A simple lunch goes... awry.
Location: Argyros Base Mess
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 520
The mess is full of people coming off duty at the base, looking to grab a quick meal. Of course, for many Timber Wolves, it's far more appealing to eat outside the base, if just for the novelty of it. Gage, however, is not one of those. His plate is heaped with food, and he's settling down at the most empty table -- which still has a couple of Capricans at it. There's a brief exchange of glances, a moment of tension when they spot his all-too-Tauron tattoos, but nothing more, the marine's shoulders hunching as he sets in to eat.
It's become rather common that Sarita gets her meals 'to go.' She'll get something in the Mess Hall and return to the Infirmary to eat at her desk. Usually a salad or a couple of sandwiches. Today is almost no different until she's stepping into line and spots Gage leaving it. There's a hint of indecision before she makes a change in plans when the Tauran marine sits himself at the table with the Capricans. The surgeon gets herself through the chow line (with a surprisingly unhealthy meal) and makes her way to that same table. She drops her tray, without a word, at the seat across from Gage... and turns away again to move for the drink station.
She's gone only a moment to fill one of the to-go cups with coffee (black, no cream or sugar) before she finally returns to claim her seat proper and pull the tray to center before her.
Gage is in full hermit mode. He doesn't even look up when someone drops a tray in front of him, though there's a grunt that could be taken as a warning as he stuffs his mouth. It's only when whoever it is returns that he finally deigns to glance up, brows flickering upwards briefly in recognition of the doctor. "Hargrave," is all he says, in between bites.
"Tomak," Sarita answers, in a quiet, but genial tone. She considers her tray. There's few greens; they must be buried. A lot of meat and other starches. She's even grabbed a dessert. If she were dieting, one could call it a cheat day. Picking up her fork in one hand, the woman reaches for her coffee with the other. She takes a long drink, before following up the greeting with: "Your friend will be fine. He was sleeping things off last I saw him."
After a moment, Gage gives a grunting correction, "Aint a friend. Just another marine. Helped him out, is all." Still, he gives a nod, presumably mute thanks for the update. He pauses in shoveling food long enough to reach for his mug and take a long gulp. Another pair of Capricans enter and settle at the table, earning a long look from Gage, but after a moment he returns to his meal.
"Ah." Sarita doesn't apologize in the wake of the correction, but just gives a small nod. "He wasn't there when I got in today, so I presume he was sent on his way to bathe." Beat. "I hope." There's a twitch at the corner of her mouth as she begins to eat her own meal. The woman looks sidelong towards the two Capricans that join their table before she looks back to her own tray. She sets her mug down, hand falling to her lap. "A shame we don't have our own... area."
"Fix 'em up, churn 'em out." Gage has clearly dealt with medical for some time, a flat sort of humor in the words. Her latter comment makes the Tauron lift a brow, surprise briefly flickering across his expression. "You got a thing against Capricans?" He says it in the same level voice, maybe enough to carry, maybe not. Certainly, there's another brief look down their end of the table.
There's a slight twitch of Sarita's lips at Gage's words; humor or not, it is a slight dig at her field. Then again, every 'branch' within their overall umbrella does it to one another. "We'll prop you up with sticks if we must, grunt." The smile broadens, briefly, until his question. The Canceronian woman sits up a bit straighter, her hands dropping to her lap. "Well..." She tries to ignore the looks cast their way. "I... did not, but I can't say I like their attitudes or being called a publicity stunt. It's left a bad taste in my mouth."
"Sounds about right," Gage grunts, in between mouthfuls. When Sarita straightens up, it earns her a lifted brow from the marine. There's a flickered smile, brief and fleeting. "Try what we did. Punch it out." He gestures, with a vague flicker of fingers, down the other end of the table.
