ArchivedLogs:Adaptive Tech

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Adaptive Tech

And then everyone received constant texts from Horus forever. ^_~

Dramatis Personae

Doug, Gabriel, Micah, Horus

12 September 2013

Chance meetings on the roof end in camera repair and adaptive tech deliveries.


<NYC> Village Lofts - Rooftop - East Village

It tends to be windy, up here, but the presence of plastic table and folding chairs suggests that nevertheless building residents occasionally make their way out to this rooftop. With a good view of Tompkins Square Park less than a block away it's a good spot for city-watching. There's a railing around the edge, though it might be possible (if /unwise/) to climb over it to the narrow concrete ledges beyond and from there to the fire escape. Centrally, someone has broken down crates and constructed a small raised-bed garden up here, barren in winter but filled in three other seasons with a small assortment of herbs and vegetables.

The concrete wall that rings the roof has been decorated, painted in vivid bright shades by some artistic hand to add colourful cheer to the rooftop. The mural shifts in terrain One wall sports a beach, flecked with grass and seashells and driftwood and shore birds. Beach transitions into meadow, colourful with wildflowers and butterflies and dragonflies; meadow shifts into snow-capped mountains, subsides into piedmont and sprouts into a verdant forest on the fourth, alive with animals.

It's a wonderful night, in New York City. In that it is clear, and a comfortable 72 degrees outside, and the city is /alive/ with its specific symphony of sound. Up on the roof of the Lofts, those sounds are muted, somewhat, but still present: the growl of traffic, the noise of voices drifting up from the street below, the gentle and faint strains of a street busker's guitar. All of them are here, among the earthy smells and pleasant tranquility of the rooftop garden. It's just the night for being outside and /enjoying/ the night air.

Which isn't what it looks like Doug is doing. Or maybe he is. Currently, the blonde is leaning waaaaay out over the railing, using a pen light to locate the small wireless camera mounted under the cornice piece. Dressed in jeans and a blue work shirt with baseball cap jammed down over his blonde hair, the teenager has acquiesed to safety; a rope is lashed harness-like around his waist and groin, running to the spot where it's attached to one of the planters. Safety first! At his feet, a tablet leans against the low wall, its screen showing a view of the street below -- currently fuzzied up by a bright light.

Thunk! The rooftop door loudly slides open, as Gabriel passes through. Wearing a plain black t-shirt and a pair of jeans coupled with tennis shoes, Gabriel has a book in one hand and a pack of cigarettes in another. He spots Doug, as he moves over to a small table, lighting a cigarette as he begins to read. "Hey, Doug. That looks dangerous, you alright?.". He fumbles with his book, as he places the lighter away. "What are you doing up there, anyways? Super spy work or something?". Gabriel chuckles a small bit at this notion. "Wait, no, I don't think there's any spies in the Lofts.".

The weather is, in part, what brings Micah out. The door has had a few moments of rest after Gabriel exits before it is working to open again to expel the redhead. He has his laptop tucked under his arm and is searching for a place to sit that isn't the kitchen table, couch, or a beanbag chair. Prolonged computer work makes him fidgety, okay? So the roof wins out. He is dressed in evening lazy gear in the form of faded jeans and a black, bleach-spattered xkcd T-shirt with a stick figure on it declaring 'Stand Back, I'm Going to Try Science!' His eyes widen as he takes in the scene, only really processing how far Doug is leaning over the rail. "Doug, honey? What are you doin'?"

With a city teeming with pigeons the flutter of wings is just one more typical noise to add to the urban symphony -- though the wings bearing down on the Lofts rooftop are considerably larger than those of most any bird generally found in New York. Horus comes to land on the rooftop a short distance from Doug, talons scratching against the surface of the guard wall. His mottled feathers rustle as he tucks his wings in against his sides, and his head tilts from side to side. Surveying Doug. Gabriel. Micah. The path from roof to door. His feathers fluff up larger, talons flexing and unflexing indecisively. In the end he dips his head down lower, craning over the edge of the roof, too, to inspect Doug.

