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Surreptitious Craftsman
Posted on September 10th, 2019 by Emilaina Acacia

Doctor Acacia found herself scrutinizing her every movement far more than she normally would. She’d never had much cause in her life for lying or hiding anything, so it definitely wasn’t one of her strengths. Despite not actually doing anything wrong, she felt like everyone she passed in the hallway on the way to the holodeck was looking right through her, a heavy and perhaps mildly suspicious burlap bag slung over her shoulder.

She was relieved the moment the doors swished shut. She quickly locked the door behind herself, then paused a moment as she forgot what the program was named, this one not being one of her own. Something with the same letter…

“Acacia.. fake farm,” she decided, and computer bleeped in reply. The ground and sky of Iowa materialized around her, her childhood home just ahead. She made her way around to the back of the house, unzipping her uniform jacket as she walked, and found herself once again glad that her sister had included the workshop in her simulated recreation.

Between the house and the nearest patch of woods was a concrete slab on which the open-air workshop sat, complete with a hefty furnace that took up a quarter of the slab.

The doctor stepped up onto the concrete, letting her bag of supplies fall onto the scuffed-up wooden table with a metallic thud. She slid off her jacket and discarded it next, quickly double-checked with the computer that the door was locked, then put on some country music and put up her hair.

She described a template to the computer, two types of beads. One would hold half-pearls and both would be carved to look like waves. The computer produced holographic beads made from wood and the Doctor sat with a dremel perfecting the angles of the metal waves, smoothing out the sides and getting it to the right thickness.

“Computer…” Emily wondered aloud, wanting to curse herself for not having thought to ask Wright, but also suspecting it might be in the database, “Do you know the Captain’s wrist measurement?” Of course, it did. She measured her wooden beads, did a bit of math, then shortened the non-pearl-holding one a bit.

With the beads done she set up a wooden frame and began tamping loose clay into it with a piece of 1×4. She set the beads in the middle, then used a thin rod to poke pour holes through the mold. She put the top half of the frame on, and repeated the process by tamping more clay down over the beads.

She flipped the apparatus over and told the computer to teleport out the wooden beads, gleefully retrieving the chunk of pure silver from her bag and tossing it in the firing bucket.

Fortunately the holo-furnace was always going so she didn’t have to wait for it to heat up like the real thing. She stuck the silver right into the furnace rack, wielding long metal tongs and industrial oven mitts.

While waiting on that the Doctor took a seat at the table to retrieve the other real item from the bag she’d brought with her, a satin pouch full of precious nacre pearls from a ‘particular’ Risan beach, or so she was told. She carefully laid them out, thinking aloud, “I’m gonna have to cut these in half..”

As she was trying to think of what to use, she wondered, “Computer, can you do that?” It replied with a beep, and the pearls flickered before reappearing in halves. How… unsettling. Humbling, maybe. Definitely convenient. It was hard not to imagine what it would look like if the computer bisected a person that cleanly, but the Doctor managed to distract herself by switching to the next song.

She slipped back on her oversized oven-mitts, this time also donning a pair of protective dark glasses. She retrieved the bucket of molten silver with her long tongs, carefully pouring it into the clay mold with a cheerful whistle. Feeling alone, she found herself talking to her tools, and told the bucket it was doing a nice job.

After enough time had passed Emily cracked open the wooden frame of the mold, dusting away chunks of clay until she could pull out the silver beads. She examined them thoughtfully before setting them aside, then began the process again by tamping down more clay over the wooden beads. While one set of beads would cool she worked on the one before, shaving off the pour hole lines while also individualizing the choppiness of the waves on each bead.

When she had enough of the beads she sat at the work table with a note of finality, everything gathered in front of her. She took one of the beads meant to hold the pearls and carefully shaved away at the inside of the setting with the dremel until she could pop the pearl in. She pinched the wave-shaped prongs down around the pearl, careful not to mar the metal while also ensuring the pearl would never escape.

When the beads were done the Doctor pulled another item from her bag of tricks, a spool of flat silver wire. Using a wire cutter and some pliers, she made small loops to connect the beads of the bracelet together. All said and done it laid flat and was about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick, with the finished product looking a choppy silver glimpse of the ocean offering up its pearls. It clasped with a magnet, and Emily was pretty proud of it.

“Computer, create a piece of paper and a pen,” she flipped the bracelet so it sat back-up, and tapped the pen thoughtfully to her chin. She carefully wrote out, in her best calligraphy, Love ~ Alexis + Kate ~ Forever, with the date that made the pearls so ‘particular’ in a heart-symbol in the center. She had the computer project the engraving onto the metal, then carved it out by hand across the 5 center beads with a diamond-tipped pen so she could touch up her own handwriting.

Finally, she carefully set her creation in the last real item in her bag of tricks–a white satin-bottomed jewelry box. She then set the box in the bottom of her burlap craft bag which she tucked under her arm. The program faded out and metal walls reappeared. The Doctor unlocked the door, heading out to find Alexis.


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3 Comments

  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    Oooooooo! With replicators, gifts like this take on more significance, and the descriptions of its hand-crafting was detailed and interesting; I especially liked her telling the bucket it did a nice job. Kate’s quite lucky and I have it on good authority that she’ll love the bracelet!


  • Alexis Wright says:

    I love how you took what little I gave you and ran with it, this is perfect! Thank you thank you thank you, and thank Emilaina as well! Both you and your character created something cool. :D


  • Kuari Kuari says:

    Interesting and detailed, seconded! This reminds me of how characters oftentimes do things they don’t need to do, for fun and appreciation for the craft. This scene adds so much value to that little gift! I also appreciated the bucket comment, and Acacia’s respect for the holodeck’s power when it “split” the beads.




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