PHD #117: Birthdays And Branching Out
Birthdays and Branching Out
Summary: Ethan comes to the Petrels' SL with a request, and Rojas gets a little older.
Date: 23 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Ethan Sitka Covington Rojas 
Naval Offices
This area is set-up much like any standard office building. Cubicles have been constructed using cheap waist-high walls, their contents left neutral for whoever needs to use them. Inside each cubicle is a desk with a laptop and chair. Simple overhead lights bring dull illumination to the room except over the back wall where each one of the colonies twelve flags hangs from its own pole. Fake, potted plants dot the room and seem to be standard issue along with the water cooler and coffee machines. Off the main room are a few private offices such as that of the JAG or CAG.
Post-Holocaust Day: #117

A few days went by since everyone that was trapped in Leonis, returned to Cerberus. Ethan knew that Captain Sitka was among that group but since he's not a /total/ idiot, he decided to wait a few days before approaching the man. After asking around for a few minutes, the Naval Offices were signaled as the specific spot where the Captain was at the moment. He is currently wearing his pilot suit, it is possible that he has to go out in a little bit, but for the time being, he decided that now, it's a good time to talk. The young pilot steps inside the room and looks around, trying to see where the Captain is sitting.

Well, as luck would have it, there does appear to be one Captain Sitka in residence here at the moment, seated atop the desk he shares with Blowback and poring over what looks like patrol logs. He's dressed in blues with the collar of his jacket unbuttoned, flight qualification wings askew. A cup of lukewarm coffee sits beside him, and his head lifts as someone enters. "Evening," he greets, pleasantly enough if a touch distracted. His eyes rake over the raptor pilot for a second or two before returning to his paperwork.

When Sitka speaks to him, Ethan nods and returns "Good evening." then he makes his way to where the man is sitting. "Captain Sitka, do you have a moment?" asks the Raptor Pilot, standing straight and with his hands in his back. He looks around for a quiet moment, it is not often that he gets to see what's inside this office so, curiosity bites him a little bit. His attention however, returns to the Captain as he awaits for a reply.

It's basically a couple of rows of desks shoved into cubicles, and decorated with fake potted plants. Sitka's little slice of officerdom is simply one of many. He lifts his eyes again when Ethan approaches and takes up that ramrod-straight, almost-at-attention stance nearby. "You, uh.." He gestures to the Ensign with his pen. " can relax. I'm not on duty." A small and somewhat threadbare smile is coaxed out of him. "What do you need? And it was Weber, right? Gre- no, Harriers."

Ethan nods "Thank you" and then takes a more relaxed stance, more at ease. He nods once again at Sitka's words and says "Yes, Ethan Weber, with the Harriers" he does show a bit of a smile after noticing the quick switchover to avoid mentioning the Green Gulls. "Well…" starts the man. He clears his throat and tilts his head "I've been told by Major Hahn to pay you a visit. I'm not sure if she contacted you about me?" Worth to check, right? To avoid repeating information.

Sitka purses his lips slightly and shakes his head, tossing the report back onto his desk. "Not that I recall. But if she did, it was.. well, it would've been a while back, now." Before Leonis. He doesn't dwell upon it, but looks back up at the younger man, expression faintly inquisitive. "What's this about?"

"Quite true." offers the man and takes a seat on a chair in front of the desk. He clears his throat once again and he offers "A while ago, I requested Viper training from Major Hahn. She told me that while it doesn't interrupt my duties with the Harriers, that I can contact you for it. And…that if things go well, she'll decide if she allows me to continue training or not." He shakes his head and adds "Don't get me wrong, I do not wish to stop piloting Raptors or leave the Harriers, not at all. I wish to become an all around pilot, a good one" He smiles to this and if Sitka asks him to elaborate on his motives, he will since there has been a few changes on his mindset.

Sitka nods slowly, eyes on Ethan as he elaborates further— and finally, a little spark of recognition might be spotted. "Oh.. oh, shit, that's right. She did mention it to me, as a matter of fact. Uh.." He scratches at his nose for a second, thinking. "You realise learning to fly a viper is something that can take years to hone, right? Just the same as learning the raptors. It's why you don't find too many cross-qualified pilots out there." His coffee cup's reached for. "So maybe you can tell me why you want to become an 'all around pilot'?"

