Addison visits Astraea to talk; from one former captive to another.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1503
Between the dehydration and the level of infection in her injured hand (never mind potential for violent PTSD), Astraea’s being kept under observation in sickbay for a few days. At least she’s beyond that first night of broth between sleeping fits of morpha. Having Alain there the first night helped. Now she’s into the first day back on the Dauntless and while it’s routine (after a fashion), she’s restless.
The Scorpian pilot has a tablet on the small table that rolls over her bed and is watching a movie, though she’s somewhat out of it as well; eyes partially closed. The joys of drugs.
Addison isn't one to visit sickbay; in fact he's avoided it rather dutifully since his own stint there. However nudging by an unnamed sibling has led him to at least try to 'visit' sickbay with the return of those that spent time in the Cylon imprisonment. You know what they're going through and the like having been the verbage used and so he made his way down, wandering around some until he spots at least one person awake. A small headnod is offered in the direction of Astraea.
At least some members are already free of sickbay, so he won't have to linger around if he visits everyone. But this particular member of the wing is. Infected wounds cause doctors to frown a lot. Astraea notices the movement past the curtain and that it isn't someone in a lab coat or similar 'medical staff' attire. She looks away from the screen and blinks a few times at Addison. Surprised, perhaps, to see him. Or to have a visitor in general, maybe?
"Hey." At least her voice is back to normal. She's hydrated enough for that. She just sounds tired.
Small nod from Addison once more and he manages a small smile, bordering on a smirk. "Hey there Crashbait." Ouch, nothing like starting off with a teasing joke about flying inadequacies. He does however walk into the area and grabs a stool to pull forward and sit down on. "Feeling like shit?"
There's a bit of a cringe at the diminutive. "I was landed," Astraea points out. "That's th'... second or third Raptor I've had taken out by a rocket while it's been own on th' ground y'know. I don't think it should count against me." She looks down to her right hand, wriggling fingers a bit beneath the bandaging. There's an IV line in the same arm. There's a small nod for his question, but she follows it up with a brief glance over. "Morpha helps."
"Yeah, the Morpha does help. And anytime you have to make up exceptions for why you're down? You're down." The last thought does bring a small grin as he settles onto the stool a bit better. Addison looks the other pilot over and shakes his head. "They're going to ask you some really fraked up questions you know."
"If I'd been shot down, I mighta been able to save more lives," Astraea notes quietly. She leans back into her pillow, reaching across the table to an unopened jello. She offers it to Addison, wordlessly. When he mentions frakked up questions, her brow furrows. "Like what?"
"My favorite one was, 'Did you begin to feel any sort of sympathy to the Cylons?'." Addison explains as he takes the offered jello and opens it. Apparently there are no qualms about taking the food of the injured. "It's part of the psychological shit they'll put you through."
In this case, Astraea probably has had plenty of jello. She offered it and doesn't seem bothered by its absence once he takes it. The woman does blanche a bit when he mentions his favorite question. "You frakkin' kiddin' me?" Her voice is barely above a whisper; disbelief clear in her mien. "Why th' frak would I feel any sort of sympathy towards them? We tore th' one that was in th' lab to frakkin' pieces."
Addison shrugs, "Sympathy for captors is apparently a thing. Granted, my time was a lot longer and.. different I suspect but they'll want you to talk all about it. Relive it." His eyes close, not eating the jello and just taking a breath. "So when I went in, I tried to distance myself from it and they thought I was hiding stuff. If you open up and relive it, then you're 'stressed'. Welcome to this new life kiddo."
"I don't wanna relive it," Astraea says, swallowing with a touch of anxiety. She looks down to her hand, closing her fingers around the bandaging at her palm and slowly releasing the loose fist after a moment. "It's already bad enough not knowin' for sure if..." She takes in a slow breath, closing her eyes. "I just wanna get back to work."
"Well..." Addison begins, silent at first before he speaks, "Better find a way to power through. Look. Reality is, you're going to have to talk to them about it." The way he says them, he even adds air quotes with his fingers. "Dunno if it means anything, but you ain't alone. Some of us have gone through this. You need to just blurt out or shit, do it to those of us who aren't judging."
