Aubrey reunites with her Wingman and her CAG.
Location: Squadron Office
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1520
The problem, as Alain sees it, with occasionally being made to lead flights is that, at the end of it -- regardless of whether there's incidents or not, there's always paperwork. He's settled down at one of the desks, carefully and neatly filling out a report. It's probably the neatest handwriting the CAG has seen, or close to -- years of copying old texts as a child has earned a hefty respect for the preciseness of handwriting. There's a cooling cup of tea near to his left hand, as yet untouched.
It's been eight long weeks since Aubrey last set foot on the Dauntless. Eight long weeks of recovering in a hospital in Caprica City and a rehab center there, before finally being released back into the wild like the Timber Wolf she is. She might have been able to argue her way to a medical discharge, but she didn't even try. There was one place she belonged, and it was with her fellow Wolves.
Her Raptor landed 90 minutes ago or so, and it was a long, long debriefing on the things that have transpired since her injury. Her next stop was her bunk, but someone else's shit was in it, so stop three is hunting down her wingman. She's in her dual tanks and BDUs, with the long, jagged scar where they had to surgically repair her collarbone visible beneath the strap on one side. Her hair was buzzed for her craniotomy, but it's since grown back fairly well. It'll still be a few more months before it's back where it was when she left. She has her duffle in one hand, her overshirt tied around her waist, and a smirk dancing on her lips.
"Someone's shit is in my rack, Jigger. Where's my shit?" she asks with a faux-stern expression.
Eight weeks or not -- rough as much of it was -- there's no chance Alain wouldn't recognize that voice. He's up on his feet in an instant -- though mindful enough of the report not to smudge it as he steps out from the desk, taking long strides over towards Aubrey, lifting her off her feet in a tight hug.
She can't hold the stern expression for long. She just can't. Aubrey breaks into a broad smile and drops the handles of the duffle as she returns Alain's hug fiercely. She laughs at being lifted squeezes him with arms possibly stronger than he remembers, thanks to being forced to do PT every damn day for over a month. "I missed you too, wingman," she says sincerely, feeling her eyes get a little watery.
"How long has it been? Eight weeks and one day? Guess you miss out on your prize." Alain's grinning, now, as he lowers Aubrey back onto her feet.
When her feet return to solid ground, Aubrey draws back and just looks at her friend for a while. "Almost forgot what you looked like, almost," she quips at him. "And eight weeks exactly, jerk. I busted my ass to make sure I didn't lose that bet," she chides. "I did bring you a present though!" She lifts up the duffel and sets it on a chair. From it she draws out a stack of three boxes. "You didn't specify the flavor of the cake so there's chocolate, lemon, and something they called 'confetti cake'."
"Think that one might need to go to an adjudicator," Alain claims, though he's grinning as he does so, clearly just busting her balls. The mention of presents earns a brief furrow of brow, before he's laughing as he leans in to watch her bring out the cakes. "Shit, Banshee. This keeps up, you're going to make me wish you get shot down more often, and I'm going to feel real conflicted over that." He's moving already -- hunting through the desks before locating a knife to bring back. "Confetti first?" apparently cake doesn't wait in Alain's world, but he does at least let Aubrey choose which, knife held out questioningly.
"Sure. I suspect it's white cake with sprinkles in the batter, but that matters like, not at all because there are sprinkles on the icing and sprinkles are everything," Aubrey notes with a chuckle. She sets the cake boxes on his desk and points at the one that the confetti cake lurks in, daring them to eat it and not be able to fit into their flight suits tomorrow. "Seriously though. Is whoever is in my bunk going to get pissed if I ask them to move?" she asks.
Carefully, Alain takes the lid off the indicated cake, and starts cutting a piece. There's no plate, but there's some empty form he can use as a makeshift one, offering the first slice to his wingmate. "Ahh. That'd Pudge -- a new ECO. He seems pretty chill. Super messy though," is added with a grimace enough to suggest it's been bothering the Gemenese pilot, but he's far too polite to say anything. "The spot under Socks is still free, I think, if you can convince him to move."
"Yeah, I'll see if I can bribe him with some of this cake," Aubrey grins. She takes a bite, no utensils, but that's not about to stop her. She makes a sound of approval at the flavor, and plunks down into a seat. "So, how did Sagittaron really go? I mean I got the debrief but I know the CF likes to make things sound better than they really were."
