Van greets the returning survivors of the MIA Raptor.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 302
Van has never done his post-flight checklist so fast, not even the time when his bird was on fire. Okay, that's a lie, but that's only because he didn't do the checklist that time. Still, he's out of the cockpit and passing off his helmet, gloves, and collar-seal to the deck crew as soon as the ladder is alongside. Pushing his way through the waiting medics, he searches out the face he's been reassured is there... the faces he's been reassured are there, "Izzy! Izzy! Cate!"
Isolde is already being checked over by a medic who is currently holding onto her wrist and peeking over the bloodied bandages that wrap her left hand. She looks up when she hears Van's voice, and she casts a small look to Cate. Something passes between the two, and Isolde smiles slightly before her dark eyes return to Van just as he squeezes his way through two people-shaped roadblocks to end up just a few shy feet of Van. "I really hate camping," she informs her fiance, her voice chipper, but exhausted.
Van squeezes sideways between a pair of Marines, ducking aside as a couple of the civilians are hurried off. He ducks down to start sweeping her up into his arms, "I was so..." and then he spots the bandages on her hand, concern sinking into his features, "What happened? Are you okay?" Clearly, she's relatively okay, but that's his nerves speaking, "This is why I go sailing, not camping."
The medic looking over Isolde takes a big step back as if he gets the clue, though he does remind Isolde that, "Ten minutes, and then I need to get you to sickbay for observation and to get that wound cleaned up." He gestures to her bandaged hand that, on closer inspection, seem to be a bit off. The ECO nods slowly, and turns to Van once more. She is a bit paler beneath the bits of dirt and blood, and her smile is a bit weary. "I... shot in the hand," she starts to say, a small stutter in her words. "Lost a... finger." She holds up her left hand to him now, and there is indeed an obvious gap between her middle finger and pinkie. "It was starting to go septic. Cate said it had to go, or the infection could have spread."
Van nods to the medic as well, looking back over his shoulder, "Hey! Hey! There's some food in the other Raptors!" Someone promises to go after the packages, and then Van stops, his eyes widening as he looks down to Isolde's bandaged hand, reaching out to touch her wrist gently, "Oh.... oh Izzy." He looks for the right thing to say and doesn't come up with it, instead glancing to the medic and nodding his thanks across the intervening distance, a tight, still-worried smile intended to show that he's glad to see Cate too. But then his attention comes back to Isolde, still looking for words, "I'm just glad you're home safe." There's a little pause, "Are you... are you going to be able to keep flying?"
Isolde feels a sudden well of tears in her eyes, plagued by her own exhaustion and the full realization of her missing digit. She clears her throat, her dark gaze bright and wet and weary. "I mean... sure... I broke my middle finger once when I was like fourteen, and I could still hack my way into Burger Hut so I could get lunch." Teenage hackers, so weird. She then intakes a deep breath, and it is accompanied by a sob. She leans into Van then, burying herself against his smelly flightsuit.
Van gives a choked laugh at her response, "Burger Hut?" His arms wrap around her, and he ducks his head into her own Picon-dirt-scented neck, "No taste at all, Love." The endearment is quiet, his own eyes bright with tears as he squeezes her tight, then curls a hand up to stroke gently at her hair, "I was so worried." There's a pause, he blinks back more tears, then admits, "I started smoking again. I didn't mean to. I'm stopping again."
"It was close and delivered," Isolde manages through her sobs in defense of her teenage decisions. She holds on tightly to Van, nodding slightly to his confession. "I can smell it. It's okay." She offers a watery smile. "I forgive you. I would have started smoking if you went missing, too." Then she glances to the looming medics. "Ugh. We should walk toward sickbay, or they are going to start hounding." She rubs at her eyes with the sleeve of her dirty flightsuit. "And I need a shower. And new clothes. And something besides canned beans."
Someone brings back one of the not-so-little boxes with a collection of sandwiches and a few sides in it, and Van manages to pry away one hand to take it, the other still tight around Isolde's shoulder, "I guess I'll have to never go missing. I don't think it would work for you." He wipes at his eyes with the back of his hand, then works open the top of the box and offers it out to Isolde, "Okay. Sickbay. I'll bring you some clothes there while they're looking at you." Leaning over, Van presses a kiss to Isolde's brow, dirt be damned. "I can't do anything about the shower until after sickbay though."
"Damn straight," Isolde says through her own tears, and she quickly wipes them away only to smear more dirt across her face. Then she breathes out a heavy sigh as she is given a sandwich, and she starts to eat with ravenous bites. Then she starts to sink into steps away from the chaos on the deck, leaning into Van as she does. "You're walking me there," she tells him firmly. "Then you can go get me clothes. And I'm going to give them a hard time if they don't let me take a shower in the next thirty minutes."
