Sometimes pilots have to watch outside of combat, too.
Location: Firing Range
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 230
Kell is one of the pilots that spend a good amount of time in the firing range, not to just work on his sidearm but he has also signed out a rifle as well. He is already occupying one of the firing lines and with both a clear visor on along with protective earcovers, the young Ensign is aiming at the paper target that is at the end of the range. His breathing appears to be even and focused as he slowly squeezes out a round, then another, then another. The rifle is in single fire mode at the moment as he works on his accuracy.
The firing range is a good way to let off excess frustration or stress if one isn't the 'gym rat' type. Astraea? Definitely not the gym rat type. She'd be more svelte if that were the case. Fewer curves on that body. She's also found herself in ground combat not just once, but twice in recent days which means that some time on the range isn't a terrible idea. The Raptor pilot has opted to check out an SMG. Hearing the fire from outside the hatch, she's pulled on the ear protection in addition to the glasses before stepping through; weapon and ammo in hand. Upon spotting her fellow Wolf down the line, she makes her way to claim the stall next to Kell, setting the box of ship-friendly rounds and the SMG down on the shelf as she reaches up to affix a paper target in place.
After depleting just ten rounds instead of the entire magazine, Kell's steady pace of triggering shot after shot comes to a stop and he flicks the safety to his weapon on before ejecting the magazine, placing both weapon and magazine on the counter in front of him. He pushes the button that begins pulling the paper target in so he can view his results. With his focus down the range and his ear protection on, Razor did not see Astraea enter and take up the stall next to him. He does pull off the ear covers, letting them hang around the back of his neck as he retrieves his target. Was a decent grouping, all hitting center mass, nothing amazing like each bullet going through the one before or an incredible tight cluster, but he did not miss a single shot.
Once her paper is up, Astraea just begins the process of going over the SMG. Checking it over for any potential malfunctions and the like. Of course, the armory would have already done this, but she just wants to be certain... and it's standard procedure. The woman is not normally the meticulous sort, but there's something meditative to the process. She's re-assembling the weapon when Kell finishes and snaps the final piece back into place only to lift her hand and draw back her own ear protection. "Good work," she notes, leaning around a bit to take a look at his target.
Hearing the compliment and the familiar voice, Kell turns his head and glances over his shoulder before he turns fully to face Astraea, a smile appear, "Thanks. It helps when there is consistancy in the training." He says as he puts the paper target down on the counter where his weapon is resting. Looking over at Nova's choice of weapons, Razor inclines his head at it, "Interesting choice, opting for the closer range armament?"
"And how often do you Viper pilots need rifles?" It's an attempt at teasing him, but Astraea's heart just isn't in it, it seems. There's a bit of a smile, but it doesn't really spread across her features. She looks down at the SMG, picking it up and turning it over in her hands. "Two days after... ya went down, I was flyin' a mission ta drop off some marines. After th' drop off, Raptor took a missile from an area intel said was clear. We went down. So did Flats', b'fore he made his drop. Meteor an' I had ta go through th' city ta find 'em." She lifts the weapon a bit before setting it back down and reaching for the ammo to load in a magazine. "This is what I had. Served well. Only got shot once an' barely at that."
There is a light laugh along with a shake of his head at Astraea's teasing, rhetorical question, "A habit from my reservist days on Libran and my upbringing. Once a reservist, always a reservist." And with how vicious the air combat is becoming, it seems to be a pretty good idea to keep ground skills sharp as well. Kell than nods his head when Nova shares her story about how she managed to pick up a SMG, "I heard about the Raptors going down, things are getting very rough out there. Good to see that you and Meteor getting back all right. That thing has quite the kick if you're not use to it." He adds, inclining his head to the weapon she has chosen. There is a longer pause before he asks, "So what's bothering you?"
Though she'd started to reach for the button to send out the target, Astraea pauses. Her fingertips linger over it as she frowns somewhat. "Y'heard about Fish," she offers finally, hand falling away to land at her side, against her duty uniform. Not as pressed/crisp as Kell's always is, but at least not as wrinkled as the previous day. Maybe she finally got some sleep. "All that an' he didn't make it." There's a glance to Kell, then down the range. "I coulda fit two more from th'Ester on m'Raptor, but... We tried ta save him instead an'... I dunno still if it was th' right call ta make, y'know? He still died."
