Celebrations and Bad Decisions

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Cammytrice, Jun 8, 2014.

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  1. Camilla del Bosque was in an excellent mood, despite the fact that she was working late yet again. There was so much work to be done to get this compound ready for the new upgrade. The animals had been suffering from loose joints and panels due to the electric pellets repeatedly going through the chassis. This new compound would strengthen their connections, so that Gabriele could finally upgrade the programs. The animals would move more naturally, faster, and be more of a challenge to the hunters.

    This breakthrough had come after months of heartbreaking failures. There had been setbacks, explosions, and board members breathing down her neck. But now, all that was behind her. Camilla stretched and yawned, shaking her head and picking up her cup and saucer to refresh her coffee and stretch her legs before getting back to work.
  2. Gabriele shuffled into the room in a discernibly slow and careful fashion. His eyes were bleary underneath the lens that he'd not yet bothered to put back up in the mechanism that held all of his foci. Needless to say, he was tired, having spent the past three hours going over the upgraded programming, making sure every single hole(among thousands) was exactly according to specifications that they had drafted up as soon as they began planning the upgrade, or at least trying to. He still had quite a few punch cards -- an entire three stacks more, truth be told -- to go before he was done. Where Camilla had been having a terrible week that seemed to have a light at the end of the tunnel, Gabriele did not seem to be anywhere near surfacing from the mire he'd managed to find himself in.

    The last few months in general had been quite tiresome, and Gabriele was more than ready to catch a break, though the part of him that always thought about the worst possible scenario had prevented him from doing so. It was for the better. His team was as worked to the ground as he was. One of the benefits of the new punch-card system was the ease with which precision of commands could be achieved. The biggest drawback, as far as he and his group of engineers whom he could tell wanted to gouge their eyes out, was the fact that the more sophisticated the command, the less room for error there was. At this point in the project, everything needed to be exactly as planned.

    Gabriele fumbled for the coffee pot and poured himself a cup before taking a seat in the couch opposite Camilla. The woman's yawn did nothing but incite the desire to do so as well in Gabriele. He barely had time to set the coffee down before yawning and stretching his arms and legs. Three hours of being hunched over punch cards right next to a lamp certainly did a number on his poor muscles. "Camilla..." said the programmer with his notable and familiar, slightly-Italian lilt. "How can you seem so relaxed?" He asked, noticing that Camilla seemed far less tense than he was. "We've had months of false breakthroughs and, well, explosions... What makes you think this one will actually work?"
  3. "I know it will. I've gone through all my notes and equations, and I've found the fault in the process. The experiments we've done today prove it. Now that I see it, it's so obvious what the problem was! I know this will work! I even have the first batch in process already!" Her voice was light, even though tinged with fatigue. He would no doubt see the difference in her demeanor from even that morning, never mind the past week. The frustration and short temper was gone, and the proud, confident woman scientist was back. Despite her hair being a bit disheveled, she still looked as put together as she always did.

    Refilling her coffee and sipping it black, she took to pacing a bit as she drank. She'd been sitting in that damned chair hunched over the microscope for the past two hours. And she had a few more notes to take and quick experiments to conduct, just to ensure the stability of the ingredients before mixing them for more batches. To make the subsequent batches easier, they would mix the stable ingredients together in a ready to mix powder to speed up the process. She wanted to make sure everything was ready for when her assistants arrived again in the morning. They needed to get this compound ready as soon as possible and ready for the field. They didn't need any more delays, like the stability tests not being done because she needed sleep. And she wanted to make sure this first batch was indeed successful. Besides, sleep was for the weak-minded. If it was too late when she'd finished, she'd just nap in her office on the couch. She'd done it before. It was comfortable enough.

    With all these thoughts running through her head, Camilla hadn't noticed she'd lapsed into one of her thoughtful silences. Gabriele would know it well enough, though. She'd done it enough to him over the years, often in mid-sentence.
  4. Gabriele shook his head, for all the brilliant woman Camilla was, she often tunnelled too deeply on her projects that she missed important parts. For all her intelligence, as well, she was prone to lapse into thoughtful silence. He was surprised not more of her experiments had gone awry for that very reason. Either way, it appeared she was confident enough in the new substance, but he was less so with the new programming. It was orders of magnitude more complicated than the previous programming which was admittedly rudimentary and would never have qualified as good enough for a project of the magnitude and seeming importance as they were working on. "You seem to forget... We're updating the programming too."

