2236-11-18 - Age of the Nerd

Van and Isolde explain nerddom to Spencer.

Date: 2236-11-18

Location: Rec Room, Deck 8, Battlestar //Galactica//

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 880

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Van stretches slowly in his seat, pushing the civilian holoband off his face and blinking dry eyes. A cigarette dangles from the corner of his mouth, mostly ash by now, and he shifts in surprise as he remembers it, plucking it from between his lips and grinding it out into the ashtray in front of him. He then pulls the holoband entirely off his head and sets it down, then stretches again, groaning softly as he does. Apparently, he's been sitting there for a while.

It's a bit of a lull in the rec room. Duty shifts cover all hours, but even in that case, there are always going to be times when common areas are less busy. Spencer is seated at a table, clad in his Marine fatigues. His shirt is undone and his sleeves are rolled up. He's got a deck of cards and seems to be playing some kind of solo game. It's not going well from the nosewrinkle. His table is not too far from Van's.

There is the sound of a stumble -- which is to say, someone goes oof really loudly, there's a clatter of something, and several huffing curses in what sounds like a broody Tauran dialect. Several moments later, the dark-haired computer tech is skulking into the rec room, ruffled. Isolde Asa is trying to make sense of a rather sizable stack of papers that had once been inside the covers of a binder, and are now all disordered. She glowers a bit. "What a waste... worthless... weak-ass bindings..." She's muttering at least in standard now, but she sounds irritated.

Van is still in his blues, but then again, he seems to mostly wear his blues when he's not in his flight suit. Almost as if he doesn't know how to unwind despite the cigarette and holoband. Then again, he doesn't exactly look like someone who just finished a marathon gaming session, so maybe the holoband wasn't helping. At the sound of the clatter outside, the pilot rises to his feet, slipping the 'band into a little sack and starting forward with a glance over toward Spencer's table and the cards laid out there. He starts to call out to the doorway, "Everything..." and then Isolde enters the room in the wake of the thumps and grumbles, and his eyebrows raise slightly, "I don't think that binders are meant to be dropped, Asa."

"You would think, on a ship that moves, that a binder would survive droppage. It's basic engineering. That said I'm pretty sure she dropped the binder right on the snap clip which probably caused the mechanism to fail and that's an eventuality that's hard to compensate for from an engineering perspective." Spencer says that all...rather quickly, but oddly clearly. He punctuates that last word with a snap of a pretzel stick.

Asa blinks first at Van and then the fast-talking Spencer. She tilts her head slightly, temporarily distracted from grumbling at Van. "I, uh... yeah, I did." She starts to laugh. "Actually dropped it on the spine, but the impact still triggered the clips." She snorts. "We could actually bind them... that'd fix it." She dumps the binder and out-of-order papers on Van's table, and drops into a seat that allows her to easily converse with the two. She gives Spencer a careful look. "Last minute addition? You're not with the techs, are you?"

Van blinks over at the torrent of technobabble coming from the table next to his, "Yes..." he sounds only slightly sure of himself, "That sounds like it makes sense." The holoband bag is set back down next to the ashtray, and Van settles back into his seat, "Don't they have binding machines down in the Tech Shop?" He falls silent, however, when Asa poses her question to Spencer, looking over to the other man as well.

"Greasemonkey," replies Spencer as he snaps another pretzel. He offers the bowl of them out to Van and Isolde. "And gun monkey I guess, though the one comes with the other in the Marines. Not my choice. I mean I don't imagine there's a lot of people vying for this assignment but when I say it wasn't my choice I mean it really wasn't. Mandatory reserves and all."

Isolde is not one to turn down food, particularly if it lacks too much sugar. She takes an offered pretzel, and crunches thoughtfully. "Oh, so you're with the Marines." She just keeps meeting Marines left and right. You'd think there was a sizable population of them laying around. She flashes Spencer a smile, and then offers out a hand. "I'm Isolde Asa." Shaken or not, she nods to Van. "And this is Van Newton... I'm with the Navy techs, and he's a pilot." She will let Van decide if he's going to be proper and add ranks there, or just let the rec room be the rec room. "Gun monkey... you see the macro-fabricators in the tech shop yet?"

