2235-03-15 - The Half Hitch

Van is put in charge of making sure a Tauron guest lecturer is taken care of after a speech at the Picon Naval Academy.

Date: 2235-03-15

Location: Hyperion, Picon

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 544

Jump to End

The lecture hall at the Picon Naval Academy is starting to empty out after the talk on cyberwarfare and intrusion countermeasures. Ensign Van Newton is no longer a student at the Academy, but he has an interest in the area, was stationed nearby, and called in a favor or two to get a seat. Unfortunately, those favors came with a return request -- playing nursemaid to the guest lecturer. Fortunately, she's a she, young, and attractive. So, as the audience filters out, he stands from his seat, thumbing off his mobile device and starting to work his way against the tide. As he straightens his uniform jacket and stepping free of the crowd, he flashes a smile, "Miss Asa? I'm Van. Ensign Newton. Commander Fiska asked me to show you around Hyperion if you have an interest."

Asa is thumbing off her own tablet when Van approaches, and she barely looks up until she hears her name over the low din of people shuffling out of the hall. Her dark hair -- long and almost always unruly -- has been twisted up into a loose bun. She nudges up her glasses out of habit, but they are meant for reading and not distance, so she pulls them all the way up to perch at the top of her head, pulling back her loose forelocks. "Well, which is it? Van or Ensign Newton?" She flashes him the smallest smiles as she gathers up the rest of her materials. She steps out behind the podium, revealing the slimming pencil skirt, simple flats, and crisp blouse. She lowers down into a ladylike squat to put away her materials in her briefcase. "So, you landed the 'babysit the visiting lecturer' gig, huh? Fiska either adores or deeply loathes you."

Van glances down as she squats down, then offers out his hand -- to help her up or to take the case -- as he flashes a brilliant smile, "Both, actually." His uniform has a slightly lived-in look to it, casual rather than starched, "When I'm on campus or on the base, I'm Ensign Newton. When I'm in the city, I'm Van." His smile spreads, "At the moment, I'm of a mind to thank the Commander for the task."

The Tauron looks up slightly at the hand as it hovers into view, and she assumes it is to help her up. She humors him by taking the offered hand, and draws herself up to her feet. She shoulders up the bag, releasing his hand. With her glasses still perched on her head, she glances over the Ensign at his easy compliment. "Guess I'll have to wait to see if I thank the Commander, too." She finally pulls loose the glasses, and shakes her hair from the bun so it falls in her shoulders in loose, dark waves. She folds the glasses, pressing the first earpiece closed with her jaw. She hooks the glasses by their other eyepiece on her blouse. "Alright, Ensign Newton... Hyperion awaits."

Van leans back slightly to help haul the woman to her feet, then laughs easily at her rejoinder, "I guess we will, ma'am." The title does not sound calculated, but rather like an ingrained habit. He resists watching the glasses find their home at the neck of her blouse, gesturing not up the heights of the lecture hall but to a door along the wall behind the podium, "That way will let us avoid the crowds." His grin quirks up at one corner, "Unless you want to do some glad-handing and bask in the glow of adulation." Before she can respond, he adds, "You know, my Dad tested out that hex-encryption you were talking about twenty years ago. They were a dead end then, but with today's improved computational power, I think you might be onto something."

"Ha," Isolde says flatly, her dark eyes trailing where he had first indicated. "No... I'll take the side door." She takes a leading step toward the side door. When the Ensign engages her in tech talk, her dark brows arch high over her eyes. "Are you part of Picon's CompSys?" She narrows her eyes slightly, trying to place the man in the great scheme of things. "You don't look like a nerd." A term she wears as a badge of honor. She walks with that sense of knowing where she's going even if she probably has no idea where she's going.

"No Ma'am," Van's grin actually flashes teeth this time, "I'm a Viper jockey." He pushes open the side door, holding it for her, "But my degrees in Computer Science. Software." He chuckles softly, "And I'm not sure if I should take that as a compliment or an insult." As the door closes behind them, revealing a quiet hallway, "Two rights and a left gets us out, and then we can catch an autocab to wherever you'd like to go in town. Would you like me to take your bag, by the way?"

