Frakked Up Physics
Frakked Up Physics
Summary: Rhea and 'Professor' Quill spiel over the physics-bending implosion of the PAS.
Date: 33 ACH
Related Logs: None

Main Engineering Genesis - Deck 8

33 ACH 6285 Souls

Main Engineering is staffed by the Chief Engineer and his or her crew. There are enough monitors, flashing lights, back-up generators, consoles and various other areas to man the battlestar and keep it in top form at all times. Storage areas, locked areas, pipes, machinery and tools are all around the area. The desk of the ChEng sits in an area where it is the quietest so work can be done.

----< Condition Three - Duty Area >----—-

Contents: Quill Rhea Magic 8 Ball Marker_Four Whiteboard Wireless

Exits: [O] Corridor

Special: +detail - Details available


Quill is hard at work, applying his Recruitful self to sorting parts. There's a box of junk pulled off varying crafts in varying states of decrepitude, and there's a bin each for parts that can be mended and re-used, or parts that have ended their useful life and now serve only to be melted into something else. Thunk. In they go, a pause of examination between each. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

Rhea strides into Main Engineering. She checks the duty board, drops by a couple of consoles the junior officers are manning, and generally makes the rounds. Heading in the general direction of her desk. But, as ever, she's in no great hurry to bury herself in administration. The thunking attracts her attention. She cracks a faint grin as she watches Quill work, angling that way. "Anything good in there?" The ChEng looks rather more tired than usual, but she's hardly the only one right now. She eyes the pile of decrepitude, intrigued.

Thunk. Thunkthunk. Thunka-thunkthunk-thunka. It's starting to develop a rhythm, this sorting, though Quill pauses when Rhea shows up. "Hi, sir." A salute leaves a black streak across his forehead, as though some higher power has marked Quill for sorting of his own. "That's what I'm in the process of finding out. That bin to your left is the salvageable stuff. Nothing too exciting so far, though… Fasteners, valves, and such. Important but boring, like the dean at my university."

Rhea returns the salute in her standard 'get the protocol stuff out of the way' manner. She leans over the bin, peering inside. "Any spare parts we can lay our hands on are exciting these days," she says, sifting. She plucks out a valve and palms it fondly. Speaking of spare parts. "I heard you've been putting yourself to good use. You enjoy working down on the Deck?"

Quill pauses, hesitating thoughtfully before he answers. "Yes and no," the Recruit finally replies, turning a twisted piece of metal around as though trying to figure out what it once was. "I enjoy feeling useful. I don't enjoy… crisis. I'm glad I was there and I'd do it again any time, drop of a hat, whatever they need. But you see the ships twisted and broken, you see problems and you /know/ that bird shouldn't go up again according to the spec book. But you know it probably will." Quill pauses again, then looks over at Rhea. "As mechanics, as engineers, we like things to work. We like things to be fixed, and we're accustomed to fixing things and making them work. We create order. To see that order chewed up and spat back at you as total chaos is… difficult. It's reality, but it's difficult."

Rhea listens to that silently. Sorting through the bin. Putting her hands on the spare parts is therapeutic. She finds a dented power coil, pondering it. "You want me to tell it gets easier? That somehow the training, the experience, the regs, will made it less difficult?" She shakes her head. "Afraid not, Professor. You get more proficient at dealing with what you can fix. Prioritizing. Salvaging what most civilians would consider unsalvageable. But the things you can't fix…if anything, giving up gets harder."

Quill laughs quietly, though the sound is somewhat bittersweet. "No… no, I wouldn't expect it gets easier or better. Wrong words for the current times. I guess my hope is just that I get tougher, you know? Less overwhelmed by it." He quirks a wry grin, "And I expect that will happen, with time, exposure, and lack of sleep. How are you holding up with, um, everything, sir? If it's alright to ask?"

Rhea smirks, holding up her hands. Dirty, toughened little things that they are. "The work'll abuse some callouses onto you. You'll be surprised, I think. You'd be amazed at what you're capable of when you've got a job to do and people are depending on you. There'll always be days that overwhelm you, though. Especially right now." She clears her throat. "I'm about the work, Quill. And between scrounging metal, fuel shortages, finding alternate sources of food and water, I've got more than enough to keep me busy. There'll still some dents to weld out but I'm getting things sorted." The way she says that last seems to extend it beyond the mechanical. Not that she goes into any of that. "How're you? Thinking you made the wrong choice, becoming a Navy man? I wouldn't blame you."

