Star Army

Star ArmyⓇ is a landmark of forum roleplaying. Opened in 2002, Star Army is like an internet clubhouse for people who love roleplaying, art, and worldbuilding. Anyone 18 or older may join for free. New members are welcome! Use the "Register" button below.

Note: This is a play-by-post RPG site. If you're looking for the tabletop miniatures wargame "5150: Star Army" instead, see Two Hour Wargames.

  • It's 3月 YE 43 for May and June. IC months advance every 2 OOC months.

Crystal Clear Ice

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"I got an apartment down in the village if you want some foreplay" Egwene replied, flicking her eyebrows and giving Fusako the most erotic lip-bite the world had ever seen. And then with that bit of showmanship done, Egwene would shuffle into a more sciencey posture.

"Don't worry about that. You are clothed, it's part of the appeal. Everyone knows what naked looks like, but it is the dressing that we come for. And besides, my eyes send out an inferred beam that allow me to get the precise measurements and create a 3d model to draw around. Benefits of being a walking machine" she'd explain, before leaning back on her hands and looking up at the celling.

"So. Oceans. Kinda messy places. People love throwing crap into them. And it mingles with the water and makes it really hard to extract. So, while on an unconventional mining plan, I had a thought for a new thing. The EVA: Electromagnetic Vaporisation Automata. It is a large drone, the size of a torso. You insert it into the water source, and it opens several sluice gates from which it takes in water. This water is then vaporised with electromagnetic induction heating, and the impurities in the water are strained out, while the water vapor is ejected. The cold temprature of the ocean near-instantly reverts the water back to liquid form, while the crap that is inside the water is trapped within the drone. It can house roughly thirty kilograms of particulate pollution, at which point it needs to be retrieved and emptied. This pollution can then be disposed of properly or recycled if possible.

The additional benefit of this is the ability to regulate the salt content of the water. Too much salt in water and it becomes undrinkable for humans, but not enough salt in the water and the salt-water animals can no longer live there. I can't make salt traps in the Drone and keep it's cleaning process, so the salt is sucked out along with the rest. You can clean this salt and then reintroduce it to the body of water if it is a salt water inlet to begin with. If not it helps keep it absolutely pure.

Admittedly, given the scale of the Oceans, these are better used for rivers and lakes that feed into the ocean. Reducing secondary pollution will reduce overall pollution however, so it is an admirable task regardless"
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
Fusako smiled at Egwene's invitation and wanted to reply, but didn't want to distract from the presentation. At the implication of her guest's see-through vision, the older woman blushed a little, and couldn't help but flex the body she had sculpted over a lifetime of daily hard labour.

Once Egwene began her pitch, the sake maker adopted a neutral expression and listened carefully. She nodded slowly, her eyes looking down and away to envision the invention her guest was describing. The comparison to a torso made her imagine a disembodied torso made of metal drinking up water in one end and releasing cleaner water out of the other end. The older woman liked the basic idea but felt that there were some pieces of the picture missing. Thankfully, she understood matters of nature much more than she understood digital minds.

"How big are these sluice gates? I ask because I worry about these drones sucking up flora or fauna, which presumably would not fare well when exposed to electromagnetic induction heating." Fusako tried to predict how Egwene might have tried to solve the problem, but still saw issues. "I imagine you could put a filter on the intake, but for any given permeability of the filter, you could find a smaller life form. And at some point, more pollution must end up on the intake filters than inside of the drone."

The sake maker looked at the mechanic, suddenly feeling a little self-conscious. Which was surprising, given the topic of their conversation before this business.

