PHD #226: Auto-Strap
Summary: What happens when a deckie(Damon) heads down to deliver a report to an engineer(Ximena)? About half a dozen tangents of course.
Date: 10 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: All freighter/hydroponics related logs, but especially Fly Away Home, Part 1, Fly Away Home, Part 2 and Freighter Repairs.
Damon Ximena 
Pipes, conduits, and cramped passageways. Heat and the smells of sweat and machine oil. Engineering is a maze of hallways that run deep into the aft of the Cerberus. Dotted with a few storage rooms, offices, and workshops, this section of the ship is constantly staffed by a huge team of professionals. From the main fuel tank feeds to the massive FTL drive room, no other part of the ship is more important than this section that provides propulsion and life support to every section of the battlestar.
Post-Holocaust Day: #226

Engineering is never truly quiet, but there are a few corridors now and then that get less foot traffic than most. And Ximena seems to have set herself up in one of them. A crate's been pushed over, close to one of the turns, and she's sitting atop, hands supporting herself on either side of her body. Where her chair has gone is anyone guess. It has a habit of roaming. And today, likely more than others.

Damon lingers in the hatchway to Engineering, looking none too sure about just barging in. "Knock knock," he calls out, tapping a hooked finger against the metal frame of the hull. He's in his coveralls, which means he probably came straight from the Deck; under his arm, he carries a sealed manilla envelope. "Just stopping by to deliver a report on the sublight drive repairs aboard the freighter."

Ximena looks over, as the interim chief's voice, waving a hand in his direction, "You can bring it in. I don't think anyone's waiting in the wings with a hose or fire extinguisher." The movement is more from the upper part of her body than the lower, her weight still set and supported by her hands. "If you see The Chair over there, can you bring it over, Chief?"

"The - oh, The Chair," Damon says, capitalizing those words in his speech. "Yeah, I can grab that for you." He looks around him. Where… is The Chair? And if it's not right beside her, how did she get over there? "Did you leave it, uh, over here?" Still looking, he crosses over to Ximena. "And just Damon will do, if you're not a stickler for regulation or anything like that," he says with a smile.

"I walked." Deadpan delivery. "The Chair is just window dressing, didn't you know?" Ximena shifts her weight again, once the man comes closer to her position, "Last I saw it, it was over by the desk covered in paperwork." An answering smile, "Damon then. And you can call me Ximena, or Mena, whichever suits you."

Damon blinks when Ximena says she walked - then the follow-up comment makes him realize that it's a joke. Whew. "Oh, there it is," he says, seeing it when she points it out. "I'll grab it for you, just a sec." Over at the table, he adds the envelope he's carrying to the pile and wheels the chair back to the engineer. "Ximena. Ximena. Mena," he says aloud, testing out the name. "I think Mena's easier."

"Thank you." Mena uses mainly her hands, to shift herself on the crate, pushing herself closer to the edge as The Chair arrives, "You're welcome to look it over if you like. I've been widgeting with it since I got it, and it's not quite done, but it has some nice little features the ones in sickbay are lacking."

Damon looks confused for a moment, unsure of what the protocol is for bringing a chair to a cripple. Is he supposed to help her up into it? "It looks like a piece of work for sure," he says, patting the back of The Chair. "I like to tinker and make little things in my spare time - well, when I had spare time, anyway - so something like this is pretty neat. What all have you added onto it so far?"

"Every time I see that look, it still confuses me." Yes, she noticed the look, "I don't actually need someone to wait on me hand and foot. If I did, I'd be down in the starboard hangar." But, seeing as her offer was declined, Mena's shoulders lift in a shrug, and she scoots herself as close to the chair as the crate will allow, pushing herself down off of the edge of the crate, clearly using most of her upper body strength to keep herself standing, such as it is. "There's always spare time to tinker with things." But the question gets a firm shake of her head, "What would be the fun in telling you all of The Chair's secrets?"

Damon blushes, embarrassed that his thoughts are so transparent. "Sorry," he mumbles. "Just not used to, y'know…" What, cripples? "…situations like these." He casts a dubious look to The Chair when she refuses to answer his question straight. "Ah, what the hell. It's a wheelchair, not a Cylon." He carefully sits down on the thing like it might be mined. "All right, so how does this work?"

"Clearly, you've never spent any amount of time in a marine hospital. You'd be surprised at the things you see there." But once Damon settles into the chair, she settles…against the crate, mostly still on, slightly off, something she seems to have become accustomed to, "The power is on the right hand side, the little red button, see? Once it's on, you can either turn the switch above it to the right, to operate it with the joystick," which is just below the power button, set on the arm, "Or to the left, if you want to use the foot controls. Those are easy, just like pressing a pedal on a flex-shaft, except you can press one hundred and eighty degrees to make a turn." They're, well, right where you'd put your feet, naturally.