Lifting her hands, Astraea goes to rub at her face. Only the line of the IV stops her from causing herself undue pain with the bad one. Instead, she scrubs at her eyes with the back of her left wrist. Frustration more than tears. "It's frakkin' stupid," she mutters. "Talkin' to some shrink ain't gonna fix shit. Tried that once after..." she drops her arm, looking at him. "How'd you get through it, if bein' distant didn't work?"
“Distant didn’t work, detached didn’t work. I was lucky, I had my sister to talk to so I pushed through the worst of it with her so that when it came time to talk about it, I’d been through it enough that I could manage.” Addison offers as he spoons some of the jello up and takes a bite. “My suggestion? Talk to someone who isn’t a shrink first and then you’ll be able to handle the shrink talk. Y’know? Not too cold, not too emotional, learn to strike that just right tone to let them know you’re ok enough to work but not unaffected.”
“Frak.” Astraea lapses into quiet for a time, looking from Addison to a point somewhere on her blanket-covered legs. She’s tossed and turned a fair bit when she’s slept; the bed’s linens are in fairly terrible shape. “Talked ta Jigger a bit,” she admits after a moment. “Jes’ a little, but… I don’t wanna talk more. I wanna jes’ forget it all. Last thing I wanna do is… relive it. An’ I mean, I guess he’d prob’ly listen.” It’s what Alain does, really, in his psuedo-priest way. “But I don’t wanna be some frakkin’ burden.”
“It isn’t about being a burden, no one views it that way. Just make sure you understand what you’re trying to do. You’ll need to process that shit at some point. Hell, I’m still working on it, will be for life I suspect. That trust person is where it stems from.” Addison is quiet for a few minutes then he tilts his head, “Were you in a camp or in a lab?”
“It feels like a burden.” But Astraea doesn't expand on that. Instead she reaches carefully for the cup of water nearby. “If yer flyin’ again, why… keep processin’? I've been learnin’ ways to control my emotions an’ all. Seems th’ perfect reason.” She bites absently at her lower lip in the wake of his question. From the looks of it, she's been doing that a lot. “A lab. They kept us in cages.” When she does speak, her voice is quiet.
“Why? Because if I don’t keep processing then the flying becomes secondary. My first time out, I froze… anytime I try to block I freeze.” Addison shrugs a bit then looks at the jello cup, “See kiddo, the reason I have the callsign Hurricane is because that is what I am. Just chaos surrounding a very calm eye of the storm, right? Well; if I don’t have my calm center than I can’t be who I need to be. Thus I have to keep processing.” He’s quiet for a bit after that before he nods, “Yeah… some of those that were brought into the camps after talked about… about cages.”
“Hawk’s been teachin’ me how to shut out emotions. To focus jes’ on th’ flyin’ or… whatever.” Astraea looks down to her cup of water, tapping at the side of it with an index finger. “Well, he was, b’fore all this. I’m hopin’ what he’s been teachin’ me will help.” She finally lifts the cup -- carefully -- for a drink. It’s set aside then as she looks back to the other pilot. There’s a touch of deflation to her. “So they’ve got other labs like this one. Frak. I was… kinda hopin’ it was th’ only one.”
“Oh, I don’t know anything about labs. I just know that these people talked about cages. Thought it was just a control thing. Most people didn’t make it very long in the camps.” Addison explains with a quiet tone. “Two different goals I guess. Between … labs? And the Camps. The Camps were death camps, nothing more. Just a way to gather us together, get labor out of us and leave us for dead.” He sets the jello aside. “Some shit you won’t forget… don’t think we’re allowed to.”
Looking down to her bandaged hand, Astraea flexes her fingers some. She can’t make a fist yet, but she’s trying. Probably under orders to do so, slowly, at that. The Raptor pilot exhales slowly. “I kinda… wish they’d just killed us,” she admits in a low voice. “Or me, at least. I don’t… want all this in my head. I know, logically, I can’t forget, but… I’d take even some time away from it. Let it get… far away b’fore I hafta deal, y’know? Right now it’s… hard to sleep. Hard to even look at some people.”
