Intended to be a storehouse of knowledge and the basis of research, the Academe district is structured along the lines of a university campus. The indigo steel/titanium outbuildings are of a consistent, midrange height, bejeweled with sparkling crystals in intricate patterns and linked by a complex array of interconnecting, multi-level sky and walkways. Inside, the buildings extend several stories underground as well as aboveground and are organized into lecture halls, laboratories, and workshops. In the library, what's left of the original city records are neatly indexed and available for access. However, though there is room for many, many students and instructors, the classrooms and halls are usually empty, open doors waiting to welcome students.
The city records are well-kept, rows upon rows of shelves, orderly, predictable. Given the relative rarity of passers-by, this is normally the case. Chips and data pads are arranged in marching formation, arranged by subject, media storage, and several other myriad systems; a veritable bastion of enthalpy. However, one area under cool blue lights defies this pattern, several strewn about on a large counter, a few splayed out on the floor. And in the middle of this mess, with a scowl etched deeply upon her brow, is Fusillade. She's hunkered over one journal dedicated to parallax, although judging by the expression on her face, she's woefully outclassed.
Light footsteps are heard clinking against the finished metallic surface, several rows away from Fusillade's position. A few rustling sounds are heard, and then the footsteps resume, a flit of shadow here or there visible, along with an occasional glint of scarlet as the figure making the soft sounds passes between small gaps. The figure moves away now, the sound of a chair scraping as whomever might be visiting settles into a station near the back of the area, where the shadows still rule in this little used facility.
The measured steps are noticed, and it's with a hasty clutch of her holofoil pad to her chest that Fusillade glances up. Narrowing saffron optics, she cranes her head around the corner, half-expecting to see the Governor pacing through. However, the seated figure is distinctly NOT helicopter in nature. With a hissed out "Smelt", to herself, she begins cramming several of the overly verbose tomes almost back into its right spot. There's a clatter of pads, before she finally peers around the corner of one shelf, and says, "HOW do you do it? I mean, line up to make them all connect between Earth and Cybertron? They're all different distances, and brightness." Daggers are glared in his direction.
Jetfire's data-mask slides into place, the three pieces joining into a single whole, hiding his face behind a plate with only a red band to mark his optics.
Jetfire doesn't respond for a time, instead continuing to read what it is he's gathered. He seems undisturbed about the sounds, or her question, choosing instead to answer in his own time. Once he's finished a particular article he swivels around in the chair, his optical band glowing with the light of his optics behind, "It begins by not trying to make lines." he states simply, "Such a task is futile at best. Only those trapped in a 2 dimensional plane do so... that is ultimately the purpose behind the constellations."
Fusillade's teeth click shut on the taunt halfway out her mouth at the sliding up of the mask. "Yeah, is that so?" She hnns, and plucks out the data chip, peering up at its translucence as she holds it against the overhead lighting. "I suppose they wouldn't work when you get away from Earth and Cybertron. I'm trying to puzzle it out, but ugh, all the jargon." She crosses arms over the surface of the chair opposite to the Air Guardian -- the admission suggests that she's trying to explore some concepts on her own, but not meeting much success.
Jetfire ignores the fact that you were rampaging through the library in your bomber form, and takes the high-road, simply answering your statement with a question, "Envy get too strong?" not seeming to mind taunting in the least, "You need to remember that just like navigating in the atmosphere of Earth, space is a volume, not a painting. The Jargon is all very technical, but in most cases you can rely on a shuttle's astrogation computer to take care of the truly technical aspects. However, you will need to garner enough of an understanding to enter data manually in the event of a computer failure."
Fusillade mumbles out, "Envy can be a powerful motivating force." Glancing askance to see if there are any prying optics or audials, she clenches her jaw, "And why would it matter to you? Not like I know how to handle a shuttle in the first place, anyway..." There's some discomfort in her voice, before she smirks slightly, "It'd behoove you to not share that kind of information."
"I would have to figure if you are unable to comprehend basic astrogation, that you would not be cleared to operate the shuttles, so it shouldn't come as much of a secret. I would have to assume that you are in this pursuit to -learn-... after all, the actual control of a shuttle is the simplest part of the process." Jetfire's tone is even, not showing any hint of condescension, though it's plainly implied, "And why would it matter to me to share the information or not, exactly?"
Fusillade grumbles audibly at the taunting, optics flashing dangerously. "It would be counterproductive to the Autobots' aims, because you are enabling an enemy combatant..." She trails off, as she tries to gauge his expression, before clasping her hands together and leaning forward, challenge clipping her words, "Unless you're that certain that I'm incapable of grasping such concepts..."