Van hesitates at the offer of pretzel sticks for a moment, then leans forward and collects a couple of them, "Always good to know a good techie, even if they're with the ground-pounders." Transferring the pretzels to his left hand, he holds out his right in the wake of Isolde's offer. "Pleased to meet you." He glances over to Isolde, then notes, "I think you're just glad to have found another techie, aren't you?" Apparently, he's going to leave ranks to the side for now, although the diamond on his collar shows his rather neatly.

"Not a techie man. Greasemonkey. Engines. Y'know, vroom vroom." Spencer then mimes honking. "You don't want me anywhere near a control panel, trust me. Sparks." He splays the fingers of one hand. He hesitates before offering his name. "Spencer Bernhard," he sort of mumbles over his last name especially. "Call me Cake. And no I have not seen microfabricators. I haven't seen much except for the sleeping and eating places. And the working places."

Isolde flashes a grin toward Van, but Spencer's correction draws a small laugh. "Okay, greasemonkey." She grins wryly, and then begins to sort through her papers, finding all the brightly colored dividers first. "Bernhard... Bernhard..." She sounds like she's trying to place it, and then she squints a bit at Spencer like she's starting to piece some things together, but they are slow while she is also busy keeping numbers straight in her head. "Nice to meet you, Cake." Then she looks over toward Van again. "You're a techie, too, Van... you're just in denial of your true nature." She looks to Cake, explaining that, "Van is actually pretty good with computer stuff, but he's lazy and became a pilot instead of going down the path of nerds."

Van frowns slightly in thought at the name, although he nods his acceptance of the correction as to the man's job title. He's well behind Isolde in figuring out the connection, however, as he adds, "ooh, speaking of cake, did you hear that Cookie made some cake last night? I had a piece, despite the fact that it had urinal-water-blue frosting. Pretty good." And then he scoffs whole-heartedly at Isolde, "I am not a techie. I'm a nerd. There's a difference. I try to avoid grease," he gestures over to Spencer with long, delicate fingers, "and yes, I decided to learn to go very, very fast rather than drag myself through code for a living, although I don't know that I would call it 'lazy.' Not until you've seen flight school."

Spencer doesn't rush to help Isolde figure out the family connection. He looks away as she looks at him and even blushes a bit. He shoves pretzels in his mouth. Crunch. Crunch. "Only kind of code I know involves diagnostic equipment." He side-eyes Van at the description of the cake. "You're not selling it, man. But I'd probably eat it anyway because I am entirely not fussy when it comes to any kind of baked good." When the pilot mentions he avoids grease, he folds his own greasy fingers down in an unconscious bit of shyness.

"Oh, gross," Isolde says, tone flat to Van's mention of cake. "I knew there was a reason I avoided the dessert line." Beyond that being the norm. She then looks over toward Cake, grinning a bit. "You two can share my slice next time." Her brain still puzzles over Cake, trying to figure out why his name and face look so familiar... like an itch you can't quite reach to scratch. She then finds all the section pieces, and it distracts her as she looks over the page number range for each section. This is going to take forever... "You know, my dad always said to make friends with the guy responsible for the guns."

Van shakes his head at the comment about the cake, "I wasn't trying to sell it. I was actually mildly surprised that it tasted good. But I couldn't just let the challenge sit there." Shrugging to Isolde, he adds, "It just tasted like cake. No blue flavor." Or the distinct scent that accompanies urinal cakes, apparently. He shakes his head in amusement at the wisdom of Isolde's father, looking over to Spencer, "Where are you from then, Cake?" One finger points to Isolde, "Tauron," and then himself, "Picon."

"Libran," says Cake as he points to himself. "Hence the whole unwilling military thing. Everyone on the planet needs to do a tour in the militia. I was working at the Themis Spaceport when the uprising happened. As much as I complained about the mandatory service, it sort of saved our asses you know? Nearly everyone on the planet could mobilize in a matter of hours but I was kind of hoping they'd de-mobilize me after things settled out but instead they sent me here." There goes the motormouth again. It seems to speed up and slow down depending on the situation.

