2237-09-10 - The Fast And The Fatuous

Ines has arranges for a picnic, but they must drive to get there. With two cars and marines, it turns into a bit of a race. In a city none of them really know...

Date: 2237-09-10

Location: Streets Of Caprica City

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 497

Jump to End

It's a picture-perfect day in Caprica City. The sky is an unmarred vault of blue, the temperature not too hot, not too cold. Good picnic weather, or so Ines has decided, on learning there's an old-growth orchard located somewhere on the opposite side of the city from the sprawling Naval Air Base. Hoofing it with enough food and drink to make for a good time is a non-starter, so it only made sense to splurge on something fun to drive.
And then, of course, other people needed to come along, and there was a two-for-one thing going, annnnd --
Long story short, eventually Ines is sitting around on the hood of a car redder than the inside of a hooker's purse, beside a pitch-black iteration of the same vehicle, waiting for there to be a response to the offer she left behind, posted near the bunkrooms: FREE RENTAL CAR, DESTINATION PICNIC, FIRST-COME-FIRST-SERVE. BYOB.

I mean, of course Gage appears. After a morning full of duties, his hangover has finally subsided thanks to an old Tauran remedy. He has beer, and a different t-shirt, still with some reference to his home Colony. The colors, probably. What he didn't bring was any food, because... well. Maybe that's why he hinted at Sarita, hoping she'd bring food. He whistles, when he approaches -- presumably at the cars, but he's kind of eyeing everything with a grin. "Wait, I think I saw this movie," he says, by way of, presumably, greeting. "Pretty sure one ended up in a flaming ball of something."

'Free' is one of the words in a reliable incantation to summon Geoff. Another 'beverage.' So Geoff hurries to make it as soon as he sees the notice. He's in a colorful tank top and jeans, recent purchases. He's carrying a cloth bag with him, which looks fairly heavy and sometimes clinks.

Once again, Sarita is in an outfit befitting her home colony. Likely that's all she has regarding civilian wear in her wardrobe. Purple-red hued skirt and a matching, cropped top overlaid with gold patterning (https://i.pinimg.com/736x/9e/86/cd/9e86cd5dd1096c8f1348fe065b2abc66--ethnic-outfits-indian-outfits.jpg). The piercings are in evidence again, though this time there's a chain connecting one of the ones in her nose to her ear. She's even wearing sunglasses, but it's daytime and not a night-time trip out to the bar. She does, indeed, have food. Maybe. Possibly. One could presume that the cooler bag she has in one hand, not too far behind Gage has food. Or maybe it has alcohol. It's certainly not a purse. One thing's obvious: her piercings aren't just in her face because the light glints off one in her belly button as well. Got to love that Canceron fashion, right?

Ines is almost always in her duty fatigues...even off-duty, albeit worn untucked and half-unbuttoned. The olive drab clashes terribly with that gleaming, candy-apple-red paint job.
A better match for it is the smile that dawns when a handful of people finally arrive, bright and flashy, though she has to squint into the glare and shade her eyes with one hand to pick out faces. "Oh-ho. The big, bad, bunkroom marine wants to get behind a wheel this afternoon? Advantage: me, I think." Tone playfully arch, she ticks her gaze toward the other two, with a small nod for Geoff and a wink for Sarita. "Good thing the doc is here. Handy with wounded pride, doc?"

"Courtois," Gage gives Geoff a nod of both greeting and acknowledgement, eyeing the other marine's sack with interest, especially when he hears a 'clink'. "Surprise bag. I approve." He eyes Sarita at her approach, not so much interested in the fashion though -- gaze flickering towards her bag with a sudden grin. It's Ines' challenging words that has him glancing back to her, brows lifting as a smile tugs at his lips. "Seriously? I know you viper jocks are crazy, but..." he spreads his hands, like surely he gets to drive. There's even a fond brush of fingers against the frame of the red car, ending on the hood as he leans into the side of the car. "Who gets the pretty lady?" he asks, patting the hood of the red car.

Geoff is already digging out a cigarette and putting it between his lips, but he nods at Ines. "Hey," he says. "Can I come?" Presumably he's asking because he doesn't know Ines well. He upnods Gage, too. "Just enough to share," he says.

"In my experience," Sarita offers in that strangely posh Canceron accent of hers, "the best cure for wounded pride is to get drunk." As if to punctuate the point, she shifts her cooler bag to her shoulder and unzips it so as to produce a bottle. She does this in just such a way so that she knows Gage can see the label. It's a Tauran beer. Twist-off lid thankfully to prevent any need to fumble for an opener as she opens and takes a drink. "I," she punctuates that sip, "will not be driving." In case it need be said.

"Drunk is definitely the plan, once we get where we're going."
The look Ines gives Gage after that last question of his is the distilled essence of: quoi? "Me, of course. You can copilot...or compete." Her expression turns sly. "Depending, I suppose, on whether you feel brave...or lucky." It takes immense effort of will not to break into a laugh, even for Ines: trash talk seems easy for her, but it just doesn't sound especially slick or badass. It's the Leonese accent; it just doesn't carry a threat well.
Her amusement does carry over into her tone as she finally slides from the hood of the car to step forward and offer Geoff a handshake. "Ines Correa. The more the merrier, hm?" She slides her other hand into her pocket, and retrieves a single key, dangling from the rental agency's plastic tab. Held up, it winks in the light, waiting to be taken. "So?"

Pulling sunglasses down from atop his head, Gage settles them in place, still leaning against the red car in an attempt at a possessive gesture. His brows go upwards as Sarita shares the origin of her beer. "If you're trying to bribe me Hargrave," just for a change, "I aint fancy, but I appreciate the effort nonetheless." He snorts at Ines' words, pushing away from the car and taking a couple of strides over to make a grab for the keys. "Compete, of course. What're the stakes?" he asks. Because clearly it's not so much fun without stakes.

Geoff looks over to Sarita. "I like your top," he says. "You remember me?" He goes to shake the hand Ines is offering. "Geoff Courtois. Thanks."

"Rounds today were a bitch. Would you believe they wouldn't let me sit in the back with an ice pack over my eyes?" Sarita manages a smile, even as she nods at Geoff and offers a: "Thank you" to his compliment. She looks between the cars and finally points to the black one. "The red will clash." With her outfit, that is. That shade of red plus the wine hues of her top and skirt? Oh no. She has to ride in the black one and that's where she heads, popping open the passenger door to lean in and set her bag down. "As for a bribe, Tomak, no. But you made your thoughts on beer quite clear and I was already on the hunt for a few things today. I figured Tauran beer wasn't too much to add to my list." She straightens, leaning against the car door as she takes another swig. The bottle is drawn back to study it for a moment. "Not bad."

With a tch, Ines retracts the offered key just before it's taken, and after a beat of consideration narrows her eyes. "The red ones don't really go faster, Tomak, but since you seem so attached..." She dips her hand into her other pocket, tosses the other set of keys up into the air with full faith they'll be caught. "Don't say I never did anything nice for you."
Which leaves her with the black car. Of course, they're otherwise identical, all predatory lines and curves. "The back seat is really more like a token effort, but I won't be offended if everyone chooses to ride with 'im." Particularly Sarita. That outfit is far too nice to be jostled excessively.

