2237-06-13 - Just Add Gravy

A few pilots and marines mingle in the mess.

Date: 2237-06-13

Location: Mess Hall, Vanguard.

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1127

Jump to End

Katja stands in line behind some other people, cool eyes taking in the people around her as most of them try to get a peek at what's in the buffet or chat with others. She's in her BDUs and double tanks, staple of the wardrobe. Her hair tied back somewhat low, just long enough for the task. Katja slips her hands in her pockets, anchoring her thumbs over the sides. As per usual, she looks at least a quarter of the way to some sort of sleep state. The rest of the mess already has some people scattered about for their meal, drumming up that low annoying ambient noise that happens when there are people gathered for food...just about anywhere.

There's a handful of new faces on board since the last stop at the Scorpia shipyards after Canceron- not just Stirling. More crew. More marines. More Air Wing. Many among the Vanguard's own compliment, but some within the Timber Wolves proper. Astraea Masters is one of those assigned to that specialist crew and settled into the increasingly crowded hall of marines and officers alike, brushing elbows with the rough-and-tumble of people who face death day in and out. She's not young, but she's got a decidedly youthful look to her. Tends to cause people to think she's not in the right place, sometimes. Fresh off PT, the pilot is in a tee and sweatpants, sketchbook tucked under an arm as she scuffs her way into the Mess Hall. She skirts around the tables to grab a place in the chow line. Astraea leans around a few bodies to try to catch sight of what's on offer today, wrinkling her nose a bit at a few of the steaming trays as she mumbles something choice in Scorpian.

Remi stands midway in the chow line with a meal tray clutched between two massive shovels for hands. The tall and imposing Marine cranes his neck in order to peer into the depths of the steaming trays, while his jaw hitches to one side in curious inspection. Apparently whatever he sees within the basin of one tray is enough to send him reeling as his head quickly snaps back and shakes from side to side as if mentally noping right out of that option. At present he's dressed in his combat boots, fatigue bottoms, and a black sleeveless shirt which shows off the impressive display of muscles. He steps forward in the chow line, coming closer still to the promised land that is sustenance acquisition.

Rothschild was at the back of the line until Astraea ended up behind her. She glances over her shoulder particularly when the woman leans out of line to catch sight of the food. The Praetorian starts to chuckle a bit, arms folded at her chest in a casual demeanor. "It isn't all bad," the Leonese woman offers with a half-shrug. "Worse case scenario, you ask for everything to be smothered in gravy and then you aren't entirely sure what is what anymore." She joins the forward shuffle.

Katja can't understand one lick of Scorpian, but she's heard it enough to know what it sounds like as she catches Astraea out of the corner of her eye from where the woman is behind her. Shifting to one leg, she offers a small grin over her shoulder. It's just one of those passing things. "You know...knowing about what's being served isn't going to make it something you enjoy," she says casually with a glint in her eye. "You new?" she hazards a guess. She looks forward when Rothschild speaks up and shoots her a grin in greeting. "She's right." Once she gets to the food, Katja loads up on greens, lean meat, and helping of fruit. No wild portions, scarse or abundant.

"Seen better outta dumpsters out back my aunt's shop," Astraea offers back to Rothschild and Katja both with a side eye for one tray in particular. Not all of them, just that one. Like as not it's the same one that caused Remi dismay. The accent is likely similar enough to one heard from locals around Argentum Bay during their last leave on Scorpia proper. Once she's got a tray in hand, she sets it down on the table itself and starts to lean for a few serving spoons, avoiding the offending dish to go for a few others. She's a bit heavy on the meats herself, but doesn't wholly avoid her due veggies. "Yeh," she answers Katja finally. "just got transferred in while she," the Vanguard, "was in the 'yards."

"It all tastes the same if you just close your eyes and plug your nose," Remi grumbles at the unfolding conversation within the chow line. Suggestive or otherwise, Remi delivers the comment with the aplomb of tried and true experience. The tall, perhaps too tall, Marine shuffles forward in the line before his attention drifts up and down the line to the trio working their way into casual conversation. He however keeps his eye on the prize for the moment as he comes a step closer. He spares a glance back to Astaea who stands ahead of himself in the line and stands ready to commandeer the serving spoon hoisting meat onto her tray. Avarice seems to shine in his eyes as he awaits the opportunity to gather his fill. Big men, big appetites. He does however join with the smalltalk while he waits, "Settling in well enough?"

The Leonese woman offers Katja a small upnod at the greeting grin, her own smile more of a ghost-lit expression. Rothschild grabs her tray when she gets within arms' reach, and flips it once or twice in her hands. An almost unconscious motion -- perhaps the smallest crack of nerves coming through from the Praetorian's otherwise unflappable demeanor. She glances up ahead of the line toward Remi, and she offers the fellow Marine another nod of greeting before she looks back to the Scorpian. "Mmm. Welcome aboard, then." She nods with Remi's question.

"Oh yeah? I just transferred in too. Name's Katja...or Deathwish," Katja first offers to Astraea and then follows up with a nod to the nearly gargantuan Marine as if to piggyback him onto the introduction. She grabs a bottle of water and then heads to a table with a relaxed gait, the only thing particular about the table is no one else is sitting there yet. After she's settled, she grabs her bottle of water and cracks the seal with a twist and takes a sip or two, looking just as bored as her food is, but that's a natural state.

