(2018-06-25) Study Time!
Study Time
Summary: Syd joins the study group in the basement. Eventually it winds up with Syd and Darcy watching Anime. Hope they got their homework done.
Date: 2018.06.25
Related: None
NPCs: {$npc}
Scene Runner: {$runner}


The main room of the basement looks to have been nicely finished at one time, and looks to be currently in the middle of some redecorating. There is a large entertainment center with the usual electronics and a couple of gaming systems, a couch and a few chairs face it. There is a foosball table near one corner and on one wall an old, but working Ms. Pac-Man game. There is a faint, but lingering odor of cigar smoke and sulfur.


After leaving the lawn where she'd run into Bryce, Darcy headed upstairs to get ready for studying! She of course invited everyone she saw on her way, promising a movie to follow as incentive for anyone on the fence about the idea. Now about 20 minutes later, as evening settles in around the estate, she's found her way to the basement. She's got her totebag of goodies, a black backpack full of her study stuff, and high hopes that she can hook up a television to her mom's prime account for the movie.

Bryce comes down the stairs a few moments later. He has indeed washed his face so he no longer has dirt or grass on it though he still has a pretty nice bruise on his forehead. He is back in his school uniform which is the only clothes he is ever seen wearing. He has come downstairs to help tutor Darcy though he hasn't brought any books or paper with him. "Um, hi, Darcy. Have, um, have you been down here long?"

Sydney came to study. She's fairly serious about that. She's decades behind, after all. Tonight it's…history. Or for Syd, "How things got from 1982 to 2018" Got the iPad the school lent her, an adapter, and a real keyboard to use with it. She sets the ipad up in a chair and sits on the floor. "Hey gang."

Studying? It's Summer! Sure, there are summer classes going on but who studies in the summer? Maybe Sky saw some others moving into the basement or he heard the 'noise' of mental voices congregating down there. He follows and glances around, not having been down here very often. «They still can't get the smell out, can they?» Since it's summer, he's in his usual black and not the school uniform.

"Hey! Nope, just got here, haven't even set up yet. Wanna help?" Darcy plops both bags onto the biggest table she can find, and pushes the tote-bag toward Bryce. Anyone who has had her baked goods has seen this tote before. "Hey, Syd! Is Syd ok, can I call you that?" Without waiting for a reply, she turns back to Bryce, "I brought you energy balls to try! And other stuff. Because sustenance. Would you open the Tupperwares for me, we can put them in the middle so everyone can reach?" Hearing Schuyler's 'voice', she looks up and waves, "Heya, you here for study group? There's cookies, and a movie after if you're in."
The Tupperwares in the tote-bag, when opened, will reveal three different things. M&M energy balls, chocolate gingermen made to look like voodoo dolls, and homemade Chex mix.

Bryce looks back as Sydney and then Schuyler enter the room. "Um, hi, Sydney." Then her question: "Oh, uh, well, as you can imagine, there have been a lot of things that have happened in that, um, time span. If you consider the number of people on earth to be, well, about six billion then though more like seven billion now, and then take the number of second which would be - never mind. Was, was there something specific you were wanting to know."
Nodding to Darcy, he moves to the Tupperware and remembers the energy balls she mentioned. Thankfully, they are completely different than what he first thought they were. "Oh, um, okay. Sure." He then starts to try and remove the lid on one of the Tupperware containers. It looks like it takes him more time and effort than it really should. "Phew." He then takes a couple seconds trying to make sure that he places it exactly in the center of the table.

He then starts to wave his hands around in the air. In actuality, he is speaking in sign language to Schuyler: ~Oh, hi. What smell?"

Sydney nods. "I'm supposed to write a paper on the end of the Cold War. That's where we are in class." Syd licks her fingertip and taps the iPad a few times, then shuffles the printouts of her notes and outline. She grins at Darcy. "Syd is fine." She sniffs. "I don't… oh. My whole childhood smells like this. This room's been smoked in."

«Study group?» Sky looks about at the others, «I saw others going down here and got curious.» Or something. «What are you studying?» The treats get a glance before he looks to the television setup there, «What movie?» Because he has to play it cool. He answers Bryce in kind, easily, 'The smell of sulfur and cigar smoke. I guess it makes sense for an old place like this, but it's kind of musty.' Looking again to Sydney, «What about the Cold War? Anything about it? Or about the end itself?»