With a grin to the doctor, Gage says, "I'm surprised you even remember, Hargrave." But he's certainly not apt to complain, even if her stated preference for one car over the other gets a sidelong look. Who is he to judge -- since he seems so attached to the red one? "Pretty sure they do, Correa," he corrects the viper pilot, with a bright grin. "I guess we'll find out soon enough. Last in buys the loser the best beers in the colony." Which of course, in Gage's case, is Tauron beer. Taking the keys, he flicks them around a finger, darting a glance at Geoff, "What do you say, Courtois? Up for thrashing the ladies?"

"I'm all for a little ride in a hot red number, Tomak," Geoff replies, moving towards the red vehicle. "Hope you drive fast and frakkin' fun." The end of his cigarette bobs while he talks around it.

"Boys always like red cars," Sarita offers to Ines, unbothered by the switch up in drivers. She was always going to ride in the black car. It called to her, though not in the same siren's song the red one had on Gage. "They can't help themselves" She smirks, faintly, before offering (in poor, beginner's Leonese:) <<They are weak.>> She takes another swig of the Tauran beer, waggling the bottle towards Gage as if a reminder of what he's missing out on before she drops into the passenger seat of the black car to prepare for a bit of boys-vs-girls. Or marines vs... well, not-marines, since she's medical and Ines is air wing.

Ines turns her back on the boys, and makes her way to the driver's side of the black vehicle, flicking Sarita an amused look over the top of the car and then glancing over her shoulder once. "I would have felt badly, disappointing him twice in one day." Sliding into the seat and tugging the door closed, she arches one brow and studies Sarita sidelong, as ever buoyant to hear a little scrap of her native language. <<Sometimes,>> she agrees, twisting the key. The engine turns over with a deep-throated rumble that vibrates through the chassis, and the feel of that is enough to leave Ines looking almost catlike, smile cheshire. <<At least he knows what he likes?>>
Seatbelt: yes. Click. She glances to ensure Sarita does the same, and eyes the open bottle, the lovely outfit. Idly, as she adjusts the rear-view mirror: "Is that dry-clean only?"

"Only if you give me one of those to complete the picture," Gage says, nodding towards Geoff's cigarette. Still, he talks a confident game, sliding into the red car, turning the ignition, and immediately gunning the engine, giving a grunt of approval at the satisfying thrum that reverberates around them. Sarita's attempt at a tease earns a mature blowing-of-kiss, as he revs the engine again, glancing towards Ines as he rolls down the window. "You know -- I can't help but feel you have an advantage, since you know where we're going, and I don't."

Geoff gets another cigarette out and passes it Gage's way as he hops into the seat, settling the booze between his feet. He winks at the non-marines in the black car.

The blown kiss by Gage earns him a bit of a scoff. "Could have had the real thing!" As she buckles in, she asks of Ines: "He likes... something?" Sarita casts Ines an apologetic look. "I'm afraid my Leonese is not very good. It was an elective back in secondary and I've only recently begun picking it up again." She's braced her cooler bag between her legs and holds her beer securely, rolling down her window as she settles her elbow against the door. "Not dry-clean, no."

A notice posted near the temporary bunk rooms on this gloriously beautiful day reads, FREE RENTAL CAR, DESTINATION PICNIC, FIRST-COME-FIRST-SERVE. BYOB.
The results of that posted notice are presently preparing for what is bound to be a swift, dust-cloud departure near the security checkpoint: one red car, one black, both aggressively powerful if the threnody of the engines is anything by which to judge. Gage and Geoff occupy the red one; Ines and Sarita, the black.
"Ai, please," Ines says, answering Gage without looking that way, because she's adjusting her side mirrors and then her seat. "You don't give me enough credit. It's in the GPS, of course. Access roads most of the way, then a shorter pass through the city, and out again to access roads until you hit the orchard. Not, I hope, literally."
She glances at the other car, and then at Sarita. She wasn't looking, but she did notice that little exchange, and it's with some wryness she regards her passenger. "Something, yes. I think so."

Strangely enough, Gage takes the cigarette from Geoff with a nod, and just tucks it behind his ear. Saving it for later when he really needs it, maybe. He gives another rev of the engine of the red car in challenge to the black car. He's half leaning out the window, sunglasses covering his eyes, though there's amusement in his voice when he calls back to Ines, "I guess you can just follow my dust instead?" Trash-talking A+. "Count it down, Correa!" He withdraws back into the car, commenting to Geoff, "Okay, navigator. We gotta trounce them, for... honor. And to prove red cars really do go faster."

Geoff doesn't object. He eyes the GPS. "The honor of red cars," he mumbles in reply, dragging on the cigarette and exhaling a cloud of smoke.

Irene was not informed of this! A picnic race? Beer? She might have been there and ready to go at the appointed hour had she known. Instead, she's not. Well, she's isn't, exactly. She arrives at the security checkpoint from off base, pulling up in a sporty silver coupe driven by a handsome young man about her age with dark hair and stylish Caprican clothing. He looks very expensive. The window rolls down on the driver's side and she clambers over to peer out that window at the red and black cars revving at the impromptu starting line. She recognizes people! There's some waving and smiling. "Where are you going?" She mouths over the din of all the engine rumblings.

As the car rumbles to life and feels as if ready to leap at the line of its own accord, Sarita lifts the bottle to drain what's left lest she end up spilling it once they hit the road. It takes a few long seconds and she eyes Ines in confusion sidelong as she does so. The 'explanation' does not help her rudimentary understanding of Leonese at all. Not that it was meant to. The bottle is tucked into the bag with whatever other surprises it holds. "Alright. Let's get this party on the road."

Ines is sliding her sunglasses off of the top of her head and over her eyes when the taunt arrives from the other car, and she rolls her head over that way on a tilted angle. The smirk suffers only a little for the way mirrored lenses conceal her gaze.
Count it down, Correa!
That gets another catlike smile, and to ensure she's heard over the rumble of engines, she raises her voice, hand held out of the window, fingers up to mirror the Tauron numbers she shouts: <<Three! Two! -- >>
'One' never comes, because suddenly, Irene. Ines throws the shifter back into park and leans, pulling herself up and into a seated position on the window sil of her door so that she can yell over the top of the car toward the silver car, the blonde in it, and the -- who the hell is that? "Penrose Orchard, far side of the city! We'll see you there?"

Maybe Gage doesn't see Irene waving. Or, more likely, he does see her, and sees the probably-Caprican man she's with, given there's an abortive jerk of the red car forward simultaneous with the slamming of brakes. <<Definitely got to smoke that Caprican goat-fukker>>, he lapses briefly into Tauron, unaware he's doing so -- or maybe not, given who he's in the car with. Maybe he just inferred the abortive 'one' from Ines. Maybe he's totally and shamelessly cheating. Either way, the red car leaps forward with a growling of the engine, Gage flooring it down the street and away from the checkpoint.

Irene makes an oh-I-got-it sort of face before tucking herself back into the car and into her seat proper, leaving the handsome driver looking out at them from behind a pair of dark sunglasses. His suit is amazing, and his persona oozes cool as he lifts a hand and a single finger to request a moment of their time. The pair briefly confer, the blonde explaining the situation with her lips practically brushing his ear. There's a slow smile from him, then he reaches out the window and makes a rolling gesture to suggest he'll turn the car around and join the fun. With that, the coupe surges forward, brakes and does a U-turn to bring it back to the line facing the correct direction. Of course, nothing's stopping the others from getting a headstart during that.