Quill briefly eyes his own hands, which are currently in the unpleasant dermatological limbo spanning the gap between desk-worker hands and calloused hands. Which is to say, blisters in varying degrees of ow. He grimaces at them and looks back at Rhea with a quirk of a smile. "Nah. It's the right choice. I question it superficially when I find my creature-comforts going extinct, no doubt. Sleep, free time, that physical state I barely remember where nothing hurts, I miss it. But I did the right thing, and I think… it would have been wrong on some level not to join. Or I would have been eventually drafted anyway."

"You should drop by Medical about those when things are less crazy," Rhea says, nodding pointedly to his hands. "Pick up some ointment. I *really* dislike cleaning puss off the engines." She smiles back faintly, though. She approves of blisters. "Commander Regas hasn't mentioned a draft. Things are staying voluntary for now. Folks can even keep their civvie status if they agree to work as a contractor. Believe it or not, things're easier here in a lot of ways. We've got as steady a supply of food and water as you can get right now. Decent shelter. Decent clothing, if you can stand the limited color pallet. It's more…stable than life among the civilians." Which brings a faintly worried frown to her face.

"Medical has better things to do," Quill disagrees, somewhat self-consciously. "Blisters heal. I'll improvise some bandages or something… I never considered how gross it is, though, until you mentioned it. Sort of looks vaguely leprous." Cause the only thing better than pus on the engines is leprosy on the engineers. Yes. "That was half my reason for joining up," Quill admits, as Rhea describes the civilian situation. "Looking out for number one, making sure I stay fed. It's not often you get to be selfish and altruistic in the same act, it's kind of a novelty." Thunk, another part gets a very delayed sorting. Scrap. "I don't think it would have been so bad on the PAS, but…" The sentence just trails off there.

Rhea snorts. "Medical wouldn't mind something easy to deal with right now, I suspect. And I like my snipes to have all their limbs attached. Increases productivity." She's still holding that power coil. It's in a badly blown state. But, with a short nod, she adds it to the salvageable pile. "Just needs some wiring work. We'll need all of those we can get." She returns her attention to the bin. Rifling. "Well, the PAS was it's own animal. Had a different rhythm to it than you'll find on most military installations. Parts of it were more like a giant laboratory. With big guns." There's a wistful, even sad, note to her tone. She's mourning the station.

Quill nods to the comment about medical. It's the sort of nod that indicates understanding rather than the sort of nod that guarantees compliance. But hey, when his fingers fall off, she told him so. The Recruit picks though his source bin without taking anything out, and the talk of the PAS seems to have sobered him as well. "I never went over there," Quill admits. "It was the light at the end of my tunnel, my reward to myself for finishing this training. Getting pins. Et cetera… sounds kind of stupid, doesn't it? But I was looking forward to it. Celebration, go see the impossible FTL drives." A pause lingers. "I guess I've learned something about not delaying things anymore, even for good reasons."

"That's an excellent lesson to take to heart," Rhea says simply. "At any rate. We've still got the vids of its virgin jump. Preserved for posterity. You should watch it. It won't compare to what it was like to see it live but…it's a lovely light all the same." She finds a mass of metal that's been melted beyond recognition. Into the scrap heap it goes. "Major Carter will be happy to take you through it frame-by-frame, I'm sure, if you like."

Quill looks slightly ill, as though he's slightly seasick or just unintentionally swallowed a frog. "No, I… that's alright," he demurs, at the offer, fiddling with another power coil. "I don't think I could watch it and appreciate it, while… knowing… um, what happened to it. The PAS. And what those drives did. Maybe after a while from now, when things are less overwhelming… I'll watch it then." Quill clears his throat, slightly. "Major Carter. How is he?"

"Better," Rhea says, becoming very interested in a heavily dented stabilizer. "Dented but not beyond repair. He'll be in Sickbay for awhile yet but he's awake and alert." She can't keep her tone entirely impassive. She clears her throat. "What *did* those drives do? I had my head up Genny's engines during that whole mess. I still haven't entirely pieced the chaos together."

"They created a Transverse Hyperlight Implosion," Quill answers the question, somewhat tersely. He looks sick again. "It's never happened before and it's theoretically impossible, which I suppose is fitting." A pause lingers as the recruit closes his eyes briefly, and continues after exhaling briefly. "Sorry, it's… space-time is not supposed to /break/ this way. Or… collapse, I suppose would be the more accurate term. How detailed an explanation are you after, Major?"

Rhea drops the scraps of metal she was holding with a sharp clank, looking up at Quill. Eyes widened. She's heard the term. "Frak…Well. I don't know why I'm surprised. Quite a few things on the PAS were theoretically impossible. Spiel as detailed as you like, Professor. I took Theoretical Hyper-Physics. Ages ago. Never thought I'd have to deal with any of it practically."

