In the hours before returning to the Vanguard, Recon's thoughts turn to home, to history, and to walking like zombies into hot showers.
Location: Picon, then later, the Head on Vanguard
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1166
The worst part, if anything, about finding four walls to sleep within for any portion of recon in a warzone, is the lack of airflow. The last few hours before leaving for the woods and the shoreline beyond are spent in a nightmare of humidity, where thin cracks in the windows are the closest thing to air conditioning the recon team can find. The walls don't breathe, and if they did, even the walls would want to hold its breath to avoid breathing in the scent of five recon marines, one wounded civilian, and over four days worth of jungle funk.
Kyle? She's making the best of it. With just a little time before rollout, she's set her helmet down atop her kit and is creeping around down the hallway with an aged bottle of water in her hands. Her shemagh is unraveled and she's pouring the water onto it, letting the fabric soak it up so that it's an air conditioning unit for the hike. No eyes, no makeup, she looks (and feels) like a coyote ugly scenario, the wrong person to wake up next to.
Well, frak that. Erin is an Aquarian, which means that she's dying in the humidity and heat. Fatigue has set in from a sleepless night, and her eyes are ringed darkly, even without her facepaint. Which she eschews because the stuff would roll off anyhow. Stripped down to the essentials, the smallest of the recon Marines sweats still, even in a tank top. Her gear, strapped in place, look as if its ready to squash her; thankfully, she's built sturdy and strong, like a good packrat.
"I'll be glad when I'm out of this frakkin' weather, frak." She sighs and settles down to her knees. "I swear, I've lost weight." Probably about 5 pounds, which is a lot for someone who looks like she weights a buck-twenty-five, at most. Whoever's laying her up might like the newer, slimmer trash panda. More like trash weasel now.
Kyle steps over the puddle she makes wetting down her shemagh, and holds it up in a triangle. Over her nose it goes, then wraps around her neck in a loose knot. The whole scarf is stuffed down into the unbuttoned neck of her BDU blouse, halfway an ascot. When the excess water drains down the front of her shirt, Kyle's eyes drift closed. Amazing. She's going to have to be cleaned with a wire brush when she gets back, but for the time being, mud feels better than old dirt.
"Cold and dry, you must love the ship at night. This just reminds me of the summer the air conditioning went out in the shop." Kyle's scratchy voice is kept low, just in case. She creeps over to Erin and lowers to one knee. "Neck out, head down?" Kyle rattles the half-emptied water bottle, in offering.
There's a certain measure of 'it could be worse' to Charlie's demeanor. She was still recently enough on the Canceron campaign. A Picon northwest summer is positively balmy compared to the Canceron jungle. Particularly the disaster zone they had been in. There is, however, only so much 'lack of airflow' one can handle before they start to feel cranky as well. She's staring at the distant tree line with hope in her eyes. Looking forward to being among the evergreens, where the ambient temperature will drop. Even if, their luck, rain will surely begin to drizzle upon them as soon as they're out in the elements. She's been awake for mere moments, but has set herself up to lean against the wall to squint out through that crack. A self-claimed post on watch as she sits in silence. Purposefully done, or due to a dry mouth from rations and being low on water that isn't stale from canteens.
Hey. Some people are best suited for the Planet Hoth, all right? Erin is one of them.
With a miserable sigh, Erin drops her head compliantly to Kyle. "I do like the ship. So many places to get a nap in, if you know where to find them." Crawlspaces are the favored cubbies for raccoons. "And couches. Lots of couches. Plus, people don't tend to give a frak when I crawl into bed with them. Go figure?" Promiscuous, rabid raccoons.
Up close, the raccoon Marine lives up to her nickname. Not that she seems to care about dumpster-diving for scraps. "What sort've shop you talking about, Kriminy?"
The carpet whispers under Kyle's knee as she scoots in, looking over Erin's bowed head towards Charlie. Kyle isn't a mama bear type, per se, but when she hasn't been asleep, she's been regularly peeking around corners, checking on faces, looking to keep tabs on who is asleep and who isn't. Cylons and their habits of making bodies disappear. They're loud, but war is fragile.
