Three Aquarians walk into a mess hall.
Location: Mess Hall - Vanguard
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1098
In the quiet nook by the door sits the raccoon Marine known by many names, of which the most common is "Hayes." No one really calls Erin "Chilly" to her face any more, if only because she's been seen engaging in martial arts in the gym with men a foot taller than her. The nickname "Rabid Raccoon" may stick, but --
The erstwhile scientist is curled up on the bench, looking over one of her textbooks. Again. And her head is wrapped up in a bandage for whatever reason; a cold pack is attached to the back of the bandage, to keep her noggin cool and icy. Head injury? Probably. With precautions.
And on her tray? You guessed it: the daily assortment of fruit. A lot of it. Because manly men don't eat fruit, and Erin's happy to have fresh-ish food whenever she can. It's what keeps her spry, young-looking, and vibrant under her icy demeanor of SCIENCE.
Lyn makes her way through the chow line. It's still technically spring, Caprica time one might guess. So dinner on her tray is porch chops, hashed browns, and carrots with a roll and butter. She skipped the coleslaw. The Aquarian doesn't understand that weird stuff. She looks tired. She hasn't been sleeping well, something she told the shrink, and that was the truth.
Arda's been having nightmares about the evacuation of Aquaria, of that week she spent trying to find survivors for pickup. Maybe the fact they're heading to Picon and it being the next hardest hit has brought it all up again. Or seeing her father's photo in that bar on Scorpia. Either way, she has dark circles under her eyes as she scans the mess hall for a place to sit.
"Hey." Erin calls out from her place. Like, what? She never invites people; people just sit with her. "Arda." She pats the place on the bench next to her. "Sit with me?" It's a solid invitation. Shit, the enigmatic scientist even closes up her textbook and smiles.
A friendly Erin is likely an Erin with an agenda. Question is: what is she scheming in that convoluted, frosty mind of hers?
"You look like shit." 'Frak' may be a replacement word, but nothing replaces the ol' 'SH' word. Even in space.
That makes Lyn blink a few times, because Erin's not usually so welcoming. She gives the woman a small smile though, and heads to her table, plunking down her tray across from Hayes and giving the books a quick glance. A soft snort is the first response to her assessment of Lyn's appearance. "Yeah thanks. Having some trouble sleeping." She shovels a fork full of greasy hash browns into her mouth, then dumps salt and ketchup on them because bland called and wants it's taste back. "What's up?" because she's not an idiot. Erin clearly wants something.
"I wanted to talk to you." Well, no shit. Erin cuts off a large slice of apple, and puts it on Lyn's tray. Like some sort of offering. Khaijit has fruit, if you have information.
"Is Ingvar's sister interested in women?" Trust Erin to be blunt as hell when she needs to. "I was talking to Madsen, and she thought she might be." Shrug. "Saw you talking to her the other day, so I figured you'd have some idea." Munch, munch, munch on her apple, she does. Eyeing Lyn like a curious rodent might.
"Um....." Lyn looks at the apple and then back up at Erin. "Who's Madsen? I can't say that I ever pried into NeeNee's personal life. She was like a kid sister to me and she went off to flight school while we were still at AST so, I have no real idea?" She grimaces, because if she'd stayed with Jonas, she's probably know that. Hell Leonie thought they were still together and probably married with kids by now. She clears her throat. "Why don't you just ask her? She's not the sort to take offense to an honest question."
Erin smiles briefly. "Scouting and reconnaissance are what I'm supposed to be good at, Arda. Riflemen and gunners go in through the front door." She gives Lyn a gentle punch in the shoulder, and then laughs an easy-going laugh. Which means that she probably did take a shot to the head, and her personality has irrevocably changed.
"Katja Madsen, also known as Deathwish among the pilots." Erin takes a bite out of her apple. "Had a heart-to-heart with her and Wagner last night, and -- well, I kind of realized how -- how stupid I've been the last few weeks. Since I've come on board." Shrug. "Wasted time I suppose, but -- " Another shrug. " -- eh."
"How bad did Jonas ring your bell on that mat today?" Lyn asks, rubbing her punched arm a little bit. Hey she's Aquarian! Bruises show up well on pasty white skin. "Stupid about what?" she asks, completely clueless. It's probably adorable how dense Arda can be sometimes but give her a break, she has a lot on her mind.
Blink. "About being honest with myself and others?" Another blink. "I'm homosexual." As if that weren't obvious. Which it isn't, really; Erin looks as normal and heterosexual as anyone else. Which is probably the point two.
Blink. "You didn't know?" Erin lifts an eyebrow. Maybe she thinks everyone knew, but didn't say anything. That's the fun part about awkwardness; it's never clear exactly what the cause is.
Lyn goes about carefully dissecting her pork chop into bite-sized pieces on her plate, extracting the bone and setting it aside. She shoves a chunk in her mouth and looks at the apple wedge for a moment, wishing it could magically turn into applesauce right then and there. Erin's admission has her looking up again and chuckling.
"I didn't know, no. Not that it would matter to me if I did, anyway. I don't care what parts you or anyone else gets excited about," Arda admits. "But good on you for being honest about it." She doesn't care, because she's less than 5 years away from being a born again virgin at this point.
