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Of Patience and Pixies — Eridanus

Of Patience and Pixies

Started by Ryan Lancaster at Aug 10, 2019 7:27 pm
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23 Posts

Ryan Lancaster

38Years Young
11 Posts

You don't know how strong you are until you are faced with your greatest weakness.


A nod at the end, and Ryan turned and started back the way he'd come, Daena happily flitting sparkly-loops midair as they went. She was in a good mood. Daena usually was in a good mood. (Yes, Daena was his Other.) "I'll start at the beginning like you don't know anything about airships at all, probably easiest," he said. It probably was.

"First thing to know about airships is, whatever you do, unless you know what you're doing, don't, touch, the hydrocoils. Don't do it. Hydrocoils are relatively unstable, and can be exploded quite easily, not fun. The second thing to know is, all ships have a certain level of armoring ability, and a certain amount of standard-issue weaponry for their ship type, called a class. What class a ship is isn't really necessary for guys like us to know, since airships in the Dome more or less all function the same; they've got wires, hydrocoils, control boxes and panels, and they're in about the same shape. The bigger and more powerful an airship gets, the more complicated it may seem to become to repair and maintain, but it's really just an illusion. It's all the same shit, some just have more of that shit."

In simplest terms, at least.

"There are five classes of airship; the first is the light cruiser, which is a lightly armored, very sparsely weaponized ship designed for scouting or inanimate transport. The ship we're working on at the moment is a light cruiser. Above that, we've also got the cruiser, which is a stealth ship, mostly designed for high-speed maneuvering and cloaking. The weaponry on a cruiser is better than what a light cruiser's got, but the armoring is the same. Fighter class airships have way better armoring and shielding tech, and quite a number of cannons. Some use plasma powered cannons, but most use laser powered. The heavy flagship has nigh impenetrable shielding, but pretty much no weapons, and the dreadnought is the last shadow you'll ever see. Most dreadnoughts are armed to the teeth and only another dreadnought has the ability to easily break down a dreadnought's armoring. The good news is, it takes a lot in resources to build a truly impenetrable dreadnought, and the dreadnoughts we have now are not quite there yet. Plus, there are very few dreadnoughts in general. The Republic has one, the URS Charity, and the Outlanders have one, the Shal-Hazar. There are records of a third one somewhere in the Outlands, but we've never found it."

For his part, Ryan was starting to wonder if that was a rumor. One of those urban legend things. "So, this is the URS Firebrand." Ryan stopped, there, beside a particular airship, with half its side gone. Quite a number of wires were pulled out of it, all severed around halfway up. It kind of looked like a dead jellyfish, given it wasn't very large, either. Perhaps it'd host two people and some small cargo. "I've got the side panel pulled off, and what I'm doing at the moment is matching cable pieces together. We can reunite the two pieces of wire, if we can match the wires together, so compare the outer casing colors and the number of copper wires on the inside, and keep matching pieces together." That was child's play, something pretty easy to start with. You know, before they got to dealing with the plasma capsules they could explode the entire hangar with.


Adrian

The Hellhound
21Years Young
10 Posts

"Probably." Adrian admited mildly. It was close enough to the truth, after all. He didn't know much about Airships, just a bit here and there that he couldn't really put into something coherent if he wanted to and maybe it was better to assume nothing than to have him leave something out that might be important.

Okay, don't touch the hydrocoils. Except he didn't know what a Hydrocoil looked like off the top of his head except that he could probably figure it out if he saw one. ... If he had to. And then Ryan launched into a lecture on different classes of airships and their armoring and weaponry. He had said that it wasn't important for them to know, that they just had more things, not more complicated things.

It didn't stop the flood of information from feeling like far too much to take in all at once. Five classes. They were working on a Light cruiser which meant it was small and lightly armored with not many weapons. Steal- no. Not stealth, stealth was the cruiser. Light cruiser was ... was scouting or light transport. Both? Adrian thought that Ryan had said both, actually.