Noises of others joining him on the roof are not enough to deter Doug, although he does raise his head to mark both Gabriel and Micah as they speak. "Checking the security system," is his answer for the question, his voice a bit strained from where the railing presses into his diaphragm. "This camera's been acting weird the last couple of nights. I'm just checking to see what the problem is." He wrinkles his nose as he leans back out, pinning the camera with his light again. "It'd be nice if I had wings or something, like Dusk or -- oh, hey, Horus!" Doug grins up at the other young man, his face a bit red as he waves the penlight in greeting. "Speak of the devil. Good night for flying, yeah?"

"Huh, that must be difficult to upkeep." Gabriel scratches his nose, as he spots Micah. "Hey, Micah! Nice weather, isn't it?" Gabriel smiles as he says this, flipping through his book as he smokes. "I love nights like this, I guess." Gabriel's pondering is stopped short when Horus appears. "Oh, hello! I guess you are..Horus? Nice to meet you! I'm Gabriel." Gabe's smile gets wider as he looks at the feathered teenager. "I haven't seen you around, do you live here?"

Micah eyes Doug's rope rig skeptically. “Alright, just...don't fall t'your death, okay?” The concern in his face soon lightens with recognition of Horus. “Evenin' Horus,” he greets softly. “S'a good night for flyin', I'd like t'think.” This prompts a light chuckle. “Just not /you/, Doug. Strictly a no-fly zone for people without wings.” Gabriel earns a smile with his greeting, as well. “Hi, Gabriel. Yeah, it is nice for things t'cool off a bit. Autumn's pretty much my favourite.”

Horus straightens abruptly when he is addressed, skittering back a little bit on the wall to move away from Doug. When Gabriel speaks, he actively spreads his wings, taking off and flying to the adjacent wall to regard the others from a safer distance. Micah, at least, gets a very soft tentative bob of his head, though his fidgeting has increased.

For a long moment he is quiet, gaze still skipping between the others. Eventually, though, he takes off. fluttering down off the roof and swooping back around to come up on Doug's wall from the outside. He hovers beneath the wall, poking his beak questioningly towards the camera.

"The ones up here are the hardest to maintain," Doug agrees, raising his voice for Gabriel's benefit. There's a small wince as Horus takes off, but the teenager doesn't say anything, keeping at his task while he speaks to the others. "Oh, I'm okay," he assures Micah brightly. "I've used this rig before, and it's not /that/ far a lean. I guess it'd make some people dizzy, though. But yeah. No flying, I promise." He scoots a bit closer, wrinkling his nose at the camera and then BLINKING as Horus comes back into his field of vision. The point of beak gets a thoughtful wrinkle of his nose and a weird-looking dangled shrug. "I'm not sure," he says. "There's something futzy about the night-vision. It cuts in and out." As if it were cued, the tablet's image flickers, and goes dark. "I think something's been poking at it. Pigeons or grackles or something."

Gabriel slowly lifts himself out of his chair. "I have to go, actually. Nice seeing you guys, and, uh, meeting you, Horus." Gabriel waves, peers over to Doug and the rig one last time, and then leaves through the door. Thunk! Gabriel vanishes down the stairwell.

“S'okay, hon,” Micah reassures, again softly, or in as soft a voice as will carry to Horus being as far off as he is. “S'only people as live here. Ain't nobody gonna bother you.” He snorts at Doug's assertion. “I'd /hope/ the ones up here are the hardest ones y'gotta deal with. Otherwise I'd be startin' t'really /worry/ about where you're keepin' these things.” He ambles over to Doug and Horus when the winged fellow goes off to poke at the camera, smiling warmly. “Oh, hey, that's an easier way t'get t'things, isn't it? Good t'have friends with wings. Hm. S'there anythin' that Horus could poke at over there that would help, y'think?”

