2237-06-10 - The Time Before

A group of Timber Wolves discuss Picon and the upcoming mission.

Date: 2237-06-10

Location: Berthings, //Vanguard//

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1113

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Usually, the settling in of bunks happens before they first lift off. A few days out of Scorpia, though, Gage is moving bunks for what might be the third time, after trading with another marine. Dumping his things into his locker is relatively easy; stripping the bed and remaking it is about second nature, and he does it without much need for concentration, though he does have to stoop to tuck in those far edges.

Van is supposed to be sleeping now. He only has so long before his next shift. Unfortunately, trying to quit smoking has him jittery. When the nearby bunk starts to get disassembled, the pilot sticks his head out of his own curtained bunk, then hauls a pair of sweats on and rolls out in his tanks and sweats, "Moving?" His tired brain may only be functioning at the level of Lieutenant Obvious rather than Lieutenant Van.

Apparently Gage's grunt of acknowledgement serves as a salute to Lieutenant Obvious. After a beat, as if forcing himself to look, the marine straightens to regard Van. "The flow of positive energy is all wrong here." It might be hard to tell given his expression is straight-laced, but it's possible there's the smallest twitch of one corner of his mouth to betray that he's bullshitting.

Van settles down on the table between the bunks, drawing over the ashtray and spinning it slowly around on the table with his fingers, "I'm just impressed that you were able to find someone willing to trade bunks." He keeps his voice quiet, which goes well with his weary-looking face, but very poorly with the sharp, jittery motions of his fingers, "Most people seem to settle in and stay. Or is that not true among the Marines?" There's a hint of a question beyond the question there, as if he's trying to confirm that the broad-shouldered guy is indeed a Marine.

"Services were exchanged," Gage says, kind of blandly. That leaves a lot to the imagination, deliberately one might guess. He bends into the bottom bunk to smooth down the covers to marine-levels of neatness, taking a few moments to satisfy himself before he straightens again, moving around towards the table. He stands, brown eyes flickering over Van and taking account of his expression. Either he hasn't an answer or the shift of his shoulders serves as such, since in lieu of a response, he observes: "You look like shit, man."

"Well good. Then I look about how I feel." Van leans back in his seat very deliberately, getting his hands away from the empty ashtray. Instead, he smooths down the thighs of his sweats and glances to the next set of bunks over before looking back to the other man, "Quitting smoking is even more unpleasant than the first cigarette."

Gage gives a genuine, low-throated laugh at that, not unsympathetic. He twists one of the chairs back-to-front and settles on it backwards, one arm resting along the back of the chair, the other digging into the pockets of his fatigues. He pulls out a stick of gum, offering it towards Van with a raise of brows. "Not quite the same, but... a distraction."

Van hesitates a heartbeat at the offer, then leans forward to take the gum, nodding his "Thank you." The stick is unwrapped and popped into the pilot's mouth, and he adds, "Van Newton. Vipers." He chews a moment in silence, then makes sure to work the gum to one side of his mouth before he continues, "It's not the shakes so much as the feel that I should be doing something. Even when I'm laying down staring at the bunk over my head." The pilot is wearing sweats and tanks, seated at the table in front of his bunk and looking like ten miles of bad road.

The broad-shouldered man looks neither surprised that the other man takes the gum, nor at his admission of being a viper pilot. "Gage Tomak. Marines." Is said in response. Another grunt acknowledges the dilemma of a man trying to quit, before he says, "Take up knitting. Keeps the fingers occupied and brain distracted." He seems to be serious, but who can tell, his expression doesn't much seem to give a clue.

Van blinks at the suggestion, then chuckles, "If it weren't so difficult to get to sleep afterwards, I think I would just spend what little free time I have playing Seas of Fire." A distinctly Picon previously-online game. "Thank you for the advice, of course, but so far it just seems to be when I'm trying to sleep that it's worst. The benefits of being busy defending one's home Colony, I suppose."

Abigail steps in, wasting no time in starting to make the rounds of the berthings, a pile of printouts in her hands as well as a whiteboard for marking. She's dressed in the black battle dress she's usually geared up in when she's on mission. You know how in hospitals they like to colour code the departments by scrubs? Like that. To her credit, she doesn't look inside any bunks, so give her that. She comes up on the table that seems to be getting the foot traffic she's looking for, "El-Tee." To Van. "Gage, you are a hard man to find."

"Picon's your home?" Gage grunts again, mouth thinning briefly. "Must be hard. Heard there was a dust up in the skies yesterday?" He glances up when Abigail approaches, brow lifting. "Aint hiding, none." He gaze drops to the things in her hands, and he exhales. "Was busy moving my bunk." Again. For like the third time since he came on board. Apparently this is important.

"Yes. And yes." Van looks up to Abigail, nodding, "Staff Sergeant." He notes, "The toasters were trying to bomb a town where the family of one of my Academy classmates lives. We stopped them, barely." And then he leans back a little, letting the two Marines converse as he gets back to chewing on his new stick of gum.

