2238-03-17 - Last Prowl

The Wolves gather one last time after the awards ceremony before everyone starts getting sent off to different assignments.

Date: 2238-03-17

Location: Caprica

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1680

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The awards ceremony was dry and stuffy as always, and tinged with sadness as it fell on the eve of the Wolves officially being reassigned to other posts. Those at the ranch were all awarded the prestigious Phoenix Cross for their gallantry, while those who volunteered for the rescue flight received Silver Clusters.

Colonel Ryan reserved a restaurant in the Caprican suburbs for a post-awards gathering for the Wolves. There's a dining room with buffet-style food and an open bar. The place has wood paneled walls with various Caprica City memorbilia on it - a real homey sort of place. The Wolves have it to themselves tonight. People have begun to filter in. Most have ditched their dress uniforms in favor of more casual outfits, including the Colonel himself - who's around somewhere.

Cate wanders in, wearing a simple jeans and blouse. No jacket, this time, since they've left behind the chilly Northholt for fairer climes. She looks around for a moment before heading up to the bar to get herself a drink. Seems that the medic actually managed to get some sleep over their shore leave. She looks more rested, though she's still sporting a cast on her right forearm.

Aldrich shouldn't have even been at the awards ceremony. He was due to be shipped off to a longer-term rehabilitation facility. Perhaps it was the kindness of the brass to give him a bit more time to tie up loose ends with his dissolving unit, or perhaps it was just the luck of government inefficiency, but there he was, dress uniform and all.
He arrives at the restaurant arm-in-arm with Lyn, looking tired and maybe even a bit more reserved than he's been in the past. He has changed into a more casual jeans and shirt combo that have all the hallmarks of having been chosen by Lyn.

Lyn has ditched her uniform for jeans and a simply flowy blouse. She's been mostly absent when off duty lately, spending every moment with the recovering Chaplain in her free time. She's mostly recovered from her various injuries from that last mission, but her left arm is still in a sling to keep her from re-tearing whatever got torn in her shoulder from that bullet. Her good arm is linked with Aldrich's as she leads him into the restaurant. Her eyes rarely leave him, and if this were a cartoon there would probably be goofy little hearts in them.

Geoff doesn't look that rested, but it can't be too surprising, since he's been through a lot, and since he also likes to enjoy the night life on Caprica, where he still knows some people. He turns up in new, but casual, clothes: a long-sleeved shirt dyed in multiple colors and black jeans. He heads for the bar right away.

Still burnished with fresh color gotten under the Leonese sun on shore leave, Ines looks as though she's finally shedding the last visible traces of her experience on Picon. It was probably Gage who talked her out of wearing the little black dress, and into wearing something more casual instead -- dark jeans, heeled boots, a ribbed tanktop and cropped leather jacket. She's still inclined to cover her arms. Those fresh shrapnel scars are not beautiful, and it'll be months still before they lose their angry pink hue.

When she arrives, it's (probably predictably, by now) in the Tauran's company -- not arm in arm, precisely, but keeping pace and obviously mid-conversation. "-from him about it. Just a lot of red tape, given Nate's citizenship, but he thinks it's just obligatory protest." She pauses just inside the door and loses the thread of what she was saying, confronted with that room full of familiar faces -- and the pall of finality that hangs over everything, too. "I...could use a drink," she admits.

"Hey Geoff," Cate greets with a faint smile when she sees him wandering up to the bar. She's leaning against it, waiting for the bartender to get her drink. "You have some fun on shore leave?"

Geoff orders a double gin martini when the bartender gets to him, then looks at Cate. "Why, do I look fucked up?" he asks, smiling. "I hung out with some friends. You?"

It's probably no surprise to anyone who knows Gage Tomak that the Tauran marine's ditched his uniform as soon as possible -- doubly so with it now sporting the Phoenix Cross. In his khaki pants and plain gray tee, he looks infinitely more comfortable. He, too, looks like he's benefited from the shore leave, less constant tension in his posture as he moves alongside Ines with an unconscious ease, shortening his pace to match hers without thought. "It's not like they can really stop you," he's muttering, his mouth twisting briefly.

The Tauran's gaze, too, roves out over the party, exhaling. This is it -- maybe the last time the Wolves will be together, officially at least. His fingers, very briefly, brush against Ines' forearm, and then with a jerk of his head, he's leading them towards the Wolves gathering at the bar.

Aldrich squeezes Lyn's arm, and leans toward her slightly. "Do you want a drink?" he suggests. The tone of the question makes it as much request for his own sake as an inquiry to her desires. Then, on second thought, he leans in a little closer to murmur a question.

