Marcon's Garden Pt. 1
Marcon's Garden Pt. 1
Summary: Marcon's dream of constructing an artificial garden on the Kharon receives it's first real boost after a conversation with Nine…
Date: PHD070 (27 June 2009)
Related Logs: none

Marcon sits back in his bunk, feverishly writing on a piece of paper as fast as his fingers, more used to stirring spoons than writing utensils, will allow. The two strawberry plants, normally concealed by his bunk curtain, are exposed, the UV lamp over them shining down on green leaves and a few not yet ripe berries.

Nine slips back into the berthings, fresh from the showers, her hair almost uncrinkled as it trails in wet locks down her shoulders and back, getting her twinned tanks wet even as she wears a towel over her head like a hood. On her way to her bunk she gets pulled in by the UV lighting, and like a moth she flickers toward the brightness, settling down by the strawberry plants to soak up a little of the light. "Hi," she tells Macron, curled up as she is by the base of his bunk.

Marcon smiles absently at Nine while he pulls up his feet to make room for her. Then all the sudden he seems to focus on who she is starts. "Oh, Nine. Hey." Returning to his paper, he keeps writing away, then grimaces. "Frak me, I can't get this to look right. I've got no skill for…" suddenly he is looking up at her again. "Hey, uh, Nine. I have an idea I think you might be interested in."

Nine basks, eyelids closed but face turned to the light as the towel soaks up her hairmoisture, looking like one of the Vestals in purity for a moment. She turns her face toward Marcon, then, dragging her bare feet up with her, and she opens her eyes, "Is it more kisses?" she wonders.

Marcon visibly blushes at the question. "Well… uh… no, not at the moment, anyway." How could she be so casual about that sort of thing? "What I was looking at here was something of a technical project. I'd like to pitch it to the higher ups, but maybe if I got some of these details hammered out first…" He glances over at her. "Food stores are going strong, for now, but they're not indefinite. If we had a way to produce our own food onboard, we'd be a lot better off." Sitting up, he turns the paper around to reveal a very shoddy looking sketch. "An artifiscial field, Nine. Like what I've done with my plants, but bigger. We have that whole empty hold down on three. If we could convert it… imagine. A whole artificial environment, where plants could grow, producing food and oxygen." In a moment of inspiration he grins. "Imagine how much fun it would be for Crucible, to have a whole environment like that to be in."

Nine turns her head to look over the sketch, canting it downward in an analytical sort of peer. "Do we have the trimmings we'd need to get it started?" she wonders, then, lifting a finger, "What's that meant to be?" she asks.

Marcon glances down where she is pointing. "Uh… that bit? Water recycling… I think? Irrigation can easily be handled through fire surpression systems, but reclaiming the water is a bit more of a problem. These pipes would take the water back into a reservoir… here… so that we don't have to have a constant feed from the main tanks. We could also use that reservoir to grow certain types of algae… yet another food source, and natural filtration, besides. With a little work, the reservoir could even be made to look like a natural pond." He squinches up his eyes to think. "Technically speaking, I think we'd have everything we need to make this work except the two biggest ingredients. We need soil and seed. I had some ideas on how to get them, but I thought one of the pilots might be able to help me out with that."

"We'd also need to get nutrients into the water supply," Nine points out, "Fertilizer or other plant food," she notes, "And we wouldn't need much in the way of soil if we made all the systems hydroponic, would we?" she asks, "Though I guess if we got soil we could get some worms or something."

Marcon nods. "Hydroponics will grow anything, but you still need the nutrients, and most plants grow more easily in soil, with less direct aid. With proper crop rotation and fertilization, say with sludge from our own waste systems, we could probably keep the soil fertile nearly indefinitely. I have a few ideas for a hydroponics lab, and stuff we could grow there, but this, I think, could almost make the Kharon self-sufficient. We'd never completely eliminate the need for outside foodstuffs, but we would need them a lot less."

Nine nods quietly, "We convert some modicum of nutrient to work energy daily. Even with the most advanced nutrient recycling systems we would need outside infusions once in a while," she breaks the problem down to the most basic statement of fact. "I would suspect that command would approve anything to extend the period between necessary infusions of fresh fuel."

Marcon nods eagerly. "It wouldn't just be that, either. Look at this bit." The part of the picture he points to truly is indecipherable. 'We set the air scrubbers in that area to a high carbon dioxide level, causing them to pull the co2 everyone else is breathing out in there. The plants convert it back into oxygen, which the scrubbers then disperse throughout the ship to maintain appropriate levels. It even takes some of the burdon off of life support."

Nine squints at the image for a long moment, "We would need to modify the scrubber settings elsewhere, as well, lest the other portions of the ship grow hyperoxygenated. If we simply left all the settings level I think we'd have almost as much relief on the life support systems without the difficulties and dangers inherent in setting a varible oxygen control level throughout the ship," she notes, then thinks, "If people spent a lot of their spare time in there, the beneficial effects would be even greater. Maybe if we made it into a sort of park."

