2237-10-07 - Little Brown Boxes

Kyle checks in on Cate after she's faced the horrors of the cavern one more time. Ines arrives with a gift for the former POW.

Date: 2237-10-07

Location: - Dauntless: Alpha Bunk

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1467

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Kyle returns to the Dauntless untouched by the Cylons, but even after being shot at and rescuing four missing persons, the work isn't done yet. Kyle's feet are screaming in their boots by the time she finishes checking in the last of her gear to the armory and makes it into the showers. She turns her face upwards into the steaming flow of water and bliss is found.

Kyle's feet don't hurt so badly when she redresses and heads down to the mess, and upon returning towards the bunkhouse with sleep in her eyes, she takes a hard right away from Echo Bunk for Alpha Bunk, and slips through the hatch on a warpath towards Cate's bunk, which she lifts on her toes and tries to peek into before risking knocking and waking the poor woman.

Having also stowed her gear and ushered the injured up to sickbay, Cate lingered in the shower a bit longer than Kyle apparently, for she's not in her bunk when the other woman comes looking. The bed is still neatly made and pretty barren - just a battered novel on the shelf and a crayon drawing taped to the back wall. "Nobody's home," is the tired greeting offered from behind Kyle as Cate arrives in the bunkroom. Her hair's still a little damp, and she's carrying her shower kit and bag of dirty clothes in her uninjured hand. The left hand is still bandaged, and her face still sports some bruises and a couple butterfly strips from her time on the surface. Any other injuries are hidden under her sweatpants and sweatshirt hoodie.

It just so happens that Kyle was in the starting phases over her guess I'll just go home slump when she hears Cate behind her. Her eyes are still half-boggled when she turns around and brushes her ponytail back over the shoulder of her dual tanks. "I was just figuring that out," Kyle bares her teeth in a bright smile and takes a step back, motioning to the ladder to Cate's bunk. "Don't let me get in your way, but I was just doing a drive-by to make sure you got in okay and, you know," Kyle's eyes make a dotted trail over each of Cate's injuries, then her face. "Assess."

Cate opens her locker and shoves the shower stuff unceremoniously inside. She offers Kyle a weak half-smile. "Okay is relative. I'm glad we got them back." Though her bunk is technically the top, she sits down with a sigh on the empty bottom one. She's left enough room for Kyle to sit as well motioning vaguely by way of invitation. There's also the central bench, not far away. "Was that your first mission since Picon?"

"Me too, and thank you," Kyle turns on her boot's heel and lowers to the edge of the mattress next to Cate. Drawing up one leg sideways, Kyle turns towards Cate, not hiding the way she's peering at the woman, as if through a microscope. "It was, actually, it was weird, familiar, good and bad. A mixed bag." Kyle floats a finger in a circular way above her shin. "Really, I just kept thinking a lot about how I was MIA and that we were working under Mercer's watchful gaze, so best not to frak up, but then I got to thinking about how you were down there, too."

Kyle quietly wets her lips and lifts one brow, perching with curiosity.

"That couldn't have been easy, what you did today." Kyle offers slowly. "Change of topic? Or did you want to..." Kyle trails off.

"Well, you wouldn't have known it. Like riding a bike, I guess," Cate offers about Kyle's return to mission status. The latter observation gets a pained chuckle, and Cate rubs her eyebrow a little awkwardly. "It frakking sucked," she admits, in an understatement-of-the-century kind of way. "Going back into that cave..." She trails off with a little headshake, shifting uncomfortably. "You know, when we found that cage empty, I thought we were going to find them all in the back, all cut open like the people on Canceron." Her lips thin at the memory.

"I guess...I'm just used to going forward when I don't know which way to go. Like a pack mule." Kyle replies softly. She watches Cate, at first, but when the tingling sensation of staring at someone in an pained state begins to feel a violation, Kyle lowers her eyes to the ankle of her khaki BDU pants. "I was worried about that, too. Lyn and Bails; I don't know the others so well, but it was personal for me, too." Kyle tugs at a string, damaging Colonial property, as it were. "But you did really well today." A beat. Kyle looks up. "I wanted you to know that."