Keeping this straight was going to be a pain in the ass, okay. He'd just hope that Mr. Lancaster didn't expect him to be able to manage to pass a test on the information later or something similar.

Once they actually reached the airship though, the information changed to something a little more tangible. This was the ship they were working on, and they were matching the wires together so they could be rejoined. Ryan's explanation of this process seemed simple enough - certainly easier than rattling off the different classes of Airships, and the part-blood approached the open side with only a little trepidation.

"That sounds easy enough." He said it slowly, but it really did sound simple enough, if what Ryan said was all there was to it for the moment. Certainly it could have been far worse. Even he couldnt' mess up counting and color matching. It didn't take him very long before he was carefully sliding one of the wires free, ensuring it didn't get tangled in the process and counting the number of smaller wires within the casing before methodically looking for the other half.

Finding it wasn't too difficult, and once he had he carefully set the two pieces together, as much away from the other wires as he could manage without pulling anything loose.


Ryan Lancaster

38Years Young
11 Posts

You don't know how strong you are until you are faced with your greatest weakness.


Daena flitted somewhere out of the way, settling down on a bunch of wires to one side. She could move the wires around, with some work, and had been helping. "The ship classes really don't matter much," she said, talking to Adrian. "It's just good to know if a ship's got high-powered weapons for your own safety." Let's not explode anything by accidentally setting off a cannon.

"Oh, by the way," Ryan started, having also gone back to matching wires together. He shuffled around a bit to hold out a very small, slightly glowing metal and glass tube. This one was about an inch long, and glowed a greenish color. Just slightly, it gave off a slight hum. "This is a hydrocoil. One of this size generally powers the radar and the pilot's dashboard, and their smaller size means they're not all that dangerous. They're called hydrocoils because there's a mixture of plasma and water in there. The ratio determines how powerful a coil is, how quickly it burns out, and how unstable it is. Each type needs a certain ratio of water and plasma or it starts to explode the second anything touches it." And that wasn't good.

"Like this," and Ryan tossed the coil across the hangar. Unsurprisingly, it hit the wall and exploded. Fortunately, it was a small one, so while it left scorch marks on the wall and floor where it exploded, it didn't break anything.

"THOMAS!!" a very annoyed voice screeched from across the hangar. "BE CAREFUL OVER THERE, YOU IDIOT!" That was Dante.
Ryan winced, and then grinned a little. "Ahem. Bigger the coil, bigger the explosion, and those're expensive and that's coming out of my paycheck so that sucks."
"... why'd you have to throw it?" Daena asked.
"We got the explosion out of the way," Ryan said. "Now hopefully the universe is pacified and nothing else explodes." Right? Right.

That wasn't how that worked, but Ryan would pretend, for sure.

"Hey, out of curiosity," he started, "when was the last time you got to go somewhere outside the Tower? You know, for something besides a mission." Because Ryan? He didn't like staying around the Tower too long. It was weirdly oppressive a place to be, and it was probably all in his head, but it seemed like it was hard to breathe and think in here. Besides, he should go see Zumimom and uncle Killi sometime soon. He hadn't been that way in a while, and letting them know he hadn't died, that was always a nice thing.


Adrian

The Hellhound
21Years Young
10 Posts

Adrian nodded a little at the Other's addition. That was a relief simply because he wasn't sure he would be able to get a grip on those any time soon and knowing that it was more of a don't get blown up thing than anything else was... nice. He'd try and be careful, of course. But Adrian figured he'd probably be doing what Thomas told him for a good long time.

It was, ah, easier than taking risks and causing harm to himself or the ship they were supposed to be fixing.

Adrian's attention turned to the small metal and glass tube with interest as Ryan continued to explain.And then he threw it and Adrian made a slight involuntary gasping noise as it exploded. Well that was an effective demonstration. ... On the other hand, explodign it was probably not a great idea, especially if he was apparently going to have to pay for it.

