Conversations after the delivery of the new vipers to the spaceport.
Location: Tarmac, Later Hangar - Biscayne Bay Spaceport
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 309
It's been the better part of an hour, since the pilots departed the tarmac, to leave the technicians to mark and paint the new vipers. And perhaps she might be better served inside, but Eva's still here, having found a spot under one of the awnings of a temporary tool shed, resting a hip against one of the rolling carts, watching the deck crew hard at work, occasionally moving out of the way when one of them comes to grab something the need from where she's waiting.
Emrys has also stayed outside for the moment. He'll linger to watch the new birds get their markings that make them officially theirs for as long as he can. Eventually he drifts over to where Eva is, joining her under the shade. He doesn't speak right away, just quiet companionship.
Eva's gaze shifts, from the work being done, to the pilot making his way over into the shade, though, like him, she offers no greeting, even after he settles in, the long minutes of silence not seeming at all strained. And when Eva finally does move to acknowledge the man, it isn't with a word, but with a movement away from him, to an ice chest, a bottle of water, one for herself, and one, which, as she moves back to her place, she'll offer to him.
"Thanks." Emrys breaks the silence, taking the bottle and opening it so he can enjoy a long drink. Finally lowering it, he muses "Ain't she something? Ain't they all something?" Girls, get yourself a man that looks at you the way Emrys looks at new vipers.
Eva cracks the water bottle, though she leaves the cap on, looking back towards the vipers, "They are quite beautiful." A curve of her lips into a smile, "Your name will be on one of those, if I'm not mistaken." Emrys is new enough to the squadron, that he was likely still waiting for a nameplate, as they had no free birds to place them on, "There'll be quite a bit of envy, from the younger pilots."
"Quite likely. I'm still in line for one." Emrys agrees, downing more of that water. Apparently he was thirstier than he realized. "Well...you know. Can't really blame them ." He beams.
"Mmm," it's a sound, which could be agreement or just acknowledgment of the comment, as Eva finally takes a sip of water. Once she puts the cap back on, she raises the hand that was holding the bottle, and places the chilled skin against her forehead, "Well, yes and no. I mean...yes, they are new and pristine, and beautiful. But I've always been more fond of ships once they've been broken in a bit, and they're starting to show their personality.
"But this way, we get the best of both worlds." Emrys points out gleefully. "We get to watch that personality come out. We get to enjoy them while they're brand new, and learn about them as we go." There's a thoughtful expression, then. "I wonder what they'll be like."
"Unless they turn into something like that raptor Iris was flying yesterday. That thing just randomly malfunctions. It's always giving some strange reading or having one of those glitches we used to program into the sims as 'random' malfunctions." Eva switches hands with the water, using the other cooled hand now on her cheeks. It's not terrible hot, all things considered, and there is a breeze, but...Hibernian. Even under the shade, Eva looks a red in the cheeks. Not uncomfortable just...par for the course.
"I'm sure even that one has a pilot or ECO somewhere around here who loves her more than the other birds despite that." Emrys muses, which would be oddly hopeful if they weren't talking about airframes. Her cheeks are eyed for a moment. "You ok staying out here?"
Eva drops her hand, a rueful twist to her lips, "I have never been very good in the heat and humidity. I can make do, when I have to, and I've had to plenty, but it's not what I am used to." Certainly Hibernia is nowhere near as warm as this, ever, and Virgon only rarely, and only in very small areas of the planet, "I just can't go back in there...it's so many people. So much hopelessness, so many people looking at me, as if I could solve all of their problems, as if they expect me to."
Emrys nods sympathetically. "Heat isn't my favorite thing either. Fortunately I'm not as susceptible to it as you seem to be." There's a thoughtful pause. "People need heroes, Eva. You're a Colonial Forces officer, and the highest one those people in there are routinely going to see walking around. We're the only solution they've got."
"I know it doesn't matter what I did or didn't want, Emrys, but I didn't sign up to be anyone's hero. I'm no savior. I'm a soldier. That's all." Eva's hands fall, setting the water down, before she shakes her head, "I'm sorry that I said anything. The gods know, I should know better by now." It never pays to show weakness.
