2237-07-23 - Soldiering On

Lyn and Cate commiserate about the war's losses.

Date: 2237-07-23

Location: Biscayne

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 313

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Cate has been hard to pin down since getting picked up from Picon's surface. There was talk of her being spotted in the mess hall with one of the civilian survivors that they brought back with them - a little girl. Then she vanished for a bit to escort the civilians (including the girl) to a refugee center on Picon. Then the big mission, then the cleanup and rescue efforts in Biscayne Bay. It's been a whirlwhind, and it shows in Cate's exhausted face. She's taking a break right now though, eating a sandwich while leaning on some crates outside the hangar where they've set up their temporary barracks.

Lyn has been back and forth to the starport between trying to help look for survivors in some of the bombed buildings over in the factory district. Her SAR experience from Aquaria put her on a shortlist for that duty. The results have been poor though, and that weighs down on a rescue soldier's soul. She is in borrowed coveralls from the Picon Navy, over her own tank and boots, with work gloves tucked into her tactical belt on her waist. Her hair is back in a stubby tail and there are smudges of soot and other dirt on her face, bearing a grim expression. She's heading towards the hangar when she spots Cate. "Hey," she offers quietly to the medic.

Cate doesn't seem to hear the quiet greeting, lost in thought. It's not until Lyn comes closer that the motion gets her attention and causes her to look up. "Hey." She takes in the coveralls, the smudges. "Been out in the city?" she guesses.

Lyn nods a little and sinks down onto one of the other crates near Cate. "Search and Rescue near the factories. They got hit pretty hard out there," she explains. She looks over the woman thoughtfully. "How are you holding up? I haven't had a chance to talk to you since your bird went down."

"Find anyone?" Cate asks, in a voice that's a little afraid to hear the answer. She hitches her shoulder at the question. "We survived," is the dull yet obvious answer, followed up by another bite of her sandwich.

Lyn nods, but she doesn't look happy about it. "One kid. Her mother didn't make it though. Medics said the kid might survive." It was a hard day out there. "You did survive, which is a good thing. Was it bad?" she asks. Not as if being shot down is good, but they were behind enemy lines for quite a while.

"Frak," Cate mumbles sympathetically. "Well, at least the kid made it." She sighs, lips drawing together sadly. "Too many orphans coming out of this frakking shit show." The question about it being bad gets another shrug. "We lost the pilot and Chou in the crash. Costello and Lawrence must've been thrown out while we were going down the hill. Norris was killed getting out of the Raptor. Vasquez died that night; bled to death. Delgado dislocated his shoulder, Izzy lost a finger..." She takes a long drink from a water bottle, letting the grim tale just trail off.

Lyn sighs quietly. Losing Costello is a blow to Fox Force Four, now down to three and a couple of dudes. "I'm sorry you had to go through that. This war is just one punch in the throat after another it feels like." She looks up at the hangar and raps her knuckles on the outer wall. "Any idea where they're gonna put us? With all those birds they flew in yesterday, it doesn't look like the Vanguard's going to be home anymore."

Cate bobs her head quietly. "Yeah. That's about the size of it. But we're just supposed to keep getting kicked in the teeth and then stand back up and keep marching." She shrugs to the question. "No idea. Back to Galactica maybe. Doubt they'll keep us here long, either way." She takes another bite of the sandwich then says, "It's weird - a couple times while we were down there, I'd catch myself thinking just for a second, 'wow, Tucker must be worried sick'. Then I'd remember." She sighs heavily.

Lyn puts a hand on Cate's shoulder for a moment. "I'm so sorry. I know what you mean. Today, when I was climbing up some debris, I called some poor local worker Jonas when I asked him to pass me a shovel. Just so many years of doing SAR with him, my brain just assumed he'd be there with me." She grimaces. "Not sure how long it will be before it stops surprising me, realizing he's gone."

"Thanks," Cate mumbles. "I'm sorry too. For Jonas. It sucks." Her face twists, and she rubs it for a few seconds, trying to keep her composure. Then she takes another breath and lets it out, a little shakily. "I'm in no hurry to go back to space though," she says, on the much safer topic of their future assignments.

"Thinking of retiring?" Lyn asks Cate curiously, with some trepidation. There aren't many people Lyn counts as friends, and Cate is one of the few. "Aldrich has been helping me get through the worst of things. If it wasn't for him..." She would probably have mustered out or ended up in the loony bin again.

Cate gives a bitter bark of a chuckle there. "Retire? Like they'd let me out even if I wanted to." She shakes her head. "But no, that wasn't what I meant. I just like being based on a planet, instead of a ship, that's all. Doesn't feel so cooped up." The comment about Aldrich causes her to press her lips together. She nods, but doesn't comment on it, instead saying, "We found a kid down there. Little girl. No family. Whatever she'd been through - was bad enough that she wouldn't speak. I feel bad for her, not having anyone."

"I'm sure they'll find someone to care for her. Did you get her information? Maybe we could find out where they have her and pay her a visit?" Lyn offers. The lip pressing when she mentions the chaplain has her sighing. "Out with it. Yes, I'm dating the Chaplain."

Cate shrugs. "Hopefully. There were a lot of refugees down there. Lot of orphans." The question about her info causes her to frown sadly. "I don't know her info. A whole week down there, she followed me around like a shadow but didn't say a word. I left my name on her intake form so... I guess we'll see." The latter remark causes Cate's brow to crease, confused. "Yeah, I know. You guys were dating before I got shot down, remember?"

