<--! Careless Whisper -->


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Scene Title <—! Careless Whisper —>
Synopsis Hachiro Otomo and his brightest engineers develop a solution to one of the Safe Zone's problems, while bonding as a team.
Date April 29, 2018

Yamagato Building

There’s a smooth saxophone music echoing through the cavernous space of Yamagato Industries R&D Production lab. The matte white fabrication room is beset with three dimensional holographic displays projected by the laser-emitters on the photoreactive gas pumped through the building. These subtly flickering displays show a three dimensional image in slow rotation resembling Marlowe’s designs for the Active Handling Universal Narrow body drones. On another set of screens, there’s a map of the safe zone subdivided into a grid with large nodes placed every mile.

On a third screen, there are lyrics in both English and Japanese slowly scrolling. “I'm never gonna dance again,” Hachiro Otomo belts out at the top of his lungs as he step-dances around a waist high table, above which hangs a spidery machine with eight articulated arms, each with a 3D printing extruder on the tip. “Guilty feet have got no rhythm!” The machine is presently in the process of swiftly fabricating several spindly aluminum components, while additional mechanical limbs at the corners of the table are assembling the parts as they are finished into a unified whole.

Though it's easy to pretend,” Hachiro continues, keying through a hovering screen and indicating a subprocess for the fabricator to run through. Another display manifests in a shimmer at Hachiro’s side, and with a twirling gesture he directs the screen to turn and face Leroy Jackson. On the screen, dozens of diminutive drones similar to AH and UN are placed in a grid across the Safe Zone. “I know you're not a fool!

It is an R&D development day at the Yamagato building, where members of the Civil Engineering & Technology Division work to prototype new technological initiatives. Today, there is a hybridization of two projects going on, one being Marlowe’s AH/UN drones, and the other being Leroy’s drone cell phone grid project. A hybridized model of Marlowe’s drones with Leroy’s cellular service module is under construction.

Should've known better than to cheat a friend!” Hachiro croons, because the other project happening right now is Karaoke, and the classic Careless Whisper by George Michael. “And waste the chance that I've been given, so I'm never gonna dance again… The way I danced with yooooooou!” As the saxophone picks up again, Hachiro swiftly motions over to one of his subordinates.

Keep singing, his double-fingerguns indicates.

Swaying along to the music, Marlowe rocks from side to side on her feet while reviewing another hovering screen displaying an exploded view of the upgraded drones. A toothy, amused smile plays at her lips when she sees the double-fingerguns from the director, and when the music moves to the next verse she obligingly continues with that breathy melody.

Time can never mend, the careless whispers of a good friend,” her voice comes out huskily, her fingers poking at lit up points of a photoreactive keyboard in time to the percussive syncopation. “To the heart and mind, ignorance is kind, there’s no comfort in the truth, pain is aaall you’ll fiiind!” The drone model collapses into a full exterior view when she sweeps her fingers together dramatically to the music, eliciting a quick ‘oops’ jump of an immaculately curved eyebrow. A quick flicked spread of her fingers pulls the view back out. She totally meant to do that.

When the song hits the chorus again, Marlowe slips the screen back down to a tablet covered with a sparkly red, using it as a surrogate dance partner as she sweeps over to where the arachnoid-limbed 3D printer is hard at work. It brings her nearer to the director, who she sends a look and open mouth gape of a grin for him to join in should he so choose, “I’m never gonna dance again! Guilty feet have got no rhythm! Though it’s easy to pretend, I know you’re not a fooool…

Should have known better than to cheat a friend, and waste the chance that I’ve been given, so I’m never going to dance again, the way I danced with yooouuu~…” As the woman gets through the chorus, she swings over to the grid display, lifting her tablet up to compare numbers on the infrastructure noted by the lightly flickering chart to those she’s calculating for the drone’s flight capabilities, durability and distance, a capability that was tested only just recently during a harrowing ambulance chasing incident.

Leroy seems content to allow Marlowe to carry on the singing, though he does stare at her a little too long, as is the typical case when they work together like this. He at least stops staring long enough to avoid an HR nightmare.

