2237-07-22 - Best Wingman Ever

Alain makes good on part of the double ace bet, and then accompanies Aubrey to a nearby hospital to search for her father.

Date: 2237-07-22

Location: Biscayne Bay -- Picon (Starport and Hospital)

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1253

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It's a strangeness, not having the familiar walls of the Vanguard to welcome them after such a major battle. There's duties of course -- of a slightly different sort than on the Vanguard, but enough to keep them busy. It's late afternoon, the day after the battle over Biscayne and Isleboro when Alain moves through the hangar that counts as their barracks, searching for Aubrey -- pausing to ask anyone he recognizes from the Vanguard if they've seen her.

Someone points him towards a cot in one corner of the hangar, where Aubrey is sitting with her knees drawn up to her forehead, head down, in a tank top and sweats borrowed from the Picon navy. She isn't sleeping, it doesn't seem, but she doesn't look like she's in great emotional shape.

She can hear footsteps approaching, with purpose, towards her. An officer, but not a senior officer, nothing officious in that step, just measured, paced. The footsteps stop at the foot of her cot, and there's an exhale of breath. "C'mon, Banshee. Got somewhere to be. Orders." Alain's voice, reassuring.

Aubrey's head snaps up at the familiar voice, and she wipes at her eyes. She hasn't been able to get a hold of her father, and she's clearly worried sick about that. She manages a burbled, "huh?" before she pulls on her boots. "Orders?" She tries to compose herself. Party girl doesn't usually let anyone see her down.

"Orders," Alain repeats, with enough firmness to suggest he's not lying. There's familiarity in orders, too -- and a useful distraction, perhaps. He waits for her to pull on her boots, hands clasped, before he gestures towards the barracks exit, falling into step with her at an decent pace. He gives her a worried, sidelong look, but keeps his peace for now, unless she speaks.

Aubrey heads in the direction she's pointed, the orders and not having to think much, just do, seems to help her keep it together. She pulls her hair into a tail, just knotting it at the nape of her neck, since it's plenty long enough to do so.

They pass out through the hangar, and down a long corridor that serves as a join between passenger terminals. They pass gift shops there, some open, some not. Further on, on the far side of the terminal, a marine -- familiar from the Vanguard -- stands outside one of a ladies' bathroom. With a rueful smile, Alain slips the marine a piece of paper -- not money -- and gives him a nod. The marine grins, and departs, as Alain pushes open the door, glancing at Aubrey with a knowing grin, waiting for her to precede him.

"Did they actually assign us duty to clean the head? In an airport? Really?" Aubrey mutters as she shoulders her way into the bathroom with a grunt.

Inside, squeezed into the space of a typical airport bathroom is a metal tub. It's not exactly a comfortable-looking bath, but it's big enough to get into, and appears to be filled with hot water and bubbles. Resting on the sink nearby there's some neat, folded towels and a variety of facial stuff -- clearly commercial products bought from the gift shops. "It's not quite a spa day, I admit, but I think it might be the closest I'll be able to find you for a while..." Alain begins, ruefully.

Aubrey stops in her tracks, blinking stupidly for a moment as her brain tries to process what she's seeing. She looks back at Alain. "You, did this for me?" she asks, looking shocked.

"I mean... I owed you, the bet," Alain says, kind of matter-of-factly, like he's surprised by her shock. "Had to trade a few favors in, but that's future Alain's problem -- assuming we ever get back to the Vanguard for regular duty." He steps past her, reaching for something on the sink, holding it up, "I even found cucumber. Well, half a one from the makeshift mess, but I'm told it's an essential part of the whole, spa thing, right?"

Aubrey lets out a little choked laugh, then tears spill out of her eyes and she gives Jigger a painfully tight hug. Obviously, the tears aren't because of a bath.

Alain winces a little, at the tightness of the hug, but returns it one-armed all the same. "Don't let the water get too cold," he tells her with a grin, "You've no idea the trouble I went through to get it here. I'll guard the door," he adds.

"Will you go somewhere with me, after? I have permission to go off base. To check at the hospital for my father," Aubrey says quietly. "I haven't been able to reach him." She lets Alain out of her grasp and looks at him with all the worry in the world resting on her shoulders.