"... I don't know that that's how that works." Adrian arched an eyebrow slightly. He'd be careful though, because he didn't want to deal with one of those going off next to him for sure. Adrian continued carefully matching wires for a moment or two while he considered the answer to that.

"I don't think I ever have. Not since I joined the project." That was maybe sad to admit, but it wasn't like Handlers did stuff like that. Missions were nice to get out of the tower, but usually they weren't nice in the long run. "Why?" It was an odd question, really. And while Adrian didn't really... like the idea of questioning his handler, his curiosity got the better of him, just this once.

Mr Thomas seemed like he probably wouldn't mind the question given it was a fair follow up to what Adrian himself had been asked. And if he did then Adrian knew not to push even that far in the future. Finding that out sooner rather than later was preferable for a number of reasons.


Ryan Lancaster

38Years Young
11 Posts

You don't know how strong you are until you are faced with your greatest weakness.


So far, that seemed to be how it worked. Then again, Ryan might just be rather lucky anymore, so who really knew? It wasn't as if Ryan had a habit of asking about it, and he certainly wasn't complaining. The fewer number of hydrocoils that exploded around him, the better, ultimately, because the Republic actually kept track of that number and you could lose your airship pilot license and get yourself transferred out of the air fleet over it.

Not Ryan, though. He ran this bitch, and as much as many of the Gammas didn't want to admit it, without Ryan, they'd be royally fucked. Not that Ryan made it obvious he was a unit lead. Actually, most seemed to think he was a Psi or something. It worked in his favor. They were more candid with him when they believed he was one of them, but the truth was, Ryan hadn't been one of them in probably five years now.

At that answer, Ryan made a face. Ever? That was-it was a well-known fact leaving the tower once in a while was very good for part-bloods. Well, no one had ever listened to Jadyka before, what was to say they were going to suddenly decide to now? Nothing.

"I like to visit Pyxis and Aquila from time to time," Ryan answered, shrugging one shoulder. "I have family that way. Well, my brothers are... who knows where, really, but most often we run into each other when we go back to mom's place in Pyxis. Uncle's usually by eventually. I have friends in Aquila, not family, but sometimes you're not blood-related to your family." Certainly, Ryan wouldn't have minded being related to Lucius. He was a good guy.

"But I wouldn't really want to just leave you here," he added. "So any reason bringing you along would be a bad idea?" Some people had unpleasant memories connected to a place. Most part-bloods had anything but a pleasant childhood. It wasn't like this was Ryan's first rodeo.

As soon as he said that, a loud explosion sounded over there; that was much louder than the one Ryan had set off, but still clearly a hydrocoil exploding. Ryan sat up, holding his breath.... and then Dante's voice came from somewhere behind the airship he was working on. "I'm fine! I'm good. Ow...."
Ryan snorted softly. "Aye what was that about being careful?"
"Yo fuck you!"
"Maybe later!" Ryan answered, as he sat back down and went back to matching wires. Daena giggled softly.

No, probably not later. Dante was way too uptight for Ryan to like him, and besides... he was spoken for, anyway. Not that Axel struck him as the jealous type... that wasn't the point, anyway.


Adrian

The Hellhound
21Years Young
10 Posts

"Oh." Well that was fair enough. "If that's what you want to do, then we can." It was completely up to Ryan, Adrian was just the weapon of war that was placed into Ryan's care. If Ryan insisted on strange family trips and things of that nature then he could just... deal with it. It wasn't like it would hurt.

"Well, other than the fact that I lived in Pyxis and I'm not supposed to run into my family, not really." He did want to warn him about that since Ryan asked. "But I can keep my head down and not cause any trouble, if that's what you're asking." He could try at least.

At least mostly. There were times - but he tried not to start trouble, he really did. And so he didn't say that. Besides, Ryan had said he wasn't going to read the files, that meant he had a clean start with this handler, and maybe Adrian didn't want to tell him anything that was going to taint this chance, perhaps his only chance, to get off on the right foot for once.

