2237-09-30 - Grounds For Discussion

Brand new to the Dauntless, Nicole sleepily finds her way into the squadron office, where Ines has spent a long, tired evening reviewing her combat footage. War is waged against bad coffee.

Date: 2237-09-30

Location: Squadron Office

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1434

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Time has very little meaning for most of the pilots aboard the Dauntless. CAPs run at all hours according to necessity rather than the movement of any suns, and between scheduled missions and periods of Alert they remain shipside, where day and night have no bearing on the rhythms of life. So really, Ines could not for the life of her tell anyone what time it is if they asked, sitting inside of the air wing's common office with a tablet propped at an angle in front of her at one of the desks, a notepad beside her, pen in hand. Elbow on the desk and her crown tilted into that propped-up hand, she has the look of someone who isn't thrilled with what they're doing. Something about her posture seems knotted up.
The screen displays multiple things, depending on which feed she's focusing at the time: DRADIS, other instrumentation readouts, or the flight camera from the cockpit of a viper.

Nicole looks somewhat awake, though not entirely, as she has her cup of coffee in hand and starts to half-shuffle into the Squadron Office. An area that would probably be pretty strange for a Marine to wander into on the best of days, let alone half awake. She raises the cup, takes a sip and then turns toward a desk. She stops, takes a few shuffling steps down the way and just sees desk, desk, desk, desk. Hm.
Like an automated vacuum of old, she takes this to mean that she is unable to progress in this fashion and so turns ninety degrees, then another. She must be backwards. She takes a step and- desk. Hm. This is not making any sense. She raises the cup and takes another sip of coffee as her head starts to slowly turn about and her blue eyes really begin to take in her surroundings.

"Half a second," says the lone figure at the desk absently, to the sound of footsteps behind her. She says them in a mellow way, distracted, but clearly not to herself. "Half a second slow. Every time."
Ines draws a long breath and exhales it slowly, with some force, sitting up out of her forward lean and tilting back in her chair to slump against it, rubbing gently at her eyes. It leaves her vision just blurry enough that when she turns her head and opens them to look blearily at the new figure in the room, it takes her a moment to realize they aren't a pilot. She blinks several times, then uses one boot on the floor to push herself more upright in her seat. "Allo? Are you looking for someone?"

"Hm?" Nicole says, her vision clearing up that bit more, another long blink and she reaches her free hand up to scratch at her head while she gives another slurp of coffee. A look around once more and she says in her own absent sort of way, "This isn't where I parked the Athena." She starts to turn back the other way, like this might be the spot then another pause. Finally she speaks up more clearly.
"This is the Dauntless." A nod of her head to confirm this, then she raises her cup to the pilot.
"Morning, ma'am."

Even unattended, the tablet continues to play out its looping footage of the previous evening's flight. Ines lifts a brow and one corner of her mouth goes with it, the amusement helping to slough away the weariness of whatever she's doing. Two little descending notes of mirth sound in her throat. "No, I shouldn't think it would fit."
Morning gets a different sort of brow-arch, and she glances down, stretching her arm out to pull her shirtsleeve back and then angling her wrist back toward her face, gaze dropped to the sport watch she's wearing. "Is it? Ai, no wonder." As she slides out of her chair and makes her way toward the meeting space where an abandoned pot of coffee sits, scorched-bitter and cold, she asks curiously, "Did you just transfer to the Dauntless, then?"

"No, I fear it would be a bit small." The Marine half grumbles as she picks at a spot on her head, then scratches vigorously which makes the whole pass of it look even more tousled than it did before. Another slurp of the hot coffee in her mug.
"Gods." She mutters, her eyes looking toward where the pilot is going, "Do any of you know how to brew a half-way decent cup? If you're going to drink that, lemme go get some used oil from the deck to toss in there. Should at least give it a more interesting flavor."
She takes a sort of clomping step as her boot half-way falls from her foot (the laces appear to be just tucked under the tongue of the shoe for the moment). "Recently. Still getting used to it. I make a wrong turn now and again."

