2237-06-24 - Weary Warriors

Cate, Isolde, and Van talk about Kell's loss, the past, and quitting.

Date: 2237-06-24

Location: Berthings, Cutter //Vanguard//

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1170

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Isolde is sitting at the table in the berths, head down in her arms, and looking almost asleep. She has a tablet out in front of her, screen darkened, and quite a few hand-scribbled notes of possible locations where Kell's Viper may have gone down. She has been at this project for a while, but even she is not the best at mapping terrain -- patterns or not. She breathes out a slow breath, and starts rolling her head back and forth against her arms in subdued frustration.

Cate comes back from the showers, hair still damp, wearing her sweats. She smirks at Isolde's pose, coming up alongside her. "You look like you should get some rest," she says with concern.

Isolde slides her face into view, looking up at Cate from her slumped posture. "Ugh." Then she rolls her face back into her arms, mumbling, "I need to find Razor." Then she starts to straighten up, vigorously rubbing at her face and then pulling her fingers back through her hair. "You know, I bet exhaustion looks really good on me. You're just jealous."

Cate takes a seat at the table near her friend. "Yeah, I heard about that. Sorry. But you can't grind yourself down trying to find him, Iz." The comment about exhaustion gets a smirk. "Yeah, I don't like the competition." She looks pretty tired herself.

"I know." Isolde doesn't sound entirely happy about. "The problem is that there is nothing to go on. His signal is weak, if it's there at all, and he's probably moving far afield to avoid Cylons." She rubs her head them before she looks back up at Cate, and a small smile pulls at the corner of her lips. She bumps shoulders with her friend before she starts to gather up her notes. "Picon is exhausting. I thought I was tired on Canceron..."

"Yeah, all the jamming sucks ass. If he's lucky he'll make it to friendly lines eventually. Only so much you can do." The latter comment gets a snicker at the understatement. "Tell me about it."

"Eventually." Isolde doesn't sound terribly happy about this yet. She then breathes out a slow exhale, and shuts off her tablet. Her eyes flicker over to Cate. "How are you holding up? I hear that there's some rumblings of a Marine tussel coming up soon." She grimaces. "Maybe something from the Recon group?"

"I hope he does," Cate offers. Hope, but probably not expect. And after the shitstorm of Hyperion, hopefully one can understand her lack of optimism. She shrugs at the question. "I dunno. Okay I guess. It's weird being back. Been on a few missions but nothing major. Going out again tomorrow." She sighs. "Tucker's pretty upset about that kid they brought back to sickbay."

"From the apartment building?" Isolde frowns slightly. "Is... she still here? He." She isn't sure if the kiddo is a girl or boy, as she hasn't been dying to pry in that regard. She rubs slightly at her elbow. "What has him upset?"

"What? Oh. No - different kid." Cate sighs. "This one was from the resistance group they ran into a couple days ago. Toasters found them. The kid was one of the fighters - he got shot up pretty bad. Tucker blames himself because he gave the kid a different gun." They're sitting at the table in the berths.

"Oh." Isolde frowns slightly. "I don't think that I heard about that." She's been too worried about Razor it sounds like. Then she frowns deeper as she hears the story, and sits with it. "Why... okay. Why did Tucker give the kid a gun to begin with? I mean... I guess I get it, but." Then she sinks a bit. "Is that where we are in this? Kids soldiers?"

Van is giving the ladies a run for their money when it comes to weary. He had bags under his eyes, and a pounding headache, and twitchy fingers -- the last two aren't from exhaustion though, but rather from nicotine withdrawal. He comes into the berthings, heading right for the table and starting to fish out -- a pack of cigarettes that isn't actually there, "Izzy... I had an idea about how to pick up mirror flashes better." And then he blinks, "Oh, hey Doc. Wait... child soldiers? Scorpia?"

Cate starts to answer Isolde, but then Van comes in. She gives him an upnod in greeting. "Hey Newton. No - not Scorpia, Picon. There was a kid with the resistance. Fourteen, fifteen maybe. He already had a gun -" she clarifies to Isolde. "But it was shit and Tucker gave him his. Thinks it made the kid overconfident or something. I dunno. I think mostly it's just the fact that a frakking kid got shot in front of him." She shrugs helplessly and sighs again.

"I'm pretty sure that would frak me up, too." Isolde frowns then, and offers Cate another light shoulder bump before her eyes cut over to Van. "You think he's flashing mirrors at us? I'm thinking he's trying to find a place to hide." She hesitates. "Also, you're not going to find them there. I already trash-compacted your extra pack." She offers him a small, almost apologetic smile.

