Hawk and Cherry catch up. History, of all manner and sort is discussed. Plans are laid.
Location: Hangar Deck, Vanguard
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 284
The thing about riding Alert Five, is that they give you way more amenities than you would normally expect on any given duty shifts. No running deck to deck to collect anything. And you can sit back and relax, without having to worry about people, many, unsavoury people, coming in and stealing every bit of goodness in the place, including raiding the fridge and using up all of the toilet paper.
Actually, that is a complete and utter lie. On the Vanguard which has no alert lounge, the pilots have had to juryrig something of their own. Tucked away in the corner of the hangar deck, they've cobbled together a motley assortment of chairs, a loveseat and a folding cot. A couple of empty crates serve as a 'table'.
So Alert Five is just fantastic. And normally, Eva would be hard at work at some craft project or another. Indeed, she's got a quilt, mid-stitch, piled on the loveseat beside her. But, rather than working on that, she's tapping away at a tablet, seeming to be working on some sort of technical schematic design, stylus skimming over the surface as she works and reworks ideas.
Emrys steps into the lounge, for the beginning of his own Alert Five shift. He doesn't have anything to work on. Finding a seat opposite where Eva is working, he starts to close his eyes. Pause. Eyes reopen all the way. "I apologise if I'm mistaken...but you look really familiar." His accent is stereotypical upper class Virgon, like something out of the movies.
Eva's hand pauses. She doesn't set down the stylus, but she does drop the thread of whatever it is that she's working on, as she looks up and over to the man now sitting across from her, head tilting. Sitting as she is, mostly covered in the bulk of her flight suit, it might be possible to brush off the familiarity as nothing more than her passing resemblance to the CAG, but...as she speaks, no, the voice is completely different, from Stirling's dulcet Caprican tones. No, this is pure Hibernian, rough enough, even after all these years, for a Virgon to pick out that she's from the mines. "Well, that could be for one of two reasons, Hawk. It could be, because people tell me the CAG looks terribly like me..but I don't really see it." A beat, "Or, it could be because we spent a stretch of years trying to work magic with the constant stream of frak-ups that seemed to find their way into the Academy." There's no small amount of amusement in her voice.
Emrys grins at that. It's surprise, but clearly not an unpleasant one. "Eva 'Cherry' Thorne." He exclaims, before looking a little abashed. "Well, now I feel like I must be getting old...I flew wing to wing with you and didn't even realize you were /that/ Cherry." A rueful shake of his head. The edge of arrogance that he once had seems to have given way to a less aggressive self-confidence. He considers a moment, then offers "You and Whisper? I really don't see it. I guess if people aren't used to seeing redheads maybe."
Eva shakes her head, finally setting down the stylus and settling back in the seat. She lifts her boots, setting them on the edge of the table, such as it is, looking across at Emrys, "I wouldn't say you're getting old, Hawk. Better to say that that world was a lifetime ago. I think we've all aged a century, since the war started. And how long has it been...five, six years now? A lifetime." At Emrys estimation of the case of mistaken identity, she laughs, the sound filled with honest amusement, "That's exactly what I said to her." And then, not amused, but more curious, "I lost track of you after I left the Academy. What brought you to the Wolves?"
"A lifetime, yes. It certainly feels that way." Emrys agrees, half-shrugging at the latter question. "I don't really know, to be honest. When the war started, I came back to the Navy. Duty and all that. I figured they'd send me right back to the Academy." He makes a face. "But instead they sent me to a line unit, and then on to the CF once it formed. Then a few weeks ago, they cut me orders to come over here. Best I can figure is the wide variety of airframes I've qual'd on over the years." That curiosity is reflected back, as he demurs "Anyway, enough about me. How did you get here?"
That little tidbit actually seems to catch Eva's attention. "I hadn't realized that you'd retired. But it seems like the war's brought a number of people back from the brink. One of the raptor pilots...they call him Grandpa. He's in his mid-60s...something like that. Leonese. For what that's worth." A beat, "Sounds like they gave you an exciting ride before you got here. Though I think you're selling yourself short, if you're looking for reasons you're here." And then, to the last, "The usual. I was still with the Navy, when they started recruiting for the CF. And the Navy was only too happy to see the back of me when I volunteered. I think they cleared every single Hibernian that volunteered. Every one of us was one less they had to deal with and one less they had to lose of their own people." There's no bitterness in that. Too many years of living that reality for that, "So I went to the Galactica. And then when they formed the Wolves, I ended up here."
Emrys has the grace to look at least a little abashed at that. "Retired...yeah, I guess you could call it that. I left when they wouldn't move me away from instructor duty." A slight shake of his head. "Not so much looking for reasons as..well, just not what I was expecting." He doesn't seem to be upset with the assignment, though. Quite the opposite. "Leonese, huh? I flew with some Leonese during my ICJPK tour." And that's all he will say about that. He, too, talks from a place of stark reality about the 'Hibernian situation' "I imagine they did, yes. I think you might have been the first Hibernian flight instructor the Academy ever had, you realize? I always wondered about that...someone up there must have recognized you had talent."
