Dr. Kensington

[Note to self: Refer to the Broken Masquerade hub and the job ads made for canon building.]

Moira Hangleton tapped the pen impatiently on the desk. This was the last thing she needed amidst the many looming deadlines and problems piling on her desk.

“You want me to do what?” she grunted. The man sitting in the chair in front of her desk shifted uncomfortably.

“Go on a PR tour,” he mumbled, coughing into his elbow. She stopped tapping and set it down, sighing. “Listen, Mr…Peterson, was it?” He nodded. “I realize that you need someone to go do this, but I don’t know why you’re asking me, of all people. Don’t you have someone over at HR to do this?”

Mr. Peterson reached down into a briefcase at his side and pulled out a sheet of paper. He set it on her table silently. She picked it up and read it, scowling. “So, the council got a number of requests for technical interviews and they’re pawning it off on me and someone of my choosing. Lovely.” She crumpled up the memo and threw it in the trash bin. “And I take it I can’t say ‘no’, right?”

“Well, you could, but…” he pulled up the briefcase again, shuffling the papers inside before handing her another sheet. “…they told me to give you this in case you wanted to say no.” He close the briefcase and set it on his lab.. “It’s a statement saying that if you do this, not only will they…er… give you an extra bonus as a show of their appreciation, but they’ll also approve next year’s budget without any change.” She raised an eyebrow at this. Normally the budget was cut to half. This meant they might be able to accomplish everything they outlined for the term.

She leaned back and closed her eyes with a sigh. “Alright, fine. Tell them I’ll do it.” Mr. Peterson stood up, relieved. “Excellent, Ms. Hangleton . You’ll see, it’s a lot of fun!” He gave her a small smile and left the room. She watched the door close and picked up the phone to call someone. If she was going to do this, she may as well have a friendly face with her.

“Hey, Jonas?” She picked up the pen, tapping it on the desk again. “Pack a suitcase. We’re going on tour.”

—-

Transcript of Press Interview - “Science at the Foundation”
Interviewer: Calvin Heyman, Popular Science magazine
Interviewee: Chief Engineer Moira Hangleton, Site 14 Research and Development
Interviewee: Applications Engineer Jonas Kim, Site 18 Research and Development

[Background for the people and the divisions. Base it off something like this: http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/8.10/boies.html ]

Calvin: I’d like to introduce two very special people today. Moira is the chief engineer at Site 14 for their R&D division, and Jonas is the applications engineer at Site 18. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what it’s like to be at the forefront of technology for the Foundation, and we’ll get into that, but first I’d like to ask you both a little bit about your jobs. What do you do as part of “Research and Development”?

Moira: Ugh, “Research and Development.” I don’t really like that description.

Calvin: Isn’t that your job focus, though?

Moira: Yeah, that’s the name of the game, but it doesn’t really do our job justice. I mean, don’t get me wrong - R&D here in the Foundation has plenty of both, and the records to prove it, but it doesn’t fully encompass everything we do. We find out what the application requires, the sort of conditions it will be used under, and whether or not the components can take the environment. On top of that, we have to factor in the “unknown unknowns”, to borrow a phrase from one Donald Rumsfeld. Those are the things we don’t know about, such as the potential for some sort of anomalous effects or unexpected interactions between SCPs.

[Jonas chuckles.]

Jonas: Well, Moira, I can understand part of why people just say “R&D” to describe what we do. It’s kind of hard to boil down everything we do into something that you can say in a few seconds.

[Moira smiles.]

Moira: True, but I don’t have to like it.

Calvin: Well, Moira, you say that you have to plan for “unknown unknowns.” Could you give an example of something where that was the case?

[Moira and Jonas laugh.]

Moira: A better example would be where that wasn’t the case. I think Jonas has a few good stories about that.

Jonas: Oh, don’t get me started. We say we try to plan for them, but in reality…well, we just try to adapt. One of the more recent times was when we were working with a few visiting engineers from…what was it…well, in any case I don’t know if I can say what their company is. They were visiting our fabrication labs to try and see if we could help them with some material synthesis issues they had.