"Go figure." Kyle replies with a smirk to her voice. "Before we left I fell asleep watching a movie in the rec. No one's really crawled into my bunk yet, but if it's that guy from the mess that looks like a catfish, you're gonna get woken up with screaming."
The water is poured out over the back of Erin's neck, angled to let the spine do the rest of the work in delivering the low-quality H20 to where it needs to go. Compared to the stifling apartment? It's frigid.
"Cars, Chilly. Beautiful, rumbling, growling cars with air conditioners." Kyle continues. "Family business; it's where I was working, again, with my pops before the Cylons turned fifteen and got piercings." A beat. "You might be a raccoon, but I'm a monkey."
Hours pass. The clock ticks over itself again, hands moving ass over tea kettle...
"...got a jeep waiting for me back home," Kyle whispers to Erin as they come to a stop behind a log, checking back behind them for the carrying job of Trevor on his makeshift stretcher. "Smoother ride than that." Kyle snickers.
It's a conversation, bit-by-bit, all of the way home.
"Just hanging around all day, listening to music." Kyle says, eyes skyward as the Raptor comes in.
"My own bay, had a hammock up in it." Kyle adds, head bobbing, on the Raptor.
"And when I get back, if you've got a car on Caprica, Erin," Kyle zombie walks into the head, her BDU fatiques ratty, wrinkled, stained with mud and moss. Mud cakes strands of her hair together, face so black and muddy it looks as if she was face-shoved into her own birthday cake. With little regard for anyone else in the head, Kyle works at the buttons of her shirt. "Just tell the old man with the handlebar mustache that you're a friend, and you got yourself cheap labor."
All the while, Erin is -- well, she is worn out. Bloody worn out. She'd look pathetic if she weren't so pissed off at the universe for making her petite. It's not good for the cold, and it's certainly not good for prolonged missions.
Along the way, she comments and responds where appropriate to Kyle. "Do you know, I never learned to drive? Didn't need to. At least, not when I was a civilian. So, I don't have a car. Never bought one, and neither did my parents."
"Like, me, I was -- my parents were scientists, so I went to school for that. And I did that, graduated, was about to go to higher education when the toasters decided to bomb the frak out Heim." Beat. "Parents died. No siblings or other family on planet, so -- off to war I went!" Cavalier. "Had nothing to lose."
"Didn't gain much either. At least, not until recently."
"And to be honest, like, I've heard of two different Capricas." In the ship, Erin just follows Kyle, presuming that the latter intends to get cleaned up immediately after, in preparation for a long, long sleep. "Like, there's that ritzy part. Drake told me about all of that. And then, there's a rough side to it. Frankly, I don't know what to think." Mumble. "Aquaria was just a bit ice ball, with a bit of beach."
For the most part, Charlie is just tired. She's happy to just listen to the others chatter, play forward scout for the run through the forest, and keep watch for their pickup. Once they're on the Raptor, however, the woman is just out like a light. She's got that marine nature to her, at least. Once on a transport, she is asleep. Upon their return and check-in of weapons, her first stop is the barracks. It's just a swing through, however, and she's mere moments behind the other two in the Head. Sans pack and with a (carefully held) fresh set of sweats in hand along with her dopp kit. "Mess opens in an hour," she announces to the other two as she drops her things on a bench and starts peeling out of long-damp and mud-caked fatigues.
It takes Kyle three tries to get her booted foot onto a chair. Once, twice, her boot whiffs at the edge before she finally catches it. Bent over in a stained tank top, she tugs at her laces. "God, do I want to eat before I sleep or sleep and then eat?" Kyle murmurs to the other two women, seriously in need of a life coach to write her immediate schedule for her. "I feel like I've been hit with one of those tenderizing hammers." Kyle chops at the air, switches to the other boot, and both boots clatter off of the chair and onto the floor.
"There are two Capricas." Kyle continues, peeling her tank top off of her head and then hooking her thumbs in her sports bra, grunting her way through removing it as well. The gross tan line shows where the article of clothing held the mud at bay. "One for people who can afford it, and one for people who work for the people that can afford it. Frak those people, though, my pops was lucky enough to get a loan for his shop and it worked out alright."
Huff. Kyle slumps against the wall and tugs at her belt.
"When all of this shit is over, I'll fly you guys out." Belt open, Kyle works the buttons. "My apartment's cozy."
