2237-10-31 - Downtime

Noah and Cate actually meet somewhere other than dirtside on an op. Pieter makes an unintended cameo.

Date: 2237-10-31

Location: Berthings

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1530

Jump to End

Maybe it's because Noah is comparatively new, but for whatever reason the duty roster usually has him on the ground in Sadah when the sun is out and the weather is least hospitable. It's rare to find him on the Dauntless at this time, and rarer still that he isn't further belowdecks up to his elbows in grease, waging endless war against the dust that wants to infiltrate and seize up every piece of heavy equipment the Wolves actually use. Even in the evening he's usually burning his free time in the Gym or at the range -- or eating and then sleeping, obviously. As often as he can, as far as both of the latter go.

Right now, though, he's stretched out in his bunk, the bottom one of E-3, one knee bent upward and a book resting on an angle against the ramp of his thigh. The regulation sweatpants and t-shirt suggest he's not due for any scheduled duty anytime soon.

After a tedious shift doing inventory in the armory, Cate has made her way up to the berthings area. Not to her own pod, though, but into bunkroom 'E'. A quick glance at the other bunk stack reveals that Costello and Hayes aren't around, and she frowns a touch. Then she seems to notice Noah in the next stack over. "Hey," she offers in friendly greeting. She's wearing her khakis.

It's a second or two before Noah turns his head, finishing out whatever sentence he'd been reading. Hazel eyes track the voice, and then he lets the book fold closed on its own, his thumb remaining to keep the page. "Hey." There's a brief, thoughtful pause. "It's...Rhodes, right?" His eyes tighten at the corners. "You looking for somebody specific?"

Cate nods. "Yeah, Rhodes. Or Cate, or Doc, if you like," Cate confirms. She leans casually against the lockers at the foot of his bunk. "I was just looking for Costello but it's nothing important." Her eyes drift to the bunk above his, perhaps drawn to all the gamer gear. With a perplexed expression, she wonders, "Whose bunk is that?"

"Doc's easy to remember." There's a loose, easy quality to Noah's character that when he isn't working that probably goes some distance toward explaining why he didn't get riled when the Chaplain was short with him, on that last diplomatic mission they went on together. He watches Cate with the same kind of air, craning his head to the side and cocking his brow as she looks, baffled, at the upper bunk. A lazy half-smile follows, wry and lid-eyed. "That's Ramseyer's. He used to be some kind of e-sports something-or-other. Couldn't tell you the details. I'm surprised he hasn't gotten popped for that setup yet, but maybe they figure it keeps him from getting into worse trouble." The broad flat of his chest jostles twice with a chuckle that never makes it out of him. "He seems alright, though."

After a beat he dogears the page of his book he was on and sets it aside, then slowly curls upright to sit, swinging his legs over the edge and leaning foward, one elbow propped on his knee. "You, uh. You doin' alright, doc?" There's not really a great degree of sympathy in his expression, but there's curiosity and genuine interest. "Was pretty rough down there, that first thing we were on together."

"Yeah they don't seem to be too gung-ho about bunk inspections here. Back on my old ship the sergeants were real hard-asses about it. Not that I'm complaining, mind. It's not like we're having company over." Cate gives a little shrug at that and returns her attention to Noah. The latter question causes her mouth to twitch in a sort of rueful half-frown. "More or less," she says. "Been kind of a shitty month." Captured by Cylons and MIA for a week, shot by supposed allies... that's probably a bit of an understatement. "How 'bout you? Had any trouble with the Virgon guys?"

Kind of a shitty month, she says, and his brows knit, though he huffs a breath that might be something like a gallows laugh. "Yeah," is his equally understated response. "I bet."

It's not a topic he lingers on, though. Her query has him bringing his hand up, palming at his cheek and the crop of very ambitious stubble on his jaw. "Nah, not me. Probably has to do with where they're posting me. If you ask me, though, it's too hot to get up in anybody's face." His head ducks, and the hand he was scrubbing his face with splays back into the short crop of his hair, rifling aimlessly. "I'm not gonna miss Sagittaron."