"Uhhh..." Geoff replies to this spurt of an unknown language while the car jumps forward. He looks out the window, and obviously has no idea what is going on.

When the car lurches a bit as they don't surge forward on one, but rather go into park with Irene's arrival, Sarita's hand finds the dashboard. She lets out an insulted scoff as Gage's red sports car does race away. "Damn his eyes!" She looks to Ines, leaning out the window as he is. "Are you going to let him get away with that?!" aka stop jabbering and make up the lost time!

Ines ought to look indignant about that head start. She does make an appropriately scandalized sound, though there's no way the men in the red car could possibly hear it.
When she disappears back into the car, though, she's wearing a dark little smile of satisfaction. Lightning quick the seatbelt is on again, and where an amateur might have floored it and wasted precious seconds spinning out the tires, she shifts into first and gives it just enough to launch. Just enough to ensure the stomachs of everyone inside are firmly pressed back into their spines. No sign of stopping: that car is doing the legal limit in four seconds.
"Are you kidding? I love that they cheated," she tells Sarita with brilliant enthusiasm as her window rolls up. "Now we can cheat, too, and I don't have to feel bad. Hey, GPS, find a faster route."
'Recalculating.'

The navigator not having an idea what's going on is probably not a good thing. "Which way?!" Gage yells, only able to spare the briefest of glances at the GPS. He's busy alternately glancing in his rear view mirror -- with a grin, as he spots the black car -- and the street ahead. Until he gets told otherwise, he's going dead straight, which might mean he misses the first turn.

The silver coupe, all shiny and streamlined slides into the black car's wake, and there it stays a length behind. Somehow, despite being an inanimate object and all, it seems impatient. Like it really wants to overtake and speed away, but the driver is being too much of a gentleman. That or he's biding his time. Irene just looks like she's having a fun enough time for her part, arm out her window, hand out flat with her fingers pointing ahead so she can surf the air rushing by. If anyone bothers to look back, she'll wave at them, but the driver won't.

"Left," Geoff says quickly. Then he leans forward to squint at the address on the GPS. "Oh frak, I've been there! I got high there one time with these guys...take that right up there, it's faster."

"Oh, thank Ares. I cannot lose to Tomak a second time." Sarita is not against cheating, oh no. It is necessary. She has taunted Gage and he beat her at pool. She doesn't want to have to buy him more beers. The woman looks briefly -- briefly -- ill at that press of force against her stomach when Ines hits the gas. The fresh malt and hops in her stomach does not wholly agree with the maneuver. All she does, however, is reach for the button for the window to roll it up. "I think," she notes, once they're on the road, "we need some music." The Viper pilot knows where they're going; she'll lean over to fuss with the radio to find something appropriately loud.

'Faster route found. Accept?'
They're moving fast enough that Ines can only chance the briefest of glances at the GPS -- not really enough to tell her whether or not this is a good idea, but... "Accept, yes! Accept!"
'Knows where they're going' might be a little strong as an assessment. ...Okay, very strong. Actually, completely wrong, at least once the route changes. But hey, viper pilots have quick reflexes, right?
It doesn't tell her to turn right where the red car does, which immediately narrows her eyes in suspicion, but it has her peeling off at the next turn on a street that looks poised to shunt them directly into the busy heart of Caprica City. "We're not going to lose," she promises, and shifts through gears until the world becomes a silvery blur of color and light beyond the tinted windows.

There's a curse... or two or three, most of them in Tauran, from the other marine. Gage nearly misses the right, slamming hard on the brakes and turning into the slide that follows. Whatever beer he's set on the floor gets sloshed around as, tires squealing and rear sliding out, he keeps a tight edge of control, narrowly making the turn. "Props for misspent youth," he approves, once he's exhaled a breath, shifting through gears as he guns it forward again. "Where next?" It's the ultimate battle, now -- human vs machine. Gage's squarely on the side of human, not the least of which because he has no choice.

Geoff puts one hand against the door, but grins around the cigarette. "Uhhhh, you're gonna go up to that fork and bear left," he says, flicking ash out of his window.

How many routes are there to this picnic spot anyway? There must be a third, since Irene's ride recedes in Ines and Sarita's rearview mirror as the driver brakes and then turns off onto another street. He is probably local, so maybe he knows yet another shortcut! There's one last shot of Iris, shoulders bouncing to whatever music they've got on, hand no longer air surfing but gripping the door frame up high to keep from flying out of her seat as the car takes that sharp corner. Wheeeeeee!

"Don't make me regret picking Black Beauty." Yes, Sarita has named the car. Don't tell the boys. She finally finds a station playing dance music with a good, solid thrumming bass beat that works as a good counterpoint to the rumble of the engine. They may have to shout over it and there's a chance Ines will miss directions from the GPS... But she's a pilot. She's used to a dozen things on heads up displays, right? That's that Vipers have to deal with. "I think there's a left turn coming up!" And Sari can try shouting suggestions to her. Helpfully. Sort of.

Technically, there is an entire city full of roads that present alternate routes, as the Orchard sits on the far side of the city from the Air Base. Not all routes are created equal, however. Most of them are going to be -- well. Like the one the GPS decides to dump Ines and Sarita onto.
Here's what that ride is not going to be: smooth. They enter the populated streets of the city on a serpentine route that winds to avoid lights and signs, long straightaways abandoned, replaced with stretches mere blocks long, intercut with sudden sharp turns. Ines can get the car up to astonishing speeds in mere seconds, but every time they have to turn she brakes down to nearly nothing at all, cranking the wheel and pivoting into hairpins before accelerating again -- like rally racing, really.
Ines nails the left-hand turn, and the car leaps forward again with minimal squealing of tires. If anything, the driving music her copilot selects just makes her drive more aggressively.

'Bear left' is easy enough; the instructions barely earn a grunt from Gage and only a brief down shift of of the stick for the diverge. "Can't see 'em. Hope you remember this place as well as you say. Don't think my ego can take getting beat by a viper jock," he tells Geoff with a tight-lipped grin. "Come on baby," the Tauron mutters. He's presumably talking to the car and not his fellow marine. There's some traffic, but he passes them without any theatrics, continually glancing in his rear-view mirror for any sign of the other two cars. "How far?"

"Frak 'em," Geoff says, glancing at Gage. "We're as good as them. Look, we're not far, but there's a hard dogleg coming up to the right, and if you frak it up we'll end up in a ditch. "Get frakkin' ready, it's um...shit, there used to be a tree but I don't--there, there!" He points, and there's not much time to make the turn.

<FS3> Gage rolls Reflexes: Failure (5 3 2 1 1 1)

"Brend, are we going the right way?" Irene wonders, since she has completely lost sight of both vehicles, black and red. Are they ahead, are they behind? She has no idea. Not that she sounds overly concerned, more curious as she watches the buildings flash by and they're soon tearing through quieter, more residential streets where there's not much in the way of traffic. He nods, completely confident and thus convincing. There's a bit of a chuckle out of him too, "We drove out this way for the wrap party, remember? I had that yellow racer. I wish I hadn't wrecked it." Wait what? Double take.