The box is handed away again so that the others can eat as well, although Van snags a pear from inside and holds onto it for Isolde. "I'm not going anywhere until they shove me out." Another kiss is deposited on her temple as he walks with her off the deck, "You're really okay though? Except for your finger, I mean." He shuts his mouth carefully before he can say again how worried he was.
"I'm okay, Van... hungry... tired... hungry." Isolde chews through another few bites, leaning heavily against him as they walk. The kiss sends a soft smile across her lips, and she sighs out a content breath. "I missed you... terribly." She hesitates. "You didn't try to do anything stupid while I was away, did you?"
Van relaxes a little as she reassures him again, and he smiles just a little, "I suppose that depends on your definition of stupid. I planned about half a dozen mission, but for some reason Whisper wouldn't let me run a solo recon mission in a Viper." There's enough self-deprecating dryness to indicate that he doesn't really hold that against the CAG, and enough of an edge to show that he does hold something against her. "No, I didn't. Not really. A few words I shouldn't have said, a little slightly-distracted flying, but nothing particularly stupid." There's a moment's pause, "I'm really glad that you're back." Understatement of the year.
"'For some reason?'" Isolde smirks. "Whisper is a very, very wise CAG. A solo recon mission wouldn't have done either of us any good." But she doesn't seem to be fully scolding him, but instead just teasing her husband-to-be. Then she curls into him, arms threading around his wiry body to embrace him. "I hope you're okay with me being in your bunk for a few days... or forever." She murmurs then. "I'm glad I'm back, too."
"She was right on that." Van agrees, still holding back just a touch of his full approval. He has to stop when she wraps him up fully, squeezing her gently, then offering up the pear, "Well, I said that I would marry you, didn't I? I'm pretty certain that includes sharing a bed when we can arrange it." He gives her shoulder a little nudge to get her walking toward sickbay again, and he's quiet for another few steps before he asks, "How was it? Down planetside?"
Isolde got her wish: within thirty minutes of arriving in sickbay, she was given access to a shower and clean clothes. Not a private, soak your bones shower because there's just not time for that yet, but a scrub and rinse in moderately warm water. She washed the blood and dirt off her skin and out of her hair, and took stock of the bruises, cuts, nicks, and more serious wounds to her left limb. She sits now in a hospital gown, her hand spread out before a medic who is currently redoing all of Cate's hardwork. "How long until I can feel my hand again?" Isolde asks the medic as he carefully stitches up her finger, drawing skin together over a what little is left of her metacarpals.
Van took the time while the sickbay attendant was seeing to Isolde and she was showering to run out and get a few things -- a change of clothes for her, both of their holobands, and his pillow. Apparently, he's not planning to leave again for a while. His burdens are placed in a chair alongside Isolde's bed, then glances over the doc's shoulder, blanching a little, but not looking away. Instead, he comes around the bed to offer Isolde a smile meant to be reassuring and to rest his hand on her other shoulder.
Cate had stayed behind with the Raptors when they landed. She shared that brief look of relief with Isolde, and offered Van a tight half-smile in response to his. But otherwise she gave them there space, all too conscious of the fact that there was nobody rushing over to welcome her back. There was, however, a frightened little girl to take care of. Cate had dubbed the still-silent girl Siobhan at some point during their hideaway. All the activity on the hangar has her cowering behind Cate's leg, to the point where the medic just picks her up and carries her to sickbay. Eventually they both turn up in Isolde's treatment room, the girl holding onto Cate's hand and looking around wide-eyed. Cate, on the other hand, looks pretty dull-eyed from exhaustion and a low-grade pain. They've both gotten cleaned up and are wearing matching scrubs (even if Siobhan's pants are tucked up with safety pins. "How're you doing Iz?" Cate asks in concern.
Isolde flashes a smile to Van when he returns, and the sight of the holobands brings an even warmer smile onto her lips. She is about to say more, but she feels a weird twinge through her hand as the medic works on closing up the last bit of her finger -- or the very short nub of her ring finger. He looks up to her, smiles an apologize as he spotted the twitch, and the sets down his tools. "It'll take a few hours for the local to wear off, and then you'll wait some pain killers. You're going to need some physical therapy on that hand, but... you'll pass muster okay." He then nods to Cate and gets up so he can go see to his next patient, leaving three -- err, four -- to reconnect.
"I'm okay," Isolde admits, though she sounds exhausted too. She smiles to the kiddo, and offers her a wave with her good hand. She slips easily into Tauron, teasing the girl with a soft rhyme. Something about dogs and frogs, but it has a pleasant lilt to it. When she's done, she looks back up to Van and Cate. "They want to keep me overnight just to make sure all is okay, but I'll be back at it tomorrow morning."
