An Electric Starry Morn'
An Electric Starry Morn'
Arc: None
Summary: Several personnel wander into the Observation Lounge and have a relaxing chat keeping their minds off of current situation.
Date: 2659.113
Related Logs: None
Participants: Kaylen, Walsh, Murphy, Helena

The Lounge is fairly quiet and calm, except for the occasional bits of sound coming from a spot between chairs and bulkhead. Metal clinking and clanking, quiet mutterings, tools being rummaged. Kaylen is sitting cross-legged on the floor, a small pouch of smaller tools unfolded by her left hip and an assortment of mismatched little parts scattered somewhat haphazardly on the floor in front of her.

Walsh wanders in, a satchel slung across his shoulder. He scans the room, and looks mildly disappointed to discover the area is not vacant. With a polite nod to the current occupant, he heads to take a seat facing toward the viewport.

"Don't mind me, not even here," Kaylen mentions when she hears someone crossing the lounge. The comfy viewing chairs aren't too far away, but… hardly convenient for whatever it is she's doing. She only peeks up to see who it is once she hears a body settle onto a chair.

"Invisible woman, then?" Walsh quips. He lowers the satchel gently from his shoulder to the deck and drops into his chosen chair. Now seated, he turns to the satchel, removing a collection of datapads — all appear to be in various states of disassembly, and arranges them on the table.

Kaylen snorts in mild amusement, bending closer to the floor to carefully work a thin screwdriver against some sort of coupling. "If only, right? Theoretically possible to generate a field where light is deflected along a particular curve, but huge drain on power… And that's not actual invisibility, just hiding." The clatter of pads upon table does pull her attention up from her tinkering, and she cranes her neck to peer. "Need pliers?"

"True. Could probably modify a shield generator to do something similar, but as you said, prohibitively expensive in terms of drain." Interesting tangent, he thinks. "Won't be trying it myself in a hurry — last one I touched, technically killed me." He sets about powering up his gadgets. "I'm good for tools, thanks. Working on software today."

Kaylen grunts and lowers her head again, somewhat less intrigued by software. "You don't look very dead," she notes, glancing up after a few more moments of quiet tinkering. "Shield generators have tempers at the best of time. Snippy little primadonnas, really."
"Indeed. This particular one tried to play Thor with me. I'm told it threw me clear across the workshop. From the state I was in when I came to, I'd believe it." Walsh grimaces. "So now I fly fighters rather than building them. If they're gonna get me killed, might as well go down fighting, right?"

Hexagonal coupling sits over oblong bracket, which attaches to reducer pipe… Kaylen fiddles with her doohickey a bit more and considers the man's words. "I suppose. Though I'd be more partial to the option that leaves me alive at the end." Another adjustment to her doohickey, then a tiny powercell gets inserted and clipped into place. Twist of a small knob, and a tiny holographic globe appears above the thingy. "I'm happy building and fixing up your fighters, personally. You guys… pilots, I mean… have enough to worry about. Least I can do is make sure your rides stay in tiptop form."

Walsh taps at one of his datapads and produces a holographic field of his own, projecting the image of a Stiletto cockpit overlaid with lines of text. "Oh, I wouldn't say no to living through this either, but action beats inaction, yeah?" Realizing that his words could be misconstrued as an accusation of cowardice, he adds, "I mean, in regards to the war. Serving instead of tinkering on some prototype that might not even see service."

"Kaylen Stuart, by the way. Engineering." In case that wasn't self-explanatory. Her doodad clicks off, and she neatly tucks her tools back into the small pouch. The youthful engineer is sitting on the floor near the transparent bulkhead, finishing up some random little project, while Walsh is fiddling with an assortment of datapads at a table. "I've been close enough to action to want to leave it to braver souls. And it's probably safer for everyone if I keep a wrench in my pocket instead of a gun." This is said with a bemused little grin.

Lt. Lynn Murphy enters the lounge. "Oh hello," she says spying the individuals hanging out here. "What is that you are looking at?" she asks with innocent curiosity as she takes a sit in one of the chairs.
"Hey, if it isn't the face of the Majestic!" Walsh says at the appearance of the comm officer. He gestures to his collection of gadgets. "This here's my little project to keep me out of trouble off-duty. Portable simulator, basically." In response to Kaylen's introduction, and to the benefit of the newly arrived, he volunteers his own name. "Sam Walsh, 221st Illuminati. Callsign's Ozone. You can probably deduce the reason behind that one."