The coffee still pours. It hasn't quite reached the 'caffeinated sludge' phase of its lifespan. "Honestly? I've thought for some time now that soldiers feel it's a badge of honor to drink bad coffee." She doesn't fill it to the brim, and the reason for that becomes plain soon enough, as one tiny pod of creamer after another meets its end. "At this point, I probably wouldn't notice the oil either."
She picks up the cup with its over-creamed contents and turns, easing her hip back against the edge of the table and giving the marine in front of her a thoughtful look. "I'm new as well. Only just getting settled in, really." A beat, and then she holds out her hand. "I'm Ines." The last name is printed right there on her duty fatigues, so she doesn't bother.

"You know, some people think that way, but in my experience - with the Marines anyhow - that's not quite right, Ma'am." She climps a bit closer. She's wearing her duty-greens at the moment and she gives a little gesture toward the coffee pot. "Only if there's something to do, then maybe. It's about what'll kick your ass harder." Nicole raises the cup and gives another sip of her own cup as the eyes look toward Ines'.
"Like, we'll take the sugar, instant, pudding, and any other sugary-caffinated substance we can find, and stir it into a sludge... or add it to bad coffee. That'll kick your teeth in." A pull of her lips into a smile, "But if we're jawin' around, we make good coffee and usually put someone in charge of it. At least, that's how it was with my platoon on the Athena." She pauses, looking toward the hand with a bit of a pause of her own. Blink. Reaches her hand out, and clasps it before looking back up.
"Corporal Nicole Siska, ma'am."

Ines has a pretty firm handshake for someone whose life doesn't appear to revolve around brawn. An easy smile, too, of the type that radiates warmth when it isn't wry. "Nice to meet you, Corporal. Just call me Ines, hm?" She shifts her weight, retrieving her hand to wrap it around her mug with the other, though there's no warmth to leech from the mug. "Or Kestrel. Ma'am is...weird." For a lot of reasons, actually, but she doesn't delve into it.
"On Leonis, the Navy is very particular about its coffee, as well! But there, I was only with the air wing. There wasn't really any mingling with ground troops." Lifting her mug, she hovers it in front of her mouth, thoughtful. Realizing, and a little surprised: "Actually, I think I know more Marines since joining the CF than pilots." Pause.
"I think there are many other transfers from the Athena, from conversations I've overheard. Have you met them yet?"

"Well, ma'am doesn't end up with me getting written up. But, I suppose if you'll stick to your kews about it." She says with a smile curving her lips as she gives a short glance about her. She gives another sip, and shrugs her shoulders before waffling her head back and forth.
"There's a lot more fraternization on this boat than the larger one." A raise of an eyebrow as she hears the next part, "I probably knew them - or at least of them - I recently ran into Sergeant Akeso again." A nod of her head a couple times and nods her head slowly before her eyes start to dance around inside the office space.
"So... how about them Buccaneers?" Still a classic ice breaker, right?

"I always stick to my kews," Ines ripostes, though that's a reminder of what she came here to do in the first place, and she shoots the tablet a look from where she's standing, humor flickering. "Or try, anyway," she amends in a murmur that isn't quite morose, but pretends to be. One long sip from her mug later, she eases up out of her lean and recrosses to the desk she was using, finally flipping off the display on the tablet with a sigh. "Ah. I've met Akeso. Just...in passing."
She sets the tablet atop the notepad, leaves the pen on the desk, and picks up pad and tablet, tucking them beneath her arm. Gestures, loosely, at the door. "Can I help you find the room you were actually looking for? I think I've got my bearings, now." You know. Mostly.
"You'd think I'd be able to follow Pyramid more closely, what with everyone else watching it, but..."

"No, ma'am." Nicole comes back with, a shake of her head, "Now that I've got most of a cup of coffee in me - I know where I'm supposed to go." She reaches up with her free hand and taps her head lightly on the side.
"Pretty good memory, when it's working." She gives the woman another smile, a raise of her eyebrows, "Any place you're looking for? Or were you just enjoying looking over some footage there and now finally realizing it's well past when you should've turned in?"
Nikki raises her cup to give another sip, a slow blink and that eyebrow still raised. Not judging persay, more a ''I bet I'm right, aren't I?'' sort of look to her as she enjoys that sip that was just a little too long to not be noticed.
"I don't follow it much either, to be honest."