"I want to wash up," announces Erin grumpily, as she pulls her gear off and lets it drop to the floor solidly. "I mean, that is -- "
She stoops down, and begins to unload her bounty. Her hat and scarf. Her half-bottle of scotch. And that glorious, glorious pornography that will make her the most popular girl on the ship. Because it means everything to be POP-U-LERR.
"Maybe we'll get the chance to stop by Caprica on leave or something. I mean, if we survive this tour." Erin chuckles, and shakes her head. "Or each other, for that matter. Marines in confined places get punchy."
Once her personal items are stashed away in her footlocker, which is then closed and locked up, Erin stands up and, with a moan of pleasure, starts to peel off her clothes. Piece by piece. One by one. "Aww, frak yeah, frakkity-frak get this crap off me, rrrrgh." Unf. "I swear, I'm going to get in the shower, and it's going to be all frakkin' over, and I'll just bleeaaaargh." Whatever those sounds mean.
"I might move in," Charlie warns Kyle. Her first words, really, beyond the necessary and intel in a while. "I'm jealous of you guys with... apartments and all." She's peeling out of her own clothes, dropping them in a pile at her feet around her boots. Down to her skivvies, her hands go to her braids. There's a low sigh. "Better have a day off tomorrow..." She's going to want to take them out, thoroughly wash, and redo them. Tight as they are, they're probably fine, but everyone gets that skin-crawly feeling sometimes with such things. Something is slipped out of her bra and into her dopp kit with careful fingers.
"Aquarian's have a weird tongue," she notes as an aside to Erin, amused. The kit is grabbed and a naked, but still be-grossed Charlie starts schlepping it towards a shower. She's got a particular one in mind. But the sniper's been aboard since the Wolves were first posted to the Vanguard. She knows the best ones by now, surely. Or at least her personal concept of 'best.'
Kyle stoops and leaves her skivvies and BDU pants in a pile next to dirty socks. She looks towards a nearby mirror and reels in horror at the smear of sludge over her skin. Lips peeled back and mouth twisting into a look of disgust, she digs behind her head until she finds the loop of her hair tie. "Ow." Kyle winces as she tries to work it out. "Ow.Ow.Frak..."
One deep breath later and Kyle is used to the pinch at her scalp, avoiding the mirror. Forever.
"Oh, if we get leave on Caprica, I'm gonna bring as many of you frakkers as I can back home. Beers at the beach, apartment pool party, steaks, triad with my brothers while one of them complains about his complicated-ass group marriage. Echo Tavern." Kyle whistles a doorbell chime of a tune and then turns, walking with slumped shoulders into one of the open shower stalls.
"And hey," Kyle giggles weakly. "If the tongue gets the job done." FWOOSH. SHOWER POWERS, ACTIVATE! Kyle doesn't even seem to notice the second and a half of cold water in the pipes, she's forehead to tile and sighing her relief.
BLARGH! WATER IN FAS BLARGH! COLD! Not that Erin seems to care much, if, by caring, one discounts the stream of expletives that pours from her lips while the water remains frigid.
"Wait, what the frak? Group marriage? Who -- your brother?" Scoffs the raccoon. "What, is he stupid or something? Seriously. Who can stand having more than one person in their frakkin' lives like that, right? Yeesh, I'd frakkin' need room to breathe. Breathe! To be left alone and merrraghbleagh!"
She scrubs her face. Her face. Her chest. Her face. Every part. Over and over and over. Mumbling, "I swear, if they call us in right now -- " To Ryan's office to be forced to debrief. Because that's Mercer's job. That's what he gets paid for. Fox Force Four just get paid to be hawt, y'all.
"They're not gonna call us in right now, staaahp." Kyle sob-whines into the spray of hot water. Her hair sticks to her face and falls down her shoulders in streams. She opens her eyes to the drain at her feet to watch the muddy water swirl around and disappear, like paint running off of a canvas. "You-a makin' me a-paranoid."
Kyle disappears under the water, scrubbing weakly at her body, flaking off a leaf she didn't know was glued to her hip near a tattoo of a star. Forehead to the tile as a point to keep her upright, she begins the work of cleaning under her fingernails with other fingernails.