While she's making calculations, he's laid a complex graphical layout of code over the city grid. He's implementing machine learning algorithms so that this service, and the drones, can improve over time, and learn from the potential setbacks they'll encounter.

It's inevitable that people will hack them, especially technopaths, but the data that they'll collect about how technopaths work, and the kinds of exploits people will try to use, will only be used later to further improve the system and the functions of the drones.

Then he stares staring at Marlowe again.

She's doing calculations, god, that's so damned amazing. Look at those drone designs, it's like art!

"Umm…" he considers. "Duuu du du du duuu du du…" he sax solos with his words.

As the saxophone solo carries on, Hachiro makes a series of predefined gestures at one of the hovering displays, combining Leroy’s machine-learning code and Marlowe’s drone designs into an overlay. He snaps his fingers, eliciting a popup in the shape of a tiny white kodama, which trundles along at the bottom of the screen and begins moving lines of code. He grins, laughing to himself at the choice of visual representation of the progress bar. The little kodama is sweating with effort.

As the lyrics come back, Otomo slides past Marlowe and moves over to another terminal by the wall. “Never without your love.” He keys in a passocde and unlocks mainframe access to something called RAIJIN雷神 and starts running a predictive model of power draw. “Tonight the music seems so loud, I wish that we could lose this crowd…” Hachiro bobs his head slowly to the beat, swaying where he stands and rolling up the sleeves of his lab coat. A number of progress bars begin filling up, and the number 100% turns a bright green with a check mark next to it.

Maybe it's better this way, we'd hurt each other with the things we'd want to say…” When the status bars finish, Hachiro looks over at the Kodama, still toiling away on the other screen, now holding a little cartoon pick-axe and chipping away at a block of stone, still furiously sweating. Hachiro steps around behind Leroy, moving over to the central fabricator again, and removes two mobile devices from his pocket and sets them down on the work surface.

We could have been so good together,” laying a hand on each device, Hachiro closes his eyes and the two electronic devices begin to glow with a soft, blue-white light, and then disassemble into pinpoints of illumination that then flicker and fade away. In an instant, both devices have disintegrated one layer at a time, like a 3D unprinting. “We could have lived this dance forever…” A moment later, a fully blown up digital schematic of both devices is displayed on the screen, and Hachiro begins manipulating the components and making some in blue and some in red; colors coded as “reassemble” and “trash” respectively.

But no one's gonna dance with me,” Hachiro sings as he sways, looking to the kodama progress bar which has now finished. The tiny digital kodama sits with a sweat bead on the side of its head and a tired snot bubble expanding and contracting from its nose. A block of green text reads upload complete. “Please stay…

If Marlowe has noticed Leroy's staring - albeit it's unlikely that she has, given that they've been busy working - she hasn't commented upon it. Instead, as the saxophone croons out of the unseen speakers around them, she turns to Leroy, watching him putting together the learning algorithms to the drone programming, eyeing the code as it scrolls down a screen. She might not understand the finer details of the tweaks and tricks in it, but she looks like she's trying to anyway. About halfway through scrolling, she steps back to check her own figures, shooting a short grin at Hachiro's kodama and watchin its antics.

At one point she's harmonizing with Hachiro's singing when he's slid past her to key in a passcode, echoing the "Never without your love" on the same synchronized beat. She's then by the 3D printing machine again, monitoring its fabrication progress to ensure the pieces are meeting the specifications of her design.

At "We could have been so good together" her eyes turn to watch Hachiro's positively magical ability at work. It's just never going to get old, seeing the digitizing process. Hasn't gotten old in the years she's witnessed it. "Sugee na," she has to comment, hand gesturing indicatively for Leroy. Once the song slips into its last bars, she turns to the two men to offer up a question, "Even if we keep major essential functions to a minimum on the mobile drones, would you consider it better to have many smaller crafts up in the air that would make the net coverage more conspicuous, or fewer numbers for less perceptible blockage? Perhaps we could program them like… a flock of birds. But would you rather have starlings, or seagulls?"

"I think there's a way to have many drones and also less perceptible blockage. Slightly more expense, but we should be able to make it back in profits." Leroy suggests, watching Hachiro work in amazement. It really is difficult to get used to that.

