Cate and Isolde catch up at lunch, and edge around conversations of war and change.
Location: Mess Hall, Deck 8, the Galactica
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 852
Lunch time. With the ship still in the process of acquiring crew, it's not as busy as it might ordinarily be at this hour. Cate has just grabbed a tray and is waiting behind a pair of navy crewmen sharing a funny story about transportation snafus on the way here. Hurry up and wait seems to be universal across all the colonial militaries. Cate doesn't seem to be paying any attention to the tale, though. She just stands quietly in line with a serious expression on her face.
Innocuous and easy to overlook, Isolde Asa has been in Cate's shadow for the last few minutes, her own tray tucked under her arm quite uselessly while she reads over a bonefide paperback book. The cover is all folded and worn out, and the pages have been abused with dog-ears and water spills. She shuffles forward in an automated kind of way, but misjudges her daydream timing as the two crewmen ahead of Cate are too busy laughing at the punchline and not moving forward. This leads to Isolde -- again -- running into someone. Her tray clatters to the floor as it slips out from under her arm, and people are turning around to look at the techy scrambling to pick it up. "Sorry, sorry... I thought the line was moving," she apologizes from her squat. Blast. She liked the Galactica better when it was a skeleton crew.
Cate blinks, jostled out of her thoughts by the, well, jostling. She turns and looks down at Isolde. "No harm done," she says easily. "Better now than when it's full of food anyway." She tilts her head then, squinting as she tries to remember the woman's name. "Aso, was it?"
"Asa," Isolde corrects without missing a beat. She flashes the woman a small smile. "Newton just has a bad memory." She hesitates. "We didn't really know each other very long, so it isn't his fault." She then stands, brushing off her tray as if it might have something on it. The paperback is rolled in half, and shoved into the back pocket of her green uniform pants. She looks back at Cate. "Did you find your bunkroom okay?"
"Asa. Right, sorry," Cate says. She'd heard Newton say it badly a few times, so that's what stuck more than the corrected version. She waits for Isolde to get situated and then shuffles forward to catch up with the line. "I'm Cate. Rhodes," she adds, almost as an afterthought. "And I did, yeah. And the mess hall, thanks to your map. This place is huge. How'd you end up getting tagged to be tour guide?"
"It's alright," Asa says automatically to the apology. She nods at the offered name. "Isolde... Isolde Asa," she adds, giving the woman some extra syllables to work with. She shuffles forward with Cate, now having a reason to pay more attention to the line pace. Cate's question draws a small laugh from her. "Well... I've been on the Galactica for a while now... I was part of her assembly crew... computer systems, specifically. I guess they figured that those of us who have been floating the corridors for a while would know how to make sure people got to their right destinations."
"Nice to meet you properly," Cate offers. They're finally ahead enough to reach the food-serving areas, so Cate sets her tray down on the little sliding rungs so the galley crew can put some food on it. It's actually a pretty decent meal today. Chicken and stir fry with a roll. "Oh, so you helped get everything all set up here? That's pretty cool. First of its kind and all."
"Oh, not everything," Isolde says, trying to be modest -- which isn't very Tauron when you get right down to it. "I just focused on the computer systems and securing the network. We're pretty much on a closed network here... nothing in, nothing out." She slides her own tray along, and smiles her thanks at the pile of food. She then glances sidelong to Cate. "Newton seemed pretty surprised you weren't an L.G.... you're a Doc, right?" She tries not to prod into things that aren't her business, but she's also not very good at that, either.
"Oh, yeah, that's what I meant," Cate clarifies with a little smile. "Though if you had set up this behemoth single-handedly I'd be pretty impressed." She slides down a little further to get a little cup of cobbler-ish something or other for dessert. The question doesn't seem to bother her. "Newton - that's Milkman, yeah? I couldn't remember his real name - we only met a couple times. But yeah, I was a doctor before I enlisted. The marines don't have docs, though, and the navy docs don't get to shoot Toasters, so... here I am."
"I would be pretty impressed. I would need the strength of Zeus to get this thing up and running on my own." Isolde laughs, feeling a bit more at ease with each passing moment. She listens to Cate's snapshot background, and she nods slightly. "So, you went the career route that got you what you wanted... and I'm sure the ground-pounders are thankful for someone who knows what she's doing pokin' about their insides." The Tauron bypasses the cobbler, declining, and falling into step with Cate once they are done at the food line.
"Seriously, I'll bet they needed a small army to build this thing," Cate agrees. She nods to Isolde. "Yeah, it took a little work to get the recruiter to get into the idea. Sure you know how the military likes to fit people into neat little boxes. But I figure this is where I can do the most good." She glances at the other woman as she moves over to the drink station to get herself a cup of coffee with an obscene amount of sugar dumped in. "Want to join me? As I suddenly feel like we're back in a high school cafeteria on the first day of school."
"People coming together to complete a great deed always requires a common enemy," Isolde says, a touch pragmatically -- if not a little wearied. She nods with Cate's words on recruitment, silently agreeing with a touch of her own disdain. When Cate offers company, Isolde accepts with a wide smile and agreeable, "Sure." She also grabs a cup of coffee -- black and unaltered by cream or sugar. She laughs at the comparison. "Yeah, well... the division will start soon. Seen it every time... everyone will find their groups to sit with, and judge everyone else for sitting with the other groups." She flashes a quick smile to Cate as she meanders into the sea of tables, finding a couple empty seats at the end of one of the long tables, and takes a seat.