Jetfire laughs, heartily in this case, "Shuttle Piloting? Hardly 'enabling an enemy combatant'. Fully half of our forces can pilot a shuttle, it's not some mystical ability and it's not exactly a tremendous tactical advantage. Frankly I'm surprised you're only just -now- bothering to learn the task... being a member of Aerospace should have lead you down this path long ago, as fully half of it should be intuitive, unless my earlier taunts regarding your skill are true. Do you fly only because it is your design, Fusillade? Do you understand the -art- behind airborne movement, or is it only inherent in your form that you are able to soar among the clouds?"
The words strike home, and needle nicely. Slapping her hands down on the table, Fusillade leaps up out of the seat, and barks out, "YOU of all mechanoids, lecture -ME- about the -ART- involved with one's surroundings?! Now who gave who what in the first place? Who gives two flyin' flips off a petro-rabbit's skidplate about those STYOOPID waddling bloated -SHUTTLES-?! Space is WASTED on those mechanical turds! It's meant to be savored, played in, and... yet..." She balls up one clawed fist, and utters, "Complicated. It doesn't use the same words as flying through the air does..."
Jetfire ahhhs softly, "I -see-... you plan to modify your frame to allow for space-travel." the red band across his mask comes to life with a wide range of odd technical glyphs as he looks her down and up, taking his time before hrrming, "I suppose given the abilities of Scrapper or Soundwave, the modifications are... -possible-... but I wonder. How will you manage to sheer force of acceleration to escape velocity? The B-1B's design isn't really well suited to such rigors." he completely ignores that she needs to understand how to navigate for the moment.
Fusillade recoils from Jetfire's scrutiny for a moment. "WHAT are you talking about? No, that's not what's going to happen, that's reserved for Unicron's get. You overestimate my importance, Autobot. Cyclonus has many of us combing the sector for a specific..." A sullen glower crosses her features, "OH no you don't, I'm not saying anything else!" The scans seem to corroborate her blustering objection. They reveal that the structure is just a Cybertronian take on the Terran design. Baffles to reduce noise and radar section, turbine fans, afterburning engines, with perhaps a few tweaks and overclocking to better shove her mass through the atmosphere, but nothing, absolutely nothing, suggesting space capability. She anxiously shifts weight, pacing... "I just remember something from before Neocron..." She turns back to regard him, reaching for a word on the edge of her understanding -- given her intoxication at the time of the experience. "Rainbows?"
Fusillade looks at Jetfire as if this is totally his fault.
"Rainbows? I'm remembering rainbows, and it has to do with you. And space. What was that all about?"
"The Unicronian's are not the only space capable of your ilk, and modifications to your frame are certainly possible. Too bad I'm supposed to spend my time shooting you, or I'd offer to make it a reality." he states offhandedly, swiveling back to the desk to commence his own reading again, though still partaking in the conversation, "I would have to assume Neocron, the Derelict, or..." he pauses, "Hmm... yes, the Rainbow Climbs... an area of nebulous gases that when viewed from different angles creates a rainbow effect, thus their names." he pauses, "Has to do with... me?"
Fusillade casts a withering glance his way. "Now you're just being cruel. You'd just shoot me AFTER you were done with tinkering. And yeah... we went through them once." She slides back down into a seat, and asks outright, "So how much energon does it take to get there and back? What are some dangers one would come across? What planets are in that area?" She unfurls a double page atlas spread, and squints as she hovers over it, "Nadir, inclination... wait wait wait isn't azimuth and zenith the same thing? Nnn, there's so much!" She wilts visibly.
Jetfire considers, "We went through it? Why does this not ring any bells..." he mutters while still reading his own material, "The amount of energon it would take varies depending on what is flying. I am far more fuel efficient than most, so I in fact use very little... that's a rather pointless question. Other than that, Brandax and Cambria rest in the vicinity, the information I have available on either is limited at the moment, as I generally reserve my internal data storage for more pertinent information."
Fusillade stares blankly at Jetfire. "Yes. Ever get that seat reupholstered?" At his pedantic response, she winces as she demonstrates just how much she has to learn. "Yeah, but how do you do it? You mentioned art earlier, which tells me... skill, and some intuitive thinking processes... but then again, maybe I too should concern myself with 'pertinent information' to my role." Disregarding the words that just came out, she wonders, "Do you have personal markers that help orient you? Like hopping from spot to spot, in not-quite-a-straight-line-but-straight-enough?"