"That's not a very flattering image," Astraea offers to the big Tauran with a flash of teeth in a grin. "But if it works for you, big guy, all the power." Said 'powah.' She does slather gravy over a few items on her tray. Mostly the meats, but a few other things as well. Perhaps gravy just speaks to her soul. "Settlin' in alright, sure. Ship's a ship just like any other, yeh?" But there's just a slight tremble of uncertainty to her tone. Just a wee bit. There's a bit of a smile offered towards Rothschild in appreciation as well. "Nova," she says suddenly towards Katja when the other pilot introduces herself more fully. "Or Astraea... but uh, you'll hear me out there as Nova, I s'ppose. But Deathwish, ain't that, y'know-" she wiggles her fingers after setting down a serving spoon. "Sorta like, man, more bad joojoo than normal? I mean, I've heard some bad ones, but Apollo's tits, woman." She grabs not just one, but two desserts and awkwardly juggles the tray to follow. Unfortunately, in the process of doing so, a few pencils slip free of the sketchbook she's had tucked under her arm and scatter to the floor. She doesn't notice this as she follows Katja to the table the Viper pilot has chosen.

Her fault for talking to the Scorpian.

It's actually a meal cycle! The four have been shuffling through the chow-line, but they're about through. The food is largely palatable, but there's at least one steamer tray with something downright scary in it. Astraea's a fairly new face; transferred on since last leave. She's in a tee and sweatpants, fresh out of PT. Young face, hair natural and a touch in disarray from the workout. She's got a full tray (no drink yet), sketchbook... and those lost pencils left in her wake as she sets herself down at the table.

Once that blessed serving spoon is within his massive meatfist, Remi begins to shovel meat upon meat onto his tray. Then he moves onto his vegetables - and promptly skips them. He's gathered all that he needs and that is in the form of a mound of meat piled high. Rothchilds' nod receives a nod in return as Remi comments toward the Praetorian, "Sarge," said in both acknowledgement and greeting. Soon Remi twists in place and begins to wander off to find a table - which just so happens to be that nearly empty table which Katja has commandeered. As he goes the towering Marine comments back to Astraea with a faint nod, "Don't knock it until you try it... but yes, ship's a ship, but this is our ship. May as well get used to where you rest your head." The insight made the brutish Tauran delves into silence as he arrives at Katja's table and lifts his chin in silent greeting before he settles in at the hexagonal table.

Rothschild varies her meal with some protein, vegetables, and bits of fruit. The only real deviation from her usual meal is the small bit of mess hall cake that she takes. It is chocolate cake, after all. Three glasses of water and one electrolyte-infused juice later, and she's heading out to find her own table. It is, of course, Nova's fault that Praety finds herself following after, almost entranced by the way the woman talks. Her gaze flickers to Remi, offering a wry smile to the fellow Marine as he begins to shovel in his food. She mostly amused by this, as she has seen Tavo shovel food the same way. Must be a Giant thing. "Such an eloquent way of saying 'suck it up.'" She offers Remi one of those winning smiles as she settles down her tray, and then eases into a seat beside Deathwish. Then she organizes her cups so she drinks the electrolytes first, taking a big swallow of the flavorless drink. "I've heard that the Air Wing's callsigns are not always meant to be pleasant. I'm still trying to make out what Lieutenant Newton did to deserve being called Milkman."

Grub time? Grub time. One of the shorter Marines slides into line, and nabs herself a sandwich and an orange. Then, she calmly goes to the back of the line, and gets another sandwich, and a banana. And then, she calmly repeats. Over and over.

Some people might care. None of those people seem to be around. Truthfully, the food supplies don't seem to be greatly affected by Erin's scheme. Come on: she's small. She probably needs to put some meat on her bones. Energy into her system. Maybe she needs half-a-dozen sandwiches, all of which she eventually wraps up in two napkins. And maybe she needs fruit for her growing bones. Milk? If only they had it.

Soon after she has collected her meal(s), the diminutive Marine sits herself down at the same hexagonal table that everyone else is at. Because. "Hallo," says Erin in her folksy, Aquarian accent, just before she begins to wrap up each of her fruits in a napkin as well. Except for two apples. These -- these -- shall be sacrificed to the Gods of her Gullet.

"Yeah, I guess it's meant to be kind of like I've got a deathwish when I fly or something? I don't know. I mean it was given to me before...all this," Katja indicates with a shrug, clearly unruffled by her own callsign. "Might actually also have to do with a few near scrapes," she admits innocently as she reaches for her fork and knife. She blinks at the little train of people who have followed her, or followed her by extension to fill up the table. Then she smiles a little to herself. "Nova. Cool callsign. How'd you get it?" She starts to cut away at the portion of meat she got, one bite at a time.

There is a sort of cadence to Astraea's way of talking. A bit lyrical. A bit like someone out of the Caribbean. The words just roll off her tongue with the ease of someone chatty... or really nervous. Take your pick. She still hasn't noticed that she's lost her pencils; two of them, scattered on the floor between chow line and the table folks have begun to gather at. Well, the stars of the show as it were. Everyone else in the mess are just the faceless extras in the background. Who cares? The cameras aren't trained on them. The sketchbook is nestled up against her tray as she glances over at Rothschild, squinting. "Milkman? Well, on vids, ain't the milkman th' one th' lady sleeps with when her husband's at work? Seems pretty self-explanatory t'me." She hasn't even met Newton yet, but her mind's already made up.