Adrian flinched at the explosive sound, but it seemed no one was actually hurt. ... He did pretend not to have heard that bit there about maybe later. And instead he just went back to matching wires quietly. It was probably better that way instead of commenting on anything like that.

Except, he was apparently going to have to get used to loud crashing noises. He didn't really want to flinch every time that happened. He'd get used to it eventually though, and then it would just be a matter of hopefully avoiding Ryan finding out about the thunder thing. Well. New starts didn't necessarily mean he could erase everything, Adrian knew.

He'd just have to deal with that if it came to be an issue, he supposed.


Ryan Lancaster

38Years Young
11 Posts

You don't know how strong you are until you are faced with your greatest weakness.


If they happened to come across his family members, that was maybe something that the Republic didn't need to be knowing about. Ryan didn't say that. He knew better by this point, because sometimes the walls had ears, and they tended to love having ears in places where part-bloods might hang around. Instead, he just glanced at Daena. Daena gave him a look right back, and then went back to messing with the cables. Yeah, it was standard protocol not to let part-bloods have any contact with their family after they came to the project, but maybe that was part of why they ultimately lost so many.

But hey, what the hell would Ryan know? It wasn't like he'd been a handler for over ten years by now. Actually, it was probably closer to twenty years. (That was so long. He needed a life.)

He went quiet for a bit after the explosion, thinking. There were ways of wording things that made it a lot easier to handle what was said, but Ryan was never good at that sort of thing. That was one of the things he and Sandalio resolutely had in common; they both sucked at beating around bushes and wording things certain ways. Eventually, he sighed a little.

"You and I both probably know Pyxis isn't always kind," he said. "If you do end up in trouble, just deal with it and leave the rest to me." With any luck, they wouldn't have to be concerned about it, but Ryan hoped someday it'd become second-nature to just let Ryan deal with the Republic. Because yes, he would and had before fought for his assignments.

Nothing quite like telling a beta prime or a gamma to shove it over a part-blood. There was a reason Angel had gotten interested in him, after all. ... not that we talked about that. "The fairy likes to play tag, by the way," he said. "I can't usually keep up with her, maybe you can." Quieter, he added, "you're allowed to tell her to fuck off."

He sure did sometimes.


Adrian

The Hellhound
21Years Young
10 Posts

Adrian stayed quiet too, continuing to work on the task at hand. He didn't notice the looks exchanged around him, with his attention focused fully on what he was supposed to be doing. It was for the best, he probably wouldn't really have understood them anyway. Still, the chances of his family recognizing him were maybe lower than he thought, and the chances of them really paying attention to a part-blood with a handler were low. Most people didn't notice or interact with them. They weren't people after all.

Ryan started to speak again and Adrian's mind tuned back into his voice habitually, but he didn't look up at first. Right, leave the rest to him. Adrian almost snorted but managed to restrain himself at the last second, resulting in just a slightly sharper than normal exhale. "If you say so. I'll still try not to cause trouble." Evenly. Adrian didn't want to be on the receiving end of punishment if he could avoid it - did anyone? And the reality was, no matter what happened if Adrian reacted, he would be punished.

With the possible exception of if he was acting to protect his handler or something similar. Even then there was a chance a higher up would take offense, depending on what exactly the situation was. Adrian wasn't stupid, weapons of war weren't supposed to act unless ordered to do so. Pyxis wasn't kind, but the Republic was cruel ... after all, the Republic did leave Pyxis to rot as it was.

"Maybe I can." At least sometimes. "If I can't, the fairy cat probably can help sometimes." There was a slight pause. "Though I worry about the trouble they may get into together." Amber... could be a little mischevious and if the fairy was similar... oh they may both have a headache by the end of this. But there wasn't much for that now. It wasn't as if they knew it would go badly.

"I didn't want to bring Amber up here without knowing what we were getting into exactly." Some handlers didn't like her at all, and she could get into trouble easily. "But you'll get to meet her soon I'm sure." She didn't like being left behind, and she probably would like the fairy.