Darcy watches Bryce place the first Tupperware with s silent giggle. She sniffs the room once Sydney points out what the smell is, then scrunches up her face. "Nofun. Note to self: bring Febreeze next time. And coffee." She opens her backpack and starts rooting around inside while answering Sky, "We hadn't officially decided yet, but Bryce has this awesome like photographic memory thing going on, and I thought it would be fun. History seems like a good place to start as any to me though. And whatever's available on prime right now, we haven't picked a movie yet either. I'm totally open to votes!"

You say, "Chernobyl and Glastnost is what I chose. Interesting stuff. And… like all new to me. I was frozen in a walk-in freezer when this stuff went down." It's at this juncture where people discover that Syd can touch-type. She's not hugely fast, but with this noisy mechanical keyboard under her heavy fingertips, it's not quiet. She writes a paragraph, and adds, "I don't even know what movies are current. Last movie I saw in the theater was Empire Strikes Back."

Bryce begins working on the next Tupperware. He is really tempted to bring out his psychic sword but feels that he would damage the box. As they start talking about the cold war, Bryce shuts his and begins reading from what sounds like an encyclopedia. "One of the elements of the cold war escalation was the arms race between the USSR and the USA. Due to enormous economic spending, inefficient planned manufacturing, and collectivized agriculture, the Soviet economy was under a heavy burden. When Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary in 1985 the Soviet economy was stagnant and faced a sharp fall. These issues prompted Gorbachev to investigate measures to revive the ailing state. In June 1987 Gorbachev announced an agenda of economic reform called perestroika, or restructuring." He stops and blinks his eyes open. "I, uh, I can't get this one open."

Schuyler lifts an eyebrow, «I don't know what Chernobyl had to do with the end of the Cold War unless it was an event that happened around that time. I always figured it was the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peace talks were pretty much the end of it.» From what he's studied, of course. His parents were young at the time. «Or that…» Sky nods to Bryce before he moves over to help open the Tupperware. «I'd have to have subtitles on and most people find that annoying.»

You say, "Yeah, but my thesis is that he had the leverage to pull that off because of the Chernobyl meltdown and the K219 near meltdown at sea. The light got shined on the mess. Chernobyl also drove all the terrorism of the day out of the news. So you had mass media attention squarely on the dysfunctional economy, and Interfax distributing that news in ways that the official media wouldn't."

When Bryce starts talking, Darcy grins. She's starting to really appreciate his knowledge. "Ok, no worries." She starts to reach for the last Tupperware, but Sky beats her to it so she offers him a thumbs up and returns to pulling out notebook, pencil bag, tablet and history book. Then she takes a seat, grabs a gingerbread cookie, and starts flipping through her book. "I totally don't mind subtitles. But then, I've watched a fair bit of Anime in my time." She shrugs.

"Subtitles are, uh, fine with me too," Bryce admits. "There was a show when I was, uh, younger that was probably an anime. It was in Japanese so, so I used the subtitles until I, well, learned Japanese. It is a really hard language. It took me, uh, a couple weeks or so." He picks up one of the energy balls but ends up talking to Syndey before he tries it. "That is a definite, er, possibility. Some theorize that, uh, well, that the US's push through the arms race which, er, included an energy and space race too, well, that the Soviet system pushed out flawed systems like, well, like Chernobyl. Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy." He goes to take a bite of the energy ball and asks , "US Government? Oh, I, I read that one one night a couple weeks ago. The, well, the fourth chapter is kinda of tough. Where are you?"

Schuyler wrinkles his nose at the mention of Anime but he opens the Tupperware for Bryce and answers Sydney with, «Good luck.» He's no longer in that history class, at least. He glances at the US Government book before looking to Darcy, «Can I borrow that sometime?» To get a head start, of course! He looks about to the others for a moment before making his way back towards the stairs, «I should probably let you all go back to your studying. Didn't mean to interrupt.»

"Yeah, we don't have history this year. We're pretty much at the beginning, since classes just started. I'm supposed to write an essay, though." She scrunches up her face much like she did in reaction to the smell, "On whether Democratic decision making should be applied to everything. Like, even schools and jobs and stuff." She nods to Schuyler, "Yeah, man, I'd give it to you now to be rid of it if I could."

Sydney rattles away on the keyboard. Apparently, holding up her end of the conversation isn't that distracting, although she does mutter "this is way easier when nobody's planning to kill you when you're done."