There's an upnod for Erin before Katja's question comes Astraea's way and the jig sort of squirms in her seat a little. "Well, uhm-" She starts to extract herself from her seat. She needs a drink still, of course. "Kinda... make things go-" she mimes an explosion, "...not, uh, m'bird, y'know, just... things-" there's a nervous rise of her voice almost to a squeak before she darts off for the drink station.

"Or he just always delivers?" Remi asides at Astraea as he begins to dig into his tower of meat. The one called Caveman pauses however to scratch at the side of his neck with his fork. After he's satisfied that itch, Remi returns to digging into his plethora of protein. He bites into a hunk of meat, which he pushes to one corner of his mouth while his dark stare bounces from Katja to Astraea. Another arrival though in the form of Erin receives a faint squint from the tall and imposing Marine. Remi considers the diminuitive Recon Marine for a long moment before he gives his tray laden with meats a faint nudge in the direction of Erin, along with casting a nod her way. Much like a feline, it seems that Remi felt it necessary to assist the Slim Chilly in survival.

Rothschild offers a small arch of her brows as Erin settles in with her horde. She watches the woman carefully as she begins to carefully wrap the fruits, her chin resting lightly in her palm with her fingers curled every so slightly against her cheek. It is almost like watching a squirrel try to fit as many nuts in her cheek as she can. All the while, she is gently balancing a fork between her fingers, and it wavers now and then. "Hayes," she finally inquires, "I don't suppose that they ever wonder why you keep going back into the chow line over and over again." She narrows her eyes, though her full lips are still neatly quirked upward. Then she glances over toward Katja as she explains her callsign. "Mmm. Well, I would take it as a compliment... sometimes we all need to be a little reckless." Then she finishes off her electrolytes before starting in on... cake? Dessert first. She chuckles at Astraea's thought of that pilot's callsign, and she shrugs. "Maybe. I'll ask him."

Rothschild is ready to really settle into her meal, but then there's a PFC scurrying his way across the mess toward her. She sighs, setting down her fork, almost knowingly. "Uh, Sarge..." There is a little quaver to the Private's voice. Ah she remembers him now. Eager fellow who showed her around her first day. "The, uh, we need you down at the Arena." Rothschild just nods, and pushes her tray toward Erin. "For you, Raccoon." Then she pushes herself upright so she can follow the PFC out, waving to the table as she departs.

The Raccoon Marine looks at the two proffered trays. Two. Remi's: laden with MEET and protein. To that, she says, in a crisp tone, "I'd better leave that for you. Hate to see what'd happen if you were hungry in the end." Could mean an eaten varmint. As for Rothschild's: "Thanks." And she picks over it for sundries. That bag of crisps'd be good. Oh, and fruit? It goes into a napkin, for later.

"Hi. Madsen." Rothschild's gone by then, so she looks briefly at Remi. "Cain." And then, to Astraea. "Um. Nova, I caught. I think. Right? Last name or first or sign?" Erin's fingers nimbly wrap up the fruit she has liberated from Rothschild's tray. "Hayes. Some people call me Chilly." For whatever reason.

And then, the small Marine begins to peel an apple in earnest. Slice, slice, slice. With a prisoner's facility.

"Yep, but I have no idea what his callsign is for. Haven't asked." Katja chews on a bit of meat, keeping her mouth closed. There's a casual refinement in the way she handles her utensils. She still rests her knife on the top of her plate, and has a napkin in her lap, but her gestures are somewhat languid. She leans slightly to watch Astraea escape from the table with soft blink. "Oh, hey, are those your pencils?" She asks after the woman, but a little bit too late, so she pushes away from the table and rises to go collect them herself before someone slips on them and breaks their neck. She lifts her hand from being in a crouch to wiggle her fingers slightly at Rothschild on her way out. On her way back, she offers Erin a nod while slipping the pencils back by Astraea's sketchbook. "Nova's her callsign," she says as she moves to slip back into her chair.

"Pencils?" Astraea is almost distracted from her mission of a drink when they're brought up, but she spots that Katja is retrieving them on her behalf and there's a grateful look for the other pilot. Thus she's able to finish getting something to wash down anything that might not be wholly palatable. In the end, she returns with a sealed bottle of water and some hot tea. Sliding back into her seat, she grabs up the pencils with a mouthed 'thank you' and tucks them behind her ear. Well, largely into the mass that is her un-tamed (at the moment) hair. Must take her some work pre-duty to get that all down to where it'll fit into a helmet. "Callsign, yeh," the Scorpian explains. She scratches absently at her arm, near one of her tattoos. Definitely Scorpian, rather than Tauran in nature. Still telling, if you know the clans. "Astraea Masters," she offers for a proper introduction before she starts digging into hr tray. Unlike some, she's leaving her desserts for last. Her mama raised her right!