[Note: The Foundation has several large research and fabrication facilities that can be hired out to corporations or universities for equipment testing or experimental procedures.]

Jonas (con’t): They were combining the Telekill alloy we developed with an experimental alloy of their own to try and produce an end product with better resistance to EM noise. The finished product produced unintelligible results in the traditional spectrometers, all of which told us that this material shouldn’t exist. As a result we had to find out why we couldn’t identify the material.

Moira: Which, in turn, led to the development of the ConMaCS, or “Conny”.

Calvin: “Conny”?

Jonas: The Hilbert-Kensington Condensed Matter Cyclotron Spectrometer. It fires exotic particles at a specimen to identify the manifold topology and anomalous signature, which we then decipher to tell us-

[Moira interrupts.]

Moira: Basically it cuts through the garbage to give us a better picture of what’s going on. As it turns out, the data from the traditional methods needs to be corrected with a filter specific to that material. Which ConMaCS gives us.

Calvin: So does this system only exist in one place, or does the Foundation plan to produce more of them for general use?

Jonas: I’m not exactly sure of where that project is going, but I’m pretty sure that there’s at least two or three more…

Moira: Yeah, there’s one at Site 18 and Site 14, where Jonas and I work respectively, but there’s also one being set up at Site 81 and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. I believe that the National Physics Laboratory in the UK is also talking about getting one, as well. There’s some really intriguing work that will be coming out as a result of it.

Calvin: I find it very interesting how many recent innovations came to pass so soon after the Foundation went public with their mission and the research that they had amassed. Do you think that it’s a small boost due to new technologies or a dramatic shift due to a change in the way science is being done in the community?

Moira: It’s hard to say. There definitely is a boost due to the new work being released, as illustrated by the new advances in medical technologies and sensing equipment, but that can’t account for all of the new developments.

Jonas: I definitely agree with that. I don’t see any evidence to suggest that the way scientific research is conducted has significantly changed in recent years, but we’ll have to see how it turns out in a few years.

Calvin: Reasonable way to consider things. Now, I have to ask, how do you feel about the fact that so much of what happens in your labs goes on to affect the rest of the world, for better or worse?

Moira: I guess it could say it helps me sleep better at night.

[Moira laughs]

Moira: Some of the work that we do…take the new lightweight armor systems, for example. We developed that to help combat equipment and personnel losses when we were containing some of the nastier skips. I recently received a copy of the effectiveness report the US military did on our system, and although I can’t give exact numbers, they were high enough that there are talks of bringing them to more widespread use. If more lives will be saved, then it certainly counts as a win in my book.

Jonas: For me, it’s more about the potential that’s there. There are a lot of universities and corporations currently looking at the work for use in advanced robotics, space systems, and even deep-sea exploration. Some of the control systems that we designed for containing light-sensitive SCPs are now being used to improve greenhouses and photovoltaics. I mean, the sheer amount of ideas being worked on around the world is astounding!

Calvin: I guess we have a lot to look forward to, over the next few years. Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you both for coming in and best of luck with your future research!

Jonas: Our pleasure.

Moira: Absolutely.

—-

The sun beat down on the airfield, casting a heavy blanket over the whole area. It was too damn bright, hot, and dry for this, but she had to come down here. Moira put on her sunglasses and slowly disembarked the plane. It had only been a week of travel and interviews, but she was already feeling the strain. After meeting with Jonas at at the central hub in Site 19, they had traveled all over the US - NYC, Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco - before finishing up their week at sunny Phoenix, AZ. She just wanted to take a breather.

She stood under a nearby overhang and watched as a grey car drove towards them, shimmering in the heat. “Hot enough for you?” joked Jonas. She glanced over at him, snorting. “Any hotter and they’ll say we’re in hell.” He stretched and winced as he heard his back pop several times. “Yeah, well, as long as they’ve got a place to do some great massages I’ll deal with it. Damned airplanes are always too cramped.” They fell silent as the car stopped in front of them. A man dressed in an immaculately tailored black suit stepped out of the car. “Ms. Hangleton? Mr. Kim? I’m from Site 17. Mr. Peterson should have mentioned that I would be coming to pick you up from the airport.” Moira nodded. “He mentioned something about that, yeah. Thanks for the ride.” “No problem.” He motioned to the bags. “Would you like me to take those off your hands?” They obliged, handing them over..

