2237-07-25 - Starstruck

An unexpected meeting between two old fans.

Date: 2237-07-25

Location: Shipyards, Scorpia

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 333

Jump to End

It’s been a non-stop battle, trying to get one bit of cargo unloaded, moving back to the next, and the next, and the next. The Timber Wolves have shipped back to Scorpia. But that means a hell of a lot of manual labour, helping to unload all of the gear that was salvaged from the Vanguard as a result, in the ramp up to being loaded onto a new ship. And as per usual, rank has its privileges. So guess which Staff Sergeant is overseeing the offload...that’s right. Abigail Walker. Crew, crates, and catastrophes. And not a single detonator in sight. What a drag.

Scorpia was not exactly Micah’s picture of paradise. He’d landed on a transport vessel two hours earlier, already cross from having spent an uncountable number of hours stuck in a ship he was not even allowed to play with.

“This is their section of the shipyards, sir. Or the beginning of it.” A short, stout man wearing NCO stripes strode next to the much taller man. There was a great deal of contrast between the pair. One was low to the ground, stocky, and built for lifting and moving things. The other was tall, with longer hair and more of a frame made for boxing. Or, as luck would have it, flying aircraft.

“Understood. Thank you. I’ll be back for my duffel shortly.” Micah did sigh softly at the sir, but his soft, calm voice followed his stormy grey eyes to the stout man. With little ado, the man turned on his heel and walked smartly away. Micah stared at him for a noticeable few seconds, chewing something over in his mind as he watched the back of that bald head.

Finally, he turned back around, inspecting the situation and smiling softly. “Ladies. Gentlemen. I have three hours before I report for duty. How can I help?”

If such things as meercats exist in this universe, Abigail Walker is doing a spot on impression. Because that voice. Some sounds you don’t forget. Even when they’ve been out of the media for years. Ever seen a woman struck momentarily dumb by a celebrity? Yes, that exactly. And who cares that she’s in the middle of a delivery bay, offloading supplies, clipboard in hand with a line of technicians waiting, staunchly refusing to turn around to even take a single gander at the man that goes with that voice? Nobody, that’s who. Right? Right!?

Micah takes a box out of the hands of an inbound marine with a laugh. He walks it over to the supply billet, sets it down, straightens it, and then heading toward the top of the ramp of the cargo bay. At least these people didn’t keep calling him ‘sir’. That was a distinct plus. It isn’t the young woman who catches his attention at first. It’s the line of technicians waiting for the approval of her almighty clipboard. “Sergeant?” He murmurs, coming around behind the list of waiting enlisted personnel in the true fashion of a wartime soldier. It’s best not to startle anyone within striking range.

When his eyes track her face, he feels his jaw slacken. He catches himself before his mouth falls open. Barely.

He’s like a snake, Abbie. Don’t look him in the eyes. A big, horrible snake. With perfectly stormy grey eyes and wavy, beachy blonde hair. Who used to adorn the posters on your walls, and who might still live on your music player. Finally, it’s one of the quartermasters that finally has had enough, and reaches out to apply his boot to Abby’s foot, nudging her out of wherever it was she went to, and she finally blinks away the moment of suspended animation. “Yes. Compartment 2-D. We’re storing all of the small arms munitions there.” She even manages the next one, who’s bringing in what’s supposed to be extra toothbrushes. Because apparently this is what is saving the war effort, before she finally looks up, the exactly line of her gaze pausing first, at his rank pins, after taking in the uniform, and then stopping just at the level of his nose, “May I help you, Captain?” Her voice might just be squeaking a little bit.

It takes Micah a moment to tear his eyes off her. “Sergeant..” His mouth falls closed gently and the corner of his mouth turns into a soft, knowing smile. “Walker, is it?” It took only a single moment of thought from him. Not many remember the names of the people who cover the advertisements in magazines. Of those who do, it’s likely that less very few of them are adult men. Either Captain Knoor had a freakish memory or something about Abby had stuck out to him somewhere before. His gaze leaves her for a moment as he bends down to pick up one of the dwindling amount of boxes on the cargo deck. The motion is smooth, fluid, and shows nothing of the amount of confidence that returns to him as soon as he turns away from those eyes. “It looks as though the cavalry may have come too late. Maybe I can help save these guys enough time for a cigarette, though? You said small arms munitions are in 2-D?”

“Yes, and you’re Micah Knoor. Captain, Captain Knoor, sorry.” She hasn’t lost the deer in the headlights look quite yet, and it’s not helped by her relief coming in to grab the clipboard and not so gently nudge her out of the way. “Grab a crate, Walker. Show the man the way.” Daggers. Literal daggers, as Abby finally looks away to her relief, before she trudges to grab one of the crates herself. “2-D. You know the way?” And then, she makes the mistake of actually looking at him. And yes, she was not mistaken. Oh, he’s not the early twenty-something soulful singer that was taped up on the wall by her desk, but he was never really that anyway, was he? They never are, in the hearts and minds of fifteen. “Well, of course not, you wouldn’t. I mean, captain.” She says that as though it were a thing and an explanation all in one. “It’s just this way.” And once she doesn’t actually have to look back at him, she starts off at her more usual easy gait.