Van's eyes widen slightly at the news that there are child soldiers down on Picon, and another of his mental supports gives a wobble. One hand goes to the back of a chair, but he just shakes his head for a moment before murmuring, "Frak. I keep underestimating how bad it is." Kell... Kell is amazingly a better topic for Van, and he nods, "I think that he's liable to be signalling us any way he can when he can spot us overhead. I would bet that mirrors are in all of the E & E guides." And then the pack, "Force of habit, that's all. I thought I threw them all out myself."

"There was a kid with our group," Cate says in response to Van's surprise, shrugging a little. "Evan's niece." But that territory is marked with emotional landmine signs, so she - improbably - veers back to child soldiers. "Cylons'll kill them just as quick as an adult so... why wouldn't they fight for their lives?" She has nothing to add on the subject of downed pilots, but says, "You finally quit smoking?"

Cate's insight draws Isolde back a bit, and she breathes out a slow exhale. "Yeah... you're right." She frowns slightly. "If we can't get this under control... we're going to need every human we can." She hates admitting that, and feels a bit of an ache in the depth of her stomach even muttering those words. Then she looks back to Van when Cate hones in on the smoking. She doesn't look at her friend, though there's a small twitch of a smile at her lips.

Van nods at Cate, "I remember you mentioning that." He almost says more, but then, at the very last moment, spots the metaphorical landmine right in front of his foot. "And I... I guess I was just thinking that they shouldn't have to." Running a hand back over his hair, he shakes his head, "I'm... trying to." He glances sidelong over to Isolde and admits, "I backslid once. But I'm trying."

"Yeah." It's a hollow agreement to both of them, and then Cate is sighing again. Cigarettes are a much safer topic. "Good for you. You know I think there are still some of those patches up in sickbay." She rubs at her face wearily. "I could use a drink."

"Couldn't we all," Isolde says with a deep exhale, rubbing at her shoulder. She catches Van's look, and she offers him a forgiving smile. "Yeah, I know. It's okay to backslide... just have to forward slide again." Then she looks back to Cate, head cocked to one side. "You know... if Tucker needs it... he could go see that shrink that's onboard now."

"I don't know? Does that help with the itches and the headaches? I've just been trying... you know, cold turkey." The look from Isolde gets a slightly-relieved smile, and he nods, "Yeah, I'm off again. Just needed one before flying when my head was killing me." He looks a little bashful, fiddling with the back of his chair, then glances down the rows of bunks, "I know some people have a stash. It wouldn't be so bad while we're at Condition Three, just one drink, at least."

"Yeah - it's basically small doses of nicotine, so... reduces the withdrawal symptoms. Doesn't make them go away completely though." Cate nods to Van's comment about the booze. "I think Kovac still has his still going someplace." But she makes no move to acquire any. She looks to Isolde, face scrunching. "Yeah, last thing he'd want is some shrink deciding he needed to be grounded to talk about his feelings. That'll end well."

Isolde arches her brows high at Van's idea. "You're not just suggesting we have a drink, you're suggesting stealing some." Then her gaze flicks over toward Cate once more at the hint of how Tucker might feel about that. She grimaces then in agreement. "I guess... maybe he should talk to one of the Scorpians. I mean... if that's a thing..." She doesn't know, and is once more showing her own naivety when it comes to other Colonies.

Van nods slowly at Cate's explanation, "That might be exactly what I need, because..." he grimaces broadly, rubbing at the middle of his forehead, "Ow." Looking up sharply at Isolde's words, he is already shaking his head before she's even done, "Oh no. No no. I meant asking for some. Trading if needs be." Scoffing a little, he reaches out to give Isolde's shoulder a little nudge with his fingers, "Come on, Izzy. When have I ever suggested stealing something." He pauses suddenly, "And don't ask Hammerhead that question. It was a dare."

Cate mirrors Isolde's eyebrow arch, but at the comment about the dare. "Now you know I have to ask her." Then she's getting up and going over to her locker, which fortunately is right nearby. "If even Van needs a drink, then I think we officially all need one." She takes out a flask, which used to be Jacob's, and offers it to Van. Then she slants a look back to Isolde. "What do you mean -- any Scorpian?"

"I dunno. War does funny things to people." Then Isolde looks at Cate, and she shrinks a bit. "I dunno. Van asked if the child soldier thing was a Scorpia thing... I was just assuming." She pinks slightly under her tawny skin, fiddling with her shirt hem. Then she breathes in a deep breath, looking after the Hiberian. She then glances to Van. "I bet you could ask Hayes... she seems to know how to score things."

Van shrugs a little wearily at Cate's query, "The Knotty Lady had a sign." 'Had' as in past tense, even before the Cylons. "It disappeared. It was second year at the Academy." And then he protests her further assumption, "I drink... just not often on-ship." Gesturing over to Isolde, he adds, "Tell her I drink, Izzy." It is a measure of Van's state of mind that he's actually protesting the idea that he doesn't drink (often) and that he needs backup on the fact. When the flask is proffered out, he takes it, hefting it a little, then smiling faintly at Isolde, "So does Doc, apparently." And then he has to think, "Hayes... Hayes... Marine?" Popping the top of the flask, he gives a sniff, a shrug, and then takes a sip no matter the strength of the alcoholic fumes coming off the flask.