"Heh. Ozone." Kaylen certainly gets the reference. What she doesn't get, though, is 'off the floor'. Even with her tools tucked away, and random doohickey sitting neglected, she just leans back on her hands, eyes drawn to the pilot's hologram. "He was just explaining how he prefers being shot at to being attacked by shield generators."

Lynn turns towards Walsh, "Hmmm… Ozone, oh yes you were that Stiletto pilot who managed to bring that group of Rapiers back home." Lynn smiles and reaches her hand across to the pilot, "Lt. Caoilainn Murphy or Lynn. It is a pleasure to meet you." After the introduction, she chuckles at Kaylen's comment, "Hmm, I think I can commiserate with that; although I've never had electronics explode on me in the physical sense."

"Eh. Not so much explode as violently discharge." Walsh corrects. "But that's semantics, really. Left me clinically dead either way you look at it." He shrugs. "Yeah, that was me. -Fun- bit of flying that was. And by 'fun' I mean 'total clusterfuck'."

Helena troops her way into the Observation Lounge with a purposeful stride, pausing at the hatch to give a polite nod to those assembled within.

Kaylen fiddles with her doohickey a bit more, then leans further back. She actually lays on the floor and stares up at the way the bulkhead curves overhead. Or at the stars beyond. "Clusterfucks are almost a way of life sometimes. Depends on how they're handled, mostly. Can't avoid them."

"Really? You actually had one discharge on you?" Lynn asks Walsh with concern. She then turns to Kaylen raising her eyebrows at the comment.

"That I did. Or so they said. Not surprisingly, I don't actually have any memory of what happened." Walsh says. "What can I say? I'm a walking medical enigma." He grins. "From Sol. Now in Gemini." 'Coz Enigma is the name of a sector, see?

"Good Morning, sirs." Helena says, stepping into the compartment. "Don't mind me, I'm just doing the AM security sweep of the cargo deck and observation area," she notes, gesturing slightly to the sidearm at her hip. As if, somehow, a stray Kilrathi could get aboard.

Kaylen finds herself lost in the stars, and absently mumbles something that sounds more like trigonometry than an explanation of clusterfuckery. A stray word does poke through, at least, and pulls her thoughts back to the lounge. "Morning..? Morning." Frown. She props up onto her elbows and searches for the nearest timepiece. "Awww, crapbuckets."

Lynn looks slightly annoyingly at Kaylen, "Is your mouth really as dirty as your hands, Kaylen?" Lynn then asks in Helena's direction, "So nearly finished with your 'sweep'?" she asks before adding more softly, "You can have a seat for a couple minutes. Pretty sure there aren't any stray cats around."

Walsh nods in assent. "Yeah, you might as well, since everyone else seems to be coming in here." There's a hint of annoyance in his voice. "I'd imagine we'd probably notice any fuzzies trying to get on board. They're not exactly hard to spot in a crowd.

Helena chuckles softly and gives the barest of shrugs. "It does seem a touch silly, but orders are orders." she points out. "Perhaps a few moments, though," she muses, eyeing one of the seats longingly and, if only for a second, letting her weariness show. Someone was up sadistically early this morning. "Any word about….anything?"

"I'm a miner's brat, Lynn," Kaylen replies, though the mild chiding does make the engineer look a bit sheepish. "I try to keep it clean, but… old habits die hard." She rocks back to her upright position, and since there's an impressionable private present, finally drags her butt off the floor and onto an open chair. Oomf. "One of these days, I'd like to see a cat in person. I've only seen holos, and it's just not the same."

Lynn nods her head to the negative and adds, "More rocks and sensor shadows with an occasional sortie. I think our fighters are taking more damage from the rocks then the Kilrathi, but I can't really go into any more detail than that…and really neither should Lieutenant Walsh," she adds with a slight tinge of authority in her voice.