Micah raises an eyebrow, surprised that his name came from her that easily. “My reputation seems to precede me. We’ll both have to pretend that it’s a good thing. And I’ll never say no to an escort.” He smiles one of those smiles, looking off at down the shipyard as he follows in the staff sergeant's footsteps. That face hides a swirling mass of thoughts, though. He wondered if he had heard that Abigail Walker had joined the marines. He had no reason to have heard a thing, but there he stood, feeling like it was something he should have been made aware of. It’s a good forty paces before they are out of earshot of anyone else. When he speaks, his voice is quiet and smooth. “And please don’t worry about the Captain thing. It’s worse than the salutes.”

“Your reputation is a good thing.” A beat, “Well, not that last wobble, because the last album was really shit. Whose great idea was it to hire that production team? Completely ruined a good thing.” Another pause, “Unless it was your idea, in which case...that was shit idea too.” See, this is Abbie’s solution, just keep talking, no filter and hopefully get him to wander off in a huff because she’s offended his delicate celebrity feelings. Not that he’s a celebrity anymore, strictly speaking. Oh, except that he’s an Officer. And a Pilot. So...yeah, still a celebrity. And when Micah finally has something to say, she’s almost surprised, seeing him still there, “What would you prefer that I call you, Sir?”

“Busker works. Only resort to the sir in the event both of our asses are on the line if it doesn’t happen. We can use it as a flotation device.” Micah murmurs, leaning against a railing. “You know me well enough to know my albums? Seriously?” He laughs. “Forget about me. What about you? Weren’t you essentially the cover girl for the Poseidon Swimwear Company two years ago? You did a shoot with Roaric Salish?" The corners of his mouth curl into a soft smile, hands tucking idly into his belt. If one observed carefully, they may notice the bottom edges of the sleeve of tattoos covering the former musician’s right arm. Black quarter notes dancing around stylized musical instruments. “He’s a friend of mine. And let me tell you, after talking to him, I think I might need to get you to sign a magazine for me.” He pauses. “Do that, and maybe I’ll tell you a bit about that damned third album.”

Abigail’s peal of laughter is genuine, not forced, and seems to go a long way towards relieving the tension that’s still tightening her shoulders, as, their deliver being made, she begins walking back along the storage corridor, still not quite looking at the man, but at least in his general direction, “Everyone knew you when you were still singing, Busker.” There’s a twist of her lips, as though she doesn’t find the humour in the name, “You still get...got,” because war, “airplay on streaming radio.” As he stops, so does she, shifting so that she’s facing him, “Yes, that was one of mine. One of the last ones I did, before the world went to hell in a hand cart. Roaric was terrific fun.” The mention of the friendships peaks her attention, “Have you heard from him? He’s still kicking around?” And then, a tip of her head, slightly off of true, considering, “What exactly did he tell you?” And a pause, “Been a hell of a long time, but yeah, if you can find one. Square trade.”

“He had a lot to say about you, actually. I mentioned that your look was fantastic. It was nice and classic. Not dressed up or overdone, not trying to prove anything to the world. You were just there, doing your thing. And anyone who had any other notions of what you /should/ be, could calmly go frak themselves.” He tips his head, studying her. There existed something supremely confident in his eyes. The cool grey sits unwavering, like a hurricane having it’s way with an ocean. “You know what he told me?” Micah laughs, smoothing his hair from his head with a hand. “Mic? You have no frakking idea. The photo’s don’t do her justice. That girl’s a firecracker in a swimsuit.” He chuckles and shakes his head. “He said it was all he could do to keep you from grabbing the camera, setting a timer, and telling all of them to go out to lunch. You can talk about my five minutes of fame all you want, but damn. I can’t believe you’re sitting on a shipyard out in Scorpia.”

A moment of silence breaks up his words as the two are passed by two enlisted navy personnel. Micah actually physically turns away from them, either hiding his face or hiding his rank. It’s done in a simple and unadorned motion, as if the man just wants to inspect the area past the railing. “Roaric’s doing well. He got off Caprica before everything went to hell. Some… job off on Picon. He’s on somewhere on Libran now and to be honest, I’m sure that he’d love to hear from you.”