Ethan nods in acceptance "Yes, I do know that, sir." He smiles a little bit and he says "But it's not like I have somewhere else to be" Then of course, the question to elaborate comes along and he does. "Ok. Well." he seeks the words and he decides to start from Warday "When Warday reached us, as you know the Green Gulls were destroyed by the Cylons. I should have died, to be honest with you. But I was pulled back to Cerberus by a SAR team, I am, as far as I know, the only survivor. I spent a bit over fifty days in Recovery and when I woke up, I was reassigned to the Harriers but I couldn't shake the images of what happened to my squadron mates. Then I wanted revenge, I wanted to be able to shoot as many Cylons as possible, I wanted to see them burn and die one by one. That was, my main drive /at that point/ -he makes this part very clear- to request training from Major Hahn." He clears his throat once more and then continues "She granted me permission and, well, during the next weeks I got the chance to sit down, review everything that happened and remember things from my past. Which made me change my focus to what it originally was." He presses his lips together and offers "My dad, used to work at the Leonis Shipyard, he helped build this Battlestar. He was no scientist, he was just a construction worker that did all the best he could to help me get to something more. We had many discussions about Piloting, he was never able to become one and I actually loved the idea of, being one. I got the chance to sit in the cockpit of some different types of Civilian Aircraft, I got the chance to learn a little bit and then I joined the Fleet. We received the basic training and I was sent to the Raptor side. Which I absolutely loved. But the drive, the will, the need to become a /more than once type of aircraft/ capable pilot was still there. For me, and for my father." He thinks he covered almost everything so he finishes it with "I know there are only a few pilots that have that cross-training, and I want to be one of them. I want to be fully proficient on both Raptors /and/ Vipers and I definitely will dedicate myself to accomplish that if the opportunity is given to me, sir"

Sitka sips at his coffee, silent once Ethan launches into his 'story'. The Captain appears attentive enough, though who knows whether he might be multitasking in his head. When the Ensign reaches the part about his father, there's a twinge of sympathy in Shiv's eyes. Just a twinge of it; there and gone in a second. "Well," he proclaims quietly once Ethan's finished. He clears his throat, and contemplates the contents of his coffee cup a bit longer. "Let's get one thing straight, off the bat: this is a personal goal of yours. I don't have the time, you don't have the time, and there's no need to put you through a full training regimen on the viper. I don't know whether you'll be able to dual qualify; I've got a squad to run, and Mag—" Er. "Kal needs you out there, doing what you're trained to do. People like you are in pretty short supply these days. Are we clear so far?"

Ethan now opens his ears and listens to what the man says. Of course there are things he doesn't like but, when are things easy? Never…life tends to suck that way. When Sitka finishes, he presses his lips together to formulate an answer and he says "Well, when is any type of dual qualification not a personal goal?" However, after saying this he, nods firmly once again "We are clear so far, sir"

Sitka grasps the corner of his blues jacket's collar, and gives it a little tug. "See this?" It's unbuttoned, of course, and flopping over his rank pins. "Not on duty. You can drop the 'sir', Weber." He's gracious enough to flash a grin to soften it, which promptly vanishes again when he continues. "That said, I'm happy to go over a few things with you in your off time. Depending on how much self study you're willing to put into this, and whether any of the other senior pilots have any time free to help you out, you might be able to pick up enough to fly the occasional patrol. But, uh, that's up to the CAG, so don't get your heart set on it." He's seated on the edge of the desk he shares with another squad leader, somewhere in the maze of cubicle farm ville.

The hatch to the Naval Offices opens, and in steps Dallas Covington, blonde Petrel. She barely glances up before she turns to wend her way through the cubicles toward the coffee machine. She happens to catch the voices before her eyes flick over to note Sitka and Ethan. "Y'all want coffee?" There's no address of rank or even callsign attached. The offer is her version of courtesy instead, cos she's off duty and so is the Captain. The hatch thunks lightly shut behind her. She glances briefly back at it, then stalks the coffee pot like a lean, mean predatory machine. "Y'all days are numbered, caffeinated goodness."