Lyn squeezes back. "Oh gods yes, please. A strong one." She leads him towards the bar, and some familiar faces, nodding at his whispered question, then remembering he can't see it. In way of answering, she announces, "Hi Cate! Hey Geoff! What's good to drink here?"

Cate seems puzzled by Geoff's response, and shakes her head. "No, just wondering." She shrugs, then, and picks up the whiskey that's placed in front of her. "Wasn't bad." The shore leave, that is. She looks over at the new arrivals. "Hey guys. I have no idea. Whiskey's always a good standby."

Geoff looks more thoughtfully at Cate. "You look good," he says, then turns to look at Lyn and Aldrich. "It's all the same shit," he says. "I'm drinking gin." Which soon arrives, and he drinks right away.

"Probably not. Just create a lot of headaches along the way," Ines murmurs, eyes still roving the milling collection of Wolves. She drags in a long, steeling breath, dons a small and determined smile, and follows Gage's new trajectory, taking stock of the people haunting the bar area as they approach. Plenty of faces from the ranch. They -- Cate in particular -- get a fuller smile out of her, but there's a subtle shadow between her brows, too. Unconscious, unintended. "Hey." She directs the greeting at Rhodes first, but it's for all of them. When her eyes do a circuit of everyone, they linger on Aldrich longest. Surprised, maybe? "Just wine for me, I think," she says, presumably to the marine she's with. "Anything stronger and I'll probably be fixing my mascara in the bathroom in an hour."

"Rhodes, Courtois, Arda, preacher." Each gets a nod in turn from the Tauran marine, along with a flickered smile. "Already into the good stuff, I see." Gage grunts at Ines' request, muttering, "I'll make sure you get home," not necessarily in one piece, but it's something. Nevertheless, he obediently leans across the bar and orders a white wine, and, "Another of those," with a jerk of thumb towards the whiskey Cate is claiming.

Aldrich starts to open his mouth after Lyn's announcement, but then closes it again into a tight, self-conscious smile. "Hi Cate. Hi Geoff..." He clears his throat a little, and with a faint hint of humor, he asks, "Nothing blue, then? I suppose I'll have to settle for gin." He tilts his head slightly toward Ines and Gage as they arrive, with a little friendly smile. "Just Aldrich. I'm not a preacher," he remarks, quietly.

"Whiskey sounds good to me," Lyn admits with a tired smile at Cate. She hails the tender, letting go of Al for a moment to do so as the other arm isn't moving anywhere. "One whiskey, straight up, and a gin," she requests. "Hi Ines, Gage," she greets, partly for Al's benefit.

Cate nods to Geoff. "Well, thanks. You too." Ines gets a sympathetic smile. "Not going to get all maudlin on us are you, Ines?" she asks, taking a sip of her whiskey.

Geoff upnods to Gage. Then he looks over at Lyn and Aldrich. "Hi, Lyn, Aldrich," he says. Seems like he's of a mind to respect Aldrich's request not to be called preacher, even though that's what Geoff usually calls him.

"Mmhm. You'd also make sure I wound up drinking that gods-awful foot liquor," Ines says, dryly, to Gage. For Cate she has a rueful, somewhat self-deprecatory smile that widens into something flashier for Lyn's greeting, answered with a small wave.. "Not if I stick to white wine. You look good, Rhodes." And that's the first time she's been able to say that and really mean it, as opposed to just 'better than you did,' which hadn't been saying much. When her wine glass arrives she reaches to claim it, and puts her nose into it, quieting. Listening, mostly.

"Always will be to me, preacher," Gage says with an easy casualness that could be taken as a reminiscent fondness. Or maybe it's just a flat Tauran thing. A low laugh escapes him at the pilot's accusation. "Maybe. But only if you asked for something strong." Probably. Their drinks arrive; he lifts his own glass. "To the Wolves," he raises his voice, "May they live on," he adds, before he downs half the contents in one hit.

Aldrich edges slightly toward the bar when Lyn releases his arm, eventually coming to lean against it. "No, but I never was in the first place," he corrects Gage, with a faint frown, but he lets it go at that, with a slightly awkward change of focus. "Geoff, how have you been? I never had the chance to check in with you after everything..."

Lyn presses the glass of gin into Al's hand and waits til he has a good hold on it, before claiming her whiskey and lifting it to Gage's toast. "Hear, hear!" She takes a long gulp.