"Yeah... probably right. Wouldn't want me anyone," Remi nods in agreement with Erin's assessment. He puts words to action immediately by stuffing a moist, dripping piece of meat into his mouth and shifts it around to one corner of his mouth with the insistent press of his tongue. He chews quietly while he turns his attention around the table in stoic observation. Caveman's free hand lifts up to idly stroke his palm along the scruff of his bearded jaw, before it again lowers back to rest on the edge of the tabletop. The giant of a man remains silent for the moment, invested fully in consuming his basic food groups: meat.

"Ya-huh." Erin chin-bobs her concurrence with Remi. "Yeah." Shrug. "I mean, think of the victim. One moment, happily enjoying something. Next moment, eaten by a bear." She grins for a second, and then cuts off a slice of apple. Which she puts in her mouth with the knife itself.

"Sorry, DW, for not getting back to the lounge last night." Beat. "Took more than a moment to snatch what Wagner was looking for." Shrug. "It was late. But, I got it. And with this package? I'll have a lot more." Erin pats her small pile of sandwiches, snacks, and fruits. "Means she can get her feet massaged, and not have to move to eat. Pretty sweet, right?"

And then, the raccoon Marine looks to Astraea. "You new around her, then, Masters?" Erin jabs her knife in her direction, and then in Remi's. "We Marines gotcha back."

Katja takes an orange and begins to peel it. She nods with a half smile to Astraea, acknowledging her thanks. She watches as the pencils do their little disappearing act and briefly squints with a thoughtful look, wondering what else might be stowed. Then Erin catches her attention. "Oh. Yeah. I just got tired after reading a little and went to my rack anyways. That's pretty nice. I was wondering what all of that was for. I knew if it was for you it would have just been all fruit," she says idily after breaking away a segment of orange to juice onto her meat and vegetables. "This is Astraea. Callsign is Nova. She's a new transfer like me, only clearly not from Aquaria." She pops another bit of orange into her mouth.

"Sometimes I'll have yer backs, I betcha," Astraea points out to Erin, gesturing at the marine with her fork. "I fly Raptors. Be droppin' yer asses off an' pickin' 'em up. S'what I do. But you keep them Cylons from marking my pretty l'il ship an' we'll call it copacetic." So far, for all the animation of the woman, nothing falls free from her hair. Not even a bit of confetti or glitter. Though there could be a glitter bomb hiding in there just waiting to go off. She's got a roll on her plate that she breaks apart and starts stuffing some meat into for a makeshift sandwich. "Though this fella-" she gestures with said sandwich to Remi before she takes a bite, "bet he could ward off a few single-handed." She's quiet as she downs the food, grabbing at a napkin to deal with some gravy around her mouth after swallowing. "Naw, not 'aquaria. Never seen it other'n vids, either. Scorpian gal." She holds out an arm, as if the clan markings there should be obvious.

"If they didn't want to be eaten by a bear, they should have had a slower friend nearby," Remi chimes back at Erin as though this entire scenario were some discussion that warrants sincerity. As the conversation begins to blend together once more, Caveman returns to his meat. It's with a chunk of meat wedged somewhere in his maw that he shifts into his cheek, that he begins to speak in a slightly muffled tone in return to Erin's knife-wielding insistence directed at Astraea, "We got'cha," he echoes before he swallows. Without chewing. One big chunk of meat down the gullet without so much as an effort to chew.

He pauses for a moment, as if suddenly realizing what he's done, but shrugs it off before he nods as Astraea and gestures at her with his fork as though mirroring Erin's own movement with her own knife, "And if anyone goes trying to frak with you, you let us know. I'm not saying we'll hurt them... did you say we'd hurt them? I didn't say we'd hurt them. I'm just sayin' that bulkheads come out of nowhere all the time and sometimes people fall into them nineteen times in a row. Toasters though? Eh, they don't get a pass," he remarks with a grim smile. Though he soon bends his attention and fork to his tray once more and returns to feeding himself. Though his dark eyes continue to watch the conversation as it unfolds around himself after he's acquired a juicy, or just outright greasy, chunk of meat to chew at for a few long seconds.

Erin seems to concur with Remi's synopsis of what Marines can and may do for you. "Right. Like, when you're on shore leave." Shrug. "Sometimes, people need to be accidentally, maliciously pummeled. Disagreements sometimes happens. Really, it's no one's fault." Slice. Munch, munch, munch. "Can't let our flygirls and flyboys be pushed around by malcontent locals."

And then, the small Marine smiles beamingly at the giant Tauran. Looks like Rocket's found Groot.

"So, DW, been thinking: you and me, Pyramid courts later. You in?" Erin pokes her knife in Katja's direction. "Can go two-on-two, if you want. You know. In case you think you need some help. But, ah -- you know, we Marines stick together, so I may have to recruit Tavo."

Katja chuckles softly at Remi's remark of slower friends, but her eyes wander back to Astraea's hair for a moment at a point when she's particularly animated. When she glances back at Remi nearly swallowing a big hunk of meat whole, she turns her plate so her meat is furthest from her natural gaze. "I think I can handle myself, speaking as one flygirl." She's got a mouthful of greens by the time Erin asks her to join her at the courts. A finger comes up from her fork-hand as she chews, trying to give Erin the most bored look ever at her two-on-two comment. Swallow. "Frak that. One on one. If you need Tavo for a rematch..." shrug, "I'd understand." She sports an easy going smile and snatches up her bottle of water.

