Fallout

Participants:

Donal.jpg Randi.jpg

Date: 25 July, 2010
Location: AIVAS Complex / Barracks
Synopsis: Armed with her revelation from Rocio, Randi goes to visit Donal - and gets a few surprises.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Randi

Room Description if you wish


It is just past the crack of dawn at Landing. A night's work at the telescope complete, Donal is entering the data into the keyboard in the AIVAS room, adding to the years of data his craft has stored in there since they learned how to do so. As he types, he mumbles to himself in the manner of someone very much unused to having company other than his firelizard around. The blue is once more parked on the monitor neatly, tail flicking back and forth as he naps, not even rousing whenever the starsmith lets out a rheumy sneeze and cough. It's apparently happened so often that it's trivial to the firelizard.

Having caught a ride in from one of the off-duty bronzeriders - she doesn't like them, might as well make one of them get up early and ferry - Randi pokes her head in the door to the main AIVAS console room and grins. "I thought I'd find you here." Or, well, this was the first place she thought to look. Stepping in the door is a much-better groomed Randi than the night they last met. She's wearing her bright red riding leathers, sure, but aside from that is much better … put-together, one might say. A woman's battle armor. "Forgot to leave it with the Headwoman, so I figured the least I could do was to have the weaver journeyman clean it." Quite carefully, too. She lays his coat over the back of a nearby chair and crosses to where he's working. "Still working on a new Thread predictor?"

Donal waits until he's finished the line of code he's tapping away at before acknowledging that anyone's come in the doors, much less spoken to him. Committing the code to the computer's memory properly, he then swivels in his chair, the firelizard waking up and chirruping politely to the Junior Weyrwoman, an action which earns him a frown. Donal's gaze narrows a bit, his expression one of suspicion as his dark eyes and in the frown remaining on his lips, a knowing 'I see what you did there' look. Unfortunately, his attempt to be severe and distant and superior is ruined by the sudden sneeze that takes him, but he's swift enough with a handkerchief to ensure no plague or whatever cold he's got can escape. Laid low by this infirmity, he's forced to mumble something about duty to queens or somesuch drivel. And a thanks. Clearing his throat, he finally answers the question after blowing his nose. "Searching for evidence, actually," he admits. "I found some details in here of where our master code that would churn out coordinates for the attempt to end Threadfall… had been changed and then new copies promulgated to all the terminals. I just haven't tracked down the user who did it yet."

That sneeze and the general air of misery around the Masterstarsmith has Randi giving him a critical eye. She caught that earlier sneeze as well, and isn't about to buy anything about the dust. "I don't care if you've found the secret to living forever. Save your work and for Faranth's sake, put this on." She grabs the coat she tossed over the chair and moves to settle it around his shoulders. Maybe if she just keeps plowing on ahead, he won't have time to throw up that icy politeness that cut her to the bone last time. "Come on. You need hot broth, a good cup of tea and rest. Not this drafty work room." Tarrie gets a nod of acknowledgement, but she hasn't gone sweet on the blue, yet. It's still a firelizard. Just one, but still.

"I can't exactly rest," Donal protests, even as he snuggles up into the duster that he missed so terribly much the past few days, lacing arms through sleeves and everything. "I've delegated as much as I possibly can, and we're still too stretched thin to keep on top of everything. Not many prospective Smith lads and lasses want to spend their nights gawping up at the stars like a bunch of moon-eyed drudges. They don't understand the point of all this work. It's not tangible to them," he babbles on, trying to get the words out quickly enough as they speed through his brain even faster.

"I don't care. You're sick and staying up to all hours of the day and night is going to end up with you dying at your chair and then who will take care of the stars?" It's obvious that even though she has no clue what the exact importance of his work is, she knows it's important. "Come on. Shut down and come have some broth." Even as she's cajoling him to leave, she reaches out to rub both hands over her upper arms to try and warm him some. "If you can show me what I'm looking for, I can watch and note for you. Wouldn't be able to tell you what the Bitran fuck it means, but that's for you brainy types anyway."

Donal's dangerous left eyebrow arches at the queenrider's colorful turn of phrase. "Your mother must not have washed your mouth out with sweetsand enough when you were growing up," he opines aloud, but he lets her have her way, tabbing the sequence to put his work away back in the password-protected section of AIVAS's memory. "My father would have simply backhanded one of us if we'd used language like that around the Hold." And then he blinks and frowns again as he lets her push him out of the room and down the hallway, Tarrie flitting after them and alighting on his shoulder. "And it's not as simple as looking up at the stars, going wow, neat! and jotting down a few notes, my dear."

