Calliope runs into Ines on the observation deck, and the two discuss past lives, present objectives, and the hazy possibility of some sort of future.
Location: Observation Deck
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1469
It's mid-afternoon in the hemisphere of Sagittaron over which the Dauntless is currently in orbit, and the intense sunlight characteristic of the planet's daylight hours shines off of the planet's surface brilliantly, rendering the landscape below a blaze of gold and red. For many of the marines this means daytime patrols on the surface, but some of the pilots keep less regular hours, and Ines is one of those. With a slice of free time to burn, she's standing at the viewport, toes basically right up against it, arms folded, attention directed downward. There's a pile of correspondence, a book, and a leather folio on the ground next to her boots.
Calliope is off-duty not long ago, for her part. She's showered and rid herself of her flight suit, grabbed a protein bar from the mess, and wandered over to the Obs Deck. She's idly reading from a tablet as she walks along. The screen, if one terribly wants to glimpse it, is a months-old article from a music magazine on Leonis. So it's unlikely she came up here to work, now that her work day's done. She scouts out available chairs and heads toward one not far from where Ines is planted.
It's the movement in Ines' peripheral vision that draws her attention. Just a distracted sort of glance, at first, and then a double-take; that's a face she recognizes from pre-flight briefings. "It's...Soundbite, right?" She lets her arms unfold, but doesn't turn away from the viewport quite yet. We've been on a few flights together recently, I think." And just in case the accented standard weren't enough: "Kestrel. Or Ines."
"Yeah. Hi." That's Calliope's affirmative to her callsign, along with a chipper (if tired) greeting. "Kestrel. Right. You're one of the Viper jocks, yeah? I know we've flown together before. And, like, we bunk together, but like everyone is packed in together so it's kind of hard to keep faces matched sometimes. Anyway. Hi." She kicks her shoes off and folds herself into the chair. Sprawling comfortably. "Good view? The planet looked really pretty on CAP today. Wanted to see it from this angle."
The friendly expression Ines is wearing slews toward surprise, and then guilt. "You're in...C Berth?" Brows knitting, her gaze drifts off to the side, trying to take a tally of the people who sleep in there, and then they return. "Oh, you must mean just...in general. Everyone? I'm so new that there are still more people I haven't met than people I have." She rolls her shoulders forward, half-smile turning rueful for a beat before she looks out through the viewport again.
"It's such a striking landscape. Not like anything I've seen before. Outside of pictures, I mean." Tilting, she leans one shoulder against the viewport, gazing downward thoughtfully. "I was just thinking about the politics of it all, though. Do you know much about it...?"
Calliope nods to Ines. "Yeah, that's where I'm bunked. But, yeah, I kind of mean everyone. Where were you posted before? I was on the Vanguard, and the Galactica before that, and before that...basically nothing. Combat training a lot of civvie flying hours." As for the landscape, she nods, allowing her eyes to unfocus and take in the glow of it. "It's really beautiful. I docked on Sagittaron a few times before the war, but just for refueling. And I was gone as quick as I could be. It was a place the company I worked for didn't so much want us lingering. You kind of forget to look, when you're out on patrol, for how beautiful it is."
There's another knit of brows about the berthing situation, but it doesn't linger. Ines keeps her eyes on the planet itself, but in her tilted lean her posture is opened up in the direction of Calliope's chair, at least. "Only Leonis. I was...not a soldier, before the war." The corner of her mouth tilts upward, but it's a tight little smile, something self-deprecating in it. "I was in grad school." Cloth whispers as she refolds her arms, but loosely. "By the standards of most, still very wet behind the ears, I'm afraid."
There's a little pause, then a curious glance at the blonde, one of her brows rising. "What sort of company was it? What you did before."
Calliope laughs soft. "I feel kind of the same way. Though, I mean, I've been in it for a couple years now if you count combat flight training. I still feel like a newbie compared to some of the flyers who had experience in the military before that, though. I used to fly luxury freighters and liners and stuff. Pleasure cruises from Caprica to...lots of places. See the stars, watch a show, get drunk at the super-expensive liner bar on mediocre cocktails, that kind of thing. I hadn't even fired a gun, like, ever, before I joined up. What'd you study?"