Jetfire frowns, "Okay, that rings a bell, but I don't remember -why- I was in the position..." he seems perturbed by this, enough so that he's stopped his reading and turned his attention inward to comb through his memory systems, searching immediately for corruption, "Navigating in space is similar to airborne travel. Replace the terms 'up' and 'down' with Above Galactic Plane and Below Galactic Plane, left and right are replaced by Spinward and Driftward, and then simply maintain an astrogation chart allowing you to orient based on star location. Triangulate your position based on several stars locations, determine your orientation based on the galactic center and which star you're actually facing currently, and then you'll have everything you need. The Astrogation Chart should be available in your basic network in Nightsiege, and it can give you an idea of which way is spinward and driftward as needed." he ejects his datapad and lays it on the desk beside him, pressing a few keys so that a 3d Astrogation Chart pops up for you to admire.
Fusillade gapes openly, head tilted to the side,� "Huh, and I thought I was overdoing it that night," Fusillade remarks in some wonder, although she pauses as Jetfire launches into the hows and whys of galactic orienteering. There's a distinct mark of interest, as she mentally stows the names of the major directions. "Yeah? And... are those relative measures? Or do they have actual numbers assigned to them? Like would Earth have a set of numbers? And then Cybertron? I'm still tryin' to figure out how you got all these things lined up... I think you just HAPPENED across it and took the pic," she goads.
Jetfire replies evenly, "How do you think -anyone- comes across it? I spent millions of years cataloguing each planet, system and star, and even so I have touched a small fraction of our galaxy. My system is my own and would make little or no sense to you. You are hung up on the how's and the why's, when that is not important to astronavigation. You are asking questions that are not pertinent to what you seek, all of the index numbers and such information is logged if you so need. But what is important is how to orient in general unless you're using a faster than light engine, you're moving in a straight line, the gravitational forces are insignificant at 'standard' speeds."
Fusillade practically wrinkles her nose -- if it weren't so metallic. "Wait, everyone just... comes up with their own version? That doesn't seem too efficient. Or are you just weird and decided that you were going to do it your way?" Nevermind that she's made up names for the constellations, herself. The Kite instead of Auriga, the Baseball Game instead of Cygnus, the Box instead of Pegasus, the Teapot instead of Saggitarius... all of these she stays mum on, although the talk of faster than light travel causes a fresh wave of consternation to wash over her. "That... is... huh? Straight lines? Why wouldn't it be a straight line?"
Jetfire shakes his head, "There is a galactic standard which you can find right here." he replies evenly, "My indexing predates much of galactic history however, as I did much of it before I took a 4 million year long ice-nap." he then patiently explains, "Gravity is the primary force that held so many races from achieving FTL acceleration, part of bypassing it is learning how to use the subtle curve of the gravitic waves in the universe to -aid- your travel.
"Oh, they don't seem quite as fun," Fusillade remarks lightly, before she hmms. "Learning to use gravitic waves? You make it sound like a philosophy, not a matter of hardware. Well, I suppose you would have to have some of the first to MAKE the second, but you couldn't do it just on the first alone." She swaggers a bit as she stands upright, "So how does one AID themselves to get across the cosmos, mm?"
"I use a system known as Etherdrive, which harnesses the flow of the solar winds, which generally are influenced by the curves of gravity. Once harnessed I can ride the curves at speeds far exceeding einsteinian theories." Jetfire replies easily, "The gravity, when it's ridding as such, acts much like a wave when surfing."
Fusillade boggles. "That's pretty awesome. But uh... what happens when the solar winds stop? Don't they only go out so far?" She begins flipping through the files, almost certain that she saw something like that. "Helio... pause! Heliosheath? That just sounds NASTY. Bow shock... and oh. I guess at that point you hitch a ride on the..." She raises fingers to air quote, "Galactic wind? What then when you go outside the galaxy?"
Jetfire replies, "Not galactic wind, solar wind. It's generated by stars, and there doesn't need to be much of it for my drive to operate... it merely uses the solar wind to find the gravity currents, and then I'm off." he shrugs, "Gravity is everywhere, and the waves can carry you anywhere, so long as you properly calculate your trajectory."
"Well yeah but it only goes so far before... fading, right?" Fusillade tries to grasp the notion, before rumbling to herself, and shaking her head. "You win THIS TIME, Autobot!" she says for good measure, before scooping up the books, lop-sided expression on her features as she begins to move back into the bowels of the archives.
Jetfire shrugs, "No, not really, as one wave fades, another grows. Gravity is omnipresent, it's what allows the universe to even exist, ultimately. Take care, and good luck becoming a spaceman." he goes back to his reading, "You'll need it."