Marines do their qualification tests, and more pastries abound.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1561
It's a hot evening down on Scorpia and Gunny Mercer is giving the briefing for the qualification challenge, being held on the training ground at the Scorpian Navy base near Argentum. There are four stations set up - an obstacle course (complete with a big wall, crawl under barbed wire with machineguns firing, a swing over a mud pit, and a balance beam thing with stumps), firearms assembly, marksmanship, and first aid station. The second part of the course, being held later (off-camera) with a larger group is the land navigation march. "Tomak, you're up." Gunny gets out his stopwatch, as everything is timed.
<<Show them how it's done, dirt eater.>> Akeso encourages the first contestant on tonight's episode of so you think you can marine. Otherwise, she's mostly been milling and now is tying her hair back so that it doesn't become an issue whenever her name is called. She's still got a second hair part down the side of her head above her ear, but that's been healing nicely and is now little more than a raw line, rather than the ugly wound that it was whe she was freshly shot in the head on Sagittaron.
There's no need for Gage to qualify again -- he did that last time they were on Scorpia -- but still, he's here. One, because what marine doesn't want the opportunity to show how awesome they are and; two, because what marine would pass up the ability to shit-talk his fellow marines about their performance? Certainly not Tomak. "Copy that, Gunny," he says with a grin, moving up to the start of the course, glancing over to wait for his indication to get moving. << Gonna frak 'em up, >> he mutters back in Tauran without looking.
Last time the Wolves ran the quals course, Tavo was nursing a dislocated shoulder from a Raptor crash (one more reason never to fly when it's at all possible to avoid it). The medic's call, even if Tavo can't understand it, draws a chuckle, and then he raises his voice to call out to the engineer as well, "Frags at the end if you win." Granted, 'frags' in this case are a Scorpian pastry snack, but... Gage doesn't need to know that.
Sergeant now. Charlie is still chewing that over and she doesn't look too happy about it. She's managed to fly under the promotional radar for so long, she was getting comfortable. Corporal was pretty good. But now, now there may be actual, real responsibility. She's waiting her turn to the side, staring at the firearms assembly station. "Hey, 'Tavo," she calls over to the big gunner. "Pistol or SMG?"
For now he's hanging around with the others, arms folded loosely over the chest that every toaster from one end of the colonies to the other seems determined to put outrageous numbers of holes into, watching and whooping it up as appropriate.
Lyn stands near Charlie, also still boggling at the promotion of the entire Fox Force Four group. It's coincidence no doubt, but amusing none the less.
Last time the Wolves ran the quals course, Gray's performance was...well, passable. Not great, but passable. Still, he's been doing his best (his absurd string of unlucky injuries notwithstanding) to train up and improve his performance...he /wants/ a badge now. He wants to do better than before. But until he's called? He's milling around, somewhat antsy.
"Rifle," Tavo responds to Charlie, flashing a brief grin, "Sarge. Last time we did this, my shoulder," he gestures to his left shoulder, "Was all screwed up. So I went pistol then. One of these days I'll take out a sniper rifle." He watches Gage take off, half-turning his head as he crosses his arms over his chest, "You?"
"Nice shooting," Mercer comments when he sees the narrow spread of bullets in the target, though even his compliments come out gruff sounding. "All right Walker - you're up."
Gage really doesn't understand Tavo's call, if the puzzled look is anything to go by. But there's a course to run, and he turns attention back -- even as the signal's given, the Tauran is up and moving. He's navigating the obstacle course, practically throwing himself into the dirt after he climbs over the wall, crawling through, then swinging over the mud-bid and across the beams. He's apparently pleased with how he went, even if he doesn't know his time yet, lifting hands into the air in a victory dance briefly given before he's off to assemble a pistol -- done with enough speed that it's unthinking. His shots with the pistol are on-going, earning a pleased grunt (and another fist-waving dance), before he's off to do the first aid and thankfully not embarrass himself (or kill his not-really-real patient). Dripping mud, looking pleased, he tries to give the medic assessing him at the end a muddy bear-hug.
