After visiting one of Caprica City's temples, Alain and Astraea share a few beers... and their concerns for the future.
Location: RP Room 5
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 498
It wasn't the Temple of Delphi, but it was a temple nonetheless and, being in the capital city, did have a fair number of interesting things to see at least. It was an opportunity to get off the base during some time off and do something different. That was the important part. While in the religious space, Astraea was happy to let Alain take the lead; providing any background or interesting trivia tidbits on the things they saw.
After and a short cab ride later, she already had a bar picked out thanks to talking to a civilian worker on base. Somewhere a bit out of the way and unlikely to be touristy or one of those places camped out by locals trying to pick up marines or vice versa. It's neither dive nor kitschy. It's just a bar and yet... still nicer than she's expressly used to, but she'll live with that.
Since her entire wardrobe, as it were, is either uniforms or civvies intended for leave on Argentum, she's actually paired a pair of her duty trou with a blue blouse that is much more suited to the Scorpian weather. As things have cooled off, she's clearly chilly and trying not to show it. "Mebbe someday we'll make it back an' can go by Delphi," she's saying as they approach the bar, glancing over to Alain.
Alain has mostly been quiet during their time on Caprica, occasionally spending his evenings at a certain Naval hospital where his wingmate is being treated. It's a welcome treat to be able to tour a local temple -- even if it isn't Delphi -- and each slight variant of statue or idol prompts some story about this or that God in a fond, almost reminiscent way by the Gemenese almost-priest.
Unfamiliar with the local area, Alain's happy to let Astraea pick the bar. He's dressed in casual, crisp brown pants and a linen shirt, prepared enough that he's carried around a jacket all day and not worn it. It's useful now though, as he offers it to Astraea. "Here, take this." With a twitch of a smile, "I'd like that. After the war is over, maybe I'll take my family to visit, too." It's wishful thinking, and the brief grimace suggests he knows it, too.
The jacket is accepted and Astraea slides her arms into it, gathering it around her as best she can. She's too curvy to get full coverage and he's taller than she is, but it's enough. And it smells like him, but she won't mention that part. All she says is a quiet "Thank you." Someone's exiting the bar as they approach and she steps aside to give them clearance. "I bet they'd love that. With how important a target it was for us, I'm guessin' they'll put a lot into rebuildin' it." She picked up on the hesitation in his voice, but she pushes on the optimism a bit as they delve into the bar. There's a look for the stools at the bar itself before she angles to the side towards a booth instead.
"Not everyone's too happy about that," Alain says, with a grimace, on the subject of Delphi. "I guess it was a common enough opinion that even Mace felt the need to bring it up." He reaches out to grab the door as the other person exits, holding it open for Astraea. He follows her in, gaze scanning the bar, stepping after her towards the booth. "Nothing too heavy for me. I've got early call," he confesses, with a wry smile, as he settles across from her.
"Yeh. I know a few folks who were... rather unhappy 'bout th' work we put in." Astraea frowns as she settles into her own seat. "I think it was important. Not... just 'cause of th' temple or museum. But for what they represent to us as a people. An' to th' civilians an'-" She smiles, somewhat fondly at Alain. "This ain't an argument I need to have wit' you, is it? We're sorta on th' same page." She lets out a sigh, looking at the table as she rests her hands on it. "Nothin' heavy, you said? Beer or wine?" No liquor.
Drumming fingers absently against the table, Alain says, "Not about the work, I think -- no one objects to killing toasters -- but the goal, maybe." He frowns, thinking. "I wonder what people would say if Gemenon was attacked, and we had to go in there." It's not a happy thought, judging by his expression, and he doesn't seem apt to linger on the subject. "No argument," he says, firmly, instead turning to try and catch the attention of a waitress. "Ladies' choice," he says, with a smile.
"I don't think anyone would protest to savin' a colony, Alain." No call sign. Her voice is even soft as she says it. Astraea leans out, briefly, to place her hand over his. "Th' museum, temple... th' entire area was evacuated. People were upset 'cause they weren't... homes or places occupied by people. If we ever have to fight for Gemenon, I don't think anyone will complain." She sits back, putting on a slightly broader smile. "An' if they do, I'll punch 'em for you, yeah?" While he summons a waitress, she grabs a beer list and squints at it. Something catches her eye and she points at it once the waitress arrives. Buried in the list, a Gemenese beer. One of those botanicals. It'll be lighter, at least. And something entirely new to her. "Two, please? Thanks."
