Isolde and Van decide to start over, trying to avoid the awkward. It's awkward.
Location: Firing Range, Deck 8, Battlestar //Galactica//
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 855
You should never shout "Fire!" on a spaceship, but that's what Isolde has been dealing with since her peaceful lunch with Cate Rhodes -- people shouting about fires. Not literal ones in this case, but more trouble with various systems on the Galactica. Having about her fill of people fannying about with her code, she has settled into the far corner of the weapon's range to go through her usual practice. Her hair has been drawn into a stubby, but no less bouncy ponytail, and she has doned ear and eye protection. She is fussing with her sidearm, checking over the weapon while a new paper target is being put up at the far end of the range.
Van still doesn't have quarters available to him, they aren't letting him near the Vipers or Raptors yet, and he's bored of his book. There aren't a whole lot more things to do, so he's left his duffel in the care of another pilot and followed his map to the firing range with his service pistol. Ear and eye protection is added when he arrives, and he moves on down the firing line behind all the Marines in their khakis, the scattered crew in their greens, a few folks in undershirts, and no one in their blues. Except him. Oh well, there's an open spot near the end of the line... right next to a familiar face. Lifting his voice slightly over the report of guns and the protection of his own earmuffs, he notes, "It works better if you pull the trigger."
The words draw Isolde around just as she clicks the magazine into place. Daughter of a marine has its benefits, as there's a natural way she holds her body when she's holding a gun. She does not look terribly awkward with the weapon, and it quickly defies most of her more nerdy characteristics. "Oh, is that what that is for..." She smirks over at him, and rolls her shoulders under the layered straps of her undershirts. "You still a wayward soul, looking for a place to call home?" She settles both hands on the sidearm, bringing up the weapon as she sets her shoulders and squares her stance.
Van sets his holstered pistol on the shelf of his chosen lane, squaring away two magazines and a box of rounds so that he can start loading the magazines, "I am." His long fingers dexterously pluck one round after another up, feeding them into the magazine. "Something about degreasing and repainting. Or maybe just painting to start with. The Den just isn't ready for the Wolfpack yet." He may have just made up that nickname for the pilots quarters assigned to VF-102. One magazine is set aside full, and he starts work on the next one, "I wouldn't have expected to find you here, Asa. You don't seem like a..." 'gunbunny' is on the tip of his tongue, but he swallows it, "firing range sort of person."
Asa looks over at him as he prepares his rounds, watching for a few moments before she adjusts her stance and pulls twice on the trigger in a quick motion. She has the air of an unpracticed natural -- if she had become a marine, she would be an ace. But, she's a nerd instead. His comment draws her brows up slightly, and she relaxes out of her stance. "My father's a marine... he had high hopes for all of us that we would follow his lead." She rolls a shoulder. "I guess I sorta have... in my own way." She looks away, resuming her stance so she can send another two bullets down the range. "The Den?"
Van looks up to watch the rounds go downrange. The news about her father causes his eyebrows to raise in surprise, "Maybe the Cylon attack was for the best. Marines don't tend to like Navy pilots. Especially not anywhere near their daughters." The second magazine is filled, and he closes the box of bullets and pushes it aside, only then unholstering his pistol and sliding a magazine into it. The weapon is set down, pointed downrange, and the holster is set aside as well. only then does he take it up, holding it in two hands in a trained stance rather than a natural one. "We're the Wolfpack. So of course we sleep in the Den, right?"
"You would have let a little thing like a grown woman's father get in the way of going out on a date with her?" Isolde shakes her head, looking a bit amused. "You're right. Maybe for the best." She fires off two more shots, and then relaxes. She doesn't clear the magazine as she calls the target forward, as if trying to get a look at how she's doing so far. "Ah, right... wolves sleep in dens." Her tone is that of one who did not exactly need to put two-and-two together, but she appreciates the extra information. "Have you met more of your pack?"