"Already got my sniper quals in both rifles." Sniper and carbine. "Gotta add on, y'know?" Charlie moves a bit closer to the line to watch Gage's run.
Abigail, hearing her name called, moves up to the front of the line. She seems determined to givev the entire gamut a go, her recent injuries a thing of the past...in her head. Or it could just be that she's not about to punk out with the other half of the Terrible Two just also here for his attempt. Well, in for a penny, as she begins. She heads off for the obstace course first, moving from station to station. All that time on a surfboard has to have had some sort of knock-on effect, one would hope, because it really is all about flexibility and balance. From the course, she moves on to the firearms station, assembling the weapon she's qualifying on today, the rifle, rather than her usual SMG, and then it's some shooting, and then patching up booboos. It's just like real life kids!
Tavo nods to Charlie, "Well yeah... but where you going from there? Small, really small, or professional-grade?" Apparently, 'LMG' is 'professional-grade.' It could not be much clearer that Tavo is a gunner. He gives a nod as Gage finishes, chuckling at the mud-attack, then leans down to grab a green-frosted near-spherical object wrapped in plastic from the cold-bag at his feet and tosses it toward Gage, "Eyes up, Tomak." It's a cream-filled cake that's iced in frosting that tastes... sweet and... green. Yeah. Definitely chemical.
Akeso pulls her short ponytail through her hand as she watches Gage run the course, her expression remains her normal, flat sort of deal, showing neither disapproval nor enthusiasm for what she's witnessing. Waiting there, she tucks her elbows in and twists at the waist a few times, warming up. Some bored stretching follows as the next competitor steps to the line and takes off. There's a glance aside at Charlie and Gustavo, as if she's idly been eavesdropping on the conversation and perhaps thinking over her own weapon selection. She doesn't offer suggestions or words in general. Quiet medic is quiet.
Made it! Abigail also raises her hands in a victory cheer, as she doesn't fall flat on her face, results-wise. Because one should always celebrate that sort of thing. It's no expert, but Abigail seems at least satisfied with the result. Always good to have room for improvement. As soon as she's cleared, she heads back to sit in the crowd and cheer on the rest of the squad.
"Lindus remains unchallenged. Tavo, see if you can knock him off, eh?" Gage is remarking as he finishes the long walk back to join the others waiting for their turn. Tavo's present has him looking suspicious for a moment, before he reaches to catch it, peering at it. "Huh. You give me all the nice presents, Delgado," he grins, holding the treat loosely in hand. He hears Walker being called up and glances that way for a moment, as he's moving up to stand near Akeso. <<Easy. Want to rub some mud on your face to make you slide under the stuff easier, Ma?>> he's offering, probably only half-seriously, but he's leaning into her shoulder like he's threatening to do so.
Gage rolls through his quals like a boss, getting some applause from Gray as he realizes how good the latter's score is. Then Abigail...well, she qualifies, but at least she doesn't blow it away...that would result in some mounting pressure to perform.
Charlie's talking up her game gets a smirk. "Good luck with that..." he says, earnestly (if mildly amused at the confidence).
"Not bad for someone just out of the infirmary," Mercer offers with respect as he clicks off the stopwatch for Abigail's time. "Arda, you're up."
Lyn steps up to the starting line for the obstacle course and hunkers down until time begins. She still has a few bandages over healing cuts from shrapnel in the artillery incident on Sag, but she looks ready regardless. Notably, the chaplain isn't here, having gone to visit his family on Gemenon, otherwise he might have talked her out of running the course.
Tavo nods at Charlie's response, "Saving the best for last. I get that." The big man shrugs at Gage, "I'll give it a go, man. But he's like what... ten years younger than me?" Two, actually. But sometimes those two feel like ten. Or he's just joking. "And of course, I know what you like. Frags." As Abigail finishes the course, he digs another of the sweet treats out of the bag, gives a sharp whistle, "Walker, eyes up," and tosses it to her. Apparently, you get one when you finish. At least unless Mercer decides that it's too much casualness at quals.