Walsh shudders slightly. "Ugh. Speak not of the rocks." As to operational matters, he has some inkling as to what's going on, and there's definite spookiness afoot, but he can't say anything. He gives the private an apologetic shrug. "Yeah, sorry. I'm only a Two Ell Tee. They don't tell us much, and what we do get told, we can't really go blabbing about to the lowly enlisted." He hopes it's clear that he's not really being derisive.

Helena smiles a bit, nodding her understanding of the situation politely. "Oh, yes, sir. Of course, specific details of operations are beyond my ken," she says, then smiles impishly, "Mostly I was looking for hot scuttlebutt," she chuckles shyly.

Kaylen grunts quietly, with the near-universal half-grump of those condemned to forever repair rock-related injuries to poor innocent fighter. But she manages a better smile for the others. "Unless reconfiguring the secondary transducer circuit to optimize discharge efficiency counts as scuttlebutt, I'm fresh out. And…I'd better go grab grub before my shift starts." She pushes to her feet and gathers her doohickey and her toolpouch, "If you'll excuse me…"

Lynn nods and waves goodbye to Kaylen. "See you later, Kaylen and stay safe," she says with a hopeful smile.

"Ah. As a male of the species, I'm not particularly predisposed to the swapping of gossip." Walsh explains. "Besides, I've been busy lately, between dodging the aforementioned rocks, forced sim time, and such." … And going quietly insane in the corner. "Nice to meet you, Kaylen," he says as she departs.
Helena stiffens momentarily as Kaylen makes her exit, snapping off a crisp salute. "Good morning, sir," she says, as if on autopilot. Once she's gone, Helena moves to one of the empty seats and, gingerly, sits down just a little bit. "Ah….." she sighs softly as she takes the load off her combat-boot laden feet. "Just for a moment, Private, just for a moment and not one second more," she whispers to herself in a fierce undertone. "Sirs, if it is any consolation, I have scant gossip my own self," she sighs. "Though…" she says, brightening and sitting up just a hair straighter on the edge of the chair." My sources report that Joletta Mallett is expecting…./quite/ the scandal back home," she grins slightly.

Lynn squints at Walsh regarding the male/gossip comment, "I hope you realize that that is a gross overgeneralization that you are casting upon the females of the species." She then turns to Helena looking rather askance at the name, "Mallett?"

Oh look, a bite! "Oh, but it's true, you know. 'You women' live for the dissemination of scandalous anecdotes." He struggles to maintain the deadpan act. "Especially comm officers. Perfect vocation." Losing the battle. He waits a beat. "And all men are misogynistic pigs too." Wide grin now. "Well, some of them are smartasses, maybe…"

Helena splits a Significant Glance (C) between Walsh and Lynn, then chuckles throatily. "I would so dearly enjoy calling the Lieutenant on that one, sir," she says to Lynn, shaking her head a little. "Would it be he was not correct," she sighs. "The Mallett family, sir," she goes on to explain, pronouncing it as 'Mall-ee' "/Very/ well respected on Sirius Prime, deeply rooted in the Church. Joletta, who is only sixteen, is often held up as an example of proper breeding and upstanding morals," she notes with a hint of a sardonic sneer. "It would appear that someone forgot to mention that to her polo instructor," she giggles, blushing a bit and covering her mouth with both hands. "You did /not/ hear that from me, sirs!" she says, giggling again.

"I'll not have you casting aspersions on communication officers, especially not female Irish ones," she says with mock anger to Walsh. After listening to Helena, she shrugs before saying towards Walsh, "Seriously, though I rather dislike gossips; especially amongst ensigns in the CIC," she adds with seriousness. She decides to leave the rest of Walsh's comments sit in the air.

"I thought if you were going to tell me off for stereotyping, I might as well make it worth your while. Wouldn't want you to get the impression that any significant proportion of what I say is serious," Walsh grins. "I played Mr. Serious once. It ended with a light show."

Helena heaves a small sigh and hauls herself back upright. "Thank you for indulging me, sirs," she says, stiffening for a moment to snap off another salute. "This Private should be reporting back, now. Sweep complete. No cats, no safeties, no threats located," she says with a diffident smirk. "Good morning."