Van nods slowly, "I think it was technology and tactics that let us hold them off on Picon. As much as they were held off." Tilting to his head to one side, he inquires, "So if you were working at the spaceport, why not go Navy? You could have been a deck crewman, or worked in engineering just as well." In direct contrast to the speed-speaking Libran, the Picon's words are chosen carefully, enunciated precisely.

"You're assuming I had a choice," says Spencer around another mouthful of pretzels. "Military, aka the place that takes your choices away. Which is even worse if you're Libran because you didn't get a choice whether you're military to begin with. I worked in my uncle's garage before I turned 18, so when I went to do my training they put me in the motor pool. So here I stay." He shrugs.

Isolde is head-down and focused on all the pages she's still sorting. She's half way through 'The Regulations of Computer Security and Typical Usage Scenarios' when Spencer speaks of his required military service. She looks up, snorts, and shakes her head. "My dad would have loved that... require service. I'm sure he's wondered why Tauron never got in on that." She frowns slightly as she looks back at her mess of papers, and then blinks. "Frak... where the hell did page 98 go?"

Spencer looks around and spies the missing page under the table just beside them and half-wedged under someone's foot. He leans down, with his face near an officer's leg. She gives him a dirty look. He just grins and gently tugs at the sheet. "Scuuuuse me. Just..." he nudges the officer's foot, who eventually shifts it. He then presents to Isolde. "A little...shoe printy but still legible."

Van shrugs a little helplessly at Spencer's response, "I certainly chose the Navy over the Marines." Which... well... he's pretty much Colonial privilege wrapped up in a nice blue uniform. "But I recognize that not everyone has the same choice. I would have just assumed that they would place you where you could make the most use of your experience." Looking over to Isolde, he notes with a faint smile, "Probably because Taurons are too stubborn to allow it?"

Isolde looks over the sheet of paper once it is retrieved and offered back. "Huh... are those regulation?" She asks, critiquing the shoe print. Then she leans down to get a look at the officer's shoes, and the woman also gives Isolde a strange look. She smiles helplessly, and looks back to Van at his comment about stubborn. "Stubborn? Tauron aren't stubborn." She says this so matter-of-factly, one might believe she believes that. "I mean... we're very set in our ways, very resistant to change," unless it's adopting Cylons into the armies, "and rarely ever admit to being wrong. But, I wouldn't say we're stubborn."

"You uh, just defined the word 'stubborn,'" says Spencer as he sucks air between his teeth. He glances to Van for backup. "Same choice?" he echoes, doubling back. "More like no choice. If my choice was something that was taken into consideration I'd be back working at my uncle's garage and saving up to go to school for engineering, not here with my elbows deep in cars and shooting at Cylons." When does he breathe?

"Not for Picon or the Colonial Fleet." Of course Van knows what the regulation shoes are. "But maybe for one of the other colonies." He gestures toward Spencer at the man's response to Isolde's definition, "You look up 'stubborn' in the dictionary, Asa, and you find the Tauron flag." Looking back to the Marine, he responds, "Unfortunately, none of us have that choice, since we were treacherously attacked. Undoubtedly, without the toasters trying to wipe us out, you could be living that idyllic life."

Isolde looks at Cake, earnestly impressed. "You're quite a talker, Cake." It sounds like a compliment, too. Then she shakes her head slightly, looking between the two. "I'm staying out of this, because... well, I did choose to be here... it was just this or jail time." Whoops. Van probably doesn't know that, but her brain doesn't seem quick enough to point that out as she orders page 98 between 97 and 99, and then starts to assemble the next section.

"You know regulation boots by the print." Apparently that's rendered Spencer semi-speechless for a moment, because he mouths the word 'wow'. "I am pretty much never gonna be that military." He blushes a little at Isolde's comment. "Mhmm, I've been told that. Jail, huh? Lemme guess, hacked into something you shouldn't have and ended up getting caught?"