Cate makes a bemused face when Ines too says she looks good. "Wow, I must have really looked like shit before," she says, with a dry smirk that knows it's kinda true. Gage's toast makes her lift her glass in response, lips thinning into a somber line. "So say we all."

Geoff lifts his drink to the toast. "The Wolves," he repeats, then looks at Aldrich. "Glad to be back on Caprica," he says. "At least I still know /some/ people in the city. Guess you might not have had too much time to party?"

Ines crushes out the smile that wants to form for Cate, pressing her lips together. There's apology in that look -- because it was totally kinda true. Not that any of them looked especially good. She lifts her glass for the toast, everything else in her face edged out by solemnity that she strives to push away as soon as it overtakes her: "It's strange to be back on Caprica. This is where I caught up with the Wolves in the first place. Think we'll come full circle and wind up in a bar brawl somewhere?"

"We all looked like shit before," Gage, ever with the blandly honest truth. "Never was more grateful to see a razor in my life," he says, as he briefly -- reflexively -- reaches up to brush at a tangled beard that is thankfully no longer present. Aldrich's correction earns a long look, and a slow nod -- not that the preacher can probably see it, but that fact seems to escape the Tauran. "Odds are good," he opines, on the matter of a bar brawl. Infinitely more so, with him involved, and his perennial ill favor for Capricans -- a certain present marine aside.

Aldrich murmurs something vaguely participatory to the toast and has a respectable swallow of his drink. "On the contrary," he replies to Geoff. "I've had more time than I would like to have. Plenty of time to meditate, I suppose." He raises an eyebrow at the prospect of a bar brawl, but it doesn't look like a condemnation.

"Yeah, true," Cate grants to Gage's point, not seeming offended by the truth. She finishes off the whiskey and says to Ines, "Wasn't it Court and Tomak started the last one?" So the rumour mill went, even if Cate herself wasn't there to witness it. "Maybe we can round up some Caprica Navy guys somewhere. Go club-hopping."

"I was never so grateful for a cup of crappy cafeteria coffee in my life," Lyn notes to Gage. "Or that lumpy rack." She chuckles at the bar brawl idea. "I think we'd make a pretty sad showing in a brawl tonight." Al is blind, she has her arm in a sling, Cate is in a cast.

Geoff drinks a fair bit of his drink, though ot all of it. "I don't know if we started shit, but we put our money where our mouths were with some mother frakkers." He puts a hand on Al's shoulder and looks at Lyn. "Can I steal him for a minute?" Not even time for a joke about Caprican Navy guys /or/ lumpy racks.

"I'd take three hamstrung Timber Wolf marines on my side of a bar fight over just about anyone, actually," Ines decides after a few moments of musing on it, the words more earnestly considered than this hypothetical fight strictly calls for. She's got her glass almost to her lips when she adds wryly, "Gods, no. We didn't start that. It was someone else, Whisper was just-" Vague gesture. "Defending herself." That's what she told the brass during her interview, anyway, and she will push that lie until the very end of her days.

"Tauran beer. Cigarettes," Gage tacks onto Lyn's list of 'creature comforts we missed'. He flashes a brief grin at Cate's reminder, glancing towards Geoff. "Sounds pretty on point," he agrees with the Caprican marine, with a baring of teeth. He looks vaguely curious when Geoff asks to take Al, but not enough to ask, anyway. "I'll miss Whisper, she's pretty badass -- for a Caprican jock," the Tauran says, the first -- maybe the only -- expression of sentimental regret about their imminent parting of ways he's indulged in.

"Speak for yourself," Aldrich remarks to Lyn, with a wan smile, and leaves it at that. He shifts a little when Geoff touches his shoulder, and pauses to finish off his drink. "It's fine," he offers, for Lyn's benefit. "We'll have some food when I get back?"

Lyn nods to Geoff. "As long as you bring him back," she quips with a wink. She sips her whiskey. "Sure, Al, I could eat." She grins at Ines. "Well if it was just against Caprican navy, we'd probably hold our own."

"Yeah, my money's on Arda even with one hand tied behind her back." Cate signals the bartender for a refill, worried eyes tracking Aldrich and Geoff when they appear poised to wander off together.

Geoff puts a hand on Aldrich's arm and heads down the bar a bit with him to say something. He looks serious.

Add Ines to the list of nosy people watching the chaplain step aside with the Caprican. Only briefly, though; she shoots Gage an indignant look -- probably for that jock remark. "I beg your pardon?" Pause. "Three, Tomak. Three rockets." Another pause, this one ending in a sigh laced with regret. "I never did get to write you up for that."