"No, not really. I don't think I've ever set foot in a Marine hospital," Damon admits, getting himself comfortable in The Chair. He doesn't power it on just yet; he's still apprehensive. "Navy boy through and through. Most of my time has been on older ships, and a brief stint at the school." Finally, he's ready to power up and give it a shot. Red button, power… on. The switch is flicked to the right, and the joystick slooooowly inched forward.

At the tentative nudge of the joystick, The Chair zooms forward, flying at mach one down the corridor….or not. In truth, it simply inches forward, responding to the controls. "It's not going to pitch you out. if it were, it would automatically strap you in." Again, that deadpan delivery. "It's just a chair, Damon. You know that, right?" Still crate-side, Ximena looks on the man in The Chair with no small amount of amusement on her face, "Navy boy though…I can tell."

Damon glances down at the chair, looking for the 'auto-strap' mechanism. He looks for a few seconds before it clicks in his head, and he shakes his head at Ximena. "Y'know, I keep giving you the benefit of the doubt, but that's obviously the wrong thing to do here," he says, pulling a face. "And what's that mean, 'I can tell'?" He mumbles under his breath and nudges the joystick around in circles with his thumb for a bit. "All right, let's go for a joyride." He punches The Chair forward as fast as it'll go.

A classic face from Ximena, of sort of, 'oh frak', as she watches the deckie punch forward on The Chair. Which, if one has the time to calculate such things, is probably running at about ten or eleven miles an hour, that is to say faster than most average humans could run. And no, he is not strapped in. Here's to hoping the corridor, and the deckie's common sense are long enough to keep him from real harm.

"Auto-strap! Auto-strap!" Damon yelps when The Chair engages at top speed. He lets go of the joystick with an OSHIT! flailing motion, but all that does is stop applying forward motion. It doesn't brake to stop the current momentum, and the wall is getting mighty close, mighty fast. But just when it looks like he's about to smash and crash, he veers away from his collision course and rolls his way back over to Ximena. "That'll teach you auto-strap," he says with a grin, standing up so she can get on.

"What, that I should build one in, or that I should make sure you can tell when I'm cracking a joke?" The process of levering herself away from the crate is both practiced, in that Ximena's learned how to maneuver her less than stable and responsive body, and clumsy in that, well, she's having to lever herself into the chair. But all of the grace that she lacks outside of The Chair, she reclaims in it. She seems as comfortable in it as she must once have been when she was going about on two legs, rather than two wheels, "Now that you've had your fun, and I've left you with the mysteries of what other tricks it has in store, why don't you give me the rundown on the freighter?"

Damon shakes his head at her with a grin. "Or that you shouldn't take advantage of poor Navy boys like myself with your sharpened ex-Marine wit," he answers. "As for the freighter - well, the report is mostly stuff you already know, since you were there and all. Most of the major repairs are complete, and we're reporting about 75% restoral across the board." He leans back against the crate that Ximena was just using, propping himself up with his hands. "Of course, a large chunk of what still needs done is the FTL and its related systems. A few more minor touches after that, and we'd be nearing 95% restoral. At least good enough to keep up with our Fleet."

"Well, I wouldn't mind getting us up to 100%, of course, because that engine is going to be a bear to keep refueled, and unless we find some refinery sitting around, that means we're going to have to be pulling fuel from the other ships to keep it going. The FTL is going to have to come from somewhere though. They didn't even leave us a single fitting for that thing." Ximena wheels around in a circle, before she heads back towards the desk and the report set on top of it. "What about the housing? What are we estimating for capacity?" That all depends, really, on both the size of the freighter and the way they've sectioned off the areas of the ship into personal habitations.

"Well…" Damon purses his lips in thought. "She's not a small ship, but it depends how much of it needs to be repurposed to suit all the hydroponics or algae or whatever stuff is being done with it. That's gonna take some heavy equipment from the sounds of it, so we'll lose a lot of space there." He shrugs, following Ximena over to her desk. "Though I imagine it'll still be capable of housing the majority, if not the entirety, of the civilian populace on Cerberus."

"Well, I don't think these five hundred are going to be all the civilians we carry back. We still have a few colonies to visit, if I recall correctly from what I've read of our past escapades." The engineer was, after all, only recently brought back from Sagittaron, "And most of the ship was already outfitted for hydroponics by the farmers who were using it, so that seems like a good place to start. make sure those sections are already functional, set aside a few more for later expansion, but make sure we leave room for at least double the contingent of civilians we have now." A shake of her head, "But we were lucky to find the ship. So that's a plus. It's too bad we can't find a few more to scavenge from." There's a decided smile on the woman's lips, "This so reminds me of being boots to ground. We'd have to cobble together a miracle out of two sticks and some bubble gum."

Damon grins at that last part. "See, that's why I went Navy. It's comfier living on a ship and having a massive store of supplies - not to mention a Fabrication facility right on the ship. 'Course, I just wanted to work on military-grade craft 'cause I think it's cool shit, have job security, and retire comfortably. I never thought I'd get sucked into the end of the worlds." He shrugs again, lightheartedly; it's amazing how easily one can get used to the idea of being a survivor of genocide after a few months. "Ah well. You're right, I hope we can pick up some more refugees along the way on the other worlds. Maybe some more ships, too, though I don't know how much of our stores we've depleted just for getting that rustbucket up to flight status. Still, I can't help but feel that it's been too long since we've been attacked by the Cylons. It's almost getting… comfortable."