Emrys cants his head then, confused. "Hey, don't be sorry. We can talk about this stuff, right? We've shared heavier stuff than this." There's a thoughtful pause. "It does matter, I think. I mean it doesn't change anything, sure, but it matters what we want. Otherwise we'd just be like them, programmed robots." He puts one hand on her shoulder, an awkward gesture but an attempt at comfort.
"But it doesn't matter what we want, Emrys. if I went to Stirling tomorrow, and told her that I wanted to go home to Hibernia, that I was done fighting, and I wanted to turn in my commission? You know what she would say? No. Because we're at war, and the Colonial Forces need their soldiers. If we can't change the world to, at least attempt to have the things that we want, then it doesn't matter. So the only difference between us and them, is that we can see the hopelessness of the war, and we can feel our hearts breaking." Eva remains perfectly still, neither moving to slip away from Emrys' hand, nor to cover it with one of hers. "I'm sorry, you don't deserve to have to hear this."
"She could say that, yes. But I don't think she would. It'd be extremely dangerous to have someone up there who didn't want to be there." Emrys points out gently. "And we can make some attempt to have the things we want, just... within the limits of our circumstances. You were the one telling me just the other day we don't have a finite amount of opportunities." There's a wry smile then. "Deserve or not, I'm lucky enough that you're sharing. So I'll keep listening."
"You'd think so. Except that we don't belong to ourselves. We belong to the military." Eva shakes her head, "Yes. Always within the limits of our circumstances. Especially the ones we make for ourselves." Because really, they chose to sign up, didn't they? "I'm not quite sure what you think is so lucky about it." There's a wryness to her smile, "I'm sure you had enough of me every semester when we'd be going through student evaluations." There really were a frak ton of problem children in flight school. "But I do thank you for listening."
Emrys is silent on that subject for a long moment. Finally, he just takes a long sip of his drink. "You're real hard on yourself Eva, you know that?" Funny thing to say, coming from him. "You're my friend. I don't have many of those. And you trust me enough to be open and vulnerable with me about stuff like this. So yeah, I'd say I'm pretty lucky." He can't help but grin at the memory. "Oh man, those evaluations, though."
"You know my history, Emrys." A beat, "Well, the parts of it that matter to this particular conversation, at least. You know that I've had to be. I suppose, I just don't know how not to be anymore." She picks back up her water, taking a few moments for a good long drink, nearly finishing the bottle, "Thank you for saying that, Emrys. That you consider me a friend. I had three years of not really knowing what we were." And then, a smile, a genuine one, "I sometimes wondered if we were being pranked. They were that bad." And then, a softer sound, "I told Nova I would see about training her for Vipers. I don't know if I did the right thing."
Emrys smiles at that, a touch regretful. "I wish we'd been closer at the academy." He admits finally. "But I think I wasn't sure either, till I ran into you out here. We're definitely friends, though. And yeah...they were terrible." There's a thoughtful look then. "Yeah, I noticed you had her fly one back. What prompted that?"
"We were different people then, I think. I think, no matter what we might have said to the contrary then, we couldn't see past our own prejudices. You're not the man I knew, though I do see him in there, now and again. And I like the man that you are now. And I like to think I'm not the same. At least I hope that I'm not, because that would simply be tragic." At the question, Eva considers, "You know what you said...about how you don't think they would want to have someone up there who didn't want to be there? I'm not sure that Nova wants to be up there." She holds up a hand, to forestall a response, "Yes, she's a good pilot. And she has a good heart...but something's missing, some spark of drive, of confidence. Something keeping her from being there, do you know what I mean?"
"Yeah, I'd agree with you there. It's funny how quickly those prejudices stop mattering once you get into combat. And of course you've changed...we both have." Emrys agrees. He opens his mouth, but then that hand is there and he waits for her to finish. "She's got what it takes, Eva. And she wants to be up there. Do you remember how mad she was that I brought you all in? She all but accused me of cowardice in the face of the enemy. That's a capital offense." He doesn't sound angry about it, despite his words. "You're right, though. Her confidence is covering it up. But when she gets mad..it's there, right enough. So I don't think you were wrong."