This silence is busy, and ends with a tentative question, skirting the line of difficult things as it does: "So...ah. How long is everyone staying on Caprica?" Which is another way to ask: how soon are all of you leaving?

"You're a Leonese jock, Correa. That's completely different," Gage says, with complete honesty. In his head, it's totally different, though whether his mostly impassive expression is enough to convey that with sincerity is another matter. He makes a gesture towards the bartender, holding up two fingers, then gesturing towards himself and Ines. "Not going to bet against you on that one, Rhodes," he adds, with a grin towards Arda.

Lyn doesn't watch Al and Geoff, giving them their privacy. "Not sure. Still waiting on final word." She chuckles at the money being on her. "Apparently some of you have seen me in a bad mood before."

"Three rockets?" Cate tilts her head, confused, at the exchange between Ines and Gage. Her question, though, causes an uncomfortable shift. "I uh - I guess I'm staying for awhile. Arcadia's clinic." She gulps down a bit of her refilled whiskey. "Guess you guys weren't the only ones who noticed I looked like shit. The Old Man figured I needed some time off the line." Couldn't have anything to do with the fistful of clusters added to her sacrifice medal this afternoon, naaaaaah. Cate doesn't look entirely thrilled with the development though. "How about you Ines? Tomak?"

Lyn's answer gets a nod and a wry look, the latter probably more for the bad mood thing than the holding pattern thing. Cate's gets a look of surprise that softens into something else. "Treating wounded isn't exactly a holiday, though."

And then Cate asks the inevitable question, and Ines opens, then closes her mouth. "Well, it's- right now I'm trying to set up a, a trust, for Nate, but it's-" And then her wine arrives. She latches onto the distraction like a drowning person grips a life preserver. It gives her an excuse to down what remains of her first glass -- so much for moderation -- and hold up one finger. "Give me a moment? Sorry, I want to ask about-"

And then she corners the bartender to ask what the wine is, because she likes it so much, and, yeah. Long odds that she picks up where she left off.

It would be great if, when Cate asks her question, Gage was in the middle of drinking and thus forestalled from answering. But he's not -- the bartender busy splashing whiskey into his glass exactly as she asks. He kind of clears his throat, deliberately doesn't glance at Ines, and stretches out an awkward moment of silence until he can snatch up the glass and busily drink. Avoidance, thy middle name is Gage.

Lyn looks to Ines sincerely. "Let me know when it's set up, I'd like to contribute and I'm sure Al will want to as well."

Cate looks puzzled by Ines floundering like a drowning woman and Gage's stoic silence, brow furrowing. "Well," she says in the awkward silence that follows. "Hope you do well wherever you end up." She slouches a bit against the bar, sipping at her whiskey.

Gray finally appears, having been sidetracked on the way from the ceremony to the restaurant by...well, let's be honest, retrieving a 'contribution' of his own for the evening. There are a few nods as he grabs a little bit of food to at least start off (an open buffet is always a plus) before finding a seat.

There's only so much information Ines can extract from a busy bartender about a bottle of wine without imposing. As he bustles off again, she glances at Lyn, startled, almost. Startled, then flustered, but it's a different kind of fluster altogether. "Oh, that's...I'm...thanks, Arda. That's really- it's very generous of you." She glances briefly off in Aldrich's direction. "Both of you. But that's alright. It's already on paper. I think there's a fund, though. For the refugees." She chances a sidelong look up at Gage: "Wasn't there a thing-?"

And while she leaves him to deal with that, she edges her attention back toward Cate, still a little awkward, distinctly guilty about her evasion, though she probably thinks she's masking that well. "We'll stay in touch, right?" Her lips quirk. "I write letters all the time."

The conversation between Geoff and Aldrich seems to draw to a close with a smile on Al's part. Geoff puts a hand on his shoulder and the two come back to the group at the bar where Geoff scoops up his half-finished drink and looks at Cate. "You still down for bar hopping?"

"It'll all be fine," is all Gage manages to mutter, finally. 'It' being the vaguest possible term, more preferable to him or her or even we. Ines' question of him earns a blank look. "A thing?" clearly, they are not in the stage of their relationship where he understands all the subtleties of what she's trying to convey. He gives a grunt. "I probably won't write. Buy you all a drink next time I swing through here, no matter what happens, though." That's probably as sentimental as the Tauran's he's likely to get. His gaze tracks a familiar figure entering the restaurant, giving a nod towards Gray if he happens to look towards the bar where they're gathered.