"Well, I'd assume it's … a bit more complicated?" For a moment, the weyrwoman sounds hesitant and unsure, obviously doubting her ability to follow through on her offer if it's truly that complex. "I could try, anyway…" Her voice trails off and she looks lost for a moment, but recovers when he relents. And Randi does direct him down towards the hall in the direction of the door out - though she's not actively pushing - but stops. "You've got your own rooms in the dormitories, I'd imagine?" It'd be less crowded there and easier to get him in a restful, comfortable place - which is best for sick people after all.

"I have one of the few private quarters," Donal acknowledges as he points the way before taking the initiative and leading in that general direction. "Mostly because my hours are timeshifted from everyone else and no one wants me stumbling in to sleep in the middle of the night and waking everyone up." A weary but wicked smile crosses his features. "It's useful in its own way." And another sneeze rings out in the dawn chill, startling one of the guards at the doors of the computer chambers until he realizes what it was. "It's horrible for getting food in any orderly way. I tend to have to have breakfast foods for my supper and supper foods for breakfast. It's very disconcerting sometimes…"

"They don't offer both?" Randi seems perplexed at this. "When I was growing up at Telgar, we had both types of food for breakfast and dinner since we've got both shifts of sweeps and watch and sometimes night Fall coming and going." She jumps at the sneeze, but follows him still; the guard gets a smile. "H'lo," she greets him quietly, takes the opportunity to check out his arse as they pass and turns her attention back to Donal. "Igen did the same. Dunno why they wouldn't here. Suppose you could bully someone into giving you a bit of space to cook something small for yourself, maybe?" She looks towards the Mess Hall. "Which number are you? I'll meet you there with soup." She gives him The Eye; the smile with her tongue poking out from between her teeth rather ruins the effect. "And you better be resting, mister."

Donal caught Randi checking out the guard's posterior and gives her a sardonic look, muttering, "He's not even in your league… and he knows it." When ordered to go rest, he sighs again and gives her the number of which small building he was given for his own personal use. By the time he's got there, Tarrie's perched on the top of a coat stand, the duster tossed carelessly over one of the irregular arms. The walls of the Ancient building are strewn with starcharts and a slateboard is covered with complicated mathematics. A second room with a closed door leads away from the main area, which was clearly as akin to an office or workshop as any in Landing. Donal suffers through a few more sneezes before he's able to fling the duster on the coat stand, the firelizard crooning unconcernedly about the whole affair. "Wretched creature," the starsmith mutters as he collapses onto the wherhide-covered couch, curling up on his side.

Donal has around ten minutes to himself there in his little room before there's muttered cursing and a few clanks as Randi shifts the tray in her grip and opens the door. "There, see? Ladies in the kitchen were quite nice about it when I mentioned you had gone and caught cold. I've got some wherry broth, a nice pot of herbal tea, some fruit jams and fresh toast." She pauses, looking over the tray at the prone starsmith. "Hey, you alright?"

"I don't have to dissemble about how miserable I feel in here," Donal answers tightly, gathering himself for an almighty coughing session that leaves him weak and gasping for air for a few moments. "Smells good, though…" But he's not necessarily speaking about the broth or tea as he pulls a light blanket off the back of the couch and lets it tumble over him haphazardly. And somewhere, he remembers to say, "Thanks…" again. "There's just too much to do sometimes and not enough hands to do it."

"Dissemble?" Randi wrinkles her nose in confusion. "You have to take yourself apart out there?" That doesn't make any sense. "Here." Pulling a chair near the couch, she sets the tray on top of it and flops down to sit on the floor with her back up against the end of the couch where his head is. Makes continued conversation easier. "Isn't that what you're meant to have Apprentices and Journeymen for, though? To take care of all the busywork so you have time to be brilliant?" She flashes him a playful smile and pilfers a bit of toasted crust that's fallen to the side of the plate. "Or at least an assistant of /some/ kind?"

"Careful I don't cough snot into your hair," Donal says pointedly as he tries to lever himself upright. "How's that for brilliant?" The firelizard launches himself off the coat stand, making it rock back on its supports, landing neatly on the arm of the chair near Randi, but is apparently disciplined enough to not help himself to the meal provided. Donal reaches forward for the bowl of broth, cradling it carefully between a pair of long-fingered hands. The bowl trembles in his hands despite his angry-at-himself attempts to keep it perfectly steady. "All of my apprentices and journeymen are working just as hard as I am. It's like your Weyr, isn't it? Not enough dragons for the coverage area you've got to deal with. Too much toast and too little jam." He looks at the toast she nicked a bit mournfully.