"I got fatter. I don't think that counts." There's humour there, "I read her file, Emrys. She was just about to start the Viper pipeline, when the war hit and they nixed that and sent her to fly raptors. Can you imagine that? Right there, on the verge of doing something that, well, you know the dream, and then to have it snatched away? And I've seen how she res[ponds sometimes, as if she's waiting for something else to be taken away from her, as if she's sure...if she wasn't good enough to stay with Vipers, maybe she's not goo enough to be here. I think that's why she lashes out. So I though...why not give her a chance. Train her, let her see, know what she might have been capable of. Even if she never flies a viper..." which, given the war, there really is little to no chance.
"It suits you." Emrys offers, which is really the only acceptable response to that sort of comment. He seems genuine about it, though. There's a slow nod of agreement, as he considers Nova and her overall attitude. "I think it's a good idea. We might get a more confident raptor pilot out of it, and it can't hurt to have some people cross-trained. When you think about it...we can all fill in on raptors, but if we suddenly had a lack of viper pilots for some reason we'd have a real problem."
Eva's laughter is bright then, and equally genuine, "Are you completely sure you've burned that arranged marriage bridge, Emrys? Because I feel as though, with a response like that, you might still find a suitable match." Eva lifts her hand, rubbing at her face, "I have a feeling Stirling will not be amiable. And she certainly wouldn't approve a transfer. I wouldn't approve a transfer. I wouldn't trade an experienced capable raptor pilot for a viper rook. But if I can just get her there...mentally."
Emrys shakes his head at that. "That was twenty years ago, and my parents have quite given up on me in that department. If I want to get married at this point, I'll have to do the legwork myself." Moving on. "Nah, Stirling's not going to let her switch airframes I'm sure. But she might let us qual her, on everyone's own time. And if she makes it out of here alive, she could go back to her colony as viper qual'd."
"Join the rest of us. Well, those of us who want to get married. Thankfully, not something I need to worry about." Eva finally straightens, looking back towards the spaceport, "I don't suppose you know of anything approaching peace and quiet in there, do you, Emrys?" And a nod, "Yes, that's it exactly. Even if she can't do it now, why can't we give her the opportunity to pursue it in the future?"
"I think I'm doing just fine without getting married." Emrys opines, although her latter point stirs up enough curiosity that he can't resist asking "Oh? Have you and Farm Boy talked about it, then?" There's a glance to the building. "I think there's places...we just have to find them."
"Yes, that, exactly." A shake of her head, and a hint of humour, as she hears the question, "Oh, no. We've never done any of those things that kids do. We've never had that discussion, you know, 'So, are we dating, do I call you my boyfriend/girlfriend? Are we a 'couple'. Let's 'define the relationship'." Eva shrugs, "It's just never come up." And then, a nod, "That's the trick. Especially with it crawling full of people."
"Well, I wasn't sure, since you said you didn't have to worry about getting married." It's possible Emrys is teasing her. It's hard to tell with him, sometimes. There's a soft 'hrm' sound then. "Yeah. But it can't be literally full. I know there's got to be quiet places somewhere in there."
"As far as I know, Finn has no desire to be married, to me or anyone else. And as I'm not with anyone else, it isn't really an issue I think about." Eva considers, pursing her lips as she studies the place, "Well, I might be up for exploring it, after I change out of this flight suit."
"There you go, then." Emrys nods at the explanation, stretching in place for a moment at the talk of getting out of flight suits. "Sounds like a plan, then. I'm about ready to be out of this one myself, and then we can go exploring."
Eva reaches down, picking up her bottle, to finish it, and then find a trash receptacle, before she starts off towards the hangar they've been using as a barracks. "I would say race you, but I think I might melt onto this asphalt." So it might not be a race, but they will get there.
"Yeah, I'm not about to get into a race." Emrys agrees, 'finishing' his bottle by tipping the remaining cool water out over his head and tossing it in the bin. "Oh that feels good. It might be time to start taking cold showers." He remarks as they head in.
Eva, she just can't help it, "You mean you don't already, Emrys?" Thankfully, for her, she makes it back to the hangar, before he can smack her, and she ducks inside, heading to the cot she's selected as her own to grab her things.
Whatever Emrys might have said or done in response to that is lost as Eva escapes into the hangar. He follows, over to his own cot to get what he needs. "I never thought I would miss the berthings, and yet..."