"You may be surprised that I'm so concerned with the well-being of microorganisms," she speculated. "But sake-making depends on healthy microbes. Particularly a couple of species of fungi, namely Aspergillus oryzae and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Though what I know of Saccharomyces in particular, it is hard to do anything to disrupt it in the wild. It's practically everywhere. So perhaps the amount of microflora and microfauna killed wouldn't disrupt nature very much."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"Mmm, you raise a good point on flashboiling fish inside the gates. But, for the problem of filters, the drone is being taken out of the water on a semi-regular basis to be emptied anyway, so you'd clean the filters during the cycle of emptying the storage facilities. Anyone that doesn't clean the filters in any machine is a philistine who needs a kick in the shins. Any flora or fauna small enough to get through pittered filters is the kind of flora or fauna that procreates so rapidly, if you killed ten thousand a day the population would still seen an increase"

Egwene seemed to have a grasp on potential solutions to problems. Anyone who barreled it with only the first draft was a fool, after all.
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
"I see," the older woman acknowledged as she nodded slowly. "I can say with some authority that Saccharomyces procreates very rapidly given the right conditions, so I can believe that."

Fusako looked away, conjuring up her mental image of the disembodied metal torso again. She imagined it autonomously puttering around a river like the one that ran adjacent to her facilities, eventually filling up with gunk that needed to be cleaned out, which led her to another thought.

"You said, «Anyone that doesn't clean the filters in any machine is a philistine.» Who would be responsible for cleaning them out?" The sake maker looked like she was trying to fit some puzzle pieces together. "Are you here to sell one to me for my river? So it would be up to me to keep its filters clean? I'm not sure what I would do with 30 kg of particulate pollution."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
Though problems were problems to be sure. Egwene pondered for a moment and then replied, a little less sure and a little more inquisitive.

"Well, you or whoever you told to go clean it out if you want to keep it in house. If not, I am sure there are companies about that can take junk and waste for proper recycling and processing. I'll sell you one or two for your river only if you want one or two for your river and you have proper infrastructure around that can get to them. If not, I guess you could sponsor the construction of a few located where there is infrastructure capable of maintaining and dealing with the run-off"
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
"I'm sure you noticed that we're rather out of the way, but I have a vested interest in removing pollutants from my river."

Fusako kept imagining the metal torso swimming around, and with that image in her head, she took another sip of her sake. Then she used her chopsticks to pick up some rice and another pickled ume, this time one of the ones in syrup. Though all three were originally dried and salted, the ones in syrup had been washed and rehydrated in a mixture of sugar and water. When she placed the rice and ume into her mouth, she noted that the bitter taste was almost entirely gone, as if she only remembered it being bitter.

"What about power? Do the drones have power generation or do they have batteries that need to be recharged?"
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"I don't notice distance much, to be honest...It's just sort of something that goes away in my head. Benefit or drawback of mechanical life, I guess. You can literally turn your brain of when walking"

She'd finish her drink and put the cup down, before smiling. Fusako seemed well in hand with this whole business thing. It was nice.

"Simple hydrokinetic generator. Water rushes in, turns gears, generates energy. Then when it is taken out of the water, charge dissipates. No waste energy, no production when not in use. Also easy to repair"
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
Fusako felt excited when Egwene mentioned hydrokinetic power, but she did her best to keep it from showing on her face. Though she realized that if the other woman could see the temperature of her skin, there was no telling what else she could sense. Could she hear heartbeats and determine her heartrate? Could she detect when someone was breathing faster? Could the fluctuations in her body temperature alone reveal her feelings? The sake maker tried to focus on her breathing and force herself to relax. She knew that the next step in their business would involve negotiation, so she didn't want to give anything away until she needed to.

"Very well," the older woman stated flatly. "I was concerned about the drones themselves polluting the water, but if they're hydrokinetic, then that shouldn't be an issue."

With both hands, she finished the last of her own sake, then placed the cup down and gathered up one of her wide sleeves with her opposite hand. She first opened the teapot, then picked up the towel, then used it to lift the kettle and poured its still-hot contents into the teapot. Once it was full, she placed the kettle and towel aside and closed the teapot again. Once finished, she peered curiously into the mechanic's eyes.

"Why are they drones? At least in the river, it would seem that a stationary filter would work just as well."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"And Hydrophobic coating so the water won't erode the drone's composition either. Zero impact on the enviroment, and large increases in pollution extraction. They are the cool" she'd exclaim, preening proudly.