"Insult," Asa replies without missing a beat. She sidesteps in her flats, peeking down the hallway with a slight tilt of her head. She breathes in a breath, but it catches when he offers to take her bag. "No," she says, her smile quirking a bit. "I got it." She organizes herself, taking her glasses off her blouse, tucking them in her bag, and then she looks back up at the Ensign through the fall of her forelocks. "You're going to need to convince me not to just to ask to go back to my hotel... my feet are killing me, and it was a real long flight from Tauron."

Van scoffs at the news that he's been insulted, "Then I'm offended." There's a pause as he passes her to lead the way down the hallway, "That you don't think I'm a nerd." At the news of her situation, he nods slowly, "Well, that suggests that you're not interested in going out dancing, so then it's a drinks, good food, or a show. You can't come to Picon and not see the nightlife. Hyperion's got the best to-do this side of Caprica City. And if you'll excuse a little bragging, I think we give them a run for their money." The halls go past quickly enough, two rights and a left, and then the lights of the evening are visible through a set of glass doors.

Isolde casts Van a dubious look. She looks to be teetering on her own desire to be her usual shut-in self, and the fact that someone -- a quite handsome someone -- is encouraging her to get some drinks, and maybe a show, and maybe convince her later that her feet don't hurt so bad. She chews at the inside of her cheek, and then drops an exhale and a small nod. "Alright... drinks." She draws her bag across her body now, letting it hit at her hip. She waits for him to take the lead now, looking out at the night beyond the windows.

"Well, that's always a good start to an evening." Van sounds cheered by her decision. "There's a great place down on the waterfront, the Half Hitch." He digs out his mobile again, thumbing through it until he finds the number he wants, and thumbs in their information. "I have an autocab on its way." He doesn't exit the doors, however, lingering inside to stay out of the evening chill a little longer, "So. A civvie in the midst of hundreds of cadets, and you didn't seem the least bit intimidated, even without bars between you and the animals, ma'am. Impressive."

Isolde lifts her gaze to him again, brow slightly arched at his assumption. She seems to be about to correct him, but there is a small flash of amusement. "Oh well... my dad was a military man... I got used to being surrounded by egotistical soldiers." Her reply is dry, but also a touch amused. She dips her chin, shifting her stance again as they wait. "But, really... it helped talking about computers... I get computers."

Van nods, "Of course. They make sense, so long as no one put the hardware together wrong." Yes, he's definitely a software guy. "People make mistakes, computers just have bad code, and you can fix that." His hands spread to his sides, "And hey, we're not all bad. Some of us don't have any ego at all." Beat pause, "Comparatively." Lights flash from outside as an autocab slides up to the door, already in the area, prepared to sweep up lazy cadets off to their dorms. Van pushes open the door to the building, "Your chariot awaits, Ma'am."

The former hacker starts to laugh -- a full and bright noise, despite the fact that the woman is a bit of an introvert. She looks up sidelong at Van, mouth quirked in a faint smirk. "You don't think computers make mistakes?" She raises a dark brow. "So, why does a computer start repeatedly crashing one day when it was working just fine the day before?" She steps out as he holds open the door, and falls into step with him toward the car. She lifts her eyes almost instantly to the monstrous buildings looming above, and her gaze seems to go beyond them toward the dim flicker of stars. It is a passing glance before she is looking back at the Picon.

"Compounded errors. Or a new error introduced or discovered by a user." Van leads the way to the cab, holding that door open too even as he follows her gaze upward, "You can see the Sea-Dragon up there if the lights of the city haven't washed it out. Should be up about now." And he points with one hand, just off-center of the sky, "The head should be right about there. But, back to the computers, I didn't say they didn't make mistakes, just that when they do, it's the fault of the user or the programmer."