"That I can understand. With so little space to yourself, if you don't find just the right one, it's hell, until you can find a better one, or force someone out of the one you want." She shifts the paperwork, moving to plunk it down on table close to where gage has set up, "Looks like you might be the guy, if they tap another engineer for the mission tonight. I'll be running EOD, but there's been some talk that they may have rigged both the buildings and the throughways, so that means you're up." It's a typical two man op, one finds the ordinance the other disarms it, or, alternately, the CivEng selects the targets, and his partner sets the ordinance. "We'll have Ingvar with us, he's our comms guy, in case we have to deal with radio interference."

Having finished drawing his gear for the op, Jonas is returning to the berthings with his radio pack grasped in one hand for carrying as he was heading over to the table to set up. As he passes by Abigail, there's a light tap to her side to alert her of his presence as he blows a bubble, popping the gum as he sucks it back into his mouth. He gives an upnod of his head in greetings as he takes a seat on the long bench, straddling it as he brings the radio up to start running checks on it's gear.

Gage regards Van evenly, arms still resting on the back of the chair. "Tough, when it's your home," he says, pausing for a moment. "Anyone you want me to look out for when we get boots on?" he asks, with a lift of brow. Something warms briefly in Gage's expression at Abigail's response. This woman gets it! He straightens while still in his seat, rigidly attentive to Abigail's words as she begins to talk about the mission. "No problem at all," is all he says, full of quiet, easy confidence. His gaze flickers to Jonas, briefly, as she mentions him, nodding.

The pilot lets Abigail and Gage talk easily enough, waiting for a pause before he finally puts in, "If you get an op to Cape Bismark, keep an eye out for Newtons. Other than that, there are too many people I'm anxious about the safety of for a list, and each one of them is one more individual than I should be worrying about. The Colony is what is most important now." He sounds like he's trying to convince himself.

Van nods to Jonas as the comms tech joins those at the table.

"Yeah, that's what I keep telling myself too. Though I'm at least lucky that the Bay is still for the most part, colonial controlled." Abigail's accent, similar to Van's, enough to mark them both as from the same colony, still has enough regional differences to mark them as from areas probably more removed than most. "One of my Walkers' is MIA, but no idea where he is." Abigail's tone is calm, even, the work allowing her to keep an even keel, "I also included a list of my loadout, so you'll know what I'm working with." Once Jonas comes close enough to be in speaking distance, she looks between the two, "Jonas, Lance Corporal Gage Tomak, a new CivEng. Tomak, Sergeant Jonas Ingvar, Communications."

Jonas' own accent is so muddled that it's hard to place him at times as the Sergeant considers, glancing up at Gage. "How do, Tomak?" he asks as he frowns a little as he works on the radio pack. "Was wondering why they didn't issue me any extra detonators." There's a slight smirk offered at that. "She says Communications like it's own thing on the ground." There's a chuckle. "I'm just a grunt with extra weight on my back. But I'll keep an eye out for any of those jammers they're using. See if we can find a way to get around the things." When he finally gets to a moment where he can stop with the checks on the pack, he offers his hand to the new engineer. "Welcome to the Timber Wolves." His attention then drifts over to Van. "Where's Cape Bismark located at? Haven't had a chance to look at maps yet. Only know where the op, the major cities, and Gale's home is."

Gage gives an easy nod towards Van, as if to say, 'done'. His glance towards Abigail is even, not unsympathetic. "The worst is not knowing, either way," he murmurs. He reaches out a hand and pulls the paperwork on the table closer to himself, nodding as his gaze briefly skims it. "I'll check my gear and make sure we compliment." When Abigail introduces the other marine, Gage nods, easily. No sir, or salute, but maybe the nod suffices for both for the Tauron. "Nothing to complain about," he says, like he might otherwise be inclined to do so.

"There's a lot of people who have been designated MIA who may have gotten connected with resistance bands in occupied territory," Van reassures Abigail, then looks over to Jonas, "Cape Bismark is on the main continent, west coast, just a bit south of the equator. Last I heard it was Colonial territory, but from what I've heard, that can change rather quickly." The discussion has him tapping a bare heel on the decking, the jitters not entirely from nicotine withdrawal.

"Thanks for saying that." That's not said with an air of hopelessness, because Abigail clearly isn't. She just appreciates the vote of confidence, "I suppose if anyone can survive that, it's my twin. I took a rocket nearly to the face and look how well I turned out." Well, she is wearing long sleeves and her fatigues are buttoned all the way up, so who knows, "And he's way harder than I am. He's probably camping out under the remains of his viper." But to business, she nods, "Communications is going to mean a hell of a lot down there, especially if they have those jamming fields in effect the way the debrief claims. But if you see anything else you need me to add, Tomak, let me know."

Jonas glances up to Abigail knowingly for a moment. He offers a brief smile of reassurance, but doesn't add to the well-wishes of the others as returns to working on his radio pack. "They didn't have much intel on the strength of them or what they're using. And without that it's a stab in the dark. I'm packing smoke grenades and flares in case we need to mark without radio assistance, I've already gone over with the Raptor pilots what colors to look for. Pretty basic, went green for go."