Aldrich follows Geoff's lead, tracing a hand on the edge of the bar unless/until they need to navigate around anyone sitting there. As they return to the group, he comes to rest leaning his back against the bar again. He smiles a little when Geoff mentions bar-hopping, and chimes in, "I think it sounds like a good idea."

"Sure," Cate agrees with a weak upnod towards Ines. Again there's a confused little look at the vague 'thing' Ines mentions. She's saved by Geoff's distraction, eyebrows arching. "Now? Uh, yeah, okay." If Gray wanders near the bar she'll offer a little nod in greeting.

Lyn sets a hand on Aldrich's forearm to let him know where she is, before she looks to the rest. "Sure, sounds good."

Geoff shrugs at Cate. "I mean, whenever people feel like it," he says, finishing off that gin martini. "But I'm good to go now if people want." He just pretends he doesn't notice the lingering talk of leaving and writing and all that.

Gray notices the nod from Cate and responds in kind. "Evening..." he says, smiling slightly, before ordering a double of some whiskey, one rock, from the bartender.

She doesn't say anything, but the arch-browed look of query that Ines angles up at the Tauran marine is probably checking to see whether or not he's interested in joining this prospective pub crawl.

Quickly downing the remainder of his whiskey -- no need to hoard it now that the awkward questions -- lacking any sort of answer -- are hopefully past, Gage pushes to his feet. "I'm in," he says, glancing towards Ines with a mute inquiry to match hers, a hint of amusement tugging up the corner of one mouth at in response to matching look.

Cate finishes off her glass and shrugs to Geoff. "Sure. Take us somewhere fun." Even if the medic looks more grim than a 'fun' outing deserves.

Geoff seems totally unfazed by the grim request for fun. "I know some amazing places that are still around," he says. "Pop music or house music?" he asks, prepared to curate.

Aldrich grins a little and squeezes Lyn's arm, acknowledging her touch. He doesn't seem to be any closer than Geoff to a mood for talking about goodbyes and remembering to write. "I'm fine with whatever music."

"Same, just want to be with friends tonight," Lyn adds to Aldrich's words, with a small, sincere smile.

Ines quirks a fleeting smile, then turns her attention to the polishing-off of her recently-refilled glass of wine. Leaning forward to set it down on the bar once it's empty, she points at Gray with one index finger, eyes angled down to the whiskey he's just gotten. "Better double-time it if you're coming with," she says, which seems as good as an invitation.

So...having barely gotten anything in his stomach and with the gesture that the party is moving, Gray grins back...and manages to finish the whiskey in two gulps. "Lead on..." he replies, ready to keep the party going.

Geoff leads them to a place with the most aggressively cheerful decor outside of some sort of children's birthday party venue. Some walls are painted with glowing colors that react to black light while others are screens displaying a loop of colorful animations. There is a dance floor illuminated from below, and a huge bar with all the usual liquor plus any colorful drink imaginable. Pop anthems blast from speakers, and there are a few servers and club dancers among the crowds in excessively cutesy outfits. It's perhaps no surprise that people are still coming to a place that is so divorced from grim reality as this in the middle of a war. And this being Caprica, substances beyond alcohol are probably readily available. Just minutes after they arrive, a couple of people--a man and a woman, both pretty young--come over to Geoff and he makes his excuses to the other Wolves before going off with them. Somewhere.

Lyn and Al join the group going to the club. Sometime shortly after the arrival, at Al's invitation, he and Lyn wander off for the dance floor, leaving the others behind.

and here Rayner arrives just as talk about going to the club arrives. Dressed in his blues, he chuckles faintly. "Talk about the wild people of the place. Though I think I'll tag along." a small shrug, either way he simply leans against one of the walls to watch everyone having fun. Sadly, no guitar with him today. Shame.

Gage makes a sound in response to Geoff's question which might be protest to both suggestions. Either way, there's drinks on offer and he seems happy to go with them. Certainly, the club wouldn't be his first, second or third choice, if he had his way -- the normalcy, the remoteness of it from the horrors and deprivations they suffered in the woods of picon -- is tellingly contrasted in his moment. It's enough that, after a solid number of drinks, he's muttering something to Ines and shortly after the pair is heading outside for quieter pastures.

The club seemed like a good idea at the time, but the jarring noise, lights and people - oh so many people - proved to be a bit much for Cate even in her newly-rested state. She stayed for a drink and then made her excuses and fled.


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