"Just think though...you can sit up and never risk banging your head." Eva makes quick work of getting her supplies and a change of clothes. It helps when you have so little to work with, and strips out of her flight suit, leaving it on the cot, heading back to the showers in just her bra and shorts.
"True enough." Emrys admits. He's a little behind, foldng his flight suit up and putting it under the cot before heading off the showers with his supplies and fresh clothes.
Eva sets her clothes down on a bench or crate or whatever's handy, stripping down, before she heads to one of the mechanical showers. Not bothering to wait to see if it warms up or not, because the cold will be just as welcome. "So what do you do, when you're not flying or combing your hair, Emrys?"
Emrys fiddles with his shower to make sure it doesn't warm. Apparently he was serious about the cold water. "Not so much, these days. I used to be a lot wilder. I sing, and I can play the harp but I didn't bring one with me. No room." A sigh of happiness at the cold water. "I like to read...history mostly. I'm fairly boring nowadays I'm afraid, though. What about you?"
Eva moves through the routine with her usual brisk efficiency, she too, seeming to be working wit cold water, "I quilt. I embroider, I used to knit, but I don't have the room for the supplies. I actually didn't start out doing any of that, but I can't for a potter's wheel under my bunk. So mostly, I just try to keep my hands busy."
Emrys is taking his time today, because cold water. "I worry about my mind more than my hands, when it comes to keeping busy." He admits. "And yeah, the lack of space makes it difficult to keep up with most hobbies. So mostly I do in fact just fly, and comb my hair."
The water is precisely why Eva is moving so quickly. Get the task of bathing out of the way, and then just enjoy the water until someone complains that you're taking too much time. So that's what she's bound to do. Hair and soap and everything else, and then, a blissful period of just standing under the water and allowing it to stream down over her head, "You're that afraid that it's going, Emrys?"
"Oh, I don't know about that. I just like to keep it busy. No telling what it'll wander off to if left to its own devices" Emrys is quick to reapond, but there's some tension in his voice. Once bathing is completed, he too just stands there. At least nobody can say they're using all the hot water.
Eva turns her head, looking seriously at Emrys, dipping her head, as if to make sure he can't look down and hide his face, even if he doesn't meet her eyes, "Emrys, what's going on in there?" She turns, to face him, hands sweeping her hair over her shoulder,angled so that the spray isn't hitting her right on the face.
"I'm enjoying the cold water, Eva." Emrys replies. He knows what she means, though, and after glancing around to make sure nobody else is about he sighs. "Just..the past couple of missons I've missed stuff everybody else saw. Just completely missed it until someone else pointed it out. So when you asked about my mind going...well."
Eva frowns, thoughtful, not disconcerted, at the revelation. She reaches over to turn her own water off, settling into that space next to what approximates Emrys 'cube', so that they can speak quietly. "That can happen, Emrys. You're not the only one who misses things. It's been ridiculous out there. We've been under terrible stress." A thoughtful pause, "You've just started noticing it recently?"
Emrys nods in the affirmative. "Just recently. The past few missions." He answers. "It happened once, and I didn't think too much about it. Everyone gets a bad day out there, you know?" A pause. "And then it happened again, the very next time out. And everyone else seemed to see these things just fine, so I can't think they were difficult to spot."
Eva, still thoughtful, frowns, crossing her arms, completely unaware, as one tends to be in such situations, indeed oblivious to the fact that this is quite a ridiculous place for a serious conversation, "So what else has been on your mind, between when you started to notice these lapses and before?"
The shower is indeed a very ridiculous place for such a conversation, but it's also a place that right now isn't full of people. "I don't know. The first time was out on the search and rescue, and the second was when we scrambled out over the bay a few days ago." Emrys muses. "Up to that point...well, stuff had been going well. I scored a kill my very first time out with the Wolves, my first time as mission lead for the Wolves was a success...and I've been getting a lot more social interaction lately."
It's a difficult thing, to try to pick apart what's going wrong, especially when everything seems to be going right, "So you hadn't been before? More laser focused, more work, less play? Do you think that might have something to do with it? Not that it's a bad thing, of course, but...maybe you're not used to dividing your attention?" A shake of her head, "I know it seems such a stupid thing to consider, but...how were you flying before...before you came to the Wolves."