Isolde looks a bit abashed when he caught her looking up at the stars. "Oh?" Her voice is a soft, and almost a bit shy. She offers a small smile as she glances back up almost casually as if to see if she can find the Sea-Dragon. Then she is turning her attention back to the pilot, and she nods. "So, computers? Just a passing interest?" She sidesteps him a bit, and if he gives her the opportunity, she'll duck into the cab first. There is a certain obviousness to the fact that she doesn't often wear skirts, as she awkwardly manages to slide across the seat while also keeping her skirt from flashing too much leg.

Van holds his position outside the cab as he waits for her to check for the stars. Sadly, Hyperion is a city of millions, and has washed out all but the brightest couple of stars. He even waits for her to duck into the cab ahead of him, although that may be him looking for an opportunity to see if she'll flash some leg. If he's disappointed in the result, he hides it well, ducking in to climb into the cab himself, "Well, Software Engineering was my major at the Academy," as if the heavy ring on his right hand didn't show that he was an Academy grad, "I'm a pilot first and foremost, but that doesn't mean that I don't like poking at code or arguing with the IT folks." He looks up to the Cylon driver, "The Half Hitch," and the cab accelerates forward even as Van half-turns back to Isolde, "And what is it you like to do away from computers, Ma'am?"

"You know how much I bet your IT folks love it when you argue with them," Isolde replies, tone dry. She smooths out her skirt, shifting her feet a bit until she is seated with her legs together and at an angle, and her body turned slightly toward him. She looks up at the Cylon driver, smiles, and then looks back to Van. She wrinkles her nose slightly at his question, and she looks like she's either trying to dig up an actual fact about herself or think through a possible fib. "Well... to be honest... I, uh... I'm a bit of an aspiring musician." She goes for the truth, and feels a bit of heat in her cheeks as she confides this.

"They love me." Debatable, but not an outright lie. "Mostly because for every thing I argue with them on, I fix two problems before it even gets to them." Van settles one arm along the back of the bench seat, stretched out in Isolde's direction, but not exactly around her shoulders. Her admission draws his brows up, "Oh really? Maybe I should be taking you to some place with karaoke then." Because all aspiring musicians are singers, of course.

"Oh, no... no, no, no... I don't sing," Isolde says, looking abruptly disarmed at the premise of going somewhere to sing. "I play the drums... I like... I like composition of creating a drum sequence. It isn't that dissimilar to coding." If she notices his arm stretched in her direction, she tries to ignore it. She does seem comfortable as the car zips around Hyperion traffic. "I think drinks is a far safer idea."

Van scoffs lightly, "Oh, you never go to karaoke without drinks." He grins across the cab, "That's a nugget mistake." Not that he's that far from being a nugget himself. "But drums, okay, I can see that." The cab's trip is not far, the Half Hitch still in the same neighborhood as the Academy and just across the river from the airbase. "I mean, the coding similarities, that is. If you want me to believe you're a badass drummer, you'll have to prove it."

"Oh, no... mediocre at best," Isolde says, a bit self-deprecatingly. The techy looks out the window as the river goes by, and she finds herself smiling as if a bit amused. Then she looks back to the Ensign as the car slows just outside the Half Hitch. She peeks beyond him at the sign and then back to her babysitter. "I'm going to end up singing a duet with you by the end of the night, aren't I?"

The Half Hitch is clearly a Navy bar by the nautical sign and the number of uniforms coming and going. And, of course, there is a Marine Corps bar across the street, the Knotty Lady. At least he isn't taking her there, right? When the cap slows to a halt, Van pops the door and gets out, holding it for Isolde as he digs into his pocket for the appropriate bills to pay the cybernetic driver. "You shouldn't sell yourself short. I'm sure you're great. And you only get a duet if you're good. Otherwise, it's a solo act." Which probably has some unfortunate implications for his own future later in the evening.

The former hacker slides out across the seat, this time forgetting her skirt as it slinks up several inches along her legs and she has to shimmy it back into place -- albeit a bit awkwardly -- once she is standing again. She spots the Knotty Lady with its bright sign, and her brows go up slightly. Then his compliments draw a soft laugh from her. "You haven't even heard me play..." His comment of a duet or solo act causes her mouth to twitch, but she says nothing as she steps into the offered bar, briefcase still slung across her shoulder.