"As for why drones, they need some degree of mobility. Gotta keep roughly in the same spot to maximize efficency, not get bumped down river or knocked about by the current, and be able to surface when needed. A stationary filter could work if you want to add a reclaimation processing system to your building, but for something autonomous like this, drones are easier"
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
At the mention of a hydrophobic coating, Fusako frowned slightly. She wasn't quite a technophobe, she was quite comfortable with cars and digital minds, for example. But advanced materials with nearly-magical properties always worried her.

"How inert is this hydrophobic coating?" The sake maker asked. "This body will likely last me another hundred years, so I can't help but plan for the long-term. If this hydrophobic coating wears off, I worry that it will be a source of pollution in itself."

The older woman took the teapot by its handle and poured a small amount into each of their cups, not at all concerned that the same cups had recently held sake. She reasoned that the hot tea would make most of the sake evaporate and mask the taste of what remained.

"Tea is one of the few luxuries I allow myself that I can't make on-site," she confessed as she lifted her cup, now half-full of amber liquid. "This is my favourite, a green tea from near Sapporo on Jiyuu."

Fusako wanted to go on about the tea but was determined not to derail their conversation. Nor did she want to make her guest feel uncomfortable again. At least, not yet.
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"Again. If you just dunk it in the water and don't do anything remotely resembling upkeep, then you need a kick in the shins. Nothing is so good you never need to replace it. First cycle is one month, then optimal cycle is three months, but you can push for a year if you really want to cheap out. I can sell you the formula or just cans on demand depending. It's a cool thing, it actually eats the old coating to maintain itself. Which is why the first coating is a lower cycle than subsequent coatings. Cheap, long-lasting. One can will last one drone about two years at optimal cycles"

She'd then cock an eyebrow at the woman saying she couldn't make tea on site.
"If it's personal only, a small hydroponic in your office would produce enough tea leaves, no? Unless you are one of those who does like sixty cups a day. my mother used to do that, my brother got fit and very well known at the local shop. He'd buy like eight pints of milk a week"
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
"Aha," Fusako reacted in revelation as she nodded. "If the hydrophobic coating does wear off, is it harmful to the environment? What other upkeep does the drone need?"

The sake maker took a sip of her tea, feeling the oils coat her tongue and tasting a rich flavour that accentuated the aromas of earth and grass. Rather than putting the cup down, she held it with both hands and let it warm them up. Though there was adequate heating under the table, it was kept below by the well-insulated blanket and the rest of the room was quite cold since the old house had no central heating. The only other source of warmth was the fire which was down to its embers.

"I guess you can grow anything hydroponically, but I hadn't even considered it. I guess I'm a little old-fashioned." The older woman wore a look somewhere in the vicinity of curious and hopeful, but at this last statement, she grew a slightly embarrassed smile before it faded back into amusement. She wondered how many leaves she consumed in a year and how many tea plants that would equate to. "I don't drink hardly that much. Just a few cups in the morning, and more when there's a special occasion."

Fusako deliberately failed to mention that today was such an occasion, because of Egwene's visit.

"Are you close with your family? I have a brother and sister myself, but we talk maybe once a year. My sister lives in Kyoto, but I never see her. She has a son who should be completing his degree soon, in something scientific I think. She used to visit more frequently when he was younger." Her face lit up and her smile alone seemed to warm the room. "He was always very interested in the sake-making process. I hoped he would come apprentice with me when he was done with school."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"Potentially in large amounts, but you'd only introduce large amounts if you routinely neglect upkeep and let the coating rub off. Which would take several decades of neglect to reach any notable amount" She'd reply, before standing up and looking about.

"If you don't drink much then I'll make you a hydroponic now. It'd be fun to tinker something like that up after all the high concept science I've been up to lately" Egwene would think for a moment, and then shake her head some.

"Not so much, no. They are pretty small time people that never really managed to understand me growing up. There is a lot of tension from them I'd rather not add to. So we just acknowledge each other exists and go about our own way. Building things, selling stuff, flirting with beautiful women"
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
The room contained very little. Aside from the table at which Fusako still sat, there was only the firepit and the now-empty hook that hung above it.

"What do you need for your hydroponic tinkering?" Fusako seemed deeply amused. "I may have some spare equipment next door. This is my residence. I don't do much here except give tours, negotiate business, and sleep."

