2010-02-28: Busy Work



Date: February 28, 2010


One prisoner occupies herself with busy work; two more are a little less excited about it.

"Busy Work"

Prisoner Barracks - Building 27

The last few days had been a bit better for Alexandra than the first weeks. Much can be owed to a single good night's sleep in all of that, and the 'therapeutic' effects that a few sheets of paper and some pencils in order to do some work. What almost certianly comes across as boring to anyone who's not a brain, nerd, dork, or whatever else who's into math and what have you, is entertaining enough for Alex to keep her mind off of the…bad stuff. For the moment.

Just like the other day, she's sitting at one of the tables, scribbling away on some plain computer paper, using a few bare bones pencils, without erasers or anything fancy schmancy like that. What sun is allowed to stream in through the windows falls on the table…conveniently dragged to rest right where the sun falls, for better lighting to work in. Her hair is pulled back in a tight ponytail, and she sits indian-style in one of the flat, plain chairs provided with the table. Lines of writing are spread across a few sheets, and a number of sheets are fanned out in front of where she sits. One or two of them have rough-sketches on them, with arrows and numbers noted.

Elle Bishop is neither well-rested nor well-adjusted to her stay here. She has mostly kept to herself since finding herself here, aside from the occasional brief excursion to the common rooms to alleviate boredom. Today she shuffles down the hallway to the common room, her hair tied into an unkempt ponytail, dark circles under her eyes, to see if a change in scenery is what she needs to actually achieve a few minutes of sleep. She hardly gives a glance around the room before dropping unceremoniously onto the sofa, stretching out her short legs, and covering her eyes with her arm.

Cora is possibly less well-adjusted than either of them. The loss of her powers due to the collar has given the young woman a profound sense of paranoia, and other than eating or taking care of hygeine needs, she hasn't left the corner with her bunk in it for most of the time she's been here. Usually, she hides under her blankets, but when she's visible, there are frequent comments about people staring at her, even when there isn't anyone looking in her direction.

Out of the ordinary, Alexandra is the first one to speak today. "Do either of you two know anything about, oh…non-Newtonian fluid mechanics? Off the top of your head. I really should know it, but! I don't exactly have a copy of the CRC Handbook handy." It's a…very, VERY obscure question, and the probability of either of these two knowing the answer is just about zero. Maybe Alex is just trying to break the silence in her own unique way, the way she's found to provide her a little bit of comfort and normalcy while here in captivity. "If you don't, that's ok too. Just figured I'd ask. I can make a guess at it if not."

At first, the only response Elle gives to the question is a muffled snort of derision. Alexandra can probably take that as a 'no.' She shifts her position on the sofa, pulling her knees up and leaning against the back cushions. When Alexandra doesn't seem satisfied to stop talking after she's asked the question in the first place, however, Elle mumbles, "Is getting an answer going to make you shut up?"

Cora pokes her head out of the blankets wrapped around her, something like a blue-clad turtle, but doesn't respond, simply watching Alexandra through her glasses. Her eyes then move over towards Elle for a moment, before the paranoid corner-turtle goes back into hiding for a bit.

"It might!" Alex replies to Elle. "Of course, if you could get the guards here to find me copy of what I need, that would keep my quiet even longer." Fat chance that's going to happen, though; a CRC Handbook is about 5 inches thick and could probably be used to bludgeon someone to death. Really, what she needs is a full terminal for simulating this, rather than applying exceedingly crude analytical approximations when numerical methods are really the only feasible ways to get anything approaching an accurate solution. "How about you, under the blankets? Know anything about fluid mechanics? Like math at all?"

She shouldn't have said anything. That's the reigning thought in Elle's mind as she listens to Alexandra prattle on, talking to two people who really couldn't care any less about whatever it is she's doing. Letting out another groan of protest at the continued chatter, she shifts on the sofa once more, still trying to find a comfortable position. It'd help if there wasn't so much noise. "I'm not the person you want to have asking the guards for anything unless you're expecting a flat-out rejection. No one here cares about your homework."

Cora pokes her head out enough to respond, "They won't let me have my laptop back. I wish they would, I have a term project due in two months, and that robot control program won't write itself." That… might be an answer to Alexandra's question. Perhaps. At least Cora doesn't withdraw her head back into the blankets yet.

First, Alex turns her head to reply to Elle. "Well, it's not exactly homework. It's work work. Work that was interrupted when some disguised agents came to my apartment door, gassed me out, and brought me here. And hey, weren't you the one who just a few days ago told me to fix it? So here I am, fixing it, and you still have a 'tude about it!" She just shakes her head and gives Elle a disapproving look, before gathering a few sheets of paper. "Robot control hm? So you're somewhat versed in control theory I take it?" she asks Cora, heading over to that corner in her sock-feet.

To be honest, Elle hadn't remembered that this was the woman she had told only a few days prior to stop her whinging and fix her situation if it bothered her so much. In fact, Elle hasn't given Alexandra so much as a glance since she entered the room. When Alexandra calls her on her attitude, however, she doesn't apologize. Instead, she says, "Yeah, well, fix it quietly." And then she stretches out again, arm over her eyes, desperately trying (and failing) to relax.

"Somewhat," Cora replies simply. "Taking a few classes in it, anyway. Or at least, I was. Probably failing now that I missed the midterm." She directs a pointed glare towards the nearest door, as if trying to focus her anger into door-melting beams of hatred.

"Hm, ok. Well, see if any of this makes sense." Alex slides up onto the side of the bed and starts to fork over two or three sheets. The first sheet is like a data sheet, with all the relevant equations and variables, constants, whatever else she could remember. The next is a process diagram. The third is where her equations and work are written out as neatly as possible, in loopy, sterotypically girly handwriting, even if it the writing is small and concise.

"Jesus." Throwing her arms down to her sides with a huff of frustration, Elle sits up straight and rolls her eyes. Clearly, this sleep thing is not going to happen out here. She shoves herself up from the sofa, looking between Alexandra and Cora briefly with what can only be called a glare. "Good luck," she says insincerely, brushing some stray pieces of hair from her face as she leaves the two girls to their … science … and returns to her room. If she's going to be awake, she might as well be awake where there's no one to bother her.

Cora looks at the sheet and blinks, then shakes her head. "I don't… it doesn't even make any sense," she replies simply. It might just be that she's too distracted to make sense of it, though.

"Oh…well, I guess I'll just keep making approximations and stuff. This is all just idle, stuff. Busy work, to keep sane. Maybe you should try it!" Alex just gives her a little smile, and takes back the papers she had given to Cora to look over. "They didn't have much of an issue with giving me some paper. Just ask them." She shrugs, and stands up, heading back to the table to continue working, just the way she was before this little bout of conversation started up.

Cora seems to mull over that for a minute, then disappears back into her blankets, stretching out on the bed as she lays down to sleep. Sleep is busy work, right?

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