"Yeah, sort of. You don't seem happy about it though," Lyn points out. "Do I get to know why?" she asks softly, brows raised. She and Al are very new, and taking things very, very slowly.

"You're wrong. I'm happy for you," Cate says, though the dull tone she's been sporting throughout the conversation doesn't exactly sound enthusiastic. "Chaplain's a good guy. I hope it works out for you both."

"Neither of us in in any rush. We've both had shitty luck in the relationship department. But I really do like him, and enjoy his company. He inspires me to be kinder, to be less of a cranky old recluse. I don't know if that's good or bad, but I feel better somewhere inside. Like maybe I can handle what this war throws at me. Like I have a reason to survive and make sure we win." Lyn glances over at Cate, not sure she buys her words. "I hate seeing you like this, Cate. What can I do to make it better?"

"You're hardly a cranky recluse, even before you met Al," Cate argues mildly. "But I'm glad you have him. I'm glad Izzy has Newton. They're getting married, you know. I heard from Becks and Tamlin awhile back - they're having a baby. Roths came to visit Delgado when he got back. I'm happy for all of them," Cate insists, though it's arguable whether she's trying more to convince Lyn or herself. She sighs, frowning. "It's just hard sometimes, not to be a little jealous. And I know that probably makes me a shitty friend, but that's nothing new." She leans a little more against the crates, deflated. She doesn't answer the question about making it better, because she doesn't know the answer herself.

"It doesn't make you shitty, it makes you human," Lyn says quietly. "I was jealous of you and Tucker. I admit that. You had someone, and all I had was my ex-boyfriend rubbing his new relationship in my face at every turn. I was only just coming to terms with letting Jonas go, really letting him go, when he died." She lets out a breath and slouches a bit on the crate. "I've always been a soldier, Cate. But you haven't. You were a doctor, weren't you? This had to be a system shock for you, but eventually it becomes part of you, and losing friends and lovers to battle doesn't get easier, you appreciate them so very much more in the time you have."

Cate shakes her head, lips pressing together. "I was a doctor, yeah. But this shit is nothing new. Back home I lost people to a different kind of war. Then this one." She folds the wrapper back around what's left of her sandwich. "But I know you know about loss as much as anyone."

"We are really due for a break, aren't we?" Lyn asks, leaning her head back against the side of the hangar. She tugs the elastic out of her hair and rolls the coveralls down to her waist. "I'm sick and tired of losing. We need a win. The Wolves as a whole do. It's not a happy group inside. I've been a refugee for two years now, and I've adapted to having no real home. But most of the kids in there are getting their first taste of it."

"We had a win on Canceron. I heard you guys rescued a bunch of people from a prison camp while I was gone. Doesn't feel like enough though," Cate admits with a sigh. Her lips draw together into a frown. "I haven't been home since the war started. I was a refugee in Hyperion. Slept in a sleeping bag for six months. So I know what you mean."

Lyn nods. "We got some people out yeah. Not enough though. They were being used as slave labor. Worked to death, literally." She grimaces. "And yeah, I spent a couple months in a psych ward after Aquaria was evacuated, then a few on Libran with my mother and brother before we were rolled in to fight alongside the Libran forces. Been moving place to place since."

The mention of the slave camps causes a pained frown to creep across Cate's face, and she nods. "Yeah. We saw that before, early on in the war too."

"How do we fight something that can manufacture more of itself, instead of having to wait 9 months and 18 years to bring up a soldier? Things which don't have to eat or sleep? That don't bleed or get infections and can just replace lost limbs with spare parts? The attrition is what is going to lose us this war." Lyn looks at her hands, clenching them into fists then opening them again.

Cate kicks Lyn's boot lightly - more of a nudge than a real kick though. "Thought you were trying to cheer me up," she observes with a brief, wry smirk.

"Ugh, yeah, have I mentioned I'm terrible at that? I don't have anywhere to bake you cookies. That's my usual 'cheer someone up' go to," Lyn confesses. She shoves her hands in the pockets of the coveralls, looking like an airport mechanic, complete with dirt on her face. "We've got to stop their manufacturing ability, or at least slow it down, you know?"

"Cookies are cheerful," Cate grants. She's still got on her regular uniform, though it's a bit rumpled and has a few tears and dried bloodstains that wouldn't come out when she hand-washed it. "We've hit their factories. Sure the other armies are too. Probably the only reason they haven't completely kicked our asses by now."

"I heard they were using Raptors against us. Bet you anything it was the ones Recon spotted when we went out on that long range mission," Lyn says with a scowl. "We need to be smarter than those frakkers."

"Yeah I heard that too," Cate says, still frowning. Then she shrugs. "You're talking about shit that's way over our heads. I just try to keep people alive. And kill as many of the frakkers as I can. That's all I can do." She tucks the sandwich into her cargo pocket and says, "Speaking of which - I should get back to it. The saving, not the killing. You take care."

"Find me if you want to talk, Cate. I'll do my best not to suck at listening," Lyn promises, with a worn smile. She gets up too. "Better go wash the war off me, myself. Take care."

Cate bobs her head. "Same," she promises, then she's heading off.


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