Diana And The Colossus

<May_Summers> [ The Paskell Tower, home to the beating heart of Paskell Industries, and also home to its R&D Development. The foyer of the building is wide and spacious, demonstrating the Paskell Family's power and wealth to both visitor and regular… And it was here that their newest employee would be accepted into their ranks. ]
<May_Summers> « Department*»
*Mina‘Haplo enters the foyer in a flitting, almost nervous manner. She glances up at the roof with a sense of unease. Appearance-wise, she’s come dressed for work, wearing a white shirt, long black trousers and a dark blue overcoat. Her red hair is tied up into a ponytail, and she casts her eyes about, looking for a familiar face…
*Mina‘Haplo has left #haploic
*Diana was waiting there, in a muuuch less formal outfit than before - her nigh-trademark blue mechanic’s jumpsuit, of course! And with that same fancy technohat… in fact. A special trait of it was now being showed off, as in Diana's approach towards May… the arm holding the lenses retracted on its own accord. "Ah, Ms. Summers. Welcome to R&D."
*May_Summers watches the arm retract as Diana approached, a hint of curiosity on her face… It took her a moment before her gaze shifted to Diana. "Oh, good morning, Miss Lucerne." She said, giving her a little nod… Then glances around. "Is your little assistant not with you today…?"
*Diana blinked… then nodded. "In my lab. I had to power it down to replace a few worn actuators."
<May_Summers> "Oh." Said May, and she rubs her left upper arm uncomfortably at that. "I brought a few things. Not much, just things I was able to take…" Said May.
<Diana> "Perfectly acceptable, situation being accounted for and all. Besides, all you -really- would need are things pertaining to present projects. Prototypes, notes, that sort of thing." Then… a mischievous grin. "Because we certainly have facilities. Being the friend of the Paskells' daughter allows one to have… interesting budget prioritization." She seemed to wave on, as if to lead…
<May_Summers> "Ah, yes. I can imagine." Said May, following on at Diana's wave. "The situation was honestly the same back at Vickers, with Michael."
*Diana tugged vaguely at the fabric of her jumpsuit, thinking about that. "…Interesting coincidence. Anyway, follow me." And after a few winds through the halls of R&D… which, we will note, was already fairly low in the building… she came to one of the tower's elevators, the fascinating little cable-and-pulley contraptions that helped get around the tower. "We're heading down."
<May_Summers> "Ah, alright." Said May, entering the elevator after Diana, turning around to face the door. She fidgetted just a little with the strap of her bag, before speaking. "I've heard of you before. I mean, before last night. Just a little."
*Diana operated the console… pressing a button as the thing began to creakily descend. Worth noting… this was not a main elevator. It was dedicated to this. "Really. And what did they say?"
<May_Summers> "Not much." Said May, shrugging a little. "You aren't very public. They say you're intelligent…" Said May. "You must be if you have the ear of Madame Paskell."
*Diana nodded. "Good. Good in both ways. That they recognize my talents…" And, as she leaned back on the railing of the elevator carriage, she smirked. "…And don't know much else. I have secrets, after all. Some belonging to the company…" Sudden tone change, more leading "…some not." The carriage continued to descend, as the gauge showed they were halfway down.
<May_Summers> "… Ah." Said May nervously, glancing at Diana as though, for a second, she was afraid that Diana'd spring at her with a knife. Her imagination was running wild with images and scenes. What if Diana was a murderer or a spy or something? She forcibly tried to suppress such ideas, and return to polite conversation. "… So… How long have you been in the business?"
<Diana> "In the business , I'd say 6 years. I worked as an assistant when I was finishing some of my courses at the Academy. Mother and father didn't much care for it, but I did." Then a calm shrug. "But I'm a natural. I remember modifying the family auto-carraige back in my early teens! Even though father yelled at me… I increased its engine efficency though!" Ding! "Ah, we've reached the floor."