The plan had been to sit back and drink while the driver took care of getting them to the destination. Sarita won't be able to do any of that, oh no. The road has too many twists and turns and each sharp turn Ines takes makes her stomach clench in a way that would not be at all conducive to drinking. So she just holds on tight and shouts out turns whenever it seems like the Leonese pilot might be about to miss one. Maybe she should have forgone fashion conscious decisions and ridden in the red car. "Uh- I think we're coming up on a round-about." She sounds nervous about that. That could mean city center. Or leading them out of a city. Or getting Irene hopelessly lost.

It's almost like Ines is deliberately slinging the Canceron around as much as possible. She isn't, of course, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to make that assumption. Her heart races in her chest, blood a volatile cocktail of adrenaline and other things besides as they narrowly cut corners through the concrete jungle.
"Okay! Which exit?"
And then she sees the roundabout coming up, and fast. "Which turn which turn which turn doc, DOC WHICH EXIT DO I TAKE -- ?"

"Aint gonna frak it up," Gage growls. Famous last words, apparently. Murphy clearly hates a braggart, because Geoff's sudden change of directions earns a squealing of tires as the Tauron slams on the brakes, but it's too late by the time he turns the wheel. The car slides sideward, but this time the marine isn't quick enough to hold it. With a screeching protest, the back of the beautiful red car slides off into a ditch with a solid thump. "FRAK!" Is that steam? Smoke? Definitely something non-refundable is happening to the hire car right about now.

Geoff also yells out "Frak!" He looks over his shoulder. "Look, I don't know dick about cars, but we gotta at least try and push it back up on the road," he says, popping his door open and flicking his cigarette into the road.

Irene and her friend are, somewhere. They're definitely not in a ditch, and making progress in a rather leisurely way, discounting a bit of speeding. Compared to how the black and red cars are being driven, the silver coupe is the turtle in this race. At this rate they might win by default. The ride is so smooth, in fact, she doesn't have to sit their white knuckled and jaw clenched. She can, infact, just keep talking normally while checking herself out in the side mirror. "At least your driving's improved, even if your acting hasn't." He pffs at her for that and accelerates hard out of an intersection more to bother her than actually make time.

Oh, Lords. Sarita isn't prepared for this. She stares at the GPS as she tries to translate it. "The... second right after the-" but she's not quite shouting as she tries to make sense of the display and she's reading it out slow. They might things on the first pass. And then she figures it out and points, arm across some of Ines' field of vision: "There!"

<FS3> Ines rolls Reflexes+2: Failure (5 5 4 3 3 2)

There! Sarita says, and points.

Points across Ines' field of vision.

"WHAT!" Wide eyes the color of sea glass stare at the lovely, shimmering textile of Sarita's Canceron top. Mulberry, and gold. "DOC I CAN'T S -- "

-- ee?

Ines stomps the brakes and cranks the wheel in the direction she thinks Sarita was pointing -- this might be a mistake -- and the black car screams in protest as it whips around into a full spin, slinging its passengers mercilessly into the gyroscope of it all. It's at the point that she sees someone's hanging-out-to-dry bedsheet that Ines knows Mistakes Were Made, and shortly after that the sheet gets snarled on the car and drapes them in comparative darkness, leading to a high, swift torrent of Leonese that would, if it didn't sound so girlishly aghast, be enough to blister the paint on the vehicle.
Those are some very, very bad words.

Meanwhile, over in ditch-town, things are not looking much better for the boys. Gage turns the key. Tick. Tick. Tick. That's not a noise a healthy engine makes. "Come the frak on!" he curses, and finally the engine turns over. With an exhale of relief, he revs the engine. The car rocks for a moment, but quickly falls back into the ditch, wheels spinning against nothing. With an exhale, he nods at Geoff, and, after putting the stick into neutral gear, steps out of the car. He reaches for his ear, grimacing. The cigarette he stowed there is gone, probably somewhere on the floor. Frak. Holding the driver's door open, he leans into the frame, bracing his weight against it. "One... two... three!" He starts pushing.

Geoff gets his back against the rear bumper of the car and pushes hard with his legs. "Motherfrakker," he mutters under his breath. "C'mon, c'mon."

"I seem to recall you rather liking my acting." Brend, the driver says, lifting his eyebrows above his sunglasses for a brief moment. Self-deprecatingly, he continues, his voice a smooth and pleasant thing, "But obviously my performances always paled to yours. I just lacked the range you have, with all the crying and the crying, and the other movie you did with the.. crying." In return, Irene threatens to swat him, but she doesn't because that would be so dangerous. They could crash into a ditch or through a clothesline or something! Thankfully, she restrains herself from such distracting violence and the pair continue on, having a pleasant little tour that's now brought them through to the outskirts of the city and into more country, closing rapidly on the picnic spot. "We're going to be last, and I'm going to cry." She glumly announces, but her sadness is actually quite fleeting. The song changes and it's one she likes.

She was going to visit a yoga studio this afternoon, before Gage told her about the picnic. She could be relaxing in some totally-not-but-definitely-kinda-racist Caprican appropriation of her colony's tradition right about now. Instead, Sarita has been swallowed by a bedsheet within a sports car. She lets out a brief shriek of surprise when everything goes dark, clutching at the sides of the seat. She squinches her eyes shut and waits for what she assumes is going to be a very painful impact.

The black car, having spun like a glossy tornado through some poor person's backyard, winds up on the far street, miraculously having avoided the houses themselves. Facing the wrong way, granted, but idling, draped in laundry. Ines paws at the radio in the shadows cast by the sheet on the windshield, and in the comparative silence her elevated breathing is, for some moments, all the sound that there is.
She draws a deeper one after that, twists at the waist in her seat, and reaches out to clasp Sarita's shoulder with one hand. The look on her face is solemn, eyes weighted with grave emotion. And what she says to her terrified, doing-the-exact-opposite-of-what-yoga-is passenger, is this:

"Sarita, there's only one thing we can do now."
Pause. "Lie."

Muscles bulging, Gage strains against the weight of the car plus gravity. It might even be a good ad for CF, a pair of marines rescuing some damsel who put the car into the ditch... except for the fact that Gage is the damsel, and he's more pissed than distressed. Grr. Arrrrr. Ahhh! Those are the noises he makes both when benching above his weight and trying to push a car out of a ditch. Finally, the car inches forward, the rear wheels finally gripping pavement. Success! The car continues to roll forward, oh-so-slowly, and Gage manages to hop in and tap the brakes before it gets away from them. Panting, he brushes a hand across his forehead. "Frak. Think I pulled something." And then he's casting about for that lost cigarette, because priorities. Only once he's found the cigarette and lit up, does he look Geoff's way and say, blandly, "Man, there's only one thing for us to do."
"Lie."

Geoff slips a little when the car moves forward, but he just goes down on a knee, and quickly scrambles up to jump in again. He looks to Gage, nods solemnly, shuts the door, lights his own cigarette, and reaches for one of the bottles of booze in his bag. Yep.