"Who would have thought we'd deal with any of this, practically?" Quill notes, with a humorless smile. "Our civilization was one where you hear the words 'In the event of an emergency' and tune out, because it never happened." The power coil finally goes into the scrap bin, then Quill changes his mind and moves it to the salvage bin. "Something went wrong with the external FTL generator. It was damaged, probably. I don't know, there's… lots of things can go wrong when you're fracking around with the fabric of space. Anyway, the hyperlight generator apparatus didn't have enough energy to keep the FTL field stable, and it tried to compensate by jumping molecules of the target it was trying to jump, into /itself/. The matter of the generator quantum singularized… Physics doesn't like to get turned inside out. Black hole. Very small black hole that doesn't extend beyond the edged of the FTL field, but, black hole. Everything within the field was then crushed, the field compressed to its zero point, and everything in the field left the building. Left the universe. Left this particular space/time condinuum. Theoretically, the cosmic egg material from the black hole and the collapsed field would have banged out a small pocket universe. Somewhere."

Rhea follows all that well enough as Quill breaks it down, eyes getting wider. "An FTL-manufactured black hole…?" She's somewhere in the three corners of awe, horror and disbelief. "Holy frak." It's the only response she can muster for a second. "I'm surprised *anyone* survived that mess."

"If the FTL field hadn't contained the fracked up physics, we wouldn't have survived," Quill replies, somewhat shakily. "Lords know what would have happened, but we wouldn't be worrying about theorizing it. It's… Gods." The recruit looks away. "I hate knowing this. I wish I could just believe 'it exploded, or something' like almost everyone else does. I hate having a concept of how brilliant the PAS was, and how horrifying the consequence of that brilliance turned out to be. I hate knowing that humanity, the Cylons, our universe, /everything/ is small compared to something like this, and everything can be destroyed with no one left to remember it."

"Easy, Quill," Rhea says, composing her brain a bit. "What you know is something any physicist, a lifetime ago, could've made a whole career off of. We weren't destroyed. We're here in part because of that." Her words are reassuring, but there's still that wide-eyed awe about her expression. Mind still rather blown. "The PAS was brilliant. And beautiful. But it definitely frakked with my view of a lot of things. I remember the first time Reed…that Major Carter showed me the FTL on that station. Back when I was safely convinced a facility like that could *never* be made jump-capable. I felt like I'd fallen on my ass. Like I had to readjust all these perceptions I'd based so much of my professional life on." She smirks. "It pissed me off. I hate being told I'm wrong."

Quill attempts a smile, reaching into the (seemingly endless) to-sort bin again and depositing a blob of shapeless metal into the scrap pile. "Funny how things change, isn't it? It's sort of reassuring in some ways, this realization that adaptation always occurs. Things that were amazing and horrible become facts of life. Though, this particular one… requires more time to get to fact-of-life level. For me. I used to like being wrong — scientifically speaking — but that was before being wrong became a lot more life threatening and scary. Was Major Carter one of the people who helped design the PAS, as well as being in charge of it?"

"I'm not sure how involved in the design phase he was, actually," Rhea replies. "The station was a military research project. Top-secret. Even though I was assigned to the Genesis, I didn't have the clearance to hear about its particulars until I needed to know. I don't think it was Major Carter's invention. He was attached to the project because of the terraforming that was going on where the station was based. He's a planetary scientist, not a physicist. Or an engineer."

Quill nods, brain soaking this up, sponge like, to ponder over later. "This is a non-sequitur," he admits the topic change, "And it may be classified beyond something I'm allowed to hear, in which case I'll stop asking. But… I was wondering how much research has been done on the bits of cylon that have been harvested here and there. Do we know anything about their FTL capabilities, or whether or not we can make alloys of their materials and our own? I mean… lords, I don't even know if they're made of /metal/ as we think of it, but if we can cannibalize, it might help along our lack of standard resources." Quill pauses a moment. "Just a thought. An oddly timed thought, maybe. But I think about these things, to prevent the thinking of other things, you know? Better to mentally churn over puzzles than worries."

"We didn't snag any of the full, modern Raiders for study. And so much of that work is gone with the PAS. Frak, I'm going to miss my robotics studio," Rhea says. Also mourning the loss of her toaster corpses. "I'll get with Major Gaelan about snagging us some more Centurion husks at the earliest opportunity. And I understand. I'll get you a look at the data we gathered, in the brief time we had with them. Actually, I wanted to have you as a primary on that project. Once you were done with Basic abuse."