<May_Summers> "Ah… I see…" Said May quietly. "I used to tinker with my father's rifle when I was a child. On reflection, he was a bad father for letting me do that." She said airily, then followed Diana off.
*Diana chuckled a little as she headed deeper into the bowels of the R&D 'hardworks' branch, striding through cool metal corridors lit by magitech lamps. "Oh no, that would be a poor call indeed! A different kid'd be liable to blow her head off…" Then, they arrived at a large metal door, that looked to be fortified against blasts, with obvious gears mounted on it. "…A sec, got to type the code."
*May_Summers stares up at the door, blinking… "Afraid someone might break in?"
<Diana> "Aheh… no. No, not at all. Quite the opposite, though not in that way." After typing in a sequence of numbers… "By the by, I'll provide the door code with your clearance documents once we're all good and settled." …The gears began to whir, catching on teeth in the ceiling and floor, pulling the door aside, into the wall… revealing a cavernous chamber festooned with lamps -
<Diana> - that had to be a few (underground) stories high! A boxy 'shelf' seemed to jut out from the wall now behind them, apparently being both where the room connected with the halls, and where the actual offices were. "…This is the Paskell Tower testing grounds. Given the natural cave… the designers thought it'd be more prudent to just hide the tests down here rather than offsite."
<May_Summers> "… Oh." Said May, looking around at the room with a sense of curiosity on her face. "That does make sense…" She looked back at the blast door, then back over at Diana… And smiled a little, in an excited fashion. "I never thought I'd be here in person."
*Diana paused, sort of knowing what the tone of the comment meant - that the Vickers corporate spies told her about it. "Mmmhm. Given that you were working on the Colossus… It was decided it'd be best to move you to this facility." She then waved her hand dismissively. "Not like the M-chariot guys are making progress anyway." Then a pause. "…Also, the deployment gate is for Special Purposes only."
*May_Summers nodded at that. "It makes sense. Given the sheer weapon capability of the Colossus design, you'd need to put it in some place safe and secure like this." Said May, with the very real air of someone who was starting to be energised because it was *her*field coming up. "I mean, the conventional weapons are usually considered standard artillery weapons, never mind the Radiant Cannon. I put a lot of effort into that one."-
<May_Summers> She said gushingly… Before catching herself and shaking her head. "Special Purposes?"
*Diana had a veritable cheshire grin for that. …And a hand sliding behind her to press the 'close' button for the blast door of doom. "Yes. Special. Given the severe sensitivity of these projects… there is the real danger that the building itself could be a target of invading armies. …The deployment gate is a viable self-defense option. Among other uses."
<May_Summers> "I… I see." Said May, deflating. Her love of big guns didn't really prevent her from being scared at the idea of being invaded. "Well, let's hope it doesn't come to that…" She scratched the back of her left hand nervously. "Where to next?"
*Diana walked over to the side, pointing at a metal door with a recessed handle. With… just a twitch of her head, she brought psychic force to bear to slide it open, musing that doing so by hand would be a literal pain. "Your office." It was a well-appointed office, with a functional, and semi-pretty desk, file cabinets, and other amenities. -
<Diana> - There were a few adjoining rooms, separated by more normal doors, arranged in a line ala a 'shotgun house'. One was empty, explained by Diana as a 'personal room' that you were to configure as you liked for work or leisure, with furniture provided by expense account. The other was a full-fledged workroom, with tool lockers, a worktable… and a psychic-command viewscreen on one wall.
<May_Summers> "Ah…" Murmured May, nodding to herself. "I see. Quite well-equipped." She said, nodding approvingly to the workroom, then… Taking her bag, she put it on the desk, taking a few files and gadgets out of it and placing it on the surface, before turning back to Diana. "I appreciate it."
*Diana nodded. "I hoped you would. Really, after what Michael said, I thought… 'Her work is important for saving lies, and moreover covers several fields I have tangential projects in, but am not an expert in myself', and… decided you needed the priority."
*May_Summers nods. "Yes… I guess in some way I compliment you in that regard." She said. "… What is this place like? To work in."