Clearly Alain is discomforted by this topic, perhaps not looking quite so convinced. He gives a nod at her reassurance, though, along with a brief smile. "I bet you would," is all he says, finally. He doesn't study the menu, leaving that to the raptor pilot, instead regarding the other patrons, and then the waitress as she arrives, murmuring a brief greeting. "We don't really make decent beer," he admits, when the waitress has departed, "Our wines are definitely better. Shouldn't feel obliged to order it, though, as I'll now have to get Scorpian beer next round, and it'll only escalate from there."
"I guess I'll just have to decide that for myself," Astraea counters, since the deed is done. Indoors, where it's a bit warmer, she slides out of his jacket and settles it carefully on the booth next to her; doing her best not to crease it too much. "An' now you'll be obligated to bring me some wine. Mebbe it was all part of some devious plan." There's a faint grin from the woman. "An' Scorpia makes better rum anyway, so we may just be doomed to a night of subpar beer all around."
"Disappointing," Alain agrees, with a low laugh. "Well, if it was devious, I can't blame you. Gemenese wine is pretty decent. Even Banshee seemed to like it -- but perhaps that was just because it was winning wine. It always tastes better when won in a bet." There's a brief dimming of his smile for a moment, fingers resuming their drumming as distraction. "So. How's Razor doing?"
About to ask after Alain's wingmate, Astraea is instead a bit thrown off by the change in topic. She blinks a few times at him, brow furrowing as she processes the question. "In general? We haven't... talked since th' games th' other day, so I think he's alright. I mean, I assume he is?" She gives a small shrug. "We're waitin' on records from when... uhm, before he and I were part of th' Wolves. Well, before th' unit was formed, actually. That attack on Edson, on Canceron? We wanted to study attacks like that and see if we could... help develop potential- uhm, defensive plans an' th' like. In case it happens again. I think he might be anxious, bein' on a base like this, havin' heard stories of what happened there. Whisper signed off on expeditin' th' request for guncam footage, AARs, an' everythin'. Should have it soon."
As a distracting tactic, the question works well enough, though Alain regards the other pilot with interest at her initial response. "I suppose it's a bit of an adjustment, after being used to having our own ship. Personally, I'm loving the quarters, and a real bed. Not sure the Capricans are all that happy having the Wolves among their fold, but..." He nods slowly, at her explanation. "Not a bad idea, actually. If you want a hand going over footage, happy to help."
There's an almost sheepish smile for Alain. "I've never had this much room," Astraea admits. "I mean, I'm sharin' with someone else, but it's still... a lot of space. Everyone's talkin' about how great it is an' th' bed is nice, but it's almost too much for me." She shifts a bit in her seat, as if she does feel at least marginally better admitting that. Particularly with how everyone else savors the space. "I think that'd be good. An'... you were there, yeah? Mebbe you'll be able to give some insight on... what happened. If... I mean, if it's not too much to ask. I know Edson was... really bad for some people." Their beers are delivered around that time and she offers a brief nod of thanks to the waitress.
"You've gotten too used to a sparse life," Alain says, with a wry twist of lips. "There's something kind of sad about that." His drumming stops as she continues to speak, and it takes him a moment. He waits until after the waitress brings them beers, giving her a nod of thanks, the first sip. "It was..." he pauses, breaks for another sip, and continues, "We were really unprepared," he finally admits. "I couldn't even get to the hangar -- I heard some fighters managed to launch, but they were probably the ones on Alert. I managed to make it out the jungle after the evacuation sounded, but it was..." he trails off again, expression tight, distant.
"Not... used to," Astraea admits quietly, looking vaguely uncomfortable. "You... remember th' dorms at Academy? Four to a room, bunks an' all? That was more space than I shared with all my brothers growin' up. Th' parts of Argentum we see on leave are for tourists. You've... never seen th' parts outside of it all. Where th' civilians live." She toes at the floor under the table, reaching for the beer to take a long drink. She studies it as she listens to him explain things at Edson, wincing a bit. "We... wanna try to work out plans. Methods. Ways to... I mean, we can't wholly prevent it, but mebbe we can improve response times, tactics. Keep it from bein' as bad, y'know? An' Edson's th' most recent example we have of such an attack on a base. Since th' Cylons are always... adaptin' their techniques, it's... all we have to study from."