And there goes a fork into Astraea's haaaai- almost. That almost happened, but the Raptor pilot catches herself before she sticks the gravy-covered utensil into the mass of curls. But there is a sort of rosy hue starting to mingle with the freckles on her nose and cheeks. "Y'all don't gotta. I kin take care of m'self, y'know? Just 'cause I sit up there in the cockpit all cozy like doesn't mean I can't throw a few punches now an' then." It's that small frame. She's one of those who probably finds the bunks comfortable. But she is nodding along agreement with Katja, regarding handling one's self. The woman picks up her tea, using it to mask the bubbly moment as she takes a long sip. There is a glance up and over to Erin when Pyramid is mentioned. "I usedta play with my cousins. Didn't have much of a court. Just some busted goals we'd slapped together in the alley an' all, but I'd be down to throw th' ball 'round sometime."

Remi watches Katja and Astraea with clear skepticism. Pilots? Defending themselves? Remi slowly nods his head, clearly disbelieving the tales. Though he does idly flick his wrist to gesture with a pointing fork toward both Katja and Astraea, "You decide you want some CQC training, you let me know. Hitting things is Marines business and business is boomin'," Remi explains with a confident, though stoic nod of his head. Perhaps approaching record time, Remi has demolished his tray of piled meats. It's when his fork strikes bare tray though and clatters quietly with the impact that he glances down. The realization that he's consumed his entire meal is met by a click of his tongue and sucking of teeth before he cranes his neck back and around to peer back at the chow line, as though in silent contemplation of more.

If Marines weren't patronizing, they wouldn't be Marines. Some are easier on this point than others, but it's a culture thing. The Navy picks up and transports the grunts; the grunts then be grunts. Sci-fi forces wouldn't be the same without this sort of tension. Can you imagine? It'd be like Star Trek. shudder

Erin's attention -- horns -- are locked with Katja. Friendly-like, of course, but trash-talk is trash-talk. "I'd imagine it'd be pretty embarrassing to lose to someone my height." The blonde Aquarian has almost a half-foot advantage on the brunette. "So, I'd put a wager on it, but -- " The recon Marine tosses her head to one side, coquettishly, and some of her hair flops over accordingly. " -- I wouldn't want to make that worse, you know?" Smile. "Not that there's any shame in losing, DW, but -- " Shrug. " -- I kind of like you. I'd hate for your loss to complicate our relationship."

Skin. Skin, skin. The apple's almost half-done, and its flesh is fully exposed to Erin's teeth. Setting her knife down, she holds the fruit with both hands, and bites into it. Slowly. The next moment, she's handing over a napkin-wrapped sammich to her Marine co-hort, offering to sacrifice it to his abdominal monster.

Katja looks back as Astraea almost gravies her hair. Her face scrunches up in worry and then is a bit relieved when the pilot catches herself. "I'll keep that in mind," she shoots to Remi. "I did quite enjoy doing that rescue roping stuff," she muses. Sure it zapped all the energy right out of her, but she got two civillians!

Just as she's about to reply to Astraea, Erin steals Katja's attention. "Please. You're only three inches shorter than me. Now if I lost to Nova, that'd be a problem." Katja only smiles wider at, eyes narrowing into little half-moons at the Marine's banter. "Ah, so I'm to be baited. Okay. Alright. What do you want to wager." Her attention is now completely stolen by her future competition. She laughs a little as she stabs at her vegetables, 1, 2, 3. "Yeah. You feel that way right now. We'll see," she says with a little cock of her head.

"Dunno, Cain," Astraea offers up -- even sitting, it's up -- at Remi with a big grin. "Y'might have trouble teachin' me. Center of balance an' all sorta things be diff'rent." He's over a foot taller than she! She can't help herself: she giggles. Her meal is far from finished. She's talking too much. The tea does get put down as she tucks back in. For mention of Katja losing to her, she wrinkles her nose at the other pilot. "I'll have ya know I'm real wiggly. Hard t'keep hold of an' all. Ain't no tackler on the court, but I sneak those goals when ya ain't lookin'." She does, eventually, get through enough of her meal that she opts to reward herself with the first of her two slices of cake.

"Maybe," Remi replies in turn to Astraea's assessment. He glances back to the chow line once again and finally appears to come to a decision. The fork that he holds within one massive fist is placed onto his tray and Remi's attention returns to the banter going on around the table. Though his attention soon returns to Astraea whom he addresses with a slight up-nod in her direction, "Only one way to find out though. Technique's are still the same though. Besides that, most of my experience is in boxing. Easy stuff," Remi states with another nod of his head. His attention soon drifts back to both Erin and Katja whom he considers while their Pyramid discussion continues.

Erin keeps eating her apple. Slowly. Thoughtfully. All while eyeing Katja steadily. "I don't know," she says finally. "Not yet." Shrug. "I suppose, it depends on the sort of fight you put in." Confident? Confident. Comfortably so. But the thoughtfulness? Either Erin's really thinking about what she can hustle out of Katja, or there's something else going on in the back of her mind.

And it keeps the small, smug Marine nice and quiet for a few seconds. Maybe more. All that she does is eat her apple, right down to the core. Considering, perhaps. Intimidating through silence, perhaps. Hard to say what shuts her down so fast into "srs bizness" mode.