It's like Christmas! Christmas with dead robot data! And with, you know, whatever they have in in the Colonial Pantheon instead of Christmas. Suffice to say, Quill is a happy person upon hearing he may get to be primary on Cylon bidness, face all lit up and clinging to a fastener assembly as though he's going to hug it at any moment. "I'd be thrilled to work on that project in any capacity, sir. Should be done with training in two or three days, barring the unexpected."

"Excellent," Rhea says. Though his enthusiasm draws a wry smirk. "We have a pile of work to do. Food and water supplies are suddenly a hell of a lot scarcer. We'll need to hit the idea of protein resequencing full-throttle. And the engines. Tyllium is in finite supply right now, too. Not to mention loaning out mechanical techs for Viper repairs, structural engineers for metal scrounging, and integrating as many shell-shocked engineers as we can scrounge from the PAS survivors into the duty roster. While keeping up with our regular maintenance rounds on the Genny, Sula and spot-work on the Carina." She rattles it off without even losing her breath.

Quill raises a brow as Rhea starts talkin', and tugs a small notebook and pencil out of one of his pockets. Long, long years as a student have taught him to take notes — and even though this is the military, where there's always someone to tell you what you should be doing, old habits die hard. And then, of course, along with the notes, there are questions. "The protein re-sequencers from the PAS are here, right? They just need to be operational? I remember you and Major Carter discussing moving the sequencers to be worked on, or something, but the rest of that conversation is recorded in my memory as 'oh my gods oh my gods the PAS it moves oh my gods.'" He peers at his notes. "I'd guess tylium adjustments need to start on the refinery ship, moving from there to the rest of the fleet?"

Rhea nods. "Most of the equipment we need is in the Biomedical Lab up by Sickbay. You'll get to know it intimately soon, I'm sure." As for the tylium, she mulls that. "For starters. Eventually, we need to retool the ships themselves to improve overall efficiency. Burn less to save more. We can model off the PAS specs for some of that. That frakker was huge, but it burned far less energy than my little Valkyrie class here." She pats a Genesis bulkhead with idle fondness.

"Bio Lab," Rhea replies. "It's down the hall from Sickbay, on Deck 13." The smirks. "They must not've made you clean that corridor." She doesn't entirely veil her amusement. "As for the rest, we are faced with a mountain of concerns and barely a pile of resources to carry it out with. We'll do what we can to conserve, see if we can't start by simply tightening up resources. Then, we hunt and scrounge for what we need. In whatever's left of the universe. I told you, Recruit. A snipe is an engineer that works for a living. You're a snipe now. And we're glad to have another hand."

"Yet," Quill groans at the corridor cleaning. "Pretty sure I've done all the others. You've tempted fate, though, and after I get off duty here, I'm sure that's what they'll have me do." He's half amused, half resigned to his blistery fate. Quill nods at tightening resources, and both notebook and pencil vanish back into his pocket. "Understood, sir. Just one more question…" Pause. "And it's a stupid question. But I have to ask or I'll exist in deplorable ignorance. Why is it /snipe/? I mean, it's not sniping like bang bang, and it's not snipe as in the type of bird."

Rhea laughs. "I think every Engineering recruit asks that question at some point. It's Navy slang from back before the ships had jump drives, Quill. I suspect its origins aren't particularly complimentary. We work below decks, in grease and sweat, surrounded by hot machines that could set our frail bodies afire at any moment. We're proper guttersnipes." She chuckles again. "Beats being a deckape, at least. I assure you, it's a term of pride. At least to me. Think of it in bird-terms, if it makes you feel better."

Quill ponders this a moment, looking upwards as though the etymological history of the word snipe is written just over his head and slightly to the left. Then he grins, and looks back to Rhea. "I prefer guttersnipe," he decides, instead of the shorebird. "If I'm a snipe, I'm a snipe, grease, sweat, and hostile machines included. Thanks for the explanation." And for the lack of mocking! "I'll let you get back to more important business, sir. Talking with you has been… cathartic, though, and I appreciate it."

"That's what they pay me the big cubits, Quill," Rhea says dryly. "Though, come to think of it, I'm not really receiving a paycheck anymore. If we ever restore civilization, I'm going to bill command for some serious overtime." She gives him a short nod and leaves him to his notes, heading to her desk. She doesn't immediately face her paperwork. Rather she takes a moment to straighten her family photos, and idly play with her toy ball. Expression thoughtful.

Rhea shakes Magic 8 Ball. Its message reads: Oooh baby, shake me more

Quill shakes Magic 8 Ball. Its message reads: Not if the Cylons have anything to do with it.

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