2237-09-11 - How Not To Feel

Desperate to find a way out from the hole she's in, Astraea seeks out Emrys' help on the path to escaping her feelings.

Date: 2237-09-11

Location: Argyros Naval Base Laundry

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 505

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Emrys is shepherding two sets of laundry through the washers. More precisely, he's sitting on the counter where clothes are normally folded, eyeing the washers. Waiting for laundry to get done so it can be moved over. Apparently in this unfamiliar enviroment he's not going to risk leaving his clothes unguarded.

Someone, however, did leave their clothing unguarded. At least briefly. One of the washers is still rumbling away, a laundry bag and container of soap sitting atop it. The owner of these things shortly returns in her off-duties: Astraea. Said off-duties being sweatpants and dual-tanks. Her hair is left free in its poof of curls in a sort of halo of brown around her features. She's reading upon her return, skirting around a couple of Caprican officers to wheel back into the laundry. Her first stop is the machine her things are in to frown at its not-finished state. She does stop, spotting Emrys at his perch. There's a tilt of her chin in a nod for the man. "I heard we're stuck here a bit longer. Guess th' brass ain't decided where they wanna shove us next."

"So it seems." Emrys nods a greeting back to Astraea. "We're here until we're not, I suppose." He seems very relaxed about it all. One might expect him to be twitching to get back to the front lines. "Still, there are worse places to get extended TDY. How are you finding the training exercises?"

Dog-earing the page she's on in her book, Astraea tosses it atop the washer along with her laundry bag. She sighs and hauls herself up on a nearby machine that isn't running. The heels of her sneakers knock against the machine with a hollow sound. "A waste of time," she answers, leaning back against her palms as she braces her arms behind her. "An' resources, really. We're usin' fuel, time... all this shit when we could be out there fightin' th' cylons. What use does any of this have other than to make us targets?"

"It does potentially give our less experienced pilots the opportunity to practice things in dogfights it would be too risky to try for the first time in actual combat." Emrys muses. "And perhaps for us and the Capricans to learn from each other different things we've learned fighting the cylons." It's not clear if he really believes this, or if he's toeing the brass party line.

"And? If the Cylons learn new tactics that we're missin'? Or if we become complacent?" Astraea shakes her head, leaning further back to look at the ceiling. "I hate sittin' idle. It's like bein' back on Scorpia... except there I was on SAR teams an' often bein' called to fly marines into combat. Here it's... I mean, trainin' exercises. At least in Academy there was a goal at th' end. This just feels like th' Caprican Navy wants to show off. An' each time we show them up is just another day I wonder if I'm gonna go to th' bar an' find myself in a fight."

"The locals do seem a little tense, don't they?" Emrys agrees thoughtfully. "I certainly woudn't be going out into town by yourself. I mean, I assume you're not. You're smart. But just in case you are? Don't."

"They're just upset th' marines get to enjoy officer housin'." Among other things. As to his last, Astraea offers a sort of wry smirk. "Puppy, Caprica City ain't got half th'problems they've got back home. I'll be fine, I promise. I ain't gonna hassle someone an' waste their time just 'cause I want a drink."

Emrys shakes his head. "I'm not worried about you, I'm worried about them and what they might do." He points out, before blinking. There it is again. "Alright Nova, level with me. In what way am I like a puppy?"

"Yeh, and? Who's gonna wanna go out wit' me when they've got better things to do?" Astraea shakes her head. "I made it this far, it's fine. You don't gotta be all-" she waves her hand his way, shifting her weight briefly to her other arm to do so. "This. Whatever. Babysitter-y on me." At his question, however, she shrugs, looking back down finally. "Ya gotta ask Jigger. He's th'one that knows best why yer Puppy-like."

"You have friends, Nova." Emrys points out, with the quiet certainty of someone who has met said friends. "And yes, I do gotta be...this way." One eyebrow raises as she looks down. "Uh huh. Blame it all on Jigger." His tone is teasing, amused, at least. "But fine, I'll ask him."

"Sure I do. I got Jigger an' Razor, both of which almost never drink. So if I asked 'em, sure, they might come. Reluctantly. Just 'cause I asked. So I'd have... someone who wouldn't be drinkin' an' I'd feel guilty for wastin' their time." Astraea snorts. "Sounds like a downright shitty evenin' if ya ask me."