Silence becomes uneasiness. Anxiety. Erin deposits her core on her plate, and then says, "I'll meet you at the Court, then, in 5? 10?" She pats her napkin-wrapped booty. "Gotta drop this off in the berthings." Oh, it's on. Ready to go. Unless Katja isn't, of course, but it sounds like Erin's of the mind to move on, regardless.

"I figured. I bet you drive the ball well too," Katja offers to Astraea, lending to the stereotype that the small are generally speedier on the court. Her eyes slip back to Erin though, not really catching Remi and Astraea's conversation. "Oh. Okay. Well take your time," she says with a gracious smile. "Then it's not a wager. If you're deciding what you're willing to lose while you're losing." She laughs a little to herself. Either she has a big ego or...maybe she's just enjoying the back and forth. "Ten. I need to finish this first," she says as she points to her plate with her fork.

"Was never good at boxin'," Astraea says, shaking her head suddenly. "Too..." She eats in silence as she considers. For a moment or two, it may seem like she's forgotten the train of thought and become lost in the decadence of chocolate cake. Finally, she shrugs, polishing off the last bite. "Dunno. Just like throwin' my punches wherever. Ain't got time to think about holdin' my arm here or anglin' my shoulder there when yer in the middle of a bar an' Shawn from Clan Numbnuts waltzes in wit' Mazz on his arm. Ya just gotta go fer blood, y'know?" No, they probably don't, Astra. She picks up her tea, finishing it off. There's a glance up to Erin as she gets up, the jig tilting her head to the side. Like a curious little bird. "This a private match or canni come take notes? Since it sounds like Pyramid might be a pretty big deal 'round here."

The fork is scooped up once again while Remi watches Astraea with a blank expression. The fork is utilized to maximum effect - to scratch at his jaw. He digs it into his beard for a moment, letting it go to town. He nods once finally before he grunts out a simply, or perhaps eloquently spoken, "Uh huh...", back at Astraea. Soon Remi begins to shift to his feet and he comments back to those gathered, "Been a slice of pleasure, but time for me to go get suited up for my shift. Nova, Deathwish, pleasure meeting you both. Chilly, don't get caught," Remi intones wisely toward the Recon Marine. He scoops up his tray, deposits his fork onto it, and seems to be preparing to make his way from the table.

"Pff." Erin makes a face. "Get caught." Right. "See you, Cain."

She stuffs her packages into her pockets. There are lot of them, especially around that utility belt that passes for a normal one. Bat-Raccoon. "I'll see you when I see you, then, DW. And Masters or Nova? Been a pleasure." Beat.

And then, she picks up her tray -- and Rothschild's -- and puts them on the long conveyor belt into the bowels of the cafeteria's kitchen for washing. Meanwhile, the recon Marine heads out of the mess, presumably to drop off her things and get ready to wollop Katja up and down the bloody court, honest.

Katja can't help but be momentarily distracted by Remi scratching his beard with his fork. She keeps an eye on it, wondering if he might use it again, which thankfully doesn't happen. She looks over to Astraea at her question for Erin, and then back to the Marine. "Sure. Five, ten. I'll hurry up and then try to find my way." She lifts her fork, elbow on the table, and waggles it in parting to the Marine, watching her go deposit her tray. Then Katja looks over to Astraea and says, "I think she was so focused she didn't even realize you were asking her a question. I don't see why not." She shrugs.

"He used it earlier too," Astraea notes to Katja, catching the way she's watching Remi. "to scratch his neck." Offered all conspiratorial-like. "Bet he didn't even notice." As if she didn't nearly do the same with her own fork earlier. The woman's got a few more things on her own plate to dig into and gets to work on that. With a bit more room on the table, she scoots her sketchbook into open space and flips it open. There's a bob of head in appreciation and something does rattle free... one of those pencils. She catches it this time as it falls to her lap, dropping it into the book. The sketches vary and they're decent, too. Some are realistic; planes, Viper and Raptor frames, even people. Others are more cartoony. More yet have the sharp, jagged designs of Scorpian clan tattoos. She moves to a page with an unfinished piece. A crumbling building on Picon. An overhead view. Something she probably flew over. She flashes a smile up at Katja. "She's just psychin' herself up to try to beat ya. But I appreciate it. Tryin' ta get myself settled in. Everywhere's got it's... culture an' all."

"I wonder what lives in there," Katja says with a small upward twitch of her lips and brow. Right. Then she's back to eating her own food, seeming in no rush to meet Erin in ten minutes. Now that the meat devourer is gone, she turns her plate back around to finish her own off. The blonde's eyes roam back up to Astraea's hair as something pops out of its own accord. "Nice catch," she remarks evenly. Naturally, her eyes follow where the pencil goes, catching glimpses of the work inside. She's not bashful about looking, but stays in her court so to speak. Her eyes are naturally drawn to the ships, and also to the people, but it's the final vista that makes her lean a little. "You never know one on one," though Katja sounds confident enough about her skill in her tone, like all of this will roll off of her either way. "For sure. I get it. I mean I'm just as new as you are here."