"Yeah, I had you pegged after hearing some of the comm chatter. You don't think we stop listening to you pilots when you go beyond visual range do you?" Lynn questions rhetorically. She then turns to Helena saying with her usual smile and wave, "Well it was good seeing you again, and good morn' to you too." The last few words come off with significantly more of an Irish accent than usual.

"See what I mean? You comms officers - deviants the lot of you." Walsh quips. He turns to the marine. "Good huntingm" he says, sarcastically. He takes notice of the name on her uniform. "Private DeVriess." Why's that name familiar?

"Thank you, sir, and you as well." Helena replies to Lynn, pivoting neatly on her heel and starting to make her way out of the compartment. "Lieutenant," she notes for Walsh's benefit, pausing to salute again.

Lynn looks over to Walsh, "Hey now, we have to keep tabs on you pilots as much as we can; especially while you're on patrol."

"Suuure you do.." Walsh says with an exaggerated wink. With the 'crowd' thinning out a little, his attention can shift a bit more towards his project. He taps at the foremost datapad, and is rewarded with ear-shattering white noise, which he quickly silences again. "Goddamn, thought I fixed that bug." he complains.

Lynn just shakes her head and looks out the viewport. Noticing the noise and the mumble, she asks, "Problems Mr. serious?"

Walsh sighs. "The infamous 'disturb the whole First and Last' bug rears its ugly head once more," he says, recalling a previous occurrence. Come to think of it, that night didn't end too badly. "Just when you think you've got rid of it…"

Lynn looks at Walsh with a confused look on her regarding the bug, "Real descriptive title for a bug."

"Yeah, that burst of noise. Kinda happened in the First and Last this one time. Fun times." Walsh looks slightly frustrated. "Something's corrupting the audio buffer," he says, thinking out loud.

Lynn nods and then blurts out, "Audio buffer? Need any help fixing it? You are talking to a communication technical wizard, you know."

Walsh looks skeptical. "Eh it's not really a communications problem so much as some shoddy code somewhere writing to where it shouldn't, I think. Needs a good run through the debugger."

Lynn gets up to walk over to Walsh, "Hmm… well I'm a little rusty on my programming, but I am pretty good at troubleshooting. I spent several years aboard an older Yorktown's CIC."

"Alright." Walsh shrugs. "Can't hurt, I guess. Keep in mind there's some -ugly- hacks in place for dealing with my… nonstandard hardware." Most of the array of datapads are sans covers, with fairly obvious alterations to some of them.

Lynn leans over and initiates the debugger. She starts scanning the debug log and checking the code looking for potential trouble spots. She spots a half dozen very likely trouble areas, and begins to look deeper.

"So now you're gonna jump in here and make me look like a rank amateur, I suppose. Make me glad it's just a hobby now, not a profession." As he speaks, he's also tracking through the data, looking for errant values. Nothing completely obvious sticks out, but there are quite a few likely areas that touch on the audio system.

Lynn gets a hunch regarding a certain page of code and isolates it by commenting out certain referencing elements. A quick debugger run later and it spits out more pinpoint information regarding certain potential offending elements within that code file.

Walsh watches, following her train of thought playing out on the display. He understands the logic behind her process, but hasn't yet gained any insight into the specific problem Lynn seems to have spotted. "Yup. Guess I quit while I was ahead."

Lynn chuckles distractedly at Walsh before bringing full attention on finding that offending code. After several long minutes of looking, she has no luck.

Having ruled out a few possible culprits, Walsh takes control. He begins tracing the program's flow through from the start, checking the values in memory as they're changed. It's a methodical process for sure, but could take a while to produce results.

Lynn lets Walsh take the reins and watches over his shoulder. "Wait, wait, I think I see something there,” she says after s Looks like it points to this file. She scrolls through and spots several functions of interest. “Let's zone in on these code lines… 340 through about 480," she says after spotting something significant.

Walsh reads through the section pointed out by Lynn, following the logic and how it relates to the rest of the program. "Looks like you might be onto something. If this function…" he points to a line on the screen, "gets called while this one…" he points to another, "is still running…"

Lynn continues Walsh's train of thought, "Then that function will be unable to output the desired or needed information. Right, right."