"No, I would have been dead out back of the Knotty Lady, most likely." At least Van still has a little bit of humor that hasn't been burned away by the fires of Triton. Raising the pistol, he fires off a slow series of three single shots, then lowers the weapon to see the results, "At least if half of the things I've heard about the Marines are true." Another careful shot, and he lowers the pistol again to answer her question, "One so far. I think we're pretty much scattered across this beast of a ship like little lost lambs."
"You know, we probably would have had a really pleasant second date," Isolde says, a touch reproachful. Then she looks away, focusing on her target. Not bad, but not great. She can almost hear her father scolding her from here. She shakes her head slightly. "I don't know... are half the things I hear about pilots true?" She looks over at him in passing and then has the target sent back to the end of the range. The comment of lost lambs has her laughing. "You know, the ship is actually real easy to navigate... once you realize that the layout is similar deck, to deck, with just small changes here and there."
"Until your father found out you were dating a Navy man." Van continues to take measured, aimed shots downrange. No spray and pray for this man. The slide locks back soon enough, however, and he checks the weapon and then sets it down on the shelf of his firing lane. "And from a Marine? Probably just about half of the things you hear about pilots are true." He looks up at the laughter, a hint of a smile touching his lips, "I'm sure that once I've been onboard as long as you have, she'll be easy to navigate." And then he adds, "You think we would have had a pleasant second date? You've been thinking about it then? What did you have in mind?"
Isolde shakes her head at the constant deprecation between pilots and marines. She really has no idea the depth of rivalry between pilots and marines -- no idea! She waits until the target is situated, and she resumes her stance. She almost misses the smile that ghosts its way across Van's lips, and it draws a small smile of her own. She fires off two more shots, which gives her a bit of think time in the wake of his questions. "Well, yeah... I mean, I guess I have... thought about it more, oh, fourteen months ago, but... I figured we would have found somewhere quiet to have dinner because you realized that the Half Hitch made me nervous," she interrupts herself to add, "I'm better about that now," then she continues, "I'd let you try to show off Hyperion, and I would be very impressed, even while I thought Hypatia was better, and you -- probably -- would have successfully gotten an invite to my hotel room. But, I'm not going to confirm whether or not you got laid."
Van ejects the magazine from his pistol, setting it aside and gathering up the next one, and then he stops as she starts to go into detail about the projected date. He opens his mouth to comment several times, but it goes on, and on, and on, and he blinks at the end. The pilot is silent for a long moment, his brows drawing down a moment as he processes, "A lady never tells, after all." Slowly, distractedly, he slides the second magazine home, but doesn't rack the pistol's slide, "Yeah. Too much culture shock at the Half Hitch. Besides, it's not really date material unless you're just looking for a quick score."
The former hacker clears her throat a bit after the break of silence, looking down at her pistol as she fiddles with the slide. His simply reply causes a sudden heat of uncomfortable warmth around her collar, and she nods in agreement. "Which is why you took me there the first go-around. I know." She then clears the chamber, and ejects the magazine, setting it aside. "Sorry you didn't score."
Her response causes Van to blink in surprise, "Uh... actually... I took you there because it was a good place to get a drink." The pilot safeties the pistol and sets it down, barrel still carefully pointed downrange, "Not that I wasn't... uh... interested." Leaning back a little to look around the divider, he does his best to ignore the heat on his own cheeks. "So maybe you're right. Maybe that did weigh into my thinking."
Isolde shakes her head, turning toward the divider as he looks around it. "Van, it's really okay... it was... it was a lifetime ago, right? Before the Uprising, and Triton, and the Battlestar Projects." She shifts from foot to foot. "Maybe we should just... start over, you know? You can be Van Newton, and I'll be Isolde Asa, and it will be like we're meeting each other for the first time." Then, before she can stop herself, she goes on with, "I mean, you spent the last year and a half thinking that you were waiting around for some woman named Aso..."
Van starts to extend his arm around the divider, presumably to offer her his hand in greeting, and then she zings him about the name again, "Hey... our uniforms have nametags." And then he remembers, "Plus, you weren't in uniform. At least I remembered your speech, and not just your legs." And then he winces a little, "Sorry. Crude. And yeah, I got a little busy to be waiting. Plus I didn't figure that 'Aso' was ever coming back." And then he actually does extend the hand out, "Van Newton, Viper jock, closet nerd."
