Solo [Sunset Quarters] Keep it Simple

Copying. Reading. Drawing.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

[Sunset Quarters] Keep it Simple

Postby Nellie Hawkins on July 15th, 2018, 3:25 am

Image
64th of Summer
14th Bell

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The floor was rough, hard, and Nellie shifted uncomfortably on it before staring back down at the papers spread out in front of her, 3 pieces of paper and untold hours of her mother’s work. She’d been careful with them all these years, but they were showing signs of age. Creases marked the faithful fold-lines where she, and her mother before her, had bent the pages; the corners were rounded and soft from the gentle abrasions of years of handling, but the images on them were still as crisp as ever. And as indecipherable, though she hoped to change that.

The blueprints she’d liberated from her mother’s workshop years ago, before the fire, held a mystifying mix of information. Pieces of it were simple enough to understand, and Nellie’s eyes traveled those words comfortably, they’d been long ago committed to memory. The rest may have been written in a foreign language, for all the sense she could make of them. Until today, she had simply used the instructions as a tool for her memory, letting the pictures and words on the pages take her back to her childhood. Even now, the images came unbidden: her mother, sitting up long into the night, pouring over papers and bits of metal and wood, candles flickering around her. It had seemed a sort of magic to Nellie, as she’d peeked around her threadbare blankets and watched the dancing play of shadow and light.

Older now, and more practical, she realized her mother must have struggled to see in the shifting of the flames’ light, but that knowledge didn’t kill the feeling of curious awe she’d had as a child. Nor did it quench her desire to conquer her mother’s world, though it seemed, at times, to be an almost impossible feat.

Nellie had attempted to puzzle through the prints more times than she could count, but the sheer amount of careful handwriting covering every inch of available space was overwhelming, to say the least. None of the sheets seemed to have any relation to the next; her younger self hadn’t been overly concerned with things like that, the thrill had been in the taking and hiding, and she’d grabbed the ones that had looked the most ‘important’ – the ones with the most words and pictures.

Funny how ‘important’ and ‘confusing’ turned out to be the same thing.

Still, her mother was no longer here and Nellie had to work with what she had, disjointed and confusing as it was. To simplify things, she planned to transfer the information from her mother’s sheets of paper to her own recently purchased parchment, separating the knowledge she felt comfortable with from the things that had yet to make sense. Studying the pages laid out on the floor, she selected the one that seemed the most straightforward; six small pictures took up the bulk of the front, labeled with words she was familiar with: “ramp” “lever” “wheel.” Pulling out her charcoal sticks and a mostly clean sheet of parchment, Nellie hunched over the floor and began carefully reproducing the first image, the ramp.

It was easy enough to recreate the triangular shape: a flat base, with an angled line up from one corner, and a straight line back down to connect the two. The words were more challenging to mimic, not because they were difficult by themselves, but because her mother had written them in various places on the page, connected by lines and arrows. Nellie found herself navigating an odd pattern across the page as she put down the words below her own picture:

Ramp. Also inclined plane. Passive mechanica. Useful in moving heavy loads over steps. Longer ramp = less effort needed. Manmade and natural structure – hills, roads, beaches, wagon ramps, bridges.


Frowning, Nellie re-read what she’d written. ”Passive mechanica”? There was an arrow on the page, and she followed it, finger lightly tracing the line as it wound up and around the page. It was a scant few words, but that was all Nellie needed. "Passive" simply meant that it didn’t move. "Mechanica" meant mechanism. A mechanism, then, that didn't move. But should that information go under the heading for a ramp? Or should she start a separate sheet for things like that, terms that she didn’t know, but that might be generally useful?

Deciding on the latter, Nellie grabbed a fresh piece of parchment and wrote the words, followed by the definition, at the top.

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Nellie Hawkins
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[Sunset Quarters] Keep it Simple

Postby Nellie Hawkins on July 15th, 2018, 5:26 am

Image

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Next to the ramp – inclined plane, she reminded herself – her mother had drawn a picture of another object, unrecognizable, and labeled with the word “wedge.” Nellie chuckled as she read through the description, realizing what the picture was supposed to be, and then began to draw her own picture.

The basic shape was nearly identical to the first image, a triangle, but this time she added a line extending downward from the narrow tip of the triangle. It was a poor representation of what she’d been aiming for, and Nellie frowned at it for a second, before an idea struck her. Beside the image, she drew a rough outline of a tree, and an arrow of her own, pointing from the wide end of the triangle shape to the bottom of the tree trunk.

Comparing her own drawing to that of her mother’s, she couldn’t help but laugh: she’d clearly gotten her artistic ability from her mother, and the other woman had had none to spare. “But as long as I know what it is,” she murmured into her empty room. The words would be easier, she was sure, provided she followed the right arrows.

Wedge. Inc. plane derivative. Active mechanica. Uses, multiple:
1. Separate one object into two parts – axe, sword, saw
2. Hold objects in place - wheel chock
Shorter wedge, wider angle = faster action. Longer wedge, narrow angle = less effort.
Related: Screw


Here Nellie paused, stretching her back from its cramped position as she studied the page, arrows shot out in several directions from the entry for “wedge.” Some left the page entirely, and were not picked up again on the back. One led to a clarification of “active mechanica,” – Mechanism that moves, she noted, adding it to her page of terms – and two others simply led to the margin, ending in numbers. 72 & 131. A glance at the pages in her possession showed that they, too, were numbered: 5, 14 & 58. Page numbers, then, referencing pages she didn’t own.

“Petch,” disappointment colored the word. Still, she reasoned, there was a lot of information in the words she did have, and maybe she could add something of her own? Nellie began thinking about everything she saw on a daily basis – many of them were wedges, now that she could recognized what a wedge was.

Weapons. Her mother wrote that a sword was a wedge. An axe was a wedge. Probably anything that sliced could be called a wedge, the only requirement seemed to be that it separated things. It was a broad definition, but clear. There was nothing really to add to that section, and wheel chocks were equally simple; Nellie had seen them used on wagons and at the old mines, where there were remnants of chocks used when the mines were still operational.

What about a ship?

If the only thing it parted was water, was it still a wedge? Was the shape enough of a reason to list it?

No, she reasoned, the point of these “active mechanica” is that they’re active. They do something.

Something like make moving through water easier and faster. As the realization dawned, Nellie felt a thrill of excitement. Before she could talk herself out of it, she made a quick addition of her own to the parchment.

Example, Ship’s bow.


Written on the paper, it looked like a tiny, unimportant detail, and she frowned at it. She wanted to add more, but as she sat there, charcoal poised over the parchment, no other inspiration came to her. And the longer she stared at it, the less sure she was that it even deserved to be there. Full of doubt, she put charcoal to parchment once more for a small correction:

Example, Ship’s bow?

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User avatar
Nellie Hawkins
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Posts: 128
Words: 125691
Joined roleplay: August 19th, 2014, 11:54 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human
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