Kirill herds Amy inside before stepping in after her, careful to give his boots a few kicks against the doorframe to avoid tracking in any snow unnecessarily.
#Traveler'sGorge – January 23, 2020
The room they enter into seems to mostly be a temporary staging area. A place for them to sort through their equipment. Grow tables line the sidewalls, covered in boxes and crates. Some merely have a second grow table atop them, flipped upside down for temporary storage until they're taken to their proper location. The inside of the greenhouse is a nice reprieve from the winter chill. The rigged up heavy duty heating unit outside seems
to be putting in the work. It's no wonder Paige has disregarded her winter gear amongst a slew of datapads and an open container atop the table she's beside. The sound of the door sliding open causes a spring-loaded Paige to swivel towards them, only sparing them the briefest of looks before turning back to the interface of her omni-tool. "There you are." she says matter-of-factly.
Kirill offers the young woman a smile, casting a glance about before returning his attention to Paige. "Here we are." he offers in turn.
Amy takes the cue and stomps her boots clear of snow before stepping after Kirill. She raises a hand to give Paige a wave, but she's already turned back to her omni-tool by the time her hand is up, causing her to reach back and scratch her neck instead. Saved it! She goes to stand next to Kirill, gaze sweeping the room as she takes another sip from her coffee.
Kirill meanders a few steps towards Paige with intentintions of seeing what she's going over before his attention is pulled away by the open container. Fresh greshk. He refocuses, shifting his coffee cup into the same hand that's holding his and Amy's meal so he can reach a large hand towards the pale purple berries. Unfortunately he doesn't quite reach them before his hand is swatted out of the air.
Paige, with the reflexes of a cat, uses one hand to slap down Kirill's attempt at dipping into the container without even bothering to look his way, blue eyes still glued to whatever information she's fixated on. "Those are for Rafe!" she reprimands idly.
Kirill jerks his hand back as if it was just caught in a mousetrap, shooting an amused look towards the much smaller woman at his side. "Fair enough. Was just wanting to get a look at them. They all turn out?"
Paige finally tears herself away from her omni-tool, a sheepish look crossing her face at her kneejerk reaction as the interface fades out. Too much time spent dealing with Thomas and his unending hunger. "They did all... turn out." she says, clearly not particularly fond of his wording. "And since we know everything is working now, that means that we're ready to scale up." The prospet gets an optimistic smile out of the busy
woman. She looks from Kirill to Amy. "So that's what today is all about." she explains, sounding like a proper manager. "You-..." she looks sharply to Kirill, "...are going to focus on getting the rest of the closed systems up and running. We're almost done so I figure you should be able to have everything good to go by the time we finish up for the night. Meaning! We can get to seeding tomorrow." She gives a small lift of
her eyebrows in implied excitement. "And you-..." she continues, attention refocusing on Amy, "...are going to help the others prepare the soil so we can start planting our crops. The others should be by after breakfast so, in the meantime, you can help me sort through some of this mess." she says with a sigh, standing up a bit straighter as she looks across the room over said 'mess' of boxed equipment strewn about.
Kirill listens to Paige's plans, nodding to the task she has assigned him to. It's not until she mentions putting Amy with the others that he seems to to take issue. A desire to have a little more time with the young woman to get a better read on her causes him to shift uneasily in place. He doesn't speak up until she's finished, however. "Actually, I was thinking Amy should probably help me out." This garners a furrowed brow from
Paige. This wasn't part of the plan and throws her schedule off! Kirill seems to have a good read on the look he's giving her. "I could use an extra pair of hands and, well, if we make good time, who knows? We might even be able to start planting tonight." he adds to sweeten the pot for Paige. It seems to have the desired effect, softening the expression on Paige's face.
Paige gives a couple of nods. "Yeah. Sure." she says. Of course at the end of the day, Kirill is the one in charge. But it's not hard to see that he has a great deal of respect for the sickeningly-organized young woman and would rather have her approval than butt heads with her.
Kirill nods in turn, that big smile of his returning to his face. "Perfect." he says before shooting a glance Amy's way. "That work for you?"
Amy listens in silence as Kirill and Paige talk, a couple of quiet sniffles sounding from the change in temperature. She nods a couple of times when Paige addresses her, only to stop when the plan is changed. She sneaks in another sip of coffee before Kirill looks her way and she nods, flashing a faint smile. "Yeah, sure."
Kirill shifts his coffee back to his free hand, taking a healthy sip from it. "Alright then. Guess we'll-..." he cocks a head towards one of the sliding doors that lead to the next wing, "...get to work." There's two doors on the wall opposite of the door they entered from, both seem to lead to the next wing, just on opposite ends of the wall from one another. Once given the 'all clear' from Paige, he begins to lead the way.