As Egwene described her family, the sake maker nodded solemnly. "Families can be like that. A group of very different people sharing one roof until someone moves on. It sounds like you knew what you wanted and you moved on to pursue it."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
"I didn't go far, honestly. Just to the university, where I quite possibly died. And then broached out some. Kenwenees often sends contracts for guest tutoring in other universities close to where I am, and sometimes I return home to do stuff there. I'm just....it's hard looking after someone when you try absolutely eveything you possibly can and they still don't change at all. So I don't blame them for going distant"

Egwene would then have her skin retreat away from her hands and collect a set of tools found within herself, before putting the skin back and pondering for a moment.
"Well, it depends on what is around. If you want enough tea leaves to share with your friends and workers as well, or just enough for you, I can do both. Mostly just some basic metals, screws some light bulbs"
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
Fusako listened silently to Egwene talk about her family, then watched with fascination as her guest's skin retreated to reveal a collection of tools she had within herself. After taking one more sip of her hot tea, she put her cup down and stood up.

The older woman took a moment to straighten her black and gold kimono before she shuffled over to the black lacquered wall divider that depicted a bamboo forest in gold leaf. She pushed the divider aside, revealing only darkness in the space beyond, into which she disappeared. A moment passed before the room was suddenly illuminated. It was a kitchen whose cabinetry and countertops were lightly stained wood, showing telltale signs of wear around the edges that spoke of daily use over many decades. It was so plain compared to the extravagance of the wall dividers that the contrast was quite harsh.

Fusako knelt and pulled open a small bottom drawer that seemed to be full of loose junk. She rummaged around for a few seconds before she eventually produced a plastic baggie containing various screws. A few seconds later, she pulled out a coiled length of LEDs. She stood and walked into another part of the kitchen that was still hidden before she returned carrying a well-charred wok by its wooden handle. The semi-spherical metal section was quite large, a little less than 2 meters in circumference, and easily 10 centimetres deep.

"Will these do? I don't have light bulbs, but I do have these broad-spectrum diodes that I used to retrofit the lighting in the sitting room." The sake maker gestured up to the light source that ran the length of the rafters and reflected light off of the ceiling instead of beaming down into the room directly. "And this is the biggest piece of metal I have here. If you need more, we can go next door."
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
Fusako seemed to live frugally, which was interesting to see. Egwene had no real luxury but that was because all her money went into tools and projects to use those tools on.

"Lightbulbs are just for the aesthetic really. Any lightning works, it's just so you can see what you are doing" she'd speak slowly, as if really concentrating on something, and walk towards Fusako in the same manner. The showcase of this control walked into the room a few moments later. A large suit of humanoid power armour. Sleek, stylish and form fitting, it wandered over to Egwene and then opened up to reveal a secondary stash of tools.

"Might need some more, yea. I can rig the case with that, but the pump system and nutrient introduction system would require a secondary system. Unless you'd rather cycle that manually. Some people like gardening on a small scale"
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
Fusako narrowed her eyes as Egwene started speaking more slowly and felt unsure about exactly what the mechanic was trying to communicate. She felt her heart rate increase and her breathing speed up as Egwene approached, and then she was startled as a suit of power armour slid open the wall partition to the outside and stepped in. For a moment, Fusako was worried about the old wooden floors beneath the tatami mats, but when they seemed to hold under the armour's weight, she sighed with relief. The sake maker returned her attention to her guest and thought for a moment before replying.

"I would rather it be automatic if possible. I spend most of my days performing manual labour at work, so I would be grateful if I didn't come home to more chores."

The older woman concentrated and brought up mental images of her production facility. She built a mental inventory of all her equipment and started to frown when she realized that her preference for wood meant she had very little metal around. Then her eyebrows jumped up when she remembered something suitable.

"Aha, I think I have something that may work in the cave. Feel free to join me, or stay here. I will be back in a few minutes."

With that, she left the materials with Egwene and departed from the room in much the same way that the armour had entered. The cold air of winter hit her as soon as she opened the sliding wall from the sitting room to the exterior of the building. Though it wasn't particularly warm in the sitting room, it was much warmer than outside. She shuffled her sock-clad feet onto the veranda that surrounded her residence on all sides, quickly closing the sliding door behind her (and Egwene if she was accompanying).