Isolde just smiles wryly in the face of his defense. His wincing apology draws a small hint of color to her cheeks, but nothing more. "I have great legs," she reports simply. Then she steps forward, taking the offered hand. Hers is warm, and calloused, and very petite in his own long fingers. She squeezes rather than shakes. "Nice to meet you, Newton... I'm Isolde Asa, IT support, resident tour guide."
Van is a shaker, so there's that awkwardness to negotiate as she squeezes and he shakes, but at least they're both trying to clasp hands rather than one going for the hand and the other for the forearm. His hand is... delicate is the wrong word, but it's definitely built for dexterity over strength. "So," he's back around the divider now, unsafing his pistol and finally racking the slide to pull a bullet into the chamber, "what's your favorite part of the Galactica, since you know it so well?" There's a pause, and then he quickly adds, "Besides wherever has the biggest computer you can find."
Isolde catches the awkwardness, and she finds herself both curbed and accepting to the truth that the Tauron and Picon are just awkward around each other. She turns back to her own pistol, beginning to disassemble it. Ammunition is dropped into a small bowl, and pieces are set aside. The question draws her gaze over to him in a passing glance, and then she muses, "Hmm..." She finishes emptying both clips. "The catwalks above the flight deck," she says. "Nice place to just sit and watch the business below... you know, if you stay out of the way up there."
Van nods thoughtfully at the response, considering it, "The deck crews do good work. It's almost like watching a dance. I'll have to check the catwalks out some time." Once more, he starts in with the slow, careful shots, the antithesis of the usual assumptions about fighter jocks. "Figured there had to be some nice place on this beast of a ship." There's a pause for another pair of aimed shots, and then he adds in, "There's no beauty to it. No aesthetic." Of course, the Picons are a seafaring culture, so everything needs to be streamlined.
Isolde blinks in surprise at the bluntness from the pilot. She looks a bit hurt, and even touches a bit of the counter in front of her as if to soothe the insulted Battlestar. "You know, the best monsters in the stories weren't very beautiful either, but they were still deadly." She then finishes disassembling her weapon. "There's a lot of really lovely places onboard." The Specialist tries her best not to sound reproachful on the Battlestar's behalf. "I guess you'll just need to stop being such a Picon about it."
Van looks over to Isolde in surprise as she sounds hurt, "Oh... Uh... I didn't mean to insult your work. I didn't think I was." He flicks off the safety on the pistol and fires off the rest of the clip rapidly into the target. When the last report dies away, he safes the pistol and sets it down, hitting the button to bring the target back to him. "I'm sure it's really effective. I certainly hope it is, because from what I've heard of the basestars, we're in trouble if it's not. But effective doesn't have the same... I don't know... music to it as graceful and powerful."
The ex-Hacker just shakes her head slightly, checking over the parts of the pistol before she begins to reassemble it to be turned back in to the marines. She looks over toward him, brows furrowed up slightly. "Yeah, well... sometimes we all do things we didn't mean to do." She chews at her inner cheek a bit. "She's very effective... she just hasn't been given the right amount of time to stretch her legs. She's probably really self-conscious about that." Not that she's personifying the ship, or anything. Then she sets down the assembled pistol with the spare ammunition.
Van doesn't bother with disassembling the pistol, just ejecting the magazine and setting those and the spare rounds aside before he starts to study his handiwork -- it's not great, but it's passable. Her words jar him out of the study, however, and he steps back and half-way around the divider, resting one hand on the edge of the metal and frowning slightly, "You know this awkward thing here..." he gestures between the two of them, "...this is about the least awkward discussion happening on Galactica right now, yeah? Taurans and Capricans, Leonese and Virgons, Sagitarrans and everyone but Picons... the crew's got it worse than the ship does, and I can't even get into my bunk because it's not done yet. We all have plenty to be self-conscious about."