"In the beard? Don't men call 'em soup catchers, or is that just the mustache? I always forget." Astraea is half-paying attention to her meal as she gets back to work on the sketch. The building seems to be a temple; the columns crumbling from something crashed into them. The roof fallen in. It's a very rough sort of sketch; half-remembered, as if in a dream. Or... seen on a fly-by, as someone flew in or out of an evac. "Or do ya mean in th'noggin'? Might be a lot scrambled. Rattled about from combat an' all." The corner of her mouth twitches a little in amusement. "I've heard a few folks talkin' 'bout stuff like pyramid leagues an' I've seen the court. Seems like a big deal on board, so I feel like I oughta start... dunno, gettin' with the program or somethin'."

"I think it's the beard," Katja lifts her forefinger to wiggle a finger across her chin, just below her lip for a moment. "Well...you know I must be a bit slow, but do you think that's why all the Marines are weird? I mean...not all of them. Just some of them." She looks around briefly to see if any Marines might have overheard. That is /not/ what she needs. "Well I don't know if anyone's actually going to start a league, but I could see a tournament or something. I'm not running it though...Yeah, but it seems maybe a few people around here play so maybe we can start a weekly pickup game or something." She checks the time and then picks up the remainder of her orange and starts to tear into that a little faster. "How late is too late?..." She looks thoughtful for a moment and then pops a bit of orange into her mouth. "You should play the winner or something."

"Then what's the mustache? Frak but all men's nicknames for their shit is confusin'. An' then they gotta go nicknamin' our shit, too-" Astraea opines with a pointed look down at her chest. She scoffs, looking back to her sketch. The rest of her meal is largely ignored and she even soon shoves the tray aside. It's mostly eaten, save for a few bites and half of that second piece of cake. The sketchbook becomes front and center as she draws up one of her legs in between her arms, folding herself into her chair as she works. Perks of being smol. "Wonder if anyone's takin' proper bets or anythin' yet. Y'know, runnin' boots. Not that I'm offerin', but I ain't got a proper tattoo gun yet an' I bet with a bit of trade work I could get one... least th' 'bits towards one next time we got leave..." She worries at her lower lip as she mulls it over. But then the last thing the Viper jock offers distracts her from that line of thought and she blinks a few times, glancing up from the drawing. "Y'think so? I might, yeh. 'fore I start tryin' t'play these other folks I dunno, at least."

"No clue." Katja looks down at Astraea's chest too with a faint grin still left on her face, but her gaze lingers just a touch. Then she pointedly shoves one of her last orange segments into her mouth. "Who knows. I've been meaning to get a tattoo, but I just haven't figured out what I want yet. Maybe I'll just keep it simple," she muses. "As for the bets. I think Hayes is out to milk me for what I'm worth, but Aquarians betting with Aquarians days is like a wager over bits and bobs." She shrugs to the Scorpian. "Why not? If anything, I'll play you."

If the lingering gaze bothers Astraea, she doesn't let on. That's if she even notices- chances are, she's too distracted by the work on her drawing. "On Scorpia, tattoos're pretty important. But, I mean-" She looks up, quickly, eyes wide. "S'not to say, like, it's gotta... uhm, I mean, I'd be willing to do a tattoo for anyone that needs or wants. It doesn't gotta be like ours. Everyone's diff'rent an' all. Hells, I'd be happier to tattoo you than have some Scorpian ass want me to put some competing clan symbolism on him, y'know? Less sour to swallow." She smiles, but it's a bit uncertain. As if afraid she's paid some insult. The petite woman squirms a bit in her seat before looking back down to her sketchbook. "That makes more sense. Yer, ah, wagerin' that is. For us... th' books are bigger things. Wars are fought over a clan's books." She frowns at a few lines on the sketch, biting hard into her lip. Giving up on that page, she finally flips to another. This one's got a rather cartoony viper on it. The sort you might see on a badge or flight jacket. Bold lines. Gives her something else to stare at for a moment. She finally nods, looking up to the other woman with a relieved smile as some built up tension bleeds away. "Even if ya might lose some face if I beat ya?" There's a bit of teasing from the earlier line of conversation.

"Well I want my tattoo to mean something to me too," Katja says simply as she turns her attention back to her remaining food. She seems to brighten a touch when Astraea smiles, Katya's own look slightly uncertain. The small grace that is Astraea not having noticed Katja's lingering gaze is overlooked, as if such decent everyday luck were expected. "Books? What's in a clan's books?" When Astraea flips the page in her sketchbook, Katja frowns slightly. "That one was good. Why didn't you keep working on it?" She sits back in her seat as Astraea mentions losing face. "Well yeah. Sure. /If/." She seems to mirror Astraea smile for smile, but each one of the blonde's is slightly restrained, more evident in her eyes. "Is that all you want? Reputation?" She squints a touch as if sizing Astraea up.

"Shit, ah... Frak, uhm-" Astraea mumbles a few things to herself in Scorpian as she considers, the end of the pencil in her mouth, mangling the words further while she chews on it. Finally, gesturing with the pencil, she gives a sort of pleading look to Katja. "Didn't mean it didn't mean something to ya, it's just... Scorpian tattoos, you can... look at someone from yer clan or a neighborin' one an' know shit 'bout that person. What clan they're from, what clan governs theirs. Wars they've been in. Battles they've won or lost. Shit like that, y'know? A tattoo you get, no one would know just by lookin' at it what it means to you, yeh?" The smile she offers then is a bit weak, uncertain. She squirms a little, looking back to the sketchbook. There's a shrug. "I... couldn't remember it right. Mebbe I'll try again later. Seems wrong to frak up onna Artemis' temples, y'know?" At mention of reputation, one of her shoulders twitches up and down in a bit of a shrug. "Sorta, mebbe. I mean, reputation's pretty important, yeh? Gotta establish somethin' or yer nothin'. Least... that's how it always worked back home."

