Checking Morale, Checking Designs
IC date: Autumn 34, 1007 A.N.
OOC date: October 23, 2012
PCs: Kludge, Ruby-Blossom, Magpie, Solar-Wind
NPCs: None
GM: None

The base has seen an uptick in activity upon the reports of a leader of the zombie horde. Kludge is doing his part to help by reinforcing all of the structural parts of the base, and is explaining the process to any interested ponies. Of course, trying to explain something that's heavily intuitive isn't the easiest thing in the world…

"No, using a nail every square inch won't help," he sighs in response to a suggestion one of the ponies had made. "With too many nails, the wood isn't as sturdy, which defeats the point of using that many nails." This might have been easier to explain if Kludge's talent was public speaking, but then he wouldn't be as effective in his carpentry.

Ruby-Blossom pipes suddenly from behind Kludge. "The point of the nails are to bind the two pieces. Simply ensure the nail goes through the new piece of wood, and the existing structure. Your average board won't likely need more than 3 or 4 well placed nails." She proceeds to tap Kludge on the shoulder "Need to speak." she whispers before turning back to the students "Remember resources are sparse, so we need to work smart - not hard.

Kludge nods to Ruby, then clears his throat. "Okay, time for a break! I'll give you a heads-up when I'm ready to give you the next lesson," he announces to the inquisitive ponies. With mild noises of disappointment, the students disperse to do other things.

Once the area has cleared out a bit, Kludge focuses his attention on Ruby. "What's up?" he asks in a quiet conversational voice.

Ruby-Blossom scratches the ground softly with one hoof while looking over her shoulder at the dispersing ponies - once the coast is clear she turns to Kludge to curiously ask. "I was just wondering…about…well you know?" as if expecting Kludge to know exactly what's on her mind. "Ah. I mean - you've just seen a tad distant recently. I know the stuff that's been going on isn't to your liking - more so than others, but I ah.." stumbling~

Kludge gives Ruby a small hug, a wry grin on his face. "It's… well, 'okay' might not be the right word. 'Understandable' is probably more accurate." He gives a thoughtful sigh, then continues. "I just want to make sure we get back safely, and I want to do what I can to help… but no matter how important the repairwork is, it still feels like I'm not doing my share in getting us back home.

Ruby-Blossom waves a hoof softly "You're doing enough Kludge - it's important that not everypony go charging into danger, and the like." a sheepish grin. "We have enough danged fools nearly getting themselves killed." Rubbing the back of her head with one hoof. "I just felt like we haven't talked in forever.

"Good point," admits Kludge sheepishly. "With all of the running around we've been doing, having a chance to simply *talk*…" He shakes his head with a rueful grin. "I think we should take breaks like this more often."

Ruby-Blossom mmhmms softly while her ruby-red eyes scan the empty room. "Kludge." curiousity in her voice. "Everypony thinks we're a couple, did you know that?"

"Can't say I'm surprised, given how some things I've heard have been phrased," Kludge shrugs. "Is it really that uncommon for a stallion and a mare to be good friends without being in a romantic relationship?"

Ruby-Blossom huffs softly "No, I guess." glancing away from Kludge. "Not at all." a hint of a smirk appears. "I bet Solar-Wind would would just die to hear you say those words."

Kludge chuckles. "I take it he's one of the more vocal ponies in declaring that we're an item?" he inquires with a grin.

After a short pause of looking nowhere in particular for a moment, he quietly adds "Not that I see anything wrong with either option."

Ruby-Blossom chuckles softly. "No he's one of the ponies hoping that /isn't/ the case." An oh-so brief glance back Kludge's direction. "It's for the best anywho - I'd rather not hurt you." she offers a broad stupid grin. "We'll need to grab Winny to gather some wood tonight. Speaking of wood, think you could whip up some pony-mounted cross-bows or the like? Something to provide support from a distance?

Kludge blinks for a moment as he processes what Ruby said, then chuckles. "Can't say I blame him," he admits with a small smile, then takes on a more focused look. "Haven't made any crossbows before, but I'm not worried about crafting the stocks for them. Just need a more mechanically-inclined pony to work out the moving pieces and the like."

Ruby-Blossom nods softly to Kludge while staring off the other direction. "A catapault or anything would be useful - but I think the primary concern should be additional sleds; in case anypony gets hurt.

Kludge nods at that. "Possibly a wagon-sled or two - something with overhead cover and doors that can be closed," he muses. "Something where it doesn't matter what type of terrain Winny pulls it through nor how hard she pulls it, stuff won't fall out. Might be able to insulate it, too."