"Thanks," Cate says somberly. "Doesn't feel like enough though." She lets out a soft sigh. "I felt like shit - leaving them behind. Even if it was to go and get help. Felt like shit not being able to look for you too, after we crashed. We tried but... there were Toasters all over. I'm sorry," she says, voice cracking a little. From the pained crease on her brow, it's been weighing on her for awhile.

"It's okay to feel-" Kyle flattens her lips and painfully lifts one shoulder. "Oh frak, Catey." Kyle cringes and reaches out from her spot on the lower bunk to Cate's shoulder. Fingers wrap and squeeeze, then lift to scrape fingernail under a few stray strands of wet hair to primp and gorilla-groom Cate. "Hey." Kyle turns her shoulder inward in offering. "You're home now. They're home now. I'm home now, too. You did good."

Cate is not in her actual bunk, but is sitting next to Kyle on the empty one below it. The medic looks sad, though Kyle's words cause a ghost of a smile to appear briefly. She's fresh from a shower, wearing sweats and a sweatshirt hoodie. A bandaged hand and some bruises and scrapes on her face linger from the planetside escapades. "Thanks," she murmurs, and unless Kyle pulls away she leans her head sideways against the other woman's shoulder. "I'm glad we all made it back. But this lost-behind-enemy-lines shit is getting frakking old," she says, with a forced dry attempt at humour.

Scrubbed from an over-long post-flight shower and still faintly green around the gills for -- some reason, Ines returns to the Berthings from sickbay with every intention of dropping off the last of a group of little packages, wrapped in brown paper and sealed with tape. What she expects is to drop it off on Cate's empty bunk, and then make herself scarce; what she doesn't expect is to find Cate herself there, and it draws her up short in the doorway, eyes widening. Awkwardness settles on her, and she glances at Kyle as though the recon marine might let her know whether or not it's alright to even be here.

Kyle slips her arm around Cate's shoulder to dangle a lifeless set of fingers off of Cate's opposite arm. She tucks her head in to rest against Cate's and inflates her chest with a deep breath she sighs out to the center of the bunk aisle before them. "I don't chapel, but I'll so-say-we-all to that." Kyle harrumphs, rolling her hazel eyes in her sockets. "Seriously, if I had a little gold star sticker, Cate, you'd get it for going into scary places to get your friends. That's downright Artemis level."

Kyle spots movement out of the corner of her eye and leans just a little forward to see around the mass of curtain at the edge of the opened bunk. Ines. Kyle's mouth opens into two rows of grinning teeth that quietly mouth. 'It's cool' to the pilot, complete with a dangling finger scritching a come-hither.

"Cate it looks like you've got a guest." Kyle nudges Cate's head that way. "Officer style brass, even."

"I like the chapel here. Al's great," Cate offers randomly, continuing to lean while Kyle's arm is there. She lets out a little scoffing chuckle at the comparison to Artemis level. "It's different when you're with your buddies. Getting out - that was scary." Though she hasn't spoken about how exactly that transpired. Nor does she now, since she's distracted by Ines' approach. Her head tilts up a bit. "Looking for me, Lieutenant?" she asks the unfamiliar pilot, a little confused by this possibility.

"Hi." The little smile Ines puts on contains multitudes of things. It's friendly, warm, sympathetic, apologetic, tentative and several other things besides, but she does step in when she gets the all-clear. The little paper-wrapped package in her hand crinkles with uneasy pressure from her fingertips. "Sorry. I don't think we've ever actually met. But, when I heard that there were still surviving crew from the crash, I..." She glances down at the little parcel, and then hands it across. "I put these together. It's...just candy bars." She straightens, and glances between the seated pair. "I thought you might all have been pretty hungry, and when I was hungry -- ah. A few years ago, I kept dreaming of candy bars." There's a brief pause, then a rueful half-smile. "I guess it's a little, er...unusual, in your case, because you're not stuck in sickbay like the others, but." Beat, shrug. "I heard what you did. For them. There's no way I was going to skip giving you chocolate." In all of this explaining, she completely forgets to introduce herself.