    "Before you panic, no, I'm not saying something has gone wrong." Gabriele shook his head. It was nigh impossible to tell until they actually ran the damn programs. "But you know as well as I do that there is great potential for something to go wrong. Especially with programs of this calibre." Gabriele never understood the practicality of sipping. It was not efficient, particularly when imbibing caffeine in order to stay up. He downed the mug of coffee in one go, very nearly scalding his throat in the process. "I'm heading out to get some dinner. Would you like to accompany me?" he asked with a lopsided genial smile.
  5. "No, but thank you. I need to finish these stability tests and keep an eye on this batch process so we're ready to hit the ground running in the morning. And of course I remember the programming upgrade, that's why we've been slaving to get this compound completed, so that the animals can handle the new movements and speed." She was back in an instant from wherever her mind had wandered, as if she had been there the entire time. Camilla smirked at him over the rim of her cup. "I have every confidence in you, Gabriele. And who knows? Maybe by the time you return, I'll have one ready to test with the new compound. But in order to do that, I should get back to work. Enjoy your dinner."

    Finishing off her coffee, Camilla set her cup down and headed back to her workbench, rewarding him with a final smirk as she set her glasses and loupes back on her nose, and returned to her notes.
  6. Gabriele snuck quietly back into the project headquarters. He had to get back to work, and if he wanted to get everything done in time for the tests, he had to stay up all night once more. There were a couple hundred cards more to look over, and he was not looking forward to that tedium. He'd brought a bottle of wine for Camilla since the woman had shown such a festive mood. Truth be told, if anything, the results were promising. After months of failures, the mere indication of success was worth the jubilation. That was the conclusion he'd come to over dinner, that, and, as he imbibed more wine, that Camilla was quite the specimen of the female gender. He'd found himself blushing quite quickly after that, though whether it was from the wine or the thoughts of Camilla as more than a colleague, he did not entirely know.

    "Camilla?" Gabriele called out, tapping on the door of the woman's office. "I... uhh... I brought something for you."
  7. Camilla jumped up from her chair, her glasses falling down onto her face from where she'd pushed them up onto her head. She didn't know exactly when she'd dozed off, but it had been while waiting for the compound to dry on the small asian monkey that she'd chosen to test. The first batch had finished and she'd decided to apply it while she waited for the agitators to run down on the final stability tests. Now, acutely aware of the silence in the lab, it took her a moment to register what had actually woken her up.

    A knock on the door. A familiar voice. Checking her face in the small mirror on the wall by her work bench and attempting to fix her hair a bit, Camilla cleared her throat and finally answered. "One moment, Gabriele." She continued yawning and shaking her head to clear the sleepy fog as she crossed the floor to the door and opened it for him, not really looking at him as she headed over to check the ingredients in the agitators. "Did you have a good dinner?" she asked, trying to look like she hadn't been sleeping and had been working busily all this time. Never mind the fact that she had completely missed what he'd said when he knocked.
    #7 Cammytrice, Jun 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
  8. The engineer was more than a little surprised to see Camilla in the state that she was. It was evident that the woman was trying to seem awake and alert, but Gabriele could tell quite well that the other engineer had just been asleep. He didn't blame her. Both of them had recently been working to the brink of utter exhaustion. He could not fault Camilla for falling asleep at her station. "It ah... went well" said Gabriele, rubbing his nape, and subtly gesturing the wine towards Camilla. He did not entirely know what to do with the bottle, seeing as how the woman had completely ignored his gift.