There's a long pause from Gage, before he says in response to Van, "If it's been this long and no contact has been made, chances aren't good." He flickers a glance towards Abigail, sympathetic perhaps, but with an odd kind of certainty and acceptance that speaks to personal experience. His gaze drops towards the papers as he nods. "I'm good. Eager to get out and off this tin can." Someone clearly doesn't like being penned up.

Van nods to Abigail, "It's the honest truth, and what we're all hoping for, all wrapped up in one. But I should warn you that Vipers are not particularly comfortable to sit in for long periods of time, no matter the designer's intentions. I hope he's found some place more comfortable." Jonas' mention of smoke and flares draws Van's brows up, "That's a good idea. The Squadron should double-check our survival kits too, make sure that we have solid non-wireless ways to call for help." He nods a little to Gage, "That's my hope. I would be more confident if I had heard from them in a couple of weeks. But I'm sure they're fine." He's trying to convince himself, clearly.

Abigail lifts a hand, excusing herself to walk around to the other side of the right side bunks, the sound of things being rattled about making it likely that she's gathering up her own gear. Considering how much she has to bring with her, she'll be a while. Carry on, gentlemen.

When Abigail passes by, Jonas gives her hip a light tap before he turns his attention back to the others. "Probably a good time to brush up on capture avoidance and survival as well, since the Vanguard won't be able to immediately send search and rescue to recover any downed pilots."

Gage nods agreeably to Van's suggestion to check the survival kits. "From the briefing it sounds like we need to be prepared for the possibility we might have to dig in and wait it out rather than the cavalry coming to bring us back to the tin can." With a sudden, genuine grin at Jonas' words, he says, "Nothing like learning by experience. Had plenty of that back on Tauron."

Van nods to Jonas, "Unless there is an undamaged Raptor in the area at the end of a mission, things could get rather... unpleasant for someone shot down over hostile territory here." Gage's comment gets a short chuckle from the pilot, "I would rather not, actually. I did my best to avoid long hikes in the woods when I was living here. I think I will try to keep that up now that I'm back."

"Trust me, not a fun experience." Not that he can speak personally from it. But Jonas has seen what it can do to a person that has been through it. The communications sergeant perks as he hears the Tauran accent and he confirms it with the mention of the world, but he doesn't address it for now. "Gale's got the right idea, I should make sure my own gear's ready for tonight."

Abigail comes back around the bunks, carrying the field version, such as it is, of her ordinance gear. Normally, she looks like a black pool floatie with a space cut out for her eyes, but being that she's actually mobile with a team, she's been outfitted with a more flexible set of armor, more articulated, easier to move quickly in. Much less marshmallow man. In her other hand, her tactical webbing, complete with all the bells and whistles for her to attach her load out to. "Unless you can find something else to fly. I mean, there must be a fair number of civilian transports around."

With a low-throated chuckle, Gage replies to Van, "And I do my best to avoid being stuck in a tin can for days on end. I think if this war has taught us anything, it's that we need to move outside of our comfort zones." He runs a hand over his short-shaven hair. "Well. I guess you don't have to worry as long as you don't get your tail shot off." He doesn't seem to notice Jonas' reaction to his accent, instead turning to glance at Abigail as she returns. "I've never been to Picon before. Any tips?" he glances towards Van as well, questioningly.

"If it looks like it wants to eat you...it probably does." She offers Van a mock-serious nod. Back me up, planet-bro. The webbing she sets down for a second, before she grabs up the white board she set down with the paperwork for Gage, "I'm going to go work on a few plays, I'll be down near the deck, if you need me. There's a tool room down there I find is good for hiding. If I don't see you before the drop, good luck." With that, she heads off towards the hatch, a smile offered to the trip before she goes.

"And I should try to actually sleep," Van adds to Jonas, then shrugs a little to Abigail, "It possible, Staff Sergeant. But I would generally expect any transport in Cylon territory to not be in working order. But you could get lucky." Gage's question causes him to frown just a little, thinking, "If you can't swim, stay out of the water. The riptides are dangerous, and even the normal tides can rise and fall six meters in some areas. The rain can be unpleasant if it starts up, but if it does, at least you won't have to worry about water." Abigail's response draws a wry chuckle, and he adds, "And yes. If you're in an area without much rain, pretty much everything wants to eat you. I tried to avoid those areas as well growing up."

"The women of the planet are just as dangerous as well." Jonas offers with a grin as he returns from the bunks, carrying his own gear. "Hold up, Gale, was going to make sure I have enough extra transitors in case we have to go low-tech and solid-state out there."

"Got it. Shoot anything with teeth." That's Gage's takeaway of that sage advice from the Picons. He pushes up, pausing to turn his chair back around the right way, stowing it habitually under the table as he collects the papers there. "Better take a leaf from her playbook. Going to check over my gear -- again -- before we head out." With a glance to Abigail and Jonas, "See you dirtside." And to Van, "Knitting," appears to be his parting comment, with a brief grin, as he heads off for the armory.

Van pushes his way up from his chair, nodding at Gage's takeaway, "If you run into a shark, punch it in the nose. It probably just wants a nibble, not a real bite." He clambers back up the ladder to his bunk, shaking his head in apparent amusement, "Knitting..."


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