Fightfest 2023 - Shop Talk

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Description: Curious as to what Kenzo's been up to, Mint sets up a meeting. Time for two engineers to share their work with one another!

Kenzo looks considerably less ninja/mercenary-like in his casual clothing with a light gray shirt and blue jeans with dark gray and black sneakers. The young Japanese male is also wearing black rimmed glasses that are thick enough to hold the hardware required to for him to utilize his combat specs though a slimmer form factor than what he uses when wearing his combat suit.

He is seated at the Southtown hotel cafe in one of the brown leather chairs with an envelope placed in front of him on the table. Also, he's currently working on his tablet as he brings up a schematic for a potential new device. A swipe here and there moves things on his screen as every now and then he looks for a particular person to join him.

And Minal Panesh may just be the person Kenzo was looking for! Dressed in a polo shirt and khaki slacks, the American had made an effort to blend in with the Hotel Southtown's diverse array of guests -- just like any other pro on vacation in the international fighting capital! She's also toting a ball cap -- which the diminutive pugilist is quick to remove as soon as she pulls into Kenzo's field of vision.

"Hey hey! There he is, the man of the hour!" Two plastic fingers extend towards the studious shinobi, in case there were any doubt of who she might be talking to. "Kuroiwa-san, pleasure to meet you! Minal Panesh, as you probably know, but please..." She may have stuck with the Japanese greeting format, but she extends her hand for an American-style handshake. "-- call me Mint!"

"Panesh-sa... I mean Mint."

Oddly enough, there's only a light accent when he speaks English. Perhaps he's done enough travel that his ability with the language is better than most. He likewise extends his hand in response to give said American-style handshake.

"In that, case. You can call me Kenzo. It's nice to finally meet you!"

His eyes immediately drop towards the prosthetics, studying them. It isn't with fear or pity that others but more with an intellectual curiosity as if wondering how they were made and what type of coding must have gone into them. After a while he catches himself staring.

"I'm sorry. Seeing the prosthetics in person was an unexpected surprise. Umm... You wanted to speak to me?"

Though her current lime-green hands might -look- artificial, and the slight whirring and creaking sounds are definitely -sound- artificial, the movements do not -feel- artificial. The texture's off, to be sure -- there's a slightly softer neoprene coating on the underside of the hands to make them feel more naturally. But the movements underpinning the skin-like texture are remarkably life-like and polished. She doesn't seem particularly put off by the staring; she even keeps her hand out and open if he wants to take a closer look.

"Kenzo, then!" agrees Mint with a contagious smile. Her handshake is firm and crisp -- one of many things she's learned how to perfect in the Marines.

"Yeah, I don't leave home without 'em!" she notes with a twinkle in her eye. "And yeah, I did! You probably know I'm one of the sponsors, and I just wanted to chat with you for a bit."

She presses her lips together, eyes widening for just one moment -- before making a pointed look over to the combat specs. "Those aren't the specs you fight with, right?" Turning back to meet his gaze, Mint flashes a reassuring smile. "Pretty solid engineering. Lot of hours put into it, yeah?"

She climbs into an adjacent chair, making herself more comfortable as she looks back at Kenzo. "So which would you rather talk about, Kenzo -- my tech or your tech? I'm good either way."

Kenzo would be a fool not to take advantage of the opportunity to look at the tech especially how smooth they move. It is probably something to study in case he decides to either make a heavy suit or a fighting robot. After that, he then realizes he should probably respond.

"They're the more civilian version. Slimmer form factor since it is less likely to get beaten up and sacrifices a bit of processing power to keep the glasses looking more like normal everyday glasses. Most of the coding is the same though."

As Mint sits down in the adjacent chair, Kenzo places the tablet down on the table and removes the glasses and holds them out towards Mint.

"Honestly, I could go either way myself but I was dying to get your opinion on the combat specs. Don't worry. These aren't prescription."

Should Mint decide to put them on, she'll see a AR overlay which shows his skeleton transparently over his body and has information next to him like heart rate, height, estimated weight, body temperature.

As a Special Forces corporal, she can't help but smile as Kenzo classifies his glasses as 'civilian.' Realistically, he's a Justice High student, just like Ichika, and he very well -could- be in the SDF equivalent of the ROTC. But there's no need to cross that bridge right now.

