Guns and Ammo, Alien Edition

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OOC Date: April 15, 2011
IC Date: January 23, 2128

Michael follows up on the alien guns salvaged from the derelict vessel, but Monoko has bigger - or smaller - things on her mind.


Chief of Engineering's Office and the Fabrication Bay

Her office is not much more organized or orderly than the machine shop just outside. The central focus of the room is a large desk with several computer terminals, a comfortable chair sat behind it. Two less comfortable chairs are placed before the desk for anyone wishing to sit during a meeting. Meetings with the Chief of Engineering, however, are rather infrequent. Most people don't want to be around her unless they have to be. The rest of the room is taken up by shelves filled with gadgets modern and antique, a cluttered museum of technology over the last century. Or maybe it's just things that she's still needing to fix. It's hard to tell. Atop a single end table sits a 4 foot tall stuffed monkey - those who call it a teddy bear get the full wrath of the diminutive despot - known as Mr. Moto, her trusty assistant.

—-

Chaos. There's no other word to describe it. The cacophony of machinery and repair robots along with the noise of nearby engineering combine to create a symphony of metallic, mechanical hell that only an Engineer could love. High ceilings technically mean that this room takes up two decks, just as engineering does in the next room, but unlike engineering the machine shop does not make use of both levels. The equipment - some of which is over 20 feet high - simply wouldn't allow it. Bright floodlights hang from the ceiling high overhead, lighting up the wasteland of machinery and materials that allow for any part on the ship to be replicated and replaced. Without this room and its contents, the ship would never be able to repair any damage.
The doors to Lower Engineering stand at the opposite end of the room from the entrance. An extremely large cargo lift in one corner of the room allows for equipment and parts to be taken down to the Shuttle Bay below where it can then be used by the repair robots to patch the outer hull. A single door on the opposite side of the room from the cargo lift leads to the Chief of Engineering's Office.


There comes a knock at the door after a delay since the communications request, apparently it taking a bit of time for the Corporal to get here from wherever it is he was. "It is Corporal Delane Ma'am." He says to either intercom, or through the door if he can be heard. Or maybe he just talks to himself since this door could well be soundproofed from noises in the fabrication bay.

Monoko sits at her desk, working on something on her computer with glazed eyes and an annoyed expression. Whatever it is that she's working on, it's not making her a happy camper. "It's open," she calls out in a tone that matches her expression.

Stepping in Michael looks around the office briefly at the semi-clutter and organization method used for it only briefly before he finds the small form of Mono within. He snaps to attention and salutes, waiting to be acknowledged and the like so he can stop saluting and start speaking and the like. She is technically a superior officer if not his superior officer.

"Yeah, whatever," she mutters, absently waving off the salute and indicating for him to hurry up and get to the point. "I take it this is about the guns? I haven't had time to look at them, yet. I've been working on the box, mostly, and trying to help Illyanna figure out how that ship's systems worked. This is science that even /I'm/ having a hard time wrapping my head around. These fuckers were doing things that they shouldn't have been able to, and I'm trying to figure out how they did it. It could change just about everything we thought we knew about time and space."

"I understand that ma'am, but we are setting up to enter a wormhole to an unknown location with unknown enemies, unknown hazards, and unknown everything else." Michael says as he moves to an 'at-ease' posture with his hands behind his back. "The request is simply this ma'am: The Marines need to know if those weapons are of better capability than what we have available and if they can be used safely. Beyond that we need to know if they can be replicated or reverse engineered. Without those weapons ma'am, we could well be at a significant disadvantage against any hostile force as it most likely has been space faring far longer than ourselves and has far greater personal combat weaponry than our own gunpowder based small arms ma'am. We understand that you are busy but ask if this can be made a priority for the safety of the entire crew ma'am."

Monoko sighs and rubs her eyes and the bridge of her nose with one small, calloused hand. "C'mere," she mutters as she pushes to her feet and steps out from behind the desk, pushing to move past him and out the door. "I want you to see something." She doesn't wait or look back to see if he's following.

"Yes ma'am." Michael says as he moves to fall in step behind the much much much smaller woman and he shortens his stride so he doesn't accidentally trample her or anything. Heck, he won't even accidentally curb her heel.

She leads the way into the machine shop, and over towards one corner in particular. On a table sits a black box about the size of a microwave, constructed from a shiny metal and covered in carved designs of alien origin. Monoko slows down but doesn't stop once she gets within 15 feet of it, and as soon as he gets within 15 feet he knows why - the box is simply wrong. Just being in its presence is disorienting, as if stepping into a dream. It simply shouldn't exist, and yet it does. Every instinct within him tells him that it can't be real, that he needs to get away from it. "This box contains a black hole," states softly, staring at it from a distance of about 8 feet. "I don't know what it does, or why it's in there, or what keeps it from devouring everything around it like a black hole is supposed to. That, Corporal, is my priority for the safety of the entire crew."

Michael slows as well, wrinkling his nose at the effect. "Ma'am, I understand your desire to understand this impossible piece of alien technology. I would also like to state for the record that this request is not a personal one from myself ma'am, I am merely delivering it." He studies the markings, but they might as well be in old norse runes for all he knows of these things. Sure, he'll try and puzzle it out just from curiosity but he isn't a linguistics genius. "While this is indeed a remarkable discovery that since the box is containing it now, it will likely contain it further. The fact that the Devourer's did not remove it is a sign that they simply had no need for it, as they already had better in some fashion. Puzzling out this box, while understandably necessary ma'am, is likely going to take far longer than testing the alien weapons out and checking to see if we can replicate them, while providing an immediate boost to the security of this ship and it's crew even knowing how to fire the ones we have. Knowing what sort of weaponry we can expect in enemies is of supreme tactical knowledge ma'am. Especially as by accounts these weapons did in fact kill a Devourer."