    "I... ah... I bought you some wine..." said Gabriele, blushing despite himself, as he held the bottle out at Camilla.
  9. "Hm?" she asked, looking up from the canister of ingredients she was just opening. Camilla's eyes finally landed on Gabriele, holding out the bottle and looking a bit lost. "Oh..." she said, blushing a bit herself when she realised she had completely missed his initial offer. Now though, she was a bit confused and was, for once, at a loss for words. "Well, um, thank you, but...why?" she couldn't help but ask, mentally cursing her tired brain as she put down the canister and retraced her steps to where he was standing, carefully relieving him of the gift. She turned it over and looked at the label, mostly to try to lessen the awkward staring they were both doing. There wasn't much she could do to suppress the raised eyebrow of surprise when she saw the vintage, though. This was a very nice bottle.

    #9 Cammytrice, Jun 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
  10. Gabriele averted his gaze, a small smile playing upon his lips. "I... ah... I thought you might want to celebrate..." he said, scratching at the nape of his neck with one hand and fidgeting with his lenses with his other hand. He could not bring himself to meet Camilla's eyes, embarrassment clear upon his voice and his body language. Nevertheless, he straightened himself and forced his eyes onto Camilla's. He felt more blood rush to his cheeks. The engineer took a single tentative step towards Camilla's desk. He took the step back. He shot a glance at the woman, whose eyebrow was still raised at him. He opened his mouth to speak but could find no words, so he put his foot down and walked over to the workstation. He peered into the microscope, at the new compound that had been the most promising in quite a while.

    A brilliant -- or so it had seemed at the time -- idea struck him. "Maybe we can test it out!" he said, looking up at Camilla from the microscope. "I have been wanting to test the start-up sequences myself. Maybe we can see if at least that much works!"
  11. Camilla couldn't help but smirk gently at his sudden nerves. "It seems to me you've celebrated a bit already," she commented idly as she moved to check on the drying monkey, setting the bottle on the bench, out of the way for now. It wasn't an accusation, just an amused observance, and a bit of a gift. She'd let him think that she was mistaking his blush as him being a bit drunk, which probably was part of it, and not the attraction he was suddenly feeling. She was exhausted, not naïve.

    "I think this little one is dry enough. Let me get him wound while you get the program card. You're in not much better shape than me to keep up with this work tonight. We both deserve a bit of a break." Without waiting for further comment, she went over to her drawer to get the large winding key.
  12. The engineer felt more blood rush to his face at being called out on his slight -- it was very slight, he could just barely feel the buzz -- inebriation. He shuffled uncomfortably where he stood, trying not to let his gaze linger too long on Camilla. He was only very slightly drunk, but even that lowered his inhibitions enough that he did not feel as abhorrent of thinking of his colleague in that fashion. Gabriele perked up at Camilla's suggestion, glad to be given the chance to leave the room for but a moment. "Alright. Let's do that."

    Trying his best to seem nonchalant about the entire ordeal, Gabriele walked out of the room into his own workspace and rifled through the stacks of program cards for the pile that had to do with the start-up sequence. To the casual observer, the cards would've been an indecipherable mess, and, often-times, they were to Gabriele as well. It was never until he put on his lenses that he actually was able to make any sense of the damnable cards. There was only so much space on the cards, and the only possible way innovation could go was to making the punch holes smaller.

    Gabriele finally found the stack of cards that had to do with the start-up program and grabbed it. A tiny vine of apprehension coiled itself around Gabriele's heart. He did not want the program to fail and embarrass him in front of his colleague. Nevertheless, he forced himself into the other room. He smiled at Camilla. "I have the start-up right here, if you'd like to test it out."
  13. "One moment," she grunted, still turning the stiff spring. It had been purposely made to withstand life in the field and not break easily, but the downside of which was winding the damned thing. Anything larger than this monkey would be impossible for her to do on her own, and would require a much bigger key. Despite being a lady, Camilla did not fear putting physical effort into any work that was required. Perspiration could be seen on her upper lip as she finished the winding, dabbing at it with her handkerchief as she accepted the programming card. "Alright, let's give it a run," she said, somewhat breathlessly.