"Right! You'd wear yourself out, toting the heavies around all day," replies Mint, gingerly reaching out for the glasses as they are offered. She holds them close, squinting slightly at the minuscule details, smiling with appreciation at the small touches here and there. "It's hard to fully appreciate this stuff on camera. But your attention to detail really shows, here..." Minal makes a small gesture, and a pinpoint of red laser light from her thumbtip marks the spot on the joints that she's talking about. "I really like the way you solved the travel of this joint here!"

And that's before even putting the glasses on. Which she does next. And it's a bit of an eye-opener, to say the least.

"This is all real-time? That explains the AI..." She holds her own hand in front of the specs, examining her own handiwork through the lens of Kenzo's. "-Wow-. Uh. Where's the CPU? The battery?" She lifts up the temples with her hands again, gauging the weight. "Kenzo, this is remarkable! You did this in -Justice High?-"

Kenzo indicates the arms of the glasses which closer to the lenses are significantly thicker and wider than normal glasses though not so much that they look out of place or goofy. Where the arms get closer to the ears, they slim down for the sake of comfort.

"On the left arm of the specs contains the micro processor, the board and a mini speaker which puts out sound output while the right arm contains the other mini speaker, the rechargable battery, as well some of the controllers for the cameras which are placed in the frame near the nose bridge as well as well as wiring that connects everything together."

He then leans back as Mint gauges the weight.

"The prototype was made in Justice High though I tweaked it a bit my first year in Southtown U. There was better access to more materials as well as benefitting from reverse engineering some of the HitBit code."

Mint takes the specs off to get a better look at the spots Kenzo is describing, nodding with an effervescent smile. "Wow. I have no more words for this, Kenzo, this is some amazing work." She weighs the frames, and notes with a grin, "You even compensated for the extra weight of the battery too! I can tell you carry these around everywhere!"

Sparing one more look at the camera lens, the corporal hands the glasses back to Kenzo. While doing so, she glances back at the tablet he was using, before rocking back in her chair, crossing her legs casually.

"And yet, you're probably still trying to find a way to cram more processing power in here, hm? So tell me -- what's the hardened version do that this one can't? And what sort of problems are you trying to solve in the next version?"

She grins back. Her attitude is laid-back and conversational -- she's not really trying to put the young engineer on the spot, but rather to keep his mind focused. What really -drives- Kenzo? That's what the grinning pugilist is -really- after.

By the time Kenzo takes his glasses back, the tablet screen shuts off from being idle. Meanwhile, he puts the glasses back on.

"The obvious thing is that it's built to take more punishment. Thicker polycarbonate lenses. Frame made from titanium and reinforced with impact resistant plastic. It's also connected to the combat suit which allows it to receive readouts from my own body as well as allowing me to act as the battery for the entire system."

To further illustrate the point, he holds up two fingers letting electricity climb up like his fingers were a Jacob's ladder.

"As for future enhancements, I want to see if I can get more precise heat zones on the body. I suspect that it will allow me to get a better sense of where blood flow is going which in turn would help me with getting more accurate information on how hurt a person is at a given moment."

He then rubs his chin as another thought comes to him.

"Sure it helps me get data during fights but I can also see it being useful for medical diagnostics."

Minal nods along as Kenzo discusses the hardened frames. She seems to be onboard with everything right up until the point that Kenzo mentions that he's serving as the battery for the system.

At which point her eyes widen. And her eyebrows lower in a way that suggests she might not agree on -that- development.

"Mm. Yeah, thermal imaging would help..." The urge to give suggestions on an unimplemented system wins out over her concern as an advisor. "... but you would want to figure out a good way to overlay that information in a way that doesn't conflict with EO color, or allow a quick way to switch it on or off. Some fighters actually -do- change color before they attack and you want to make sure you can tell the difference."

But then. She holds up a finger. "I... do want to give you something to think about though... How have you addressed the most critical failures of the HitBit architecture?" By phrasing the question in this way, she hopes to gain access to not just one, but two questions -- how much of HitBit has he studied, and how does he plan to isolate himself from this electrical biofeedback network he's created?

When Mint asks about the critical failures of the HitBit, his lips formed a smile.