Paige sends them on their way with a small nod before turning right back to her work. It's almost an afterthought that she finds the need to be personable and shouts after the pair: "See you later, Amy!"
Paige scoffs loudly and gives a playful roll of her eyes. "I always see you." she says, as if he's old hat by this point.
Amy seems a little caught off-guard by the late goodbye, glancing back with a nod and brief smile. "Uhm, yeah!" she manages before continuing to follow Kirill into the next section.
Kirill gives an amused shake of his head and continues on his way, bag-clutching hand reaching out to tap at the door's interface. The first door leads into the room that was visible from the road. Long rows of untilled soil with grated walkways on each side that lead from the doors into the previous room straight across to another pair of doors. There's a few long tables against the wall on their right upon entrance, bags of soil and
fertilizer littering the tables and piled up alongside them. A few half-empty, open bags of soil lay around the room as well, work half-finished and left for another day. There's a few offshoot doors on the sides along the length of the greenhouse that lead to siderooms for the storage of tools and supplies. "Not too bad. Not too bad." he remarks fondly to himself as he studies the work the others have been putting in while he
traverses the room towards the doors opposite, keeping that same slow-and-steady gait as before. "Coming along nicely."
Amy 's gaze wanders the room as she walks after Kirill towards the next door. Yup, definitely a lot larger than the greenhouse she was familiar with. She remains silent as Kirill comments on the progress, hoping to herself that her experience will still be of use here.
Kirill casts a glance Amy's way. "Once we've got all of the problems worked out I figure we'll probably take a shot at putting another one of these together." he explains, retaining that hopeful optimism that keeps him from calling into question whether or not this will work. "And with a couple of these fields up and running?" he gives a nod, "Should be able to provide enough food for Paige to finally get a night's rest." he says
fondly. As he reaches the next set of doors- identical to the previous- he taps the interface and the doors slide open revealing a room just like the previous one in shape and size. Only this one has obviously had a lot less work done. Rather than long segments of soil it has a proper floor. The side walls have a few tables against them to work at, once again littered with random tools and supplies that have yet to be fully
unpacked, but the center of the room is occupied by rows of grow beds. Homemade deals. Thick lengths of plastic piping individually cut to size and held up by large cables mounted in the ceiling. There's plenty of space for more and most aren't even in use. Only a choice few seem to have anything in them. A row of healthy-looking tomato plants and a row of the aforementioned greshk. Clear tubing snakes upwards from the channels
in use and runs across the ceiling, feeding water to-and-from the grow beds that pearmeates the room with a constant, low hum.
Amy nods as Kirill speaks, mostly just to show that she's listening. She follows along into the next room, once again taking in her surroundings. She takes a brief, closer look at the plants in the trial growbeds, smiling slightly. Her stomach growls at the sight of the tomatoes - that breakfast sandwich is sounding more and more appealing by the second.
Numerous large rods have been welded vertically to the top of the two growbeds in use with wire mesh welded between them, giving the sprawling vines of the tomatoes and greshk something to grab onto. Dozens of cherry-red tomatoes are just waiting to be picked. The yield for greshk are even larger, bushels of pale berries clinging to the wire mesh. It's not hard to imagine this room becoming wall-to-wall lush greenery when fully realized.
Kirill breaks off from Amy as she heads over to the growbeds. He steps over towards one of the tables to set down his coffee, placing the crumpled up bag beside it. He gets to pulling a couple of suitably-sized crates up to the table to serve as makeshift chairs. Seems his priorities aren't far off from Amy's. After all, you can't work on an empty stomach. He casts a glance Amy's way, smile shaping his bushy beard. "We weren't sure if
we could pull it off." he admits to the younger woman as he slowly makes his way over towards the pair of growbeds, hands moving to his hips as he looks them over. "Spent most of my life on a farm but this-..." he dips his head towards the project, "...Mostly just figuring it out as I go." he snickers.
Amy 's smile returns as she glances over to Kirill, a slight snicker of her own slipping out. "Well... seems like it's working." she says with a small shrug as her gaze sweeps across the plants again.
Kirill gives a small nod. Then another, firmer nod. "It does." he agrees. "It is." he corrects, smile only growing. After a moment's consideration he gives a humble little shake of his head, "But I can't take all the credit for this. I just keep my head in the dirt, my mouth closed, and do as I'm told." he snickers, downplaying his part in putting all of this together. After studying the progress for a moment longer he tilts his
head back towards the table. "Come on, I don't know about you but that sandwich is calling my name."
