keep em open-minded yet in balance it seems. Nice to meet ya Lacus, m’sure our paths will cross again but I should print out a few more pages n’then brave the storm back to my lil jungle paradise.” She does just that, after a smile and a nod.

'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.