"There was only the one Devourer on the ship, and it didn't look like it had forced entry. They didn't take the box because they never invaded. The aliens a board the ship had most likely captured the Devourer somewhere else and lost control of it at some point. So no, it doesn't mean anything about them not having a need for it or already having better. It means that the Devourer was a force to guest on that ship." Monoko looks back over her shoulder at the Marine. "They took one alive. As far as the Snails knew, that's never been done before and isn't even possible. But they did it. This, whatever the fuck it is, is easily the crowning achievement of everything that was on that ship. You want to know how the guns work, or if they even work at all? Fine. I can figure that out for you. But I'm way more worried about an advanced intelligence that can create something like this than I am about how a gun works. Guns are only useful if you get a chance to shoot them."

"If the devourer was a forced guest, or even a guest otherwise since we do not know if the crab things on their head are of devourer make or not ma'am," Michael says in response, "Then why was there not a single survivor on the ship if they managed to kill the devourer? Why was no distress signal sent out to others of their ships? If they have the power to capture, or manufacture, a black hole one would expect them to be able to make more than one space faring vessel ma'am. The Givers told us that devourer's only eat intelligent life forms if I recall correctly ma'am, it could be that those creatures diminish the intelligence of their hosts to the point the Devourer's do not find them worth eating as well. There are to many variables to posit a surefire theory ma'am." He stops looking at the box though, as it seems to make him a little queasy this close to it. "Thank you for your assistance with the alien weaponry ma'am. I don't relish going up against laser guns with gunpowder projectiles myself." He frowns at the very thought.

"We responded to a distress beacon," Monoko counters. "They did send out a signal, and we answered it. It looks like they all killed each other in the combat. And the parasites had nothing to do with the Devourer. I've figured out that much from their systems. They had taken the Devourer prisoner. Illyanna and I have been going over their entire computer system, and we've begun to translate some of their language. The parasites puppet the aliens that they live on. So while yours is an interesting theory, it's wrong. Now I can sit here and let you speculate on things that I already have a lot of answers to, or you can actually accept the fact that I just might know what the fuck I'm talking about." She moves past him, away from the black box and towards a different part of the fabrication bay. The guns are collected on another table, a small number of handguns and rifles. She reaches out and picks up one of the handguns, turning it sideways to show him something. There's a display on the side with a digital readout that shows a strange symbol. "Shots remaining," she explains. "Their numbers were the first thing we were able to crack. This one has 25 shots left."

"Ma'am." Michael says with infinite patience, "I do not doubt your ability or your knowledge and never have. Undoubtedly you know far more than I about many things both alien and earth based. As I am only a Corporal I know precious little about what is going on on this ship ma'am. I was merely offering suggestions and possible theories and try to be more than a grunt messenger ma'am." He looks at the 'handgun' as it is shown to him, "Have you discovered how to fire the weapon or recharge it ma'am?" He asks curiously and while he looks, he knows better than to reach for a weapon he knows absolutely nothing about other than it has 25 shots left. "If you can inform me of what all you have discovered, if there is additional information, about these weapons then I can get out of your hair even quicker ma'am. Just following orders."

"I haven't tested it, as I have no way of knowing if firing it will blow a hole through the ship," Mono answers. "I didn't have enough time study their ship and see what it was made of, if it had any reinforcements to keep their weapons from damaging it. I have Adam currently crunching the numbers to analyze it and determine what kind of damage it might do. I should know more in a few hours." She sets the handgun back down with the rest of the weapons. "All of these appear to be in working condition and have anywhere from 10 to 30 shots left. Once I know what kind of damage it does and what type of laser it uses, I'll be able to figure out if we have the means of recharging them."

Michael nods, absorbing all this information. "Is it possible to go EVA while in transit ma'am?" He asks curiously, expecting her to know the answer it seems. Why he would ask such a thing is hard to say, but there it is.

Mono is a smart girl, and has a pretty good idea of what he has in mind. "I wouldn't recommend it," she muses, one brow lifting slightly. "It's possible, but we have no way of knowing what the distortion field surrounding the ship that allows it to go FTL would do to a person wearing nothing more than a containment suit. Or even power armor. It's a risk that I don't think is worth taking, just to fire a gun." She turns and leans back against the table, propped up by her elbows. "I was thinking, however, as we're already going to Tau Ceti as a diversion in case the Devourers try to follow us, why not send an away team down to see if there are any breedable livestock down there that we could collect to take with us. One of the reasons we didn't go to Alpha Centauri was because it had no native wildlife beyond basic organisms. This planet is supposed to be full of wildlife. Having some on the ship could be useful, both for a steady meat supply that isn't synthetic in in case we get stuck having to settle on a planet like that other one. You guys could take the guns with you and test them out."

Michael nods, "I'll suggest that to the Commander and Lieutenant L'Anse ma'am. It might be a good idea assuming we can find a patch where the storms won't disable our shuttle and the shuttle has the ability to escape the planets gravity. I have no idea of it's capabilities." He then offers a salute again, "I'll go deliver your information to my superiors. Permission to withdraw Lieutenant Commander?"

Monoko smirks at something, though exactly what isn't clear. She inclines her chin in a slight nod. "Nnh. You can go."

Michael lowers his hand and nods, "Let me know if you need me for anything Ma'am." With that, he crisply turns and practically marches his ass right out of engineering. Unless stopped of course. He's certainly not going to say more than that in her workplace. Nope. He knows better than that.


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