"Great. That's the thing about my flying. It just gets better with age. I've yet to hit the wall." Emrys makes a face, as he finally turns the water off. "Maybe that's it. Maybe I'm finally hitting the wall. Or maybe you're right. Maybe it's just a division of attention issue."
"From everything I've seem, Emrys, you're not even close to hitting the wall. But maybe you just weren't prepared for all of this," her hands indicate herself, and then back towards the barracks, "You said yourself, you aren't used to social interactions, you aren't used to having friends, having other things, other people inside your head that don't have anything to do with flying. And I'm not advocating that you should step back. Just..."
"Yeah, that's true enough." Emrys agrees. "When I was a young Lt, I did all kinds of crazy things with my buddies. Real wild. And then the older I got, the more I reined it in. Certainly I'm not used to living on top of other people like this, and being all jumbled up, and having people I worry about that arn't my wingman." A pause. "Just...?" He prompts.
"If this is a problem, something you're struggling with, Emrys, I want to advise you to do what you need to do to make it right. But I'm also selfish, and I'm not particularly interested in getting behind the idea that the solution might be to isolate yourself from people again, since people includes me." Once Emrys shuts off the water, Eva steps back, making room and moving to grab her own towel, still keeping the flow of the conversation as she starts to dry off. Hair first, of course.
Emrys grabs his towel and steps out of the shower thoughtfully. "I guess we'll just see." He finally says. "I mean...two is a pretty small sample size. Maybe they're just going to turn out to be abberations, or the result of rolling straight from CAP into battle, or any number of things." There's a wry smile. "If it keeps being a problem, I'll just try and seek a balance."
Eva, having finished with her hair, the drying at least, dresses, just in another set of sweats, before she heads to the tub sinks. It's clear these were meant to be utility sinks. Ah well. She'll fight with her hair first, and wrangle the toothbrush after, "I'll keep an eye on you, Emrys. If something seems as though it's off, I will say something."
Once Emrys is ready to start fixing his hair, out comes the comb and product. It's like a little ritual. "I appreciate it, Eva. And I trust you. I know you will." Simple words, quietly offered, but he knows the Hibernian has his back. And apparently feels like that means it's in safe hands.
Eva, still seemingly endlessly fascinated by Emrys' attention his hair, handles her own, into its usual braids rather matter-of-factly, "I like the grey. If you don't mind me saying." She doesn't go back to the previous conversation. Sometimes..you just need to let that burden down. "Natural? Or do you get it put in?"
"I don't mind you saying at all." Emrys grins at his reflection, clearly tickled by the compliment. "Natural. I suspect the whole thing will go that grey at some point, unless I decide to fight it off by having it dyed. It's been a slow growth, but I can't deny the inevitable. I'm going grey." At least he's got good humor about it. Comb up this side, then that side, then back over there. It's almost an art.
"It does have a rather distinguished look. very dignified, as opposed to the alternative." Which would just be old salt and pepper. "I've found one or two myself, but thankfully, the rest of my main goes a long way to cover it up. I did dye it for a while, do you remember?" Eva's hair is as it naturally is, a bright coppery red, but for a handful of months, on and off, in the time he knew her before, she flirted with dark red, almost crimson, "It just got to be too much work. SO I suggest just letting it go."
"I do remember." Emrys agrees quickly. "You had a lovely dark crimsony look." A pause. "Not that your current color isn't lovely, of course." Clearly that one just stuck out. "Well, I will certainly consider it when the time comes. Especially since you say it makes me look distinguished and dignified." That ego is definitely still there.
"You almost make me want to go to the trouble of trying it again. It's been...has to be about four years, since I had a red mood. Perhaps we'll do it together, so if turns out a disaster, we can commiserate." Eva, finishing with her hair, turns the rest of her ablutions, brushing first, "How is it that we somehow always end up having our deepest conversation in the middle of the head, Emrys?"
"Good question. It just seems to happen that way." Emrys muses, finishing up with his own hair. "Maybe something about this place has muystical properties." The power of the head. "It was certainly striking, when you used to do it."
