A pair of pilots run into each other in the rec room while waiting for their quarters to be completed.
Location: Rec Room, Deck 8, Battlestar //Galactica//
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 853
Quarters for VF-102 are still... fluid... as the hopefully-final touches are put on Galactica by the yarddogs. Unfortunately, this includes painting and fumigating several of the pilot bunkrooms. And so Van Newton has been camped out in the rec room instead of what will become his quarters, his stuffed-full duffel leaning against the wall behind him. He's in his blues, but that hasn't stopped him from smoking, a lit cigarette dangling from one corner of his mouth as he pages through a book.
It's everyone's first foray onto a Battlestar. For some, however, it's their first posting to a ship, period. Captain Niemec was waved off from her assigned quarters (or what she hoped was, based on directions given) like many others. The Mess was an option, but nerves still had hold of her that food just wouldn't have sat right. She did, however, swing through long enough to grab a coffee. Thus, dressed in her blues, duffel over one shoulder, and mug in opposite hand, the dark-haired woman trudges into the rec room. She wears the same 'lost' look most are probably ending up with at the outset and just drops the bag by one of the tables, slouching into a chair.
Van looks up from the crisp new paperback ('Software encryption in the Cylon Age' three years old and already tumbled off the bestseller charts) at the new entrant, his eyes going first to the insignia at her throat. He rises to his feet, even if it's not entirely required in the rec room. Slipping a strip of paper into the book, Van pulls his printed map out from under the book and steps over toward the new arrival's table, offering the map out. His steps have a slight limp to them, his right leg apparently bothering him in some way. "You look about as lost as I feel, sir. Did you get issued one of the maps when you came aboard?"
When he speaks, Antonie has the ill fortune of being midway through a long gulp of coffee. She swallows a bit quicker than intended and sort of squints at the man, dark eyes finding his own insignia. Ah-ha. "'fraid not," she answers, Tauron accent strong. Not one of the ex-pats, it'd seem. "Found myself on a cargo transport with a number of the workers. They just sort of pointed me towards berthings." There's a twist of lips to pair with the wry tone. She does set her coffee aside, leaning forward to accept the map. "Almost seems too big a ship, doesn't she."
Van hands over the map, "I'll need that back at some point, sir." There's just a hint of amusement behind the crisp tones of his Picon tenor, "Because you're right, she's a beast." He plucks the cigarette from his mouth, blowing smoke up and away, toward the nearest ceiling fan designed for just such a thing. "I still haven't been able to get into my berth yet. Something about the air wing's quarters being completed last because we're not necessary yet." Which was probably more inter-branch teasing than fact.
Well, she's not walking away with it. Niemec is quite comfortably settled into her chair, thank you. What she does do is lift her coffee again to start studying the map. Working to memorize it, perhaps. "More like they know we'd sleep in our birds half the time if we could anyway." She spends another moment looking over the sheet before handing it back to the man. "Have you had the opportunity to meet our CAG yet?"
"You know, that's just what the Specialist checking us in said." Van pauses for a moment, "I think she was joking. She also mentioned the deck crew might not like that so much." His brows rise at 'our CAG' and he shakes his head, "No, sir, I haven't. I only got aboard late yesterday, and," he gestures back to where his duffel rests against the wall, "I'm still settling in. Lieutenant JG Van Newton, by the way, sir. VF-102."
"Deck crew doesn't like much when it comes to their bread and butter." aka the pilots. "They claim they dream of a day where we don't break anything, but I imagine they'd bump about like chickens without heads if it ever actually happened." Antonie drains the last of her coffee, looking towards his duffel. "Hmm. All I know is the man's name. And that he's, thankfully, not Caprican." Last thing she needs. "Antonie Niemec," she offers in turn. He's already spotted her rank, she won't rub that in. "VF-102 myself. Raptor pilot."
Van smiles faintly at the commentary on the deck crew, "They'd be lost without us bringing home broken birds, wouldn't they, sir? Relegated to swabbing the deck." The comment about Capricans causes him to grimace slightly, "Unlike the Old Lady, from what I heard." Still, he nods in greeting as she introduces herself, "Vipers here, although I came up through Raptors. Flew them with the Eye-See-Jay-Pee-Kay over Sagitarron. There's something comforting about knowing that you can take a hit and not have to make a dead stick landing like in a Viper... but man..." and some animation flickers in his eyes as he draws on his cigarette and blows the smoke up at the vent again... then realizes that he's got a long ash from letting it smolder, grabs a nearby ashtray and ashes it, "...being able to flip end for end in the time it takes to breathe is nice."
"Everyone comes up through Raptors," Niemec replies, in a vaguely bemused tone. "Some of us just appreciate them and don't see the need to become a jock." There's no malice to it, just the easy banter of a pilot. "I've mostly flown SAR and medevacs. Done a few hot extracts that required fancy footwork. You'd be surprised what a Raptor can do if you treat her right."
Van shakes his head, with that faint smile again, "Yeah, but most of us don't stick with them for a tour. Despite the callsign," there is a slight wince as he realizes that he brought it up, "Milkman, I've seen a bit of fire in a Raptor myself, sir. They're good birds. Solid, smooth under the right hands. Not complaining about them at all, but I do like speed, sir. Although CAS is a whole lot easier in a Raptor than a Viper."
"I actually enjoy the work. Evacs, SAR. Helping people." Antonie shrugs, leaning forward and bracing forearms agains the table. There's a mournful look to her coffee. She may have to get up and get more. "Plus, I enjoy the company. I get an ECO to wile away the hours." Her expression shifts, lips twitching upward in a smile at the comment. It's perhaps a touched forced, but there it is. "So... this Wolfpack. You're the first I've met. Run into anyone else assigned to the squad?"