Isolde's doe-brown eyes follow him around the divider until he's almost in her little section of the firing range. She catches the corner of her lip with her teeth, looking a touch uncertain. "I don't know why we're so awkward," she says, the words more meant for her own thoughtfulness than a point of conversation. She looks around as he speaks about the rest of the ship, and when she looks back to him she does so with a tilt of her head. When he brings up the bunk, she huffs in a way that would have sent her bangs up in a flurry. "You can use my bunk... I've got a cot in the tech shop." Then she steps to grab her uniform blouse off the hook. "And about everyone hating someone... just gotta hope that our hate for the Cylons is greater."
The little huff of air brings a faint smile to Van's lips, and while her offer would have caused the young pilot she knew for an hour or so a year and a half ago to grin broadly, this Van just lets the corners of his mouth curl up a little, "That won't be a problem for anyone who's seen what they do. Part of the reason I hope we got a lot of veterans up here." There's a pause, and he can't talk himself out of, "And usually you've got to know a girl for more than a few minutes before she offers you a spot in her bunk." And he quickly hurries on, "I'm sure we'll get our bunks set soon enough though, thanks. And the rec room wasn't too bad last night."
"I think we do," Isolde says, though she looks uncomfortable. "I only know from what they did on Tauron." She then pulls on her shirt, starting to pull and button it into regulation. She looks over her shoulder to him at the pause and words to follow, and she laughs as she turns away again, buttoning up the blouse. "If you don't, remember that my bunk is empty." She then turns back around to him, adjusting her collar.
That little quirk of a smile spreads across Van's lips again as she turns away to button her blouse, "Really? Because I might see your undershirt?" He finally steps back around the divider, back to his own firing lane, and holsters the pistol, gathering up the magazines, pistol, and ammo. Before he can think too much on it, "That makes the offer a lot less attractive," slips out of the pilot's mouth, and then he frowns slightly, but doesn't apologize for once.
"You've already seen my undershirt," Isolde protests. "I just... buttons make me nervous. I like zippers." She then tucks in her uniform blouse, and rolls up her sleeves. She grabs her tech bag, drawing it across her body so that it rests on her hip. She turns to him when he mentions the emptiness of her bunk, and she starts to grin broadly at the pilot. She steps around the barrier into his firing lane, and she arches a brow at him. "Aren't you supposed to ask me to dinner in the mess first..." She crosses her arms, leaning into the divider between their lanes.
Van hesitates, then has to ask, "Buttons... make... you... nervous...?" His left hand rises to the brass buttons at his chest that make a rather prominent part of the Colonial Fleet uniform, but he is quite distracted by her grin and response, looking down and clearing his throat, "Sorry." And then he presses his lips together in annoyance at his own apology, "And I don't know that the mess hall counts as a date." He just said the 'date' word. Great.
"Are you judging me, Newton?" Isolde presses up off the divider, and takes the few short steps toward the awkward-looking pilot. She gently touches his forearm, as if to convey some kind of companionable connection with the pilot who might be more awkward than she is. "No, but it is a good place to get some dinner."
"No," Van's response is quick, although he subsides as she touches his forearm. He glances down, his fingers flexing a little, the motion shifting the muscles of his forearm. "I wasn't making fun of you. I was..." and there he's lost for a moment, not quite working as quickly as he otherwise might, "Making sure I had the details right." He takes a breath then, reaching across his body to pat her forearm in turn, and then reaching for the pistol and ammo, "Probably shouldn't take these to the dining hall."
"No, probably not," Isolde says, taking a step back as she senses his mounting awkwardness again. She clears her throat. "My turn to apologize." She ducks her head a bit, and starts walking away from his firing lane.
Van shakes his head, pulling down his target and folding it up before he collects it and the pistol, "No, no. No reason to." One hand reaches to her shoulder-blade, the other sweeping out ahead of them, inviting her to head toward the exit, "Have you seen any more of the Wolfpack around, by the way? I've just run into Captain Niemec and that's it. I figure most of them aren't onboard yet?"