<Diana> "Ah, it's… relatively lax. At least, in this specific branch. Hardworks is very very important to the war effort after all, so while we have some tight deadlines and high expectations…" She genuinely smiled at that, probably thinking of how she herself benefitted from what she was explaining. "…We're also given free reign on our work. 'Creative-types need to breathe before they make stuff', they say."
<May_Summers> "Lax, huh…?" Said May, rubbing her neck. "… I see. Well, I guess that makes sense. It's not exactly what I'm used to, per se… I was given some freedom because of my friendship with Michael, but as time went on our department was continually squeezed in time and effort… Budget constraints too." She said with a dirty look. "They're lucky I managed to design what I did!"
<Diana> "Huh! Really. Paskell makes most of its money from new technology and military contracts nowadays, so… let's face it. R&D has the highest budget in the company. Marketing is understandably pissed." …A goofy smile, to try to lighten the mood. "Don't go to floor 9 too much if you can help it."
<May_Summers> "… Hah." Said May with a slight smile. "I'll try to keep that in mind." She said, slinging the bag over her shoulder. "… I've… Something weird to admit…"
*Diana fluttered her eyebrows a little bit, mouth widening slightly. "…Ah?"
<May_Summers> "I…" She sort of lowered her head a little, as if she were admitting something embarrassing. "… I bought something for your assistant."
*Diana tiiilted her head. Severely. "…Like what?"
<May_Summers> "It…" She blushed, and reached into her bag to take out a cute looking cap, the sort a child would wear. "… It looked cute and I could afford it so I got it for him I hope you don't mind…"
*Diana blushed… then let show a plain, happy smile. "No no, don't worry, it's fine. I'll use it, since it seems to be seen as very cute by so many people lately~"
<May_Summers> "Ah… Okay." She said, nodding, putting the cap back into her bag. "Automata fascinate me, and they comfort me, in a sense. Can we go see him?"
*Diana nodded. "Sure!… And that does remind me of some things I wanted to mention." She headed out, going through halls and blast doors and all manner of things. Walk walk to the other lab!
*May_Summers follows on, leaving her pages and gadgets behind, and taking her bag. "Such as?"
*Diana walked through the hallway, and… blushed a bit awkwardly. "Well… Though I do a lot of work on automata design… my main field is actually automaton intelligence. I want to integrate that work with yours." …She let it sit, expecting an equally-awkward pause, knowng how many felt about that idea.
<May_Summers> "… Automaton intelligence?" She tilted her head. "But I work with remote-operated Warforged and weaponry…" May frowned… "… … You want to arm sentient robots?"
<Diana> "Yes. And refine the process so that they might learn to share our causes." …She slowed her pace some, too. "Basically… everyone who worries about that says they'll rise up against us. That they'll just kill us all if we dare make the actual warforged sentient. But… sentient is sentient. People worry about human or dwarven or elven or eladrin or so on soldiers turning traitor… -
<Diana> - But do you hear them howling in the streets in horror about that? No! It's because automata in general are a created race. We started out with control, and we're, as a community of races, not very comfortable with losing it." She made a mocking grin. "After all, they're machines. Toys, things, not people. That's what those people say , anyway. I find that to be rubbish. And? -
<Diana> - I have a solution to the warforged problem." They were approaching her door, but she stopped. "Think. An organic operator isn't the machine themself. They control it from afar, and can change units at the drop of a hat." Dramatic pause, of course. "…What if the warforged were like that too? Detachable Intellect Cores, you see. That's my proposal. -
<Diana> - You take the basic psykanium control circuits… and make them more complex, and induce sentience intentionally . BUT! You do this to a special core unit designed to not be based on any one body. And then design bodies that it plugs into and out of." She spread her hands in a practically revelatory gesture, smile holding firm. "And so they can have a 'civilian body', just like we do."