"The failures are multi-pronged. Sure there were flaws in the code but while I addressed that with more efficient code, it was the least of their worries. There was the lackluster security that allowed admin level access to the equipment and cameras from multiple sources as well opening it up to DDoS attacks. The liquid metal battery wasn't tested enough under high stress."

His fingers tap the arm of his glasses. The smile hasn't left his face.

"Neither set of glasses are accessible remotely via internet or bluetooth so it isn't as vulnerable to signal noise which was the main factor that was causing catastrophic failures nor am I wearing multiples causing the equipment's ambient temperature to overheat or create additional noise. As far powering it, in the lighter version, smartwatch batteries have come a long way. With the combat version, I use a system within my suit that takes my energy pulses and acts as a resistor to control how much goes into the suit and back into me. Plus if all else fails, I have it monitoring it's own temperature and if goes past a certain threshold it turns itself off."

A high level of confidence in his own work. That's good to see. Minal grins, nodding encouragingly as he describes the many shortcomings of the HitBit system. For the most part, she agrees with him, after all.

"Yeah! Airgapping thwarts hackers who can't touch the hardware. Hardware defenses against people who -can-. And software safeties stop the ambient environment from working against you. That's great -- you've really put a lot of thought into this. But hey, fill me in... by energy pulses... is... this something you focus, like... what's the word, chi?"

"Yeah, it's chi. When I was a kid, I found out I could channel electricity. Got better at using it and found I could charge my electronics. It's nice not needing a chord or outlet to keep my phone charged."

As a demonstration, Kenzo picks up the tablet that he had let go idle and puts a finger near the charging port and lets his energy go into it with a steady, low power stream. He holds it up and it shows that it is charging and he is not overheating the battery.

After the tablet goes up 2 percent he pulls his finger away and puts the tablet down to let it idle once more.

Mint stares at the tablet's power indicator going up. Half of her is terrified at the power throughput. The other half is jealous! She narrows her eyes -- though from the wide smirk, it's clear she's pretty impressed.

"And here I was about to lecture you against using your body as a fuse."

Eyes roll skyward in a mock show of disgust. "I -guess- that's an acceptable use of your unique and special gifts, though..." Swallowing up the last of the feigned anger, the corporal straightens up her collar. "That said, you do need to stay vigilant that you aren't overtaxing yourself. So watch out on that."

Mint laces her bionic fingers together, resting palms on her folded knee. "So... it looks like this round of the NFG will be wrapping up soon. There's going to be more, though. So, just a general question -- which of the fighters do you think you'd like to tumble with next?"

After Mint finishes up with expressing her faux anger, the gadgeteer lets a chuckle escape his lips.

"Yes, mom," he says in response with a bit of playful sarcasm with her mock disgust setting the tone. He then adds with a more serious tone, "I'll be careful."

Upon having the question posed as to who he wants to fight next, a frown forms on his face.

"Buford... His interview was incredibly disrespectful for someone professing that they didn't want to be disrespectful. Quite frankly, his royal self needs to be served a slice of humble pie."

Minal smiles -- but not too much. She's more interested in Kenzo's thoughts on 'Big Buford' than she is on sharing her own -- but part of her just can't help but jab.

"Yeah, his... views are a little dated, huh?" The Marine smirks at that, leaning forward in her seat. "Mmm, Miss Kasumoto didn't really feel like letting him go unchallenged either. What have you learned from watching his previous fights? And... how do you plan to contest his strengths?"

Yeah. She might not a fan of Buford's. But she might just end up sponsoring him, so...

"While dated, that is not where my quarrel lies with him. Nor is the fact that his idealization of Japanese culture comes across as a mockery."

He's quiet for a moment while he gets his emotions in check.

"His interview directly called me, my style, and my tech out with utter disrespect. He made it personal."

He then finds Mint asking him about the game plan.

"He seems to rely on his speed. If he puts everything into landing his attacks, he should in theory have more trouble with avoiding mine. I just need to use good timing to punish those moments."

Yes, yes -- hearing Kenzo's side of things, she remembers now how Buford had called him out in that interview. Honor is important!

"Yeah, and that," adds Minal, letting Kuroiwa's anger speak for the both of them. It's good for now to simply listen to the technique she had asked him for.

