Lunch Break

27 03 2012

                Goose moved quickly down the hallways as he reached into a pocket of his robes to retrieve a data pad.  His fingers danced across the pad as he moved through the maze of corridors that eventually brought him to a pair of steel doors.  A lone protocol droid stood next to the doors unmoving, his internal computers likely crunching data passed to it by the Academy’s central servers.  Sensing Goose’s approach, the droid turned its head toward him.

            “Hello, Padawan Goose,” the droid said in his synthesized voice.  “Going out for a bit?”

            “Probably longer than a bit,” he replied as he finished his work on the data pad and placed it back into his robes.

            “I see.  Padawan Resah came through here not long ago, come to think of it.”

            “Oh?” Goose replied as he waved his hand at the droid.  “She did?”

            “Yes,” the droid said curiously as it mimicked Goose’s motion.  “She did.”

            Lowering his hand in disappointment, he continued on as the doors hissed open before him.  A moment later the doors hissed closed once more, leaving the protocol droid alone again in the hallway.  Its head tilted to the side as it spoke aloud.  “What was I doing again?”

            Outside the wind gently blew his cloak to the side, carrying with it the scents of the living world around him.  He followed a trodden path for a ways before stepping off into the waist-high grass.  For several minutes he pushed on, occasionally stirring up a creature of the air which would fly around for a moment before returning to its spot once he had past.

            The sun was bright out today, and the rich light illuminated the amber plain; large plains that were only broken by the occasional tree or gentle roll of a hilltop.  It was toward one of these giant trees that Goose had been sauntering.  As the presence of the Enclave was left behind him, he stepped into a clearing that surrounded the tree.  Within the clearing was a female human clad in robes similar to his own; her straight, medium length hair, which normally fell to the center of her back, played gently is the light breeze.  She had been setting a basket at the base of the tree when she noticed his appearance.

            “Goose,” she said as she stood up straight.  Her light frame brought her to a height of Goose’s shoulders, and her brown eyes lit up as she turned to face him.  “You made it.”

            A smile broke the thoughtful face he had sported the entire trek out.  “Of course.  Did you expect any less?”  He walked over to the base of the tree.

            “Well,” she replied as they sat down on the ground.  “There was that gruesome history assignment from yesterday.  I wasn’t sure if you would have it done in time.”

            “Oh, that?  Nah, Derrick and I knocked that out in the lab.  We met up early this morning to get it done, and we only just finished a bit ago.  Poor Handor is still in there working through it.”

            “Handor?  You managed to get him to join you guys?”

            “We practically dragged him into the lab.  He sat there all morning and didn’t say a word.  Most we got out of him was a few grunts.”

            “Well, small steps, I guess.  You’ll break him out of his shell eventually.”

            “Maybe, but we could use your help.”

            “Me?  What would I be able to do that you and Derrick haven’t?”

            “Maybe nothing.  Maybe everything.  Just talk to him, Resah.  He may not say anything in return, but bit by bit we’ll wear that shell down.”

            She smiled at him.  “You’re always so concerned about everyone.”

            “That’s not true,” he replied defensively.  “But behind around him in classes all the time makes his gloom contagious.”

            “I guess you’re right.”  She turned and grabbed the basket.  Opening it, she reached inside and grabbed two cloth-wrapped packages and passed one over to Goose.  “So, any updates?”

            “Well,” he replied as he reached into his robes to retrieve the data-pad and pulled up the project he had been working on in the lab earlier.  “I’ve been stream-lining the code, trying to reduce the resources required to host it.”  Unwrapping his package he found flatbread with spiceloaf.  Not exactly gormet, but still something of a treat.  “Cafeteria must have been feeling spunky today.”

            “Nope,” she smiled as she unwrapped her own.  “Cafeteria didn’t have much today, so I commandeered the kitchen and whipped these up.”

            He shook his head as he took a bit.  “You’re going to be late with that assignment at this rate.”

            “Uh-uh.  I took care of that last night.  That’s the only reason I had time to make lunch today.”  She took a bite of her own meal.