Her laugh is quiet, but sympathetic. "I am also not a morning person," Ines confides, brows stitched together. "I was told when I enlisted that I'd eventually adjust, but..." She pulls the curve of her mouth in, lips pressed together. Not so much, says the expression.
Mention of the footage drops her gaze to the items cradled in the crook of her elbow, and this time the knit of her brows is subtler, something of her earlier weariness in it. "Reviewing my performance. I had a poor showing last night on a flight. And the flight before that." Her eyes unfocus a little, tracing the memories in question, and then she returns to herself and lifts them to train back on the blonde. "Half a second too late, firing. Every time. Or less, but..." Air leaks out of her slowly, her expression helpless, rueful. "Half a second is an eternity in a viper."

Her shoulders give a lopsided shrug, one side rising higher than the other with her head tilting in the direction of the lower shoulder. "Half a second is an eternity in many things. I mean, time itself is subjective, so it's not really all that surprising." A wry smile stretches along her lips, "Though I'm guessing you're not being quite so philosophic." Nicole gives a nod, a shift to her other leg, and leans against one of the desks next to her.
"What they mean by adjust is that you'll find yourself able to get up, not that you'll like it." She raises her cup and takes another sip, "At least as far as I can tell. It's not like I've been in that long -- only since the uprising."

"No. Not philosophic," Ines admits, through a half-smile that isn't really a smile. It's tight, tired. The fact of her own failure to live up to her standards is a weight hung on her shoulders.
But nobody likes a moper, and she's had more than enough of her own disappointment in the last twelve to sixteen hours, anyway, so she chooses to settle in and think about something, anything else, helpfully assisted by a new face. "Ah. I see." This look of disappointment is a fabrication. "I've been hoping one day that would change."
She lifts her cup for a sip, but it stops just shy, both of her brows lifting. "Me, too. Since the Uprising, I mean. There are some others I've met who didn't come from a military background, but it seems to be the exception, not the rule." She does finally take that sip, holding it in her mouth while she mulls her next question. "You are from Tauron? You sound like my bunkmate."

The woman pauses with the cup half way to her lips and she raises an eyebrow, "Wow, you definitely had a fast track if you are flying Vipers already." She nods her head a little more slowly, giving the woman a quick once over from head to toe as she continues raising the cup and drinks the last of her coffee from the mug. A sad look down into the now empty receptacle... another downed soldier. Alas!
"Oh." A glance back up as if in surprise as Nicole asks a question that snatches her from the forlorn look, "Why yes I am. Who's your bunkmate?"

"College," Ines says, with a shrug that seems strangely uneasy, her gaze sliding off to the side. The explanation for her fast-track. Better: the smile she has when Nicole asks about her bunkmate. "Corporal Tomak. He's a combat engineer. There's another Tauron in our berth, too...Aleksander Davy." It's Davion, actually, but as nobody ever calls him that within earshot of Ines, she carries on, oblivious to her mistake. "They're alright." Pause. "Not that I'd ever say that in front of them."

A little swirl... nope, nope, there's not even enough in that bottom to get the faintest of sips. She sets down the cup, and promptly pours what's left of the Squadron Office's coffee into another coffee cup before emptying it all out. Completely. Half way looking like she's going to tear the whole machine apart to get rid of what she seems to view as the most reprehensible coffee in the fleet. A frown as she gives a glance back toward Ines.
"Even still. I thought it was around two years not counting Officer school?" She raises an eyebrow, and turns back toward the task at hand. She's literally scraping out the old coffee (residue and otherwise) from the filter. With her hand. Getting into all the nooks and crannies.
"I think I've heard of those two. Haven't met them yet."

All Ines can do is shrug. Her piloting is a sore subject this eve-...aft-...morning? "I just go where they tell me." More or less true.
She watches everything the blonde does in her crusade to purge the vile remnants of coffee brewed more for effect than for taste. Her own has so much cream in it that it's a wonder it tastes like coffee anymore at all -- a decidedly un-Leonese way to partake of cafe, as it happens. "You can usually find them in the crew lounge. Aleksander is in there reading 'Girlz'n'Gunz' -- " She rolls her eyes, but it happens alongside a smile, " -- and Tomak is taking cubits off of people dumb enough to play Triad with 'im. It's not a bad place to meet people, but they'll all try to fleece you." Thoughtful pause. What else? "The pool table is rubbish."