Abigail moves to the side, nudging the crate so that it’s out of the way of the people that actually do need to move along the corridor. Well, technically, they also need to move along the corridors, but who pays attention to technicalities? “I’ve never known any other way to be. I was raised on the beach, raised to live simple. When people started coming at me to model, I didn’t think about what it meant, about being ‘known’, I just wanted to help pay my parent’s bills. They didn’t raise me to think I was better than anyone else. And I saw what that attitude did to those girls. How often it broke them. I didn’t want to be like that. End up like that. And by the time my career, such as it was, had taken off, what, just about nine years ago? I was already in the Coast Guard, and then the Marines. I was shooting during every leave and holiday I could cobble together. It’s hard to think highly of yourself, when you’re posing one day, and the next you’re salvaging a wreck from the bottom of the ocean and hoping you find all the bodies so their families can at least have a funeral.” So maybe that’s what shown through, the confidence she gained in the military. “Sometimes, I can’t believe it either. I was with the ICJPK when I got the call to transfer to the CF. But I’m glad to know he’s going well. If I get the chance, I’ll see if I can send a message. It’s good to hear news of absent friends.”

Her explanation causes one eyebrow to lift. “That’s the entire point of it though, Sergeant Walker. It never occurred to you to be fake or put on airs. It never even crossed your mind. And allow me to tell you as a fan, it shows through in your work.”

Another group of two pass through the corridor, curious looks overtaking their faces as they nervously glance from Micah, to Abigail, to the ground approximately two feet in front of them. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.

Micah, to his credit, shows a look of mild amusement as they pass. He shakes his head and laughs shortly, watching them go. “Some of these kids amaze me. You’d think they just walked in on something.” Head still shaking, he stands up a little straighter, eyeing the crate. “2-D. But…" His words cut off, lower lip finding firm purchase between his teeth. He stares hard at that crate before turning up to Abby, releasing the unconscious ‘thinking’ gesture. “Speaking of fair trades. I don’t have to report for about 3 hours. Your relief just showed up. What would I have to offer you to convince you to come and have a bite to eat with me before I go meet my new command? We can continue the conversation without reducing the local technicians into shame-faced robots.”

“So I don’t get to call you Captain or Sir, but you do get to call me Sergeant Walker? Just Walker, if you’d rather not just use Abigail, or some variation thereon.” The word ‘fan’ though, coming out of his mouth, still seems to be throwing her for a loop, but at least she’s not staring at him like a field mouse waiting for the owl to swoop down.

As the people pass and stare, pass and stare, Abigail just stares back, a mild look of humour in her eyes, until Micah addresses it, “Well, considering that you’re an officer and I’m enlisted...two things which, in almost every other colony and branch of service aside from the CF, do not go together and we’re standing in the middle of a mostly disused service corridor which leads off into vast unmanned storage areas...you see where this is going, right?”

But when he makes the offer, there’s something of curiosity and confusion, in her expression, as she hears his offer, finally managing to actually look him in the face, “Why would you need to offer me anything? You told me I was never fake and didn’t put on airs.” She reaches down, finally picking back up the crate and chucking her chin in the direction of the corridor that heads down to munitions storage. “I’d be happy to continue the conversation.”

“I’m telling you. Every time I stand next to a model...” Micah looks almost flabbergasted as he retrieves his own crate, following quickly in the shorter woman's footsteps. His gate is much longer than hers, so it isn’t long before they’re nearly side by side. As he walks, the last three fingers on either hand idly drum out a quick set rhythm. It’s clear his mind is mulling something over. Whatever it is, the pilot isn’t talking. He merely moves in a straight line.

“In your art, you weren’t. And you didn’t. I think I liked your style because it was similar to the way I thought about music. Sometimes, you have to just do what you feel is right and let the chips fall where they may.” His replies comes quietly, eyes straight forward, an eyebrow raised. “That’s one of the reasons you stuck out to me. I respect your style. And there’s nothing in the world that makes me think you’d want to sit down with a random viper pilot out of pure boredom. You….You look like you have places to go.”

2-D is denoted with large yellow lettering over massive storage area. The door is made of solid steel, with two marines standing guard on either side. It was, indeed, a munitions locker. With all the pomp and circumstance that the military surrounded them in.

“Did that always work out for you, Busker? Letting the chip fall where they may? Just doing...without considering the potential consequences?” She keeps a steady pace. She’s become accustomed to needing to speed up her pace in order to keep time with marines who are mostly much taller than she is, and this situation is no different. “Your first album was like that. As if you didn’t know where you might be going, but you were just going to step off the cliff and land where the wind took you.”

As they approach the two marines, Abigail nods to each in term, “Small caliber AP, this is the last of the shipment from Midlands Armory.” The two men, seeming to know her, or at least recognize her to where she doesn’t need to show ID, step aside, so that she can lead Micah in, “You’re not a random viper pilot.” She pauses, setting down the crate in its place, “You’re Micah Knoor. And I don’t mean that in that, oh my god, he was my first crush, oh, I loved him so much, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, I haven’t left puberty yet...sort of way. Although if you had spoken to me round about 13 years ago, you might have gotten a face full of that. You’ve had a life, a hell of one, and seeing you in a captain’s uniform tells me you have a hell of a story to tell.”