The computer techy glances over her shoulder, brows raised a bit when he steps in with her, particularly the momentary grace of his hand. Her expression becomes a bit abstruse, but it is a passing change before she settles into more comfortable conversation. "Your CAG is onboard, as are a few others... are you worried?" She pauses at the desk manned by the Marines and turns in her firearm and extra ammo. She doesn't seem interested in the target sheaf she left behind. "I bet we can ask around."
Van passes off the necessaries to the Marines as well, although the target finds its way into a trash can. "Not... worried. Just concerned about unit cohesion. We can't start building it until we're all aboard. But I suppose that if the CAG isn't worried, I shouldn't be either." He did just say that he wasn't worried, but maybe he's just trying to look on the bright side. Either way, he doesn't let his hand linger, "You've got time for that? I don't want to take you from anything you have to do, but a cruise director would be helpful."
The Hacker looks up at him as he works through his own worried feelings. She steps out into the corridor just off the firing range, and -- in an automated kind of way -- heads to the stairwell up. "Okay, I'll ask around, but..." She fixes him with a look. "We have to make a stop at Deck 6." She starts up the stairs, a bit of a bounce in her steps as she does. She keeps to the appropriate side of the stairwell, allowing for easy traffic heading the other direction.
Van follows Isolde's common-sense example with the stairwell, dropping into step with her easily enough as they go upwards, "Okay." He only lets the agreement sit before his curiosity gets the best of him, "What's on Deck 6? I mean, besides the hangars, obviously."
Asa looks over her shoulder toward him as she continues the scale the stairs. "Just the flight decks." Which probably doesn't sate his curiosity. She does flash him a broad smile that draws dimples onto the centers of her cheeks. She then turns back to the path, this time not avoiding some marines who have decided to loiter around. "Make a hole!" She weaves through them until she is making the final turn to Deck 6.
The dimpled smile brings an honest smile to Van's own lips, even a little flash of teeth between his lips. "Fine, be mysterious." The scattering of Marines causes him to press his lips together, but Isolde is ahead of him, and he chuckles faintly, shaking his head and reaching a hand up to run it along his buzz-cut hair. "I think they hop-to better for you than me."
"I'm endearing," Isolde replies over her shoulder. Then she breaks free through the deck congestion to the Flight Deck. As one of the few actually walking to the flight deck instead of departing from it, traffic lessens. She does not linger on the flight deck, but instead veers toward one of the smaller storage hangars. She checks to see if the homeless pilot is following her as she steps into the hangar. They aren't alone in here, but they are certainly a handful of people in this smaller offshoot. This is where the Vipers are hiding, most of them getting painted, or drying from being painted, or waiting to be painted. They are definitely almost done.
"We'll see about that." Van chuckles again, but he follows along without question. Stepping into the smaller hanger bay, his eyes light up, "Oooh..." Once again, his eyes light up, and a broad grin splits his face, "There we are, my precious." Glancing over to Isolde, he notes, "You're not bad either. Thanks for showing me." He pauses a moment, then adds, "Unless you actually did have something you want to collect in here."
Isolde stands back and lets him marvel at the ships. She watches him with a small smile tugging at her lips. She nods to one of the deck apes that is pulling an unpainted Viper out to see to its new coat. She gestures him forward, almost inviting him to go poke around the ships. "I don't know which one is yours, but there you have it." She threads one arm behind her back, clasping the opposite elbow. She then shakes her head. "No bunk, not many fellow pilots, and no ship... I knew I could at least fix one of them."
Van shakes his head at Isolde, "Until they're claimed, they're all mine." The deck apes would probably disagree with him about that. "Except the one that the CAG's already claimed." He sweeps a finger from one end of the row of birds to the other, "Until then... all mine." He looks to the deck crewman, "And yours. Of course." He steps close to the Viper, running a hand back along the nose, "Thanks, Isolde." Glancing over his shoulder at her, he starts working back along the ship, staying out of the way of the deck crew as he breathes in the sight and feel of the ship.
