2237-09-15 - What's In A Name?

A trip to the firing range results in questions not quite being answered.

Date: 2237-09-15

Location: Argyros Firing Range

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 517

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The firing range tends to be the sort of place marines go to when they start getting to antsy. Get bored, shoot at things, rinse, repeat. And when pilots get bored, they also tend to shoot things, though the seem to prefer the sims. So it's a bit strange to see a pilot on the range, and with the kit she's brought with her. Not her normal service pistol, although Eva does have that, but a full on rifle. She's set it carefully on the wall in front of her and doesn't seem to have touched a thing. In point of fact, she seems to be waiting for someone.

Once you've seen the local highlights within distance of the base, there's not that much to do when you're not really apt to spend your nights in bars. Alain is on time, off-duty uniform spotless as he strides into the range. "Cherry," he greets, easily, as he approaches her. "Been waiting long?" he asks.

Eva shakes her head, "No, I only just got here, in fact. I had a lot of explaining to do at the armory." Like, quite possibly, why she was requesting a weapon that no pilot would normally ask for, you know, ever. "So I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first, Jigger?" She even offers a beatific smile to go along with that.

Emrys booked some range time to work on his poor, neglected, service sidearm. Initially he's focused on his own inner world, and the weapon he's come here to practice with. But when he becomes aware of Eva and Alain, his attention drifts that way. Interestingly, Alain is getting just as much of the gaze as Eva.

"I'm surprised," Alain admits, at Eva's words, with a brief smile. "I'd have thought they'd be thrilled to watch us pilots do badly with something they can do as easily as breathing." He reaches for the rifle where it leans against the wall, habitually clearing the chamber before he lifts it and sights through it for a moment, pointed safely at the wall. He seems satisfied, lowering the weapon before he gives Eva a wry look. "If the bad news has to do with the fact that you didn't bring any cookies, or cakes, then -- I guess start with that." He doesn't seem to notice Emrys' sudden interest in him.

"Can you believe it? Giving up a chance to point and laugh?" A grin brightens her face. Clearly, the redhead doesn't seem at all bothered by the attitude she received. "Actually, that is not at all the bad news. You think I don't already know I need to bring my tithe whenever we do this sort of thing? So..the good news. I qualified expert on pistols! Thanks to you. Sergeant Mercer allowed me to retest when he did the marine quals recently." Eva pauses, as she catches sight of Emrys familiar figure, and waves him over in their direction. "No, the bad news is," and here she pauses to watch Jigger handle the weapon with expert skill, "Is that I'd like you to teach me to shoot a rifle now. I want to try to quality on it as well."

Emrys smiles at Eva's wave, heading over that way to join the pair. "Cherry." He greets the woman first. His tone is professionally friendly, but his smile is fond. And then there's a nod of greeting for the other pilot. "Jigger. It's good to see you. I'd been hoping to run into you."

"Well, that's what would make it the bad news," Alain observes, somewhat wryly. He holds the rifle at his side, angled down towards the floor, a smile surfacing when it becomes apparent his tithe hasn't gone awol. "I'd heard," he says with a smile. And yet he's still been showing up to their regular sessions at the firing range, because, well... they're old friends. "Congratulations." Her 'bad news' however earns a furrow of brow. "For what purpose? Planning to transition to the marines, now that you've aced yourself as many times over, Cherry?" Emrys receives a nod in turn, from the Gemenese pilot, grinning a little. "I haven't exactly been hiding. What's up?"

"Two reasons, really. First, because there really isn't anything left for me to learn on vipers. I don't mean that to say that I can't improve, but you know what I mean? Ive' done just about everything you can do in these new models, you know? I can improve of course, but I'm only working with things I already know. I want to learn something completely new. Also, we've had a number of incidents where pilots have been shot down and need to operate on the ground. I want to become better at that, this is part of it." Eva moves to the side, a curious expression offered to Emrys as he wanders over.

"No, we've just both been busy." Emrys agrees, as if to make clear he wasn't accusing the other of avoiding him. "Well, I wanted to ask..." And then he trails off, and looks sidelong at Eva. The flaw in his cunning plan. He really hadn't planned on asking this question in front of her. The Virgon clears his throat, and then begins again. "It's just, I was speaking to Nova and she told me you were the one who could explain to me why precisely the two of you have taken to calling me, ah, 'Puppy'." He's not looking at Eva at all as he says that part.