The rifle at the firearms station gets quickly assembled before she aims to fire it at the targets, and shreds the hell out of them, before she is then on to do a makeshift patch-up on the volunteer at the med station.
"Next time, Gunny. I'm going to ace it, be just like a real marine." A grin, as she passes Mercer, barely catching Tavo's call. But you know what Abigail Walker never misses? Treats. She manages, just, to catch the wrappd confection, "Thanks, Tavo! You going?" She does, not, however, open it immediately, instead holding it carefully in hand, as though it were precious cargo. "Right in the face, Arda!" Cause that's what that target deserves.
<<It couldn't hurt.>> Akeso replies, not bothered by the threat of mud. In fact, she reaches over to run a finger through a streak of muck across the front of Tomak's shirt and then draws a line of mud down the length of her nose and adds a smudge to either cheek. There, now she won't get stuck on the more protruding parts of her face. Easy! Not once does she smile during any of that, funnily enough.
Mercer smirks at Abigail. "Hoo-ah," he offers in encouragement. Seeing Lyn's target grouping, he says, "Perfect score. Not too shabby," he jokes. "Delgado - you're up."
Gage is chuckling, giving a mock-salute to Tavo as he mentions one of his favorite presents to receive. "Nice work on the weapons, Walker," he adds, when she joins them. Akeso's response earns a low-throated laugh, and -- after she's painted her face, he adds a dot on the end of her nose. <<Makes you go faster,>> he reports, with absolutely no basis. And then: "I'll mind the bag, Delgado," and he edges over to do that.
There's an eye for the treats being tossed around. Like Charlie might be worried there won't be any left by the time her turn comes around. She does let out a cheer for Lyn as the marksmanship is up. "That's how recon does it," she calls out. And then an eye for Gustavo as he steps up. Someone's gotta manage that warrior badge, right?
When she finishes, Lyn gets a sweet frag-treat tossed at her by Tavo too, "Arda." And then he starts to offer the bag out to Charlie... only to have Gage offer. There's a heartbeat of hesitation, as much for the amusement value as anything else, and then he offers the bag out and heads for the starting line. Mercer gets a glance and a "Hoo-ah, Gunny." That's not Marine talk, that's Army talk.
Lyn catches the treat and gives Gustavo a broad smile. "Thanks, Tavo." She hadn't managed a perfect score before, she seems happy about it.
As soon as Tavo is out on the course, Gage lifts the bag and starts offering the contents around to anyone that wants one. Charlie's the first because she's eyeing it. He's a bad guard when it comes to treats, it seems.
Given the ongoing and excellent performances, it's almost enough to make Noah question whether doing this injured is a good idea. ...Almost. It looks like too much fun to sit on the sidelines in the hope of a perfect score whenever they do this next. Who doesn't like to slop around in the mud in their free time? "Damn, Arda," he says, after watching the marksmanship segment. That's what 'impressed' sounds like, coming from Noah.
There's a broad grin to Gage as he starts doling out treats. Charlie lifts it to him in salute before she unwraps to begin chowing down while watching Gustavo on the course.
"What the frak was that - the Scorpian army crawl?" Mercer jabs good-naturedly, before saying, "Got the job done anyway. Good time. Ma, you're up next."
With that extra dab of mud on her nose, Akeso is ready. She's even finished with her stretches long before Mercer calls her name, busying herself with an absent, fussy stroking of her hair. Not that it's going anywhere. When the Gunny does call, she acknowledges with an "Aye sir." and stalks to the line, covering the last stride length with a hop. Maybe it's for luck, part of some odd luck ritual. Maybe she's just revealing a small error in her Cylon programming. Hard to say. When she gets the go, go she does.
Still waiting for his turn, Gray plops down and pulls out a water bottle next to Charlie, taking a drink. At least everyone's qualifying, which is a good thing...