When Fish is mentioned, Kell's own expression hardens and grows more stoic, that professional mask returning once more, "Yeah, he took a very bad hit when I looked back at the gun footage but there was some hope because he managed to punch out at the last second." As for Astraea doubting if it was the right decision or not, Razor is pretty quick with an answer, "It was the right call. We didn't know whether he was dead or alive at the time and we always see to our own. The Major drew up a mission to come for me, even though the Cylons have pushed deeper over Paran City. You can't second guess decisions after you get additional information afterwards." There is a pause before he adds, "And if I ever went down, I rather my body be returned home than being left for the Cylons or lost somewhere in the field of battle."
"Doesn't sound like he even hit his own chute," Astraea manages, leaning a bit against the partition. "Mighta been debris or mebbe th' waves themselves. Went off so late an' he was unconscious." She lets out a slow sigh, lifting a hand to her forehead. "Our mission was th'- but he was one of ours, I know." There's a glance up at Kell, lips pulling off to the side. It's almost a smirk, but comes out more of a grimace. "I'd half-expected ya t'be more on th'side of th'original mission. Chide me fer not leavin' Fish ta focus on rescuin' men off th'Ester. Did yer time down there change things?"
There is a slight shrug at the possibility of the ejection system triggering by itself and that Fish was already gone by the time it happened, Kell isn't one to speculate and he didn't study the film close enough to find the answer, choosing not to. "I just hope he didn't suffer long from his wounds." As for if he has changed her not, there is a smirk now and a shake of his head, "I will always put our team above all else. If orders conflict with our objectives that places us in unnecessary danger, I may object, but otherwise I have no issues." Whether he has changed or not while he spent extra time groundside by himself, he has no answer to that. Only time will reveal if Kell has indeed changed from his old self.
"I thought I put our team above all else," Astraea admits, looking to the SMG on the shelf, then back to Kell. "But now, I jes'..." She takes a deep breath. "We also all signed on knowin' we could die in this war, y'know? So now I'm wonderin' if it's right to decide our lives, th' ones we all volunteered in this war, are more valuable than anyone else's." There's a pause as she frowns. "If that makes sense. Kinda sounds like gibberish when I say it out loud like that."
Another shake of head is given as an answer, "Just because we signed up knowing that we are putting our lives on the line doesn't mean they are worth less than others. Let's say you sacrifice yourself to save three others, whether they be civilians or Picon military. That ups the count in our favor, but now the 'Wolves are down a valuable pilot that we're use to flying with. We're also waiting for a replacement to be shipped in. In that gap, we have another mission and being down a Raptor pilot, we're less efficient, which ends up costing us another pilot. Now we're down even more in strength and end up frakking up an entire mission." The hypotheticals are definitely a reach but they are also a possibility. "So like I said, don't second guess the decision. We can only make the best decision we can with what we know. Whatever happens after that? It is what it is."
There's a long moment of silence from Astraea as she processes this. She settles further into a lean against the partition, drawing up her arms to fold them. "It's jes' hard, seein' people die when... I feel like I coulda saved 'em. Every death of one of us -- humans -- that I coulda prevented... jes' feels like a failure somehow. I joined up so I could prevent more death. Not... cause more." She unfolds her arms and frowns down at her hands before turning back to the SMG. "Already done 'nough of that."
"It is hard watching friendlies fall, but we're not Gods. You are only capable of what is possible, Nova, and you didn't cause more deaths. The Cylons caused them, not you, not us." Kell says as his brows furrow up slightly in a frown, not exactly liking where the direction of the conversation is shifting towards, "I'm not exactly great as these kind of talks... but I know someone who is. You should seek out the Chaplain. Leftenant Kavanagh. From what I hear, he can give great insight on stuff like this."
"I went ta th'Chapel yesterday, hopin' ta find him," Astraea admits, frowning. "He wasn't there. Guess I don't have th' same hours as him or somethin'." She shakes her head slightly, lifting a hand to rub at her cheek for a moment. There's a frown, but it's shifted -- albeit somewhat forcefully -- into a small smile. "Sorry. I shouldn't be puttin' this on ya. I still don't really have many friends on th' ship. Picon's so... busy wit' missions. Haven't had much time, I guess."
A sympathetic nod is offered to Astraea when she mentions that she wasn't able to find the chaplain, "That's unfortuante, if I run into him on the ship, I'll let you know that you were looking for him. I'm sure he will do what he can to find you." As for her apology, Kell quickly waves it off, "No need to say sorry, Nova, we're all in this together. You watch my six, I watch yours. It's best for us if we're all in top condition, physically and mentally. And you're right, Picon has been hellish, nothing like Canceron." And definitely nothing like Libran, where there is no Cylon activity.