"I can't really fault either of those thoughts. Though," Alain's lips twitch, ruefully, "I'd wonder whether it wouldn't be more useful to learn some more medicine. Seems there's plenty of doctors here at the base, and if you were shot down -- being able to patch up your broken leg'd be more useful than being able to shoot with a rifle, which you'd have to find. But," he grins, abruptly, "Since I can't teach you medicine -- rifles it is." Rifle still pointed face down, he offers it towards Eva, then gestures towards one of the firing booths. Emrys' question, however, might forestall that. "I can't recall that I've ever called you that. Hearing going?" He isn't laughing, but there's definitely a grin there. He rubs at his chin. "Puppy, huh? ...has a ring to it."

"See, I considered that, but what I was told, is that for field medicine, we've already received all of the training we might need. Anything above the standard first aid that we know, is really not going to come up in combat." But then, she was probably speaking to the wrong person, "I think they didn't like the idea of me trying to do something a pilot shouldn't." Alain, of course, doesn't have that problem. "Also, yes, you can teach me this." Eva accepts the rifle, keeping it safely pointed away, as Emrys asks his question, and, well, she can't suppress a snort of amusement, "It does have a nice ring to it."

"Well, perhaps it's merely her that's been actively using it. My hearing is just fine, I'm sure." OOoo, that touched a nerve. Emrys shakes his head. "It...really doesn't. So you're sure you can't tell me why it is that....where that might have come from?" And then Eva joins in. The tops of his ears are' a lovely shade of red.

"I think it's less that and more -- from the Brass's point of view, we all have our roles, and we should stick to them. Which is not a bad idea, but then -- I didn't exactly do that," Alain observes, laughing. "If I'd started as navy, I'd probably have been Captain by now. But variety, etc. Sure you don't want to switch to the marines, Cherry?" he asks, with a grin. Emrys' question receives a shake of his head. "There was some conversation about callsigns -- that's how Flameout became Mittens," something he's particularly proud of, "I can't recall the specifics, though." He might be lying, but then he's laughing, too, so who knows. "Ah, just go with it. The more you fight it, the more it'll stick, Puppy." It's the first time he's used it, and he looks inordinately pleased.

"Possibly, except war doesn't always allow you to stick to the job you signed up for. It would be wonderful if it did, but alas, we're al having to learn to do things we never did before. And it isn't ask if I plan to switch sides." Eva actually manages to look offended at the thought, "So, no, the record is still going to stand. I have a bet on that I'll hit fifty first in the CF, and Marshal's giving me a run for my money." "Marshal" Stenz, still aboard the Galactica was the CFs very first Ace. "I'm clearly missing something here."

Emrys shakes his head, apparently having given up on the matter. "Well, you're certainly not wrong there, Jigger." He agrees at the talk of fighting it, biting down on whatever it looks like he wants to say about Alain looking so pleased with it. Instead, he says "So why all this talk of switching services?"

"That's easy for the brass to say, when they're not at all likely to be shot down themselves." Nora was easily missed a moment ago, a couple of lanes down and hidden behind bulky ear and eye protection. But she's emerged now, glasses pushed up into her hair and earmuffs hanging around her neck. She has a pistol in one hand, and is checking the (empty) magazine as she steps back out to see her fellow pilots. "It's smart to learn whatever you can while if you've the time, I say." Her mouth pulls into a thin, crooked smile, "For whatever pittance that's worth."

"Don't I know it," Alain's agreement with Eva's statement on not sticking to one job. "As long as no one expects me to start in on field surgery, we're all good." He runs a hand down the front of his off-duty uniform, smoothing out some invisible wrinkle. "What're the stakes?" he asks, curiously, always interested in a bet. There's another grin shot Emrys' way, but the Gemenese pilot doesn't seem to intend to rub any salt into the wound, given he says nothing further on the subject. "And if you've the time, certainly," Jigger gives Nora a nod.

"I've always felt a pilot should earn a callsign. Randomly selecting a new one...that tends not to end well." Nora, as she comes around the wall and offers her opinion gets a wave of Eva's hand, as if the gesture were to say, 'See?' "Exactly that." And then to the question at hand, "Not switching services, just learning her skills. And the bet is for a full two weeks of leave." Precious indeed.

"No, it does not." Emrys agrees at the talk of pilots attempting to select new callsigns. "I've seen that plenty of times." There's a raise of an eyebrow then. "That's quite an impressive bet." For all that Jigger may have scored a few hits, he seems comfortable once again. Feathers have been smoothed down.