"No! That's my cake!" Alain declares, with a brief look, relenting a moment later. "Okay, fine. I suppose I didn't protect your bunk very well. Not my fault though, he was assigned it." Not that most of the wolves pay attention to the assignments. He cuts a second slice for himself, propped on a second form, before he leans against the desk, taking a bite and chewing. He makes an approving sound, swallowing, before Aubrey's question draws his glance towards her. "It's... for us, it's been okay. For the marines," he grimaces. "I remember what it was like, when I was here with ICJPK. Sounds like not much has changed -- it's still frakked up as before. There's been talk of clashes with the VRM -- heard there was some dust up yesterday, too."
"The Virgons are still pissing on their territory?" Aubrey says with an eyeroll. "Oh, almost forgot, this is from my dad," She reaches into a pocket and pulls out a silver cigar case, the kind that holds a single one, with a nice Cigar in it. "His thank you for checking in on me when he was stuck on Picon. He got to Caprica a couple weeks back for a short window."
"There was some friendly fire incident the other week. A couple of theirs died, and Sergeant Grey," one of theirs, "And I think one of the insurgents." Alain's frowning, despite the fact that he has cake. "Everyone's... well, the local media are calling us murderers, the VRM aren't far off it either, from what I hear." He lowers the cake, frowning, setting it aside when Aubrey pulls something out. He takes the case, carefully opening it and smiling, albeit briefly. "Huh. That's something. I'll have to write him a thank you note, in turn. Has he got his place sorted yet?"
"Ares Flaming Nuts, you'd think we'd be able to stop squabbling amongst ourselves with mechanical death staring us down," Aubrey grouses. She sighs and tips the chair back on the back legs. She nods about her dad. "Yeah, he has a refurbished condo in an area that wasn't hit as hard as where he was before. He's miffed he's further from the beach, but I think he was just saying that so I wouldn't worry. I still worry. He said to save that stogie for your next victory."
"The CF hasn't exactly been popular everywhere all the time," Alain points out, with a little grimace, as he sets the cigar case beside him on the desk next to his half eaten slice of cake. He taps the top, in response to Aubrey's indication he should save that for a victory. "Thankfully for us, the insurgents don't have birds, or it'd be even messier. I don't miss being on the ground, I'll admit. Especially here of all places."
"Not exactly beachfront real-estate on Picon or Scorpia, I know. Desert, right? I haven't been to Sag before. How is the flying in atmo?" Aubrey asks. She's in a chair, tipped back on two legs, also eating cake. A slice from one of the three sitting on the desk Alain was using for paperwork.
Stirling is just returning from a mission planetside, her hair damp from a recent shower. She's got on her navy blues. Aubrey's return was not a surprise - after all, she signed all the paperwork - but she hasn't had a chance to catch up with her yet. So here she is, in search of the prodigal pilot, approaching the conversation - and cake.
Alain's leaning against the desk, reaching to pick up his cake again, taking a bite as he grimaces at Aubrey's question before setting it down again. "The canyons are tough. Lots of tricky cross-winds and sharp turns. We've had some good cam footage though -- I'll give you the dates to look up to give you a feel for it. It's... it's a nice challenge." He might be admitting he actually enjoys it, in some fashion. "Whisper," he greets with a nod as he spots the CAG's approach, smiling. "Cake?" he inquires, reaching for the knife as if anticipating a positive answer.
At the mention of Stirling's callsign, Aubrey straightens her chair and stands at attention. "Major, reporting for duty." She's been in debriefs for a while today. She nods to Alain. "That would be great, Jigger, thanks."
"Yes, thank you," Stirling replies to Alain, before returning her attention fully to Aubrey with a smile. "Banshee. It's good to have you back." She extends a hand to the other pilot.
Alain's using one of those (admittedly empty) report forms as a substitute napkin, cutting a slice of the confetti cake and offering it to Stirling. He's grinning as he watches the CAG welcome back Aubrey, picking up his own cake and taking a generous bite during the exchange.
Aubrey shakes the offered hand, a little stiffly. Her collarbone still feels odd with certain movements, from the pins in it. Though she has a new party trick and can stick magnets to it now. "Thanks, Sir. Glad to be back. Even the Dauntless' mess has better food than that hospital did," she quips.
Stirling shakes the hand, then accepts the cake from Alain. There's a quirked eyebrow at the odd napkin improvisation, but Whisper doesn't comment on it. She observes. "That's a tragedy. If they're going to force you to do rehab, the least they can do is feed you properly."
"Cake every day, at minimum," is Alain's addition to Stirling's words, chuckling. "Whoever would've thought someone would prefer the Dauntless' mess over planet food anyway?" He shifts his weight, glancing at Aubrey, then back to Stirling with what's something between curiosity and impatience, "So, uh, Whisper. How long before Banshee's back out in the air with us, do you think?" he hasn't seen the CAP roster yet, clearly.