Eva shakes her head, "That's a tough situation, no doubt. It's hard to live saddled to a deck, tied to the ground. I don't know how I managed three years of it. But on the other hand...Hawk, you were the best instructor I had ever seen, not just when I was coming up, but after as well. Forgive the rather random metaphor...but you don't put a prize horse out to pasture before its time." A curl of her lips, something teasing in her tone, "You should have tried to suck a bit more. Then they might have been glad to see the back of you too." And then a wry look, at that, "You're kind to say that. I always wondered if they appointed me because I could be their token attempt at reconciliation. "Look, we don't think you're all only worthy to grind under our boots." And again, that edge of humour, "But, maybe you're right. Maybe I just am that good."
"I think you're probably just that good, Cherry. They weren't interested in reconciliation, not really. Not enough to use an instructor position at the Royal Academy as a token." Emrys is very matter of fact about it. It's just the way it was, and out here miles away with a real enemy it doesn't seem to matter. There's a wry smile at the teasing. "See, you put it like that I wonder if maybe I didn't do the wrong thing by quitting in a huff. Prize horse. I can live with that. I liked doing it, too, at first. It just...I couldn't see myself doing it forever."
"Well, I've made it through eight months of being in the CF, and being on the line." Eva looks down at herself, though, with her suit on, there's really nothing to see, the gesture more symbolic than anything, "I've got a few more scars, than the last time you knew me, but other than that, I don't think I've changed." She looks back up, "You have, but...for the better, I think." Again, that laugh, as she slips her boots down from the table, moving to lean forward, forearms resting on her knees, "I'm sure you can." A beat, "Now...you won't have to. Though, I hope you won't come to regret it."
"Yeah, I'll agree with that. For the better." Emrys agrees, his tone a little quieter for a moment. "I'...not going to regret it, Cherry." He seems very certain of that. "There's a lot of things I do regret, the older I get. This isn't going to be one of them." There's a slightly awkward pause after that, before he offers "You don't seem to have changed, much, no."
Eva makes no other comment about the changes in the older Captain. That would be a bit too personal. And despite appearances to the contrary, she does have some couth. "I meant more...I think, staying back on Virgon, where it was safe, but...perhaps that amounts to the same thing. I don't think the Hawk I knew would have wanted to be anywhere else, in a war, but at the front of the line. So maybe that part of you hasn't changed." A tilt of her head, "Well, I do think that I got a bit wider."
"Oh, yeah, no. /That/ part of me hasn't changed at all." There's something Emrys' tone that almost makes it sound like he doesn't want to go back to Virgon. "Well, I certainly couldn't comment. Even I know better than that." is all he's willing to say at the talk of getting wider. "The years have been kind to you, I will say that."
And Eva, for her part, if she hears the tone in Emrys' voice, only offers a nod, a glance with just enough knowing, to convey understanding, "How have you, well, enjoyed is certainly not the word, or shouldn't be...but this must be a big change, even from the rest of the CF." A smirk, humoured, not snide, at his refusal to comment, though it does drop her eyes to his hand. At his age, on Virgon, in the upper classes, the lack of a ring, or rather, the lack of the white line that would denote a ring, as most pilots won't wear their jewelry in flight, is something to note, at least visually, "And to you." And then, almost as an aside, "You know. I'm not your junior anymore, Hawk, you can call me Eva, if you like, or Evangeline." Well, or Thorne, but that's already in his vocabulary.
"Eva, then. And you can call me Emrys, if you like." Emrys agrees. No ring, no white line to indicate there ever was one. Definitely unusual, for someone in his position. "It is a big change and...well, it's complicated. I actually like it. Reminds me of being back in the ICJPK. And living with marines is interesting. But I'm not as good about just getting out there socially as I used to be, and things are pretty tight knit. So it's a little awkward."
"Emrys." You know that moment, when someone says a name, and there's that instant of, trying to think about whether or not it actually fits the person it's supposed to go with? Like that. But then, a nod, "Thank you." A huff of laughter from Eva, "I think that is par for the course here...complications. I promise not to press. But if it's going out and being social you're worry about, it's a good thing you've got me. I've acquired the knack for jamming myself into places they don't even know I belong yet."
"Oh, you can press if you want. It's nice having someone I can just talk to, without having to go through all the complications of the getting to know you game." Emrys waves it off. "But there's nothing too interesting, complications wise. Just...that, yeah. Everybody knows everybody and I'm the new kid. It's like the Academy or high school all over again, except I'm not the popular kid." A wry grin. "Well, that sounds handy then, yes."