Horus flits up higher to rest on the ledge, just above the camera, peering down over it curiously. Some of his nervous agitation fades as Gabriel leaves, fidgeting quieting though his feathers stay ruffled. His head turns, attention drifting between Doug and the tablet. He stands up a little straighter when Micah suggests him helping, his tongue clicking rapidly against his beak. Fluttering down off the ledge again, he hovers at the other side of the camera from Doug, looking towards it hopefully.

"I've got 'em all over the place," Doug admits frankly, turning his head to grin up at the redhead. "But these are the only ones that require safety gear." He watches Horus for a moment, his brow knitting as he considers the offer of help. Then they arc in sudden realization. "Oh, hey. Actually, there is," he says, motioning at the camera with the penlight. "Can you see a little button on the bottom of the camera?" he asks Horus, shining the light there. "It's a little black depressed place. If you can give that a poke, it might reset itself." There's an exhalation; a shallow chuff of breath. "If not, I'm probably going to have to replace it tomorrow."

Micah deposits his laptop on a table and presses himself to the rail to better observe the dealings with the camera. He giggles at Doug's proposed solution. “That's just the way of technology. Fancy as anythin', but still just needs t'be turned on an' off sometimes t'get it t'do /anythin'/. Are y'able t'get to it, Horus, or d'you need somethin' smaller to fit into the space?”

Horus drops down lower, scrutinizing the underside of the camera. After a moment his tongue clicks again a few times, staccato-quick, followed by a lighter chirrup. A few short wingbeats bring him closer to the camera, head tilting around almost upside-down to turn just the very tip of his beak towards it. The soft taptap of his beak against the camera clicks a few times before he hits the right spot, poking against the button and then returning to the wall triumphantly. Afterwards, though, he gives the camera another curious look, his warbling chirp uncertain.

When Horus comes closer to the wall, Doug uses that moment to push himself back over the rail to plant his feet safely on the roof. He still watches the operation, keeping the light trained until it appears Horus has found the button. He squats, then, to pluck up the tablet and skim his fingers over the surface. His mouth tightens for a moment, before his eyebrows lift and he offers a wide grin. "I think that did it," he confirms for Horus, turning the tablet so the man can see the street view. "Good job, dude. Thanks. I totally owe you a box of cookies or something."

“Fancy manoeuvrin' there, Horus,” Micah comments with a nod of approval as Horus manages to activate the switch. He peers over at Doug's tablet. “Looks like y'fixed it, too! That reminds me. I got some things for you. T'access a tablet. I'll just have t'run an' pick the stuff up from the van whenever it's convenient for you t'try some things out. Usually manage t'park real close, though, so it wouldn't take a minute. Just let me know when.” He turns so that he can lean his back against the rail. “Baked goods are pretty much the best bribes.”

Horus's tongue clicks again as he folds his wings at his sides. He tips his head down, beak smoothing down at some of his feathers. The suggestion of cookies only earns a soft chirrup; Horus glances towards Micah with this, but then looks back at Doug's tablet. His eyes flit between the screen and the camera, and then the street below. There's a brief crease in his brow, mostly obscured by its downy coating of feathers, but then Micah's words catch his attention. His head tilts to the side with a startled quiet twittering.

"They've always worked on me," Doug says of baked goods with a grin, holding the tablet with one hand as he works at the knot in his harness with the other. "If you want something else, though, I can probably scare it up for you," he offers, unconsciously mimicking Horus' brow-crease at its emergence. "I mean, not everyone is into cookies." He offers a half-smile, a bit apologetically as he has to set the tablet down to really work at his harness. Eventually the knot comes loose, and he lets the rope drops around his feet. Micah's revelation for Horus gets a small, thoughtful look, and he lifts a shoulder as he begins to collect his things. "Dude. That sounds kind of awesome." Micah gets a wide grin. "You're like Steve Austin /and/ Rudy Wells."