It's actually pretty decent whiskey. "Courtesy of my cousin. Care package from home," Cate explains when Van mentions scoring things. "Yeah, Hayes is a marine. Aquarian, recon." She offers a weak smirk, "I believe you drink, Newton. Still have a hard time imagining you nicking a sign - even on a dare." She leans against her locker while he drinks, and says, "I spent entirely too much time bumming drinks in the club at Triton." Her lips draw together in a thin line.

"He drinks," Isolde says obediently. She holds out her hand to take the flask from Van, and then she'll pass it on to Cate. "Yeah... bit odd, but I think she is naturally that way." She is kind of relieved the conversation has moved past her own issues, and onto other things. She glances over toward Cate. "See, I knew Van before... he would totally do it." She smirks at Van then.

Quality be-damned, Van winces at the burn of the whiskey, his eyebrows going up as he swallows and passes the flask to Isolde. When he speaks, his voice is just a little strained from the booze, "Beer. I drink beer most of the time." He nods at Cate's brief description of Hayes, and at Isolde's addition, "War does funny things to people?" His fingers rattle idly on the back of the chair, but he doesn't even seem to notice, nodding to Isolde, "I was a touch too interested in the bars down by the docks. The beer, certainly, but also the atmosphere."

Cate smirks a bit at Van's reaction to the whiskey, and at Isolde's assertion of his thievery. But it's Van's latter comment that gets a curious look. "Why's that?" she wonders, seeking a distraction from her own thoughts.

Isolde just listens to the pair. She rests her cheek in her hand, watching Van carefully. Then she glances to Cate. "Van wasn't such a straight-shooter all the time. I mean, he tried to seduce a poor lecturer from Tauron. He failed miserably, but." Her lips quirk a bit before she shakes her head. "I figured you liked the bars by the docks because it had all the Navy-flustered girls there."

Van starts to answer Cate's question, and then Isolde does it for him, at least mostly, and he blushes, his cheeks and ears heating as he does, "That's actually how Izzy and I met. I was assigned as her liaison after a lecture on cyberwarfare and intrusion countermeasures. She shot me down in flames." Which might be a little exaggeration, but not by far. He nods to Isolde at her assumption, "That was a good portion of it. I also liked the company of my fellow officers. Being part of something larger. And it was fun to party down at the Half Hitch." Looking over to Cate, he adds, "You never decided to blow off steam during medical school?" He winces a little as he remembers that her blowing off steam was a trip to Picon, and he quickly adds, "Early on, I mean."

Cate listens quietly to their stories. "Well, at least it worked out for you guys the second time around." Or is working out. Will work out. Whatever fits. She nods to Van. "Sounds like a nice time." The latter question gets a quizzical look. "What?" Then she pieces together what she thinks he meant and smirks. "You think I never went to the bar before Triton?"

Isolde looks over at Van with an arch of her brows, particularly at Cate's follow-up question. Poor Van. He's having a hell of a time with the ladies tonight. She does reach over to pat Van's hand before she starts to rise from her bench. "Alright, I'm leaving Cate here to school you in how Hiberian women let their hair down. I gotta go camp out the Ready Room." Apparently, she wants to make sure she is right there when the call for Razor's rescue comes in.

Van glances over to Isolde as Cate mentions that it's working out this time, and he nods, that faint smile back on his lips. He blinks at Cate's question though, looking back to her in surprise, "No... I just meant, I probably went to the Half Hitch and the other Navy bars for about the same reason you went to the bars around med school." Isolde's announcement gets a worried look, but Van nods, "I'll bring my 'band down and join you in a few, Izzy."

Cate watches Isolde leave for a moment then shrugs to Van's question. "Actually I mostly hung out in the bars around the neighborhood. But like you said - the people, the atmosphere, same reasons people hang out anywhere." She jerks her head towards Isolde. "You should go. Keep her from worrying herself into the ground." She fingers the edge of the flask for a moment before taking another sip.

Van lets out a little huff that's almost a laugh, "And the beer." Shaking his head, he looks after Isolde, nodding slowly, "Yes. It wouldn't do either of us any good to worry ourselves into the ground. Gravity and the toasters are trying to do that already." He nods to the flask, "Thank you for the nip." This is where most Viper jocks say 'good hunting,' but Van goes with, "Stay safe out there, Cate. I'll probably stop by sickbay in the next day or two for some of those patches." And then he ducks to his bunk to grab his holoband and follow Isolde out.


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