Marcon nods, and pulls himself over so he is sitting right next to Nine. "Yeah, I see your point. Do you… d'you think you could help me with drafting? That bird you showed me was beautiful and functional. Maybe if you could draw a schematic, with it we could easily show command what I'm talking about, and how we would put it together. It'd be a huge undertaking… wouldn't take a lot for them to decide it wasn't worth it."

"Mhm," Nine agrees, "I can— the other obstacle is the amount of materials this will take to build. It wouldn't deplete our stores by much, but when it comes down to it I think they might opt to keep the maximum number of spare parts possible for other systems. We could go browse through parts storage and see what we've got too much of, try to make a design based on that," she suggests, pushing an elbow against the wall to topple herself toward Marcon and lean on him as he comes close.

Without even thinking about it, Marcon puts an arm around Nine as she leans against him. "Yeah, that would be great. Most of it just plumbing, anyway… moving water will be our biggest technical challenge. Actually growing the food will be pretty easy. I'm not the greatest farmer in the worlds, but the biggest farming challenges come from inclement weather, anyway, which won't be a problem for us."

"Mhm…" Nine continues to consider the problem, "If I can get some readings from your strawberry plants over a couple of watering cycles, I could try to put together an automated system to apply water in optimal quanitites based on readings taken from the stems."

With a chuckle, Marcon reaches across Nine to reach into a small footlocker, pulling out a small spray bottle. "As you can see, at the moment I am already working wih a very sophisticated watering system." Holding the nozzle up as though to give her a spray in the face, he grins, then lowers it. "How would you get readings?"

Nine closes her eyes but pushes out her face for spritzing, despite the fact that the spray never comes. She opens her eyes again, "I was going to probe the stem for minute differences in softness based on whether the plant is fully watered or not. I could put together a simple system like I wrote for Crucible's legs, to sense the surfaces he was climbing on and tell him whether to walk there or not, or how far to extend his barbs. Except this one would be uploading its data to the watering system so that it can automatically adjust the flow of water."

Marcon starts looking a bit nervous. "Well… ok. Be careful, though? It takes awhile to get a strawberry plant to the point where it can produce, and I've gotten used to having fresh fruit every now and then."

"If you'd prefer," Nine offers, sensing nervousness, "We can get everything running, first, and work in the automation later, once we've got more subjects to test on."

Marcon shakes his head. "Everything we can do to help. D'you… d'you think that Crucible could help? I mean there is so much data to monitor, he might find it fun. it has to get boring in your bunk, right?" He stumbles a bit over saying that, "and you said that he was smarter than most spiders…"

"He could help in pollination," Nine supposes, "I'm also in the middle of another little project that could help with that," she goes on, biting her lower lip. "If I ever manage to finish them."

"Another project? Like the bird?" Marcon sounds curious.

Nine nods quietly, moving her head against him a little. "Less… complicated, though."

Marcon finds himself enjoying their proximity, but for a moment is unsure of what, if anything, he could take from it. He certainly wasn't about to kiss her, not after the way their last kiss went. Still, he finds himself intrigued. "Do you have any drawings? Can I see them?"

"I have some. They're in my stuff," Nine replies, seeming, however, far too comfortable to be willing to move, just now, snugging faintly in against him and enjoying his warmth on one side and the warmth of the UV light on the other.

Marcon laughs softly as she snuggles up against him, too much the purveyor of creature comforts to insist. "So, other than one day meeting a Cylon, what are your goals, Nine? What do you want?"

"I haven't really thought ahead that far," Nine admits, "I want to talk to the Cylons. After that— well, there might not be an after that, I guess. 'Til then? I dunno. I keep doing my work," she shrugs, "I work on my projects and keep myself entertained. I honor the Lord Dionysus. It keeps my schedule pretty much full."

"Dionysus, eh?" Marcon gives Nine a surprised look. "I thought you'd be more of one for Hephaestus. Just made sense, I thought. My family has honored Dionysus for years, but that just makes sense. We were brewers and cooks."

"My family has a long history in the theatre," Nine explains quietly, "On Caprica." Dionysus also being the Lord of the Theatre, whose prayer masks and their wide gaping grins and horrible sobbing wails became long ago an iconic emblem of the thespian trade.

"Oh," Marcon says quietly. The subject of family bothers him. "I don't suppose you've kept any of your Lord's nectar handy, have you?"

"I have some I've kept, yes," Nine replies, "Do you want to share the God with me sometime?" she wonders, obviously imbuing the act of drinking with a spiritual communion with Dionysus.

"I would love to," Marcon says with a smile. "I actually have some thoughts on making more, but I think this," he nods to his indecipherable drawings, "is more immediately important. Besides, once word gets out, Viper Pilots start sharing the God like they're drinking water in the desert."