Cate's shoulders lift briefly in a what can you do shrug to his response, but she doesn't linger on the subject either. "Yeah, me either. You should consider yourself lucky. They seem to be going out of their way to pick a fight. You know it's bad when you've got the Chaplain taking a swing at you." The bruised cheek Cate collected in the fight was partly covered by her hair, but when she turns to take in the rest of the bunkroom it's more obvious. It's a quick glance, though, and then she's looking back at Noah's. "What's that?" she gestures towards the schematic on his wall.

"Chap did?" That gets his head up again, and that eyebrow, too. It makes a bid for his hairline. The surprise lingers, then gradually transitions into something else, like he might be having to reassess his estimation of the man in question. "Huh. Well, everybody's got a limit."

He doesn't miss much. Hazel eyes trail down the contour of the bruise on her face when it becomes evident, but he doesn't ask, either. Between the ongoing tensions and the fact that they're all routinely in combat situations, the Dauntless is practically an archive of bodily injuries. He's still looking, though, when she turns her attention back his way, then beyond him to the dominating feature of his bunk. Slowly, he twists at the waist enough to look back past the cliff of his shoulder toward it, as though he didn't know what she was referring to, although he surely must have. "You know you're the first person to actually ask?" There's quiet amusement in his expression when he turns his focus back to her.

"That's what a toaster's brain looks like." There's a pause, and then: "Just the hardware. What makes them, you know -- what they are, that's programming. I'm not really, uh. That's not something I know a lot about."

"Yeah, he's pretty pissed about the whole thing," Cate says, her mouth dipping down into a worried frown. If she notices him looking at the bruise, she doesn't say anything. The schematic proves a welcome distraction from all that business. "A Toaster brain. Huh. That's kinda neat. You into electronics?" she wonders.

Kinda neat. Watching her with that almost leonine ease of his, there's still the sense that underneath is a simmering humor. "I always thought so," he agrees. It's a statement that doesn't seem to be without caveat, to judge by his tone, and of course that would be true, given everything to've happened in the last several years.

"Yeah. I always planned to make a run at engineering, but..." This time it's his turn to shift his attention away. Not to avoid her eyes, but almost as though it helps him lay his mental hands on the memories in question. "Shit gets in the way."

Two beats later, he's turning the conversation back around on her: "Were you in medicine before the war, or..?"

"The war threw a pretty frakked-up wrench in everyone's plans," Cate says, a sympathetic frown when he mentions his aborted goal. Then there's an upnod toward the schematic. "Did you study them? Before?" She takes a stab at guessing the reason he'd have become fascinated enough to have a Cylon brain on his wall. His question gets a rueful half-smile. "I was an ER doc."

He short-nods about the war, but says nothing until she asks him about his interest in the schematic. "Nah. I worked for an industrial design company that built robotics designed to work in zero gravity. Usually for biomedical applications, but they'd pick up all sorts of clients. This was..." Pausing, he finally shifts again, pivoting on an angle so that he can rest his back against the 'head' of his bunk's interior, though he keeps one foot on the ground. The other knee draws up, and he drapes his forearm on that side over the top. "The first print I had was trash. Some awful patent office copy. Back then I really couldn't think of anything more incredible than that. Able to mimic the most complex machine in existence?" Here he gestures loosely at himself, with emphasis on his head. "Those things changed the way we lived, too. I admired the hell out of that." One brief pause later, he mimics her rue with some of his own, and slants his gaze toward the schematic. "Safe to say I have a different takeaway from it now than I did then."

Brow up, he gestures loosely at the foot of his bunk in silent invitation, since she's having to stand around. "So how does an ER doc wind up being a combat medic, rather than support?"

Cate's brows lift when he talks about the robotics. "You actually worked on them?" Whereas some might find that idea horrifying, she sounds interested, maybe even a little impressed. With a grateful nod, she takes the invitation to sit, camping out on the foot of the bunk with her knees drawn up to avoid taking up much room. She studies the schematic for a moment. "We didn't have many Cylons on Hibernia. First time I saw one up close was when I went to Picon for the Colonial Fair. They were neat but kinda creepy."
At the question about her becoming a medic, she makes a vague gesture with one hand. "I got trapped in Hyperion when the war started. They were short of medics, so I ended up going out with the marines. When I got out, signed up for real... I didn't much like the idea of spending the rest of the war hanging back in sickbay." Of course it probably wasn't quite that easy, knowing the military.

