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Lt Zola & Ens Takeuchi - "Komm, Spiel Ein Bisschen Krieg Mit Mir"

Posted on 2016-09-16 08:08 by Lieutenant JG Mayoko Takeuchi & Lieutenant Zola

Mission: Black, White & Red All Over
Location: U.S.S. Joshua Norton

An eerie feeling sat in Mayoko's chest like a wilful cat, unwilling to move from an awkward napping spot. It had been there since she transported on board the Joshua Norton and it just would not go away. Perhaps it was unfamiliarity, perhaps it was the ship being so similar to the one from which she had just come, the same and yet also somewhat different, as if someone had crept into one's home and moved all of the furniture an inch or two to the left. That was the most likely explanation, or so Mayoko thought. Certainly she didn't let the feeling affect her. She had settled in, met a few people and now most of the crew were back on board she would probably be receiving some kind of orders soon. Still, soon wasn't now, so after exhausting her enthusiasm for reading she decided to continue a work related personal project. And so she paced the short corridors humming one of her favourite tunes, occasionally singing a few words here and there and receiving a few quizzical glances as a result from passing crew members, making the short commute to a cargo bay that the computer had kindly informed her was now an engineering lab. Reaching the door of the lab Mayoko pushed the door release, still singing to herself.

"Suki yo... oh!" She stopped abruptly, perfectly framed by the door. She hadn't expected there to be someone already there.

Zola heard the door and the unfamiliar voice, almost at the same time, and tapped a command on her PADD to put the probe hovering above the work bench into standby mode as she turned to look. She recognized the face of the new demolitions expert from her service record that she'd reviewed at the suggestion of Waterhouse when it because apparent Hades had finally decided to assign one to the crew.

"Hello, can I help you?"

Mayoko held the gadget she was carrying in both hands, nervously tapping it gently against her chin.

"I was working on this back on the Relentless... ma'am... I was going to try to finish it. It is now a bad time?"

"No, no, come in," Zola said with a smile, showing two rows of very sharp teeth. "I'm usually the only one down here, unless someone's prepping for an away mission... Then I'm expected to play someone named Q? Caine always confused me when he'd say that, I thought Q was some obnoxious omnipotent alien?" Zola shrugged.

Mayoko and beamed at the Ferengi and moved further into the lab, setting down her gadget on the bench near where the Lieutenant was working. She looked down at her superior officer, an occurrence that was quite a rarity at Mayoko's height.

"So did I... Mayoko Takeuchi. I am the new demolitions person," she said by way of introduction, adding "please, don't laugh" with a slight pout as she held out her hand.

"Why should I laugh?" Zola accepted the offered hand, shaking perhaps a little too enthusiastically. "I'm Zola. What's your project?"

Mayoko's brow creased into a slight frown.

"People tend to laugh when I tell them what I do. I don't know why." The frown vanished and her face lit up as she started to explain. "It's a concussion grenade, strong enough to render people unconscious but not strong enough to affect the integrity of nearby structures. I know, you're thinking why not just use a stun grenade? But stun grenades have an energy signature and a casing so you can tell who made them and from that deduce who did the stunning. This vaporises when it goes off and it's built on completely proprietary components so even if you could find some pieces it would be completely untraceable." Mayoko looked at her counterpart for a reaction, trying to work out what sort of person she was.

"Maybe they laugh for the same reason they used to not believe me when I said I'm an engineer?" Zola shrugged as she considered the description she was just offered. "I can guess why they wanted you for Intel," she finally said with a grin. "I wonder if your design would work with my probes for delivery?" She gestured to the small device that hovered above the work bench.

Mayoko nodded and smiled, it seemed Zola understood that laugh, the one that implied that the notion of attractive young women being stuck in conduits with a collection of tools or setting explosive charges was in any way inappropriate. She had always been taught that she could do anything she put her mind to and had done exactly that since she could remember. She considered Zola's question for a moment, looking over the design of the probe which seemed fairly revolutionary compared to anything she had seen before.

"We would have to rig up a automated timing system that the probe could set before releasing the grenade, but that would be fairly simple," she said, thinking out loud. "Currently it's manual."

"We could probably integrate aspects of your design and the probe together to make a hybrid device, remote control or preprogrammed deployment options would be useful. Actually, one of our first missions, that would have been very useful..." Zola pursed her lips. "Do you have a specifications in the ship's computer core that I can pull up?"

Mayoko's eyes danced with excitement.