"Scorpia didn't have any Cylon activity either," Astraea points out quietly. "An' I wasn't there fer Canceron, either. This-" Picon, "was m'first real... taste of th' war. I got on board when y'all... we shipped out from Scorpia ta head here." She glances up at Kell and gives him a bit of a smile. "An' I dunno how much yers needs watchin', Razor. Ya got shot down an' made it out. I dunno that I coulda done th' same."
Hearing that, Kell can't help but laugh while shaking his head in amusement, "I think I used my one 'Get out of jail free' card, Nova. Definitely don't want another round planetside unless I'm ordered to go down." He still doesn't share much about what exactly went on while he was stuck behind enemy lines, his gaze returning to his weapon that is resting on the counter before looking back to Astraea, "You definitely got pulled in when we started this major ops. Most of us knew that it was going to be tough when they first briefed us about Operation Cat and Mouse."
"Or ya could be like Jigger," Astraea points out, "and just full of luck." She manages a bit of a smile. "I got th' briefin' but... I had no real idea what I was gettin' inta. I mean, there's th' clan wars on Scorpia, an' I'd seen footage, but... none of it's like actually bein' out there." She takes a deep breath, staring down at her feet for a moment. After another passes, she straightens and looks up at Kell, offering a small smile. "Thanks, Razor. Fer havin' my six. Even outta combat. Kinda need it sometimes."
Kell nods understandingly, knowing that if he had been thrown into Picon directly from Libran, he would have been overwhelmed for sure by now. "I'm glad I was eased into the Timberwolves at Canceron first. Humanitarian relief then fighting a much smaller Cylon force before we came here. And like I said, we all need it, in or out of combat. The stuff we see and the pressure we're under sometimes... it's hard to keep bottled up by ourselves. And I know I'm not the only one that you can talk to, Milkman, Pi, Soundbite, just to name a few."
"I think Canceron mighta suited me better," Astraea admits. She does finally hit that button to send her target out, watching as it clicks its way down the range. "I... know there's folks. I sometimes talk ta Jigger, too. Jes' ain't really good at it. Wasn't really a thing back home, I s'ppose. Well, not in this sense. But we didn't ever deal wit' anythin' on this scale either. No one did. It's... new ground for all of us."
That Kell can certainly agree with, "New ground for all of us indeed, Nova. You are absolutely right about that, the best we can do is adapt accordingly and help each other along when we stumble while mourning those that make the ultimate sacrifice. Make sure they didn't make it in vain." He then inclines his head towards Astraea's target that is zipping to the distance she set to, "Focus on what you came here for, we can talk later or maybe you can check in to see if the Chaplain is free after this."
"Hopefully I'll see ya 'round later," Astraea offers after a moment, picking up the SMG and checking its feel against her shoulder. "Gonna have cake an' all in th' lounge fer Ringer an' Knick-Knack." There's a look over to Razor and a flash of a smile. "An' if that's not yer speed, I can always break out th' rum when ya have an off-duty shift. I don' mind sharin' that wit' ya sometime."
Reaching for a new sheet of targets since Kell isn't finished with his own shooting practice, he smiles again and nods his head, "I'll definitely be there, Nova. Definitely won't miss the party, and from what Meteor told me when I made it back, /you/ are on the list as well." At the mention of the rum though, the Libran shakes his head, he didn't change /that/ much where he will start drinking on the ship, "We can enjoy a round or two after we're done here on Picon. Just in case we get hit with a sudden Condition One."
"I did," Astraea says, sounding a mite bit uncomfortable, "but it ain't... I mean, it's a bit unlucky t'make yer own cake or throw yerself a party, ain't it? An' th'CAG made Ace on th'shipboard, too. Dunno if she'll be interested in comin' by t'celebrate wit' us though." Before she lifts her ear protection into place, there's a glance over at Razor and a slight narrowing of eyes. "I'll hold ya ta that on leave. We'll get drinks."
Pressing the button to send his target down the range, Kell nods his head, "Maybe the Major will surprise us by showing up. And I don't go back on my promises." Drinks will be had when they are pulled back from the front line next time and given shore leave again. With that, he puts his own ear protection back in place and picks up his rifle, inserting the magazine again and gets ready to fire more rounds down range.