"Worked...on Cylons?" This is the first time Noah laughs outright, and he's got one of those smiles that seems to take over his own face, bright and sharp, eyes narrowed. "Hell no. I wasn't qualified for that." The thought tickles him, though, obviously.

He settles his head back against the wall behind him, and listens to what is no doubt the short-short version of how she wound up where she is. "It's somethin' else, that's for sure," he agrees when she's finished, ticking his eyes out into the room, as though the largely empty berths could stand in for the Marines in general. "I get these letters from home asking about how it is, but I gave up trying to explain. Don't think I could. I don't think I could have gone back in your shoes, either." Turning his attention on her again: "I don't know if what you chose is harder or easier, though. Maybe a little bit of both."

Cate looks a little sheepish that she got the wrong idea. "Oh. You said worked on robotics, I just assumed..." A little shrug dismisses the misunderstanding. She nods somberly to the rest of his words. "Yeah, there's no way they can get it. And I think you're right about it being a bit of both. It's hard... not being a doctor any more, getting shot every other week it feels like." Actually with her track record, the count is probably not that far off, even though most of the scars are hidden by her uniform. "But I feel like it's making more of a difference. I dunno." A helpless shrug there. "How'd you end up in the marines?"

E Berthing is largely empty at the moment. There may be a couple of people sleeping behind closed curtains, but the only ongoing conversation is happening at the back of the room in the lower bunk of E-3, with Noah propped against the 'head' wall of his bunk and Cate sitting at the other end.

"Getting shot at and getting to know the people being shot up, too." For Noah, that would be the more difficult piece of what she does, evidently: getting closer to the people it would be his responsibility to treat in the field. "But getting shot is no frakkin' picnic, either." The memory is fresh enough that he grimaces, and presses the heel of his palm to his chest, roughly where a small divot of scar tissue is still tender and pink.

And her question? "Uh..." He chuffs a short laugh. "I'd love to tell you something about how I had this...deep drive for that, or something, but honestly I just sort of fell into it. I knew I wanted to sign up, but I had no idea where I wanted to go with that. I can shoot a rifle without nailing friendlies, I'm pretty durable..." He hoists his shoulders, and his eyes glitter amusedly. "And I like it, actually. Not all of it, obviously, but...generally..."

"Sometimes it was harder... staying behind. Back at Triton, I got to be pretty close to some of the pilots. Seeing them go out, never knowing if they'd make it back..." Not a pleasant memory. Cate shrugs. "At least with the marines I could help make sure they did." Sometimes anyway. That part is left unsaid. His admission about joining the marines gets a little smirk. "Well, since my main reason for joining the marines was just so I didn't have to join the navy... I'm not gonna criticize."

Maybe it was the sound of Cate's familiar voice, or maybe it was just a wrong turn influenced by his evident state, but something has drawn a wild Pudge this way and he's apparently been turned into a zombie!!! "Braaaaiiinnnns..." he croaks out as he's shuffling into the berthing, mostly still clad in a flight suit, with eyes half closed in clear near-exaustion, while fingers fumble at the stays of his suit and he starts stripping on his way in. A stripping zombie Pudge! Fleeeeee! Worse, he's starting right towards the middle-lower bunk that the pair are on, apparently intent on climbing right in there with them. That is, until his half-slitted eyes open enough to take in sight of the pair and he's stopping with top of suit spread like a bananna peel over sweat-stained under-tanktop. The eyes try to focus as he sways a bit in stopping, then turn suspicious in confusion as he's mumbling out. "Wait, why're you two in m'frakkin' bunk? Clear out, yeah? I'm crashfacin'!" Cate would know the normally good-natured ECO has barely been using his bunk since his recent transfer to the Timber Wolves, having been caught in one of his more manic insomniac phases off and on. Apparently about to be off again. Way off, since he's totally in the wrong part of the berthing entirely!