"It's not a bad story. Vin, his best friend, and these two girls were like:" Queue deep voice. "Hey, we're Caprican and modern and the adults is doin this." Kyle ends voice. "So right after school, right before Vin went into the service, they all got married. One, two, ten, he comes back to find that I've got two nephews and he goes right into workin for a living and taking care of babies. Caprican marines spatula'd him right out into a cramped apartment with rugrats throwing pyramid balls through their windows."
There's silence from Charlie's shower for a while save for the running of the water. A silent constitutional to appreciate the heat, the water pressure, the mere pleasure of it all. The sloughing of days of grime. And the proper investigation of a bullet graze across her arm. Nothing she saw fit to see medical about upon her return and something already healing save for a bit of angry red across the bicep. "We should all go to the beach in Queenstown," she offers finally, "once this is over. My father can put us all up." The name 'Wagner' might be recognizable, to any who read fantasy novels. Though it's common enough a name overall, but 'Samuel Wagner' is a prolific author across the colonies and rather popular overall.
"They'll call Mercer in first, likely. Us tomorrow if they have specific questions from his report." Spectre doesn't sound entirely certain, just fairly so based on past experiences. She lets out a low sigh. "Could be worse. There's some in those shootoffs of Aphrodite in the group marriages where it's... you wed in and have like, eight husbands and ten wives and it's all... you join for the orgies but you're bottom of the totem pole so you spend ten years raising everyone else's babies before you even get a whiff of sex."
In response to Charlie's comments on polygamy, Erin says: "No, thank you. No, no, no."
"No, no, no, no, no."
"No-no-no." Laugh. "No-no, no-no-no."
"Frak." Sigh. "My parents -- I think I was an accident." Beat. "I mean, they weren't bad parents, but it just seemed -- I don't know -- they really liked their work. Sometimes, when I was, like, ten? Eleven? They'd head out on short trips, so I'd be left in the enclosure, like -- I don't know -- two or three days, just on my own."
"Anyhow, yeah, no. The idea of having a bunch of frakkin' larvae around? No, no, no. No. Thank you." Shudder. "Frak." And she resumes washing herself thoroughly of dirt and the thought of children. Bleargh.
The first, uncontrollable giggle of the season comes from Kyle's shower cubicle. Her belly tightens in with her laugh, then said belly growls out of hunger, and the Kyle Costello is wrapping an arm about her belly. Laughter turns to another round of 'ow..ow...' until it's simply not funny anymore.
"Stop making me laugh." Kyle whines over the wall. "And...don't forget, right? Caprica does everything the religiousy people do with this eclectic bullshit mix of cosmopolitan society and prestige that shows old blah-blah-blah standards can be made into modern living situations. Gemenese get orgies? Capricans get mature, trendy living arrangements. We're enlightened. Leading the charge." Kyle lifts an arm to air-quote when she says it. The hand flops to the bar of soap and she begins to suds. "Oh...I just made air quotes. That was sarcasm."
"I'll let you borrow my nephews and teach them how to hit adults in the knees, Erin." Kyle runs the bar against the back of her neck. "And your parents sound like someone I'd like to hit in the knees. How bout you, Specks?" A beat. "Who is your daddy and what does your daddy-do?"
"I couldn't imagine having a gaggle of kids," Charlie admits from her own shower. "Maybe one someday. But these people with a whole passel of 'em?" She's shuddering over there as she continues to scrub away days of grime. It's a trade-off. Stand under the blessed water pressure or find the skin beneath all the dirt? She listens to them tell their own tales. "My brother... ah, never had kids." She seems to leave it at that. "I think he's with my folks... They're in Queenstown-" there, on Picon. Below. "Helping rebuild. Last I heard, at least." She's quiet for a time, considering the question.
"My father is... Samuel Wagner." Brief pause. "He writes, ah... Fantasy and history novels." The sorts one might have as textbooks. Or if they're history buffs. Because the player just double-checked her background. "I think a few of the fantasy ones might be on board." She notes the latter almost glumly, like it's a touch embarrassing. "Like, uh... The Mignight Star or Dangerous Thorn. I think The Sky's Hand was popular on Caprica for a while. At least he had a long signing tour there."