    This was it. This moment was the product of many months of research, labour, experiments, late nights, and heartache. Tonight, they would either celebrate or mourn. Despite all her assurances, Camilla couldn't help but feel apprehensive. Everything said that this would work, that it should work. But, theory was no substitute for actual testing. Such an important test was usually done during the day, with everyone coming together to witness. This felt maverick and reckless, but it also felt earned. No one else had put as much blood, sweat and tears into these animals from the beginning than she and Gabriele. They deserved this moment to themselves.

    Taking a deep breath, she pushed the card into its slot and gave the key a shove to activate the spring release. Camilla then pulled the key out and stepped back, holding her breath to see what would happen. Would it come to life? Would it hold together? There was no turning back now. She bit her lip gently in anticipation, her eyes glued on the mechanism on the work table.
  14. A few moments passed when nothing happened and there was absolute silence in the room. Gabriele held his breath, apprehension building that maybe the programming would fail in a spectacular explosion of metal parts. Nothing happened. Then, cogs started to whir to life slowly. The engineer let out a sigh of relief. At least the program wasn't flawed from the very beginning. At least it was starting up. Tension returned when the warm-up sequence took a few seconds longer than it should have. Then, the monkey's arm moved. Then the other. Then the lower jaw. It was almost as though the monkey was stretching. The legs followed suit. Then the automaton brought a metallic hand to its face and rubbed an eye, macking its lips as it did. Gabriele couldn't help the smile that graced his face at that moment. The programming was working. As far as he could tell, the new compound was performing just as it was expected to.

    The laugh that left him at that moment was entirely involuntary but not at all unwelcome. He grabbed Camilla's shoulder and shook her, momentarily forgetting shyness in celebration. "It's working! It's working!" he exclaimed. All of a sudden, the monkey stopped, returning to its 'off' state before starting the boot-up sequence again. For a moment he'd thought something had gone horribly wrong. No. The program had just looped because they were only testing the start up. "It's working!" he said again, almost in tears from relief.
    #14 Malkuthe Highwind, Jul 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  15. While Gabriele was watching the sequence, Camilla's eyes were focused on the joints and panels. Would they scrape, spark and explode like so many of the other compounds had done? The moment when a previous test monkey had erupted in flames flashed through her mind, unbidden. When the monkey stretched, an audible gasp escaped her lips. That particular animal had plagued her with its complex hip and tail joints but no, everything moved smoothly. It was only when Gabriele shook her that she realised she'd been holding her breath as it came out in a slightly hysterical laugh.

    Camilla also kept a close eye when the animal suddenly stopped. Had the joints frozen? Had they rushed the compound and now it was sticking? No, it ran through the start-up again and everything was perfect! Camilla laughed again, her eyes wet as she hugged her colleague fiercely. She grabbed his face and planted a hard kiss on his lips.

    "We did it!" she gushed, her usual stern and proper nature melting away through sheer joy. She turned and grabbed the bottle of wine from the table and ran to get a pair of glasses from the cabinet. She didn't bother waiting for him as she grabbed up the corkscrew and opened the bottle herself. "Now we really have something to celebrate, and good wine to do it with! Forget the rest of those cards tonight, we've earned this, Gabriele!" Camilla paused to take a quick sip directly from the bottle before she poured it into the waiting glasses.
  16. Gabriele froze where he stood, despite feeling the warm lips of Camilla on his own. He was downright floored. He was lucky he didn't drop the rest of the cards. Otherwise he probably would have spent the last half hour trying to reorganize them. The kiss was both elating and terrifying, and he panicked, wondering if it was just impulsive or if it actually meant something. When Camilla released him, he slowly placed the cards on the nearby desk and had to lean against it for support. The strength had left his legs, and he felt like jelly. The fluttering in his stomach seemed to be threatening to make him fly away on a cloud of bliss. He watched Camilla run around in jubilation.

