On the anniversary of the fall of Triton, Cate and Van go out for a drink.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 496
With everyone staying in the BOQ together, it doesn't take much doing for Cate to track down which room Van's been assigned to. She turns up there after training, dressed in jeans and a black sleeveless top, and knocks.
Van looks up from his paperwork, wearing his duty blues. "Come in." As the door opens, he sets the paperwork aside and turns toward the door. Smiling faintly to Cate, he nods, and then the reason for her arrival sinks in, and he nods slightly, his smile fading again, "Memories?"
Cate doesn't come in fully once she sees Van busy at the desk. A sad half-smile greets him, and she just leans against the doorframe. "Yeah," she agrees somberly. "Thought I'd see if you and Izzy wanted to come get a drink - or five -" A soft heh there. "- with me."
Van glances back to the paperwork, then shakes his head, pushing it aside. "Izzy is on duty." He hesitates for a moment, then runs his hand back over his short hair, blowing out a breath, "But a drink... or three... sounds like a good idea. Have you found a good place? I... have to admit I haven't been out in the city much."
Cate's mouth twists wryly. "Well I don't know if I'd call it a good place, but... there's a pub just off base. It's not too bad." With that resounding endorsement, she shrugs. "Short trip back afterwards, at least. I can wait if you wanted to change, but I saw some uniforms there too, so..." She trails off, leaving it up to him.
Van pushes to his feet, shaking his head, "No, I think that I would like to be in uniform today." Then again, he's usually in uniform, so that isn't much of a change. Crossing the room, he offers a light pat on the shoulder, then steps out to close and lock the door, "This could take a number of drinks, couldn't it?"
"Seems fitting," Cate offers, that sad smile resurfacing. "Whereas I'm all for any chance not to have to wear mine." She waits while he locks the door then starts walking. "Maybe a few yeah," she agrees tightly, then says, "Doesn't really feel like it's been two years."
Nodding his understanding at their differences, Van walks readily enough alongside her, for all that he reaches down to rub at his knee as she continues, "No, it really doesn't." He's quiet for a few more steps, and then notes quietly, "Sometimes... not very often, but sometimes, I still wake up thinking that I'm on base, that there might be an air strike at any time."
Cate lets out a soft 'heh' sound. "Hell, I always worry about air strikes. Even here, with a shit-ton of planes around." But she knew what he meant, and slants him a sympathetic look. "But yeah, I get it." Her brow creases. "I still have nightmares sometimes. That last attack, when the base fell." She pushes open the door to head out of the BOQ.
Van catches the door, holding it a moment so that Cate can precede him through, and then stepping quickly to catch up again, "Yes. Edson didn't help that very much. A little too close. I heard that Razor and a few of the others were looking back at Edson, to check on Toaster tactics, see how they've changed. It seemed to me that they weren't so different after all." His view, of course, is... skewed.
"No, it didn't," Cate agrees somberly. "Not just the attack, but having to go on the run after. It wasn't as bad as Triton, but like you said... too close for comfort." Outside the BOQ there's a little taxi stand sort of thing where a ride-share shuttle service makes its rounds between the base and the city. They're in luck - there's a van there now. Cate heads for that, glancing down at his leg briefly. "Your knee still bug you? Or is that just memories acting up."
The taxi stand brings back more memories, and he chuckles a little ruefully before answering her question, "Not really. It does, when I'm particularly tired, but usually I barely notice it unless I'm thinking about it." As he holds the door to the van open, he gestures, "You know, they used to have Toaster-driven cabs that went right up to the base gates. That was normal. Now it seems... I'm not certain. Suicidal?"
Cate nods, climbing in and murmuring a soft thanks for him holding the door. She tells the driver their destination and makes a face at the idea of Cylon taxis. "It's weird... back home we didn't really have many Toasters around. It was different seeing them all over in Hyperion." As she gets settled in the seat, she says, "But yeah, it's funny how those aches and pains creep up on you at the weirdest times. I got pretty frakked up during the last attack at Triton. My shoulder still bugs me sometimes."
Van slips into the taxi behind her, nodding and clipping in his seatbelt, "Then you likely didn't even have time to get used to them. They were... normal... before the Uprising. At least in Hyperion." He nods at the mention of her shoulder, "And your head, too, right? You took a blow to the head? I don't know if it's the same for you, but for me, it's not even when I've been using it the most. I've been doing a lot more running, thanks to the patches, and it doesn't hurt then. Just when I'm bone weary." Shaking it off, he blows out a little breath, "What's one thing you wish had never changed? From Triton to now?"
"Not really. We were only there for a couple days before everything went to hell. I guess you rode on them quite a bit then, huh?" The taxi starts going once they're buckled in. Cate nods to his question and touches the scar on her forehead. "Yeah, that's where this is from." Her mouth tightens, and she looks ahead at the road. "I can't remember if I told you - I was in the refugee area when the attack started." Some family housing that had been appropriated. "Bomb hit the neighbor's house. I was going over to check on them and the whole thing blew. Dub thought maybe it was a gas line or something. I dunno. But it threw me pretty hard. Frakked up my head, shoulder, ribs... took some shrapnel... it sucked." Understatement. His latter question is a welcome distraction, though it gets a confused look. "You mean during the siege? Or... before? What do you wish hadn't changed?"
