2374/Amateur Bowyer

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Amateur Bowyer
Date of Scene: 08 July 2020
Location: Labs - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Kian teaches Caitlin a bit about his customs and culture.
Cast of Characters: Caitlin Fairchild, Kian

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    Caitlin's in the Titan's lab, working by herself.  Not an uncommon experience; for the engineering-inclined among the little family, each has their own workspace and area to develop ideas.  Considering the intellectual abilities of the Titans, there isn't much that they can't develop, design, and build.
    Caitlin looks to be building a bow.  A rough W-shaped frame is clamped in a vise on a workbench, surrounded by tools.  Several other bows of various levels of complexity are nearby.  For herself, Caitlin's holding what looks like a classic recurve bow in the classic Greek style, two crescents joined by a straight length of handle.  She's in her usual comfort clothing, calf-length blue leggings and a red racerback athletic top that leaves her arms, upper back, and a few inches of midriff exposed.  Her hair's pulled back into a single thick braid that hangs to her shoulderblades.  A leather-backed bronze plate protects her left breast and sternum.
    She's shooting into a heavy block of some kind of industrial foam, and doing so with a deliberate, practiced motion.  The bow comes up high overhead and tensioned while she brings it down to eye level.  Elbow high, knuckles near cheekbone; eyes narrow, she exhales steadily, and looses.  The arrow launches forth with a distinct *THWIP* and buries itself nearly to the nock in the foam.  She exhales, lowers her arms, and makes a little note on a sheet of paper on the table nearby.

Kian has posed:
    "Oh!"  It's a startled gasp from the doorway.  Kían stands there, looking uncertain as to whether he should come in or not, but after only a moment's irresolution, he does.  "Kié, Kéit.  Iss p'rac-tice tórak in here?"  He mimes drawing a bowstring—although he pulls straight up, not across.  "Nnh, sorry, not haf wor'd yet.  Tórak iss like that," he explains, pointing to the bow.

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    Caitlin turns and flashes a friendly smile at Kian.  "It's okay, Kian," she says, taking care to enunciate the words.  "Come in."  A friendly gesture invites the avian along, and she offers him the bow in her hands, grip-first.  "'Bow'," she says, carefully enunciating.  "I'm making a new one for Kate."  She mimes drawing a hand over her face to indicate the masque that the archeress usually wears.
    "This was my first bow."  Unlike some Americans, Caitlin doesn't try to install English by virtue of simply yelling.  She speaks slowly and clearly, making good eye contact with Kian and mouthing the syllables deliberately.  "It was a gift from Donna.  I'm refreshing my skills.  Do you do any archery?"  Her hands pass through the air, miming the motions necessary to go with the word.

Kian has posed:
    "Boh."  Well, it'll do for now.  Kían has a go at: "Ar-tche-ree.  Iss pen-tórak, then, game of tórak, of boh."  He smiles lopsidedly.  "I am… nnh.  I wass never good at boh.  Iss ol' s'por'.  S'til p'lay a lot.  But we do dif-fer-en'."
    He comes closer, and does not touch the bow, but he indicates a couple spots along the outer curve.  "There, an' there.  Tórak haf foot g'rip.  Iss use like this."  His feet curl as if gripping something—they aren't talons, but they're nearly as flexible, and he mimes the vertical draw again.  "Mos-ly s'por'.  Iss s'til use for hun-tin', al-so."
    On a whim, he mimes the horizontal draw he saw Cait use.  "Iss… weir'd.  Coul' not f'ly an' use 'boh' that way.  Huh."

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    "If you want, I can make you one," Caitlin offers to Kian.  She takes her bow back and sets it aside, and offers him a significantly more to-scale option.  Themysciran bows are meant to be used by immortal warriors with superhuman strength; the fibreglass alternative she offers is one with a pull weight of more realistic proportions.  "Bows are old technology," Caitlin tells Kian.  She gestures at an array of weapons racked up, and picks up a crossbow.  A few motions demonstrate how to cock it and nock the bolt, the projectile much stubbier and heavier than the long hunting arrows Caitlin's using.  She offers it to Kian.  "This is a little easier to use.  Lot easier to aim, and it throws the bolts much harder.  They're heavier," she allows, "but very easy to shoot.  Try it?" she offers, and steps aside so Kian can engage the target if he wishes.  She supports the crossbow with one hand, holding it where he'll need to support it to shoot himself.