Ruby-Blossom ahs loudly "That's genius. I think you should construct a sled that converts to an igloo - we could cover them in snow, and mark their locations on a map.

"A wandering snowdrift, huh? That might be crazy enough to work… and if they're big enough to pass as a snowdrift, then it might be possible to install treadmills or the like to move it from the inside," Kludge contemplates. "Might even include windows, so it's possible to see out without letting the cold in.

Ruby-Blossom points out "Snowfield already kinda does this with her little ice igloo things, right?

"True, but what about those who can't do that type of magic?" Kludge points out. "If a non-magical alternate can be done, then that allows for more options in getting stuff done surface-side.

Ruby-Blossom notes "I was just commenting that it should be possible - she already does something similar. Well it's a good idea - so let's see if we can't whip up a small one before Friday."

"Sounds like a plan!" Kludge grins. "The prototype might not have a treadmill, but I could install a foldaway brace for a pegasus to push on from the inside. Do you know if they have any spare ski mask material?"

Ruby-Blossom motions towards one corner of the base "There's alot of discarded material over yonder, but dont' expect any of it to be particular fresh or new."

"As long as it's not shattered or opaque, it doesn't have to be fresh," Kludge shrugs. "Having a way to see outside of the wagon-sled while staying inside of it helps keep things safer."

Ruby-Blossom nods softly "Of course. These things don't even have to be mobile you know. They'd be convenient if we ever find ourselves in a position where returning to base isn't an option.

"Anchored mobility, then - primarily for stationary use, but are built to be movable, albeit with some prepwork," notes Kludge. "In a way, that makes it a bit easier, since the mobility can work around the rest of the design."

Ruby-Blossom ahs softly "Really they could just be sleds with igloos atop, and then staked to the ground when stationary." offering the simpliest explaination of her intended design.

Ruby-Blossom says "Insulation would be provided by the snow piled atop of it."

"Igloos on skids, huh? I guess that could work, if you want to have pre-built igloos ready to deploy," contemplates Kludge. "So what we're looking at is a number of movable igloos, and not covered sleds?"

Magpie slowly meanders over. "Hey," she says with a little wave of a hoof.

Ruby-Blossom nods to Kludge "I guess that's right - emergency shelters and all." Ruby stops to wave at Maggie "Hey you." she hesitates before offering her front hoofs to the smaller mare.

Kludge gives Magpie a small wave. "How are things going for you?" he asks the smaller mare.

Magpie hesitates. She meets Ruby's eyes for a moment, and bypasses around her to shoulderbump Kludge's knee instead.

Ruby-Blossom plants her fore-hooves on the ground as Maggie trots right by here - a hushed huff escaping. The mare stands up "Anypony want some tea? This will be the last of it with honey." She was smart enough to take a chunk of honey from the hive, though she won't admit the rest of it will be going to Fizzy to make some alchohol.

"A spot of tea would be nice, please," agrees Kludge. He pulls out some paper and a pencil and starts making some idle sketches, giving Magpie a look that wordlessly asks "what's on your mind?"

Ruby-Blossom promptly hops to all fours and trots off - nope, she doesn't feel dejected, not one bit! =3

Magpie shrugs a bit. Waste of good honey in her opinion, but, "Okay, sure." She sighs and shrugs to Kludge, reaching up to idly roll a bolt back and forth with her hoof. "Eh. Just bored. And it's crowded here now…"

"…so not as much time for you to be by yourself?" Kludge observes. "It's one of the reasons I tend to focus in on my work - it gives me a way of being alone when I need it, especially with all of the other ponies around here."

Magpie says "I dunno… just too many kids around all the time. And nothin' to do.""

Ruby-Blossom returns a few minutes later carrying a tray with a pot of tea and sevearl cups; the sweet scent of honey infused tea wafting through the room - of course it's blue leaf tea but it's sweet! "Give it a couple more minutes to steep." planting her plot near the table.

Solar-Wind trots in loosely wings up, and he looks quite pleased (is still in his discuise though, but without the wing hiding pack. Black fur, and grey mane with a solar emblem cutie mark. He comes bounding in looking quite amused. "Oh, good evening Kludge, Magpie, n'd Commander Ruby" he mentions as he enters the room

Magpie makes a face at the pale blue drink. Meh.

"Thanks, Ruby," smiles Kludge before waving an acknowledgement to Solar. "About the only idea I have right off the top of my head is helping me with the carpentry, but that might not be the type of thing to stave off boredom," he admits to Magpie.