Amy 's attention also turns to the table, and she doesn't need to be told twice. There's a nod of agreement and a brief grin as she heads over to take a seat on one of the crates, putting her mostly-empty coffee down on the table. She takes a moment to peel off her jacket, bunching it up in her lap and unzipping her fleece in response to the warm air of the greenhouse. Underneath she's wearing a buttoned-up flannel shirt over a
t-shirt and thermal undershirt. Both her hands wrap around the coffe cup, rotating it back and forth while looking down at the remaining coffee. Her black eye is still prominent against her light skin, and her hair looks unwashed.
Kirill reaches out, cupping one hand around a tomato before gently plucking it from the vine. He studies it for a moment before deeming it worthy and falls in line behind Amy. "Like I said. Don't expect anything special." he warns with a snicker, "Just some egg and cheese on bread." As he reaches the table he uncrumples the top of the bag and removes their breakfast. True to his word, they're about as simple as it gets. Some scrambled
eggs with a bit of melted cheese cooked into them wedged between two slices of bread. He has, however, went the extra mile to slice each of them diagnally and wrap them. He slides one Amy's way and sets the tomato down on the now-empty bag they were in. Following suit, he removes his jacket and sets it down in an empty spot at the far end of the table. He's wearing a couple layers of simple, long-sleeved shirts that he
quickly rolls up the sleeves on now that they're out of the harsh winter cold. Extending a hand Amy's way, he silently offers to set her things aside as well, gaze cautiously lingering on the black eye she's sporting.
Amy is quick to shake her head, gaze following the sandwich as sits slid her way and she tugs it a bit closer. "This is more than fine." she assures with an awkward half-chuckle. It takes her a moment to register the offer, but when she does she hands her bunched-up jacket over after a moment's hesitation. There's a quiet "Thanks." as her attention returns to the sandwich, avoiding meeting Kirill's gaze.
Kirill responds with little more than a kind smile as he takes her jacket and sets it atop his own before dropping onto the crate with a grunt. Taking a sip of his coffee, he peers over the brim, once more finding himself studying the bruising around Amy's eye. Smacking his lips as he sets his drink aside, he asks: "You-... uhh-... have Hamilton take a look at that...?" He gives a small dip of his head with his gaze fixed to the eye
Amy blinks, gaze darting up briefly. She reflexively reaches up to brush her fingertips against the edge of the bruising, cheek twitching slightly. "I-It's fine..." she assures with a small shake of her head, shifting a little in place.
Kirill idly tugs the sandwich bag- tomato atop it- closer, keeping his focus on that as Amy speaks in an attempt at making sure she doesn't feel like he's just sitting here... analyzing her. He reaches back, lifting slightly off the crate for a moment as he pulls free the large hunting knife sheathed from his belt, previously concealed by his winter jacket. He looks it over briefly as he settles back onto the crate in order to ensure
it's clean. It is. Immaculate even, allowing him to confidently begin slicing up the tomato. "Yeah?" he asks, shooting a casual glance Amy's way. "You sure? Been a few days and the bruising hasn't cleared up yet." he continues. He only bothers with a few slices, cutting each slice in half to make them more manageable. "I've had a few bad ones myself. Hurt like a sonovagun." he snickers. He keeps his tone casual. As if he's far
more focused on the tomato and the discussion is just idle chit-chat. "Gotta be careful if the bruising doesn't clear up soon, though. Could be damage to the-... the-... uhh-..." he halts his cutting, eyes turning upwards as he tries to recall. He brings his free hand up, brushing a knuckle against the edge of his eye socket. "Orbital! Your eye socket." He gives a tilt of his head, focus turning right back to the tomato and
using the blade of his knife to separate a few slices, pushing them to the side of the bag closest to Amy. "You don't wanna let something like that go unaddressed."
Amy listens silently as Kirill speaks, a bit of discomfort lingering, but his relaxed delivery seems to help put her at ease. She nods again while unwrapping her sandwich, peeling it open to place the offered tomato slices amid the gooey filling. "I-... yeah." she concedes quietly. "If it doesn't clear up I'll... have it looked at." she adds without looking up from the sandwich.
Kirill gives a few nods, seemingly finding the response acceptable. He sets the blade down on the bag, not wanting to resheathe it until he can clean it off, and follows suit in beginning to top his sandwich with freshly sliced tomato. The obvious question lingers in the air. But asking for some sort of explanation for the black eye would only serve to sate his own curiosity. It's unlikely to do much for Amy. Other than potentially
make her uncomfortable. So he doesn't ask. Slow and steady. That's how you make progress. If she wants to open up, she'll do it on her own terms. "So... You ever work with anything like that, Amy?" he asks instead, tilting a head back towards their makeshift hydroponics garden. Much less personal. More pertinent to the task at hand.