"Sad but true on both counts. Though here I wonder if folks will group up more based on where they're from or what they do. I know on my last ship it was mostly by department." A touch of a frown there, as Cate settles into a seat at the table Isolde picked. "Food here seems decent, at least. That's something. So you've been here a couple months then, I take it?"
"I never paid attention... I always worked with the IT departments wherever I was, and we all nerded out in the computer rooms, and avoiding the general crew areas." Isolde hesitates, reflecting on that statement for a few moments. "I think we were always pretty invisible onboard... I could walk into a room full of glad-handing officers, and no one would notice. I was just there to fix the computer." Then she laughs, shakes her head, and starts to eat, carefully deconstructing the stir-fry and grouping similar-colored foods together. Green onions with green peppers, carrots with red peppers because they are close enough on the spectrum. The grain ends up in the middle in a neat pile. It is methodical, but not a slow process. Something someone often does, and has a very organized system for.
"Ah yeah, I can see that. I was never much into computers myself. Just enough to get by." Cate watches the careful organization of the food with mild interest, while just starting right in on her own. She falls quiet for a little bit, eating, before she asks, "So how do you know Newton? Are you from Picon too?"
"Gods, no," Isolde blurts out, but then looks a touch apologetic, "I mean, no... I'm from Tauron... Hypatia, specifically." She considers the question about Newton, answering thoughtfully. "I was on tour around the Colonies before the Uprising, lecturing on cyberwarfare security at some of the Academies. I went to Picon's Naval Academy, and Newton was assigned as my, ah... nanny." She flashes a grin. "We hit it off, and were even going to meet back up when I came back to Picon a couple months later." She shakes her head. "But, then the war started... never got back to Picon." She chews a bit on some of the chicken, looking a bit distant. "We're not really the same people anymore, so I guess we're meeting each other all over again."
Cate doesn't seem put off by the blurt, just nodding slightly. "Tauron, that's cool. Don't think I've ever met anyone from Tauron before." But then her eyebrows go up. "Touring lecturer around the colonies? Sounds like you were kinda a big deal then. But yeah... I know what you mean about not being the same people any more." Her lips press together in a little frown, focusing on her plate.
"I wasn't," Isolde says in response to Cate. "I was basically there to try to prove that the Tauron knew what they were doing, electing to integrate Cylons into their military, and that they did have experts keeping track of cyber security so that no one could hack the Cylons and cause trouble." She shrugs a shoulder. "I enjoyed talking about stuff I knew about, but they always asked me questions about the stability of Cylon Centurions, and I could never answer those questions." Her mouth thins. "Greystone kept their code really, really tightly guarded. No one except the highest levels had access to the actual code." She realizes she's rambling and quickly eats a few more bites of green food before moving to the red-orange food. She nods a bit soberly at the agreement. "I guess we just hold the memories, and hope one day we can find those people again."
Cate bobs her head as Isolde explains, listening while she eats. "Well, I think everyone can file integrating the Cylons in under 'seemed like a good idea at the time'," she says dryly. Another few bites of food go into her mouth. "Yeah. Maybe someday." She veers away from that topic to ask nosily. "You and Milkman hook up back then?"
Isolde feels a heat gather in her cheeks at Cate's nosy question, and she shyly moves some food around on her plate. "He's not interested," she confides honestly. "And that's okay... neither of us were really torch-carrying for each other. No epic romance equal to that of the Lords of Kobol or anything like that." She casts Cate a dubious smile. "Like most pilots, I'm sure he has a romance going on between him and his Viper."
"Sorry," Cate says, on seeing the reaction. "Just the way you talked about him... I'm too nosy for my own good sometimes." She takes another bite, looking preoccupied for a moment before smirking faintly at Isolde's last remark. "Actually I think they're contractually obligated to be in love with themselves. It's amazing sometimes that they can fit their egos into those little planes." The smirk turns sad then, and she says, "I tease, but... I knew a bunch of the flyboys back at Triton. They were good guys."
Isolde starts to go back through the last few minutes of conversation, and she almost blushes again at the realization of her word choice. She shakes her head, quickly moving on before Milkman comes up again. "Oh, that's what the extra room around the engine is for... ego storage." She laughs, finishing about three-quarters of her meal before she sets aside her fork. She looks over to Cate at her admission of teasing, and she nods agreeably. "I would say pilots are like marines... you have the good ones who should set the example for the cliches, and then the ones who actually are the cliches." She grins. "Not saying that you are a cliche, Cate." Belatedly, she asks, "Is that where you met Newton? At Triton?"
"So that's what goes back there..." Cate plays along with the jibe about ego storage. "Oh, I'm not worried about being a cliche. I'm the one that doesn't fit neatly into the little boxes, remember?" She takes another bite and then nods, still looking somber. "Yeah. I was visiting Hyperion for the Colonial Fair and got stuck there when the uprising started. I didn't know him too well, but we met a couple times."
"Oh, wow," Isolde replies to Cate's story. "That explains why you're here." She looks like she's about to say more, but then there's some loud-mouthed nerd breaking through the ranks of an enjoyable lunch, looking frantically for Asa. The Specialist groans, and then smiles. "Looks lunch's over." She swings out of her seat, grabbing her tray to bus it. "Thanks for the lunch, Cate... hope to see you at dinner."
Cate is rescued from any further questions about Hyperion when the other specialist arrives. Cate turns to glance at him, then gives Isolde an understanding nod. "Duty calls. But yeah, thanks. I'll see you around."