"Why, Tomak, am I not surprised you were part of that?" Sarita's shoulders are shaking a bit with laughter as she reaches for her fork again. "I had to treat a few of those that came in the following morning with eyes swollen shut." She shakes her head, tsk'ing under her breath in a good-natured way. There's a subtle glance to the other end of the table. "Mmm, I doubt the Medical Chief would appreciate one of his surgeons starting a brawl in the Mess Hall." She takes a bite of her meal and after she's swallowed, adds: "Perhaps I should just spill a drink on one the next time I go out."
"Part of what?" Gage is playing dumb apparently, or he's just habitually used to denying anything. "You patched me up last time." The first time, when they first met. To her latter words, there's a half shift of his shoulders in a slack shrug. "Wouldn't. Don't think you've got the balls to get away with that. Stirling did, but kinda surprised she's still CAG." There's just a little bit of admiration for the woman, even when she is navy.
"Do you just not get hurt enough in combat, Tomak?" Sarita's lips twitch slightly, but the expression fades when he accuses her of not having the balls to dump a drink on a Caprican. "Oh, come on, what makes you say that?" She looks genuinely wounded. "Just because I'm not a soldier doesn't mean I didn't make it through basic. I've spent plenty of time in field hospitals since the war began. I'm not fresh in from civilian life, you know."
Gage looks, frankly, confused at the doctor's comment. "Get hurt plenty in combat. Got the scars to prove it," he says, as he shovels more food into his mouth. He gives another of those half-completed shrugs by way of answer. "Just a feeling, is all." Maybe it's a challenge, maybe it's just an observation. Either way he flickers a look up at her to see her reaction.
The surgeon opts to leave his confusion where it lies. Or perhaps she's just bothered more by how he's needling her, in turn. She prods at her meal, but doesn't seem so inclined to eat, now. Sarita picks up her coffee, tapping a blunted nail at the side of the paper cup. She takes a sip, staring at him with dark eyes over the rim as she takes a sip. "I think your feeling," the air quotes are implied, "is wrong. Are you game for a bit of a sparring match, marine?"
Gage is undoubtedly aware of her sudden lack of appetite, head tipping briefly as he sets down his fork and reaches for his mug. "Guess we'll never know," he says, then, a brief, fleeting smile appearing before it's conceal by the lift of mug to his lips. He gives her a bit of an up and down assessment. Not in the way a man might evaluate a woman, more the assessment of a marine of his opponent. "Not particularly. Ask Arda or Wagner."
"I don't know either of those names," Sarita points out, disappointment coloring her tone. "Fine. How else can I prove myself to you, Tomak?" She props her elbows on the table, holding her cup of coffee. "I dislike this idea that you think me weak about as much as I dislike Capricans thinking me part of a publicity stunt."
"They're about your stature. If you want to learn how to--" but Gage stops pretty quickly once she continues, giving a snort as he sets his mug down. "Aint got shit to prove to me. I'm just a nobody grunt."
There's a furrow in Sarita's brow at his last statement and something pained crosses her features. She lowers her mug, though her hands don't leave it. Her shoulders just narrow inward to account for how the whole act just draws her wrists in close. It's a whole narrowing of her frame and it draws her gaze downward, too. She starts to say something, but stops, pursing her lips instead as she stays put for the moment.
Although Gage takes account of her expression, it's clear he has no idea why she has such a strong reaction. He doesn't say anything, just reaches for his fork and keeps eating.
There's a look down to her tray and Sarita finally lifts her coffee and finishes it off. She wedges the cup onto the tray itself and reaches down to grasp he sides. She taps a finger against the side of it. "I had thought-" No, that's not right. Tap, tap, tap. "I had hoped," better. "We could be friends. I don't have any here, yet." She gets to her feet, taking the tray with her as she does. "I'll leave you to your Capricans."
That earns a reaction -- one of frank surprise on Gage's part, though it's swiftly followed by confusion, and something more blank. He doesn't try and stop her when she stands, gaze flickering to watch her departure, before, after a moment's consideration, he resumes eating.