“And I’m starting to see what Roaric was talking about.” Micah offers a nod to the two guards as he steps through. “Firecracker.” He murmurs the word as he sets his crate down on top of several of them marked similarly. Small Caliber AP. His first mission for the Colonial Forces, complete. “The first album.” He smiles, looping his fingers in his belt and examining the old concrete walls of the ammunition vault. “Was more of a letter to a few people in my life than it was a construct of music. It was…” He shifts in the room, walking along one of the dark walls. “I guess it was something I had to say. If people bought it, that was fine. I never expected it to sell many copies. It’s like writing a book with the intention that one specific person is going to read it. If everyone else gets-” He cuts himself off, expelling a sigh. Nimble fingers rise to press themselves against his forehead. “To be honest, letting the chips fall where they may is probably the thing that has worked the best in my life.”

“You make me wonder what sort of women you must have become accustomed to, if you find honesty surprising, Busker.” Because Abigail honestly, see what I did there, believe what she’s saying. Once both of the crates are properly set and secured, Abigail steps away back towards the exit to the storage room, wiping her hands on her uniform slacks, turning so that she’s looking back to where he stopped. “It sounds as though it was a bigger leap of faith then even I, and I was, a true Knoor connoisseur, could have read into it. There’s nothing quite so terrifying as laying your heart out for all to see and wondering what the person you intended your words for will think of them.” She turns in place, but slowly, watching him walk the walls, “I know that sentiment very well.”

“Honesty’s rarer than you think, Abigail.” The type of women he was used to? There were entire volumes of tabloids about that particular black hole. “You never really do find out what they think, do you though? Not in so many words. Not /really/.” Micah’s walking ceases and he comes to stand beside her. “The weird thing, though, is that I don’t think it matters. Some things just have to be said. It’s almost what the entire concept of music is about, being a language for raw emotion. You let it build up inside of you too long and…” He catches himself before he jumps off the edge of bitterness. It takes him a second of looking at that cool concrete before he finishes. “Thankfully, your career explodes before your life does. Now where can I find the very best sandwich on this shipyard? PLEASE tell me there are vendors and it’s not all DiFac food.”

“It probably is. But I also learned a long time ago, not to go down that road in my head, or I’d end up filled with way too much bitterness. I do what I can...and I take what comes as it comes. I either get honesty back, or now I know your measure.” She does consider the idea of just needing to say things, “I...I don’t know that I agree with that. I think that, in our heart of hearts, we’re always waiting to hear someone’s reply.” And once he comes up to join her, she starts towards the hatch to step out and leave the other marines to their work, making no attempt to pry, for the time being, into his comment about bottling things up, instead, turning to a safer topic, “Depends on what you consider the best sandwich. You’ll be surprised what sort of things I can scrounge up.”

“Scrounge up? I like the sound of that. Surprise me.” Micah follows her out of the hatch, nodding to the two guards once more. The confined spaces of the stockyard were beginning to close in on the man who was used to the sky. The more open areas are a breath of fresh air….and then it’s back to tight corridors. “How has everything been going with the Colonial Forces? I know I jumped at the opportunity to be here, but I did wonder if there is much infighting. Caprica was suspicious of everyone before the uprising. There had to be difficulty getting it all to mesh.” He pauses moving to the side to allow another group carrying boxes to pass.

Abigail has been in and around the Shipyards enough that she’s gotten to know the quickest ways from the ‘work’ areas to the more civilized spaces. The spaceport is not just a port, it’s a factory, and construction yard and a drydock. All manner of people man it, civilian and military and those needs are catered to, “Have you been to the Bay at all?” They’re heading towards one of the many mess areas scattered around, though this one looks very much like a civilian style food court. “Any foods that you absolutely refuse to eat?”

“Not that I have seen since I came to the Vanguard. The Scorpians seems to want to perpetually fight each other, even when you get them off Scorpia. And people, as you might expect, chafe at the difference in regulations and rules. But to be honest, it’s more the other way around. People blame Caprica for the cylons. Caprica built the cylons, thus...they caused the war.”

“And Capricans sat in a stalemate while the Cylon’s ravaged their planet.” Micah finishes, nodding his head slightly. “I love my planet. The art, culture, technology… All of it. It’s enough to take your breath away. But that was one of the single worst military decisions any of us had heard of. My unit nearly went into revolt, sitting there, waiting for the orders while we were listening to the stories that came out of their camps.” He smiles and nods to a young man wearing civilian clothes who waved at him. It seemed that CF were popular. In this area at least. “I’m not picky in the least! At least not where food’s concerned.” He peers at one of the venders, trying to determine what exactly the man was making. “The Bay, though. That’s a negative. Never heard of such a thing.”

“I think Caprica was not the only colony that was slow to respond. There was a LOT of disbelief to go around. No one wanted to think about these things developing minds of their own. Turning against us. Things you own, things you control, shouldn’t turn against you. I think that was the mindset.” She doesn’t seem, from the tone of her voice, to espouse that opinion, “And a lot of people died because of it. Half of my colony is under siege because of it, and more of yours every day. They say the cylons advance further and further towards Caprica City every day.” And then, a laugh, “I should have been more specific. I meant Argentum Bay, the town near here. It’s where most of the fleet goes on leave when they come to Scorpia. I’ll take you, if you haven’t been. It’s no Biscayne Bay,” where he’d know she was from, “But then, nothing is. Not even Biscayne Bay now, after the damage the cylons did to it.” She considers, then heads towards a place that serves something fragrant and spicy (think Indian), “Canceron has the best food.”