"Yes, you mentioned that. And that you had some help getting out, with friends." Which Van is not being specific about, because they're both still missing-ish. Still, he brushes past that to her request for clarification, "Something from during the siege that you wish hadn't changed. Yes. I don't know, I'm trying to think of bright spots inside the gloom."
"Yeah," is the soft reply when Van mentions the friends. Named or not, though, they were already on Cate's mind, as evidenced by the quick but somber reply to his question. "I wish my friends were still here." She drags her eyes over to him. "I dunno, maybe that wasn't the sort of bright side you were hoping for. What about you?"
"And that backfired rather spectacularly." Van nods his head though, settling back into the seat, "I do too. Shark, Skinner, Wolfman, Otter, Windsock." Blowing out a breath, he shakes his head, "I even miss the ones who are still around, but are back on Picon, like Comet." A half-grimace, half-smile touches his lips, "No, that wasn't the sort of bright side I was looking for, but I hadn't come up with anything else either."
"Don't worry about it - it's a pretty safe bet that you couldn't make my mood any worse than it already was," Cate says with a wan smirk. She nods when he starts listing names. "I didn't know most of them, but... I know what you mean." As Cate promised, it was only a short trip to the pub. The van parks out front, and Cate thanks the driver before moving to get out. "I wish I could go back to being a doctor and a medic. Not be pigeonholed. Not have to wear a uniform outside of missions."
Van pays the driver, then unbuckles and gets out, again holding open the door for his companion. "Last year I was celebrating the fact that I was about to get out of the hospital. This year... there's a lot to be thankful for, but I think it's hitting me harder." He nods slowly at the response that's something more like what he was hoping for, "You want to do everything you can. I understand that. I would even bet that most others do as well -- besides your direct superiors, who just want you to do your job." He smiles a little dryly, "It's a different world in the military, and not necessarily a better one sometimes." He holds open the door to the pub, getting a momentary flash of the just-off-base watering holes outside Triton and Amphitrite and sighing faintly, then following his fellow survivor in.
Cate finds them a table and sits down. A waitress comes by to take their orders. Cate requests a bottle of whiskey and a pair of glasses, "Welcome to share, unless you'd rather have something else." She waits for Van to sort out his order before picking up the thread of the conversation from earlier. "I don't really like being in the military. I mean... I'm not saying it's bad, it's just not a good fit for me. I think it's just plain idiotic that they make me work in sickbay taking blood pressures and shit when I could be actually taking care of people. But anyway... why do you think it's hitting you harder this year?"
"I'll start with a beer. Golden Harvest if you have it, a local lager if you don't." Van wryly adds to Cate, "Then perhaps I'll help you with the whiskey." He nods his agreement with her description of the military way of doing things, but doesn't comment immediately, considering her question. Eventually, he works out, "I'm not certain. I wonder if perhaps it's because I had something to look ahead to last year, getting back out there and taking revenge." He's only silent a moment, and then he adds quietly, "And maybe it's because I have more to lose this year." Drawing in a breath, he blows it out, then deflects a little, "What about you, Cate? Easier or harder than last year?"
Cate nods. "That makes sense. I mean, last year you had a specific goal to keep your mind off things." Cate fidgets, folding up a napkin, as she considers his question. "I dunno. Still hits pretty hard, but... I guess it's a little easier? I mean, I've got someone to drink with this year." A somber half-smile touches her lips. "And thanks to you I know Thad was alive at one point, so... that's nice." A beat, then she deadpans. "Let's see what you can work on for next year for me."
Van smiles a little at the response, nodding his appreciation at the... yeah, that's a compliment, if a mordant one. The deadpan response draws a wry chuckle that's a bit try-hard, and he points a finger across the table, "Do not malign the powers of the Ringknockers' Protection Association. The improbably is easy, the impossible takes some time." Grimacing a little, he notes, "At least it makes more sense now why it was so difficult getting anything concrete. The state of Picon may actually be good news in a way. I would imagine it is a common problem for records to get destroyed or not updated."
"Hey, I wasn't maligning them. I was trying to say thank you." She offers another weak smile, then leans back in her chair. The comment about Picon gets a little nod of acknowledgement, but her expression suggests she doesn't really see it as a good thing. The waitress comes back with a bottle of Golden Harvest for Van, and a bottle of whiskey with two glasses. Cate pours herself a drink then says, "I'm shit at toasts, so..." She looks at Van to see if he wants to offer one before drinking.
Van's smile is softer this time, "I know. You're welcome, and I'll do everything I can to keep an ear to the ground." He lifts up his bottle, considering a moment as he is prompted, then offers, "To the lost and the found, to the past and the present, and always to the future." Offering a clink of bottle to glass, he takes a sip, sighing again, "Two years. Shit. Two years." He trails off again, then offers up, "Do you remember the woman on the ground crew... what was her name... she was always putting together those poems and limericks and posting them around the base?"
Cate clinks her glass and then takes a big sip of it. She nods to the question. "I don't know her name, but I remember the poems." She looks at him quizzically. "What made you think of that all of a sudden?"
"It's going to bug me until I can remember it now..." Van puzzles on the name for a moment, then shakes his head, "I think I stole that toast from one of them." And then a few honest chuckles bubble up to his lips, "Although I do think that the next line had something to do with a 'gentleman from Promethea...'" which likely meant it got dirtier, and quickly. The stories continue to roll out, the melancholy nearly overwhelming the humorous or sweet, but they exist, like stars amid the black of space.