"It's worth looking at," Alain agrees, though there's another grimace. "Fact is, think they're staying a step ahead of us in tactics, sometimes. They're learning from us, we're learning from them learning from us. The creator's curse." The Gemenese pilot sips at his beer, leaning back in the booth, regarding Astraea thoughtfully for a moment. "What would you do," he asks, abruptly, "If the war ended tomorrow?"
"Unfortunately, they're sorta th' greatest programmin' minds in th' colonies now." Astraea leans an elbow on the table as she drinks as well. The question from him gives her pause. She studies Alain as she turns it over, thinking. She finally looks away from him and down to the beer in front of her. Wrapping both hands around the glass, she turns it on the table's surface. "Tomorrow? Well... uhm. I'd start puttin' in applications for universities on Libran. Then see if you'd take me out 'cause it'd take a while to hear back on those." There's a sort of sheepish and almost apologetic look up at him. Not quite on the latter, but close.
"Libran? Why--" whatever question might've followed that goes unfinished, Alain falling silent at her latter words. It's a tense moment of awkwardness, the Gemenese man all too aware of that, to judge by the brief drumming of his fingers, but unsure how to break it.
A flush comes over Astraea then and she leans back, picking up the beer. "I'm sorry. I know... I mean, you said you're not interested now, 'cause of th' war. An' how you can't... think of things like that. But you said. If th' war ended, what would I do. An'..." She shrugs. "I'd try again." She tries to drown her own awkwardness- figuratively and literally, by downing the rest of her beer.
While she drinks, Alain drums his fingers, exhaling as his gaze flickers towards the raptor pilot. Finally, he says, "I haven't thought about what I'd do. I wouldn't know what else to do now, other than this," he admits. "Maybe I'd join whatever comes after the CF, whether it's ICJPK or something else. Maybe I'd look you up, when I was on leave."
Closing her eyes as the alcohol does its thing, Astraea nods slowly. "I'd like that," she says, finally, before opening her eyes to focus on him. There's a small smile. It lingers before she bites her lip, looking down at her empty glass. She takes a breath. "Back on Scorpia... 'least for... clans like mine, there is no... gettin' an education for yourself, 'least not generally. You serve th' clan. Mebbe you join th' clan military an' sometimes that leads to th' Scorpian military. But gettin' to actually go out there an' study what you want? For yourself? No one gets to do that. Not in th' smaller clans. An' Libran has th' best universities in' th' colonies. So, I'd see if any of them would take me an'... just... learn, I guess."
And, gracefully, Alain lets it pass without further comment. "Libran's probably a good choice. I heard it's come out mostly okay so far, as well. All those great old, sprawling universities." He rubs a hand across his jaw, grimacing. "Who knows, after the war, maybe it'd become the center of the colonies, with how hard hit Caprica is. Even if Gemenon's mostly out of it, too, I doubt anything much there would change, post war or not." He says it lightly, not like a criticism so much as an observation.
"Honestly, Libran wouldn't be a bad choice for... a central place after th' war," Astraea agrees, turning the empty glass in front of her. She's still slightly tense, in the wake of the awkwardness. Even if she walked them into it. Chances are, she didn't intend it to be so awkward. "They've always been fairly neutral. No one's got any issues with Libran. An' with th' ICJPK..."
"I'm not sure it'll be the ICJPK anymore. Something like it, maybe. The CF will dissolve, everyone'll go their separate ways..." Alain trails off, grimacing. "Frak, that's maudlin." Seeing she's finished off her beer, he drains his too, to match, waving for the waitress. "A couple of the Librans, if you wouldn't mind," with a smile for Astraea, intent on easing the awkwardness.
"I'm sure Libran'll keep th' ICJPK in some form or another. They've had it this long." Astraea manages a small smile for Alain, but it does fade when he mentions everyone going their separate ways. It gets her leaning across the table for his hand again, even as he's ordering their next round of beers. The waitress has seen plenty and worse, so she just nods and heads off after taking their empties. "Hey... Even if folks do, I'll keep in touch. I promise. I mean, whether th' Fleet dissolves or not, there's gonna be folks who do run out their time an' those who don't. But I'm not lettin' you disappear. Period."
"I'm not the best about writing," Alain admits. "At least, according to my mother." The touch of her hand earns a brief smile, and by extension, a stilling of the drumming of his fingers for however long it's there, his other hand briefly touching the top of hers before withdrawing. "This probably should be the last round," he adds, "For me, at least. I'll keep you company if you want more, though."