“It’s certainly still a lot to wrap your head around. Caprica City. Delphi. What happens to Caprica’s culture if either of those cities fall? What happens to our -people-?” Micah shakes his head, a perturbed expression knitting his brow. “It’s… an issue. Actually, it’s the reason I exported my family after the uprising. I love Caprica. But I was in its military for a long time. They don’t have the mindset or resources to push back against the Cylons on their own.” The mention of Biscayne Bay draws a smile from the tall man. His eyes find the ground as he recalls something and slowly shakes his head. “Man, Picon. That planet was like a giant vacation. When I was younger, I used to rent this villa on the southern edge of the bay. It had the most beautiful baby grand piano, and I’ll tell you, it was the sweetest sounding piano I’ve ever heard. I used to maroon myself on that property for weeks, writing and playing.” He pauses. “That MAY actually be one of the best places I’ve ever been. Or one of the better memories I have. I kind of wonder if that place still exists.” He scans the places with the food curiously, already beginning to nod his head. “Food from Canceron sounds fantastic. What is there to do in the Bay?”

“You rebuild. Like the people of all of the other Colonies have had to do, when the things they loved and the places that had value to them were lost. That is why the people....of any place, are so vital to the survival of our cultures and ways of life. Buildings can be rebuilt, cities, ships, all of the things that are material can be replaced, eventually. But not the hearts and minds and souls of people. “I never realized that you spent so much time on Biscayne...on Picon, actually. I tried to avoid reading the tabloids.” Also, she was a teenager. Not the sort of stuff she should have been immersed in, “I could certainly find out. I still have friends and family there.” As they approach the line, she glances over, “Is spicy food a problem?” And then, as she gets into line, “It’s not so different from most of the seaside town you’d remember from Picon. Water sports, there’s hiking, and that sort of thing, cliff jumping too, bars, shopping...your typical tourist trap. Also, a boardwalk, that’s a lot of fun.”

“Spicy food is -never- a problem.” Micah emphasizes with a chuckle, following her into the line. “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble...yeah. I’d love to know if it’s still around. It’s not surprising that you wouldn’t have heard, though. I sort of used Picon and Aquaria to escape public eye for a while. It was a time to lock myself down and sort out the chorus in my head without tabloids writing a story every time my shoe came untied.” The line moves, causing Micah to step forward. “A day of boardwalks and cliff jumping. I… don’t know that I’ve ever had the time to slow down and do something like that. It sounds absolutely incredible.” Shuffle...Step. “Other than bars…” He asks rather slowly, his eyes frozen on the line. “What does the night life look like? Any small music venues? I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve been able to catch a small show from an awesome local band.” There seemed a bit of hesitation. “Or hell. Even a bar? Good food, though? That’s a must. Pub grub is where it’s at.”

“Oh, good. Then there’s nothing I need to warn you about.” She walks the small buffet, pointing out the vegetarian and meat option, “Oh, that lamb one has bones, so if that bothers you, best to avoid that one. The grilled chicken is fantastic.” For herself, Abigail selects the spicy chicken curry (because I can’t think of a Galactica-esque word that doesn’t sound stupid) and a few of the fried, vegetable stuffed triangles. Rice, and a bowl of what look like white flattened rounds of something or another, in a sauce that seems to be milk, but smells of spice and is flecked with pistachios. “I’ll see if I can put in a call, the next time I’m around the comms center. I’ll let you know.” And moves slowly, giving Micah as much time as he needs to pick what he’d like, “Oh, there’s all of that. You certainly won’t have any trouble trying to find something small and out of the way with great music. The town has really made the most of its location. Even the clans don’t fight there, if they can help it. They realize that it’s bad for business. So it’s mostly a neutral zone. So boardwalks and cliff jumping it is. My brother’s actually much better at it than I am, but I’ve done it often enough not to embarrass myself.”

Micah fills half of a bowl with aromatic rice off of the bat, glancing over to Abigail as his hands move for the steamed vegetable’s tongs. “If there is any, and I mean any, skill involved in boardwalking and cliff jumping, I’ll either die or embarrass myself enough for both of us.” Thank the Lords of Kobol that he was a bit too much of an old name to be ‘relevant’ to the tabloids. Next, he picks up a very sparing amount of grilled chicken and places it on top of the vegetables. “Brother, though? Someone back on Picon?” And yes. The entirety of the contents in the bowl get smothered in a rich cheese and coconut curry. Vegetarian enough to enjoy the health benefits, carnivorous enough to keep the pilot from a murderous rampage. When a few pieces of a hot flatbread are added to the haul, Knoor steps from the line to head to Abby and, hopefully, a table. “You know, it’s actually weird. Out of all of the places I’ve been, I don’t recall doing anything fun in Scorpia. I think this may have been a show followed by a trip to a hotel room for me.”

