Back on the //Dauntless//, Astraea entertains a few visitors in sickbay and seeks reassurance that she's in the proper reality this time.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1466
It took drugs to get Astraea's hand treated. Morpha, for sure. Probably a good dose of a numbing agent as well. Sadly, there's no opportunities on the ship to soak in a hot bath so the shower she -- finally -- got was just enough to get clean and rid herself of days of grime. Most of it's perfunctory. The medical needs tended to first; everything else second. Once her hand is treated and bandaged and the pilot put on a drip to help speed up hydration, she's tucked away for recovery with a meal. A not wholly appetizing meal as it's pretty much just broth, but a meal nonetheless. The others are still being treated or off in rooms of their own. For the moment, the Scorpian is on her own, but easily located within the Dauntless sickbay.
The vipers escorting the raptors and their occupants back are the last to land on deck. Thankfully there's no opposition, and they return unscathed. There's still rituals to go through, though -- post-flight habits that make life bearable -- such rituals sacrosanct to Alain in particular. And so, he's dressed in neat BDU's and crisp pants, hair still damp by the time he makes it to sickbay. He gives a nod to the doctors on duty, but his gaze is flickering over the occupants even as he does so.
To be honest, Nicole was mostly just curious about this woman who was captured by the Cylons. She had heard about it, but never actually seen it. It would be a bit tacky to just spring questions on people so, instead, she strips out of the mission's gear to her green BDUs and finds herself walking to the Infirmary. A soft step and a slide through the place like she knows where she's going so she's not really asked many questions, just ''doing her job'' right?
It's rare that Astraea doesn't go through the ritual of tending her hair post-shower, but here it is; wet and just a mess of curls. It's just going to be more work later, but the thousand-yard stare she's giving the foot of her bed speaks to the amount of fraks she has to give such things. Her right hand is curled in against her abdomen and her left just holds her spoon, though she makes no effort to actually ferry broth to her mouth. The curtain around her bed -- since she's not so injured to require more than a night or two of observation -- is only partially closed. It'll be easy enough to locate her.
It's not uncommon for Ines to take a shower after a long patrol or particularly harrowing scramble -- neither of which this latest rescue mission was. Nevertheless, that's where she's been since almost the moment she landed, after clawing at the seal on her helmet to tear it off and stumbling off of the landing deck, her wan, stricken face a rather delicate shade of green. When she finally emerges she's pink from an excessive amount of scrubbing and still looking slightly pale but she has a couple of bundles in her arms -- little packages wrapped in brown paper and taped.
She advances on a nurse when she arrives, and attempts to hand them all off. The nurse accepts three, but turns to point at Astraea's bed and refuses the fourth. Ines blinks that way, pales for the second time, and tries again to hand the package off, but the nurse is having none of it, in that I have better things to do than hold packages for somebody who is awake, so drop the damn thing off yourself kind of way.
Pausing for a moment, Alain glances at Nicole, and nods -- certainly he doesn't seem apt to doubt her reasoning for being here. Since the nurse seems busy (distracted?) with Ines, he moves past, slowing briefly to regarding the marines who were brought out, and Hawk -- before he heads for Astraea's bed. "Nova?" he calls. "Are you -- hey," he says, as he peeks around the curtain and spots her.
Nicole just stays back for the moment, a look back to Alain and then she hears words behind her. She turns about, looking toward the woman trying to pass off the bundles. She gives a slow raise of the eyebrow as she watches her for a moment then turns back to look toward the others. She tilts her head slowly to the side, then begins to step forward. It's a slow step, and she goes about trying to look busy, folding this and that off to the side as if that's what she was actually here for.
The first sign of 'life' in Astraea comes when she hears Alain's voice. She drops the spoon and looks up, blinking at him. Then blinks a few more times, trying to ward off the tears that suddenly well up in her eyes. She reaches an arm out towards the Gemenes pilot. On reflex, it's the bad one; covered in bandages and everything. "Jigger." Her voice is still a touch raw, so it comes out more a whisper than anything else. If the presence of other people bothers her, she doesn't show it. At the moment, she's mostly focused on the appearance of her best friend.
Plus, in sickbay, there's always people about. You have to somewhat expect it.