While Gage is busy handing out Tavo's precious treats, he almost misses that amazing show through the obstacle course. Fortunately he catches the tail end of it, whistling. "Might have Lindus there," he says, approvingly. There's still some -- if less -- treats in the bag by the time the marine returns to presumably claim his bag, glancing over to watch Akeso's progress through the course.
Gray finishes his sip and happily hands it over to Charlie. "Sure. I heard that 'hydration' is the word of the day..." he suggests.
Gratefully stepping back from the first aid table when the medic pronounces the dummy 'likely to survive until triage... maybe,' Tavo grins at Mercer, "Hey, I crawl around up on my arms, I get my head shot off. Sometimes we gotta do things a little different than the little guys." And then he sees way more Frags out and being chomped on than people who have run the course, and he heaves a sigh, "Gods-damn it, Tomak." There's no heat in the complaint. It's his own fault anyhow for giving Gage the bag. Grabbing one of the Frags himself, he pops the top of the plastic wrap and takes a bite of the 'grenade,' turning to watch Akeso's run, "Think so?" There's even a little quiet pride in the question.
Abigail, having glanced over towards the bag of treats, probably to see about putting it back into the cold, seems to think better of it, as she catches sight of gage handing them out. No, this treat is now sacred. And so, to the course, "I think I've heard of a dance that looks just like that, Tavo." A cheer for Akeso as well,as the medic rolls through like a boss.
Akeso is definitely not going to be dissuading people from the idea that she's not secretly a tiny Cylon in disguise the way she gamely trucks through the course. She may not look like much of a threat, but there's no stopping her. Up and over, through the mud, under the wire, over the beam, she keeps going, keeping a steady pace. It may not be the prettiest, but the frown and keep attacking technique of hers gets her through in a decent time. She's thoroughly muddy by the time she reaches the guns, selecting a rifle, assembling it with that same steady, inexorable pacing so she doesn't get flustered and flub anything. When it's done, she's goes to the line and hits the targets with no fussing or hesitation. Again, her technique is professional and functional, nothing fancy but anyone with experience with the Legion would recognize some of the training shining through. After that, medicine, she treats the dummy with her trademark efficiency (if completely lack of bedside manner, but hey, it's a dummy). When done, she walks off the course without a word, but a nod to Mercer.
Gage looks entirely unrepentant at Tavo's sigh. "Hey, I didn't eat them myself. Just figured people might want the sugar rush before, not after, you know?" Rolling his shoulders, he grins, "Reckon so. Saw his run myself. Guess we'll see when the final times come in, eh?" He's settling into a slouch to enjoy his own treat. <<Nice, Ma,>> he calls out, as she retreats off the course. He seems apt to stay until the bitter end, himself.
"Hydration, eh?" Charlie smirks sidelong at Gray as she takes the bottle, going for a healthy swig. It's handed back as she goes back to watching the others on their course. When Tavo discovers the state of the Frags, she gives an unrepentant shrug before taking another bite of her own.
Mercer gives a little harrumph-ing chuckle to Tavo, then focuses his eyes back on the course. "Nice work, Ma. Westlake, you're up."
Tavo chuckles quietly at Abigail's comment, glancing down a touch and tucking his own Frag into his mouth to rub at the back of his neck with his free hand, then grabbing the treat back to say, "Pretty sure that'd look pretty bad on the dance floor, Walker, but thanks. I think." He nods at Akeso's run, doling out one of the few remaining Frags and then taking another bite of his own, "Nice run." Then he gets a chance to look back to Charlie and Gage, grunting his eloquent lack of fraks for their excuses, silent or otherwise. "Ever heard of a reward, Tomak? And yeah," he looks somewhat mollified, "guess we'll see when the times come out."
Gray returns the smirk at the (unbelievably ancient) joke. "So, are the frags pineapple-flavored tonight?" he asks, given the number of folks chowing down on them as he accepts his bottle back and takes another swig. "Or did they go for pomegranite this time?"