Alain looks momentarily surprised, but recovers quickly enough. "Of course." He waits a beat, "Walker hasn't heard from her family either?" he infers, with a sympathetic grimace.

"I haven't seen her or Addison since we launched. I know they're here, other people saw them. But everything is such a mess right now," Aubrey admits. She picks up one of the towels, to set it within arm's reach of the tub and pokes through the toiletries.

"I'll add them to my prayers," Alain promises, as he takes a step back towards the door. He steps past it, stationing himself outside, though leaves it open a crack so that he can still hear her, giving her some semblance of privacy.

"Thank you, Alain. For everything," Aubrey says to him quietly, before she proceeds to take her much needed bath, and scrub the Cylon apocalypse off of her. Under better circumstances, she'd dally as long as she could, but she knows eventually people will be trying to get in and use the bathroom. When she emerges, she looks and smells a whole lot better. "Best wingman ever," she murmurs.

"Only did it because you were stinking up the barracks before," Alain teases her, with a friendly shoulder bump. But, after a grin, he adds, "You're welcome. I should get my friend in here to help clean up." He jerks a thumb towards the bathroom. "Where do you want to meet?"

Aubrey glances at her watch and ponders. "At the baggage claim in an hour? There are some taxi drivers still running outside of it, probably making a fortune off people who lost their transportation."

"You got it. See you then, Banshee." Alain disappears back into the bathroom. Undoubtedly he gets help, since he has time to change into dry, clean clothing before the appointed time, even if it is Picon navy issued.

Aubrey is at the baggage claim at the prescribed meeting time, with her hair neatly braided into two tails, and the sweat pants replaced by Picon Navy-issue BDUs. She's making a deal with a taxi driver who, it seems, recognizes her. As Alain approaches, she's signing a calendar for him, on a page which has her picture in it, bikini clad, laying on a surfboard. He heads off to bring the car around and she turns to give her wingman and small smile. "Thankfully, I found a fan willing to drive us there and back for an autograph."

Alain clucks his tongue, amused, as he approaches. "I always forget you're like, famous here. It's very disconcerting to reconcile you-pin-up-girl with you-viper-pilot." He gives a rueful shake of his head. When the taxi approaches, he opens the door for her, gentleman-like.

"Well once everyone has seen you naked in the shower a few dozen times, the pin up mystique tends to rub off. Pin ups are all about teasing, but not letting you see all the goods," Aubrey explains. The trip to the hospital is a nightmare. Not because of traffic or even the terrible music the cabby plays, but because of the wreckage of Biscayne Bay. The pristine beach is littered with smoking debris, some roads are covered in body bags as local authorities sort through buildings the Cylons had attacked. Aubrey is glued to the window of the taxi, her hands trembling in her lap at the sight of her home in ruins.

Even Alain shows visible tension, not given to talking as his gaze is pulled to the windows, taking in the destruction. It's different imagining what it would be like versus seeing it in the flesh. Silently, he reaches out to take Aubrey's hand, squeezing it without looking a her while they travel.

Aubrey squeezes his hand in thanks, also not looking at him, just silent understanding. The taxi pulls up under the portico for the hospital, and the older man turns around. "I'll park nearby and keep an eye out for you," he promises. Bree thanks him quietly, and seems reluctant to let go of Alain's hand as she climbs out of the cab and looks up at the fa�ade of the hospital where she was born. She swallows hard. "Please be here, please be ok," she whispers. Because she doesn't want to consider the alternative.

"Thank you," Alain murmurs to the driver. His, this means a lot isn't spoken, but might be inferred in the nod he gives the driver as he alights from the taxi. He takes a deep breath as they step out, a silent, reassuring presence at Aubrey's side. He lets her take the lead at her own pace, moving alongside her when she heads in.

The hospital is a madhouse inside, naturally, the day after an attack. There aren't enough rooms for all the injured, and every hallway is littered with gurney's up against the wall, with less urgent patients. The waiting room is packed with worried relatives, looking up at a large monitor that is playing news reports. Aubrey gets into a line for the information desk, rubbing her arms at the unnatural chill inside the hospital. After being in that cab, the air conditioning is icy, and the medicinal smell in the air is punctuated with sounds of pain and suffering. Her hand moves to search blindly for Alain's as they get closer to the front of the line.