"Randomly choosing isn't as bad as letting a pilot choose their own, but nearly," Nora agrees. She holsters her weapon since it seems rude to go back to shooting mid-conversation, and adds, "If there's no meaning to it, what's the point?" She brushes sweat-damp hair off the back of her neck, sweeping it up towards her ponytail and asks, "Whose callsign are we maligning?"

"Two weeks?" Alain whistles, clearly impressed. "That's something. What would you do with it?" Since the discussion seems to have derailed any potential firing lessons, he strides over and settles onto a seat, brushing something invisible off his thigh. "Well, there's earning and then earning," the Gemenese pilot observes, with a twitch of lips. "Sometimes a name just suits someone too well not to do. I think 'Mittens' is far better than 'Flameout'... I'd really rather we didn't have an ensign do that."

"And that's precisely the point of most callsigns, isn't it? Here she nods to Nora, once again, "You aren't supposed to like your callsign, usually. Lord knows I don't. I'm sure Flameout doesn't either, or it reminds her of some incident she'd rather forget, but again, that's the point." Eva considers Alain's question, before she glances at Emrys, a wryly amused expression on her face, "Go to Virgon, I suppose."

"I'll admit to being fond of mine, which is unusual." Hawk admits. "But I earned it at the Academy as an instructor, after going through two that were...a lot less pleasant. My first one was really awful." There's a grin at that amused look he gets from Eva. "I think Virgon sounds like an excellent idea."

"Did your students at the academy choose it or your colleagues?" Nora asks Emrys, one brow arched in curiosity. "And what did Flameout do to earn a change already?" she wonders as well, this questions turned toward Alain. Eva's vacation plans earn a slow nod, and she drums her fingers absently against her biceps just below where the tattoo of twining stalks of asphodel in bloom begins, keeping silent on that subject for the moment.

"Well, there was this laundry incident, and Shirts and Socks were already taken..." Alain begins, with a brief, wry expression. "I get it. But by the same token, a callsign shouldn't be used to demoralize. She's a Timber Wolf now." He's not oblivious to the looks and the grins between Eva and Emrys -- it'd be hard to miss -- brows going up briefly, as he pushes to his feet. "By that logic -- we should rename Hawk, but I doubt he'd enjoy that."

"A callsign can and has often been used to demoralize someone. How do you think I ended up with Cherry? And you know why I didn't ever let myself have a new one? because I damned well wanted to remember where it came from and that I was better than that." Eva shrugs, settling into a lean at the counter, "Sometimes the best revenge is taking the things people intend to be hurtful and embracing it. Turning it against them."

"Colleagues. Partly based on how I acted toward my students." Emrys tells Nora. There's a pause then, as he considers Alain's words. "Well, I wouldn't enjoy it. But I think I'd have to take your earlier advice. The more I'd fight it, the worse it would be."

Nora glances between Eva and Alain, but doesn't appear inclined to get any further involved in the question of Verity's callsign in particular. Emrys's she nods, "That's at least not a complete compliment," she says, "I was afraid it had something to do with hawklike vision in the cockpit, and a callsign certainly shouldn't be flattering, whatever else it is." She flashes the older pilot a smile and then twists back to Alain as he stands. "Is Jigger to do with dancing, or like a jigger of rum?"

"It can, and it does," Alain concedes, with ease. "But that doesn't mean we have to condone it. Callsigns can change over time," he gestures towards Emrys as if he's proof of that, giving a nod to the other pilot's words. "Maybe," with a brief twitch of lips, "You should take the ensign under your wing." Nora's question has him clearing his throat, awkwardly. "More like too much rum and a dance on a bar... that shall never, ever be repeated," he says, fervently, "Despite my fellow graduates requesting every time I catch up with them."

Eva seems to be inclined to disagree with Alain, but not to argue with him. Likely one of the reasons the pair have remained friends for so long. Instead, she moves to the small collection of equipment she brought with her, allowing the conversation to flow around her for the time being. She does, though, see fit to answer Alain's comment, "As a senior pilot, all of the junior pilots are under my wing. I'm always happy to help as I'm needed."

"Ha!" It's Hawk's turn to seem inordinately pleased, as Alain spills the story of his callsign and the embarassment boot is on the other foot. He apparently is willing to talk about his own misdemeanors, however, eludicating for Nora "To give an example of what Jigger is saying, and be more specific...I started out as Hussy." Yeah, not proud of that one. "And then became Dice, before I was finally Hawk."