“Yeah, I know.” Addison affirms quietly as he sits there. “When we were rescued slash escaped part of it was because the three of us there had decided we’d rather die trying to do something then end up in one of the piles.” He explains softly then shrugs his shoulders. “They don’t give you time; not if you want to get back to the fight.”
There’s a measure of relief in Astraea’s mien when Addison doesn’t disagree. It’s a sort of healing all its own to be able to admit such thoughts and not face lashback for them. She turns her head, to better take him in. “I’m hopin’... bein’ back in th’cockpit will help. Havin’ th’ distraction. To jes’... have somethin’ else to do. Somethin’ all consuming.”
“It helps you. But the flight can’t be a distraction from other shit. Trust me, I know. I’ve locked up before. You feel like you’re trapped in your own body, unable to breathe, unable to move. Just stuck in a prison again…” Addison shakes his head, “This is a terrible feeling, trust me. No, it’s horrible but the flight can’t risk having someone lock up.”
There’s, then, a sound of frustration from Astraea. It’s borderline on despair; a grunt that turns to a bit of a choked sob in her chest. She brings up her left hand to press the back of her wrist against her mouth, eyes closed for the moment. “Sorry,” she says, finally, hand dropping back to her lap. “This… this isn’t th’ first experience I’ve had that… leads to shit like that, but it’s- frak, it’s been years. I rarely have episodes anymore an’ I’m not…” She lets out a defeated sigh. “It makes me feel weak.”
"Well, you are weak. We all are." Addison responds with a lift of his shoulders. "It's what makes us not Cylons, the fact that we have the capability to feel, both good and bad. To have joy and to suffer. Right now is suffer, and it'll be a road. No sugar coating that shit. Don't know if it ever truly passes."
"We can't be weak," Astraea counters, frowning. "Not when we're on th' front lines. Weakness leads to... well, death." She takes a slow breath, fussing once again with the bandaging over her hand. "Last time it jes' got... easier. But I was able to get far, far away from it. Whole new life, really. This time?" She looks up at Addison, shaking her head. "It's all around me."
"Yep." Addison says with a scraping of the cup of jello as he finishes it off. "Everywhere you look it'll be a reminder. So you'll have to find a way to cope. Everyone's got their own ways, just make sure yours is ready before they start asking you the tough questions, yeah?"
"Frak." Astraea murmurs the single epithet, leaning back into her pillows as she does. "I don't even know. I've been bankin' on th' idea of just shuttin' it all outta my head as best I can." She manages a weak smile, directed at Addison. "Guess that ain't an option if th' docs start talkin' to me."
"Nope. That's the point though, to get you to try and deal with and cope with the shit going on. Even if there's no real way to deal or cope with it." Addison then slowly rises from the stool. "Alright kiddo, catch you around, yeah? I'd stay but you know... hot date tonight."
"But that is my way of dealin' with it," Astraea points out, snorting faintly. "Shuttin' it away is somethin' even if it ain't what they want." When he stands, her mouth draws into a thin line. "Wouldja quit callin' me that? Pretty sure ya ain't much older than me." As for his hot date? She lifts bandaged hand to point at the Viper pilot. "You still owe me a dance, by the way."
"Hey, I only dance on leave, so get me some leave time and it can happen," Addison counters. "And kiddo is a term I use for a lot of people, age regardless. I figure most people aren't as old in the soul as I am."
"I'll hunt ya down on leave, then. Or you can just show up to karaoke an' we'll dance to someone's horrendous singin'." Astraea flashes him a smirk before she's rolling her eyes. There's a scoff from the Scorpian as she reaches for her water nearby. "You can't know who's an old soul an' who isn't. An' claimin' it for yourself is just tacky."
"Just watch me." Addison counters before he does a two finger salute off his forehead and moves to duck away out of sickbay.