"I went through weyrlinghood, Donal. Trust me, I've had much worse things than your snot in my hair." The tone is dry, but she does flick a 'casual' glance back at his face. Just to check. You know, in case of … breaks. "Then find someone else. Faranth knows there are enough unskilled workers who could be trained to do what you need." Reaching out one hand, she attempts to run the back of a finger across smooth blue hide, impressed by his behavior. "Landing's close enough to Eastern. I could send Candidates down here to do your busy work and help out in whatever ways they're best suited."

Tarrie arches his back happily when the Weyrwoman reaches for him, butting his tiny head into her hand and crooning. "Ah, but that's the problem… most of it /isn't/ busywork. And, meaning no offense to your Weyr, but I'm not having anyone work on our stuff unless I can trust them. Someone changed data in AIVAS that led to this whole mess we're in. Until I know if it was an accident or deliberate, I can't risk anyone else mucking about with most of the things I have to deal with. Then there's the unmitigated fools who don't trust us and accuse us of having been incompetent," Donal growls as he takes a long sip of the broth before it cools overmuch.

"Fine, then." Randi scritches the critter under his chin and then drops her hand, squelching the urge to smile at him. "My queen's getting ready to clutch. She doesn't even want me to be around for that." Or so she's said, many many times. "I've got a good, oh, eight or ten sevendays with nothing to do while she's on the sands." She swallows once. "I'm not hidesmart and I take a little while to read things, but after running an entire Weyr, I can at least make sure you don't die." She rubs her left hand up and down the upper part of her right arm. "And I could learn some of it, maybe." That bit's quieter.

Donal blinks and sort of stares all squintily at Randi. "Your queen doesn't want you around? How on Pern would the candidates get to have time to familiarize themselves with the eggs?" he asks, in that all-too-knowing way that he has as a former rider. "How would they be able to get onto the sands for the Hatching if you don't control her?" His opinion of the queenrider seems to have plummeted again and his expression is cold. "The queens at Fort were always under the control of their riders when I was there. Broody or not, they obeyed their rider. How'd you manage to avoid her gorging if you don't impose your will on her anyway?"

"I didn't say she wanted me to leave forever, wherry-head." Randi laughs easily, turning away from him and leaning her head back against the cushion. "She's due to start clutching soon. Ate a couple of herdbeasts yesterday and has holed herself up in the cavern." She chuckles a little. "Got two bronzes under strict 'queen orders' to sit at the entrance and not let anyone in." Mention of how the queens at Fort were always under the 'control' of their riders, however, riles her up. "Kaseth isn't some … some monster I have to keep constantly leashed, you know. Yes she's young, but she's … more often than not, it's her keeping me from doing something stupid." She turns then, a critical eye on the Masterstarsmith. "I'm sorry if that's the memory you have of gold dragons, but don't you dare insult my lifemate that way, do you understand? I am well capable of knowing what she needs and when. I know that my first responsibility is to her and my Weyr. If I know that and I still offer to help you, the graceful thing to do would be to accept that help or to decline it. Not to try and dig up some excuse not to do either."

Donal eyes the woman balefully. "It wasn't your lifemate whom I was insulting, was it?" he mocks her gently, if anyone can be mocked gently, that is. "A queen dragon is not a watchwher that needs to be chained and taught who it should recognize… but I've seen queenriders being trained before, Randi, and there's a far cry between controlling her so she doesn't gorge before a mating flight and a watchwher being chained… and you know it." Surprisingly, despite the harsh-seeming words, the blue firelizard doesn't react to defend his owner from Randi's heated words. Either he's used to seeing Donal getting tonguelashings, or the wee critter's more concerned with something else as he cheeps toward the crafter, eyes whirling with faint distress. "I'm not apologizing because you didn't say you kept control of her as is proper, but that's how it came out… as if you didn't." He shrugs, his emotions fully under control, the words weary, as if he lacks the energy to put proper gusto into his arguments to yell at this crazy woman sitting far too close to him for his comfort. "Er."

"Gorging before a mating flight … ?" Randi just stares at him, completely confused. "I made sure she didn't gorge before she flew, but that was … that was sevens ago, Donal!" She's looking at him like he's not making any sense. The blue's cheep catches her attention and she notes the distress whirring there. Thank Faranth for little blue dragons. "There are times when she needs a bit of my strength to keep from doing things that aren't the best for her, yes. While she's clutching? Not one of those times. She knows I'm just one thought away if she becomes distressed and she's private enough not to want others around while she sets up her clutch. They're most vulnerable, then." That last is said quietly, to herself. His 'er' however, makes her realize just how close her face is to his. Leaning up to press a quick kiss to his forehead - an excellent distractionary technique to hide the blush that rose at his proximity - and then pushes back to stand up. "Sounds to me like you're sleep deprived and cranky. You should sleep."