Ruby-Blossom mixes the tea with a spoon before pouring two cups. "Tea's ready." she chimes - setting the cups down beside the pot. "Earlier today Fizzy and I went out to gather some wood; I was actually hoping Kludge and Winny would be available for that - Winny's quite the lumberjack I hear."

Ruby-Blossom says "But it seems like I go out /all/ the time, doesn't it.""

Magpie scowls at her tea. "Yeah," she grouses. "It sure does."

Solar-Wind mentions to Magpie, "Drink up kid, its got Sugar in it, like Honey!" he notes, "nothing's had that in it since we got here" he offers, "First time to have anything suggary since getting here!

A twitch of a grimace flits across Kludge's face, but doesn't stick around. "As long as we have enough ponies going after the wood to fight off a Shadowbolt patrol, I'm in," he volunteers. Of course, if one of the ponies is Winny, then the group won't have to be too big.

Ruby-Blossom glances over her shoulder at Maggie - a hint of a glare. "There are plenty of times when I want to invite you, but that's pretty difficult given the fact you seem to prefer avoiding me." whipping her gaze away from Maggie. "What'd I do to get your knickers into a bind this time, huh?

Magpie blinks and turns a very mild look towards Kludge. "She's kinda grouchy today," she notes primly.

Ruby-Blossom frowns softly "Yeah, I am." she turns to offer a cheerful (fake) smile to the others. "Sorry about that!" she beams warmly before pouring Solar a cup of tea as well. She hops to her feet. "I need to go check on something. I'll check back in a few." trotting out the door again.

Kludge sips his tea as he ponders what to say that won't make things more of a mess. He knows Ruby wants to offer Magpie a supporting hoof, but Magpie wants to open up to others at her own rate. And with Solar here (even if he's distracted by his tea), it's not the right time for heartfelt talk about things that are mostly secret.

Magpie twists to look after Ruby. She visibly twitches, as if to get up and go after the mare, then scowls deeper and sits down. "Humph," she grumps, glowering at her tea as if to make it stop being blue with pure force of will.

At least it's not all blue - there is the scent of sweet honey in the blue tea!

Ruby-Blossom trots back into the room after several minutes before plopping down right in front of Maggie. "I'll teach you how die your fur, tail, and mane tomorrow - like I promised the other night." She glances off to one side with a small huff. "Anything else you want to learn?

Kludge opens his mouth to say "instructions on how to get home"… then closes his mouth again. There's a time for witty shenanigans, but this isn't it.

Magpie shakes her head, still looking at her tea. She blows on it. Finally, in the awkward silence, she says, "…thanks."

Ruby-Blossom shoots a sharp glance Kludge's direction. "There might be a plan for that." she comments off-handedly before glancing to Maggie "What'd I do now to earn the cold shoulder, sweetie?"

Magpie shifts uncomfortably. Wow. Just… straight up? Just like that? "Nothin'." She shifts a little more, sips her tea. "…don't really like… hugs."

Ruby-Blossom is clearly not being honest - when is she /ever/ honest; clearly the mare must have alternative motives. She stands up, takes a few steps back, then replants her flank. "Sorry." glancing over at Kludge again then down at her own hooves "Sorry Magpie. I'll keep that in mind."

"Mmm," acknowledges Kludge, filing the info away for recollection. When somepony tells you about what they don't like, it's only polite to be mindful of it in the future.

Magpie shrugs. " …'sokay."

Ruby-Blossom leans against a table and lets out a small yawn. "I suppose wood gathering can wait until tomorrow. Maggie - I'll teach you whatever sneaking and thieving I can. Just let me know what you want to practice.

Magpie gives a little shrug again. "…whatever you wanna do," she says quietly.

Kludge gives Ruby and Magpie a nod and puts more focus on design sketches. Some of them are for the mobile igloos, but others are for actual wagon-sleds - he still thinks it'll be a useful design, even if it's not for the initial prototype run.

Ruby-Blossom puffs her cheeks up. "Nevermind Magpie. I'm clearly weirding you out again." she laughs loudly - probably louder than needed as she trots over to ruffles Maggie's mane with a hoof. Shen then plants herself near Kludge to take a gander what what he's up to. "Keep it simple Kludge. Flat bottom, rounded top. Nothing more."

Magpie sips at her sweet tea and sighs. She's making Ruby feel weird again and she doesn't know how to stop.