As they got into the car, Jonas glanced sideways at Moira. “You know, I’m still not used to being chauffeured everywhere. I’m just so used to either renting a car or getting a taxi ride somewhere.” “Really? It’s been a week, so I’m starting to expect it, at least for this trip.” “True,” he agreed, pausing as the car started to drive, “but it still hasn’t really sunk in yet. This morning I woke up half expecting to be on the lounge couch taking a break from work, but no, I was in a lavish hotel with 800-count linens.”

“Well when you get used to it, don’t let it go to your head.” She said bemusedly. “It’s only for the tour. Afterwards, you’ll be going straight back to work and the lounge couch.” Jonas shook his head and chuckled.

Half an hour later they found themselves walking through a beautiful glass hallway while escorted by a camera crew and several makeup artists, assistants, and staff.. What they had expected from this interview was a simple Q&A session. What they got was a fully-fledged televised discussion as part of a documentary about developing technologies and industries. Apparently, it was a last minute change that the HR liaison - the ever wonderful Mr. Peterson - had eagerly signed off on without updating the two beleaguered engineers. Someone would be getting an earful, but that would have to wait till later.

[still working on it]

—-

Transcript of Press Interview - “Behind Closed Doors: The Minds of the Foundation”
Interviewer: Rebecca Ortega, Time magazine
Interviewee: Chief Engineer Moira Hangleton, Site 14 Research and Development
Interviewee: Applications Engineer Jonas Kim, Site 18 Research and Development

Rebecca: I’d like to introduce two experts from the Foundation here today. Chief engineer Moira Hangleton and applications engineer Jonas Kim. Together they have over 40 years of experience working in the research and development division at the Foundation, making some of the most advanced technologies to contain or combat anomalies known as “SCPs”. Thank you both for taking the time out of your busy schedules for this interview.

Moira: Thank you for having us. We realize that a lot of people must be curious about what the Foundation does, especially given everything that happened over the past few years.

Rebecca: I’d like to start off by asking both of you about some of your past work. In another interview you did, you mentioned some technologies you developed were as a result of the challenges in containing these SCPs. What sort of scenarios led to those advances? What could have necessitated things like the lightweight armor systems you mentioned?

Jonas: Well…

Moira: I’m sure anyone you ask will remember the event that happened a few years ago in North Korea. We developed these technologies to help prevent those types of things from happening. That is why we work hard to make these advancements. Our whole mission is to make these advances not just for the sake of having the best equipment possible. No, we do it because we cannot succeed in protecting humanity without them

Jonas: It sounds melodramatic, but it’s true. For example, we have some of the most advanced robotics facilities in the world. It is the only way we can have a presence in a situation where we cannot risk the lives of Foundation personnel. Some of the things we contain are extremely dangerous to a human, so we keep them safe by making it so they don’t have to be there. The biohazard systems we develop keep them from being exposed to any toxins or anomalous organic hazards. The medical equipment is produced to treat personnel more efficiently and effectively. I could go on about it, but I think you get the point. It’s only in the past few years that the benefits were allowed to be spread to the general public.

Rebecca: Don’t you think that it was a little selfish to hold onto all the technologies without concern to the greater good?

Jonas: It’s not like we didn’t release small patents or the data from our research in the past. We were allowed to occasionally give universities a nudge in the right direction, to help accelerate their work without making it too suspicious. Keep in mind, Ms. Ortega, that the Foundation used to operate in the shadows to keep humanity safe. Revealing all this technology back then would have destroyed the secrecy by making it blatantly obvious that this massive organization was around, working without anyone knowing about it.

Rebecca:

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License