    He accepted a glass of the wine and gulped it down as fast as he could. He needed liquid courage. Setting the glass down on the desk, he walked up to Camilla and said "I suppose we do" with a broad grin. "Finally." He leaned in, feeling a buzz running through his body. "You're amazing" he said, softly. "You managed to figure out that compound."
  17. "I will tell you honestly, sometimes I doubted we ever would. But I knew the potential was there, I just couldn't leave it alone," she answered, taking a deep sip of her wine, then another, and another, until she drained the glass, oblivious of his proximity. She was too busy rambling and praising herself. "So I guess you're right, I am amazing. Anyone else would've given it up, and I've heard the gossip among those snivelling little assistants. Yours and mine. They really do think we're mad you know, but we've shown them, haven't we? We are the gods of our creations, Gabriele, and if it's going to work, it's because of us," she announced, refilling both glasses and holding hers up to toast, that devious smirk on her face again.

    "To the gods of the Safari!"
  18. Gabriele chuckled, feeling his inhibitions and paranoia falling away as the alcohol worked its way into his system. He retrieved his wineglass from where it sat. "You're quite... humble, as well, aren't you?" he said, grinning as he set the glass down once more and walked back towards Camilla. He grabbed the woman by her hips and looked her in the eyes before downing his wine. "We did show them, didn't we?" Blood had rushed to his face and it was quite evident in the flush in his cheeks. "To the gods of the safari indeed." he whispered as he lifted the glass to his lips and downed it in one go.

    "And my dear Camilla..." he said, more blood rushing to his face. "What a goddess you are..." he continued, breathily, as though just saying the words was a labour in its own.
  19. Camilla flushed as well, downing her glass to stall a bit for time. The alcohol was hitting her system hard and fast; she hadn't eaten aside from a light lunch much, much earlier in the day. Her head was spinning, but it felt wonderfully out of control. Smirking at him again, she reached up and tugged at the few pins keeping her hair up, letting the coppery curls tumble down onto her shoulders. "Mmhmm? Why don't you tell me what kind of goddess I am..." she teased him, allowing herself to relax in his hold as she gave up the glass in favour of the wine bottle itself. Forget being proper, tonight was for celebrating!


    Camilla faded back into consciousness with a groan. Her head felt as if it was splitting open. What had happened? She felt the familiar sag of the Murphy bed as she sat up, cradling her head. Did she sleep in her office again? She must have. So why didn't she remember? The last thing she remembered was...
    "Fuck..." she cursed, stumbling out of the bed and racing for the washroom to be sick and clean up. She didn't even dare to look back at the sleeping figure she'd left there. Maybe, if she pretended it had never happened...

    Fifteen minutes later, she had donned a simple change of clothes, tossed her own into the hamper in the small wardrobe, and had thrown his on top of him, still in the bed. She went out and brewed some coffee, strong and black. Fortunately, it was still very early, barely past dawn. The others wouldn't arrive for two more hours at least. Her mind raced as she thought what she could do to make it seem as if she had been working through the night. Extra stress tests on the compounds, get the ingredients mixed to their primary compounds, ready for batch creation. No one needed to know, and no one would ever know. And if he asked, she could simply deny it. He was drunk, he fell asleep and she put him to bed in her office rather than drag him back to his. Anything else he must have dreamed. That would be her story as far as anyone else was concerned. And they would never speak of this again. Camilla sipped her coffee with a stern, harsh look on her face, and threw herself into her work, despite her continuing headache. She had work to do.
  20. Camilla getting out of bed had not been enough to wake the sleeping engineer, tired not only from what had pretty much been an all-nighter and the exertion of their coupling the previous night. When he finally did stir from his slumber, his head was throbbing. It was an incessant reminder that he had imbibed more than a little alcohol the previous night. His recollection of the events that had occurred then was spotty, at best, but he did remember a little fondling and kissing quite clearly. It took him a moment to realize where he was. He was at work. In a bed. That was not in his office. It was Camilla's.

    Memories of the previous night came rushing back, and he found himself blushing furiously, not to mention slightly aroused. It was then that he noted his naked state. He scrambled about to retrieve his clothes before going to the washroom to relieve himself. Had that really happened? Gods, he had not realized he could be so forward. Dressed and freshened up, well, after a fashion. His hair was sticking up in a disarray and he didn't think he would have the patience to tame his unruly hair.

    He stumbled out of the place, meaning to find Camilla to talk about what had transpired between them. He found her, hard at work with her compound. "Camilla" he said, clearing his throat as he stood by the doorframe.
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