To which she nods with approval. "Right -- keeping up with him may prove tricky -- to people without as much tech as you've got. So I'm confident you'll figure out how to put one over on him."

She sits back, scratching the back of her neck. "Just don't get hit. He may be less disciplined but he will pack a punch." Beat. "And I know a thing or two about punches."

Mint grins. "Well -- I feel like you've answered all the questions -I- have for now. I'm lookin' forward to see how you do in the future, Kuro-- Kenzo." Correcting herself with a slap on the thigh, she casually uncrosses her legs. "Did you have any questions for me? Anything's fair game." A brief pause. "Well, almost anything." She flashes a toothy grin.

Approval of the strat? Nice. That being said, he knows that is easier said than done. Buford is still fast.

He takes a moment to think about his question for Mint.

"Is there something that you have designed that you wish you had due to something that happened in the past and why did you wish you had it?"

Mint looks back at Kenzo, studying his expression thoughtfully for a moment. She glances aside afterwards, bionic finger scratching her cheek.

Then she looks back to him with a smirk, splaying both hands upward like an infomercial actor. "Obviously, my Mark 30 hands would've been -great- instead of the wooden pieces of crap the military issued me with."

But that would be a cruddy answer and Minal knows it. She then squeezes her right forefinger, middle finger, and thumb together -- at which point her forearm splits open, and a small cylindrical tool unfolds from a hatch. A moment later, the engineer has what appears to be a Phillips-head screwdriver in her hands.

"But no, oddly, just... tools. There were a few times stuff just -broke- in the field and I didn't have a way to fix it. So now I always bring a spare toolkit."

But then Mint hops out of her seat, adopting the pose of a department store mannequin. "Real deal, though? If you're building wearables, save future-you the headaches and just commit to building yourself a life-sized, poseable armature as soon as you can. Nothing fancy -- just to save yourself the headache of wasting time building one-off rigs."

Cruddy answer it may be but as far as he's concerned it was still valid. Her prosthetics are pretty sweet. He wouldn't blame her if that were her answer.

Then her forearm hatch pops open revealing the Phillips-head screwdriver and thus her real answer.

"That does make sense. I probably should include a mini tool-kit on my combat suit to allow me make repairs on my suit post fights."

What he lets go unsaid is that it would also allow him to break things down on the should he be in need of it. He isn't given much time to think about it before armatures are mentioned.

"I have posable armatures of my hands and forearms but I only have a life-sized mannequin and a life-sized cast of my head for dealing with the rest of my body. Considering that NFG themes might end up dealing with costuming again, it's even more of a reason to have a posable body armature."

Corporal Panesh grins at that. "Yeah. It's good to have a mannequin for initial prototyping. But fighting is going to mean folks are gonna be picking your defenses apart for weaknesses, so you need to be able to work on your stuff at -any- angle, quickly and easily."

Mint stows the tooldriver back in her forearm, fidgeting with the panel for a moment. "Yeah, I kinda found that out the hard way. Exposed intakes are great for thirsty aircraft engines, big gaping liabilities as a fighter." She throws a quick jab in the air: "Gotta be ready for anything in the ring!"

Minal pulls a business card away from her forearm. It looks like she's about to hand it to Kenzo with one hand for a moment, but she stops herself in mid-approach and holds it with two, handing it to Kenzo as if it were delicate and expensive. "So yeah. Great question! If you have any more, here's my contact info!"

After the Corporal stows her screwdriver back in its compartment, Kenzo observes her with curiosity, wondering what else the prosthetics have hidden. Then he sees the business card.

The way Mint presents the card tells Kenzo a lot. The way Mint starts to hold out card tells him about how she is used to doing things but the way she changes how she holds out the card shows that she is willing change things out of respect for the culture. That means a lot. Even for someone who has a non-traditional approach, he still has respect for it.

He stands up as he places his card case on the table which in turn frees his hand to take the card both hands as he bows. He takes a moment to examine the card before picking up the card case and storing the card. He then takes his own business card out and presents it, careful not to to cover any of the information with his fingers.

"It was truly nice to meet you. Take care."

After the business card exchange is finished, Kenzo takes the card case and the tablet then leaves.

Log created on 14:38:39 05/18/2023 by Mint, and last modified on 05:39:54 05/23/2023.