There's a murmured sound from the Gemenese man next to her: inaudible prayer, though might hear her own name murmured, as Alain takes in the hospital. He stays close to Aubrey, squeezing her hand in reassurance as they move to the front of the line.

When they reach the poor, exhausted clerk at the information desk, the woman looks up at them. "Who are you looking for?" she asks, because if they were injured they'd have gone in through the emergency entrance.

Aubrey clears her throat, because it feels terribly tight to her right now. "Naxos, Edmund Naxos. Age 50, five foot seven, greying hair, brown eyes. He lives at the Bay View Condominiums on the waterfront," she answers quietly. Even as she does, the news report is showing the partial destruction of that very building.

The woman turns to her computer and begins to type in the information, all of it, because they don't necessarily have everyone's names, but where they were found and a description can help.

While silent, Alain's gaze continues to flicker around -- not just settling on his wingmate or the woman he's talking to, but other hospital visitors, though decidedly not lingering on the television. "I spot a coffee machine over there," he gestures, "Want me to get you one?" he offers, while Aubrey's giving details to the receptionist.

Aubrey nods to Alain at that. "Yes please. Lots of cream and sugar." She leans her hip against the counter of the info desk and watches the woman, also avoiding the newscast.

The wait seems interminable, but finally the woman smiles a little. "He's here. He was injured by falling debris and suffered a concussion and a liver laceration. He's out of surgery and recovering in room 321. You are family?"

Aubrey almost collapses against Alain in relief. "Yes, yes! I'm his daughter." She shows her Colonial Forces ID to the woman. "And this is," oh shit if he isn't family they won't let him in with her, "My husband. Can we see him?"

The woman nods and gestures one of the volunteers wearing scrubs over. "Can you take these two to room 321 to see Edmund Naxos? It will have to be a brief visit, no more than 10 minutes. He and his roommates all need rest."

The coffee machine is a piece of crap, and delivers low-quality coffee, but it's hot, and there's sugar and cream, so it at least has that going for it. Alain brings back two cups, setting them on the counter while they wait. He looks relieved, too -- not quite as much as Aubrey -- when the woman gives the news of Banshee's father. "Thank the Gods," he murmurs. There's a twitch of brow in unhidden surprise at his addition to the family, but he doesn't protest -- instead picking up the coffees and moving towards the volunteer with a reassuring smile to Aubrey.

The volunteer leads them to a stairway, because the elevators are being reserved for moving patients. The climb is quick, though, and the door to Edmund's room is reached. The volunteer opens it with a passcard, they are keeping things locked down in case of further attacks. They can be opened from inside with the swipe, but not the outside. "Ten minutes, he reminds them, and steps aside to let them through."

Aubrey steels herself for a moment, before she steps inside and looks around. There are two beds, and two gurneys crammed into the room, and all of them are full. Curtains are pulled closed around two, and in other two are a sleeping elderly woman, and a man who fits the description of Edmund Naxos. He glances over, and his face lights up.

"Breezy!?" he exclaims. His head has a bandage on it near his temple, and there are a few lines running into him from an IV and some monitors, but he looks all right, aside from a touch pale and tired.

"DADDY!" Aubrey shots, and runs over to hug him carefully.

Alain lets out a slow breath, watching the reunion for a few seconds, before he glances away. He gives them some privacy, lingering away from the pair, sipping on his own coffee. After a moment, he steps over towards the elderly woman, and engages her in low conversation. It doesn't take long before the two of them bend their heads, murmuring in prayer together.

Edmund hugs his only child tightly and grunts a little at the discomfort. "Damned toasters blew up half the condo complex. Part of old Mrs. Hanover's apartment upstairs ended up in my living room. Got a knock on the head and fell on something sharp," he explains to his daughter, before she can even ask, because he knows how she is.

Aubrey finally lets him go and sits on the side of the bed, clutching her father's hands. "When I couldn't reach you, I thought..." that he was dead, that the cylons killed him like they killed her mother. "I should have known you were too stubborn to die," she quips through tears.