"Then you'll absolutely hafta look me up on leave if you end up with th' ICJPK again," Astraea points out with a smile. There's a squeeze to his hand before she leans back. "I might," she admits when he talks of cutting himself off. "Or mebbe I'll stop an' we can take our time headin' back to base. We can play it by ear, yeh?" She lets out a long sigh, looking up to the ceiling briefly. "You heard any word on what we'll be doin' next?"
Alain gives an easy nod of agreement, just as the Libran beers arrive. Flashing a smile at the waitress, the pilot takes a brief sip, nodding. "Good." It's definitely better than the Gemenese beer -- even he concedes that. "I haven't heard anything -- I've been asking around," because the Gemenese pilot always tries to figure out where they're headed next. "If I had to guess, these joint training sessions aren't just for Caprica's benefit. Maybe another joint operation on Caprica, but I've not been keeping up with the news to know what's still in Cylon hands here."
"Some folks said we're here just so th'Dauntless can have supplies taken care of after those few shipments were shot down. That this isn't... a planned exercise, y'know? That maybe it's why th' Caprican officers are so upset 'bout us in the housin'." Astraea takes a long drink of the new beer and yes, it is a deal better. She may not admit that aloud. At least not immediately, but it's clear in how she drinks it. "Or mebbe th' brass just doesn't know where to send us next?" There's a slightly huffed sigh. "Glad I don't hafta make the decisions they do, but I also hate... bein' on the sidelines like this."
"Supplying takes what, a day, two?" Alain shakes his head, slowly. "Think it's more than that. Could be we might never know, though." With a low chuckle, he says, "I think the Capricans are more upset about our marines staying in with us than us." His brows go upward at her suggestion the brass are deliberating. "Maybe. Could be coordinating, too. Meeting up with a Battlestar or something." But that's probably just wishful thinking on Alain's part, obvious by his wry expression. "I don't mind it so much, but that's after years of being a grunt -- pretty well trained me to ask but expect an answer. Sometimes they surprise me though."
"Well, too bad for them. We're one big happy family. The marines stay with us." Astraea gives him a bit of a grin as she takes another drink. "An' yeh, chances are we'll never know. I'm just... I wanna be back out there, y'know? Trainin' is... I mean, yeah, it's important, but..." There's a small shrug. "I wanna be in th' fight. I feel... I know I kept gettin' shot down an' hit hard-" she lifts a hand to rub, lightly, at where the shrapnel got her especially bad in the head at one of the last battles over Delphi. "But this is almost worse than sitting in sickbay."
"I know the feeling," Alain agrees, as he resumes drumming fingers on the table. "It's hard to sit and wait, knowing what we could be doing. Still, Delphi was tough on us, so I don't mind the brief downtime. Plus, it's a pleasure being able to stretch, and walk around, and not know every face you pass by." He takes a slow gulp from his bottle, drumming ceasing as he wraps hands around it, adding with a look, "Maybe, this time, less missiles? I-- don't want to lose another wolf."
"I swear I got hit less when I was flyin' more aggressively," Astraea murmurs after another sip of beer. "I feel like they've... started focusin' on th' cockpit of Raptors. Whisper's been gettin' hit harder an' more often, too." She licks her lips, glancing up at Alain with a small shake of her head. "I've been tryin' to think of what we can do to counter it an' I dunno. I mean, we've got our ECM an' I know you an' Razor do your best to cover me, but..." She gives a small, helpless shrug.
The sharp look from Alain is probably warning enough, though that doesn't stop him saying, "Don't go thinking that's the way to fly. Just because a lot of the Captains do it, doesn't mean it's best way." He takes a breath, trying for a more softer tone, but it's obvious she's touched a nerve: "They are targeting the raptors. All the more reason to play it evasive, not aggressive. Let us pull them off you while you run them around in circles."
"But if I'm flyin' that way -- evasively -- then I can't get a good target lock for my talons," Astraea points out. "An' when they have those heavies out there... Y'all need me hittin' with those. Especially if they're gettin' missile locks on you. My Raptor can handle a couple hits from a missile." Provided it doesn't hit her cockpit, that is. "You can't. One hit from a missile and you're goin' down. I can't fly in circles all th' time, Alain. An'... that's where it's gettin'. I... I know it's dangerous, but it feels like flyin' at 'em head on is sometimes th' only option."
"The heavies'll run out after a couple of shots. We can hit 'em as they're reloading. Besides, it's usually you the heavies are trying at, anyway," Alain counters, earnestly. "I don't think that's the only way, but we won't know until we try something different. Maybe we can sim it, tomorrow. Get a feel for how it might play out?"