"If we very carefully design the outer casing with an OLED layer, we can simply program them to try to reflect the tone of what's in the sky at the moment. We don't even have to go full OLED, we can use regular LED, they'll be so high up that we won't need the higher, more expensive resolutions. Or even simply LCD." he goes through a range of screen types, considering the benefits of going cheaper.

"We're not talking about perfect stealth or anything, but most people won't notice them if they're projecting the same color as the sky or whatever is above them." he finishes, but continues a bit of a coding spree.

“I think we can spring for OLED on one side and photovoltaic on the other for the prototype, the budget there is flexible.” Hachiro clasps his hands together and leans to the side, peering at Leroy’s code over his shoulder. The text of the karaoke has scrolled off the screen by now and the music fading. With a clap of his hands, Hachiro looks between Marlowe and Leroy.

“That was certainly a work sprint, wasn’t it?” Hachiro’s gray brows rise and a smile spreads from ear to ear. “We went from zero to prototype in the span of a George Michael song. I knew you two would be able to work miracles together. When I saw Leroy’s network drafts and Marlowe’s AH/UN designs I just…” he laces his fingers together. “Perfect harmony!

“Hmmm, I’d just worry about the wear and tear of that surface coating. Especially in the weather patterns of this state,” Marlowe notes with a tap of her finger onto her tablet screen, inputting in the suggestions for OLED and photovoltaics on a notepad app. She glances up and over at the director’s positive notes about budget approval, a small quirk of a smile coming back up. “That’s good news for the prototypes. And we know you’ll always manage to pull that numbers game off with accounting,” she teases of the director. Because the R&D department has hardly ever been found wanting for materials when they really needed it.

Turning back to Leroy, particularly at Hachiro’s claim of their work being perfectly harmonious, she turns that small smile on him briefly. And then one of those lightly curved brows pulls up as she regards the computer engineer. “Okay. But, you remember those cellphone towers that were designed to look like trees, but were so ugly? No wonder they would put them at the sides of freeways so you wouldn’t have to look at them, only drive by none the wiser, like they were ashamed of what they made.” She eyes the two men in turn, determining aloud, “Can’t have that be what comes out of this department.” No sirs.

"That's why I think stealth is the answer. People might notice things, like Predator, but, well, I don't think it'd be an eyesore." Leroy starts bizarrely moving parts of his code around in large chunks, creating smaller sub-windows as he takes advantage of their particularly advanced interface and how it interacts with object based programming.

He stares at Marlowe at the idea of being perfectly harmonious, then quickly focuses on his screens, clearing his throat. "Taking the drones through rotation, like train cars that get daily maintenance, will help with the wear and tear. It'll also provide jobs." he suggests, always thinking of ways to solve two things with one solution.

Pleased with the results of this exercise, Hachiro claps his hands together and looks at his two brightest employees. “I think we all have quite a bit to discuss, yes. The specifics of how these machines will operate and under what circumstances can be the focus of our collaborations for the next few weeks. That said, I’ll also be sending some side projects to your set-top devices after lunch.”

Hands on his hips, Hachiro couldn’t look prouder of what was accomplished here, like a proud father watching his children flourish. His smile is a genuine one, as is his appreciation for the talent he’s able to work with. “Now,” he raises his brows in ancitipation.

“Who’s up for some food?

From: moc.seirtsudniotagamay|omoto.h#moc.seirtsudniotagamay|omoto.h
To: moc.seirtsudniotagamay|llerret.m#moc.seirtsudniotagamay|llerret.m
Subject: Food Crisis Side Project

I'd like for you to interface with the people at Raytech Industries in Jackson Park. I've heard that they're building a green food project (possibly hydroponics or aeroponics) and I'd like to have Yamagato Industries cooperate with them on this venture and help take some of the financial and material burden. They're a much smaller corporation with a bright idealism that I would like to see flourish. So, please, reach out to their COO Kaylee Ray-Sumter and their Project Manager Bjarni Sorensen at your earliest convenience.

If you need anything from me, don't hesitate to let me know!

Otomo Hachiro
Chief Technology Officer
Yamagato Industries NYC

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