2237-05-09 - Grunting Grunts

Graham and Tavo talk about the current situation and how they got there. Some words are even exchanged.

Date: 2237-05-09

Location: Armory, Cutter //Vanguard//

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1014

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The armory on Vanguard has nothing on any of the armories on Galactica, let alone the main armory, but it's also serving a great deal fewer people. Tavo sits at one of the work-benches, a case of armor-piercing rounds open beside him. He is belting them up, combining them with metallic links to eventually load into a magazine for his SAW. He's set the links and rounds out so that he does not have to move his right arm very much, as his khakis are bunched around a thick bandage on his right upper arm.

Unlike his fellow gunner, Graham isn't focusing his attention on his ammunition. Nor is his attention drawn to his own assault weapon, but instead to his sidearm. He's sat, cross-legged, on one of the long benches against the far wall of the armory, with a black mat spread out in front of him with the various pieces of the pistol set out in front of him. He seems almost zen-like as he scrubs each and every millimeter of the internal workings of his sidearm. Unlike his compatriot, Graham has elected to dress down for the afternoon, khaki pants matched with dull green-grey under-tank. There's a lot of grease.

"That's what I get for trying to conserve AP rounds." Tavo doesn't have quite the abyssally deep, rumbling voice that one would expect from a man of his considerable size, instead speaking in a grumbling baritone. Looking over his shoulder, he notes, "Ball rounds just spark off half the time."

"You're better off," Graham says, glancing up from his nearly black hands, "using your rifle as a club." He pauses and offers a sheepish little shrug and a frown, "I'm still getting used to not wandering around looking smart on a peacekeeping detachment." He returns his attention to his scrubbing, picking up a thin spring and holding it up to the light, "I don't know what I did with this damned thing," he grunts, "but it looks like I washed it in a swamp..."

"I've tried that. It works even worse." The Scorpian keeps working on chaining together round after round, a slow, careful process. "Did you let a Navy puke touch it? I think I'm convinced that crud just gets on everything they touch." He stops at one point, lifting up one of the metal linkages, studying it, and setting it aside, "Tavo, by the way. I've seen you around, of course, but I don't think we've been introduced."

"Price. Graham Price," the bearded gunner says, glancing up at the other man for long enough to realise the rank disparity. He stands, swiftly - somehow managing to do so without knocking everything off the bench, and moves to attention, "Sorry, Staff Sergeant. Didn't notice we had a VIP slumming with the rest of us." He doesn't grin, of course, but the corners of his eyes would probably indicate that he's joking. Maybe. "Wouldn't let a blue-shirt touch my gear, Staff. Too much paperwork when they shoot themselves in the foot."

Even as the other Marine starts to stand, Tavo is waving him back down, "At ease. We're all working here, Corporal." He nods at the joke, chuckling a little, "Good man. They seem just fine in space, but put them near a personal weapon..." The big man shakes his head, "Where are you from, Sergeant? Because in the Scorpian Army," yes, he said 'Army,' not Marine Corps, "we don't interrupt work to snap-to."

"Caprica," the Lance Corporal says with a sheepish grin as he stands easy (though a little uneasy), "That's another thing I'm getting used to, Staff. Worked in an office before the... well. Before it all started." He nods sharply, as if making a point, and moves to re-seat himself, "And in the frontlines of filing and data-entry, we interrupted work for anything and everything." He plants himself down with a light thud and returns to work, groping about the black mat to find a black spring, "Appreciate the chance to help," yes, he said 'help,' not 'serve.' "Better than pissing myself back home."

Tavo grunts, as if the response is exactly the one he expects. He even chuckles a moment, "A Caprican office." There's a pause, and then he inquires, "Can you at least make good coffee?" Shaking that off, he adds, "Good place to start. Tauron and our first trip to Canceron were nasty. Watch your ammo, stick close to cover, and put the toasters down as hard as you can. You'll be fine until your number comes up, just like the rest of us."

Nodding with a frown, Graham sucks his teeth gently, "Saw a little action during the start," he says with another shrug as he continues scrubbing, "Had to get the family out so," he lifts the half-assembled pistol and waggles it slightly, "we became fast friends." He chuckles softly and nips at his lower lip with his teeth, slipping various parts back into place in the firearm, "Oh I don't plan on dyin', Staff. I've got plans, y'see? Step one is 'do not die'." He grins up at the larger man and shrugs, "If I die, my sister's gonna kill me."