Van nods an understanding, setting down the ashtray and resting a hand on the back of the chair opposite the other pilot, but not quite deigning to lean on it. The cigarette lingers between the fingers of his other hand, apparently forgotten, "I understand that," the enjoyment of lending a helping hand, and, apparently, the usefulness of an ECO, "Real handy for long patrols, not having to use the wireless to chat with folks." The question, however, causes him to shake his head, "No sir. I think we're scattered around the ship at the moment, since our quarters are still being finished. Makes it hard to meet people. Plus, I think they're still bringing people aboard in waves."
"Lovely. Everyone lost on a ship. No one knowing who or what is going on." Niemec's nose wrinkles as she finally does push upright to make her way towards where someone has, thankfully, provided a narrow cart with a coffee pot. She needs more of the stuff. "How many weeks after departure, do you think, before we're in fighting shape?"
"You'd be surprised how fast you can get into fighting shape when someone starts shooting at you, sir." Still, the Captain's point is taken, and Van nods slightly as he continues, "But until we're not tripping over each others' toes? A month? Two? I don't know how rushed the yard dogs were when they built Galactica, I think that's going to be as much of a problem as getting Capricans and Taurons working together or Leonese and Virgons. Especially in the Air Wing and the Marines. What happens if a Leonese and a Virgon are assigned as wingmen?"
"Well, the Leonese and Virgons can go stuff themselves." A much, much older 'rivalry,' perhaps, but Taurons will be Taurons. They get a bit persnickety when matters of subjugation come up. Niemec continues to talk as she pours a fresh cup of coffee. "I suppose that's the point of all of this. To force us to get along and play nice." Mug is lifted and a testing sip taken. Good enough, her expression says, as she wanders back to her chosen seat. "Though those tin cans frakkin' deserve it."
Van nods his agreement again with Niemec's view on the purpose of the Colonial Forces, "No doubt. And to make sure that those who haven't been hit by the toasters get involved." His lips tighten with anger, and he reaches down to rub at the front of his right thigh unconsciously, "We can't take the frakkers apart fast enough for me. I saw what they did in Hyperion. I'm sure it was just as bad on Tauron and Caprica."
"Tauron was second only to Caprica in our use of the cylons," Niemec admits, sinking into her chair. "So, yes, hit quite hard. And too soon after the war." A civil war. And there's no mention of the ongoing strife with Caprica herself. "There are reasons many Taurans have gone off to live on other colonies. It isn't safe back home." There's a darkness to her own tone. Something distant. Pained. "It's why I volunteered. Figured some folks should."
Van frowns slowly as the other pilot's malaise settles in. He still hasn't sat down again, and he suddenly seems to remember that there's a cigarette smoldering between his fingers, glancing down with surprise and then grinding the nearly-dead coffin-nail out in the ashtray, "Sometimes it's hard to see that there are bigger problems than the ones at home?" It should be a statement, but there's something tentative enough about it to make it a question. "Glad someone sees it though. You see any action against the toasters yet, sir?"
"Hmmm." Niemec is drinking her coffee. That's all. She's not musing at all! Nope. Or, more likely, trying not to be too broody about things. The question from the Jig, however, stirs her from her own reverie. "Yes, I have. On Tauron. Most of those medevacs I mentioned. We did a lot of ground support for the marines there."
pose nods, "Good. I get the feeling we're going to be dropped in the pot before we're ready. Good to know that all the colonial militaries are sending their best." There's a little flash of pilot's ego under his somewhat flat facade after all. "I was worried that we'd get too many people without any real experience. You do a lot of work in built-up areas?" There's a little grimace that accompanies that question, "Nasty place for CAS. To easy to find terrain on the way to or from your target."
Van nods, "Good. I get the feeling we're going to be dropped in the pot before we're ready. Good to know that all the colonial militaries are sending their best." There's a little flash of pilot's ego under his somewhat flat facade after all. "I was worried that we'd get too many people without any real experience. You do a lot of work in built-up areas?" There's a little grimace that accompanies that question, "Nasty place for CAS. Too easy to find terrain on the way to or from your target."
There's a faint snort from Antonie. "I'm not sure all will send their best. Volunteers, at least from Tauron, are rare. Too disgusted by the idea of working under a Caprican-run banner," because much as it may be called 'unified,' it'd be easy to see how many would consider Caprica behind it all. Niemec sets down her coffee, though her hand remains on the mug. "Mostly populated areas. The cylons, at least on Tauron, seem rather keen on hitting those areas. It's where our," Raptor, it'd seem, "support has been needed the most."
Van snorts in turn, "We should just put Picons in charge. Then you could all hate each other under unified leadership." By his tone, and the slight smile at the corners of his mouth, he's probably joking. Still, he nods at the response from the Captain, "On Sagitarron, there was plenty of actions out away from the cities, but on Picon..." his eyes go a little distant, fingers rubbing at his leg again, "...not so much. The toasters seem to know just where to hit us when they want a fight. Go after the civvies, and we can't maneuver, we just have to fight back."
"I could agree with the Picons." Mostly. No one likes the idea of other colonies being in 'charge,' but for a Tauron? It's a damn sight better than Caprica. Niemec pushes to her feet, picking up her mug. She takes a long drink before bending to haul duffel to shoulder. "That's the worst part of 'em. They give no fraks whether you're military or civvie." She shifts the strap of the bag against her arm. "I'm going to go check around. See what sort of Raptors they've got ready for us." Mug is lifted in parting gesture. "See you 'round the bunks once they let us in."
Van's eyebrows rise as she theoretically agrees on a Picon commander, "Anybody but a Caprican, eh?" When Niemec stands up, Van steps back slightly, giving her space to sling her duffel, but snagging the map as he does. "Yessir. I'm sure they don't want too many pilots crashed out in the rec room, so they'll get things sorted soon."