"I imagine it's probably pretty important to see at least some of that, so you know who you're dealing with. Well, I mean. You're right. No one would be able to tell what my tattoo means just by looking at it, unless it was written on there with the gun." Katja shrugs as if it's no big deal. She reaches for her water to wash her food down. "So it'd just be a different kind of tattoo. Clearly not a clan tattoo, since I don't belong to one of the clans." The thought of Katja in a Scorpian clan is so preposterous that it makes her wrinkle her forehead at her own words. "Well I mean. I was wondering if you wanted to wager anything, on top of winning some rep. Though honestly I'm not sure how much rep you'd get from beating me since I haven't played anyone here yet."

"Well, I mean, for some guys it's a big deal. Say ya move to a new area an' ya wanna establish yourself... Don't wanna throw a punch at the guy whose tattoos clearly say he's never lost anything." Astraea relaxes a little, grinning briefly. She rubs at her arm, leaning over the sketchbook to work on a few lines on the drawing. It could work as a tattoo, itself, but certainly moreso as a badge or just a bit of flash for a wing or mission patch. "Oh! As a wager." She bobs her head, some of the more errant curls bouncing at the fringes of her hair. Understanding sinking in. "Gotcha. Yeah, yeah, that makes more sense. An', I mean, it'd... dunno, might not get me any, naw, but a wager's good. You got anythin' in mind? Stuff yer lookin' for or whatever? I've got some real good rum with me."

"Or I could just not throw a punch at any guy, because I would have no clue how to read if his tattoos clearly said he's never lost anything," Katja quips. "I think that's a safe travel rule for Scorpia." She idily watches Astraea work the lines on the page as the drawing takes form. "You know what? I just realized I really don't have much to wager. Pack of cigarettes and some spices I got from a Sagitaron market. Not looking for anything particular. Just thought it might be more fun with some skin in the game." Seems she wasn't joking about wagering with Aquarians, at least the ones who haven't taken it upon them to trade on the regular. Upon her own realization, Katja looks down and finds she's just about passably finished her meal. "We should probably get going. Maybe Hayes got sidetracked and we can warm up? Or...whatever," she tacks the last bit on as an afterthought. "If you'd rather keep sketching," Katja certainly isn't going to hold the woman back.

"Stick to th'tourist areas an' you'll be safe," Astraea offers to Katja with a grin. "Promise. There's families that make sure of it. An' if ya don't, just have a local with ya." She tilts her head as the wager is dropped, finally looking away from the sketch to study the other woman for a moment. There's a bit of confusion in her features, as if trying to suss something out. She finally shakes her head a little, as if trying to clear it. "Sure. If ya change yer mind, lemme know. Prob'ly better I hold onto it anyhow. Wanted it for after a big mission, as a sorta victory thing, y'know? Might be we can share it someday. Timber Wolves thing an' all." At the offer to be left, she shakes her head and closes up the sketch book, shoving the pencil back in her hair. She grabs the water bottle from earlier, stacking everything else on her tray to be returned with the other dirty dishes. "Nah. It's just what I do in my spare time anyhow. I wanna see this pyramid court."

"Noted." If Katja notices Astraea's confusion, she doesn't let it show. "Oh yeah. You should definitely keep it. I promise I won't tell Hayes about it either, not that I know if she likes rum or not, but I'd imagine a wager like that she'd hop on just for the notoriety," she says with little conviction. It could be true, it could be a vastly misjudgement of character. Katja pushes up from her chair and picks up her tray, waiting for Astraea before she returns her own tray. "I feel like I ought to change into some shorts or something. Do you know where the court is? I found the lounge the other day and I sort of fell into reading there for a few days. Meant to go find it though."

"At least until we get back to Scorpia-" Astraea's fingers linger at the edges of her tray once she's on her feet. "...we will, yeh? I mean, I wasn't told anythin' 'bout stuff like leave, but everyone was comin' offa leave when I came on board, so I assume it happens? Shit. I hope that wasn't like, a last hurrah or nothin'. I left plans to get a few more bottles once I came back 'round." She frets a little before she grabs her tray, following Katja to return it. It laves her with just the water bottle and her sketchbook in hand. At the question, she adopts a sort of blank look. "I... don't," the Raptor pilot admits, looking a bit sheepish. There's a glance down to her own, suitable-for-play attire then back up to Katja. "But I could try'n find out while you change an' meet ya at the bunks?"

"Oh I have no clue. I haven't done any tours in the CF either so this is all new to me. I hope we get leave though." Once free of her tray, Katja stretches her arms, one arm across her chest, then the other. "That'd be really nice. Thanks." Also skips over the whole awkward waiting while someone changes bit. She grins. There's nothing wrong with playing in her BDUs right? She could, if she needed to, but clearly she doesn't intend to play Hayes that way. "I'll see you then," she says when they end up splitting off.


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