Kian has posed:
    "Ái, kórak takh!" the little birdman says, apparently immediately recognizing the crossbow as something fairly familiar.  "Yis, iss kórak, iss, iss, nnh, I do not know wor'd, I am not g'reat but I am bet-ter with these."  He holds it not expertly, but not with the clumsiness of someone who's never seen one before.
    Kían raises it, surprisingly enough, like he knows what he's doing with it, taking aim on the target.  "Iss heavy.  Mine at home, iss light metal an' very tough… nnh.  Not haf wor'd."  He looks around the lab for some object made of a comparable substance and quickly settles on a small ceramic crucible.  "Iss also made with like this, iss very tough, can not b'reak."
    He settles in, takes aim on the industrial foam target, and fires—and if his aim was any higher, he might have missed the target entirely.  "Ái, c'Rhys'yw.  Over-balan's for weight.  Iss much heavier than mine."
    Probably not what one might have predicted Kían would find familiar…

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    "We call it a cross-bow," Caitlin tells Kian.  She smiles approvingly at his first attempt—definitely not bad for someone experimenting with a strange new piece of arsenal!
    "This is a pretty cheap one," she tells Kian.  Caitlin taps it with a fingernail.  "The better ones are made with ultralight compounds.  With the right materials, I could make one that only weighs… I don't know.  Ten pounds?  Maybe less?"  She casts around, then picks up a 5kg weight and offers it to Kian.  "About like that.  Is that something you could use?" she says, with budding enthusiasm.  "I really don't mind, if it'll help you."

Kian has posed:
    "K'ros-boh."  It'll have to do.  Kían hands the kórak back, exchanging it for the weight.  He hefts it, closing his eyes to compare it against memory.  "Iss… s'til too heavy," he says after consideration, and picks through the weights himself, ultimately coming up with just over two kilos.  "That iss weight of my kórak," he says definitively.  "Iss not com-petin' model.  Iss jus' good model.  I am not that good with it.  I am much more serious about qíhar, pen-kórak iss not in-teres' me much.  But iss ol' game everyone lear'n."

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    "Two kilos?"  Caitlin winces, fretting her lip, and examines the crossbow again.  Fingers roll over the launcher and examine it.  "I imagine your people have a lot more advances in ultra-light materials than we do," she allows.  A fingernail taps on it.  "I can't make any promises," she warns him, "but I'll look into it and see if I can make something that'll work.  It might not be as light, but it will be pretty close," she says, hopefully.  "Meanwhile though, you're welcome to practice with any of the bows," she suggests.  "I mean, any of the ones you can draw.  Kate's a much better archer than I am, though," she cautions him.  "So's Donna.  They've had a lot of practice.  If you want to get better at it, I'd ask them for some help.  I'm sure they'd love to teach you."

Kian has posed:
    "Mus' haf very light.  Haf to be ab-le to f'ly with, yis?" Kían says.  "Can show you, in min'd to min'd.  But un-der-s'tan' if hyu not wan' men-tal con-tac'.  But I am not wan' to use kórak for other than s'por'.  May not use kórak or tórak again's sen-tien's."
    He reflects a moment.  "In ol-des' s'tory, Akiár use kórak an' tórak again's other Akiár.  But on-ly in ol'des story.  Iss never use again's other sen-tien's any more.  Coul' not."

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    "I don't like hurting people either, Kian," Caitlin says, and puts a reassuring hand on the Avian's back.  "I hate it.  But I learned the hard way what happens if you get into a fight you're not ready for.  Being a team like this, we have to look after each other.  Rely on each other.  Sometimes that means hurting one person to make sure a lot more people don't get hurt.  I don't like it, but…."  Her hand falls away, and she slides her palms together with a rasp, looking down at them.  "That's just how the world is."
    She exhales and looks skywards in supplication, and pulls her braid through her fingers once in consternation.  The redhead looks sideways and smiles at Kian.  "But if you just want one for target shooting, that's okay, too."

Kian has posed:
    Kían can't help make mental contact when Caitlin touches him.  {It's just how this world is,} he 'sends—his mental voice identical to his speaking voice, except for the lack of hesitation and uncertainty.  {It's not how my world is.}
    When physical contact is broken, the birdman switches seamlessly back to speaking.  "I can not use weapon again's sen-tien'.  I can not use rhy'thar again's sen-tien'.  I know big fight iss comin' up.  I am thin-kin' only of sen-tinel's an' d'rone.  I may take ac-tion on them.  Not on sen-tien'."