The devilishly handsome Caprican, looks aside at his passenger, saying in properly dramatic fashion, "You mustn't cry, Irene. We've arrived." And lo, they have. The silver coupe rolls to an idling stop, leaving the blonde to wonder just where everyone else is. "Is this the right place?" A brow rises, but her driver turns his hand over palm up and points it casually towards the sign that reads PENROSE ORCHARD. "Uh." She offers, truly confused. They weren't going /that/ fast, and her friends were well ahead. "Maybe they meant the other Penrose Orchard?"

No bang? No crunch? She's alive? And not bleeding? Sarita opens an eye slowly and looks over to Ines. Nope, the pilot is alive and whole as well. The Canceron surgeon lets out a slow breath of relief. "I can lie," she says, finally, leaning to grab a beer out of the bag. She opens it and begins to drink, deeply. "But let's just get to the orchard, yes? I need to be very, very drunk and very soon." And by the way she's drinking that beer, she's already well on her way.

It takes Ines some moments to clear the windshield. She pulls a t-shirt out of the seam between Sarita's side-view mirror, too, and sneaks back toward the backyard in a furtive, sheepish, knees-bent posture to tuck those things underneath one of the hedges. She's an adrenaline junkie, not a thief. Then, smiling -- nobody's called the police! The car is intact! Everything turned out better than expected! -- she trots back to the driver's side and, getting settled in again, flashes the doc a smile. "Nice and easy the rest of the way," she promises. And off they go.
She fails to notice the brassiere tangled around the exhaust. At least there's no risk anyone will mistake it for hers, or Sarita's: it's huge. Watermelon-slingshot huge.

Gage exhales some smoke, puts the car into gear, and takes the turn he missed earlier -- ten times more sedately than before. He guns it on the straight, though, thinking furiously as he glances at Geoff to guage his reaction to his proposed lie. "Some girl put her car into the ditch. We had to hook it up to ours and pull her out, and then the car rolled into ours and..." maybe that'll explain the smoke. It's mostly not smoking anymore, anyway. Only a teeny bit. He leans forward, squinting. "Is that Irene's car? Shit!" He accelerates, but they're way ahead -- the red car pulling in well after the silver coupe.

"Frak," Geoff says, narrowing his eyes at the third car. "Yeah, all right. Late cuz we're such frakkin' good guys." He takes a pull from the liquor bottle.

Convinced that this is, in fact, the Penrose Orchard she was looking for, Irene pops her door open and swings her legs out. She's met by Brend, already out, around the car and ready with a hand that she gratefully accepts. Up she goes, smiling and steadying herself with his arm. She links hers through his and the pair turn, both watching the red car pull up. "They must have been lost." Brend conjectures, but neither of them seem entirely convinced. Maybe it's the teeny bit of smoke curling up from under the hood. Her shoulders bounce in an uncertain sort of shrug, but since they apparently won, she doesn't cry. Instead she waves to the two marines.

"So," Sarita says, pausing on her way through beer number two. "what's the lie?" She seems relieved to be able to catch her breath, allowing the adrenaline to run its course and ebb its way out of her system. She's no pilot nor marine, used to such things. "Because there is no way we are winning. Tomak is going to lord this over us. We are going to have to buy him beer." She lifts the bottle for another long drink, draining the rest of it. "Good thing I bought two six-packs." Because chances are she'll need most of one herself.

Penrose Orchard is a lovely, pastoral place -- a little jewel of a place, sprawling and shady. In this kind of good weather, it's downright magical. 'Little woodland creatures flocking to a singing princess' amounts of picturesque.
There's a little gift shop that sells products made from what's cultivated there -- apple products, mainly, and honey -- but the draw for the arriving carpool has to be the table set up in a little clearing, atop which are cold, sweating, tapped kegs of hard cider.
"I'll pay for it," Ines says, of the beer owed. "It was my fault, after all." As they pull up the drive, she glances at the woman beside her. "The GPS took us the wrong way. Unreliable Caprican satellites! The Tauran can't argue that, right?"

"The motherfrakking best," Gage agrees, vehemently. He glances sidelong at Geoff, looking like he really wants to steal that beer from his fellow marine. Not much further though -- he takes the turn into the orchard with a miles less aggressiveness than last time, but there's still a tiny slide. He pulls up to the left of the coupe, smoking furiously before he gets out, crushing the cigarette underfoot. He gives Irene a nod, her friend a somewhat less enthusiastic one, then ducks briefly back into the car to grab for one of his bottles. "That was a fun drive," he says, oh-so-casually, as he straightens. "Rescuing a Caprican... pretty good for a day out, huh?" with a grin at Geoff. Apparently he's going for the bluff. Surely no one who knows him believes he's rescuing a Caprican. He glances back as he spots the black car approaching, a hint of satisfaction in his gaze. At least they beat the girls.

"Frak," Geoff says as they drive up. "'S a lot prettier in the daytime." He pops open his door as soon as they stop and grabs the bag by his feet, pulling it out and setting it on the hood of the car. He looks at Irene and the man with her. "Boyfriend or brother?" he wonders.

It probably wouldn't be correct to call Irene's companion a dandy, exactly, he's just extremely Caprican, and an actor. He's got a solid set to his jaw though, and hard, sad eyes that he reveals only after removing his sunglasses, folding the arms and tucking them into his coat pocket. He nods back to Gage afterwards with an equal amount of reserve. He's a tall man too, but not especially broad, definitely an officer type if his posture is anything to go by, and it is. The introduction Irene makes settles it. "I was expecting you two to be swinging by your knees from the apple trees already. Oh, Brend, this is Tomak and Courtois. Guys, this is my friend Lieutenant Paris Brend, 5th Caprican Armored Division. We were in Fortress of the Heart together, he was my boyfriend!" She makes playful eyes at him, likely in an attempt to embarrass, but it doesn't work. He just offers his free hand, which happens to be tightly bandaged, all but the fingers and thumb. "Hi there."

"It's not the paying for it I'm worried about." 'Doc, how are you at healing wounded pride.' She never expected it'd be her own! Sarita leans forward to squint through the windshield as they finally approach their destination. As expected, everyone else beat them, but: "What happened to the back end of their car? Is it... smoking?" She finishes off her beer before looking sidelong at Ines, nodding. "Unreliable Caprican satellites." She can go with that story. It's suitable. The empty bottle is shoved in the bag, which she zips up before flipping down the visor to check herself in the mirror. At least she can look decent when they roll up.

Ines slides her glasses off of her face, perches them atop her head again. "Ah, doc. If you hadn't lost your bet yesterday, you would not have been so soundly kissed, hm?" She sends the woman a knowing, glittering look and pops open her own door, turning the car off. Her limbs still tingle with the vibration of the engine. "That would have been a fine reward for winning."
With one last look through the windshield at the other two cars, she draws a breath and girds herself for the inevitable mockery, sliding out into the sun, lashes narrowed against the glare.

Gage gives his fellow marine a brief, unreadable look. His beer's been tossed about and back, so he just taps it briefly, not opening it yet despite his probable wishes otherwise, eyeing Irene and Brend alike, a bit more of the latter. "Took a heroic diversion," is their story and he's sticking with it! Gage's hand is full, with a beer and all. It's probably why there's a brief pause at the offered hand from the Caprican officer. Bandaged, huh? His handshake is mostly even, just a tiny little squeeze there at the end. "Brend," is all he says. He keeps his glasses on -- it's still bright, as he eyes the occupants of the black car.