"Hush. The chapel's scary. It's filled with judgy statues." Kyle quickly sidelongs to Cate with a giggle. Squeezing in her peanut gallery commentary quickly, Kyle hushes and hip-bumps the combat medic before zipping her lips. Kyle puts her hands together and traps them between her knees, chin jutting out to watch Ines curiously as presentation is made. "Ohhhh, Ines." The sound that escapes Kyle doesn't sound very marine. The pilot may as well have brought in tiny puppies. "Seriously, that is, like, really frakking sweet of you to do." Kyle clucks her tongue against her teeth. "Frak I was smart putting you in the good ones column when I did."

"C'mon, like statues can judge?" Cate counters. She offers a weak smile when the pilot offers the chocolate. "Thanks. Yeah, that's really thoughtful of you. They locked me up in sickbay last night so I'm done with that, but chocolate's always nice. Ines, was it?" She takes the parcel. Cate doesn't introduce herself, since apparently Ines already knew who she was.

Ines appears to be pretty accustomed to Kyle's theatrical delivery by now -- that sound doesn't get any surprise, just a sidelong wry look. "It's a small thing. But...I thought of them all the time, last week." Pause, amendment, for Cate: "Ah. You, I mean. All of you."
The last question prompts a blink, a short laugh, like an exhale of tension. "Right. Ines. Sorry. Anyway, I don't want to -- I know you're probably exhausted. But, I'm glad you're back where you belong. Thanks for bringing the others back." Two backward steps signal her impending plans to go.

Kyle pries her hands from between her knees to wave them to the sides, wrlyly, in response to Ines. "Nothing kind is small when people are hurting." Kyle inserts, flopping her hands back to her knees. Cheeks puff out and then hiss out the air as Kyle rises as well, moving to stand in her own preparation for exit. "Actually, Cate, I didn't know how many friends you have in Alpha, but if you wanted to, Erin and I could find room in Echo, or," Kyle taps the edge of the lower bunk with her boot. "After I walk out of here telling Ines how thoughtful she is, do you want someone close by?"

"Yeah, I did too," Cate agrees when Ines talks about thinking about them all the time, seeming to understand the sentiment even before the amendment. "And yeah, like she said - it's not small, it's nice. Thanks." Kyle's offer for someone nearby gets a grateful little smile. "I'll be all right, but thanks. I'm sure Izzy and Newton will check in when they get off CAP."

With one last smile and a small wave, Ines pivots to go, only to hear Kyle say she's going, too. She pauses at the door and glances over her shoulder, one brow arched, but after a beat slips out, anyway, either to give the two privacy again (such as it is, on a working ship) or escape any well-meaning efforts on Kyle's part to convince Ines of her own good samaritanship.

Kyle turns to watch Ines leave, staring at the back of the woman's head with some manner of quiet inner monologue. Her brows furrow, all part of the private headspace the sniper lives in while navigating life's stranger waters. She lifts a hand to wave. "If that changes," Kyle starts up again, looking down to Cate and extending arms, the offer for a hug. "You come and get one or both of us, okay? And-" Kyle's eyelid twitches. "-if you ever feel the need to compare notes with someone who doesn't carry a clipboard or a Zeus action figure, I'm here for that, alright?" Kyle nods sharply. "We're family."

Cate bobs her head slightly, looking touched by Kyle's words. "I will. Thanks. I mean it," she says, with a little bit of misty in her expression there. Must just be all that dust they brought back from the planet or something.


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