*May_Summers listened quietly, her eyes widening as Diana spoke… And then threw herself into an impromptu speech. May didn't seem to react much, merely nodding quietly whenever Diana paused… And at the end, she sort of bowed her head a little. "I see… I see what you mean…" She mumbled. "… Alright." She added meekly.
*Diana nodded. "Because… I thought a bit about what Michael said, too. He said they got Warforged technology, too. While they might be able to control one of our units if captured?" She grinned again. "They can do nothing about a sentient."
*May_Summers nodded again. "It…" She rubbed her upper left arm awkwardly. "So you want me to work on designing the body and the circuitry?"
<Diana> "And weapons. The military nitty-gritty. I can contribute some of my own, too. And then I'll develop the…" A pause. "…Ugh, that's a terrible acronym. But I'll develop it! And the dummy plug to allow remote control."
<May_Summers> "Alright." Said May, nodding. "… How much freedom am I going to have with this…?"
<Diana> "Plenty. As long as the designs are effective, go nuts. Given that this is supposed to be the 'big next step' to reclaim our tech advantage… I want you to put everything you can muster into it, and leave some extra for future production to spare. I can hook you into my budget too, I'm sure Tyra'll understand."
<May_Summers> "Ah! Okay." Said May brightly. She seemed rather enthusiastic at the idea of 'go nuts'. There was even a hint of a sparkle in her eyes. "Now then…"
*Diana naturally was expectant! "Then, indeed…?"
*May_Summers takes the little cap out of her bag and waves it.
*Diana giggled. "I got so busy talking about serious things that normal people would shriek in terror at that I forgot all about the real purpose of this visit to my humble abode and/or workplace! Now then…" Simple gesture, and the code for her room went in through telekinetic button presses, the door opened, the cap flew into her hands, and AU-X sat waiting… for her to crown it with the cap in one swift motion.
<May_Summers> "A-ah!" Started May as the cap flew out of her hands… She made a motion to snatch at it, but was denied. She watched silently as Diana showed off her telekinesis, and… Giggled as the cap was bestowed upon AU-X's hat. "Hee." She walked over, picking the little robot up and sitting in its place, putting it on her lap. "Now you're cuter than ever!" She cooed… Before looking over at Diana. "I like automata, and machines. They're comforting."
<May_Summers> « They're comforting." »
*Diana blinked at that, earnestly. "Ah? Comforting?… I work with them because they're natural to me. Moreso than the natural things, like birds and animals and trees and normal people . Especially people."
<May_Summers> "I work with them because they're…" She hugged little AU-X tighter. "They're not like people. People are weird, and unpredictable, and confused, and they do illogical things, and do unhealthy and stupid things… But I understand machines, and automata…"
*Diana shrugs. "I just don't like talk. I can predict it too well, but then I don't know what to say or do."
<May_Summers> "Talking is… Awkward." Said May. "I don't really… I mean, I'm not good at it."
*Diana nodded. "…Seriously, this is starting to get like one of those Fantastic Stories volumes where the heroine meets someone just like her in an alternate plane and it turns out to be them but subtly different. You know?"
<May_Summers> "… Huh?"
<Diana> "You like working with automata, you're a skilled researcher with ties to your company's benefactor - coincidentally, the younger heir of the leading family - are socially awkward… This is too similar!"
<May_Summers> "Then clearly we diverge when my benefactor dies on a battlefield to a weapon I created." Said May dryly.
*Diana shrugged widely. "Not if I have anything to say about it!"
<Diana> *AU-X, for what it was worth, tried to hug May's leg.
*May_Summers pats AU-X on the head… "I'm scared. About… That."
*Diana nodded. "…Not that she's deployed with the army, but… I worry about Tyra sometimes, too. She hasn't done anything terribly wrong, but there is that Slayer person going around…" The little bot clicked 'happily'.
*May_Summers … Actually whimpered a little at that! "The Slayer…" May averted her eyes… Then apparently tried to change topic, rather obviously. "… Shall I tell you about the last thing I designed? In Vickers."
