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SD241901.20 - Joint Duty Log - CSCI & NPCs - "Science and Math are like Oil and Water"

Posted on Fri Jan 25th, 2019 @ 5:21pm by Commander Torhild Jessen & Brigadier General Jonathan Grey

1,471 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Location: Versailles
Timeline: Current

=^= Science Lab =^=

Tori sat at the console in the science lab, staring at the data scrolling across the screen in front of her. There were a few other science officers doing their own thing around her, no one really talking, leaving only the noise of the general busy work and functioning consoles. With a sigh, Tori leaned back in her chair, her hands folding behind the back of her head as she crossed her legs in front of her. "So, it takes an acre of land to sustainably feed 30 people, and untold months to establish said acre. We have a fraction of the space, maybe two hundred times the mouths to feed, and not enough time." She sighed. "What am I missing that makes this equation work?"

"I couldn't say, ma'am." said Hawkins, one of the lab's chemical analysts. He took a pair of half-moon spectacles from the bridge of his nose and stood, blinking his eyes to rest them from the glare of the monitor. One hand reached into a pocket and withdrew a small cleaning cloth, polishing the spectacles absent-mindedly. First one lens was polished, and inspected, and then the next was given the same treatment.

"Frankly I haven't the faintest clue what..."


Hawkins closed his eyes at the sound of the lens hitting the ground, dipping his head briefly in exasperation.

"Girl!" he called, holding up his now-useless spectacles.

From the corner of the room came a young lab assistant with long, white hair. She hurried over to Hawkins and knelt down, using a small pocket-hoover to retrieve the shards of glass. Standing up, the girl accepted the spectacles and handed Hawkins his spare pair from her pocket. From the quiet efficiency, it was clear this was not the first time they'd gone through this song and dance.

"Thank you, girl." said Hawkins, donning the new pair.

"I, um," the young woman stammered, "it's Claire, sir."

"Hmm, what?" said Hawkins, staring at her.

"M-my name, sir. It's, well...." she trailed off, rubbing her elbow nervously.

"What about your name? Speak up girl!"

"Well, I, well, nothing, sir!" she squeaked, hurrying back to her own console on the far side of the room.

"Strange girl." mumbled Hawkins, looking perplexed for a moment. "In any case, perhaps we should take a break. Tea, Commander?" he asked, gesturing to the replicator.

Tori watched the entire situation play out with wide eyed amusement. "Thank you Claire," she said apologetically before turning her attention back to Hawkins. "Tea... tea sounds like a great idea actually. I'll grab it, what would you like?" She resisted the urge to call him 'boy' as she stood up from the chair, stretching aching limbs as she walked toward the replicator.

Handing drinks to both Hawkins and Claire, Tori returned for a tall chai latte, wrapping her hands around the tall glass, drawing comfort from the warmth. Returning to the console, she tapped a few buttons, watching as a basic schematic of the station appeared on the screen in front of them.

"I take it the two of you have been working together for a while?" she asked curiously, intrigued by the dynamic they seem to have developed. "You seem to have a very... well... interesting working relationship."

"Yes yes, she's very capable." Hawkins replied distractedly, peering at the schematic in front of him. He tapped absent-mindedly at the diagram, enlarging portions for closer inspection, and completely missed the little smile creeping across Claire's face behind him. Cupping her beverage close, she stood close to Hawkins' back for a moment, before backing off quickly and scurrying over to her console in the corner of the room.

Oblivious to all this, Hawkins restored the original display options on the schematic and looked at the Commander. "Any thoughts, ma'am?" he asked, gesturing at the image.

"I'm thinking we can find the space, that's not going to be difficult, it's the actual making stuff grow in a time frame quickly enough for it to make any reasonable amount of difference to the station in the more immediate future. I mean, we can edit the basic geno of what ever crops are most appropriate to grow..." she stopped talking momentarily and looked across at Hawkins. "You know it just occurred to me I don't even know what to feed them," she said in reference to the refugees, picking up a PADD and making a note to investigate native food options. "No point growing a ton of potatoes if they're all deadly allergic to nightshades."

"We should also investigate what kind of crop bearing trees we might be able to acquire or trade for that are already at least semi established. Potted and left on the promenade they could help deal with at least some of the carbon dioxide in the more heavily populated areas." Tori mused as she made another note on the PADD.

"Algae could be a good place to start, it isn't going to win any prizes in the taste department, but it's got nutritional value and it can be established incredibly quickly, it might help bide some time while we get something more permanent in place." Tori pursed her lips momentarily before looking back at Hawkins. "Once we get food established we should definitely investigate the option of growing our own coffee. These replicators are nasty!"

"Excellent ideas, ma'am. Especially the algae." said Hawkins, already punching numbers into a simulation of the station. The circular image slid apart like rings of pineapple, showing the least occupied decks, and reducing them to statistics. A bar on one side of the images grew larger as unoccupied space was calculated, and added to the space that saw minimal foot traffic. From damaged cargo bays sitting empty, to the tops of cabinets, every scrap of spare room was reduced to a simple count.

"We'll need a lot of sunlight to grow a significant amount of algae. The normal ceiling lights should put out enough lumens and UV. Perhaps we should look into flooding some of the decks." he mused, speculating over whether there would be much objection to flooding the promenade.

"If we're ignoring taste, we could try feeding the algae to tribbles. Rapid conversion to edible meat, though some may have ethical concerns." Hawkins added, continuing to pull the station apart in his simulation.

"As opposed to the ethical concerns in letting people starve?" Tori countered calmly. "I mean, hey, people have eaten all kinds of crazy crap over the years. Dogs, cats, horses, other humans.. Really, grilled tribbles with a side of algae salad doesn't sound all that crazy, does it?" She cast a questioning glance at Claire. "The biggest concern I think would be controlling the tribbles and making sure they don't get into ships systems... though I am not sure at all how much meat they have on them. The impact on waste disposal may outweigh any benefit that comes."

"What about ration packs?" She asked. "Most every ship has ration packs, regardless of what species they're from. If we could find a way to get them to hand over ration packs... they taste like crap but they might buy us some time to get the rest of this set up," she finished, motioning at the cross sections of the station up on the screen.

"Claire can dispatch messages to flight control, for distribution to nerby vessels." Hawkins offered, gesturing to the girl, who had left her console at the sound of her name and was already typing furiously into a padd. "If there's a spare ration pack within three light-years, we'll find it ma'am."

Finishing her message, Claire nervously proffered it for Hawkins' approval. Her superior scrutinised the document for a moment, eyes darting back and forth.

"Requisition is missing an 'i', girl." he chided her gently.

Claire's face went crimson at the error, her hands shaking slightly. It took her three tries to insert the missing letter, but she managed it in the end, and the padd was once again offered for his review.

"The rest of it was fine girl. Now take it to flight control yourself. Messages more important than this have vanished into inboxes before."

She nodded rapidly, taking to her toes as she accelerated out of the lab, causing Hawkins to cock an eyebrow as she nearly collided with the opening doors.

Bringing his attention back to the Commander, Hawkins reviewed their plans and pictured the meal they were about to offer the refugees.

He winced.

"Expired ration pack gruel with a dollop of algae paste and a side of grilled tribble. They'll be queueing along the promenade ma'am." he asserted, drily.

=^= End of Log =^=

Lieutenant Commander Torhild Jessen
Chief Science Officer
Starbase Versailles


Lieutenant Rupert Hawkins (NPC Grey)
Chemical Analyst
Starbase Versailles


Crewman Claire Mirajane (NPC Sails)
Lab Assistant
Starbase Versailles


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