Once more, Van's eyes drop, and this time they are rewarded with several inches of leg. He's not even shy about grinning as his gaze travels back up to her features. Following the look across the street, he smothers the smile and looks grave, "We do not go across the street. It's not safe for pretty women or Navy pilots at The Lady." It's probably a lot safer for pretty women than Navy pilots, truth be told. But then he's shepherding her into the Half Hitch, which is... not quite a riot of noise and activity, but not far off. At least the mechanical bull is off in one corner, the dart games are segregated off on another side, and the music is kept to a level that actually allows conversation -- and a replay of last year's Pyramid finals over the bar. There's an area for dancing at the back, between darts and the bull, a long bar not far from the entrance, and scattered booths and tables in between. Raising his voice slightly to counter the music, Pyramid commentators, cheers from around the bull, and the background chatter of conversations, he notes, "Welcome to the Half Hitch, Ma'am." He starts to gesture her toward one of the tables when there's a whistle from by the bar, and a couple of men and women in leather bomber jackets call out, "Hey Milkman! Nice Target Ack! But better check six, make sure no one's gonna steal your kill!" Friends, they always ruin your fun.

If Isolde catches him taking the opportunity to check her out, she doesn't say anything about it. Her attention is perhaps more fixated on the assault to her senses as they enter the Half Hitch. Her eyes widen just a touch, and she looks over at Van with a wide, opened expression. "Picon party life?" The question is asked above the din as best she can manage. She is starting to the suggested table when the calls go up, and the Tauron woman blushes quiet abruptly. She clears her throat, swinging her briefcase off her shoulder as she settles into a seat. "Milkman?"

"Navy party life," Van corrects her, and then calls back to the hecklers, "What's would you know about target acquisition, Stinger? All your sorties end up back at home base, pickling your own ordinance." That draws a chorus of 'ooooooh's from the rest of the group at the bar, and then Van is paying attention to his guest again, pulling out a chair for himself to her right and shrugging a little, trying to play off the question about the callsign, "Every run is a milk run when I'm around." The explanation comes too quickly, however, and is too well-practiced. Definitely not the real story.

Isolde feels like Van is speaking another language, as the apparent-zinger just draws a blank series of blinks from her as she looks between the pilots. When he settles down beside her, she turns her gaze aside to him, brows still arched. "Uh huh." Then her eyes narrow slightly, looking thoughtful. "Does that make you the Picon errand boy?" Her smile twitches a bit, trying to not look proud at her own attempt at a zinger. Hey, she can make sense of milk run.

Van blinks in surprise at her rejoinder, shaking his head, "No no... milk runs are easy missions." He definitely missed her zinger in his hurry to defensive explanation, "So with me around, all missions are easy missions." And then he realizes just what that sounds like, and tries, "Not that I'm trying to brag. I mean, I didn't give myself the nickname." At this rate, he's going to be pickling his own ordinance by the end of the night too. "So, drinks. What would you like?"

Isolde feels the defensiveness, and becomes defensive herself. Nothing like trying to be sociable and failing miserably. When he asks after her drink order, she abruptly looks uncertain and second-guessing. She shrugs slightly. "Ah, you pick... I don't know much about Picon drinks... I usually like something with coffee." She shifts her briefcase slightly, not sure where to put it. So it ends up in her lap, awkwardly.

Van pushes the call button at the center of the table even as he considers her request, "Something with coffee, I think I can manage that. How about a Hibernian Coffee? With cream and a shot of whiskey. Pulling out his mobile, he taps a few commands and then shows a menu to her on it, "How about something to eat too? The sliders are good, but you've got to be careful ordering them, because some jokers demand that they be accompanied by a carrier landing... a slide down the bar. I'm not that kind of joker, but Stinger can be."

"Sure," Isolde offers, her smile a bit awkward as if she hasn't quite recovered from the social slip-up a few moments ago. But his attempts to move the conversation onward are rewarded with a small nod of her head. "Sliders then, but I'll leave their delivery up to you." She lets him handle the ordering even as her gaze wanders back out toward the dance floor. She watches what sort of dance Picon might be interested in, comparing it to what she has experienced on Tauron.