"Maybe." Astraea doesn't sound entirely sold, but it's a difference in personality as much as it is philosophy. She's very much an 'all in' type of person. "I'd be willin' to give it a try in th' sims at least. I just ain't sure it'll work out. Havin' me run in circles an' waste time... it just seems like it gives th' Cylons more chances to take everyone out, rather than at leas lettin' me get in targets with th' Talons."
"I'd rather you give up a shot or two, then try and SAR you again, or end up in the hospital in a coma." Like Banshee, is clearly what he means, the intensity of Alain's words conveying the unspoken addition. He exhales a slow breath, taking a generous gulp from his beer. "Sorry," he says, after. "I just... the last couple of deployments have been rough. It's tough, seeing all these new faces come in." Who come in to replace Wolves who have left through one method or the other.
"Remember when it was me handling all th' SARs?" Since she joined the Wolves, at least. For a while, Astraea was rarely shot down. Then it just... kept... happening. "I swear, there must be some old, obscure ritual for banishing bad luck. Know of any?" There's an attempt at a playful smile for Alain as she lifts her drink, but she only takes a small sip before lowering it. "I know. That... last hit I took was terrifyin'. I mean gettin' show down is one thing. But I've never been hit in a way that renders me incapable of pilotin'. Th' bird, sure. But it was... pain an' comin' in an' out of th' world, like bein' drugged an'-" She lifts a hand to rub at her face, briefly. "I just wanna get back to fightin', Alain. It's all I've got."
"I remember," Alain says, with a brief smile. "Things change up pretty quickly." The smile doesn't linger though, and his response to her playfulness is more serious. "There's some, but I don't know how much it'll help." He studies her throughout her latter words, finally nodding. It's clear he's unhappy, though too polite to press any more. Instead, he drains his beer, and makes to stand, after leaving some cubits on the table. "Let's walk back. The weather seems nice."
"Could use all th' help I can get right now. Any and all rituals, you should share 'em with me. We'll do 'em all at once. Every bit of luck I can get." Astraea manages a small, wobbly sort of smile. She finishes the rest of her beer as he stands, picking up his jacket as she steps away from the table. She slides back into it since, nice as it is, it'll be chilly for her in that thin top. The act of standing does send the alcohol coursing through her smaller frame. She reaches a hand out for his forearm, briefly, to brace herself before giving a small nod. "Lead th' way."
"The priests at the temple'd be more familiar than me," Alain admits. "I only know a couple, but there's definitely more." He seems less affected by the alcohol, reaching out to steady her for a moment, before he nods and steps out. It's a relatively easy walk back to the base, not too much foot traffic.
"We can always ask Kavanagh if the ones you know don't work," Astraea points out. She falls into step alongside him, the cool air helping with the bit of drunk that's settled over her. After a short time, she exhales in a small sigh. "Thanks for comin' out with me today. I know it wasn't th' Temple of Delphi, but I thought it might be better than nothin' at least."
"You probably should start with him," Alain says, a mild correction of pronoun. "He'll know more than me." Their steps echo, briefly, as they pass beneath a bridge structure and out onto the road leading to the base. Her latter comment makes him smile, abruptly. "It was a good idea. And I'll get to see Delphi sooner or later," he sounds confident of that.
"I'll talk to him, then," Astraea says, trying to keep the hint of disappointment out of her voice. She's... mostly successful. "You'd better make it to Delphi. I know how important it is to ya. Don't make me drag ya there after th' war myself. 'Cause I will." There's a brief grin flashes to him, threat or no. "I'll find ya, on leave wit' th' ICJPK, and cart you away."
If he notices, there's nothing in the Gemenese pilot's expression to suggest it. Hands in the air, Alain says, "I promise. No need to drag me there." He shoves hands into his pockets, steps picking up as they near the base, passing the checkpoint. "I'll see you tomorrow?" he says, either forgetting or forgoing his jacket that she's acquired.
"An' if you go without me, you'd better remember to write. At least that once. To let me know how it was. Mebbe send some photos." Astraea reaches out when he starts his farewells. "Yeh. We've got some simulators to work on." But she doesn't let him go quite yet. Instead, she makes to pull him in (or likely herself to him) for a hug. "An' I'll try to be better about avoidin' missiles. I promise."
Alain lets her pull him into a hug, a light press of his hand resting against her back for a moment. "You'd better," he warns. "I'm pretty rubbish at SAR." With a brief smile, he parts ways, heading for his room in the officers quarters.