There's a brightening spark of interest in Ines over that answer, wrapped in obvious curiosity. "I bet you've got some amazing stories. Something like that, all of those well-to-do people being wild on vacation?" The thought kindles easy humor in her, and it carries over into her answer. "I..." The irony of it all crashes in all at once, provoking a silent laugh, brows slanted into a look of helpless exasperation. "I wanted to be a diplomat." There's a short silence, another laugh, and she shakes her head and turns her eyes out through the viewport again. "At the time it all happened, interplanetary relations, specifically." Pause. "Maybe there'll be a use for that again someday." She sounds...skeptical.
"Maybe even more of one, since we're all supposed to live in peace and harmony now that we're fighting the Cylons together." Calliope sounds like she's unsure whether to be really skeptical or kind of hopeful. Her tone ends up muddled. As for the stories, she laughs. "I'd tell you, but I think Hyperlight Fantasies would still send somebody to kill me for violating their non-disclure agreements. It feels like a whole different world now, looking back. I bet there'll be lots for diplomats to do, once the dust settles."
"Maybe." The skepticism remains, and looking down at the strife-riddled surface of Sagittaron, there are probably a bounty of reasons for that.
The thought of a luxury cruise liner sending a hit squad after one of the Wolves is enough to win a quick, flashy smile out of Ines, who crinkles her nose at her own reflection in the viewport. "Well, I'll not as you to do that, then. We've got our hands full as it is."
She pushes up out of her shoulder-tilt into it with a press of her palm, then stoops to scoop up the things next to her boots and track further into the room, dropping bonelessly into an adjacent chair. "People won't stop fighting one another even for the tin cans. It makes me wonder what use diplomacy ever was in the first place. A summit isn't half as serious as a plague of genocidal robots, you know?"
"I've heard reports of the insurgents down there. Thank gods I haven't run into any," Calliope says. "I don't know how I'd feel if I had to actually, like, point my gun at a flesh-and-blood person. I signed up to fight the toasters, not Sagittarons. I'm hoping they'll just kind of...leave us alone." There's no plan attached to this, but she tries to sound hopeful. "So what made you want to be a diplomat? I think I'd freak if I had to convince people to do...anything. I know you're supposed to, as an officer, but that's different. I just kind of do what the people with more brass on their collar tell me."
"That came up last week at the range. Fighting insurgents." Ines pulls her legs up unerneath her in her chair, boots and all, the pile of her things cradled in her lap, and her tone is subdued, her expression troubled. "My bunkmate sees his colony in their struggle. Tauron. It would be hard enough for me to do it, but if he had to...?"
The other topic is easier by a wide mile. "I met a lot of people from other colonies growing up. Leonis is popular with tourists. They were so...interesting. Different. I wanted to know everything about them. It didn't take me long to realize that what I knew about their homeworld and what they knew about it weren't often perfectly overlapping shapes." Amusement percolates through that last sentence. "I like people, generally. I thought I'd be good at it, and get to enjoy it, too."
"I've already had people calling me a Caprican oppressor," Calliope says wry. She sounds more worried than dismissive, though. "That's what freaks me out. Like, the squad was involved in a friendly-fire incident over Canceron and, even if I don't think there's anything we could've done differently, I know the Cancerons walked away from that thinking less of the Colonial Forces. The situation out here's even touchier. I feel like, we put one toe wrong, we frak up the whole interplanetary alliance thing." Shrug. "I mean, maybe that's an exaggeration. Nervy, though."
"I don't think it's an exaggeration. Not least because-" Pausing, Ines turns to look through the viewport and sweeps a hand out in that direction, encapsulating the whole of that shining curvature. "Everyone there has had their nose bloodied by someone else there, and the grudges are so deep. But with one another, they know where they stand, yes? They have history. Us? We're something else. We don't belong to any of them, but that means we could be used by all of them. Our collective diversity is a liability that way. Calls of nepotism, or -- I think it's very volatile, yes."
She flips open the leather folio in her lap. It contains stationery, a pen, envelopes. "It's the ones who don't think they need us that I'm leery of. There seem to be a lot of those on Sagittaron."