"Well, I'm happy to be an ear and a sounding board. Any command can be difficult, if you come into it and have trouble out of the gate. I've been feeling it myself. Half th wing calls me Mom, the other half only seem to see the ship's top ace. With a very few exceptions, of which I can count on one hand with fingers to spare, not many on the ship see me as just Eva. And until you, there was no one that knew me before all of this. I walk around half the time feeling as though I'm some caricature of myself." She waves off his estimation of himself with a grin, "Give them a chance to know you. You'll be Head Boy again in no time."
"Yeah, I guess we are old enough to be some of their parents." Emrys makes a face at that, and for a brief moment there's a look of horror on his face as something seems to dawn on him. Then he pushes it down. "Well, we've got each other now. And thanks, that's reassuring. I'll settle for just having some friends, though." Uh huh, like he ever settled at anything.
Eva is observant enough to catch the fleeting look on Emrys face, "Now what was that look?" See? You shouldn't have told her she could pry, Emrys Montjoy! She sits up a bit, coming a bit out of the forward slouch she's been in. "Settled for friends? Really? Definitely not the Montjoy I remember."
"Well, I'm trying to be a bit more modest these days. But you're right, no, I won't." Emrys shakes his head. "Well..." Apparently he meant it when he said she could pry. "So...you were what, five years behind me coming through the pipeline? Anyway, way back I used to fly under Hussy." He has the grace to look a little embarrassed. But only a little! "Anyway, let's just say it came by it fairly and it suddenly hit me that some of them really /could/ be my kids. Did a fair bit of travelling at one point."
Eva, oh, bless her heart, she just can't help it. She literally bursts out laughing, nearly hysterical enough to wave her hands around. In fact, she actually does start waving one around, in that sort of, 'I'm okay, I'm okay' gesture you normally see when someone's having a coughing fit. There are actually tears in her eyes when she finally looks back up at you, "Oh my lords, Emrys...oh shit...that is a hell of a predicament to think about finding yourself in." She lifts her hands, using the heels of her hands to wipe away the tears, "Should I try to put you together a list of birthdays and colonies and possible...moments of impact?"
Emrys keeps it together. Then finally he's snickering too, because her laughter is infectious and also 'moment of impact'. Boys will be boys. "No, no, Eva. I'm sure that's not necessary." He finally says after they both stop. "For one, it's by no means a certain thing. For another, I'm going to assume that /if/ such a thing happened they're somewhere safe right now and not up here with us."
Eva needs a good few minutes, before she finally gets that out of her system. But the amusement is still writ larger on her face. "Well, if you start wondering if one of the Wolves has got your nose or something...I've got you." A deep, calming breath, "I am lucky, I suppose, I would never be in that predicament. I mean, there's no way I'm not going to know if I'm waddling for some reason that isn't cookies. Thankfully, my womb is a barren wasteland." Female biology is a wonderful thing. But probably TMI, "Would you want to know? I've never really thought about it...from the man's point of view."
"Well, it's important to know your own body." is all Emrys can say in response to the words barren wasteland. Then she's asking a deep question, and he considers. "I don't know, honestly. I mean...I imagine they'd be pretty mad at me. And you know some of the dumb stuff young guys say to get girls to sleep with them. I can just imagine some kid looking at me all disappointed 'Mom said you were a big hero and a Virgon Prince'." A shake of his head. "But overall? I think I probably would, yeah."
"Oh, yes, indeed." She opens her mouth, as if she were about to elaborate, and then quickly seems to change the subject, "Oh, yes, I think, in my life, I've heard most of them. And you'd be surprised what works." A beat, "Well, no, probably not." A snort, but she manages not to get herself going again, because he does touch on something more serious, "In a very real sense, you are both of those things, Emrys. You're a Wolf. You're at the tip of the spear in the war for humanity. Most people, looking in, would say that was pretty damned heroic." Though the people living it...not so much, "And unless your family renounced you, I'm fairly certain you don't want for status in Virgon high society."
Emrys smiles and shakes his head. "There's the flight instructor I remember. Getting all motivational on me. And no, not renounced. They're not best pleased with me, but I'm still hanging in there." A pause. "I get what you mean, but you get what I mean too, right? That fear of being a disappointment or a source of resentment. But overall, sure, I'd want to know."
"If you're not renounced, there's still hope. Just don't tell them you're spending time with a dirty 'mooner'." And then, after a moment serious consideration, "Yes, I know what you mean. I've lived it. But it also wouldn't all be on you, you know. It takes two to make three. And if she didn't reach out to you, and give you a chance to do the right thing, or not, then that's on her." But then, a grin, as Eva finally comes to her feet, "Walk a girl to a Viper? I need to retrofit some cameras on to a trio of vipers that're going out on a recon mission. I could use your head for numbers." She offers over the tablet. Yes, she still remembers that.
Emrys shakes his head at that. "I don't think anything would surprise them, at this point." is all he'll say about that, before he likewise gets to his feet. "You've got a good memory. Sure, let's go take a look. I'm always up for anything involving airframes and maths." The discussion of children is allowed to rest, in favor of numbers and vipers. These are a few of his favorite things...