Emrys is silent for a moment. "Well..." He can't really argue with that "When you put like that, you do have a point." He finally admits. "Just be careful, ok?"

There's a grunt from Astraea as her washer finally finishes. She slides off the one she's perched on, moving to slide her bag from atop it and flip the lid open. "Dunno why folks're so concerned lately. Why's it matter anyway?" She starts pulling her things out, loading up her arms with wet clothing. "How I fly or whether're not I go out drinkin' alone?" She starts the careful walk to a dryer to start shoving the load in.

""Well..." Emrys seems a little nonplussed, moving to check on his own washing to see if it's ready to go. "I mean, when you have friends and people that want to see things come out well for you...they get concerned about stuff like that."

"Having friends durin' war is dangerous," Astraea points out, carefully. She gets her things loaded into a dryer, fussing with the controls. "We're all prob'ly gonna die anyway. Kinda silly to... be so worried, y'know? It ain't like- like we're takin' undue risks in a time of peace or whatever. We're pushin' ourselves to try to take back our homes from an enemy that's got vast numbers on us. I'm not gonna hesitate just 'cause someone's worried. Could cost th' battle one day."

"I think it's more that...if we constantly fly dangerously, we lose our people and our planes too fast. We can't just make more of ourselves the way the cylons can." Emrys muses. "And I suppose, yes, having friends could be dangerous. But I'm probably going to die. I'd rather not do so bitter and lonely, like I was why when I got here."

"And if all I do is fly evasively an' like a scared child whenever they target me? I might as well not fly at all." Astraea shakes her head. "I was put on this squadron for a reason. Th' brass knows how I fly." She lets out a sigh as she gets the dryer going. "I though I wanted company, but it's made me even lonelier than I was b'fore. I think it was a mistake."

Emrys sighs with frustration, but seems willing to drop the point and move on. "I'm sorry to hear that." He murmurs, as he moves his laundry about. "So far for me having company has worked the opposite way."

"Well, yeh... You're on th' inside. Part of th'... y'know, inner circle an' all." Astraea's shoulders rise and fall in a shrug. "It's easy to feel like you're a part of things when that happens. When everyone wants ya around all th' time. I'm pretty sure everyone's just waitin' for when I get transferred out. I'm just tryin' to make it easier on 'em is all."

"Inner circle?" Emrys raises an eyebrow at that. "I mostly spend my time with two other people...I'd hardly say that makes me one of the popular kids." He looks more carefully at her now, concerned. "I don't think anyone is waiting on that. I know I'm certainly not. Did something happen?"

"Y'are. People look up to ya. Even if ya don't... hang out with people a lot, you're..." Astraea shrugs, shaking her head as she returns to her laundry bag, closing up the soap container tightly. Lest it spill over her things later. It also gives her something to fuss with. "No. Not yet. But it will. Just... hate th' waitin'. It's gonna go wrong. Somethin' always does an' I want it to just get itself over with."

"Well, I'll take your word for it." Emrys nods thoughtfully, at the talk of people looking up to him. Something to keep in mind. For the latter, he looks understanding. "Ah, the waiting for the other boot to drop problem." He recognizes. "I...maybe this time it won't? I know you say it always does, but maybe this time will work out? Or maybe something already went wrong..remember our little set of cross words...and then it settled down?"

"That was nothin'," Astraea says of their words, rolling her bag over itself, then unrolling it. Fidgeting, fussing; restless. "I'm... talkin' on a bigger scale. People bein' at odds with each other is jes' normal if yer in close quarters all th' time. Bound to happen an' all. I jes'... Things've gone easy for me so far." If you call getting shot down frequently, landing in sickbay for over a week, and getting shot through the cockpit hard enough to take a hit to the head 'easy.' "Too easy. Somethin' big is comin'. I can feel it."

"Well, with your multiple downs and your severe wounds I'd hardly call it easy." Emrys points out gently. "But I understand the feeling you're talking about. Maybe it's something big for all of us, not just something that's gonna put you on the outs. Or maybe it's nothing. Hopefully."

"Gotta take one," or three... or so, "for th' team, right?" Astraea lets out a long sigh, leaning forward onto the dormant washer. She buries her head against her arms. "I think," she says, muffled against her bag, "I'm jes' goin' stir crazy without any toasters to fight. These drills just ain't enough an' I got nothin' else goin' on."