"Do you really think they think they can beat the Cylons on their own?" Calliope sounds a touch shocked. "Even Caprica and Tauron couldn't. Frak, we'd have been steamrolled if it wasn't for the other planets." She bites her lower lip, eyes trailing down to the bright surface of Sagittaron again. "Even if some of us still hate eachother, we can hate the toasters more. That's...something, right?" Her negotiating skills are probably not finely honed.
Both of Ines' brows shoot upward. "No, I don't think that at all. They need us for certain, but..." The sentence trails off, and she slides her pen out of the loop holding it and knocks the capped end against the folio a few times in thought before continuing. "I suppose when you've been bitterly fighting off one conqueror after another for as long as you can remember, one more must not seem so much worse. And then here we come, working with the Virgons for whom they've no love..." After a lingering silence she shrugs, and looks uneasy. "But I hope you're right. If they can grudgingly tolerate us long enough to do what we came for, I'll be grateful."
Calliope scrunches her face down at the planet. Thoughtful, though it doesn't look like her furrowed brows are turning up any answers. "I never really realized, even when I was flying between the colonies, how much some people hated Capricans. Or Virgons or Leoneses or...it's all like this tangled web of fights that go back hundreds of years. I guess you can't expect that to unwrap overnight." Half-smile at Ines. "And you wanted to work with this stuff? Do you think you might still? When the war ends?" She's careful to say 'when', not 'if'.
I never realized, she says, and Ines nods, the movement slow, heavy with memory. "It was a surprise to me, as well. That people might care more about posturing than searching for some sort of objective truth about our histories."
The incredulity of 'you wanted to do this?' snaps her out of her distant look, leaves her laughing and wearing a knowing look sheened with rue. "I know, right?" She has no answer for that, only a lopsided, one-shouldered shrug, like: I am what I am.
And then the question, framed in that way, implying hope for the future. Ines shrugs herself down against the cushion in her seat, slouched on an angle, and rests her head back. Her eyes lid. "Honestly? I don't think that far ahead." Pause. One of her brows lifts, curious. "Do you? Do you have..." She gestures with one hand, the movement meaningless. "Plans, for after the war?"
Calliope considers it a beat. Doing more lip-chewing as she mulls that over. "I guess I don't think about it either. Except...you want to hear something totally nuts? I kind of like the Navy. I mean, I always enjoyed flying, but I never really felt like I was doing anything important. It was a way to make some money, and to put some distance between me and my family on Caprica. This? I'm a part of something real. If the Cylons suddenly declared peace and just...I don't know, disappeared, tomorrow? I think I'd stay in."
This smile is slow, like a sunrise, and it carries warmth up into her lidded eyes. "I don't think that sounds nuts. I mean...I would have, five years ago. I'd have thought it sounded mad. I was..." She makes a 'tss' sound, disbelieving. "I was not soldier material. I would never have wanted this. Or understood it. It's funny, how much can change in just a few years." She rolls her head to the side, the better to look at her erstwhile companion. "I suppose for me it's down to people again. The people you meet and these relationships you have, they're just...different. Different from civilian life."
Calliope shares that smile with Ines. A slight but warm curve of her lips. "Trust me, the military was the farthest thing from my brain before the fighting broke out. But when it did, I felt like I had to do something. And now? Yeah. It's different. I want peace, but I don't want to go back to what I was before, either." Another long look down at the planet, then she stretches. Slowly limbering her legs out of that chair. "Anyway. Sagittaron's a mess, but at least we're trying to do something. Maybe that'll be enough?" She hopes. "I should rack out, before it gets too long toward my next shift. Good talking to you, Kestrel. And really good to have you aboard, if I haven't said it before."
"Sometimes it'll have to be enough." As Calliope peels herself out of her chair, Ines plants a hand on her own and uses it to lever herself back into a slightly more upright posture, then lifts that hand in a stationary wave. "Sleep well. And thanks. For the company. And the sentiment. I'll see you on the landing deck soon, I'm sure." She sends a crinkle-nosed smile after the blonde, and then uncaps her pen, drags in a deep breath, and finally begins to put a dent in her letter-writing.