Eva studies Emrys' reflection, if only so she doesn't have to walk around him to see hat he's doing, "Or maybe it's just easier to be vulnerable, when you're already as vulnerable as it's possible to be." You can't get much more exposed than naked. "Those sorts of compliments could go to a girl's head."
"Well, you know, you told me me saying nice things about it almost makes you want to go to trouble of trying it again." Emrys points out, smiling at his reflection. "That's definitely the sort of thing that goes to a guy's head. But you have a point...with all our layers stripped away clothing wise, I guess it's easier to strip the emotional layers away."
Eva's laugh comes a moment before she reaches over to shove Emrys by the shoulder. Not enough to try to actually push him over, but quite possible enough to waylay the proper feeding and watering of his hair. "Don't tempt me. There is a hair salon in this spaceport, you know. And I'll drag you along with me." A smirk, "And then, when the CAG asks me...what the hell I was thinking when there's a war on, I'm going to point right to you."
Emrys lets out a soft oof, as the comb is dropped. Picking it back up, and going back to finishng up, he laughs and shakes his head. "And I'll say 'Come on, Whisper, why does it matter if her hair is dyed or not? This isn't the Royal Navy'." A pause. "Honestly though I don't think the CAG will mind as long as you do it on your own time. She might even appreciate your effort to make it easier to tell the two of you apart." Now he's definitely teasing.
"Now you're just making it seem sensible and fashionable. Because damn but people are still having trouble." A pause, "Of course, I don't think I've been making things any easier. I have been leaving cookies around where she can find them whenever possible. Now, of course, I never actually see her eat them, but..." Eva tips her head, "You missed a spot." She steps forward, pointing to a single strand, seemingly, that's not quite right on the right side.
"I'm telling you, if they don't come from a place where they see many redheads.." Whatever else Emrys was about to say is cut off as she steps forward and points to that hair out of place. "Now how did that happen.." He reaches for his comb to remedy things. "This time I think we can definitely blame me not seeing it on social interaction. You were distracting me." It doesn't sound like a complaint.
Eva's lips quirk, into a mischievous smile, angled now, as she stands by your sink, so that she's facing the man, and not his mirror, "Oh, and what exactly was I doing, that distracted you from your Great Enterprise, Emrys Montjoy?" Even the way she says those two words, 'Great' and 'Enterprise', you can hear the capitalization. because hair is serious business.
Emrys puts the comb down, now that the final piece of hair is in place, and looks back at Eva. "Well, we were talking. And you were feeding my ego." There's a wry smile. "Goodness, that sounds lame when I say it outloud."
"So...I should either not do either of those while you're styling your hair, or possible only do one or the other? But which one? These are serious questions that must be answered." Another laugh, and Eva steps away from the sink, moving to pack away her toiletries, before she heads over to retrieve her clothes, "You know what I'm worried about? Laundry. Who carries coins anymore?"
"Well, I can't see how you would feed my ego without talking..." Emrys muses as he too gets ready to move out. There's a laugh then. "Good point. I'm sure we can get our hands on some, though. But wow...so many things we never worry about on board that we're suddenly going to have to handle." Are they really qualified to be grown-ups?
"Well, I can be creative." Eva flashes that mischievous grin, before she steps back, giving you time and space to get the rest of your things together, before she'll move to head back to drop off clothes and bag at her cot. "Yes, that, exactly. You never think about how complicated and convoluted the real world is, until you've been out of it for a few decades and you're suddenly thrown back in."
"Oh my." is all Emrys says in return, with a mischevious grin of his own. Off they go, to drop things off. "Yeah...I didn't do real well in that department when I left the Navy." He'll own it. "A lot of paying people to do things for me, or just heating meals up...that sort of thing."
"Oh, so like...pretty much every male since...the dawn of forever?" Eva's laugh is merry, "Even my Da, who can cook, and cooks very well, will take a heat and eat meal if he can get it." With their things dropped off, Eva takes a moment, to take the measure of the place. "Shall we go and see what we can find for quiet retreats?"
"Pretty much every male since..Eva, how dare you stereotype me." Emrys' tone makes it very clear he's being playful. Especially when he adds "And how dare you be right?" There's a grin, followed by a nod of agreement. "Let's go see."