"I've had enough jello to last a lifetime," Aubrey muses, sitting back down in the chair for another bite of cake. "All Jigger asked me to bring back with me was some cake. I think he may be addicted," she chuckles.
Stirling takes a bite while they're speaking. After chewing she answers Alain, "Tomorrow, actually. Easy CAPs at first," she says, knowing full well that even an 'easy' CAP can turn into a cluster. "Just to ease back into things, but the docs wouldn't have sent you back to us if you weren't ready to get back on the line." She then asks, "You brought the cake, Banshee?" She smirks. "I think it's supposed to be the other way around - we get you cake to welcome you back."
Alain has the grace to look vaguely embarrased. "I like a good cake, what can I say. We all have our vices." As if to make a point, he's popping the last of his slice of cake into his mouth. He brightens visibly at Stirling's news about Aubrey. "That's perfect. Hey, I was thinking -- I've watched a lot of your cam footage, Whisper. Seen how you immediately go after the heavies with your missiles. It's a good tactic, and it helps cut down on the casualties. Now that Banshee's back, I was thinking to maybe we could try -- if you're both interested -- setting up a kind of designated heavy group. A raptor and two vipers," he gestures to himself, and glances at Aubrey and Stirling inquiringly, "To focus down the heavies straight up if there are any, leave no confusion as to who's taking care of them. It'd leave the others free to pick up the raiders. If it works, maybe we can rotate it around the flight."
"Well, I brought it for the best wingman in the universe," Aubrey says with a smile. "I don't need a party. I was the dumbass who got shot down, that's not something to celebrate," she points out. She ponders Alain's suggestion and nods. "That sounds like a good idea. I've noticed a lot of the other Raptor pilots seem to prefer to load talons, and they just aren't as effective against Heavies."
"You made it back, though, and that is," Stirling points out to Aubrey, smiling slightly. She nods to Alain. "I'm open to trying that. The Viper KEWs aren't any more effective against the heavy armor than the Talons, but with two concentrating fire it may be enough." She takes another bite of the cake and notes, "This is good, thank you Banshee."
With a nod of agreement at the other viper pilot, Alain says, "Missiles take you out of the flight early, make you rely on your ECO. But if it takes out the heavy ordinance on the other side, I think that's a trade-off worth making, especially since the toasters seem to have settled into a pattern of our own, with their heavy and two raiders." A fact that makes the Gemenese pilot grimace. But there's cake, lots of it, and he has no compunctions about lifting the knife to cut himself another slice. He gives a nod towards Stirling in agreement. "I'm hoping so." And then, with a grin, "Yeah, thanks Banshee. For being too stubborn to let them keep you down," he lifts the cake briefly, in the same way you might toast someone with a drink, before taking a bite.
"The Vipers could also cover the Raptor in case the lights come to defend the heavy," Aubrey notes. She nods at the thanks from Stirling. She raises the last of her cake to Jigger. "I'll eat to that."
Stirling nods. "The best tactic I've found is to hit the heavies hard and fast. The missiles are perfect for that even if you only get two chances." She looks to Aubrey then and asks, "How's your father doing, by the way?"
"As they keep stealing our tactics, we need to evolve ours to counter," Alain gives a nod of agreement with the other pilots, as he's chewing cake, thoughtfully. Maybe he's considering plans, but more than likely just enjoying the cake, glancing towards Aubrey at Stirling's question, giving a brief smile.
"Better, thanks for asking. He has a new place on Picon and he's gotten settled in. He managed to get to Caprica for a few days while I was still recovering." She looks to Alain and ponders. "They're basically fancy computers, right? So they are probably predicting our actions because we're predictable. Maybe it's time we stop being predictable?"
"Glad to hear it," Stirling says about Aubrey's dad. As far as the discussion about tactics, she says, "We're not locked into any particular tactic," Stirling points out, "But we shouldn't upend our training and protocols either." She lifts the cake a little bit for emphasis. "I hate to eat and run but I have some things to get to. Welcome back."
There's a brief grimace from Alain, and he swallows a mouthful of cake before he says, "The problem is, that works both ways. If we're unpredictable and they take those tactics from us, it makes our lives harder in future too. I think there's something to be said for a mix of styles -- we see it a lot in our flights lately -- those that are steadier and those that play the part of chaos. Both have an important role to play in keeping the toasters on their toes, so to speak." He nods towards Stirling, rubbing at his chin briefly in thought as he continues eating, lifting fingers in a casual salute by way of farewell.
"Thanks, Major," Aubrey says to Stirling, before she reaches over to muss Alain's hair just a little, for old times sake. "It's good to be back."