Abigail seems happy enough to wait, though she doesn’t waste the time by doing anything like staring at Micah, as if she were reconciling Poster Micah with Flesh and Blood Micah. Or possible Live Show Micah with Naval Captain Micah. Honest. She does, however, offer in comment, “There is some skill, but that’s what a good instructor or partner is for. And I certainly couldn’t let you die. Can you imagine the paperwork for that? ‘Walker, how the frak did you ‘lose’ a Captain? Did he get lost in your wash?’” Again, that smile, though there’s something decidedly sad there, but it comes with a shake of her head, “Oh, no, he’s with the Wolves too, you’ll be flying with him. Addison Walker, Lieutenant. Also vipers. Also new. Also my twin brother. He was MIA for about six months, a POW for three. I, my team and I, brought him back a short while ago. He’s just been cleared to fly again, and they offered him a place with the Wolves.” A snort, at his final words, “That’s because there is nothing fun...on most of Scorpia. Even most of the Scorpians I know don’t like it.”

Micah laughs at that, setting his food down on a nearish table and glancing around to ensure there were no onlookers. “I actually can imagine the paperwork for that. We almost lost a Lieutenant once. Not anything bad, just misplaced. I have no idea how that kid passed flight school let alone got an assignment doing escort missions for politicians. Even with working instruments, he fired his engines 15 degrees off course of the rest of us. It took him 30 seconds to lose sight of the squadron entirely.” The fork rises laden with rice, a broccoli floret, and a steaming, dripping bit of sauce. Abigail’s words about her brother, though, stop it about halfway to his mouth. “I…” He pauses, a small crease forming between his eyebrows as he tries to picture something. “I can’t even imagine that. Is he okay? Seriously? I mean, I’m sure he’s ready to take a bite out of those tin cans, but that’s gotta rock you a little bit.” Finally, that bite finds refuge behind pearly white teeth.

“I rather got the impression, from the stories Addy used to tell me, that there were quite a few people in flight school who had no business being there, but used other means to keep themselves from being washed out. Maybe that was what happened. Or maybe they were hoping he’d lose a certain politician along with himself.” Abby, light on vegetables herself, is content with the chicken, curry and rice. The fried vegetable pockets, which are vegetable, so bonus, but also fried, negative, come with a dark dipping sauce. The question about her brother causes her to lower her eyes, her face becoming much less animated. “He’s...recovering. He can fly, and he visits with the medical team. But...it was...awful. They used them as cheap labour, starved and worked them to death, and then made them bury their own dead when they dropped. And he was there...so long, before the CF really.” Her jaw tightens, “And I didn’t know. When I lost contact, I tried everything, but nobody would tell me what was happening, what had happened, not even my parents. I had to find out through a friend’s father who knew my parents.” She looks up, some of the anger of that time colouring her cheeks, a hectic red, visible even under the tan, “Two weeks it took me, from the time I spoke to our Colonel, and he sent me to get him, if we could locate him, which we did. Two weeks! What if I had known six months ago?”

Micah watches her, chewing his food carefully. Every syllable that comes out of her mouth turns over in his mind. “If you’d known? You probably would’ve gone to get him.” The pilot replies at last, pushing his food around his bowl a bit with his fork. Getting everything properly sauced was a varsity level game. He was determined to letter in it. “My question is whether or not the other circumstances would’ve been the same. When you hit them, was their security low? Were they conducting operations they were sparing man-power for?” He pauses, those stormy grey eyes not seeking refuge anywhere but her face. He searches the frown lines there. The colored cheeks. “I’ve never had anything even remotely like that happen to me. If my sister disappeared, I’d probably turn into a very, very bad person until I got her back. But I know a little bit about playing the ‘what if’ game.” He finally looks down, something very dark coming into his eyes moments before they find the table. “That’s a cancer. If you give it even a moment’s reprieve, it’ll completely consume your life. You doubt the things you believed in. And then one day, you wake up, go to brush your teeth, and you have no idea who the hell is looking back out the mirror at you.” He spears a carrot, raising the fork and chewing slowly. “You got him out.” He murmurs, allowing a touch of a smile to turn up the corner of his mouth. “Not the CF. Not the military. Not the Lords of Kobol. Your pushing and your legwork found him when the system likely wouldn’t have spared the resources. In my opinion, from what you’ve told me, you’re a pretty incredible person who did their damnedest.” He smiles a bit more and diverts his gaze down to the bowl of literal awesomesauce he is consuming. “Don’t let your brain get in the way of that.”