A glance over toward Ines again as she gives another good shake of the coffee filter toward the trash, add a little water, swish, swish, pour the cowboy coffee into the remnants mug and now for the coup de grace! She moves the abysmal coffee to the front like someone was kind enough to pour an extra cup for the next person to walk by.
"Oh I know that mag." Nicole says with a rather dry tone, desert dry, before glance back, "I swear that company must be making a killing with this war." She turns back to the task at hand and starts pouring grounds in, then out of nowhere seems to produce a small container. A few sprinkles of the light brown powder, then slide that sucker on home with a click. Just need the water now.
"I've stopped by the lounge, not really my scene though." A look over toward Ines again, "I'll remember Tomak is the shark though. Thanks."

What was only idle interest gradually becomes more genuinely curious as it becomes clear the marine is not only razing the interior of the coffee machine, she's actually going to make more, presumably up to her own standards. Ines watches with increasing amounts of engagement, gaze moving from the marine's hands to her face and back again at intervals, depending on what she's doing.
"Probably," she agrees, of the magazine. One neatly-trimmed fingernail taps the side of her mug a few times. "Not your scene? Why?" And that begets, naturally, the question that follows: "What is your scene?"

Well, she was going to make a pot, and also has that one landmine of a coffee cup for any unsuspecting victim. She fills up the coffee machine with water, places the pot under and Tick! It's turned on and begins to make the noises of brewing. "I dunno, just too many people I suppose. I prefer things to be a bit quieter, a bit more controlled." A glance back over her shoulder with a wiggle of her eyebrows to the pilot.
"I guess I just like being able to control my surroundings." A grin and she turns, leaning back against the counter next to the coffee pot. She holds her coffee mug again - though still empty - with her fingers arrayed around the lip instead of holding it by the handle.

Crowds? Ines gets that. There was a time there for a while, just after the Uprising...
But the followup? Both of her brows shoot up, her laugh short but full. "You're in the wrong outfit for that," she muses, smile lingering somewhere behind the lip of her mug. "This lot is not easy to control. In the field, yes. Control, control, control. Off of it?" She shakes her head slowly and makes a soft tch sound, though her disapproval is false, the very first-ever motes of something like affection rising in her for her new counterparts in the Wolves. "Like they make up for all of the time they have to spend controlled. You probably heard about Caprica."

The blonde gives a short shake of her head, making some of the hair flick over the shoulder and fall down the front. "Well, not quite the joke I was making, but glad to still see that pilots can laugh." Nicole gives a wide grin in return but holds short of laughing. A glance back toward the coffee pot, nope, still brewing with its gurgling noises even. Back to Ines.
"I didn't." Nikki responds with a shake of her head from side-to-side, "What exactly was I supposed to hear about? I was a bit busy with all the transfer nonsense."

Slowly, Ines allows her amused look to turn more wry, even a bit sly as she turns her head to regard the other woman out of the corners of her eyes. "Pilots laugh all the time. In the face of death, every time we climb into the cockpit, didn't you know?"
Her eyes are still glittering as she rolls her thoughts back to memories of Caprica. "There was a bit of a scuffle between the Wolves and the locals. Things were said, people got angry -- I'm not actually sure what set it off, but I do remember looking up to see the CAG throw her drink in some Caprican's face." There's still some wonder associated with that thought, as though processing the reality of it is still an ongoing effort. Admiration too, in some part. "Some people were brigged. Not many, though."

"And Marines laugh every times Pilots climb into the cockpit too." Nicole smiles, surpressing it only by the fact that she turns to look back at the coffee machine which stopped gurgling for a moment. Damn, still going.
"Especially when they didn't check to see if the canopy was open first." She adds, as she looks back with a raise of her eyebrows and the smile replaced by a grin. "That does sound interesting though, funny that it was the CAG that did it, I would've guessed it'd be a knuckle dragger rather than a flier."

None of this appears to scandalize Ines. She tilts her head back and forth just a little, eyes turning upward, not quite into a roll but certainly a flippant way to receive the usual jousting from the boots on the ground. "Mmhm. We know." She, too, pauses as the coffee machine stops making noise, making for a momentary break in the conversation. The saga continues, though. She hoists her cup, drains most of what remains. "It probably would have been if she hadn't gone ahead with it." She's pretty sure she knows who would've been leading the charge, too, but like hell she's going to finger anybody.
"It's a good group," she says after a brief pause, with a kind of weight -- like she's just now deciding that this is true, herself. "It's difficult to be the rookie again, but nobody's gone out of their way to rub my nose in it."

