Eli has a request he'd like Van to pass up the chain.
Location: Officers' Berthings, Deck 8, Battlestar //Galactica//
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 943
Van isn't pacing, which is nice, but he's definitely a bundle of nervous energy, sitting at the table in the midst of the nearly-deserted berthings. A cigarette smolders in the ashtray before him, and he's typing in idle, sharp bursts at a tablet before him, more out of the desire to be doing something than to be doing whatever he's actually doing.
Eli enters, damp from a shower, towel over his shoulder. His hair drips a little and his beard looks freshly trimmed. Normally, he'd just go about his business without saying anything. He looks at Van for a moment, as if deciding whether or not to speak. At the end, he decides on a simple, "Hey," by way of greeting.
Van looks up as the other man enters, offering up a nod, which likely helps with the decision to address him. "Doctor." The greeting is precise, but also polite, accompanied by a faint smile. The pilot runs a hand back over his short hair, then blinks and starts to scooch his chair in to clear a space past him, "I forget, are you past me, or closer to the door?"
Eli points at one of the bunks near the door. Medical staff tends to cluster in that area so that their unscheduled comings and goings disturbs fewer people. He hangs up the towel on a doorknob and ruffles his hair. His toiletry kit is stowed away in one of the neat hanging compartments inside his lower rack. "I..." he hesitates, "...have a favour to ask, if you're interested." He nearly mumbles those words.
Van tilts his head slightly at the near-mumbled words, curiosity flashing over his face and then that faint smile returning, wry and crooked, "If it's something you need the help of the RPA to look into, I have to warn you, it doesn't really stretch from one colony to another."
Eli rubs the side of his nose and then flares his nostrils. "It has to do with piloting." Something about the way he says it suggests that was hard for him to say.
Van's brows draw together at Eli's response, the topic of the request certainly not what he was expecting. He hesitates a moment, then nods, gesturing to the seat across from him, "Put some pants on, have a seat." The gesture serves to remind him that he has a cigarette burning, now mostly ash. He buys the other man time to at least start getting dressed by ashing it and drawing on the coffin nail, blowing smoke up toward the air vent just above.
Eli tugs the sweat pants up over his shorts, runs the towel over his hair again, then rather grudgingly moves towards Van. He scoots his stool back a bit. It's not personal, but it's becoming known that the doc is an ex-smoker with no love for cancer sticks. "I have experience," he says a bit bluntly. "When I was with the ICJPK, I received basic flight training for medivac vehicles. Pilots needed to be trained as medics and medical staff needed basic flight training for this particular op where we needed to send in as few people as possible."
Van watches the other man scoot back, drawing his ashtray closer and leaning back in his chair a little. He's familiar with the reaction. "Right. Or in case the pilot and ECO were wounded. The same reason pilots and ECOs get a little first aid training, and ECOs often get a touch more." This much all makes sense to Van, apparently, as he nods expectantly.
"I don't want to lose it," says Eli. Bluntness seems the order of the day. "I kept it up on simulators when I was stationed at the hospital, but haven't since I've been here."
Van nods his head, "We have holoband sims in the squadron ready rooms. I'm sure that others could get some time on them. I can float a request up to the CAG, make sure there aren't any restrictions that I'm unaware of." Because if someone is going to be aware of the restrictions, it's probably Van.
Eli still seems tense. It would be fair to say he's a man who doesn't like asking things of people. "I know simulator time is probably at a premium. I didn't know proper procedure in this case. And you seem all right to deal with." The implication being that some pilots aren't.
Van shakes his head, "Actually, many of the veteran pilots seem to see simulator time as beneath them. Not all of them mind you, but certainly some of them." He hesitates a moment, and then offers up the faint smile again , "I'll take that as a compliment. I know that some of my fellows can be... exuberant? Boisterous? Just-this-side-of-mutinous?" He shakes the possibilities off, "It's a mindset that most fighter jocks encourage, pushing everything to the edge of the envelope and beyond. But I would be happy to pass your request up to the CAG."
"I appreciate that you seem to not flout the rules at every given opportunity," says Eli gruffly. "Not that I'm a stickler and some regs are frakking stupid. But some people on this boat tend to throw out every single one regardless of whether it's smart or not." There is something in his tone though, something that suggests his edginess might be personal rather than just a general disdain for unruly pilots.
The doctor's description of his fellow pilots -- and others -- causes Van to shake his head sharply in agreement. "Quite. I used to be nearly as bad." He pauses, considering, then shrugs and admits, "Maybe even worse. But Triton had a way of changing people. Every time I tried to fly outside of my limits, I got myself shot down. When I went by the book and didn't go crazy, I scored kills and stayed in the air. So I stick to the rules. Most pilots and Marines seem to have taken the exact opposite lesson from their first real encounter with the toasters."
"That's because selectively breaking the rules to be more efficient or to cut through red tape takes actually thinking about regulations. It's easy to just break all the rules and do your own thing, but it puts peoples' lives at risk," says Eli. He rubs his forehead.
nods sharply this time, "Quite. Even if life would be... easier... if I had been willing to bend or break a few more rules. Unfortunately, the fighter jock mentality, and sometimes the marine mentality, leads to people thinking that the individual is more important than the whole, and to forgetting that they're a member of something larger." The pilot draws on his cigarette, grimacing as it burns down to the acrid filter, and stabs it out in the ashtray, blowing smoke up toward the vent again.
"It's a mess. All the egos and colonial differences. It's a wonder the Toasters haven't wiped us out already." Eli leans back in his chair and closes his eyes while the palm of his hand presses against one eye.
"Well, humans are stubborn." The faintest of smiles touches Van's lips, "After all, we were stubborn -- and lazy -- enough to create toasters to do the work we didn't want to do. But I think that we'll find that human creativity and stubbornness will win out in the end, provided that we can draw together at least somewhat." One hand gestures across the table, "Not that I don't think there will be plenty of stress headaches before that happens, of course."
"Mhmm," says Eli. "I'd settle for people following the not-stupid rules and stop acting like it's their kill count that is the only thing that matters." He gets to his feet. He pauses a moment and then says, "Appreciate the help."
Van shrugs a little helplessly, "If they think going wild gets them a higher kill-count, they're crazy. Stetz isn't a total wildman when it comes to the regs, and he and I were the first Colonial Aces." So, apparently he worries about his kill count too, in spite of his belief in the regs. "Not a problem. I'll chat with the CAG as soon as I can. Happy I could help."
Eli could say something to that, but instead he just kind of grunts and rocks back a step. "I'll see you later." He picks up his hoodie on the way by and shrugs it over his shoulders. He lifts a hand in farewell as he heads for the exit.