"Hi," Geoff says, taking the hand a little carefully since there are bandages there. "You look rich as frak," he says, which might be rude, but he follows it up with, "So I don't know if you drink rotgut. But I brought some. Got a couple beers left too." Plus the one in his hand. Which he drinks from, juggling the cigarette out of his mouth to do so.

When Brend gets his hand back he moves his fingers around to show they aren't crippled, so neither of the Marines have to feel bad about even the light squeezing. "I appreciate the offer, but I can't stay. This is my last day on pass and if I don't have dinner with my parents, they'll cut off my allowance. You'll get Irene back to base... safely, I trust." The mentioned Virgan almost rolls her eyes at him and his boorish, macho concern, but only gets as far as a sigh. "I'm sure they will, Brend. Come on, meet Kestrel and the doctor before you go." She starts dragging him that way, but he's sort of an immovable object. He goes when he wants to, and not a moment sooner. There's a long look at the black car from him before he does want to, and a quiet note, "Try to keep it out of the grass on the way back to base." He nods to the clump of grass and dirt still stuck to the undercarriage. There's a hint of a smile, but he's kinda dead serious.

"You know, I put Lindus on my list and then retracted him, admitting it was too easy. I told him just not to pick any Virgons in the crowd. He went easy on me." Sarita admits this, quietly, to Ines in the relative safety of their late, but not damaged car. Unless you count the much-too-large brassiere on the tailpipe. She unbuckles herself, squinting at the oher two cars before adjusting her sunglasses and hair one last time and opening the door. She slides out, trying for the glamorous look even if she looks a touch pale beneath her tanned skin. The cooler bag is retrieved and slung over her shoulder as she closes the door behind her, keeping her head held high as she makes her way with Ines towards the others.

"See? Maybe it won't be so bad, then." Ines means 'putting up with Gage, after losing again.' Her determined adherence to seeing silver linings is either endearing or obnoxious, depending on one's point of view.
She circles around the back of the black car to open the trunk, within which are stowed (and bungee-lashed; she's not an idiot) a very large picnic basket and an equally large cooler, both of which she seems committed to carrying. It means she misses the remark about the grass clump, and oblivious, offers Irene's escort a smile uncharacteristically shy, which means she's probably recognized him. "'Allo," she says, sing-song, and crinkles her nose for Irene. "Looks like I owe you drinks, Iris. Though being beaten by a Caprican in Caprica seems like a cheat!"

Geoff loses interest in talking to the other Caprican as soon as he mentions both not staying and getting an allowance. Instead he gets to drinking, upending his beer for a moment. "Magical as frak out here," he comments.

There's a snort from Gage at Geoff's bland observation, definitely amused. The look he gives Brend is not exactly welcoming, and the news that the Caprican officer has to depart isn't exactly met with disappointment. Instead, he moves towards Ines and Sarita. The best defense is a good offense. "What?" he frowns, "Is that" pointing to the item wrapped around the exhaust of the black car. Then: "Is that a bra?" he sounds more baffled than anything, understandably.

"Yay, drinks!" Irene doesn't know why she's owed them, exactly, but free is free. She'll figure that out later, after introductions, whirlwind ones, "Captain Hargrave, Lieutenant Correa, this is Lieutenant Brend, Caprican army. Old friend. Paris, these are brand new Timberwolves. Look, they're all nice and shiny." He offers his hand to both, bemused, especially after the bra on the tailpipe is discovered. There's a look he puts to the Virgan after that, a skeptical sort of thing, him obviously wondering what sort of crazy outfit she's joined. "As I was saying to Courtois and Tomak, I unfortunately can't stay. I'm in the final hours of a forty eight hour pass. I had to lose the top few layers of skin off my arm to earn it." Not that he's mad, he's just saying, it's precious so he's not trying to be rude when he starts to head back to the silver coupe. "A pleasure to meet you all though."

When the bra is pointed out, Sarita just gives a helpless shrug to Gage. "The GPS went screwy. Caprican satellites, you know? Can't trust the things." Rather than have to continue the ruse, she approaches the Tauran and opens the bag at her shoulder, pulling out a pair of the beers she's brought, offering him one and retaining one for herself. She's being introduced to Irene's officer friend, then, accepting his hand and tilting her head in a nod at his explanation. "Of course. Pleasure to meet you, Lieutenant Brend." There's a bit of strain in the doctor's own voice; likely due to the rush they made to arrive... well, late.

Is that a bra?
This spares Ines from having to figure out which of the things she's carrying she should put down in order to shake the hand she's being offered. She turns at the waist to look back, then returns her attention to Gage and just...shrugs? "Probably? Someone must have had an even better night last night than we did."
And then, because the picnic basket and cooler are both steadfastly refusing to get any lighter, she adjusts her grip on both handles and sidesteps the gathering, making her way toward those set-up tables. Paid for, of course, like everything else this afternoon that wasn't brought by someone who decided to come.

Giving a grunt, Gage frowns a little. "Caprican satellites?" he shakes his head, clearly disbelieving. Glancing over his shoulder towards Geoff, he nods. The other marine's got the right idea. Sarita's offer is met with a lift of his own bottle of beer, in a genial, 'I'm covered' way. Belatedly, and somewhat grudgingly: "Congratulations, Harris." They didn't win, but on balance, they didn't lose either. When Ines starts carrying items towards the tables, he steps in, seeking to free one from her grip and carrying it, if she'll let him. "You did all this?" he asks, brow furrowed in surprise.

Irene doesn't let the Caprican officer and former co-star get away without a hug, and then kisses and another hug, until he's looking half tempted to plant his hand to her forehead and keep her at arm's length. Instead he gets into the car and the pair have a few words, in a friendly, private hush. There's a laugh and he passes her bag out to her since she'd obviously forgotten it. Then he's off, and she's waving after him until the flash silver coupe is nearly out of sight. She'll catch up with everyone else soon after, smiling to herself as she does. Dreamy!

When Gage turns down the beer, Sarita gives a one-armed shrug as she tucks it back in the bag. She opens her own, however, falling into step on the way to the tables. She doesn't offer to carry anything else; her bag is heavy enough. Once at those tables, however, she sets it down and starts unloading. From within, she reveals two six-packs of that Tauran beer. One complete and one down to three. A bag of samosas and a tray of other Canceron appetizers. "Took a while of asking around to find a little deli with these, but-" she unrolls the bag, pulling the samosas out. She takes a bite, looking quite pleased, "They're the real deal."

Ines hands off the cooler, when Gage offers. It's the heavier of the two, and she's not proud. The question arrives as a surprise. Not the question itself, but the tone of the question; that the question is itself surprised. "Ah?" Both brows up, grey-green eyes angled up along with them for one, two steps of time. "The people who own the orchard did it." By which she means 'setting up the tables,' obviously. She does know what he means, though, and eventually shrugs, turning her focus back to the nearing tables. "It's a nice day. I wanted to visit, but not alone. Soldiers like to eat; I knew someone would take the offer."
As they reach the table, she hoists the basket and sets it down, and is immediately distracted by Sarita's food. "Oooh, I love these." Once she has one in hand, she tips Irene a wry look. "I'm never going to get used to your famous friends."