The dancing here, sadly, is not the passion and grace of the Queenstown Salsa, but rather just what happens when you get upbeat music and people of various stages of intoxication. A whole lot of hands, feet, and hips, not much style. It takes a minute for a server to come over, during which time Van tucks the mobile away again and notes, "So, why cybersystems?" She's spared from an immediate answer, however, as the server arrives, and he looks up and orders, "Hibernian coffee and the sliders for the lady -- don't let Stinger hear -- and I'll have a Golden Harvest lager and the sandwich and salad -- club and wedge." And then the server is off again, and Van looking back to Isolde and re-querying with the lift of one eyebrow.

Isolde looks away from the dance floor, gaze sweeping back to the pilot beside her. She leans back slightly, tapping at the sides of her briefcase thoughtfully. Then she offers a slight shrug of her shoulders. "I got into computers when I was a kid." True. "I spent a lot of time, hanging around The Net, playing with holobands." Also true. "I guess I just wanted to see what kind of mischief I could get into." Mostly true... "Then I ended up working with the cybersystems department for the Tauron Military." Okay, true from a certain perspective. "And that's that."

Van leans easily against one elbow, nodding along with her words. Until she mentions the military, at which point he blinks, straightening up, "You're a civilian contractor with the military, Ma'am? I didn't know that." So he might have daydreamed through parts of her introduction before the lecture. He gives a mostly-light chuckle, lifting his brows, "So should I be calling you 'sir' instead of Ma'am?" He's half joking, half nervous that he's made a faux pas.

"Oh, uh," Isolde blinks, and then offers her own sheepish smile. "No, I'm... I'm a Specialist, actually. With the enlisted Tauron Military Corps. There's some rumor-mongering of transferring me to naval, but I have no idea what I would be doing... I don't really work on Raptor or Viper systems. I'm really about computer networking and cybersecurity." In retrospect, she should have figured they would be needing her to do just those things, but she's too worried about the fact that she's got a Picon pilot trying to decide whether or not to call her 'ma'am' or 'sir' -- neither would be her preference. "I think you still outrank me... when push comes to shove."

Van's surprise is quite clear, and he shifts in his seat a moment, considering the news, "Well, that's about as far from 'same chain of command' as you can find, isn't it?" Which would mean that 'fraternization' is not against the rules. At least, not under Picon military law. "By a few steps, Ma'am." This time, the title is accompanied by a crooked little grin. "So now I've got a Tauron Army Specialist in a Picon Naval Aviator's bar. Wonder how that'll end."

Isolde stretches her feet a bit within her shoes as he shifts about in his seat, almost joining the discomfort. She casts him a shy smile. "I guess so," she says, looking up as the waitress comes swooping in with their drinks. She takes the coffee cup, drawing her hands around it. Her dark eyes lift to meet his paler gaze, and she starts to smile a bit wider at his comment about how things are going to end. "I dunno... I'm pretty harmless for a Tauron." Which means, for a Picon, she is probably going to be a lot of trouble.

Van looks up with a touch of relief as the waitress arrives, collecting his pint and bringing it up to his lips -- only to have to lower it again as he laughs in response to her smiling words, "Yeah... you realize I should be putting the bar on condition one, right? Bringing in a 'pretty harmless Tauron.'" And then he takes that swig of his beer and sets the glass down, "I'm thinking that maybe I don't need to do that though. Nerds aren't that scary, right?"

The Tauron snorts. "You know, you didn't mind me being a Tauron before you found out I am also military," Isode points out, her voice a bit defensive despite trying to sound casual. She takes a sip of her coffee, a bit disappointed she didn't choose a drink that was easier to swallow in gulps. She taps her fingers against the mug, distractedly looking toward the mechanical bull. "Nerds are scary... because we know how to do things without you ever seeing us."

"That's because civvies aren't scary either." Van takes another swig of his beer, "You take a Tauron civvie nerd, and you only have one risk factor. You take a Tauron military nerd, and you've got two risk factors." He gestures over toward the bull, "You mean like update the programming behind Tauros there and make him move like a Viper with a shot-off tail rudder on final approach."