She turned and looked out at the haphazardly arranged pair of buildings that were the only other man-made structures in her facilities. They both had steeply-pointed tiled rooves to avoid snow buildup that could crush old wooden structures like these. Presently, they were bathed in the warm orange hue of golden hour. All around, the snowy mountain forests were aglow in a breathtaking yellow-orange gradient. She looked up at the sky, which was already starting to darken.

The day felt like it was shorter than it should have been. She knew that the days were starting to lengthen as they had passed the winter solstice, but as a sake maker, she felt no urgency for spring to arrive since it meant that the rainy season was nearly upon her, which was when the sake had to be finished fermenting and beginning its ageing.

Fusako shook her head, pulling herself out of the daydream, and resumed her task. She slipped on a pair of geta (下駄) as she stepped down from the veranda, and walked with surprising speed considering her legs were practically bound together from the long, tightly-wrapped kimono she was wearing. Rather than head to one of the other buildings, she slipped between her residence and the larger of the other structures. The courtyard between the buildings was cleared of snow to expose the cobblestones laid there, but the gap through which she was currently walking was clearly not a very commonly-used path, so the snow was just a little higher than the platforms of her sandals. Thankfully, before too long her path met up with one that led out of the larger building and she shook the snow from her feet.

This path led a short way towards a steep incline north of her facilities, but rather than follow the ground upwards, it disappeared into a rocky outcropping. As she followed it, she found the entrance to a natural cave that led down into the mountainside. Thankfully, she had installed lighting, handrails, and a slip-proof ramp for safety. She remembered the pain of carrying bundles of koji rice down into the darkness before she had any money for such things.

The ramp continued downwards for some time, following the twists and turns of the cave. Slowly the air became significantly warmer. Like her sitting room, it wasn't really warm, just warmer than the winter air. Then the cave opened up into a surprisingly large chamber, into which she had installed several stainless steel fermentation/ageing tanks. The sound of her wooden sandals echoed seemingly forever in the system of caverns as she walked across the raised flooring to the back of the room where there were a few messy piles of equipment. Fusako spent a few minutes arranging everything neatly before she picked up a couple of brushed metal buckets and made her way back along the same path she had come.

When she finally returned to the sitting room, she held out the buckets to Egwene. "These should be about a gallon each, will they do?"
 

WanTheFloof

Active Member
Egwene's biometrics picked up the heart-rate and breathing of the woman. Maybe she'd not just stop at drawing? Or replace drawing with something more fun for everyone? Either way worked~

Staying where she was to get prep-work done, Fusako would return to Egwene's arms having no skin on them. Revealing the pair of high-tech tools built into her mechanical arms, and a tool box brought in by the sleek and humanoid armour, she was ready to work. Though, setting the buckets aside for a while and coming close to her, the skin returned to her arms in time for her to slide the hands around Fusako's waist.

"Mmm, that's perfect. Though, I noticed you getting a bit flustered around me. Is there something you want to say?~"
 

hyralt

🌟 Site Supporter
Seeing Egwene's skinless arms, Fusako's face immediately revealed her shocked reaction. However, her surprise gave way almost immediately to curiosity. Her eyes remained wide and her mouth slightly open as she stared and tried to get a closer look.

When Egwene wrapped her arms around her, the older geshrin woman gasped and then felt herself practically melt into the cybernetic woman's arms. The part of her mind that had been carefully laying plans for their upcoming negotiations warned her that she should keep a level head. But her body was actively betraying her feelings.

"Don't let go," she instructed between heavy breaths. A part of her that had been neglected since her husband died almost added "please." For three decades, she had been in charge. It was her responsibility to keep her employees from hurting themselves or ruining her sake. The unpredictability of koji and yeast had led her to overcompensate and exert her control over every other part of her job, and eventually her life. But now she realized that she desperately wanted to take a break, even if it meant being vulnerable to someone she had only just met. "It's been so long..."
 
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