*Diana nodded solemnly - though inside, she was a bit relieved that her attempt at, what was ultimately misdirection, succeeded. "Ah, sure."
<May_Summers> "It was the last item in the line of products we were making… the 'Radiant' line. They were called that because they were weapons that projected blinding streams of shining light." She paused… "The last weapon I made was a sword, the only actual close combat weapon in the Radiant line…" She paused. "It's designed to combat Warforged and the like.-
<May_Summers> "It cuts through Warforged armour and disrupts their Psykanium circuitry. I gave it to Michael…" A pause. "… But those weapons, they're starting to be really mass produced by the Arcolians now."
*Diana stared, mouth agape. AU-X whirred 'nervously'. "…All the more reason to work on these things. Something like the Colossus would be mostly out of… range… of th-" Pause, strange look, like suddenly the stars of the sky lit up in her eyes. "…If we can develop something, Radiant blades would be nothing. Magic already exists for it, too. All that would be needed is mechanizing it!"
<May_Summers> "Wait, I'm not following…" She said, frowning. "What are we developing?"
*Diana grinned extremely wide. "I just got an inspiration. A radiant blade can't strike something…" Her entire face folded to match the grin, utter glee expressed. "…That's in the air ."
*May_Summers frowns. "No, but…" May rubbed her neck a little. "Are… Are you thinking of some sort of flying contraption? It… It won't work…"
<Diana> "…Because you've tried and failed? Because it's impossible? Or what?" She shook her head. "Birds fly. Old-tradition mages can fly, if briefly. What's stopping a machine?!"
<May_Summers> "No, no, we can fly- we have airships- but…" She fidgetted. "… The sword is the only -close range- weapon in the line. We build others. Rifles, artillery pieces… The specifications of the Colossus had it bearing one as its primary armament…" She said, hanging her head. "I'm sorry…"
*Diana paused, as if derailed. "…Oh. Oh, right… uh. Well! I'll still think about it. If you didn't say anything about the radiant blades I wouldn't have thought about it! A fast aircraft would be an amazing advance ahead of what airships are capable of…"
<May_Summers> "It would!" Said May. "A fast aircraft, like…" She bit her lip. "If it went fast enough, you could give it radiant weapons too, or something, and use them to fight Colossi or bomb Warforged from the sky without worrying about being hit."
*Diana nodded reeeal enthusiastically. "Yes, yes! And be able to perform guerilla warfare without cover, and with the firepower of conventional armored units! It'd be an even bigger leap… and it could go hand-in-hand with the Colossus… Imagine, being able to have the commmander of it ask for a pesky target to be just wiped out from the sky with impunity!"
*May_Summers nodded! "I'm not sure how you'd do it, but the principles are there- it should be possible, we just haven't gotten around to it yet." She said firmly… "So, uh. In my spare time, when I'm not working on the Warforged, I'll work on these… These…" She frowned. "Need a name."
*Diana snapped her fingers a few times… "Air… Aero… Sky…" Loooong pause. "Hm. Maybe it should be more evocative. Simple, too. Ironfalcons? Skystriders?… Something."
<May_Summers> "Well, the name doesn't really matter right now." Said May. "We can just call it… Project Diana until it's done, then we can actually name it." Said May, standing up again - still holding AU-X. "I should probably start work as soon as possible… I'm rather excited about this."
<Diana> "Yes! Settle in, and start work on things! I'll do research of my own, to try to help take some of the load off on you." A dreamy look. "Ah, we might be able to turn the tide of the war and revolutionize the world all over again~"
<May_Summers> "Ah, yes!" Said May, nodding eagerly as she walked off, still holding onto AU-X… "… … I suppose I'll have to give him back, huh."
<Diana> "Yeeup."
*May_Summers reluctantly set AU-X back down, patting him on the cap gently. "Alright. Fair enough." She said. "I'll see you around, Diana! But I'd best get to work…" And then, she was off~
*Diana smiled and waved… before heading into her room as well~

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