Bryce opens his mouth to eat the energy ball and ends up talking, "Bye Schuyler. Oops, sorry." He then signs good bye to him as he departs. "Some say that there is an actual, um, inherit flaw in true democracy. See, America isn't technically a democracy but a, well, we are a constitutional republic or representational republic. Others would say that, um, that is just a form of democracy. Oh, sorry, I got on a - never mind, but once a group discovers that they can, uh, vote themselves additional benefits without, well, without the need of equal or greater compensation, then the democracy falls into decline through internal greed instead of external defeat."

"No one trying to, uh, kill you? Why would someone try to, er, kill you when you are doing homework?"

Darcy's eyebrows go up at Sydney's comment, and she glances at Bryce, then Sky. "Yeah, uh, it probably is? And that's for sure not gonna happen here. Or, like, ever, if I can make this a regular thing." She gets out her pencil, (Black, of course, with an eraser shaped like a bat stuck on the end) to write down notes as Bryce talks. But she ends up just listening, nodding a little, eyes wide with interest "No, no don't be sorry, that's awesome! I'm totes using that as my thesis." And then she starts writing. "Oh, Sydney, have snacks please. And what do you think of the energy balls?" Another glance at Bryce.

Sydney pauses and gets up to look in the snack bag. She gets out a stick of jerkey and peels it out of the packaging. "Thanks. And yeah… when they made me I was really just meant to be a lab animal. Buying me was cheaper than getting a chimpanzee, basically. So I kept finding work to do so they wouldn't do the last experiment with me, which was "find out what it takes to kill someone who's been through this process." She sits back down at her iPad and keyboard. "It made it hard to focus sometimes." She puts the jerkey in her mouth like a cigar and goes back to typing, occasionally chewing at one end of the stick.

Bryce looks a bit confused when she asks about the energy balls. "Hmmm?" He then remembers that he has been holding one in his hand the whole time. Just about the time he takes his first bite, he quickly lowers the snack. "OH, I know a book that, uh, should help. Excuse me. He nods his head to both girls and heads towards the stairs up to the library to get the book.

Again, Darcy is distracted from her essay, though this time by Sydney. "Uh. Whoa, dude. That's. That's rough, buddy." She blinks a couple of times, then throws on her grin and adds more cheerfully, "But study group is here to help! If group studying helps you, I know it's not always everyone's thing." Picking up her chair, she scoots closer to Sydney's chair so they can chat. "Oh, yeah sure!" She waves to Bryce, watching him for a second as he leaves. Group studying might not actually be the best for Darcy. But that's sure as heck won't stop her! "I didn't have it here, but I did take that class last year. I remember…"

Darcy does her best to help, though she's also not the best at staying on task. And she really does try to keep her focus on her paper, especially with Bryce's suggestions. And eventually the sounds of typing and writing and snacking take over in place of her chatter, and things actually get done. Darcy, for one, gets a good outline and a not too terribly awful rough draft put together.

About an hour and a half has gone by when Darcy stretches, closes her notebook, and declares, "Okay, no more studying for tonight!" She looks around to see that Schuyler has, at some point, melted into the darkness, and that Bryce never managed to make it back. "Welp. Guess it's you and me, girl! Still want to watch a movie?"

Sydney stretches, looking away from her paper. "Oh. I meant to say that I wrote the user manual for this." She taps on her chest. It clunks like a car door. "That was the project I was working on right before I got frozen. When Iron Fist was around, we still sparred, but he was active by that point, so it was hard to justify him still needing training. I'd love to watch a movie. I keep hearing about anime, but all I've seen is Battle of the Planets."

Darcy grins. It might, depending on the interpretation, be considered a bit of an evil grin. "Then you are in luck. I happen to have, in addition to the obligatory original and two reboots of Sailor Moon and some classics like Evangelion and Generator Gawl, I have among others the absolutely fabulous Yuri on Ice *and* Ouran Host Club." She gets up and makes her way to the television, where she starts flipping through menu options with various remotes. "So the question is, what do you like? Comedy, fantasy? Super shippy gay ice skating stuff?" Here she winks, "Or you know, anything else? I have a couple of actual movie stuff too."

You say, "gay ice skating… shipping? Uh. I'm kind of a science fiction nerd. Star Wars was a religious experience for me, I watched Star Trek on TV like clockwork every day all the way through grade school, saw the movie. Made cardboard phasers and lightsabers…" She ponders. "Romantic could be good though. I have a lot of trouble with romance.""