It's obvious Gage came fairly unprepared, just with his beers and no actual food. It's probably for the best though, since everyone else has obviously outdone whatever he might be able to prepare. "Nice of you," he replies to Ines. Hard to tell if he means that in a suspicious way or not, his glasses still covering his eyes. He carries the cooler to the tables, setting it down. His curiosity getting the better of him, it doesn't take him long to nudge off the lid -- before Sarita's display of appetizers has him leaning over to snatch one for himself, too. Mumbling an appreciative word, he starts to open his beer, forgetting how shaken up it was. A bit of foam spilling out over the edge -- thankfully this time he's quick to hold it away from himself, grimacing.

Dreeeam, dream-dream-dream-dreaaam. Irene walks on a cloud into the orchard proper and doesn't stop until the viper pilot says something to her. It's a good thing too, or she might have gone over the table before she noticed it was even there. Her attention was everywhere but on the path ahead of her. "You should meet my famous family. I have a cousin that won the harvest fair pie eating contest three years in a row... It's nice here, a bit like home." She comments absently then has a seat, also quickly realizing that she's come to a picnic with nothing but whatever she has in her bag, which, probably isn't anything you'd generally serve at a picnic. "Um." Adapt, improvise, overcome! She goes through her stuff and comes up with biscuits, because she always, always has a package of those damn biscuits with her. She puts them on the table and smiles at everyone.

Moving to sit on the table, Sarita holds a samosa in one hand and beer in the other. Yes, on the table, not a bench. She's got her feet on the bench. She's opted for ankle boots. Her skirt drapes over her knees, slightly dampened and grass-stained at the hem now. She angles herself a bit from the sun, low on the horizon, taking in the others as they settle around. "So-" she lifts her voice to Irene. "The bet was that the loser buy the winner beer. It sounds like you won. What beer are we all getting you?" There's a look to Gage, with his beer and one of her appetizers. "I'm just relieved I didn't lose, for a second day in a row, to Tomak."

If he was hoping for a cooler full of alcohol, Gage will be roundly disappointed. 'BYOB' meant exactly that; she might have been willing to shell out for hard cider, but Ines had no intention of trying to get who-knew-how-many soldiers drunk. There are only fizzy drinks and bottles of water nestled in ice.
The picnic basket, which she flips open, has equally modest fare: sandwiches, fruit. It travels well, okay? She leaves it open to let people rifle through at leisure, and glances aside at the crinkle sound of biscuits on the tabletop. Her lips twitch, but she keeps the smile muted, covers it with a bite of the samosa in her hand. Whether the gesture is nice or not, she doesn't voice an opinion on. Nothing about the pie-eating, either. Just chewing, and a curious, expectant look at Irene concerning the beer.

Rubbing at his chin while he waits for the suds to subside, Gage finishes off the appetizer and muses, "Pretty sure I have a great-grand uncle who was famous once." But, presumably, not so much anymore since the Tauron doesn't even specify what this supposed relative was famous for. Finally, his beer is safe to drink and he takes a gulp. With his other hand, he's nudging the cooler's lid back into place, leaning on top of it. "Pretty sure you two did lose to us," he corrects Sarita, looking about for Geoff's backup. Damn. The other marine's wandered off, and he's playing it solo. "Besides, we had to stop and rescue a woman in a ditch. Her car was in the ditch," he self-corrects.

"Ooooh." Irene has to think, finger pressed to chin, head tilted and eyes sending a stare up through the fluttering canopy of leaves. "Well... It was a race, right? Brend drove all the way. He should get the beer. He deserves it. He dragged half a squad out of a burning AFV." There's a suggestion of a shrug before her eyes lower and she laughs softly at Gage. "It's not so great. People assume you're a jerk or worse." She then ponders the spread Ines has brought and the odd looking samosas. Those are new to her, clearly. "I wish I'd known you were having a picnic at the end. I feel terrible now. How about we forget the beer and call it even, if I have one of.. what are those? And maybe what's in there?"

"We did," Sarita admits to Gage, with a sort of suffering sigh. "So I'll buy you the beer of your choice as well if I must." She takes a swig of the one she has in hand. "Though I do have to ask." She tilts her head, studying the Tauran over the edge of her sunglasses. "Whatever happened to the back of your car?" When Irene mentions calling it even, the doctor just shrugs and leaves that to Ines to decide; it's her picnic. She does pick up a samosa, however, offering it to the Raptor pilot. "Canceron food. Very popular back home. Fried pastry around a filling of various vegetables. Potatoes, onions, peas... These have lamb in them as well. Slightly spicy." As for the tray, well, it's sort of a variety of things.

"We did not! We lost to -- Brend? Yes. We lost to Brend." Ines is quick to hop on that particular technicality. Which reminds her of another one, as she sits on the edge of the table: "And you got a head start." She points at the tall Marine with one index finger, the rest of them still keeping hold of the remaining half of her samosa.
The way she looks at Irene as she takes her next bite is very slightly sympathetic. Having witnessed that boorish advance from a stranger the evening prior, she can't quite summon up any envy for fame. She might have said something about that, too, if not for the thing about the car. She twists around, leans to look.
"What? What happened?"

"Wasn't the bet," Gage might be a stickler when he wins, but he's not going to press the point when he obviously lost. Especially with that awkward detour they had. He holds his hands up in defeat of Ines' point about him getting a head start. As for the car, "Huh? It's fine." He plays dumb, and being a marine at all, probably does a decent job of it. Irene's comment about fame has him glancing in her direction, expression somewhat obscured by his sunglasses. "So I've noticed," he says, blandly. "Daisy?" it has the lilt of a question, as he settles onto one of the benches sideways, one leg swinging under the table, allowing him to set the beer on the bench in front of him. "Might do okay in with us marines after all," he says to Ines.

Irene takes the offered samosa and starts at one corner, nibbling in earnest. She's game! She might not attack it like her cousin would a blueberry pie, but he's got a peculiar gift, that boy. "He'd been here before. Home turf advantage. If you hadn't stopped to rescue someone you would have won, you were almost right behind us." She also notes, trying to maybe make people not feel so bad about having lost, even though she hadn't really know they were racing. Maybe because of what happened last night she's dressed a bit more conservatively, wide legged pants, wedge sandals and a long haltar top. She stretches her legs out and crosses her ankles, getting comfy. "Daisy. That was my character's name. I was on that show, the Road to Sky, for five seasons... and nobody in the Timberwolves has admitted to having watched it." Which she finds kinda funny. "This is nice." The samosa, she means.

As Gage settles on the bench beside her, Sarita leans a bit to bump her knee to his side. "Just enjoy the Tauran beers I brought," she advises, nodding towards the two six-packs (well, six-pack-and-a-half now) on the table. "They're actually rather good, I will admit." She finishes off her own samosa, lifting the bottle she has open to take a swig. "Mmm," she begins, as she swallows, pointing with beer to Irene. "Of course it's good. Canceron food is wonderful. The other colonies just can't handle our spices is all. Your tongues are weak."