"I think..." Emrys agrees, moving laundry to the dryer finally. "..you may be right. We're probably all going a bit stir crazy, come to think of it. I'm sure we'll be back fighting toasters soon enough."

"I damn well hope so. This sittin' idle just ain't good for any of us. Th' Capricans are gettin' on edge with us. We're gettin' on edge." Astraea straightens, pushing her fingers into her hair. "Iff'n we were on leave, I could jes' go get wasted for a couple days, mebbe try gettin' Razor to relax or somethin', but we ain't. It's just gettin' everyone wound up tight."

"Yeah. I mean, at least we have evenings and weekends." Emrys muses. "But you're right, can't really go get wasted and have people relax." Having said that, he seems incredibly relaxed about their situation. "We'll just cross our fingers it'll be done soon, I suppose."

"If I hadn't seen it m'self, I'd say it weren't possible for ya to even get wasted," Astraea says with a snort of amusement. "Y'oughta give lessons to some of th'younger pilots. Be good to see 'em drink an' relax more. All they care 'bout is th' war. Jes' war. War this, war that, don't wanna ever relax." She pushes herself upright more fully, turning to learn on the washer. "S'why some of us ain't really got... y'know, people we can really relax with. Half of us don't do nothin' but work all th' time. Live, eat, sleep, breathe war. It takes up every moment of half my bunkmates' lives. If I just wanna be able to sit an' try to talk to any of 'em, I gotta do it while goin' over reports an' guncam footage, even if we're off-duty."

"You know, I felt that way once." Emrys admits. "War this, war that. No sense of what I would do after. No real interest in after." He doesn't elaborate on what changed. "While I admire their dedication, and I suspect I understand how they feel...that's no way for a man or woman to live. And it won't make them better pilots." There's a wry smile. "I'm probably the best pilot in this outfit, and even I make time for downtime."

"I won't tell th' other Captains y'said that." Being the best pilot and all. Astraea's sure there'd be some grousing in that regard. She does manage to smile, at least a bit. "Downtime's important. Gotta... limber up, relax, all that. Get too tense an' yer gonna jerk th' stick th' wrong way at th' wrong moment. That's 101 shit right there. I get wantin' to keep on top of things, but ya don't relax, ya burn out." She lets out a sigh, leaning back on her elbows, against the edge of the washer as she looks towards the dryers. "An' it's why I feel like I ain't got any friends, really. They're all focused more on th' fight than anythin' else. I think they care 'bout me only so they've got me in th' mix with 'em."

"Yeah, probably for the best." Emrys agrees with a lopsided grin. He shakes his head. "I don't know about that. I think you do have friends, their priorities are just...limiting, in terms of socialization. But on the odd occasion I've watched you interact with the pilots you tend to fly closely with...well, I would disagree that they only care to keep you in the fight."

"Y'think so?" Astraea doesn't sound entirely convinced of that, brow furrowing as she turns slightly to regard Emrys. Just a twist of her hips as she looks away from her dryer. It's not like it'll be ending anytime soon anyway; they take the longest of the whole laundry ritual anyway. "'Cause it sometimes feels like I'm sorta... I mean, I'm a good pilot, for a Raptor pilot... an' I feel like all th' care is 'cause they don't wanna worry 'bout who would take my spot."

"I don't think that's it at all." Emrys shakes his head. "Mostly you're flying with Jigs and L-tees, right? They don't even begin having to worry about who would take your spot. That's the sort of thing brass frets about." He points out. "So no, I don't think that's it at all."

"Then what?" Astraea frowns at Emrys, lifting her chin slightly. "We're talkin' 'bout people who only care 'bout th' war. It's all they talk about, all they think about. They won't drink, they won't relax. Even on leave, they'll barely stop studyin' guncam footage long 'nough to put on civvies an' go out for some bondin' time wit' th' rest of th' wing. So what th' frak else could matter?"

"They're still people, Nova." Emrys points out, gently but firmly. "They're still people, and however much they might pretend otherwise...they have the human need, capacity, to form emotional bonds. And they will, even if they don't tend to them very well. As much as they act like robots, they're not. I promise."

There's a sort of derisive scoff from the Scorpian pilot as she hauls herself up to sit on the edge of the washer once again. "They've done an awful good job of convincin' me there's nothin' emotional to be had, Puppy. I think yer... take on things might be off."