Darcy, having found and logged in successfully to her mothers prime account, pauses to turn and look at Sydney. "This whole school," She says quietly, "Is so, so deeply uneducated." Says the girl who went completely blank during the entirety of the history discussion. She slowly shakes her head at the travesty of it all for a couple of seconds, then takes a deep breath. "Okay. Grab the snacks and let's commandeer this not too terribly bad smelling sofa." She gestures to the sofa closest to the television, and scrolls through her digital library. And yes, she really does have a lot. For a few seconds there's just scrolling, and lots of "hmmmm' noises. And then, "Ah! Ok, so this one gets just a liiiiittle, uh, pg-13. But it's pretty good all in all." She plops down on the sofa, brings up an anime called 'Chobits', and adds, "Plus it's about robot girls!"

Sydney gets up and sits on the sofa carefully, and draws her legs up into lotus. "Robot girls? Interesting. And… what exactly is PG13? I saw ads for Solo, a Star Wars Story, and it's rated that way." Syd settles into the sofa, slowly trusting it to support her.

"Weeelll…" Darcy kicks off her shoes and tucks her feet up underneath herself. "It means, ah, well technically that you can't watch it if you're under thirteen, unless you have a parent with you. So it can mean different things. Usually it means there's stuff about sex of violence. In this case, sex. But like, they don't have sex in the show or anything." She grabs the cookies again, and bites one's head off.

You say, "Oh. So it's… a little more sexy or violent than old school PG, but not bad enough to get an R. Okay, that makes sense." She listens. "Pretty robot girls and you have to tell me they don't have sex? Oh this should be interesting." Syd looks at the TV. "These flat screens are amazing. The one I got at the thrift store for my computer cost me eight bucks, and it's as big as the TV my parents had. And in color."

"That's where the plot its kinda cool. This one *can't* have sex. But not for the reasons you might think." She laughs, "Yeah, I had a big box computer for awhile, it wasn't fun. Our TV is pretty good, thanks to my mom's job. But not this good. I've been wondering if we'll have to downgrade on some things when we move back to the old school." Meanwhile, on the screen, a young guy trying to get into college stumbles upon the humanoid computer of his dreams. Laying in the trash.

Sydney watches. "I wonder if we'll see that. Where your personal computer is… an android basically. I bought a Raspberry Pi. I mean 30 bucks. It's amazing. It doesn't ask too much to think that computing power will get so cheap that this…" she gestures toward the screen "…might actually make sense."

Darcy nods, "Yeah, right? I've heard those are cool, but I didn't know they were so cheap." She looks at the screen as she finishes her voodoo doll cookie. "Have you heard about that robot hotel in Japan? We're closer than I think some people realize.
GAME: Save complete.

Sydney shakes her head. "No, I haven't. I've been out of the freezer a bit more than six months, and I had a lot of court stuff to deal with. My foster mom was homeschooling me to get me up to speed for high school in the fall. Instead, I wound up here." Syd shrugs. "But yeah… Saoirse is kind of part-way along that path, I think. Her nanomachines are way, way more sophisticated than mine. From what she says, they're digitally controlled. Mine are strictly analog. But they do a pretty good job of pretending to be me." She looks over at Darcy. "Does this stuff ever scare you? I mean… machines becoming people, basically? Learning to think? I'm biased, probably."

On the screen, the guy has taken the computer home and is trying to figure out how to turn her on while also trying and failing not to perv out too much. Darcy shrugs, "Nah, not really. I never gave it much thought before, until this podcast I heard. And the girl was talking about AI and how it's actually super unlikely that it will automatically turn evil." She grabs a handful of chex mix. "Sure, there'll always be issues. But in the end, computers are created by Humans, and Humans are inherently biased. So you figure, in the end, robots will be different, but probably pretty much like Humans in their own ways." She frowns a little, "That make sense? The podcast girl explained it soooo much better."

Sydney nods. "I think it would be stupid not to build AIs that inherently like us. Like dogs. We bred them to like us over thousands of years. They're big enough to eat us, but they don't." She chuckles at Hideki's awkward moments. "Geez, he reminds me of Bryce."

Darcy falls back against the sofa, laughing loud enough to drown out the sound of the tv. "Ohmygosh he does, doesn't he!?" Her laughter continues for a while, a few tears squeezing out of the corners of her eyes as she adds, "Though I seriously doubt he'd be able to work up the courage to turn Chi on. Poor guy would have an aneurysm first!"

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