"Everybody dies, Corporal." Not exactly reassuring, at least until Tavo adds, "Just have to make sure it isn't a toaster that does it." Still, he seems a bit reassured by the man's competence and familiarity with the pistol, "I assume you're rated on something a bit bigger than that. You can drop a toaster with that -- or most anything else if you're persistent enough. I just prefer something with a little more kick."

"Aye, Staff," Graham says with an upnod, "If it has the words 'assault' or 'weapon' in it, I can use it." He reinserts the slide to complete the sidearm, not setting any records with his reassembly, but the pistol looks clean enough. He produces a thick white towel of some nature and begins wiping down the weapon as one might a small child, with care and attention to all the nooks and crannies. "Never too many five-five-six shooters in a company." He leans back slightly, stretching out his back from all the time spent hunched over the cleaning mat, "Not enough experience to really have a 'preference' yet. I'll shoot what I'm given."

That response definitely gets a chuckle, and Tavo nods his agreement sharply, "Good. Just about the only thing that slows down toasters on the ground is heavy automatic fire backed up by aimed rifle fire. And we have enough rifles most of the time. Even the Navy pukes can fire a rifle most of the time. Good to wait on a preference though. Find what you like. Sergeant Daly likes a Heavy when he can get someone to help him hump ammo. I like a SAW. It's always good to have a one-shot," a rocket launcher, "with you if you can carry it, in case you run into armor."

With a nod, Graham places the pistol carefully onto the bench in front of him before folding up his cleaning mat, "And here I was hoping to go for a nice wander around enemy lines. Take in the view, maybe a few cocktails with the girls..." He chuckles softly and shakes his head, "Damn toasters ruin everything." He pauses and tilts his head slightly as he watches the Staff Sergeant work, "How're things looking on the ground here? I haven't had a dirt-side rotation yet. Things as bad as they sound? Earthquakes, tsunamis, clankers, oh my?"

Finishing the last link in the belt of ammo, he reaches out to draw an empty SAW magazine close, wincing slightly as his right arm pulls with the motion. Still, he feeds the belt in, carefully smoothing the links, "There's still plenty of time for sight-seeing. Look, see the partial cover of a natural berm. Spot Raptors flying overhead. Be amazed by the shiny metal toasters in the woods." Very dry, that is. The question causes Tavo to grunt, shrugging a little helplessly, "It's not good. But we've only spotted a few Toasters so far. At least from what I've seen and heard. But the folks in the village are bad off, that's for sure." Looking back to the Corporal, he inquires, "Was Cap City as bad as they say? On Toaster-Day, I mean."

"I'll have to send that to the tourism board," Graham says with a roll of his eyes as he works the action of his pistol repeatedly, ensuring it slides cleanly but not so clean as to bounce off at the slightest perturbance, "Warzones make the best holiday destinations. Never any crowds, very few queues..." To Tavo's assessment, however, Graham shakes his head slowly, "As if toasters weren't enough, now the planet's trying to kill us off too. Typical luck, I suppose." Though at the mention of Cap City, the Corporal pauses and shrugs his shoulders, "Worse. I mean it looked bad, but the smell, the sounds." He simply shrugs his shoulders again, "Worse."

Tavo chuckles at the mention of the tourism board. "Well, the planets have already been trying to kill us off... but yeah, adding the Toasters to that just make it not damned fair." He nods slowly at the brief description of fighting in Cap City, "Yeah. I could see that. The jungle, or just the woods, it covers up some of that. There's always some noises, natural smells. Been lucky enough to not have to fight for long in any cities. I'm sure that'll change soon though." There's a fatalistic streak to the last statement several kilometers wide.

"Still, managed to get myself and a handful of stragglers out," Graham says with a sharp nod, "If one guy trying desperately to survive can do that, a hardened militia should have better luck." He shrugs his shoulders though and leans against the wall, almost as if his spine had decided enough was enough, "Still. Plenty to do." He goes quiet, thus, his fingers toying with the trigger guard and safety switch of his pistol in a contemplative gesture.

"Good for you. We got lucky on Scorpia. Too hot and wet for too many Toasters. I'm pretty sure that's the only time that's been a benefit." There's a pause, as if he were considering all other combinations of 'hot' and 'wet,' but he just grins a touch and lets it go without saying anything more on the subject. "Problem seems to be that we draw Toasters. They spot an organized body of troops, they come after us. Not mindlessly or anything, but the more of us there are, the more of them we draw." The magazine is packed closed and double-checked, then placed to join two others, "Always plenty to do, Corporal. That's the one thing that'll never change unless you don't want it to."