Edmund glances over at the young man also in uniform and arches a brow. "Is there something you're not telling me? They said only family was allowed in. Did you get hitched without telling your old man?"

Aubrey chokes. "Of course not daddy. This is Alain Tomlinson, he's my wingman and best friend in the Timberwolves besides Abby and Addy. He came with me. I told them he was my husband. Thankfully he didn't fall over or anything and played along." She smiles at Alain. "Jigger, come meet my dad, Eddie."

After a moment of prayer, the elderly woman pats Alain's hand in thanks, and he steps away from her bedside, sipping his coffee. He notices Edmund's glance his way, and, clearing his throat as Aubrey calls him over, steps closer. He has to set down the coffees on the bedside table, because he's offering his hand to Aubrey's father. "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir. Your daughter is one hell of a pilot. Saved my behind more than I care to admit. Glad to see you're well." He glances at his watch, grimacing. "They're going to pull us out in a sec, Banshee. I'll give you a moment," he says to her, reaching to pick up the coffees again. "Take care, sir," he adds to Edmund, as he eases back to give them a moment of privacy.

"Another pilot, eh? Good to meet you. You're looking after my daughter up there, right?" Edmund asks with a smile, shaking Alain's hand with a strong grip. "Wait, did you say Addison is up there with you? You found him?"

"You bet he is, Dad. He always has my back. One of the best pilots I know." She smiles warmly at her father. "And Abby and the marines found Addy, because of you. If you hadn't contacted me about him being MIA, he might still be in a prison camp, or dead. Abigail is so thankful, dad. As soon as you're out of here, she'll tell you herself." She grimaces at all the machines he's hooked to. "How long til they let you out. Do you have a place to go after?" she asks.

"A few more days. They won't keep anyone longer than necessary. They need the space and resources," Edmund replies. "I got a hold of Teddy and June. They'll put me up til I find another place." His video editor and his wife.

"Ok dad, the Vanguard is grounded for repairs, so if you need me, get word to the Biscayne Starport. It'll get to me there." She bends to kiss her father's cheek and give him one last hug, before the volunteer is poking his head in to tell them time is up.

"Of course, sir," is Alain's parting words to Edmund, along with a reassuring smile. He waits over near the door, looking to distract the volunteer to give Aubrey a few more minutes -- it doesn't work too well though -- and when Aubrey joins him and they're heading down the stairs, hands her her coffee. "He looked well," the other pilot says. "Be fighting fit in no time, I'm sure."

Aubrey wipes at her eyes as she takes the coffee and follows the volunteer, looking over at Alain. "Thanks for this. I really appreciate it. I hate seeing him like that, but I'm so happy he's alive I could scream for joy." She sips her slightly cooled coffee. One benefit of crappy machine coffee, it comes out at the temperature of molten lava, so it stays warm longer. "I promise not to faint from relief til we're back in the hangar," she tells him.

"You can faint in relief in the taxi if you want. I won't tell, and I'm sure all the driver will require to keep mum is another signed poster," Alain tells Aubrey with a grin. He pauses to thank the volunteer when they're lead out onto the main floor, falling into step with his wingmate as they head for the taxi.

The cabbie swings around quickly, clearly a big fan of the one-time actress and model turned Viper Pilot. Outside of the Bay? Not too many people would recognize her at all, but at home? You bet.

Aubrey climbs into the taxi and when Alain gets in she just grabs his hand and chews on her lip, as she watches the carnage go by the windows on the route back to the spaceport.

Alain is largely silent on the trip back, sipping the bad hospital coffee and mostly staring out the window again, frowning inadvertently. He doesn't seem to mind Aubrey grabbing his hand, squeezing reassuringly, though he'll let go before they get of the taxi at their makeshift home at the spaceport.

By the time they get back, Aubrey has re-composed herself, and her tears have dried up. She lets out a breath, and thanks the cabbie with a kiss to his wrinkled cheek, before stepping out and looking up at their makeshift home. "I won't forget this, Alain. Thank you," she says quietly to him, with a small smile, before heading back inside.

"Anytime, Bree. Any time," Jigger says, happy to dispose of his coffee cup as they head inside.


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