"Probably got enough ensigns these days." Nicole muses as she turns fully toward the coffee machine and sets her cup down with a click. She picks up the fresh pot and pours herself a new cup before filling up Ines' next and then returning it to the machine.
"The secret is a bit of cinnamon and - preferably - a mild roast." A bit of a dry smile, "Everyone things dark roast has more caffeine. They're wrong." A shake of her head and then she picks up her own cup.
"Of course looks like you guys stock a medium." A shrug.

The refill comes as a surprise, but Ines doesn't decline it. She chances a look at the little container of creamer, but it seems somehow rude to drown this new and improved coffee in something that would smother the actual flavor, and so she contents herself with a brew significantly more punchy than she would usually take. A born diplomat. Really.
As she sips, she studies this newest of her acquaintences in silence. "You don't look like you were a barista before the war." It's not a question, but it still reads as an invitation.

"It would probably be easier to tell you what I wasn't than what I was." Nicole says with a little bit of a wiggle to her hips as she settles back against the counter again. She raises her cup, takes a breath of the coffee, then sips it.
"I did a lot of jobs. I was actually a gardener once." A pause as her eyes flick up and to the side, "I loved the little trees, cutting them into shapes." She shrugs, "It was kind of fun. Oh, and then there was the time I was in pool service. I didn't care for that one much."

Unintended bullseye for cultivating interest in Ines. She draws a sharp little breath and smiles, obviously pleased, after the word 'gardener.' "Me, too. I mean..." Hesitating, she waves one hand dismissively, expression slightly self-deprecating. "Not professionally, but I loved to garden. I spent a lot of time in -- there was a, we had a small greenhouse at home. Very old." As with most happy thoughts that originate in a time before the Uprising, dwelling on it too long is an invitation to more complex, less warm-and-fuzzy feelings, and she avoids that by putting the focus back on the marine. "So then, what were you not?"

"Oooo." Nicole says as her eyebrows bunch up, a slow shaking of her head as she starts trying to think about it. Her nail clicks lightly at the side of the cup as her eyes start to trail up and to the side. "Hmm."
"Well, I was never a CEO, or any management at a corporation." More clicking and a pause for a sip of coffee, "I... hm." tick, tick, tick, "Oh, I never was a college student - that's sort of like a job." tick, tick, tick, "Uhh, never was a scientist?" A raise of her eyebrows and she grins widely at the other woman she's drinking coffee with.
"Oh, never worked fast food."

Listening, Ines reaches up to drag the tie out of her hair, razing fingertips over her scalp in the back, eyes tightening. Ponytail scalp is the worst. Putting it back up again after that requires setting her cup down, so she does, and she's gathering the lot of it together to resituate in a bun higher up at the back of her head when the list concludes. "You're right. Much shorter, as a list. I'm going to assume you've just done everything else for the sake of efficiency."
What she does not ask is, 'why did you enlist?' Given the timing? It seems pretty obvious. Assumptions are made. And she doesn't ask about the future, either. No 'what about when the war is over?' from Ines. Not now, or ever. "Well, I'm glad you found your way here, if for no other reason than the sudden uptick in the quality of coffee. Don't forget to stop by the squadron office now and again and remind the air wing what real cafe tastes like, hm?" She picks up the cup, staring down into it. "Thanks for this, also." She raises it, in a small toast, and follows that with a tired smile. "I should probably get some rack time. I'm -- it was a long night."

"I need to start my shift anyway." Nicole says as she looks down into her mug, she reaches back to top off her cup first before looking back to Ines. "It's not exactly all inclusive, but it's a safe bet that I've done a number of those jobs no one really thinks of." She gives a wry smile and a shake of her head.
"If you ever need someone to whip up a drink at the bar, just ask." She raises a hand, wiggling her fingers as a means of saying bye. I mean, Ines was being very un-officer like after all.
"Or if you're ever looking for some reigning in." A sip of her coffee and she hum a bit looking down to the cup, "Really wish it was a light roast." And she'll start off back toward the door she came in through.


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