"Hey." Erin makes a noise. "They weren't bad people, Kyle. They just weren't prepared for a kid while they were on assignment. I don't even think they were married. And they wouldn't admit it, but part of me thinks that there weren't even together when they started there." Beat. "But, a man and a woman, stuck in an enclosed space for months at a time, well -- you start to enjoy one another and forget about pulling out, I guess."
Shrug. Erin sighs and sits down in the middle of her stall. The water splashes about her shoulders, hair, and face. It's lukewarm now, but that's fine: too hot, and it'd be unpleasant over time; too cold, and it'd be the same. Just the feeling of clean water. Cleansing. Her legs, her body, tired and in need to rest.
Yeah. Yeah, that's why she's quiet.
"I'll bet -- I mean, was it kind of annoying to have a famous father, Chuck?"
Didn't Erin say her parents were dead? Kyle looks down to her feet and mouths a curse, cringing when Erin comes to their defense. WHOOPS. Kyle rubs at her face with the soap and then sets the bar aside, frowning her way through shampoo that's got the worst job of all. She'll have to lather her hair twice. "Sorry, Erin." Kyle calls out, tapping her heel against the shower stall's wall. "I get it, though. Some stuff happens without planning it. Which, medicine willing, puts me in that category of women not planning on spawning frakkin' regardless of what my mom says."
Kyle spits stray water out of her mouth.
"Because she thinks a girl will have girls, because my family is ninety percent boys." Eyeroll. Change subject. "Anyway, yeah, what was that like, Specks, and if you can get me a copy I'll read it. I've seen your dad's names on the books I didn't pick up because I was reading pyramid mags and fapping over pictures of cars."
"Or... some folks just don't... openly show affection?" Charlie tries to be helpful, but it's hard when you don't know the people in question. She's done bathing without starting to strip off her own skin. It's time to just lean in the shower itself and savor the water. She lets out a long sigh as she considers the questions. "Nnnnnn, well-" Another moment of quiet and an unseen shrug. "My dad's kind of a hermit, really. When his agent isn't making him do signings, he mostly just shuts himself away. The family house is on the beach, pretty away from everything, y'know? I mean, we barely see him most of the time when he's in the midst of shit." She sort of toes at the tile flooring.
"I was, uh... honestly more well known than he was. On Picon, at least. Before I enlisted. I was a professional surfer. Probably coulda gone on to competing in inter-colonial competitions, but I got bored. If I'd stuck with it and been a blonde white girl, I bet I coulda gotten all those advertising deals like Walker."
"Man." Beat. "Famous people." Erin laughs ruefully from where she sits on the floor, water pooling around her and into the drain. "You. Walker? Drake?" Another beat. "I'm just an orphan from Aquaria. Cliched, right? Like, the poster child for the desperately-fighting little girl that's out of her league." Third beat. "Eh, that's probably all of us, a little, deep down."
Man, Erin can go from zero to maudlin in no time. Alan Alda, anyone?
"Oh well. Doesn't matter. Fact is? We succeeded on another mission, ladies." She gets up to her feet slowly. "And we succeeded on getting some loot. Liquor, tobacco -- porn?" She laughs anxiously. "Presuming from frakker doesn't try to rob me, we're rich. Popular and rich." Hoot. "The ship is our frakkin' oyster. We should have a Gemenese orgy in celebration."
"Bored. Lookatchu, humblebrag." Kyle twists her hair, wringing it out. The water's running clear and sudsy now. Time to go. "So get me a copy of your dad's book and some vids of you surfing, because I don't even know where to start as to how competitive surfing works, but like whatever porn Hayes brought back? I'll watch it."
Squeak. The knob twists and the water turns off. Steam billows as Kyle leans out, slapping at a rack for a towel. Three tries again. She quickly dries off and steps out of the shower, wrapping the towel under her arms and letting her hair hang.
"We did, and we need to celebrate, so that's two votes for Gemenese bunk orgy, or at best some drinking until everyone falls asleep and we leave the porn vid on so everyone thinks we're having an orgy, because..." Kyle hugs herself and leans towards the mirror. "I ache. Everywhere. In bad ways."