The look on Ines' face is defeated and a little helpless in a worried kind of way, turning to look at Nova's bed, as the nurse bustles off on more important business. Unlike Nicole, she doesn't even attempt to play off the reason she's here, taking a perched seat on the end of an empty bed -- but she does keep her distance, for now. There are reunions happening.
"Hey, take it easy," Alain says, soothingly, as he steps in close to Astraea's bed, giving one of his trademark, easy grins as he reaches for her hand -- the uninjured one. "I'm right here, you're on the Dauntless." He clucks his tongue, gaze taking note of her injuries with a slight tightening of expression that doesn't dim the smile much: "I thought we agreed you were done with crashing Raptors, Nova," he mock scolds. The slow steps behind makes him half turn, taking in the others, "Ah, looks like there's a crowd coming to visit," with a grin for Nicole and Ines, both, an easy gesture inviting them closer.
Nicole gives a look toward Alain, watching him for a moment before looking toward Astraea. She's still holding a blanket in her hands that she's in the process of folding. She really was going the extra mile in looking like she was there for busy work, even if she had to take a folded blanket and refold it to do it. She finally relents and takes a slow step forward. "Hello ma'am." Nicole finally says, "I was curious how you were doing since we got back aboard. What with the mission being finished and all."
"I didn't crash," Astraea mutters. "'nother frakkin' rocket." Which happens more than crashing, with her. When Alain takes her good hand, she tightens her fingers against his and pulls him closer- if she can. She's still weak. She'll use that moment to examine his face intently after using the bandages at her wrist to wipe away the tears still blurring her vision. "Yer you, yeh? Really... you?" There's a mild hint of panicked uncertainty in her voice as she asks the question before she finally looks past him to Nicole and Ines both. The unfamiliar marine's question causes something akin to fear to flash across her features. "I... I don't know," she answers finally. There is a look to the injured hand. "Won't be able t'fly for a bit." Always a depressing thing for a pilot.
She's too composed to actually wince, but there's an internal reaction much like that for Ines as she slides to her feet, beckoned thus. It's uncomfortable to intrude, but it might be worse to decline, and -- seriously, this gesture of hers, it was supposed to be simple! Easy! In and out, foist it off on the nurse!
Not to be. She lingers even behind Nicole, soft eyes tracking over evidence of the physical hardships endured by the Raptor pilot over the last week.
"Mmhmm," Alain murmurs, soothingly, to Astraea's protest, a glimmer of amusement in his gaze that fades into something concerned, brow creasing at her question. "Pretty sure, yeah. Even dressed like me this morning, see?" he gestures towards his impeccable-as-always clothing. "You, ah, okay, Nova?" It's kind of awkward, the way he's standing there, Astraea gripping tight to his hand, and so he shifts to perch on the edge of her bed near her hip, allowing the marine to talk easily. His gaze goes over the marine, curiously, at her question, then past her to Ines with another of those encouraging smiles.
The Marine continues to just stare for a moment, her eyes turning toward the hand and then back to the woman's eyes as best as she can see her. She's still not really stepping that close after all. A shift of her weight from one foot to the other. "I've seen worse and the doctor's have fixed people up." Nicole finally responds as she looks toward Astraea. "Even heard they can reattach a hand assuming it wasn't too bad off - but that's probably more scuttlebutt than truth. Either way, you didn't lose your hand, rehab will suck, you'll be flying again soon enough."
"I hope so," Astraea says to Alain, still holding tightly to his hand. Afraid, at the moment, to let go. "I hope this is real," she continues, quieter. She's got various scrapes and bruises, but nothing too extreme other than the bandaging on her hand and that overall look of 'been through some shit.' The contusions, really, are nothing next to those burn scars along the left side of her body. For a pilot, she's had her fair share of injury. She just sort of nods, numb, to Nicole's words. "I hope so," in an echo of what she said to Jigger, just seconds before. There's another look to Ines, but no demands that the pilot leave. Instead, she looks past her to the Gemenese man at her hip, brow furrowed in thought.
The longer she hovers, the more awkward she feels, so finally, when there's a brief lull, she takes a few steps forward and leans, setting the little package down on the cot. Close enough that Alain can grab it, given Astraea's limited number of uninjured hands.