"Yeah. We end up deleting the sound file from memory, right as we try to play it. So we get random noise instead. Lets see…" Walsh sets to work on coding up a fix. All goes well until he's just about to test the changes. With a high-pitched click, the screen goes blank. "ARGH! Piece of shit!" Walsh shouts, fighting the urge to throw his expensive datapad across the room.

"Woah, easy now," Lynn quickly responds to Walsh. "Here let me see if I can't get this thing back up." After several minutes of booting up and reopening up the necessary process, Lynn has the correct code segment back up and undoes the changes. Unfortunately, she is unsure how to correct it from here.

"Nice save!" Walsh sets about making the same set of changes for what he hopes will be the last time. "There! Now, does it work?" He stabs his finger in the direction of the 'compile and run' button, and sits ready to quickly mute the sound in case of failure. After a few minutes of testing, and no burst eardrums, he cracks a grin. "Aha! Guess we can call that a victory." He turns to Lynn. "Thanks for the help. Definitely saved me some time."

Lynn nods at Walsh as he raises to a more erect position before saying, "No problem, glad to help anytime; but don't go around telling everybody about my talents." As she walks back to take a seat, "Back on the Avenger, I got pretty well known as Miss Fix-it. The Majestic Command staff already knows full well about my talents, which is enough to keep me busy on the bridge when something goes bonkers." She then sighs before adding, "Just please don't mention it. It is really hard to keep it under wraps on the top floor with the gossip hounds around there including a certain communication ensign who shall remain nameless." Well, nameless or not, all of the pilots would immediately know who she is talking about with just the rank. A certain self-imagined casanova and gossip named Peter Le-Beau.
"Don't worry. I know what it’s like to be the only one with any technical knowledge." He assumes a whiny, nasal voice. "Hey, Sam, Can you fix my computer for freeee? It'll only take like five minutes, right?" Back to normal. "Of course five minutes is invariably three hours or more." He rolls his eyes. "Ol' lover boy up there giving you hassles?"

Lynn shrugs and then says with a mockingly innocent smile, "Well he hit on me a couple of times, so I decided to use my little bit of authority to get the female officer's restroom sparklingly clean. The guy should count himself lucky I didn't report him."

Walsh raises his eyebrows. "Hope he gets the message. If not — at least you've got a volunteer cleaner." Her situation is hitting close to home, however, not that he's likely to volunteer that information. "But really, that's not on. Nice girl like you — or any woman really — doesn't deserve to be hassled." Not all men are misogynist pigs, after all…

"I know. Normally, I get along pretty well with most, but some really can push me too far at times," Lynn responds.

Walsh nods. "I'm much the same, except I have an extremely short fuse. You probably noticed before. Piss me off, and you're bound to know about it right quick."

"Really, guess I need to be careful not piss you off then," Murphy says jokingly before focusing on the empty void beyond the viewport. After a few seconds of silence, she says gently, "You know we didn't have a place like this back on the Avenger. It's rather serene and peaceful, so removed from the evils of this war." She finishes with a sigh.

Walsh follows Lynn's gaze out into the vast unknown. "It's where I come to relax and reflect. Been down here a lot lately to be honest. With … recent events … I've had a lot to think about." He sits silent for a bit. "I sometimes wish I could take my Stiletto out there and just … fly. For the hell of it. Soak in the universe."

"Hmmm…. never really done much flying personally. At least not in anything smaller than corvette," Lynn says thinking back a little with her gaze still focused outside.

Walsh stares into space as if mesmerized. "Flying a fighter is a completely different experience to any other type of craft. Especially the Stiletto. It's the closest thing to flying in vacuum short of a spacewalk. And the responsiveness — like the manifestation of thought itself upon the universe. A juxtaposition of raw primal force and grace."

Lynn turns her head toward Walsh and says with chuckle, "You know that is pretty much what every light fighter pilot has told me about flying their craft, even some pilots describing their first experience in those aging Ferrets."

"I don't doubt it." Walsh admits. "The same has probably been said all the way back to the dawn of flight, but it's no less true." He looks to Lynn. "I wish I could share the experience. There's nothing like it."