            “I was too tired after sparring with Derrick to do anything last night.”  He picked up the data pad and started scrolling through the coding.  “Anyway, I’m having a lot of trouble trying to condense this code down enough for the computer onboard the fighters to run it along with the other systems.  The amount of raw data from tracking turret fire alone takes the entire computer.  I can’t even run communications alongside it in its current form.”

            “So what all have you been doing to condense it?”

            “Not much so far; mostly just cleaning up the code and trying to reduce clock cycles.  But the only way I’m going to make any headway is to start removing entire feature sets, and that would create vulnerabilities you could throw a Hutt through.  But even if the onboard computers were strong enough to run these along with the other ship systems, I have no real way to gather the data.”

            “What do you mean?” she asked as she reached back into the basket and retrieved a large bottle and two cups.  She poured blue milk from the bottle into the two cups and continued to listen.

            “Fighters aren’t equipped with sensors good enough to track all of the fire in a battle.  I’ve been able to test the program in the simulator in dog-fight scenarios, but more than that and the sensors become useless.”

            She offered one of the cups to him.  He halted his explanation and looked at the cup, only then realizing that his animation in explanation had led him to one hand with a data pad and another with food that he had been using as a pointer toward the pad’s screen.  Without a free hand to take the cup from her, he smiled helplessly at her.

            “Honestly,” she giggled as she held the cup up to his mouth for him to take a drink.  “You are absolutely helpless.  What would you do if I wasn’t around?”

            After taking several gulps from the cup, he pulled away and smiled.  “Go without lunch.”

            Whether it was his answer that made her laugh or the large blue mustache he now sported on top of a goofy smile, she did not know.  Removing the rest of her meal from the cloth wrapping, she reached over with the cloth and wiped away the mustache.  After they both recovered from their laughter and finished their lunch, Resah brought the conversation back.

            “So, if the sensors aren’t good enough, why not replace them?”

            “Because adding any better sensors to a fighter would reduce its armaments.  The size of fighters just won’t handle the increased sensors along with their standard loadout.”

            “And that’s what has been holding you back all this time?”

            “Pretty much.  I’ve come at it from every angle I can think of and can’t find a way around that limitation.”

            “What about frigates?”

            “What about them?”

            “Why not have the sensors from a frigate collect the raw data from a battle and do most of the major processing?  The data could then be transmitted via the Holonet to the fighters in the form of individualized data sets that the fighters could then plug into their own systems.”

            Goose’s face tensed slightly, and Resah could almost see the gears turning in his head.  Knowing that her statement had an effect, she said nothing further to allow him time to work it out.

            “Of course,” he said a moment later, his eyes still focused on nothing.  “Frigates already sport the stronger sensors.  The only thing is that only science frigates carry sensors that are fine-tuned enough to track all the activity in any given space battle.  But retrofitting sensors on the combat frigates wouldn’t be a major endeavor.  In fact, new frigates could become standard issue with these new sensors.  And if a battle were to be large enough to require ten or fifteen squadrons, the frigates could be spread out to cast a sensor net.  The sensor net could be communicated through the frigates via a localized Holonet, intensifying processing power and precision and…”  He looked over at Resah with a look of awe on his face.  “You’re a genius.”

            She giggled in return.  “No, I’m just a different set of ideas.  Sometimes you burn yourself out, Goose.  You can’t think of everything.”

            They sat quietly for a long time as Goose worked on the data pad.  Resah had leaned back against his shoulder and spent the time staring off into the distance, her mind roaming.  When the light around them began to change into an orange glow, Goose powered off the data pad and look down at her.  She had drifted off into a slumber, the glow of the fading sun playing lightly on the soft features of her face.

            Nudging her softly, he tried to wake her.  “Resah…Resah, time to head back.”

            She grumbled softly as she fought to stay asleep.  “Not yet,” she complained, trying to find a comfortable spot on his shoulder.  “Just a few more minutes.”

            Smiling to himself, Goose shifted to the side and laid her down on the grass, placing her had on his leg.  “Alright,” he replied as leaned back against the tree again.  “Just a few more minutes.”




One response

7 07 2012
Big Bear Butt (@BigBearButt)

FYi… I sent you a few emails, you still interested in doing ICC with us?

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