And the Tauran says what is expected of her: "Greedy." Then Isolde steps forward, taking a closer look at the new and shiny Vipers. She offers a slight wave to the deck crew hanging around, and one gives them a look that Isolde shrugs helplessly at. She watches him, stepping slightly around the birds with a tilt of her head. She arches her brow in genuine interest. At his thanks, she smiles a bit shyly, and nods. "You're welcome, Van."
Van sticks to the as-yet-unpainted Viper, circling around it once and then settling right under the nose where he can look back along the sharp lines. The giddy glee slowly leeches out of the young man, his grin fading down to a simple smile, but he nods, rubbing at the front of his right thigh with one hand, although he doesn't seem to notice the gesture. "It's been too long since I've been in the cockpit for anything but the re-cert." Giving the Viper one more pat, he moves over to stand alongside Isolde, half-turning to chuck her shoulder ever-so-lightly with one fist, "You're alright, Tauron. You sure you're Marine-blood?"
Isolde notices the leg rub, but she says nothing even while part of her brain is already thinking of where she should direct him to so he can sit down. The kind of comfort that fills his voice makes her feel a bit satisfied, like she has made a fulfilling life choice. She is about to say something when she is lightly shoulder chucked. It sends a small whoosh of air from her, and she smiles slightly. She will be parsing the various reasons why she received that shoulder chucking, but for now she stays in the present. She shifts from one foot to the other, and laughs a bit. "Pretty sure," she offers in reply.
"Too bad. Still two strikes then." At least Van's tone is light, suggesting that he's teasing her. Looking back out and over the fighters, he nods to himself, "Okay. We got fighters. I can stop worrying about if they're going to turn me into naval infantry," never 'a Marine,' "and worry about whether I'll be able to trust my squadron mates to trust each other, and where I'm going to sleep if I don't steal your empty bunk." He looks over to Isolde, noting, "But hey, good news, at least one squadron-mate doesn't hate Picons, just Capricans, Leonese, and Virgons."
"What happens when I get three strikes?" Isolde's brow furrow as if she is quite concerned about this. Then she shakes her head, offering a small smile again. "I think you'll do okay with your squadron mates..." Not that she has much experience with the inner-workings of pilot team building. She then adjusts her bag slightly. "Oh, must be a Tauron," she says, without missing a beat.
"You'll have to find out if you get there." Van glances over to Isolde, noting, "I wouldn't suggest it. It's terrifying." Her reassurance causes him to shrug slightly, and then chuckle as she names the colony of the one pilot he's met thus far from his own new squadron, "Got it in one. It's almost like you knew, just based on hatred. How surprising." That's as dry as dust.
"Sometimes it takes a common enemy to forget old hatreds," Isolde says in a tone that suggests she's been thinking about this a lot. Then she shrugs, sighs and pulls at her bag. "I should get going." She looks up toward the pilot now, shifting from foot to foot as if trying to decide something. She obviously decides against by the way she just shakes her head and smiles. "It was nice meeting you, Newton. I hope you get your bunk assignment soon."
Van chuckles a little at the first statement, "I've been hearing that a lot since I came onboard." The shifting draws his attention to her, and his brows lift in silent question, but when she decides against whatever she's thinking of, he lowers them again. There's a moment when he obviously considers saying something, something that quirks his lips ever-so-slightly, but he too demurs. Instead, he nods, "Thanks. If I still don't have a berthing in a day or two, I'll come find you about that offer. Nice meeting you too, Isolde."
"I think most of us hope the rhetoric catches," Isolde says. Then she takes a backward step, and another, almost like she's trying to casually retreat. She smiles at his reminder of her offer. "I hope you do." Then she realizes the weight of that statement, adding a bit awkwardly, "I mean, if you don't have a bunk yet." She then turns, leaving the pilot with his ships that are all (not) his.
Van chuckles again at the awkward comment, nodding, "I knew what you meant," he reassures her. And then he looks back to the fighters, spreading his arms, "Mine, all mine." There's a moment's pause, and then he looks back to the nearest deck crewman, "Except when they're yours, of course." He'll just stay there for a little while and soak in the proximity to the fighters.