"It's in my personal files but I will copy it over!" She moved to the nearest computer terminal and started pressing buttons. "I'm still working on the charge," she explained amidst the beeps of the LCARS system. "I created the compound, but balancing the quantity, having enough that it will detonate and vaporise but not so much to cause fatality or structural damage will take a few more tests. Currently the only byproducts are invisible gasses." She turned back to Zola once the transfer was complete.

"There. I call it vaporising concussion grenade. Original, hmm?"

Zola pulled up the file on her PADD and took a short moment to skim and consider. A grin grew as she read.

"We might have to adjust the casing size of my probes to accommodate your payload, but I believe it wouldn't be hard to make a make my components in the same material as your existing casing. The computer chip is the only thing that we can't change the material on, but if that's close enough to the payload when it goes off it should be destroyed enough to be indistinguishable from common ones available to civilians at worst."

Mayoko nodded, frowning again, this time in thought, looking back and forth between the probe and the plans in front of her. She pushed her hair behind her right ear, ignoring the longer left side of her stylish dark chocolate Brown bob that was forever falling in front of her face when she looked downward. She gestured towards the plans with her right pinky, the silver rings on it and her right thumb flashing in the bright light of the lab.

"To vaporise the extra material of the probe as well will take a larger quantity of compound which will adjust the parameters again. I can run calculations and simulations but I need more real-world testing to be able to make an accurate prediction."

She sighed, running a dainty, similarly bejewelled and rather scarred left hand through the hair that swung in front of her face, pinning it to the side of her head and letting it fall back into place a few times.

"Some hours in a good blast proof laboratory would be so useful..." she mused.

"We can start with simulations in the holodeck, but what if instead of depending on explosive power to destroy the components, could we find an agent that'll chemically react to dissolve them? Not something corrosive, just something that chemically reacts specifically with the casing materials?" As she spoke, Zola started loading the current chemical composition of the payload, casing and components into her holodeck test suite.

Mayoko watched the Ferengi for moment as she postulated, the edge of her mouth turned up into a slight smile. She liked how this person she hardly knew could be so open, helpful and take such interest in this idea. She cleared her throat, hoping to herself secretly that all of the crew of the U.S.S. Joshua Norton were as amiable.

"Perhaps... perhaps magnesium-lined polymer construction. The button allows two chemicals to mix, creating concussive force, some colourless odourless gaseous by-products and what is a fairly small exothermic reaction but it does generate a lot of force. But the heat would be enough to ignite the magnesium lining which burns in the air and disintegrates the polymer shell and the circuitry!" Mayoko paused, looking past Zola at the wall, running over the changes in her mind. "A fairly fine balance of quantities. If the probe were made of the same materials it should ignite and burn up too!"

"That certainly sounds like a good place to start," Zola agreed with a grin. "Once we run through successful simulations, we can put together a prototype and use the firing range to see how it works. Replicating a test dummy with sensors like a... what, Christmas bush?" Zola made a face as she considered the phrase she'd just spit out, then indicated the transparent aluminum wall along the back of the workshop that separated the main shop from a shooting gallery. "If that goes well, we can ask Waterhouse if we can ask for volunteers for live testing?"

Mayoko giggled.

"Christmas tree! Although this year we should have a bush. That and live testing and I think everyone around here will think I am a mad scientist!"

"Christmas tree, we'll light up the dummy like a Christmas tree," Zola insisted with a laugh. "And I think they already think I'm a mad... I started taking inspiration from the cartoon books the command team love... I'm trying to make a grappling gun like the one the Bats hew-mon uses to climb buildings."

Mayoko gave Zola an incredulous look, mouthing "Bats hew-mon... climb buildings..." and shaking her head slightly.

"Um... they do what?" she asked, looking at the Lieutenant like she had just sprouted wings.

"It's an old form of earth entertainment. A story told with pictures drawn on a page... There's a vigilante who dresses like a bat, and he climbs up the side of buildings with the help of a gun that shoots a hook attached to a cable," Zola explained as she kicked a step stool out from under the work bench and climbed up to pull a black gun from a high shelf. "I'm still working on the accuracy and the hook design, but the cable is fortified by synthetic spider web fibers for strength." She held the device out.

Mayoko took a step forward and took the device, looking it over in wonderment as Zola descended back to floor level.

"Maybe an alternative for point-to-point transport if coms are down." She mused, examining the grappler from every angle. "I wonder if it could be fixed to a piece of armour so you don't have to hold on to it..."