"Both, even better," Nora replies to Alain, her smile now finally wide enough to show teeth. "I promise I won't press for a reenactment, at least not in front of the Capricans." Emrys's earns a soft huff of a surprised laugh and a sympathetic nod. "I was Nudes. A play on my name, Skinner, not that anyone ever believed that. It took years for the get old enough to see it changed."

Alain's gaze follows Eva, shifting his weight for a moment. "You know what I mean. I assume Hawk told you what happened in the mock battle with the Capricans?" He gives Emrys a wry look at his obvious pleasure. "Dice isn't so bad. I assume it was a taking chance thing, and not a, chopping your finger off thing, anyway." But yeah, Hussy. He's wincing at that one. Nora's words earn a grimace. "Only one who ever got an enactment was Banshee -- and that was only because she smoked me getting to double ace. How'd you get Shirts?"

"Yes, I did, but I'm open to helping any of them, if they need it." Eva looks up, back to the small cluster of pilots, "And yes, he told me. And I told him, she should have been the one to extend her apologies, but he chose to do it as he was flight lead. She dodged a bullet on that. That's not the sort of shit we tolerate in the Timber Wolves, and she should have known better."

"Right, exactly." Emrys confirms for Alain. "I was young and thought I was invincible and would live forever, so I was flying like it. And you know what they say. If the cap fits..." Not that you have any choice but to wear it, when it comes in the form of a callsign. He chooses to remain silent on the matter of the mock battle, other than making a face. Not his favorite memory.

Nora continues to try to sidestep around some of the more uncomfortable threads of this conversation, wincing faintly at the mention of the exercises with the Capricans, but withholding comment on it for now in favor of answering Alain's question. "I won a game of strip poker because I was wearing an unusual number of shirts." She shrugs, but there's a hint of a smirk around her eyes all the same. "Not intentionl, of course. It was winter and I believe in layering."

"The more she hears it, the more likely it will sink in," Alain observes, with a little, flat grin. Smoothing down his shirt, he steps over towards her, and says, "Here. Ready to shoot some things?" He gives a nod towards Emrys, saying, "We've got plenty enough of those in the Wolves these days. Wouldn't be surprised if we end up with a 'Dice' of our own." Nora's answer has him chuckling. "Good to know... no betting with you, just in case."

"Or just make sure you only play strip poker with her in the middle of summer, on the beach, when she's wearing a bikini." This, this is why Eva's a captain. At Alain's question, she nods, using a hand to help leverage herself back to her feet. "As ready as I'll ever be, yes."

"Wouldn't be suprised either." Emrys sighs. "It'd be fun to pass along, if it wasn't for the fact I'm convined the recipient is likely to get themselves killed." He survived just fine, though. At the talk of them shooting, he steps back a little to be out of the way. Apparently he intends to stay and watch, though. Strip poker? Goes entirely uncommented on.

@emit "May not be worth the risk in encouraging them," Nora agrees with Emrys mildly, "Unless they can take it for the warning it's meant to be. And I sunburn terribly," she adds, the edge of her smile returning, "Even at the beach there might be a shirt or two to account for." She checks her sidearm at her hip and tucks her thumb idly behind her belt, fidling with the sacuring strap. "I should leave you to it," she says as Eva and Alain take up rifles, "I'm sure I'll see you all later. Good shooting, Cherry."

"Good tip," Alain says, wryly, "See you later, Shirts," he adds, shooting a brief glance at Nora, before Emrys earns a curious look. "You have someone particular in mind, Hawk?" He asks, as he moves in to Eva's side. "Okay. Position your feet to distribute your weight like normal," he starts instructing, watching her closely. This will different to the pistol. The recoil's going to be stronger, and you want to use your whole body to help absorb that shock, by resting the stock here," he taps her shoulder. "Keep it tight, so it doesn't end up just smacking you in the shoulder. The muzzle will buck up, too, so you're going to have to adjust after every shot for recoil -- or on a burst, you 'adjust' on the fly to keep it on target. That's going to take a little more practice -- so let's just stick with single shot for now."

Eva, settling into work mode, seems to, for the time being, give up her stake in the conversation on call signs. Instead, she turns all of her attention to Alain, listening in silence to his instructions, moving her body into the correct position, allowing him to correct her. It's, in it's own way, an easy companionship. She the student, he the teacher, and an arrangement that suits them well. And for a while at least, she's content to take instruction, and shoot a few hapless innocents. I mean, targets. After that, who's to say?


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