Noah mulls over that angle of things, probably mentally putting himself in the position she's describing. "Yeah, frak that," he decides. Staying on the ship: not for him, no matter how grouchy he gets about the heat and the dust down dirtside.

"What's wrong with the Navy?" Asked with a little twitch to one corner of his mouth. "You weren't into strapping yourself to what amounts to a fragile bomb moving at ridiculous rates of speed in areas liberally outfitted with anti-fragile-bomb emplacements?" The insanity of that, or at least his perspective on it, is more than evident in his wry tone.

Speaking of people who find that particular career path appealing: suddenly, Pudge. Noah glances up from his conversation with Cate, and cocks a brow when he's told to evacuate his own bunk. "Think you might be readjusting to low atmosphere, hoss," he offers, affably.

Cate hehs softly, "Oh, hell no - I could never be a pilot. But if I joined the Navy they would've made me a doctor. And an officer. Fortunately, the Virgons don't usually consider Hibernians 'officer material' so they let me join the marines instead." Her wry tone doesn't quite hide the bitterness at the Virgon attitude there. But then she's being distracted by Pieter. Her eyebrows go up. "You're in the wrong bunkroom, Pie," she tells him, eyeing him up and down in concern.

The apple-round face of the big, bearded ECO turns to Noah at the accusation, confusion showing again, starting to turn towards beligerence as he gears up to argue this point, or else try to roust them again. Just as he's opening lips though, brows furrowed angrily, Cate's words are cutting through his sleep deprived brain-fog and he's left blinking. Once, twice...looking around him at the bunks. Blink, looking between the pair into the bunk he thought to claim, head canting as he seems to study the circuit schematics there.

And then...the blushing. A rosy redness touching his big cheeks as a hand comes up to scratch under his beard, sheepishness cutting through some of the sleep debt as he offers back to Cate sotto voce, as if imparting a great secret. "Cat..I do believe I'm in the wrong damned bunkroom!" An uncomfortable cough, a shake of his head as if trying to clear the cobwebs and he's peering over to the rather distinctly more well-built Noah a little warily as he points to the space. "Uh...yours?" Not clear if he meant the bunk he tried to claim or the schematics decorating it.

As the answer to Pie's question is the same no matter which of the two he's asking about, it makes it easy. Noah watches the slow dawning realization happen, the chuckle that follows trapped in his chest and throat, more visually evident than audible. "Yeah, man. It's fine. We've all had shifts like that." At least, if there's anyone on the Dauntless who hasn't, Noah's never met them. But he'd like to, so he can find out how the hell they managed to swing that. "You're in Echo."

Cate hides an amused smirk. "Yeah I think you might be," she agrees deadpan. Then more seriously, "If they're sending you out to fly a patrol zonked like that, that's frakked up." Says the pot to the kettle, since Cate sports tired circles under her eyes like they're the latest fashion. Today though the one eye also has a bruise next to it, turning all sorts of interesting colors as it heals. She gestures towards Noah. "You guys know each other?" Presuming not, since Pieter is new, she says, "Pieter Raines." Then there's a look slanted at Noah, and her 'and here we have...' hand gesture sort of pauses. "Westlake. Umm..." She squints, trying to remember his first name. Did she even know it? Pesky marines and their pesky last names.

Pie gives a nod to the revelation of location, scrubbing up from his beard to cover his face briefly as he mutters out. "Frak me sideways but I'm wiped!" His good humor's creeping back past the embarrassment though and he's shaking it off, jokingly adding in his gravelly baritone laced with mirth. "Uh...nice bunks you got here! I...uh, clearly just wanted to come visit them!" He ends up wrinkling his nose a bit to Cate's mention of zonked and mutters. "I...uh, may have failed to report how little downtime I was running on!" He's quick to add defensively. "I'm fine on the wing though! Adrenaline. Just...kind of crash after!" At the question of knowing Noah, he peers again the man's way, shakes head and offers out a meaty hand for a shake as she introduces, though her failing on the other's name earns a wry smirk her way. "Nice to meet you, despite trying to take your bed, whoever you are. Call me Pudge or Pie." A pause then as his eyes come to the bunk above the pair after hand is released or ignored and he's pointing to it. "That Yoyo's rack?" Presumably meaning Yohan, gamer galore.