"I don't think any of us planned for that. I was going to be happy getting my twenty and going back to Leonis, maybe settling down somewhere, raise a baker's dozen kids before my hips got to be the size of the equator. I certainly never thought I'd end up in the Navy." Though she doesn't seem to think, from her tone of voice, that that's a bad thing, "But at least you got the job security you were looking for, yeah?" But more serious, as she considers the ship, "We had to get it running. We can't keep those civvies living better than animals in the hangar bay. But it's costing us, and it amazes me that people seem to be going around acting as though we don't need to worry about what happens when our supplies start running out." Ximena raises a hand, pinching the bridge of her nose, "I imagine there's no reason to attack us just yet. We're too small, too insignificant. But they're coming. I don't think there's anything else. We made them to be monsters, and they've become what we made them to be."

"That's, uh, a hell of a plan," Damon says, eyeing Ximena to see if she's serious about the number of kids she wanted to have. "I didn't know about that whole settling down and having kids thing before all this happened. We just had a wedding ceremony for two couples, and I'm real happy for 'em, but part of me has to wonder how they can get on in times like this." Still, he smiles at the thought. It's an idealist's smile - a dreamer's smile. "I dunno what the intended end-state is, whether we keep running as long as we can, or we try our best to fight back against the Cylons, or hell, start a new life on some new world somewhere. But if we do, it'd be nice to have a piece of that happiness."

"Well, Leontinian is as Leontinian does." If she was joking, it's not evident in any of her expressions, "Everyone has a dream. Mine was to stop being a soldier and spend the rest of my life just trying to be a woman." A glance down at herself, before Ximena reaches out to pull the report closer to her, "Doesn't look like that's what life had in store for me, so I'm doing what we're all doing, just trying to survive." As for a love and happiness and all that jive, "Well, it's like I told a friend, right now you only have two choices. Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'. Seems like they're getting the most out of living while they can. Maybe you should try to do the same while you can. Tomorrow might never come."

"Hey, don't rule anything out," Damon says when she dismisses her former dream. "Still plenty of time left to live comfortable and be a woman, right?" He flashes a winsome smile. "Me, I'm trying to cover for the Chief until he's well enough to take over again, trying not to completely frak up the Deck in the process, and trying not to make myself out to be a completely ignorant moron in front of a woman who's probably too smart and cultured for me to even have a chance. If that ain't living while I can, well, I don't know what is."

"Don't rule yourself out so easily. You'd be surprised what a woman's looking for in a man that catches her eye. I know what the advertisements say. Have to be smart, have a good job, look like an Adonis. Be a superman, but you know what? None of that really matters in the end. Most women, if you get past all of the bullshit, all we want is a man we can trust to walk beside us, hold us up when we're weak, and let us shine when we're strong. Don't need to have any of those things to do that. All you have to have is a good heart." About her own dreams, Ximena doesn't bother to comment. "There's a reason why you see so many movies where the geek ends up getting the girl. because that's the sort of man who has his heart in the right place."

It looks like Damon's taking some of Ximena's encouragement to heart. A small smile touches his lips, different from his usual beaming expression - it's a shy smile that speaks of hope. "I guess that's better than my line of thought, which was hoping she might be willing to settle since the worlds got nuked and she went blind," he says. Jokingly? "Sorry, I didn't mean to come up here and start talking about my self-esteem and love issues. Guess I just…" The sentence trails off and is finished only by a wry grin and a shrug. "Thanks, though, that… made me feel a bit better about it all."

"Everyone needs somebody to talk to. And sometimes its easier to talk to people you're not really close to. We don't know you well enough to judge you, or to want to coddle you because we're your friend." Certainly the deckie and the engineer don't know each other so well, save perhaps professionally. "I don't mind. Believe me, I did quite a bit of listening, even before the world ended. So feel free to settle in and tell me all your troubles." Ximena tucks the report away in one of her pouches, before she spins the chair around, facing the desk, allowing Damon to settle in on the opposite end of it, "The Chief is now in the house. Tell me all your troubles, young man."

"That, and I've just been in a weird place in my head the last little bit, I guess," Damon admits sheepishly. "Hah. Aren't you supposed to have a comfortable couch laid out for me or something? How can I tell you my problems if I'm not fighting the urge to fall asleep, stretched out on warm, soft leather?" He gives her a wink. "I appreciate the offer, joking or not, but I really do have to get back down to the Deck. Tie up some loose ends and all that before I call it a day for myself… and maybe swing by to see if a certain blind scientist might want some company and conversation." With a little wave that's more of a quick flick of the hand, he heads toward the exit. "I'll see you around, Mena. And thanks again."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License