"I mean, the concept's vaguely familiar, what're you getting at?" Gage, playing dumb, stuffs the last of the treat into his mouth, snickering. "Go, Wetlake!" he calls, deliberately dropping the 's', as the Caprican heads out to the course.
Noah whistles through two fingers set between his lips for the Staff Sergeant's all-around impressive run -- always reassuring to see the people that outrank you doing an excellent job, right? -- and there's Scary Ma, who gets applause so that she'll help him if he gets shot again, which seems likely, and also so that she doesn't murder him in his sleep for not clapping, which also seems likely.
And then it's his up. He stretches his elbows up and back, wincing a little, still sore, and then starts for the line. Just finishing, actually, would be sufficient for him tonight, all things considered. And at least the Gunny's not calling him 'Wetlake' yet.
He flicks Gage a look, cups a hand to his ear, looks baffled: like 'what? Didn't catch that!'
"Like a reward for being the best unit the Fleet's got?" Charlie offers with a glance towards Gage. She flashes a grin before turning to look out towards the course in thought. Then Noah's up: "Show 'em how it's done!" Someone's gotta balance Tomak.
Noah's run is...adequate. Consistent. There's nothing flashy involved; he doesn't showboat the obstacle course and he doesn't opt for a weapon other than a rifle: given he's working against a still-wounded chest, there's no point in making anything more difficult for himself than it has to be. He gets through it, though, and only seems to flag toward the end, when the already-taxed muscles stringing his ribcage together (where there are still a handful of stitches gradually dissolving) tire of compensating for his rifle, and some of those shots go wide.
Coming off of the course, though, he still looks to be in a good mood, half-smiling as he rakes mud out of his hair.
Tavo chuckles at the question from Gray, giving his half-eaten treat a sniff and a shrug, "I'm pretty sure they're just 'sweet' flavored. Pineapple would've been a better joke. But I'm pretty sure the people who designed these've never seen a real frag grenade." He stretches out one arm to try and give Gage's shoulder a forearm shiver at the dumb-playing, then turns to watch 'Wetlake' make his run. He nods and tosses the man a Frag when Noah finishes, "Westlake, eyes up. Solid." Glancing down into the bag, he gives Charlie and Gage another mock-scowl, "Only two left."
"You gonna fall apart on me over there, Westlake?" Mercer challenges when he sees Noah flagging at the end. "Anderson - your turn."
Gray pops up as his name is called, finally /quite/ glad to have his turn. "Guess I'll find out in a few..." he offers in response to the unanswered grenade question. The suspense has been killer, even if he'd briefly settled into some more relaxed banter, and he's ready to go. After doing a (very) quick stretch to recover from having sat down, he's off to the races.
There's two treats left in Tavo's bag and two marines left to qualify. As Gray is called, Charlie grunts and takes another bite of the treat. She also, for the time being, takes over his water bottle. His fault for having it there. "Save one for me," she calls to Gustavo with a broad, shit-eating grin. Then it's back to observing the course to see how Gray's run goes.
Gray manages to make it through the obstacle course in one piece...unlike on his last two memorable patrols, where he came back either with parts of his body trying to break or with things lodged in him that shouldn't be there.
The rifle assembly portion also goes smoothly: He gets it assembled but loses a few seconds when a portion of the rifle doesn't want to slot in properly, resulting in some muttered profanity. Shooting also goes...well, decently. Not great but not badly, either. Ironically, his best station of the afternoon? It's probably first aid, where he manages /not/ to kill the dummy!
Making his way back to join the others...but he has a feeling that he didn't add any badges. Frak. "So, about those grenades..."
Akeso makes her treat disappear, but it's not exactly a mystery as to where it went. She's chewing on it, like just about the entire thing, in her mouth at once. Munching at it, she lifts a fist to Gray to encourage her fellow Sagittaran before he sets out onto the course, and when Noah walks off the far end, he gets a thumbs up. She doesn't say anything, but, talking with a grenade in your mouth is rude. So rude.
Mercer watches Gray. "Not bad Anderson. Wagner - you're up."