Ryan Lancaster

38Years Young
11 Posts

You don't know how strong you are until you are faced with your greatest weakness.


Yeah, Ryan had an idea of how this was supposed to go. If Adrian was anything like any other part-blood in this place, there were a few logical assumptions and mental jumps he'd likely made that were not quite correct, but correct enough for most handlers. Ryan wasn't most handlers. Adrian had no reason to believe that. Even if Ryan said as much, Adrian still wouldn't have reason to believe him, and Ryan knew that. Still, on the off-hand chance Adrian happened to remember what he said and act in accordance to it when it was necessary to do so, maybe it was worth the breath. Even then, he'd prove it, eventually.

"I need you to understand this," Ryan said. "I can tell a gamma shithead to go fuck himself. I do it all the time actually, they won't even much be surprised. But I can't resurrect you, or undo certain other things. Even if the only reason you defend yourself is because you decide this is a direct order, fine, I'll take it, just make sure you do." That was better than nothing, and he could work with it, transform it over time. It was a start.

Ryan smiled a little. "And with any luck, my fairy and your fairy will give someone else a headache for once, and not us, right?" Ryan sure as heck got enough headaches from Daena by herself already, he certainly wasn't thrilled about the idea of having a double headache.
"Thomas?" another voice called across the hangar.
Ryan popped up over the airship jellyfish. "What?"
"Here," they said, walking over and handing him... Adrian's control bracelet.
Ryan just made a face, gingerly taking it. The other soldier walked off, and Ryan looked annoyed. "This thing," he said, and then made a crushing gesture with the other hand.

"Don't crush it, I don't know if it'll malfunction," Daena said.
"I don't either," Ryan said. "That's why I've never crushed one of these. ... here, you do something with it." And he handed Daena the bracelet. She could manage, albeit barely.
"Why me?"
"Because you're not me and also not busy."
"YECK!" And there was a little thunk sound as Daena hit the inside of one of the airship's outer control panels.
"... or not." Not was good too.

"... Ryan, I think I'm stuck," she said after a moment, her voice echoing slightly.
Ryan started laughing, but he did peek in there to figure out how to get her out without damaging her wings.


Adrian

The Hellhound
21Years Young
10 Posts

Adrian nodded mutely, not really sure what to say to that. He still didn't really understand why Ryan felt the need to make a point of saying that - after all, it wasn't as if the Handler really would protect him, and it wasn't as if Adrian was under any delusions of that fact. Did he think he was that young and gullible? But even so, he didn't know why Ryan would want him to believe that. "I will." If he insisted, he'd defend himself if it came down to it, but he also knew that would mean facing punishment. That was how things went.

And he was disposable, just like any other part-blood. The Republic had no qualms about murdering them and making another one if they turned out to be too much of a problem. This handler didn't seem new enough not to know that, so it was probably some kind of tactic to make him 'trust' the guy. As if trust mattered as long as he followed orders.

Adrian let out a short laugh. "I wouldn't mind them being in each other's hair instead of ours." He admitted mildly. "As long as they don't cause too much trouble together." Because then there would be even more headaches in the longer run, and Adrian didn't really want to have to deal with that. After all, if his Other misbehaved he tended to be the one that paid for it. Not that he minded, he could handle it better than Amber. It was still, ah, unpleasant to say the least.

Oh, right, of course. His control bracelet. Adrian's expression remained reasonably blank, and he continued working quietly on the wires. Blink. Crush it? He glanced up enough to see Ryan handing the bracelet to the Other and frowned. What? That was... confusing. Why wouldn't he put it on like any other handler?

"Er..." He trailed off but didn't say anything. It wasn't really for him to worry about, he supposed. Ryan would do things the way he chose to do things and all Adrian had to do was keep his head down and behave. That was his job.

"Oh no." She'd gotten stuck in there? "Is there anything I can do to help, or should I just keep on with the wires?" Slightly concerned.