"Famous on parts of Picon," Charlie points out, snerking to herself. She hits the water to shut it off. "And yes, bored-" she calls over to Kyle. "I was seventeen, stupid, and wanted to do something else. So I enlisted." She opens the curtain and starts the arduous process of squeezing water out of her braids. "What sorta book you want? Colonial history or fantasy? Dunno if I can get a history book 'cause you know our kind," marines, "don't like that shit. Maybe some of the pilot nerds." Van probably has one, knowing him. "...I would be shocked if anyone has a vid of me surfing." She doesn't sound entirely certain on that and maybe a little scared. Evan would probably be thrilled to get his hands on that.
"I am all about some drinking," the woman affirms, leaning forward with ass temporarily in the air as she finishes squishing her hair to get as much excess water out as possible. A spare towel is nabbed to twist it up in before she grabs another for her body. Spectre wraps herself up in that one. "But first... I want a goddamn hot meal. Even whatever they've got in the mess will be a feast right now."
"Hey, guys?" Erin sticks her head out of her stall. "I love you guys." And that's all she says about that. Seems like a meaningful admission from the trash panda, something which is said shortly and offhandish, as if it meant nothing at all. She ducks her head back in.
"I'm, ah -- you know, I'm actually going to go and see if I can find someone." She doesn't say who. "But I plan to be in here for another, like, ten minutes or so because it's niiiiiice. Like, it's all I can do to stop myself from peeing." Maudlin panda gone; trashy panda back. "So, save me a spot in line or, like, get me some grub, would you? Because I'm totally gonna be there. Gonna, gonna be there."
And then, Erin starts to hum tunelessly to herself, and zone out. Maybe rub one out? Look, don't judge her, all right? It's been a long, hot trip with friends that are super hot. (No, she probably won't rub one out, but you never know (never say never (it could be possible(eew ... ?).).).)
"I've had enough reality for the week, Wagner. Further away from war I get, the better." Kyle cocks a brow down the line to Charlie and claps one eye shut in a wink. "And the more you two talk about food the more my stomach is telling me that I need to do that, too. If you've got any of that hooch left, Erin, it's probably gonna eat through our tummies if we don't answer them first." Kyle adds, bending down to wash her face one final time and frown at a spot on her jaw that's dry and cracked. "...frak."
But! The Caprican doesn't seem all to surprised to hear what Erin says. She turns and plants her backside against a wash basin and bends one knee, a pose of some sort to eye-waggle to the Aquarian.
"I knew coming in you two had people you want to see, so shoo." Kyle looks to both of them, then turns for a pile of clean clothes. A regulation pair of black skivvies, short-style, are collected and she steps into them, towel still on. "Stay with me as long as you want, but don't feel bad. If you don't see me in the mess, I'll be in my bunk, and don't be afraid to climb up and shake me awake." Beat. "If you can wake me."
"Fantasy it is then. I'll grab you a book or two of my dad's. The vid-" Charlie's teeth bare a bit. "Nnnn. I'll see what I can do." It's a big deal. And only comes from spending days in the field with someone. She's never made the offer to Evan. Then again... he hasn't asked. "We drink now, we'll end up coed-wasted and where will our reputations be?" She drops her ass on the edge of a bench and starts tugging on clothes. There's a pleased sigh at the feel of fresh, dry laundry against her clean skin and for a moment, in those clean skivvies, she just leans back against the wall.
At Kyle's words regarding seeing people, she cracks an eye. "Calhoun'll understand the need for food. We can hit the Mess first. Celebrate our victory surrounded by our adoring fans." There's a flash of a grin. "Maybe convince some Pee-Eff-Cee to do our laundry."
"We have adoring fans outside of Sergeant Abby Walker and Trevor from Picon?" One can never be too tired for sarcasm, though the bite seems to fall on Trevor's name and not the former. Abigail Walker may be just fine with Kyle Costello. "But if it comes to people wanting to carry us around? Blerfff-" Kyle bug-eyes and pulls on black sweats and dual-toned tanks, finalizing her dressing with slip-on tennis shoes. Off-duties one doesn't need to tie. "Have them carry me back to my bunk and be quiet about it. I'm seriously going to need help getting back to the bunks after food."
Dirty clothes gathered in bag, Kyle moves for the door, limbs tightening as if made of wood.
"You forget." Kyle mutters. "I have no reputation. Yet."