Blink. "Well, sure, I guess -- I'm guessing you're not interested in women, then." Beat. "Which, I guess, doesn't matter to me, or shouldn't because you're a commanding officer." Another beat. "I mean, you outrank me." And those kind of relationships are sort of frowned upon.
Still, Erin seems excited about this. Sort of. Might still be the head injury. "Anyhow, that -- " Shrug. " -- guess that was the big change." Pause. "And, for the record, I had Ingvar down. Like, three times. He got in one move -- one move, really, that was it." Short pause. "I'll get him next time." And she seems confident about that. Certain.
Lyn pushes the mushy glazed carrots around on her plate. "I didn't say that. Honestly, I'm just not interested in anyone these days. Haven't been for a few years. I have too much messed up, up here," she taps her temple, "to drag someone down into my crazy. So even if I had an attraction to someone, I wouldn't act on it." Plus she's still struggling to get over Jonas, and no one deserves to deal with that kind of crap from her.
To that, Erin frowns. It is a frown of concern. For a moment, she seems to even be confused by her reaction. Like, is that concern? Is she -- huh. Odd.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Arda." Beat. "But you do." Another beat. "If you do need someone to talk to, though, like -- " Shrug. " -- I'm probably terrible at it. My interest is in rocks and trees, waterfalls and lakes." Third beat. "So, I like to listen more than I like to talk. And sometimes, I think -- we all need someone to talk at, if not talk to."
And then, Erin frowns some more. Because that was an odd reaction for her, and she knows it. Where did that come from? Maybe someone's growing up.
"I have my sounding boards, don't worry. The shrink already hauled me in for a chat, and I think he might be able to help. Plus Al has been a lot of help in the listening department." Lyn smiles a little. Since when does she call the Chaplain, Al? She chews her roll a little.
"Yeah, well -- " Grunt. " -- a shrink's a shrink. And the Chaplain and I've never really seen eye to eye." Scientist v. preacher. Might be a bit of friction there. Erin finishes off her apple, and sets the core aside. Onto the next apple; she has three more of them.
"Heard Picon's been hit hard." Beat. "Bet that there're going to be a lot of folks on edge when we hit the ground." Another beat. "But, like -- we've seen destruction. And I think -- I don't know, I think we can keep everyone steady." Aquarians, that is.
Lyn nods at that. "Plus they still have a home to fight for. I think we'll have more trouble keeping them reigned in and not rushing headlong into everything." She rubs at her mouth. "If we can make a difference on Picon, do you think, maybe....?" Maybe someday they retake Aquaria?
Shrug. "Maybe." Beat. "Not holding my breath. Aquaria was never important to the colonies." Which is sort of true. It was a bit of an outlier. "Picon, though? Popular. Populated. Makes sense for us to make a push, but -- " Another shrug. " -- last I heard, it was overrun by the Cylons. Half the planet's gone. Strategic analysis probably suggests we pull as many people out as we can, and focus our efforts on planets we can save."
Scientist. Strategist. And cold about it. That's Erin.
"Guess we can always hope, though. I know I do. That someday, I can go back to the glacier I grew up on."
"I really miss it," Lyn admits as she works on getting her meal into her belly before it gets cold. "Most of the colonies might not have appreciated it, but it was home. And it did do a good tourist trade. And who knows what we could have learned from Mount Thula over time." Mostly she misses that she was really, truly happy there and her life was as close to perfect as she could imagine. Now it's a shambles.
"Mm." Erin's life was pretty good too. Sort of. But military life is what she's fallen into since then. So, mixed emotions. "Not sure if I could go back and just -- be a scientist there, I don't know." Beat. "Have to see." She starts to peel her apple. Because peeling it keeps her mind occupied.
"What did you do before the war?" she asks.
"I'm a militia brat. Dad was Colonel Gabriel Arda. Was born at Arctic Station Thula, along with my little brother. He and I enlisted as soon as we were eligible. We mostly did SAR at AST, and escorted science expeditions to the volcano and glaciers." Lyn grew up in the Arctic pole of the snow planet. As unforgiving a place as one can imagine, and she loved it. "Jackson is a raptor pilot, my brother that is. He's with one of the other CF units. Mom fled to Libran with the bulk of the refugees. She's a geophysicist."
Erin's eyes light up. "A geophysicist?" She gestures at herself. "My father was a geophysicist. My mother was a limnologist." A smile appears on her face. "I'll bet your mother and my parents would've gotten along smashingly. Or poorly, if they had competing theories." But that's all she has to say about that; it sounds as if Erin's parents didn't make it.
After peeling her apple, Erin once again slices off a portion, and places it on Lyn's plate. Right next to where she put the last slice. "I find the food here just terrible." Chortle. "But you can't ruin fruit too badly. As long as it isn't rotten, it tastes fine."
"Dad didn't make it out. He was at Heim when," Lyn doesn't need to finish that statement. It was the start of everything ending. She plucks up the apple wedge and eats it. "I can make us something to eat for dessert one of these days. I don't recommend the cookies they make. We can use them for dive weights in the scuba gear on Aquaria." Wait, Lyn is a baker?