That kiss on the forehead, it's enough to tell her that the Masterstarsmith has a fever of some kind, and the faint blush on his cheeks aren't due to embarrassment or sexual tension this time. He quickly downs the rest of the broth before his weakness can argue about it, the bowl clattering to the tray because he releases it accidentally too soon. Thankfully it was empty, a fact that makes Tarrie give a disappointed creel, but the blue firelizard has some sense as he hops to Donal's shoulder and weights him down so the crafter automatically tilts toward the side, once more flopping down on the couch and curling up with a wracking cough this time. "Congratulations, you've just given yourself whatever nasty this is," he observes as he pulls the blanket up to his chin.

Randi notices that fever and presses the back of her hand against the skin she'd just kissed. "Oh good, you're feverish, too." The lines on her forehead deepen. "How long have you been sick, Donal?" Her arms fold over her chest and she casts a look at the little blue firelizard to check and see if he's got any more 'tells' for her. "And why haven't you seen a healer before now?" Knowing full well how uncomfortable it will make him, she reaches to take the blanket, lest his body really start to overheat.

Donal hasn't the energy to hold the blanket against her strength, so she confiscates it after little more than a token resistance on his part. "Lost track of the days. Tried to keep myself isolated and use things as little as possible," he says, his words sounding a bit off as he lets the weariness consume him. "But the work needs doing…."

"Damn you, stupid starsmith. Damn you." Rolling the blanket into a ball, she tosses it off into a corner and pulls the chair back away from the couch. On her knees in front of it, she reaches out to feel the places just under his jaw, looking for swelling. "Anything else besides the cough and sneezes? Vomiting? Dysentery? Coughing up blood?" Real panic bubbles up in her throat and she has to take several deep breaths. It's been a long time since she's had a patient she actually knew - and, even though it was crazy, cared for in some twisted way - and never before had it been another person.

The stupid starsmith gives a rundown of what he's got, and from the sound of it, it's not the plague, and it's not a simple summer cough. He got his just desserts for running around and playing in the mud in the rain like a dumb wherry. The firelizard seems concerned, but not panicky, so either it has no sense, or it actually has a good reading on what's going on. He chirrups to the queenrider as if conferring with her over the diagnosis.

"Great, another male who doesn't know how to take care of himself." Moving to stand herself, she then half-crouches and extends her arms to him. "Come on, sit up. We're getting you into bed, mister." If she can get his arm around her shoulders, she'll do her best to haul him up. She's got muscle and she's got balance, but she won't be able to haul him up completely alone.

Donal is thankfully not all that heavy, considering he wasn't much more than bones and teeth and impossibly spiky hair before his illness. Lazily, sleepily, he forces himself upright enough for Randi to haul him to some semblance of verticality, and his muscles seem to vex him, as he practically flops against the Junior Weyrwoman like a deboned fish. It takes some doing for her to get him maneuvered into the other room, a little bit dusty and clearly in need of a headwoman or someone to come in and clean properly. Little Tarrie flits into the room and bravely tries to haul at the coverlet on the bed to turn it back, an almost comical thing, as he's only a blue of course.

Appreciative of the little blue's attempts, Randi - for the very first time in her life - wishes that she'd been stuck with one or two of the little blighters if for no other reason than little things just like this. Bracing Donal against her side and hip, she frees one hand to tug the blankets all the way down to the foot of the bed. That done, she uses both arms to try and lower him - gently if not gracefully - onto the bed. From there, she starts removing coat first, then shoes, then belt if he's got one. It's all clinical and efficient - a healer's hands, not a lover's.

Donal is far too gone to know how he's being treated, as if her forcing him to get off his bum and away from the computer was the release he needed to let himself be properly sick. An incredible lassitude surrounds the Masterstarsmith as he's prepared for a proper sleep and sickbed. Tarrie croons thanks to the Weyrwoman and bravely perches on her shoulder with a stroking of her chin with his small head before winging down to the bed again to curl up next to his owner's head on the pillow.

Randi tolerates the caress, smiles - just a little - and works to get the Masterstarsmith comfortable before pulling the blankets over him. Walking into the next room, she grabs the blanket off the floor where she'd tossed it, makes a momentary mental request and returns to the bedroom. Off comes the red flight jacket, leaving her in red leather pants and a black sleeveless shirt. Since there's no other evident place for her to sit, she uses the blanket as a kind of cushion, grabs the nearest stack of hides, settles in and starts reading. A healer should be around soon and when they show up, she'll leave long enough to get something to eat and take care of a few things, only to return to her spot and her vigil. Never let it be said that Randi doesn't see something through.



Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License