"Also good if trying to avoid triggering sensors," Zola returned. "The cartoon books show the bats hew-mon attaching the cord to his belt, but it's understandably vague on how because it's entertainment, so I'm not sure how best to do it yet."

"His belt?" Mayoko queried Zola with a look of puzzlement. "Seems to me like a good way to lose balance. But we can work that out."

She passed the grappler back to its designer with appropriate veneration, looking for a reaction to the "we" that accidentally denoted an unwitting request for some sort of involvement in the Lieutenant's project.

"Since it's most likely to be used with a stealth suit, we can put the anchor anywhere we need, and reenforced the suit in ways to balance the weight distribution," Zola thought out loud. This was outside her area of expertise, so it hadn't even occurred to her the belt was a bad spot for the anchor, though she surely would have noticed when she started running tests. "Where would you put the anchor?"

"Lower arm somewhere." Mayoko replied almost as soon as the question had left Zola's lips. "Left side, still used to holding body weight and providing a relatively normal centre of gravity but also leaving their right arm and hand free for an intricate action. Or a weapon." Her tone was confident but unassuming, as if she knew it was a decent suggestion but that Zola was in no way expected to give it any credence.

"We can't assume which hand is the users off hand, but we already have to custom fit the suits to each user, so that's just one more check box to run over in the initial fitting." Zola shrugged as she traded the grapple gun for a PADD and made notes. "We can certainly test that for viability, though it sounds like that's more geared towards having a mechanized retraction unit on the gun. We can also explore something more like a mountain climbing harness built in for slower ascent too."

"A mechanised retraction unit sounds logical to me" Mayoko agreed, watching her counterpart working quickly and expertly on the designs. There was a brief pause, the low hum of the life-support system being broken only by a few beeps from Zola's PADD.

"You always do work like this?" Mayoko asked casually, trying to hide what impact the answer would have for her.

"Like what?" The little Ferengi looked around the workshop, tying to figure out what was wrong.

"Like… this!" Mayoko couldn't help but crack a smile, the slight Japanese lilt to her words becoming more pronounced as she started to show her excitement. "Drones.... and grapplers from comic books! Sometimes I hear people say work is boring. First I operate industrial lasers, handle dangerous chemicals, blow up buildings, then Starfleet ask me to blow up their stuff so I'm at the academy and I learn all these amazing things about science and the universe and all the species around the galaxy, then I'm on a starship going everywhere and seeing everything and now I am here with you making grenades. This... is WORK?" she squeaked, gesturing at the items strewn around the lab. "Where is the boring?" She shrugged finally, grinning infectiously at Zola and scooping her hair behind her right ear again.

Zola grinned wide. "Oh, you meant that in a good way. Yes, this..." She gestured around the converted cargo bay, and all the carefully cataloged shelves of equipment. "This is where I spend most of my time... occasionally shooing the command staff out when they get in the way." She laughed.

Mayoko giggled, imagining Zola doing exactly that.

"They have this habit of wanting to be involved in everything!" She exclaimed, turning her attention back to the plans for her grenade which were still showing on the terminal.

"I think..." She started, squashing her lips with her right index finger during the brief pause that followed "... I can have an updated design for this ready for some simulations in about an hour." She looked sideways at Zola, still facing the terminal.

"I'll wrap up what I'm working on, and meet you in the holodeck in an hour, then." Zola smiled. "As for Waterhouse, I think she spends time down here because she finds watching someone tinkering comforting. She's wandered in here in the middle of gamma shift, and just stood and watched for a while."

"Oh no, scary to have the boss watching you! What is she like?" Mayoko asked as she reassembled her prototype and cleared the screen on the terminal.

"You know how the further up the ranks, the more reserved officers usually become? A lot of them becoming more private and diplomatic in their dealings with others? I'm not sure if she's just still adjusting to an unusually quick climb in the ranks, or if she's just never going to be one of those officers, but she's certainly not typical." Zola shrugged. "She's nice, and as far as I can tell fair and competent, but I suspect that if you disappoint her, it'll be a hard time getting back into her good graces."

Mayoko made a face.

"In that case, I will try extra hard not to disappoint her!" She gave Zola a nervous smile. "See you in an hour, Lieutenant."

Zola opened her mouth to clarify or protest — she wasn't really sure which — but then thoughts better of it. Takeuchi seemed smart enough, she'd likely figure out uickly she has no reason to worry. "An hour, Ensign." Zola smiled in return.

=/\= End Log =/\=
Lieutenant Zola
R & D Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Mayoko Takeuchi
Demolitions Specialist
USS Joshua Norton


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