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    Caitlin recoils swiftly when she realizes Kian's communicating telepatically; she grips her hand in the other as if burned, and takes two quick steps away.  Once she's sure she's not in danger of losing control, the redhead exhales steadily and looks back at Kian.
    "Sorry. I've got a thing about telepathy," she confesses.  "It's nothing personal, I promise."
    She shakes her fingers out and moves back to the bench, perhaps unconsciously putting it up as a barrier between her and the avian.  "Listen Kian, I'm not going to make you do anything you're uncomfortable with.  Everyone's got their own morality and lines they won't cross.  We're not the military," she says, venturing a smile.  "We're a team.  We find ways to help each other and cover our weaknesses.  Just knowing you're watching my back makes me feel better about being out there."

Kian has posed:
    "Nnh, sor-ry, can not hel'p make min'd-touch on con-tac'.  I am t'ry s'tay out of hyour min' if we touch again.  Did not know you did not like.  Very sor-ry."  Kían sounds genuinely apologetic.
    "I haf tal'k with Vik an' Don-na about that, they haf say same," he continues.  "I am wan't to hel'p, but I may not in-jure sen-tien's.  I am come down here to see d'rone, was p'lan.  See if I can un-der's'tan' machine, disab-le more easy.  I am thin' it will be useful to know soon, yis?"

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    "Oh, that part, I can help with," Caitlin says, and moves to a monitor display.  She starts tapping on the console and pulls a few files down, then transfers them to Kian's personal folder on the Titan's network backbone.  "We've started a structural breakdown on them.  They're pretty robust but we've identified the core power unit, processors, optical sensors, and a few motor actuators.  I mean—"  Caitlin gestures at the lab, looks back to Kian.  "The lab's all yours, too, it's not like the Batlings an' Vic and me have a monopoly on it.  You're welcome to do any research you want.  As long as you don't burn anything down," she adds, hastily, and wiggles a thumb at some old blast marks on the wall.  "We had an incident with an oxy-acetylene tank a few years ago and we never did get it cleaned off the wall properly."

Kian has posed:
    "I am won-der," Kían says slowly, not because the language is a problem but because he's still trying to think the idea through, "if I can cause d'rone too much p'rob-lem with rhy'thar.  Iss many thin' I can do, if I keep chan-gin' way I in-ter-fere, iss can keep them off balan's.  Can d'rain, can over-load, radiate, mag-netize… not sure hwat iss mos' useful."
    He frowns slightly, thinking about the Danger Room exercise.  "I am think Don-na un-deres-timate my rhy'thar.  I am never haf been hur't by energy.  I am not sure I can be hur't by energy."
    He laughs, shortly and without humor.  "An' am not sure how to lear'n limit without hur't mysel'f."

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    "Give her some time to understand it," Caitlin suggests encouragingly.  "Donna's smart, smarter'n me.  She just doesn't come at every problem like an engineer off-the-bat.  Er…."  Caitlin tugs her ear, wincing, and tries to walk back the turn of phrase.
    "What I mean is, tell her what you can do.  We can set up the lab to really test your limits, safely," she offers.  "We built my gym equipment so I could really properly work out, y'know.  No reason we can't build equipment for you.  Maybe if we learn more about how your… rhy'thar… works, we can figure out how to make it stronger.  Then you can teach us how it works, and we all understand each other better."

Kian has posed:
    There's that same humorless laugh.  "No idea how my rhy'thar wor'k.  Iss how I am on this wor'l, was going to homewor'l for more s'tudy," Kían says, "an' my rhy'thar did not like s'tar-d'rive.  Bounced here.  I know hwat my rhy'thar iss, but do not know why, or how, or limit."
    He shrugs.  "Am not sure there iss time to lear'n much more before there iss more emer-gen-cy, an' haf to use again."

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
    "Well, that's why they call it science and not guesswork," Caitlin says, and flashes a cheeky smile.  "We'll figure it out.  There's nothing we can't solve for with a little hard work and some discipline.  Science is the practice of accurately repeating weird things until a pattern forms."
    She grins reassuringly at Kian, then puts a hand on the bow in the vise.  "I do need to get back to this.  Talk to Terry, and see if he can help translate some of the words for your rhy'thar.  It's possible there's a common point in physics we can start from."  She pauses.  "Unless it's just magic, in which case, Terry's in a better position to help you out than I am, anyway," she grins.

Kian has posed:
    That brings a genuine laugh out of the birdman.  "I am not sure Téri iss the right one for that.  His min'd is… well, not haf wor'd," Kían says with a grin.
    He sighs.  "I am haf lear'n hyour wor'd for scien's I al-ready know.  That will hel'p much.  I am leave hyu to hyour wor'k now."  He bows, and heads for the door, where he pauses just a moment, and says, "An' hwen thin's are cal-mer, we will tal'k about makin' me a kórak maybe."