Lynn shrugs, "Yeah that is probably true." She turns her attention back toward space. "You suppose there will ever be an end to this war?"

Walsh sighs. "I'd like to think so. It'd be nice to live to see it. Course I have no idea what I'd do with myself then." He stays silent a while. "That said, I don't think there's an end in sight right now. It's a game of cat and mouse — pardon the pun."

"Walsh, of all the expressions, you choose that one." Lynn says chuckling some. "Well, if the war ended, I'd probably join the diplomatic corp or attempt to create an organization of Human, Kilrathi, and other races to cultivate better cultural understanding amongst our peoples."

"Diplomacy with the Kats. It's such an alien thought." Walsh looks over, studying Lynn's face. The face of compassion. "Does that make me a monster? I direct so much anger at them. Vengeance for my brother. My comrades." As he speaks, his hand travels toward the pendant he keeps concealed. "Hard to think they could be reasoned with."

Lynn takes a careful look at Walsh before responding in a calm and sympathetic voice. "I'm sorry about your brother, but people die in any war not matter if the guy shooting is Human or Alien. We shouldn't blindly condemn an entire race for the actions of its present leaders. Besides, the Kilrathi have been known to defect to our side before, so they all don't support the actions of their emperor."

Walsh drops his head. "I know we shouldn't assume they're all inherently … evil. — I dislike that word. — It's just — thinking about it like that is so dangerous to a pilot — a warrior." He sighs deeply. "A moment's hesitation could be an eternity dead."

Lynn nods. "That's why I'm not a pilot or a marine, I don't think I could kill another being so," she says, pausing for a brief second as a memory appears to flash across her face, "directly."

"And you're probably the more noble for it." Walsh says softly. He lifts his head to gaze into space pensively.

Lynn looks back towards space and decides to change the subject a bit, "Well I'll be glad when we can finally get out of this asteroid field. One time on the Avenger we were hiding out in an asteroid field as part of an ambush. Hours before the estimated time, the ship's shield generator conks out."

Walsh finds his spirits lifted slightly. "Well, you know the saying: if it can go wrong, it will. And at the worst possible time." He glances back to Lynn. "Figures it'd be a shield generator, too. They're out to get us."

Lynn chuckles a bit also feeling a little bit better, "Yeah, those darn shield generators. It was definitely a very tense 5 minutes before the shields were back on-line, and I was having to watch the sensors, tracking all of the asteroids around the ship and manage the communications terminal with our cap flight keeping eyes on the blind spots. Nearly had an asteroid blindside the bridge after several minutes, but our weapons officer managed to 'push' it off its trajectory with some well placed, low energy laser fire."

The talk of asteroids has Walsh fingering the outline of his pendant again, looking uncomfortable. "I'm sorry, but could we not talk about rocks right now?" he asks gently. The image of a Raptor colliding with an asteroid plays itself, unwelcome, through his mind."

Lynn nods and looks toward Walsh with a concerned look on her, "I'm sorry." She rises from her sit and puts her hand on his shoulder, "Look if you ever need someone to talk to about… anything. I'm here." She glances toward the digital clock on the wall.

Walsh finds some comfort in her touch. He twists his body to face her, and sighs heavily. "You know, you're the first person in a long time that I've been able to speak so openly to." He smiles at her. "You somehow disarm my usual smartassery." He takes a breath "Frankly, it's a little scary. It's not your fault, but I'm feeling even more conflicted now." He stays silent a moment, looking up at her thoughtfully. "Thanks for the offer. I mean it."

Lynn looks down and nods with caring smile across her face, "You're welcome. Unfortunately, I really need to get going. My shift starts in about 5 minutes. Just so you know, I usually hang out here or First and Last when not eating, sleeping or working."

"Same places I'm usually at, you stalking comm officer you!" Walsh says with a goofy grin. "Now get out of here. Before I do something stupid." He says softly. Or say something equally stupid, for that matter, but too late.

"Take care," Lynn says and with that, the seeming 'den mother' walks out of the lounge to go on her way to the bridge. Her thoughts at present linger on Walsh's sadness, but as soon as she is in the lift, her brain compartmentalizes it for later analysis.