Her smile is small, closed-lipped, but there's compassion in it. "It's just...candy bars." Pause. "Mostly chocolate." A longer pause, after which she shifts her weight and seems to feel the need to explain: "When I was-" Pause. "A few years ago there was a time I was, um...really hungry. And all that time, I just..." Her eyes slide away, down to the package. "I just really wanted a candy bar." After a beat she shrugs, glancing up again. "The sugar, I guess. I don't know. Anyway. I'm sorry if you don't care for candy." She glances at the others. "I'm sure you want to rest, so I'll get going, but. It's good to see you back, Nova."
If anything, Alain's grin widens at Nicole's words. "Hoorah," the once marine murmurs, seeming pleased. "I'm Jigger," he introduces himself. "Thanks for -- getting them out of there." Astraea's reiteration has him glancing back to her, only a slight crease lingering in his forehead. <<Athena watch over you,>> he says in Gemenese, familiar enough to feel like a prayer even if the words other than the invoking of Athena might not be understood. Ines' offering -- and her explanation -- earns an approving grin from the Gemenese pilot. "Good choice. Hey, Kestrel -- Nova hasn't heard about that badass stunt you pulled off in the canyons the other week. Banger was telling me just the other day." Which makes it, what, third hand? So probably well on the way to some telephone-games.
Nicole turns her gaze over toward Alain and she raises an eyebrow to the man. A pause and she nods her head slowly, "I was just one of the people around, nothing special in what I did." She says finally. It seemed almost like it was dragged out of her, she hung on everything that Astraea was saying and at Ines' words she watched her too. Almost like she was trying to take in all that she said until it was back to Alain and Astraea.
"Err." She finally says, and then glances over toward Ines again, a pause as she looks the woman over. Then it's back toward the two on the bed. "I think I'll be joining the Lieutenant in that. I didn't mean to intrude. I just wanted to see what state everyone is in now that the docs have had a chance. If you see Mira, try to snag her. I like her for a doctor, and you can tell her I told you all about her pet. It should bring out some rather entertaining reactions if I'm right."
The mention of sugar does get the Scorpian pilot to brighten some. Enough that she casts a look of mild disdain to the broth and looks to the package with interest. After a week of Kobol-knows-what in those caves, something manufactured and utterly terrible for her sounds good. "Thanks," she manages, quietly, to the other pilot. Astraea swallows, nodding towards the small bundle. "Could you?" Asked, it'd seem, of Alain since he's the one Ines handed it over to. Probably to help unwrap and retrieve one. Frak any 'official' menu at the moment. When Nicole brings up a 'pet,' Nova just looks confused and levels a questioning look on Alain, as if he might be able to answer.
Ines' brightening smile turns into a slightly wide-eyed look at Alain, and the slow shake of her head turns into a faster one, slides into a nervous laugh. "Oh...you can't trust anything that guy says." She still manages to look a bit bashfully pleased, but she doesn't launch into a retelling of last week's unexpected escapades. She just flicks a look at Nicole that's curious -- 'pet' sounds horrifying, or possibly salacious, or maybe both -- but she meant what she said about taking her leave, so inevitably, her gaze retrains on Astraea. "Looking forward to seeing you back in the air."
And with that, and a grateful tap of her fingers to the Gemenese pilot's back, she pivots and beats a retreat.
Alain's brows go up at Nicole's modest response. "Ought to take credit where it's due," he says, with a smile. "I didn't get your name, though...?" He tilts his head briefly at her mention of one of the doctors, obviously not familiar enough with the one she names to understand the reference. With a nod to Astraea, he releases her hand, and sets about opening the package, "Pretty dangerous, you know. Might not make it to you... ooh!" he breathes deep, appreciatively. Ines isn't even around to protect them, glancing after the other pilot with a brief grin.
"Best part is, I'm not even too sure." Nicole gives a wry smile, "Something about having one at her previous posting and it got her in trouble I think. I wasn't even too clear on it either." She shakes her head from side-to-side, "But I thought it might give you some entertainment while you're bedridden and all." She lets her eyes dart off and to the side. It's brief, but they pull back toward the pilots at the bed, "Corporal Siska." She says finally, looking in the direction of Ines' retreat, and then finally turning to move toward the other beds of the people from the rescue. "I'll leave you two be, good to see you're moving ma'am, I'm sure you'll be flying in no time."