"This one's easy. It has the brand name in the sole." Van's explanation might be a tiny bit defensive. "Shoe-delies are not standard issue." There might even be something a little amused in that note. He glances sharply over to Isolde at her mention of jail, but doesn't seem surprised by it. Spencer's suggestion causes Van to smile faintly, "Not every nerd is a walking, talking nerd cliche." The amusement bubbles more readily to the surface there, the pilot clearly -- if lightly -- teasing the techie.

Isolde blinks over at Specer at his guess. "Hey... yeah... Caprica City Transportation Systems... tried to stop all the MAGLEVs. Got caught virutal-knee-deep in the hack." She takes on a haughty tone. "My dad couldn't decide if he was more pissed off that I was breaking the law or more proud that I was hacking Caprica." She then looks over at Van, head tilted. "Yeah, well... those who aren't walking, talking nerds are just sad, sad creatures." Nerd pride, right here. "Also, reg or not, those are nice shoes..."
pose puts in after Isolde's confirmation, "...just her."

Van puts in after Isolde's confirmation, "...just her."

"Psh. You completely broke the spell. Here I was thinking you had the eye for detail of a gumshoe detective." Spencer pretzel-crunches. He seems to be eating just for the sake of eating. Anyone hungry enough to eat that many pretzels would probably seek out real food. "I don't think I'm a nerd. I mean, I know I'm not cool but it's not like I have an advanced degree in anything and isn't messing around with engines and rifles supposed to be incredibly manly?" His brows knit together.

"Expensive shoes," Van adds to Isolde's critique, "Mother has several pair. Not the boot variety, of course." He chuckles at the nerd pride on display, looking back to Spencer as he finally remembers he has a couple of pretzel sticks and perches one in the corner of his mouth like a cigarette, "Nerds are cool, don't let anyone tell you any differently. Age of the nerd."

"Oh, if you know you're not cool, you're definitely not a nerd." Isolde is laughing easily now, rocking back in her chair with a deep smile that is all lovely dimples. She shakes her head slightly, leaning back in her chair while she taps a stack of papers together, and then places them in the binder. "I don't know... I'm a bad judge on what's incredibly manly." She glances at Spencer with a wry grin before she considers Van.

Spencer looks away from Van and mouths 'mother,' then turns back with a 'huh, what?' expression on his face. He shoves another pretzel stick in his face idly, but then touches his stomach. Hmm. Maybe time to stop. "I am greasemonkey, hear me screech," he proclaims, one hand gesturing grandly.

Van nods to Isolde, "Exactly. If you think nerds aren't cool, you're not a nerd." Cutting his eyes over to Isolde, he assays, "Nerds are manly." And then he shakes that off, apparently a bridge too far even for him, and he draws the pretzel stick into his mouth and crunches it up before he nods to Spencer, "There's the spirit." Yes, he said 'Mother.'

Isolde has totally missed this whole 'Mother' thing. She grins wryly to Van at his addition to her comment about nerds, but then she shakes her head. "Wait, wait, wait... I'm manly?" Somebody's in trouble. She looks at Spencer, aghast. "I didn't mishear that, right?"

Spencer handflails a bit at Isolde's question as he seems to have exhausted his word quota for the evening. He pinches his lips and shirks back a bit. He points at Van. "You're on your own, wings." He gathers up his cards from earlier and stacks them before sliding them back in the box. "I should probably...go for...a reason."

Van could verbally backpedal, probably should verbally backpedal, but instead he tries, "I don't know, do you want to be?" He spares Spencer a glance, "Coward. I thought you Marines were supposed to be NAFOD too?" And then he gives the man a nod and focuses back on Isolde, "Saying that nerds are womanly just doesn't have the same ring to it, but go for that too if you'd like."

Isolde narrows her eyes at Cake as he tries to make a graceful exit. "A good reason, too, I bet." Then she offers him a quick smile. "Nice meeting you, Cake..." She'll figure out where he's familiar later. Maybe they crossed paths professionally? Nah... that can't be it... she'd remember his motormouth. She looks back to Van, eyes narrowing at him this time around. "I need to find you a shovel."