It's fine? Ines gets a knit-browed look of suspicion, but having wisely ticked the boxes on the rental forms for 'as much insurance as possible,' she can probably safely let it go.
"Road to Sky," she murmurs, eyes going distant. Attempting to remember. She comes up blank, shakes her head slowly. "I probably did watch it, but I've forgotten a lot of things like that."
Might do okay in with us marines after all.
Gage gets himself a sharp look from Ines, as though maybe she was expecting to look at him and find he was joking, poking fun. When that doesn't turn out to be true, she starts to smile and then crushes it out by pressing her lips together tightly, sliding off of the table to round it and get herself a glass of hard cider, because that sentiment means just a little bit more to the brand-new, junior-grade Timber Wolf than she'd like anybody to know. "Of course I will," she says breezily, her clever ruse in place. And she laughs outright at Sarita's accusation. "That is not a complaint I've ever gotten."
Realizing, a beat too late. "...Because Leonese have sharp tongues, it's a -- you know, the whole...hot-and-cold...passionate..." Flustered. "It's a stereotype."

"Aint ever seen that." Mark Gage down as someone who won't admit to seeing a Virgon family drama, but in his case, there's a semi-decent chance he actually hasn't. He takes a swing from his bottle, giving a nod towards Irene. Yes. Rescuing. That's totally why he was late. "Might have to save them for later," he answers Sarita, "Unless you're volunteering to drive back? Pretty sure Courtois isn't." The marine doesn't seem to be joking, not even a twitch of lip as he glances Ines' way, though his gaze is hidden behind those sunglasses still. It's not until her latter, flustered self-correction that he chuckles. "Haven't met a hot food I couldn't handle," he puts in, all bravado.

"I can't really defend Virgan food..." Irene quietly admits, so she doesn't. There's a slow half grin at Ines and Gage as both sort of prove her point. Nobody ever saw that show, except for handsy drunks on Caprica, of all places. "See? Well, that's why random people will randomly start calling me Daisy." Mystery solved, "Thanks though, for last night. All of you. I don't know why I froze. I guess I didn't want to make a big deal out of it and then it would have been a thing and, I'm sorry I didn't help punch them." Slow nod.

"I think I caught a few episodes once," Sarita says of the show, taking another swig of her beer, "but it wasn't for me. Too much crying." And likely not recalling just whose character that was as she says it. When Gage mentions that he hasn't met a hot food he couldn't handle, the corners of her lips turn up in a wry smirk as she leans for the cooler bag. "Is that so?" And out comes another container. She opens this one, holding it out towards him. The snack inside has been shaped into little fried disks. There's a sauce container inside, too. "More fried food, chickpeas and a lot of spices. They're spicy alone, but the sauce is made from one of the spiciest peppers I know." Beat. "If the vada itself isn't enough for you, Tomak." She's challenging him, that's clear enough. For Irene's apology, she shrugs in the woman's direction. "They had no right to grab at you like that, recognition or no."

<FS3> Gage rolls Composure: Good Success (8 6 6 4 4 4 4)

Before Sarita even pulls out that second container, Ines is tching at that bold claim. She's never been to Canceron, but all of that colonialism ra-ra empire business that Leonis got up to in the past meant picking up things they liked from places they stole, and she's not unfamiliar with the cuisine. "Mistakes are going to be made."
And then Irene apologizes, of all things. Ines pauses mid-sip from her glass. "Don't be sorry. You shouldn't have had to punch anyone. It was disgusting." She winds her way back around to where she was sitting before, boosting back up to sit on the table's edge. "Besides, men like that, sometimes they only hear something if it's said by another man. Hm? Sad and true. And this one -- " Apparently Gage is going to be 'this one' pretty often, " -- and Davy seemed to want to, anyway; you wouldn't want to deprive them, surely?"
But that reminds her of something else that she hadn't been able to acknowledge in the moment, when it was all going down, and she flashes Sarita a wide, wry smile. "I thought the doc was going to flip their table, though. Oooh, you should have."

"You don't seem like a Daisy to me," Gage concludes. "You're definitely more of an Irene." Props to Mr. and Mrs. Harris, then. At her thanks, he gives a half-shrug, dismissing it easily. "Weren't nothing. Guy was a dick; you're a wolf." And he and Aleksander don't really need that much of an excuse to make 'friends' with Capricans; that much he acknowledges with a low chuckle at Ines' astute observation. When Sarita offers more food, he immediately reaches for it, no hesitation, dipping one of the disks into the sauce and popping it into his mouth without a hesitation. He chews for a bid, nodding. "Tastes like chicken," he says, oh-so-casually, grinning a moment later and taking a swing of his beer. "Spicy," he acknowledges. "Nice, but." Just a small sheen of sweat on his forehead, but he's holding it together.

"Well, thanks. I appreciated it, even if I was too freaked out to say so last night." Irene answers genuine and a bit quietly, like she might just cry. Not that she does, and if she did she could always blame the spices in the samosa she's still working on. She pops what remains into her mouth and unwraps the biscuits she'd already set out. They're her thank you offering now. Not just her 'I showed up at a picnic empty handed' offering. "They're Aerilonian. My mum makes them." Then. "Where is Courtois? And... is that a... gift shop?" Maybe she's more suddenly interested in the latter, given how she leans forward and peers at the building she can see, hawk-eyeing it. "Oh my gods. I'll be right back."

When Ines brings up how near Sarita came to flipping the table, the doctor looks mildly abashed. "I have some... rather firm thoughts on men who feel they can take liberties with women is all." She clears her throat, lifting her beer for a long drink. With the sun setting, she pushes her sunglasses up into her hair to watch Gage intently as he goes for the spicy foo offering. There's an even more interested look as he opts for the sauce, in turn. She's waiting -- hoping -- for more of a reaction. More sweating. A need for more than just a swig of beer. But alas, she's to be disappointed. The woman tuts, faintly. "I'll have to find something more intense for you, apparently," she relents.

Ines -- who grew up in a household where knowing how and when to use at least three different kinds of forks was a thing, and who later went on to try her hand at diplomacy -- takes some of the biscuit. She can see it for what it is. "Mmhm," she says around that pinched-off bite, glancing at the Very Quaint Shop. "Has...you know. Little jars with ribbons in the shape of squirrels, and that."
She was expecting more of a reaction to the spicy food, and is duly impressed when there isn't one. "I would have lost cubits on that," she muses.
The sun is going down, and they do have a curfew, of a kind. As Irene leaves to poke around, she gets something of the same idea, reaching to blind-choose a sandwich from the basket. "I'm going to have a look around the orchard, before I forget. Make sure Courtois -- " Now there's a name her accent likes, " -- isn't face down in a swail." She slides off of the table again, takes two steps, then reverses to pick her glass up, winking at the two remaining. Little dust skirls eddy up in the wake of her boots as she goes.

"See you in an hour," Gage has known Irene long enough now to guess a gift shop'll keep her distracted for some time. He leans forward to take one of the biscuits as she's distracted: maybe it'll counteract the spices somewhat. He's still sweating, but it's nothing excessive. "You want to bring me food, Hargrave, aint gonna stop you." Peering down at his beer, he makes a face as he gulps down the remainder of the contents. Instead of reaching for another, he'll peer into that cooler Ines brought again, this time picking a soft drink. He gives a nod to Ines, "Give a hollar if if you need help dragging him back." He seems happy to hold down the fort, reaching for one of those sandwiches. He'll make a decent go of the picnic food before they leave, if nothing else.


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