Van glances up as Cate steps in, starting to offer a more honest, more full smile this time and taking a step toward her, his arms spreading to offer a hug. He's forestalled by the limpet attached to her hand. "Uh..." He glances between Cate and the girl, then shrugs a little awkwardly, waiting for Isolde's little Tauran rhyme to finish before he goes for a slightly better, "Hello." And then he advances again, offering that hug, "Glad to see you're alright as well, Cate." Looking back to Isolde, he adds, "Of course you have to stay overnight, Izzy."
Cate is more than a little surprised when Van starts to offer a hug, but not in a bad way. She steps forward to help him out, letting go of Siobhan's hand for a moment to do so. The little girl clings to the back of Cate's leg. "Glad to see you too," Cate says tentatively. Then she turns to lift the little one up onto the stool just vacated by the medic. "This little <<Celtan: cutie>> still won't tell me her name." There's a faint smile when Cate explains this to Van. Her tone is decidedly different when speaking to the munchkin, a fond regard creeping through the bone-weariness. "So I gave her a nickname: Siobhan, after the Celtan princess." Cate points at Van then. "You wanna guess his nickname?" The question is met with a timid silence. "No? Well, it's Milkman." There's a tiny smile from the girl. "I know right? I think he deserves a better nickname, but they don't ask me."
Isolde watches Cate's interaction with the kiddo, and a small smile creeps onto her lips again. The mention of Van's nickname draws a small snort from the Tauron woman, but she nods in agreement with her friend's assessment. "When you think of a better nickname for him, little bit, you tell Cate. She can boss around the other pilots and make it happen." She winks to Cate before she slowly lifts her numb limb off the table and scoots back to slump into her bed. She shifts a bit, trying to get her hospital gown to not end up flashing something unfortunate, and her fuzzy-slippered feet prop up on the blankets.
Van squeezes Cate's shoulder briefly as he steps back, turning his attention to the little girl as she comes front and center again. He smiles a little awkwardly, "That sounds like a good choice." And then his nickname is brought up and he grimaces a little, the grimace spreading into a bit of a forced smile as Cate offers his callsign up. Isolde's suggestion draws a little chuckle, but it's pretty clear that Van is not great with kids. "I got it fair and square." There's a pause, and he adds, "But yes, it is rather silly. And if someone could boss them around, it would probably be Doc. Are you going to be a princess then, Shivon." He mangles the Celtan name, unfortunately, as he moves back around to tug Isolde's blankets up over her feet and legs, giving one knee a squeeze.
"Oh I don't know about that," Cate comments about the idea of bossing around anyone. Siobhan gives Van a little nod, but then Cate interjects. "Going to be? Way I see it she already is. Got her castle staff getting her banquet prepared and everything. She just wanted to come see how Izzy was doing first." Well, or Cate suggested it and she nodded, more likely.
When Van mangles the Celtan name, Isolde just shakes her head in amusement. Though some of that amusement might be because Van is making sure to tuck in her feet. She then breathes out a slow breath, settling back into the reclined bed. She releases a long and deep yawn as she finds her bones settling into the bed, and her eyes start to close. She keeps talking though even if it looks like she's on the brink of just falling asleep. "Izzy is doing fine. Tired... and I think hungry... but I think I'll cash in on the tired first." She opens an eye to look at Siobhan. "You should take Cate to the mess and get some food, Shy. She's going to be hungry, and I hear there's chocolate cake for dessert tonight." She offers Cate a small smile.
"Good, aim high," Van says to Siobhan. Cate's response causes him to smile, building to a chuckle and then to a full-out laugh. "There you go then. Already the princess of the Vanguard." He keeps rolling up the blanket as Isolde settles back, "The chocolate cake is good, but don't try the broccoli. They always overcook it." Definitely not great with kids. He glances down to Isolde again, then back to Cate, mouthing, 'thank you.'
The young princess makes a face a the mention of broccoli, because some things are universal. "I think we can manage to wrangle up some chocolate for our princess. What do you say, you want to sneak out of here for a bit?" Since really Cate's supposed to be getting checked out too. But when has that ever stopped her? "Let Izzy visit with Milkman and get some rest?" Siobhan bobs her head and hops down off the stool, taking up Cate's hand again. Van's silent thanks gets an awkward little shrug in return, and a pensive look over at Isolde.
Isolde's eyes are closed again, and she's breathing in a slow pace. She doesn't even register that Cate and Siobhan are moving along. She's exhausted, and the bed is just too soft to not collapse into, and asleep.
Van offers a little wave to Cate and Siobhan as they move to depart, setting aside Isolde's change of clothes and their holobands and settling into the chair alongside her, still in his flight suit, fluffing his pillow behind his head as he settles in for the night, one hand up on her bed to hold her unwounded hand. Sorry Cate.