Amy takes a small bite of her sandwich, relishing the simple meal - she's had plenty of time to get hungry with her early wakeup. The question causes her to look over towards the suspended growbeds. She hesitates briefly before shaking her head. "Uhm... no, not like that." she admits with a slight wince. "The one b-... the one I used to help with was... simpler. Just... dirt and a watering can." she elaborates with a brief, awkward
Kirill mirrors Amy's smile with one of his own, his more genuine. He cranes around a bit on the crate to take a better look at what they've put together. "It is. Don't worry, I bet it's a whole lot more similar to what you're used to than you realize." he assures in an attempt at dismissing whatever worries she might have cropping up. He shifts once again to outstretch an arm, index finger extended as he traces along the the tubing
that snakes upwards to some piping to point it out to Amy. There's a number of different pipes that run across the ceiling, carefully placed against the struts to maximize the sunlight that's allowed in, but the two grow beds in this room are connected to the same pipe. "Those are our water lines up there. They run the whole length of this building." he explains, giving a brief, sweeping motion from one wall to the other. "But
that one right there?" he jabs his index finger towards the one the growbeds are tied into, shooting a quick glance Amy's way, "That one runs to a reservoir we've got set up-..." he slowly traces his finger along the ceiling, following the pipe as it turns, disappearing through an opening just above one of the offshoot doors, "...right in there." He shifts back towards the table, offering Amy a small shrug as if to say it looks
more complicated than it is. "We keep the water nice and rich with nutrients and it gets pumped in a-... a big circle." he explains, lifting his index finger and swirling it in a circle.
Amy listens closely as Kirill explains the basics of their setup, taking another bite from her sandwich as her gaze follows the pipe, nodding. She's not familiar with hydroponics, but the concept seems simple enough and it'll be good to learn something new. And hey, the plants are still plants. She once again remains silent, just listening to Kirill.
Kirill grasps a sandwich-half, offering a small shrug to Amy. "There's a little bit more to it than that..." he admits, "...but it's not rocket science. You'll get the hang of it in no time." He sounds sure of that, offering a confident nod as his focus turns to his breakfast and he takes a bite.
From their position, people outside can be seen going about their day. The early risers leaving the mess hall are just starting their day, some shuffling down the road to get to whatever tasks the day has in store for them. It's probably not all that surprising that most of the people here seem to know one another. It's not all that uncommon to see people stopping along the side of the road to take a few minutes out of their day just to
shoot the shit. So far since Amy's arrival there hasn't been any trouble beyond Paige giving Thomas a hard time. It's a quiet life. A slow life.
Amy continues to eat, her attention drifting to the people passing by outside. After a moment she seems to realize that silence has descended and glances briefly in Kirill's direction. "There's more people here than I expected." she admits. "And, uh-..." she looks back outside, gaze trailing a turian passerby briefly. "And more, uhm-... I mean... I haven't met a lot of, uhm... aliens, before."
Kirill doesn't seem to mind the quiet. He seems content to eat his sandwich, sip at his coffee, and people watch. Amy's comment garners half a smile. There are a lot. Especially considering this place was designed to be little more than a stopgap for weary travelers. Not a permanent place to set down roots. There were no walls. No crops. And while they're certainly not arriving in droves, more come than go. More mouths to feed. More
people to protect. He draws in a breath, resisting the urge to shrug at that mounting weight on his shoulders. He reminds himself that they'll make it work, whatever that entails. If they need more solar panels? They'll trade for them. If they need more food? They'll work for it. If they need another greenhouse? They'll build it. They'll figure it out. Amy's following statement is enough to pull him out of his thoughts, causing
him to cast a curious glance her way. Not much interaction with aliens, either, huh. Add another to the growing list of oddities. He does his best not to spotlight it for worry of making her feel uncomfortable. "Didn't get many travelers passing through back home?" he asks, turning his attention back to his sandwich, the current half reduced to mostly-crust.
Amy looks down at the sandwich in her hands as she realizes she's drawn the attention back to herself, taking another bite to buy a little time. She shakes her head. "No... not really. It was pretty out of the way. Only really saw strangers when we'd head into a settlement to trade." she says after swallowing, looking up at Kirill briefly.
Kirill takes another bite of his food as he listens to Amy. "Yeah... Whole lot of open space out west." he comments idly once she finishes. "I've taken a fair few trips out that way and, if you're not near Adrasteia-..." he lets out a breath as he gives a small shake of his head, "...You can pretty much pick a direction and drive for days without seeing a soul. It's-... it's somethin'."