"Mm." Erin bobs her head. "I'm sorry. My parents didn't either." Beat. "Actually, I had the pleasure of watching them get vaporized. The Cylons bombarded the resort we were staying at." She lifts and drops her eyebrows. "Fun." Not really.
"Tell you what." She gestures at Lyn. "You and I? When this place closes? We can let ourselves in and make something." Beat. "Sound like a plan?"
Erin and Lyn are seated at ERIN'S TABLE. She's seemingly always there when she's in the Hall.
Lyn winces at Erin's words. "I'm so sorry. I got my mother and brother and Jonas out. But," she shrugs a little. "I was supposed to be the one at the conference in Heim. Dad went for me when I threw a tantrum about being away from Ingvar for a week." Ouch. She waves a dismissive hand at the other woman. "This place never closes. But I have a standing agreement with the galley chief on the prep shifts in between the meal lines. As long as I have a bottle of booze for him, he gives me free run for a couple hours." She chuckles. "I used to bake all the time. It was like anger therapy."
"Mm." Erin's lips pull into a lopsided expression. "Can't really change what happened. You hope the nightmares stop at some point, but I figure it's just natural to have them." Shrug. "Not a psychologist, myself. Still, it makes sense. Trauma is an important part of learning."
"My therapy?" She pats her book. "The good books." Smirk. "Of science. Helps remind me of who I was."
Lyn smiles a little at that. "We all have our things, I guess. The shrink is trying to make me look at things with a different perspective. I did really well at not laughing in his face over it."
Katja strolls in and heads directly for the coffee station. She's sporting a pair of BDUs and tanks, her hair left down and mostly tucked behind her ears. Stray locks fall forward as she looks down at the fixings. It's unclear whether she spotted Erin at her table or not. The sugar and creamer are dumped in unceremoniously. She turns as she begins to stir the drink, and with no one behind her waiting, she leans back against the edge of the table and finally scans the room with ever-hooded eyes.
"Mm-hmm." Erin snorts, and rolls her eyes. "Personally, I think psychologists and psychiatrists are full of shit." Beat. "But, they study us. See patterns. And they work off of them, offering solutions that maybe we hadn't thought of." Another snort. "Right." Because self-righteous scientists are self-righteous, and that means, frak no, Erin's never going to go before Kamran, order or not. That would be a disaster: if Aldrich can't get under her skin, there's no chance the new guy will.
When Katja's eyes go up, Erin sticks up her hand in greeting. And she elbows Lyn gently. "Look it's another one of us." Erin, by the by, has a bandage around her head, which holds an ice pack in place against the back of her noggin. Injury of some sort, probably.
"Maybe. Maybe not. Some of us need the help they offer when nothing else seems to work." Lyn points at her dark circles. "Case in point." She looks over when Erin points the new arrival out, and she gives the other woman a nod. "Is that the Madsen you told me about?" she asks.
Katja's head tilts to the side slightly when she recognizes Erin (post-hand-lift). She lifts a hand to point to her own head and there's a lift of her brow. The gesture only lasts a moment before she pushes off from the table and approaches. "What happened to your head? Did someone bump it for you?" she asks as she slides down into a seat. "I hope that was an invitation to come over because it's too late."
Erin nods her head to Lyn, first, and then to Katja, second. "Yes. And yes." She touches the back of her head. "Wrestling match. Got dropped on my head, hard. To my credit, he was -- what, a foot taller? Fifty pounds more?" She looks to Lyn. "I think I held my own pretty well." Beat. "Until I got dropped on my head. Then I had to go to sickbay. After I sparred some more." Apparently, Erin's not the brightest scientist in the world. Wisest, definitely not.
"She did. At one point he more closely resembled a pretzel than a man," Lyn adds with a small smile. "Erin says you're a fellow Aquarian. Lyn Arda, Timber Wolves Marines, former Aquarian Militia stationed at Arctic Station Thula."
"Ah. Nice." Katja nods softly with a lingering smile while she lifts her coffee to blow across the surface. "Did you win any matches?" Lyn's words catch her attention quickly and she looks over. "Yeah. Katja madsen. I fly Vipers mostly. Was also a part of it, but when everything went to shit I was still finishing up a extended tour with the ICJPK on Sagittaron." She tries out a sip tentatively. "Then it got more extended. Came straight over." As she lowers her coffee to cradle in both hands, she looks down into the cup.
"I did. I won most of them." Beat. "And then I was dropped on my head." As if that meant something more than it seems. Erin shrugs. "I learned. I'll get better. I don't like when others get the best of me, but -- " Another shrug. " -- it wasn't the battlefield, I guess. And I'm still alive." All good things.
For whatever reason, Erin decides that she wants to tuck a leg up under her. She cuts apart her apple into pieces, and offers one to Katja wordlessly.
Lyn's plate is empty finally and she rises, picking up her tray. "Well, I need to go make sure no one has drawn a penis on Al's face in marker while he's meditating." Poor Aldrich. "Erin, If you see NeeNee, tell her I said hi? Nice to meet you, Katja. See you both around." She heads for the door.