Nine smiles quietly, glancing to the side as she leans forward to peek across the berthings, then she lowers her voice as she leans back up to murmur near his cheek, "The Sheriff and I've been talking about getting a still up and running— if you wanted in on it— we wouldn't need to tell the air wing. I doubt their bosses like them flying with God in their heads, anyhow. Dionysus makes the true false and the false true again, and makes two suns shine where once there was one: He makes us each see the world as He wills us to see it."

Marcon grins. "Sounds like a plan, but so long as we control the amounts, I suspect that we will be fine. The god should be shared, after all, and they fight for us. I've spent my life trying to keep peoples spirits up with food and drink. It's what I know." He holds up the picture again. "That's really what this is about. If the people get to eat food they recognize, even alongside the usual processed protein, it reminds them that they are alive." He laughs. "Now I'm sounding like my dad. He said his best customers were Fleet people on R and R."

Nine looks at the picture, herself, musing over his words in a pensive sort of way, but with a smile, "It brings delight that banishes woe, and sleep to banish sorrowfulness," she quotes from somewhere or other. "The God brings many blessings, even now."

Leaning back, Marcon holds Nine close. "I grew up wanting to own my own restaurant and brewery, a place where people from all over could come, relax, and eat the best damned meal available in the colonies." He laughs. "Is it ironic that, even with War Day, that dream is still possible? We have a fairly inter-colonial crew here…"

Nine looks along Marcon's profile. "It's nice you have a dream. I… well, I did, sort of, I guess," her neck begins to blotch up in her usual sort of uneven blush, but she looks away again and smiles, "Yes… I think that does qualify as irony. The best damned meal available in the colonies… very likely the only meal available in the colonies. But I know you make every meal great, Marcon. You put your soul into it. And your soul is very tasty."

With a grin, turns his head and kisses her briefly on the forehead. "It's nice of you to say so. And speaking of which, are you hungry? I'm due in the mess in an hour to get started on dinner, but if you'd like something early, I could make something special for you…"

"I could food…" Nine begins, "But… I need to brush my hair, first." And anyone who lives in these berthings knows about how long that takes. She's -very- fastidious about her hair. "I'll probably be ready for dinner about the same time as everyone else." Several… hours from now. "I guess I should get started. I don't want to be late."

Marcon sighs, then nods. "Wouldn't want that. It's the usual protein today, but I'll do my best. And thanks for agreeing to help… I think we can make life on this ship considerably better for everyone."

Nine finally begins to shift against him, moving just enough to slip a leg down out of his bunk, "Give me a moment. I'll show you what I'm working on," she tells him as she eases her way to the floor and then down one set of bunks to her own space.

Curious, Marcon gets out as well, and follows her over to her bunk.

Nine clambors on up. She'd been intending to go back to his bunk, but, as he follows, she tips her head in invitation, taking off her towel and hanging it over the top of her locker on her way into her bunk.

With a shrug, Marcon clambers up after her, not being the most agile crewmember on the Kharon. "Let's see what you've got," he says with a smile.

Nine goes up into her recessed cubby-type shelving unit above the head of her bed. No, actually crawls up into it, fitting into a space that looks rather too small for a human being to fit. And she's not the shortest of people— rather on the tall side, for a woman. Just… bendy. She peeks out again, holding out two hands with three small objects resting in them. Three small objects which, on close examination, rather resemble bees.

Marcon carefully takes Nine's hands so he can look closer without touching them, not knowing what could damage them. "Gods, Nine. They're incredible…"

"They're… not done yet," Nine warns, "And one of them is meant to be a gift for a friend of mine," she adds, "But… maybe he wouldn't mind it flying with the other two in the garden, when there is one."

"That would be… amazing. Insects add so much to gardening." He looks up at her in a kind of awe. "You really are brilliant, Nine, you know that? What in Hades are you doing in the enlisted berths?"

Nine looks down at the bees in her hands, at her hands in his hands, "I… I don't know. I don't deal well… under pressure, you know? Making decisions… things like that. Having people rely on me. It makes me nervous, and when I get nervous, I freeze up. So… I… enlisted. They tell me what lightbulbs need changing, and— it's pretty easy."

"Oh," Marcon says quietly. Looking down at the bees again, he looks up at her again, and smiles. "Don't worry. I'll handle talking to command. You can just apply that head of yours to the problem, just like another one of your projects." He gives her hands a squeeze, careful not to harm the bees. "We'll be able to make a real difference."

Nine takes her hands from his with a shy smile, turning aside to put the bees away, disappearing into the dark before emerging again to come and curl next to him on her bunk, her head resting on one of his legs. "That would be nice. I can't ever find my voice when it's important."

Looking down at her, Marcon rests a hand on her shoulder. "Luckily, I'm known for my big mouth." It would have to work overtime, as well, if they were to pull this scheme off…

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