Isolde gives him a flat look at the idea of her being two-risky. She then takes another swallow of coffee and booze, and she feels herself relax a bit more. When he mentions the bull, she flickers her gaze back toward it with a wry smirk. "You named the bull 'Tauros'?" She gives him look with a raised brow, head tilted slightly. "Is that what Picons like to do? Ride a Tauron?"

Van laughs at the first question, shaking his head, "I didn't..." And then she sets him up so perfectly, and he lifts his brows in return, as if to ask her 'really, you're going to ask me that?' And then he forges on ahead behind a toothy grin, "The night isn't over, you might have a chance to find out yet."

Isolde blushes fiercely beneath her tawny skin as she quickly realizes the implications of her question. She looks down, feeling as though her face is steaming with her vibrant coloring. She clears her throat, offering her best casual look. "You're sorely mistaken if you think you got the moves it takes to attract the interest of a Tauron."

"You haven't seen my stick moves," there's a moment where Van would have come in with 'Ma'am' there, even with the flirtatious tenor the conversation has taken on, but instead he goes for, "Miss Aso." Yes, he got her name wrong. We already established that he wasn't paying attention during her introductions.

It is the mispronounced last name that gets her. Isolde shakes her head, and takes another swallow of coffee and whiskey. She shakes her head slightly, straightening up in her seat. "Well, your stick moves will have to wait... I should probably be getting back to my hotel." Even if she hasn't had a bite of food yet.

"Getting tired then? I know how exhausting talking in front of a crowd can be." Van does his best to rally, even as the food is delivered, "You want to get this to-go, and I'll get you back to your hotel?" At least he didn't offer 'to your room.' There's some hope there at least, and the waitress lingers, waiting to see if they want the foot to-go or not.

"I'm not really--" Then Isolde shakes her head, curling her fingers tighter around her mug. Then she flashes a smile up to him, but it feels weighted. The arrival of the food seems to give her a moment of thought. His questions draw her brows together briefly -- as if she was expecting him to say 'to your room' too. Then she nods. "To-go." She looks at the waitress and nods her agreement.

Van shrugs at the confused look, "Hey, I'm a flirt, and I'm a pilot, so I'm confident, but I've also got a job to do." The Piconese man nods to the waitress, and she sweeps the food away again. Van waits a moment, and then goes on, "If I'm not going to join you in your room, I've still got to get you back to your hotel." He spreads his hands slightly, "Even if you'll never know what you're missing." And then he takes another slug of his beer, working on draining it down before they leave.

"I'm sure that will keep me up tonight," Isolde offers in return. She takes several swallows of her own lukewarm drink, and then she sets it aside. Her belly feels slightly uncomfortable with the caffeine and booze in her stomach. "But, I'll make sure to let Fiska know that you were very chivalrous." She looks up when the waitress returns with their food in bags, and the dark-haired hacker gathers up her bag once more.

Van flashes another toothy grin at her mention of being kept up all night, "I'll take that as a compliment." Even if she didn't mean it anywhere like that, apparently, that's how he's going to take it. Still, he clears his throat, then finishes off his beer and sets the bottle aside, "Wouldn't do to upset Picon-Tauron relations over a missed target run, after all."

The Tauron shakes her head, sliding the strap of her briefcase over her shoulder once more. Then she stands, offering to take their to-go foods -- that somehow ended up in the same bag. She looks over the bar once more, and then at the Picon pilot. She gestures a bit. "Lead the way," she offers.

Van starts to gather up the boxes, but hands them over at her offer, "This has got to be the shortest time I've ever been in the Half Hitch." He sounds more bemused than anything else, but leads the way toward the door. The pilot doesn't even worry about calling a cab this time, pushing the door open and holding it for Isolde with one hand as he gives a whistle and raises a hand to hail one of the many cabs hanging around the Half Hitch and the Knotty Lady.