It wouldn't be like Noah to pass up the opportunity to give anyone a hard time, so when Cate fails to come up with his first name, he stares at her with slowly rising brows, gradually adding widening eyes to the mix -- like he's shocked she could've forgotten him. Shocked and wounded.

...It's very possible she never did hear his first name, though. So he does relent, eventually. "Noah." This is for the both of them, the up-nod for Pie specifically; he shakes the hand he's offered, though he has to lean a bit to make it work. Hazel eyes flick up toward the bunk above his. "Yoyo?" That's obviously new, and to gauge from his amused tone, something he's going to be using to give his bunkmate hell. "Yeah. Yohan."

"Noah. Sorry." Cate offers him a sheepish look. Unlikely that she'll forget again, assuming she forgot in the first place. "Yoyo?" She echoes the name as well, brows lifting. "Is that some kind of brutal callsign?"

"Totally call him that. He always hated it!" Pie offers sagely to Noah with a maliciousness that can only be borne of old friendship, a side grin for Cate and shake of head to her question. "Nah, just a nickname from teen gamer years. He was an upstart punk who kicked my ass about virtually just when I was thinking I had it in me to go pro. We go back." He's peering up at the bunk then with a kind of slow-churning wicked idea, but the weariness is riding him too hard and finally he's giving a gusty sigh. "Damnit. I'm too half-dead to make a proper go of short-sheeting his ass. I'll get him later! We haven't caught up since I landed here, the punk! Admittedly, I've been keeping insane hours, but still!" Another big face-scrubbing, both hands this time, and the zombie Pudge is turning to look longingly towards the exit as he sighs out. "K then. Sorry both, but I need to crash like a crashy thing. If you hear screams, I may have crawled in bed with someone and be in need of medical attention. Just...like, don't wake me up though if so, yeah?" Yes, because the medstaff are going ot LOVE having to pack his big ass to the medbay with a knife wound or something for attempted molestation or whatever he'd get charged with!

Noah takes in all of this personal history between Pudge and his bunkmate with some interest. he's still pretty new, himself; he's learning about people constantly -- even the people he sees most. Granted, when he sees Yohan he's usually about to be facedown, himself. "Wouldn't dream of it," he puts in, when the ECO asks not to be roused even if he winds up somewhere unintended. "Enjoy your rack time."

He tilts his head after that, and shoots Cate a curious look. "What. Lots of the grunts here have callsigns?" That, where he comes from, would be strange. It does recall a recent memory, though, at which point his expression tilts toward superficial irritation. "Ma keeps trying to get people to call me 'Wetlake.'"

Cate smirks. "Get some rest," she offers, and watches him go before returning her gaze to Noah. "What what?" she asks, apparently not catching his confusion. "I thought he was a pilot? But yeah, even the marines here seems surprisingly into callsigns. I don't quite get it. Always thought that was just a pilot thing." She shrugs.

Pieter gives Noah a silent thumbs up agreement to the 'rack time' bit, and starts to slump off towards exit after reaching a hand out to pat Cate on the shoulder companionably. That done, he's off again, hopefully towards the right bunk this time, groaning out his exit as he came in. "Braaaaaiinnnns..." Awhile later, there's been no screams, so either he found the right one, or else found someone who didn't mind a bit of cushion in their cuddling.

"He's a pilot?" Noah looks absolutely gobsmacked by this revelation, actually. He stares at her for a long moment, then turns his head, knits his brows, and watches her out of the corners of his eyes, like she might be screwing with him. "Seriously?" When it becomes clear that she is serious, he's even more astonished than before. The reason for that is made abundantly clear by his next question: "They let that guy fly multi-million cubit hardware around...?"