Amy 's gaze falls back to her sandwich, expression souring a little as a frown settles in. "Yeah..." she agrees quietly before taking another bite.
Kirill glances Amy's way, studying her in silence for a few moments, her change in mood not going unnoticed. It causes him to shift in place as his gaze turns back out towards the road. There's a silence that settles in as he returns to people watching as he moves on to the other half of his sandwich, coffee lukewarm.
Amy doesn't seem in a rush to break the silence, popping the last of her first sandwich half into her mouth and joining in on the people-watching. Soon enough she's sipping her coffee and getting started on the second half, lost in her own thoughts, a faint frown lingering as she watches the passing people, far more than she's used to seeing. All of them strangers. For better and worse. She draws a deep breath and looks down at the
Kirill has worked about half way through the second half of his sandwich when his attention is pulled to a truck amidst his people watching. The truck is pulled over just outside at the road, the driver stopping to chat up a friend. Smiles all around and an exchange of laughter, silenced by the thick material of the greenhouse, before the pair go their separate ways, prompting Kirill to finally speak up again. "Ya know, when we first
got here, we only had a few dozen folks." he says, giving the woman a sidelong glance, small smile hidden behind his beard. "Knew everyone by name without having to think about it."
Amy 's gaze is torn away from the truck by Kirill's words, a quiet snort slipping out as she mirrors his smile. "That's still more than I'm used to seeing..." she admits, before her eyebrows furrow. "How-... how long ago was that?" she asks before taking another bite of food, attention remaining on Kirill.
Kirill draws in a breath and gives an exasperated shake of his head. "Better part of two years now..." he says. "Sure feels like a whole heck of a lot longer, though." he adds with a small chuckle. His gaze turns back to the people outside and after a few moments the wrinkles on his forehead deepen, brow furrowing. "Then people started hearin' about us. About what we're tryin' to do." He gives a few shallow nods. "So people
started coming. Just a few at first, but it wasn't long before we had so many people we had to start thinking about long term plans."
Amy nods a couple of times as she listens, finding herself glancing out the window at passing people again. Kirill's words causes her eyebrows to furrow further, a bit of hesitation entering her expression. She seems on the verge of saying something, even looking back towards Kirill, but she changes her mind at the last second, taking a bite of her sandwich instead.
Kirill catches Amy's gaze, but doesn't linger, instead keeping his attention on the window. "Most were scared. Lookin' for somewhere safe, ya know?" he asks, shooting a glance Amy's way. "Others had-... lost somethin'." There's a short pause but he doesn't dwell for too long on it. "Someone. Wanted to do their part to make sure it didn't happen to anyone else." Another patch of silence as he stares out into the snowy outpost,
carefully considering his words. "...The point I'm tryin' and failin' to make is that people don't come here without a reason. And I see that look you get any time we even get in the same neighborhood of whatever reason brought you here." He finally looks Amy's way properly with a tilt of his head. "I just-... you don't have to do that, Amy." he assures, his words laced with sympathy. A small, somber smile enters his
features, hidden somewhere behind that thick salt and pepper beard. "Worry, I mean. You don't. Nobody here is gonna pry. Nobody is gonna expect anything from you other than you pitch in where you can and you don't take too long in the shower in the morning." The small addition of levity causes his beard to twitch as the smile beneath it widens. "...But..." he dips his head to one side, "...If you ever do want to talk? You got
a whole lot of ears around here to choose from. I even happen to have a couple myself." he continues, reaching up non-chalantly to rub at his earlobe.
Amy nods again, still listening, but when the focus is brought to her she tenses up, sinking a little into her seat as she's called out. The words that follow surprise her, and she seems a little unsure how to react, but when Kirill finishes she lets out the breath she'd been holding in a relieved half-sigh, half-laugh, an embarrassed smile crossing her lips as the tension leaves her. She looks down as she nods a few times. "I-..."
another sigh. "Thank you. Really." she says, shooting him a meaningful look. The smile widens, another relieved laugh slipping out as her shoulders relax. There's the slightest hesitation before she adds "And, uhm... I-... I'll keep that in mind." in response to the last bit, a sincere nod accompanying the words.
Kirill merely nods, a small bow of his head in response to Amy's appreciation. "I hope you do." he says to her final statement before taking another bite of his sandwich, always careful to make sure more ends up in his mouth than his beard. He doesn't push it. There's no pressure applied. Just like that, he's back to people watching and slowly working his way through what remains of his sandwich.