"Like I said," Spencer points at himself and enunciates, "Con-scrip-ted. You don't get badass marines by press ganging every greasemonkey who can hold a rifle into service." He flashes a smile, offers a totally weak and non-regulation salute, then trots towards the door. "Nice meeting you! Finish the pretzels!" he calls back before he disappears from sight.

"Why? I'm not going to be able to dig myself out of this any time soon?" At least Van knows that much. He's been saluted, however, and so he straightens up, flashing a palm-out salute unlike the regulation Colonial salute. It's crisp too, even seated. "You too, Cake." Looking back to Isolde, he gathers up the last pretzel he claimed between his fingers, tapping it against the opposite palm as if it were a cigarette. Apparently he's not going to dig himself any deeper if he doesn't have to.

Isolde waves after Cake, and then looks back to Van with a narrowed expression. She takes a pretzel, crunches it thoughtfully. She allows the silence between them to stretch -- for at least another minute, before she can't take it anymore. "I'm very womanly, thanks."

Van feeds the other pretzel into his mouth as he waits, rubbing idly at his right thigh with one hand. "I never said you weren't. I'm usually smart enough not to say things like that." He eyes the pretzel back for a long moment, but doesn't gather any more for himself, "Besides, what I really meant was age of the nerd."

"Usually," Isolde repeats dryly. "See, what you could have said was that being a nerd is very sexy, and that would have covered all your bases nicely. But then you'd have to admit that I'm sexy, and I don't think you're ready for that yet." She smiles full and dimpled, and she crunches a pretzel, but leaves the rest, despite Cake's insistence.

Van coughs lightly at her advice, his eyes flickering around the ready room and his hand kneading all the harder at his leg. "Well, I didn't want to make Cake," a bit of puzzled amusement flickers over his features at the use of the nickname, "uncomfortable." He lets that sit for just a moment, then adds, "Besides, you don't need me to tell you that, now do you?"

Isolde catches the sudden shift as Van gets uncomfortable. She leans back from him, and trying to mask her own awkwardness. "Oh, uh... no, I guess not." She shifts in her seat, arms folded at her chest. She sinks down into silence for a few moments, and then casts him an uncertain smile. "I don't think Cake would have caught on, but... yeah... it's okay."

"Oh, I didn't mean..." One hand gestures slightly between the two of them, but Van looks more out of sorts than ever, "I mean, I didn't feel the need to try to tell another man that he was sexy. Just... not the sort of thing..." He blows out a bit of breath, "You know, I might need that shovel after all."

"Oh," Isolde blinks at the correction, though she's not sure it makes her feel any better. "Oh, okay." She starts to shuffle around the paper more, losing track of where she is in the organizing mess. When he asks after the shovel, she offers him a small smile. "It's okay... I mean, yeah... no, I don't need you to say it."

Van runs a hand back over his bristly hair, and then forward again, blowing out another breath, "Well I..." He makes a vaguely frustrated noise, glancing around the rec room again, then shrugs, "I'm not doing any better at this. Might be time to throw in the towel for the moment. I'm on duty in the squadron office in ten anyhow."

"Okay," Isolde says again, and the repeated response causes her to inwardly wince. She tries to look busy with the paper, but it really is just for show as she has completely lost her place. She looks up briefly to him, brown eyes uncertain. "I'll, uh... I'll see you around then. I have a maintenance shift in an hour. I'll be all over the ship, but probably not the deck, and I'm sure that's where you will be -- " She bites her inner cheek to shut up, and she ducks her head a bit. "See ya..."

Van hauls himself out of his seat, gathering up the holoband in a bag. As he steps past the techie, he reaches down to rest a hand on her shoulder for a moment, fingers squeezing gently, "Yes. Squadron offices, and then I have another turn on CAP. I'll be around. I still want to see how the tweaks with your drumming experiment are going." And then he looses her shoulder, moving to continue past and toward the door.

"Okay." Again? Isolde looks over her shoulder once he steps past. She frowns, and then looks back at her mess of papers. She quietly closes the binder despite not even being half-way done, and slumps in her chair. "Step too far, Is... step too far..." She chews a bit at her lower lip, running the last couple minutes on repeat and in slow-motion in her head.


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