“We came across the work detail Addy was on when they were brought out to resupply the SAM sites the cylons have along Cape Shediac. Typical security. So not the whole camp, no, but we managed it. And we would have managed it no matter what the circumstances. One of the prisoners even sacrificed himself, to give my brother and the two others with him the chance to escape. Even after who knows how many months, that man still had the strength left to do one good thing for his fellow prisoners. And the Picon Navy abandoned him, abandoned the search after a few months. So yes, I would have gone for him, no matter the risk. I’m a Marine Diver, my specialities are salvage and rescue. I would have found a way. Overcome any obstacle. But they didn’t give me the chance.” A shake of her head, as she hears the praise, “He’s my twin. How could I do anything else?”

“You couldn’t.” Micah says simply. “I don’t think there was a whole lot of choice for you. If you’re willing to put your life on the line and risk death for complete strangers, and something happens to your -family-, I don’t believe any logical force could’ve held you back.” He takes another bite, moving the food around his bowl as he thinks. “But sometimes forces aren’t logical. Things have a way of pushing you where you’re supposed to go. Call it religion, if you like, but I can assure you I’m -not- a religious man. I just think that sometimes, things happen the way they do for a reason. If my life hadn’t gone to hell in a handcart, for instance, I wouldn’t be a Captain in the Navy and I surely wouldn’t be sitting across from you.” He says that as if it would be a tragedy if he were sitting across from anyone else. He leans back a bit in his chair and watches her for a moment. If Melanie disappeared, his life would’ve been over. She was more important to him than the worlds they walked on. “The sum total of my actions have me here, now, with you. I have to believe this is where I’m supposed to be. If things had gone differently on your mission and one of you hadn’t made it out alive, do you think you’d be sitting here with me either way?”

Abigail pauses, though she hasn’t really started eating in earnest, “No, nothing would have, but that’s the trouble, isn’t it? Because I know that I could have effected a rescue then, I know that. And even if, logically, I know it wasn’t my fault that I didn’t know, it doesn’t stop me from feeling as if I’m partially responsible for the pain and suffering he’s been forced to endure. Before I had any other job, in my life, my one job, my one job, was to take care of him, and he me. And I didn’t do that.” She pauses, looking down and away, the line of her lips flattening. Because even if she can see that she’s doing exactly what he warned her against, it’s hard not to do it. “You’re right. So much has changed, as a result. We’re actually in the same command now, which we would never have been. And we’re communicating better, which was always a problem with being so far apart. But Gods, that was a hell of a price for him to pay to get us here. A hell of a price that he’s still paying.” A snort, a brief sound of wry humour, “No, you probably would have been at one end of a party and I at the other, each of us pretending that we were actually interested in being there.” Abigail might have been at those parties quite a few years after Micah, but an industry party is an industry party. They don’t change much. “I’m tempted to say that this is not much reward for all those years of work and effort. We’re not even near the beach.” Granted there is a picture of the beach, but it’s small and old, and much worn. As to the question of whether or not she’d be sitting at the table, if her twin had not made it, “There is no me without him. I wouldn’t know how to go on, if he were gone.”

“I probably know that feeling a bit better than anyone else.” Micah confides, his fork settling against the side of the bowl. He turns his head and looks a bit down at the table. “Some day, maybe we can really sit down, outside these uniforms and titles, and talk about what in the hell really happened all those years ago. No tabloids or rumors, just the truth. Let’s just say that my prison was one of my own making.” He breathes in a bit, widening his eyes just a fraction as he remembers. “And to make an incredibly long story short, my baby sister pulled me out of that prison, much like you did. Kicking and screaming, cussing and fighting, she pulled me out. And I absolutely, without question, -undoubtedly-, owe my entire life to her.” The fork is retrieved and a piece of chicken is finally speared. The pilot takes his time spinning it in sauce before raising it to his mouth. “I don’t know the perspective of being a sister. What mine thinks about me, I can only imagine. But I do know a hell of a lot about being a brother. And I know that if I were in that camp and it would’ve put Melanie in danger to pull me out?” He thinks about that but instantly begins shaking his head. “I’d stay in there as long as it would take to give her the best chance the gods could think up. I’d pay for the opportunity. Much like you, I have a feeling the whole of the combined might of the Colonial Forces and the Cylon armies couldn’t have stopped her if she’d tried.” He pushes her bowl playfully forward, his eyes searching her face. “But instead of blaming yourself or the of the bureaucracy of the CF for the delay, blame the things that really did him the damage. Blame the bloody cylons.”

“I imagine, in most cases, they usually are. We like to think about terrible things happening to us because of outside factors, but I found, before all of this, the war and...” she waves her fork in a encompassing circle gesture, “We usually are our own saboteurs, and the prisons we live in are of our own making.” She finally returns to her food, eating in that quickly efficient way that seems to be an ingrained skill after a few years in the military. “I’d be interested to hear your story. The real one. I never paid much stock in the tabloids, but I know enough to know some of what was said about what happened to you.” Abigail’s lips curve into a smile, at the ‘summing up’ of the story, “She sounds like an incredible woman. It also sounds like we both have siblings who are the better people that we wish we could be.” She considers the bowl of the fragrant milk with white pieces, which smells sweet enough that it must be some sort of dessert, before she tucks into the rest of her curry, “I think Addy would feel the same. He would never ask me to put myself in danger for his sake. And he doesn’t blame me, just...” A shake of her head, accompanied by a squaring of her shoulders, “This is not how my fifteen year old self pictured what it would be like to finally meet you.”