"And for the least enjoyable ending," Isolde offers, as if foreshadowing that this isn't going to end the way that Van may want it to. She steps out into the cool Hyperion night, and starts toward the cab that is already pulling up to take on the new passengers. She balances the boxes, her bag, and her skirt as she slides back in across the seat, this time not caring on the final status of her skirt.

"Not at all. I've had nights when I stagger out with friends and spend the next hour puking my guts out." Van still hesitates long enough to watch the skirt hike up her legs, but he doesn't linger, sliding in after and pulling the door close. "All yours, Miss Aso. You know our destination." His teeth flash in a tight smile, "Your destination."

"Hotel Hyperion," Isolde tells the Cylon driver. She settles back as the cab spins back up, heading into the streets toward the hotel at the center of the city. A fancy destination, too. She flexes her feet again in her shoes -- an obvious thing with how the muscles in her calves move and twitch. She falls into a thoughtful silence, allowing time and space to pass. Then she glances toward him. "Thank you... by the way... for babysitting."

Van's eyebrows rise upward at the destination, "Tauron's doing pretty well then, putting you up there. Or is that our Navy showing off?" This time in the cab, he faces forward, one arm in his lap, the other on the arm-rest built into the door. His head turns toward her, of course, that's only polite after all, "Not a problem. Worth it for the lecture and the discussion. I hope you don't take me making a pass at you as an insult."

"Your Navy," Isolde replies dryly in reply. She twitches her fingers a bit along the leather of her briefcase, touching the old material. She shakes her head at his quest to apologize, and she smiles almost shyly again. "I didn't... quite the opposite." She bites softly at her inner cheek, eyes turning back out at the city as it flickers by. She flexes her feet again, almost resisting the urge to rub them together.

Van nods his head at her response, "Good. It wouldn't do for the Navy to make a grand impression with a room at the Hotel Hyperion just for an ensign to frak it up by being pushy." If he thought there was a chance that he was going to get into that room at the Hotel Hyperion, he might be offering to rub her feet. Assuming that he's still clued in to her body language after getting the wave-off.

Isolde smiles, looking up at him under the fall of her forelocks. "You think you were being pushy?" Then she takes in a breath as the cab takes the final corner to the hotel proper, pulling up at the entrance. The door is being popped open by a concierge before there is a chance to think twice. She looks over to the Picon pilot, and she takes a slightly emboldened move. She leans in, aiming to press a kiss to his lips.

"No ma'am, I was trying to make sure I wasn't." As the door opens, Van begins to gather himself to follow her out of the back seat... only to find his face full of Tauron tech specialist. He freezes in surprise a moment, then, with a shrug almost as much mental as physical, he brings his left hand up toward her cheek, leaning into the kiss with just a little pressure.

The kiss is not terribly long, and is cut short by the uncomfortable noise of someone clearing his or her throat outside the cab. Isolde lips leave his, the Specialist leaning back from him. She offers a small smile. "Well, you can try to be more pushy in two months when I'm back for a follow-up with Picon Cybersystems." She then begins to slide out of the cab, grabbing her briefcase as she does.

Van's fingers start to tighten at her cheek, as if to keep her close for another kiss, or to follow after her, but he doesn't insist, and when she scoots out, he starts to follow, then stops at her words, confusion still filtering through his features. Eventually, he settles on a little shrug and a nod, "Sure. I'm with the Sea Knights, look me up when you get back."

Sometimes playing hard to get has its drawbacks. Isolde is already stepping out onto the pavement outside the hotel, and smiling to the concierge who still looks a bit bemused at the woman. He even leans down to peek inside at Van as if to see if the pilot will be joining the hacker. But, the Tauron doesn't seem to think he will be, as she's already headed for the hotel entrance, leaving a confused Van in her wake.

Van shrugs at the concierge a little helplessly, "No tone." As in, he never got full lock-on. He settles back onto the seat of the cab, then looks down at the take-out boxes on the seat. "Well, at least I've got dinner and lunch tomorrow. Enn-Ay-Bee Triton, Gate Three." As the cab takes off again, Van pops open the box of sliders, "Probably isn't even coming back."


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