He turns his head to watch Pie disappear again, more to see that he doesn't keel over on the way out than anything, though it probably occurs to him that Pie is in the air wing, too, and he couldn't find his own bunk, given the tch sound he makes.

Cate is definitely serious, but looks uncertain by Noah's reaction. It's his bunkmate after all - maybe she has the wrong guy? "I thought so - Ramseyer you said right? Tall guy, dark hair, scruff..." She makes a vague gesture toward her chin to indicate his facial hair. Nevermind that description could fit a lot of guys. She shrugs though. "I don't really know him though, if it's who I'm thinking of." Catching his look after Pieter, she offers a half-smile. "Pie's a good guy. Kinda a goof, but he's a good ECO. We were at Triton together." Which causes her expression to turn somber. Changing the subject, she gestures towards the book he had when she came up. "What do you like to read?"

That description could fit Noah. Still, though, he nods, then shakes his head, as though the world is a stranger place than he could ever have imagined. "Yeah. Ramseyer. Guess it's probably pretty obvious I don't spend a lot of time chatting people up."

He doesn't ask her about Triton. He knows an off-limits subject when he sees one. Instead, he quirks a skeptical brow at her inquiry, reaching for and then holding up the book so that she can read the cover. It's a textbook on heuristics.

"On the upshot," he says, not without some self-deprecating humor, "Nobody ever asks to borrow my shit." The book thumps the mattress when he drops it, and he tucks a wink in. "I'll read almost anything, though."

Cate takes a gander at the cover and her eyebrows shoot up. "Little light reading before bed, huh?" She looks amused. "So... a science geek in marine clothing. You and Hayes'd probably get along great. Trade textbooks." Her eyes shift to Erin's bunk and then back. "I like science too, but mostly I read thrillers and shit." There's a light snort. "Did you hear about that romance novel that has Tomak on the cover?"

Noah's head tilts, his gaze finding Erin's bunk at the same time hers does. Or is it Kyle's? Who can keep track, at this rate? "Hayes, huh." He pushes his chin forward, then scratches at it with a quiet rasping sound. "I hardly ever see those two, either."

That last question gets a wry look. "Yeah, speaking of Hayes. I think she grabbed one of the copies floating around for Costello. Bet he's in a real good mood about that." His experience with the Tauran is limited, but sufficient to have picked up on the broad strokes of his personality. "If you ask me, that's just free advertising, though," he adds, with a widening of that lazy smile. "He oughta make the most of that."

Cate looks back to the other marines' bunks briefly. "Yeah it's funny how you can be in the same room with people and hardly ever see them. Opposing shifts and shit." She gives an oh-well shrug, then snorts lightly at the mention of Tomak's mood. "Somehow I doubt he sees it that way. Not sure I can imagine any marine guy on the ship who'd be less interested in advertising his abs."

"This is why he's in such a bad mood all the time," Noah opines, brow up -- though just in good humor. It's obvious he's not serious. "Life is really all about seeing the silver linings." For all that he's joking around, he seems genuine in his assertion of that last bit. "Sometimes that's all there is to enjoy."

Cate snickers at the first bit. "Maybe you should point that out to him. Then again..." She squints a bit. "Maybe not. You're already in enough danger from the Cylons." The comment about silver linings gets a nod. "Good philosophy. That's too true sometimes." She scoots towards the edge of the bunk. "I should let you get back to your homework. Was nice chatting." She flashes a brief smile.

"Hell no. I might decline even if I wasn't Caprican." Not that he looks afraid of whatever that rumble would be, but he just doesn't seem the type to go looking for trouble.

As she slides toward the edge of the bunk, he reaches for the book and utters a low sound, one that stays trapped in his chest. "Thanks. Good talking to you, too." He sets the book down in its prop again, elongating his posture in the bunk -- though the expansive yawn that follows suggests he may wind up doing less reading than sleeping soon enough. "Don't be a stranger, doc. You know where I'm at." One hand swings out of the bunk and thumps the marked side of his bunk's number, though his eyes are already on his book.

Cate smirks at his response. "Yeah, same. I'll seeya around," she says, and then she's getting up to leave.


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