When Alain threatens to eat the candy bars rather than pass them along, Astraea makes a choked sound midway between a laugh and a sob as she leans over to put her arms around the Viper pilot, pulling him into a tight hug. She's ignoring the pain in her hand as she does so or the way it tugs at the IV in her arm. The morpha probably has something to do with that. "Oh, thank Kobol. It's definitely you." A fake-Alain would have just handed the candy over; perhaps even offered to feed it to her. Only the real thing would 'torture' her so. She sniffles a bit, head to his shoulder before she realizes that Nicole is explaining things with this doctor. "I dunno," she admits to Jigger, "that I'll even remember th' name. Should I jes' ask ev'ry doctor 'bout pets?"
"Thank you, Siska," Alain says, with a genuine smile, adopting the marine habit of using last names with the ease of one who used such an address for years, not to long ago himself. Whatever plan he has for the candy (probably going to his stomach in the near future) is waylaid by Nova's sudden grip on him, making a noise of surprise and then, after a moment, a laugh as he pats her back. "I'm still me," he assures her. And then, sotto voce: "Just call them all doc. They're used to it, and it means you don't have to remember all their names. Honestly -- Cadmus is the only one I remember."
In the end, Astraea only releases the grip somewhat. Enough to reach out with her good hand and take the candy bar. She struggles with it for a moment, but ultimately gets it broken in half and gives one of the two back to the other pilot. She's well aware of his sweet tooth and happy to oblige. Especially in the wake of feeling that much more safe and secure in the knowledge of being home. Even so, she remains close, needing her friend. She takes small bites of the chocolate, knowing she can't rush things with her stomach. "They hooked us up to one of 'em," she offers, quiet, to the not-quite-a priest. "Got in my head..." There's a shudder. "Dunno why, but it was... real, but... but all these little things," and some big ones, "jes' weren't right."
There's a grin from Alain, and he's not about to protest her offering half the candy bar. He's already lifting it to his lips when she tries to explain what happened. "They... what?" His expression is horrified, lowering his half of the candy bar. That's enough to even put him off sweet food. "That's... horrible, Nova. I don't... why would they do that?"
She's crying again, though doesn't seem to notice it. Astraea just leans into Alain, taking small bites of her own. She's hungry enough and it's something that isn't the bland sickbay broth. "Dunno why," she says. "They jes'... took us, one by one, an'... It's like... they wanted to give us this perfect world, but it jes' wasn't... right. I was back home, on Scorpia, but th' food was wrong an' there were people there that shouldn't've an' Kell." She shudders, closing her eyes tightly for a moment. "Mebbe... jes' tryin' ta understand us? I- I dunno. But how'd they even do it?"
With an exhale, Alain folds her into a one-armed hug. "Shh. You're safe now," he says, soothingly. He hears her mention Kell, and it makes him pause only for a moment. "Don't worry about that now. We'll figure out how they do it, and blow it all to hell, one way or another."
Leaning into his embrace, Astraea nods slowly. "We... we destroyed th' one in th' caves with us. B'fore th' rescue team arrived. There was another man there, he opened th' cage, but he didn't-" her voice shakes, "he didn't survive." The Scorpian swallows. "If there's more... more labs like that, we gotta stop 'em, Jigger." She uses the bandages on her hand -- gingerly -- to scrub at her eyes again, looking up at him. "Can ya stay? For a while? Please?"
"We will," Alain promises, even if he has no way to make it happen. It's what she needs to hear right now. Her latter words earn a smile, if somewhat tempered by the topic at hand. "Of course, Nova. There's this Gemenese prayer I've been meaning to teach you," he exhales, and then begins reciting words, slowly. It's tiring work, to concentrate on, but his voice is steady, near continual for as long as she remains awake.
Some tension eases out of Astraea when Alain promises to stay; fear at being left alone dissipating. She nods when he mentions teaching her the prayer. She closes her eyes, settling against him as she lets the words wash over her. She repeats them, along with him, after a time. Eventually, the rhythm and morpha do work to help lull her to sleep. The first proper sleep she's had since capture, at that.