Horus's look in Micah's direction after the mention of baked goods causes him to grin, guessing as to Horus's meaning. “Yeah, there's always some kinda baked sweet things at our place. S'cupcakes right now, though, not cookies. Jax made what seemed like a few hundred of 'em yesterday, if you're interested?” He watches the look again, from the tablet to camera to street, and hazards another guess at the concerned face. “Oh. Doug's set up some monitorin' equipment just t'give us advanced warnin' if any suspicious folks start hangin' about. We got kinda...nervous after that whole incident in the sewer. 'Specially what with 'em /knowin'/ Jax.” Horus's startle and Doug's comparisons both spark a little half-smile. “Guys. This is kinda, like, m'job. Sorry it's taken this long, as it is, just had t'work out some of the more unique issues an' wait on donations of the more expensive parts. Namely the actual /tablet/ an' software. But I think I got a set-up that may work with just a little tweakin' now.”

Horus's head bobs excitedly at Micah's answer, his next chirrup a little brighter. His beak pokes in Micah's direction, though the eager twittering dies down a moment later with the explanation about the cameras. This time he just nods though there's a heaviness to the motion. His eyes fix on the street a long while, and the very soft whistling noises he makes do not seem particularly directed at anyone.

Eventually his gaze shifts back to the two present, though. He hops down off the wall, awkwardly bobbing steps bringing him closer to Micah to lift his head and bump his beak against Micah's knuckles. He turns for the door after this, though as his wings spread to sort of /flutter/-hop the short distance, he turns his head to look back at Doug with a questioning warble.

"Just 'cause it's your job doesn't make it any less awesome," Doug says. "It's just...less awesome-seeming to you, I guess, 'cause you know the mechanics involved." He grins, and begins coiling the rope. Horus' question gets a small lift of his eyebrows, and then a sudden, amiable clench of them. "Oh, no. It was just this one," he answers the supposed question, waving a hand. "I'm heading down to work on some homework, since you saved me all this time." He waggles his eyebrows, and motions with the looped rope at the door. "I totally want to see that tablet, when you've got it knocked out, though. I'm all about checking out the awesome technology."

"I guess I prob'ly just give it less credit 'cause I darn well /should/ be able t'come up with these things. Got enough trainin' for it, after all," Micah explains, a hint of a blush appearing across his cheeks. "Some other time, then. Good luck with the homework an' the rest of your evenin', Doug. If everythin' works out, you'll be able t'see Horus /usin'/ the thing for a good while!" His hand pets reflexively at Horus's head when it bumps against him, and Micah leads the way to the door, babbling about the tech (probably entirely more than anyone /wanted/ him to) as he opens it and continues downstairs with Horus. "S'pretty much an iPad with a few text-to-speech an' language programs loaded on it from one of my other patients. Their family donated it when they upgraded recently. I've worked out two possible adaptive styluses: one that's flexible but less precise, an' the one that I think'll work best that's extra long an' will need me to make a custom grip for your beak t'hold it. Then I put a case on the tablet with a handle that y'can grip easy. An' then I put together a mount out of modular hose an' some clamps that attach an' detach with some easy pinchgrips. The cool part is that you can also turn the mount into a /harness/ if you detach the clamps. I've covered the hose with some fabric paddin' so it'll be comfortable. End result is kinda like a marchin' band drummer's drum. We'll mostly just have t'work out the stylus, adapt the harness parts t'fit, an' teach you the software at this point. Should work out, I think!"

Horus bobs his head again, this time in agreement with Doug. Perhaps about Micah being awesome. He waits for Micah to open the door before following inside, wings folding once they enter the stairwell, too narrow for them to properly spread. There's an added perk to his movements as he hops down the stairs, listening carefully to Micah's explanation. By the time Micah is finished his head is bobbing again, his soft stream of whistling a little bit brighter. He glances back over one shoulder, nodding to Doug, but then hops his way ahead to speed down the stairs.

At least until the third-floor door, which kind of stymies his exuberance. He waits outside it, smoothing at his feathers in restless habit.

"Sorry," Micah apologizes pretty much out of habit as he steps past Horus to unlock and open the door, letting them both in to the apartment. Once Horus is settled in with his choice of cupcake, Micah dashes off to retrieve the pile of tech to trial from his van.