"I've read some of the after action reports," the Corporal says with a nod, moving as he does to retrieve a large bag from its place under the bench, "the ones that don't lead to nightmares, that is. The cities seemed to be hit the hardest; at least that makes sense. That's where most of them were. But all this talk of... slave camps? That's just talk... right Staff?" He shakes his head slowly and retrieves a rather bulky Minimi-looking weapon from within the bag, "Have the civilians... just given up?"

Tavo hesitates at the question about slave camps, shrugging his broad shoulders a little helplessly, "Don't know, Corporal. I've heard the rumors too, but I haven't heard anything confirmed one way or another." The SAW being taken out draws a sharp nod of approval, and then he turns around to lean back against the table, considering the last question, "There's always some people who need a little bit more protecting than others, Corporal. I know there are a lot of people still out there with a lot of fight still in them." He nods toward the weapon again, "Make sure you draw AP rounds for that." He jerks his left thumb over his shoulder to the magazines he just filled with linked rounds, "Ball sparks off way too often, but the quartermasters don't like how fast we burn through AP rounds in full auto."

"True enough, Staff," Graham says with a shrug, as if simply accepting what Tavo says as gospel, "It's up to us, I suppose. Show them there's something still worth fighting for." He sighs and tugs at the action, "Bloody thing, jams the minute I want it to do anything..." He rolls his eyes at the weapon and goes to work repairing the jam with tools that are almost comically undersized for the job they're about to perform, "Quartermasters don't like how fast we go through anything, Staff. Saw one of them reaming a Viper jock about his toilet paper needs." He pauses and arches an eyebrow, "You'd think they'd be used to clenching by now, eh?"

Tavo grunts his agreement and approval with the commentary on the Quartermasters, but nods toward the weapon, "You're probably doing it already, but keep your bursts short. Less heat and more chance to outgas between shots means less buildup around the bolt." Then he grudgingly admits, "They can be a bit temperamental in the heat, the wet, or the mud. Probably the cold or the sand too." The last comment causes him to smile again, "Haven't you heard, Corporal," the acerbic snark is strong, "Viper jocks are NAFODs. No Apparent Fear of Death. Throwing yourself into space in a coffin with jets strapped to it isn't worth clenching for them."

"Oh," the Corporal says with a shake of his head, "that's where I've been going wrong. Managed to trek from Cap City to Delphi purely on the power of needing the head." He pauses and grins, "But I'm a Marine now. Lower standards regarding plumbing." He jabs a finger down into the dark depths of his weapon and frowns, "The main problem with this damned thing," he explains casually, "is that when it's exposed to air, or space, or anyone with a commission... it just jams up quicker than a certain nephew of mine when asked about missing cupcakes."

"Don't you know, Corporal?" Tavo sounds amused, "Never expose anything to anyone with a commission, it's the best way to make sure it'll frak up. Especially if it's during an inspection." Jocularity out of the way, he smiles slowly, "You've got a nephew then? Bigger than a toddler, littler than a teenager? I keep hoping that I'll get a niece or nephew soon, but no such luck yet."

"Ensure pants on during inspection, aye Staff," Graham says with a wry grin, though when the topic returns to the subject of family the Corporal nods, slowly sombering, "Niece and nephew. Sister married young, well youngish I guess." He tugs what can only be described as an 'unknown mass of funky crap' from the bowels of his SAW and furrows his brow, "Navy corpsman. Brave sonovabitch. She lost him during one of the inter-colonial peacekeeping missions. So I moved down the street to help her out. Single mom, young kids... it's hard." He chuckles softly and sighs, "No matter what else happens in this shitstorm, I got them out. That's all I need."

Tavo's grunt this time sounds less amused, less approving, more understanding. An important skill, being able to communicate that much with an inarticulate sound. "Good for you, Price. Good for you all around." Rising slowly to his feet, he racks the magazines he filled with AP ammo into his locker, then comes back for the remainder of the boxed ammo. "Everyone keeps doing stuff like that, we'll be alright."

"Thanks, Staff," the Corporal says as he moves to stand, "Gotta get this drek squared away, otherwise I'll be on KP until my hands drop off." He eases the minimi back into the bag and nudges it under the bench with his foot, "Then I get to go babysit pilots. Fun times all 'round."

'Disgust,' says this grunt, and 'distaste.' "The pilots aren't all bad," buuuuuuuut... "but why anyone would get off the ground by choice is beyond me." Tavo gathers up the ammo, "Kick ass, take names, come home." And then he's off to turn the box back in to the armorer.


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