“More screaming fans?” Micah smirks. “A crowded room, a haze of cigarette smoke? There would probably have to be a ratty old couch that reeks sitting in a green room, too.” He takes a sip of water. “I doubt if you would’ve liked that version of me. When I was younger… before the fans… I was a lot more like I am now. I just lost myself in the middle there for a while.” His food supply was dwindling and it was tragic. “I suppose we could’ve met at a party. Or on one of your shoots. But…” He chews on a piece of spice covered broccoli, mulling it over. “Our lives existed fairly close to one another for a long while. And, to be fair, I don’t think this is how I expected to meet you, either. But I’m glad this is the way it happened. I probably would’ve made an enormous ass of myself back then.” He takes his last bite of that delicious curry concoction.

“Are you saying that meeting me now is less thrilling and life changing?!” He laughs. “I must be losing my touch.”

Abigail’s eyes snap up, from where she’d been lost in some strange form of naval gazing, “No. That’s not how I pictured it at all. I always thought I would meet you when I was older, more established in my career,” so you know...not illegal. Because that would be weird. “I sort of pictured you in some vintage piano bar, just playing, no fans, or cameras. And of course, I would have just come from some sort of reception, so I would have looked absolutely fabulous. And I would have taken my finger of whiskey, because of course, I would never drink wine, and I would head over to your piano, and you’d serenade me.” If there was any doubt that she must have thought about this a lot, wipe that idea from your mind. “And you, of course, would have been charming, and I, of course, would have been a witty conversationalist and utterly engaging.” She takes a moment, finishing the last of her actual food, and rises, taking a few steps to retrieve an extra spoon, before she returns to the table, “I’m not saying that, at all. Although, if it makes you feel better, I did all the making an ass of myself earlier, for both of us. I suppose the younger me wishes I had at least thought to check my face for grease marks before you ran into me.”

“Vintage piano bar? I don’t know that I’ve seen one of those in years. Gods, it does sound fun, though.” The accented words come quietly from his lips as he takes another drink of water. “See, I think there are a few holes in how you thought about this.” Micah’s eyes come back to her, refocusing on the features of her face. He considers something about her before he opens his mouth to speak again. “From where I sit, you are somewhere very comfortable in -both- of your careers. Those stripes on your shoulder aren’t easy to come by. The contract for Poseidon Swimwear likely had a bit of competition too.” That signature smile curls the corner of his lips as he shyly averts his eyes back into his cup. “You didn’t make yourself any sort of ass. And to be fair, the grease marks kind of suit you. I always liked you because you were so damn -real-. And this? This proves it.” His hand reaches out to retrieve the cup, bringing it to his lips one last time. “There’s no other way of meeting you that would’ve made you stick out in my mind more than this one right here.” The pilot tips his wrist, exposing a well made and reasonably priced Caprican military watch, adjusted with a chronograph for pilots. It looks well worn and weathered. “But unfortunately, I have to go and report for duty. It’s been absolutely incredible to meet you, Staff Sergeant Abigail Walker. Really. A fantastically unexpected treat.” The tall pilot pushes himself up from the table and grabs his empty tray. Before he sets himself into motion, he seems to pause. “If you’re serious about wanting another chance at a meeting, look me up when you’re ready for a trip to the Bay. I’m retired from playing music, but I really wouldn’t mind listening to some with you....Or, you know, jumping off a cliff. If you’re ever free.”

“Anything is possible, with the right application of hard work and ingenuity. Even vintage piano bars.” A lift of her shoulders, the edge of a rueful smile on her lips, as her eyes track his face. “Looking confident in your work is nothing at all like meeting someone you’ve admired for ages and wanting to put your best foot forward, rather than giving the impression that you still haven’t left puberty.” She wasn’t that bad of course, objectively, but this also isn’t something you think about objectively. “Given that I can’t change the impression I’ve made now, I will just have to say that I’m glad I left the impression on you that was for the good and not the bad. You have also acquitted yourself well. As she sees the man check his watch, she looks back down to the dessert, but not for long, before she sets down the pair of spoons, rising as well, as is only polite, “And it was wonderful to have finally met you, Captain Micah Anderson Knoor. And don’t worry, I will certainly find you. I am endlessly resourceful.” A brief pause, “And you are always welcome in Marine Country, such as it exists in the Wolves, so don’t feel that you have to avoid my territory.” She’ll remain standing, until he departs, before she has to settles back down to finish dessert. She might, or might not, once she’s cleared the table, go a find herself a nice empty room to let out a total fangirl scream after. But just one. Because...adult.


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