As Gray goes through his run, Charlie finishes up her Frag and washes it down with a healthy swig from the man's water bottle. It's set back down where he'd been seated, as if it had never been touched. No, sir, that liquid just disappeared of its own accord. Brushing hands against her BDUs, she eyeballs the course and takes a deep breath. Time to show them how recon does it, right? The band holding back her braids is checked and then she's off to the races! ... er, the obstacles!
Tavo grunts amusement at Gage's response, "I didn't know how many people were gonna be here. But you think I'm not gonna take the opportunity to blame it on you?" The big man finishes off his Frag, then digs out the second-to-last one and tosses it to Gray, "You didn't Kovac it." The last 'grenade' is pulled out and the bag folded up and tucked under his arm as he watches Charlie head to the start, "You already got one."
Noah very nearly fumbles the thrown -- what the hell is it? -- because his wounded side is his dominant side, and it is tired. He manages to avoid fumbling the- "What is this?" and dropping it on the ground, at least. "Thanks Staff." Is it a pastry? He's holding it up to look at it when he gets that sidelong remark from Gage, and shakes his head, throwing the Tauran a wry look. "Is that supposed to be a compliment or an insult?" He cranes his head to look back at the Gunny. "What with how I ran it with a hole in my chest?" He takes a huge bite of the pastry. He may not even have time to taste it before it's gone, actually. Big guy, big appetite.
"Nice shooting, Wagner," Mercer says, though he's unsurprised by her perfect score there. He then eyes Gustavo with a solemnity that only ex drill instructors can muster. "All out of pastries? I see how it is." None for the Gunny. So sad.
Gray grins, accepting the grenade-pastry and taking a bite out of it. "Yeah...we've got enough engineers here, too. Maybe give us some random mix of supplies and tell us to make a hole somewhere?" he responds to Gage. Gray then goes for a swig of his water, takes it...and promptly wonders just how his bottle got to be so empty. He offers a sidelong glance to Charlie as she's off to her own quals. "Good luck!"
"It's a Frag. Best Scorpian make." Which means that it's not nearly Scorpia's best, probably cranked out on an assembly line you don't want to see the inside of. Tavo shrugs a little, "Basically, it's refined sugar in green sugar icing." Mercer's challenge has him grinning, "Come on, Gunny. I plan better than that." Because luckily there was just the one left, since Charlie already had hers. "Frag out." And then he tosses it. Looking back to Charlie as she finishes, "Nice run."
The medical tent? Look, there's a reason she never applies first aid. She can sort of manage, but... This is why when Wagner 'fills in' somewhere, it's when they lack an engineer. As she jogs back over to the crowd, slicking sweat (and mud) off her brow, she frowns. Briefly. "Frak me, I was gonna shoot in a bikini this time, wasn't I?" No fraks given that Mercer is right there. "I'll save that for the LMG."
Gray is...well, he's pleasantly surprised at the taste. "Fwag owt!" he replies, rather enthusastically, as he downs the rest of the pastry and follows up with the rest of his water. Here's hoping it doesn't /actually/ explode in him!
"Thanks a bunch...that actually tasted pretty good!" he says, offering pretty solid praise under the conditions.
"Almost lost faith there for a minute, Delgado," Mercer continues with the mock-stern route there before catching the pastry. He doesn't eat it right away. Appearances and all. "I'll see you all back here tomorrow at 0500 sharp for the march."
Akeso is still chewing. That was a lot of frag, but it doesn't stop her from watching the rest of the qualifiers do their thing. Charlie gets the upthrust fist of approval when she's walking off the course. "Magnifique." She compliments, finally able to speak without fear of spewing green icing and crumbs.
Gage, too, is completely unsurprised by Wagner's perfect score on the firearms, too. Some things you just take as the standard rather than the exception after a while. With a rough salute towards the Gunny, he's heading off. Logic would dictate the smart person would have an early night before the brutal march tomorrow, but Tomak's not so smart, and besides, it's a problem for tomorrow to worry about.