"Well, they're still people." Hawk seems very firm on that point. "Even the most closed-off of us have emotions. Trust me on that." There's a shake of his head, as she calls him Puppy again. "I'm going to get to the bottom of that, I swear."

"I sometimes wish I didn't," Astraea says on the emotional front, frowning at the dryer across from where she sits. "Been thinkin' on ways to get rid of mine. Drinkin' only makes 'em worse. Focusin' on work ain't doin' the trick. If I could just shut 'em off, I would. I hate... I hate wantin' things I can't have."

"Don't do it, Nova." Emrys shakes his head at that. "I tried for years. Was pretty successful. I believed, really believed, my abilities as a pilot rested on my having no emotional ties whatsoever." A pause. "I was wrong. I was also miserably, miserably lonely. As for things you can't have...some day you may get them. Even decades later."

"Uh-huh. And what about someone who's been social an' all that shit up 'til now an' is still miserably lonely? I think mebbe it just doesn't work for everyone. Mebbe I need to be someone who cuts th' rest of." For his last, Astraea just gives Emrys a sort of sad smile. "C'mon, Puppy. Decades? We gotta be honest with ourselves. Look at this war. We're losin'."

"Sure, we're losing right now." Emrys agrees easily enough. "But we're going to win, Nova. We're going to figure out the changes we need to make. We'll find more pilots. More marines." His tone has an edge to it, as if he's trying to convince himself as much as her. "The cylons have taken enough from humanity already. They don't get our future, too."

"An' what about all th' other pilots an' marines that die? For every one of us that dies, they can make countless more on their side." Astraea shakes her head slowly. "I can't be optimistic anymore. I just... don't got it in me. I tried. I feel like Apollo's abandoned me. An' if he has, what 'bout th' rest? Does it mean Kobol's given up on us? What point is there if even our gods are gone?"

"We don't need gods to be optimistic, Nova." Emrys replies firmly. "The gods, I don't believe, were ever there to begin with. But whether they were or not makes little difference." He gestures around the room. "The gods do not pilot our birds. The gods are not on the ground with rifles and grenades. The gods did not make the cylons, and they will not unmake them. We will."

"It's... not that simple." After a moment of trying to find a way to explain it, Astraea just ives up with a sigh and a shrug. "It's not just 'cause of the gods I was optimistic. Or even 'cause of them at all. I just... was, y'know?" She looks over at the older pilot, shaking her head. "But I just don't got it in me anymore."

"Well, hopefully it'll come back around." Emrys seems to accept that for now, he just can't win her over. "In the meantime...just keep keeping on, I suppose. Try not to get too down about things."

"Uh-huh." Astraea swings her legs a bit, backs of heels hitting the washer. She lets out a breath, looking over to Emrys. "How'd you do it? When you did... reject emotions and all. How'd ya manage it? I mean.. Just 'cause it didn't work for you, doesn't mean it won't for me. You were in a time b'fore th'war an' all. Mebbe it'll work for me while we're fightin'."

"That...is a very long, complicated, discussion." Emrys begins thoughtfully. "And to some extent practice and circumstance plays a huge role." A pause. "I don't want to see you do this, Nova. But if you are determined, I will help you. But it's going to have to be something that takes place outside of a laundry room."

"I think... it'll help," Astraea says finally, frowning at the dryer across from her. "I'm not gettin' far how I feel now. Workin'... alongside someone I can't-" She lifts a hand away from the washer she's sitting on, waving her hand absently. "Y'know. I just need it all outta my head. It gets any worse, it might affect my ability to do my job. So this'd be for th' best."

"Alright." Emrys nods thoughtfully. "Well, we can get together..sometime soon. Figure out a time and day that works for both of us. And start on it." He glances at his dryer, but it's still going.

"Soon. Mebbe after we're let go one day soon, yeh. We can, I dunno, grab drinks or somethin' off base." Astraea's dryer finally goes off and she slips off her machine, heading over to it to yank the door open. The clothes within are pulled out. Some just sort of grabbed in the crook of her elbow to be folded, but others shaken out and draped over her arm so they can be hung properly once she's back in the room she's staying in while they're on base. The former are dropped in the bag she's got with her. "Jes' grab me after trainin'," the Scorpian calls over her shoulder before winding her way out.


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