The young Raptor pilot presses his lips together and then nods "Yes, off-duty" he nods at this and looks around once again "Shiv, right? I'm called, Fresh" To make things a bit more informal, see? "I will put a lot in that self-study you mention, and I do appreciate your help." he smiles a bit more at least, it is a start and that's for sure. And if everything goes well, perhaps he'll prove his worth. "It is, yes, a personal goal. But I will see it through and if I can make myself useful under that area, the better." he smiles yet a bit more, he is satisfied. Now, at the mention of what the CAG might say, he shrugs casually and he offers "If there's will there's a way, that's what my dad always said. I got my degree in Aerospace Engineering under that banner" His attention is stolen by Covington and he nods at her "Ah, yes please, thank you"

Thunk, clink, clink. Thunk. Cups are rattled around, and a coffee pot is rattled out of the cradle. Dallas isn't the most quiet and dainty in the world, not when she's just gotten out of bed. Since the planet, she's been spending a lot of time face down and unconscious in her bunk. Three mugs are thunked onto the counter before she performs a triple pour without sloshing any on to the counter. If the whole pilot thing doesn't work out, she can be a barista in Elysium. She pauses to reach up and rub the back of her neck while she jostles the pot back into the cradle. "This shit's never fresh," Dallas comments, perhaps mistaking the repetition of the callsign for an inquiry as to the quality of brew.

"Fresh?" It's repeated with a note of barely-disguised mirth, before the Captain's eyes drag away to briefly find Covington, headed for the coffee machine. "Sure, thanks." Then back to Ethan again. "What the hell did you do to earn a callsign like that?" His now-empty cup is shoved toward the edge of his desk, though his eyes remain on the raptor pilot. "You're an engineer, huh? Smart kid." That doesn't sound like sarcasm.

Ah, yes, the horror behind the Callsign. Ethan smiles amusedly, at least now that he got used to carrying that callsign around "I…" starts the man "I basically told, Major Hanh, that she looked…well…Fresh" He presses his lips together and looks at the Captain to see what is his reaction to that. After Sitka's las comment, he smiles and nods "Thank you, it was hard but I had my dad to, kinda push me through it." another easy smile comes after that and he looks at Covington for a moment, a smile comes out at the mention of the coffee never being fresh, and then his focus goes back to the Captain.

[Intercom] Cidra says, "Pass the word. Ensign Apostolos and Ensign Scaurus, report to the Ready Room, please."

The hatch performs a repeat performance of a few moments ago, opening up for yet another Petrel. Nathan Rojas: Very not blonde. His manner is akin to that of the woman preceeding him; head low, hand scratching at the mussed and askew hair covering the back of it. While the door swings shut, he proves that Dallas has better spatial awareness: A shoulder clips a cubical wall near the hatch just enough to send it swaying. The grunted "Son of a bitch." sums up both his mood and state of mind in three words. It's worryingly succinct.

"Mmhm," Shiv answers, still with that air of muted amusement, all at poor Ethan's expense. "I guess you're lucky that's all you escaped with. I hear she's a real dragon lady when it comes to ensigns who're too big for their britches." His eyes go up to the intercom on the wall when the CAG's voice filters over it, then skirt across to the arriving Rojas. It's a veritable Petrel party developing in here. "Hey Nathan, I was hoping to offload some, uh.. some work on you, with five oh four. If you've got a few spare cycles, they just need a hand with re-calibrating the RCS mountings."

As the hatch over yonder, there's a glance over her shoulder that skips first to Shiv. When he greets Rojas, before Dallas even has a chance to look to the hatch, she drags one coffee cup off of the counter, and drops down below the short wall of the cubicle behind her. One minute she's standing there, the next she's crouched down low enough to be hidden from everyone in a cubicle and from the hatch—not even her blonde locks are visible. There's a very quiet sip from over by the coffee pot. Two coffee cups are left, hot and steaming, on the counter next to the pot.

"Yes, I've heard that comment as well…I'm still surprised I got out of that place without a scratch." considers the man outloud. He shakes his head and then looks at the Captain "But well, that's why they call me 'Fresh'" he nods to that and then moves his attention to Rojas. His first idea is to offer a greeting but when the man curses, he just nods quietly. He tries to find Covington but apparently, she disappears. The man stands up and takes a cup of coffee. A sip is taken from said cup and he presses his lips together, still processing the taste. It is indeed, not Fresh. The man clears his throat a couple times and looks at the Captain "You just gotta point me in the right direction and I promise I won't take much of your time. That was after all, one of the Major's directives."

A hand clasps around the top of the rocking wall with all the grace Rojas can muster. So… none. His head tilts towards Shiv when the man pipes words over towards his direction, but eyes don't raise to make any sort of contact. That's right, Shiv has to make do with little more than a hand wave before Nate is on the move once more. "'Course they do. Them folks need a hand rememberin' how to put their pants on the right way round." Grumble. Resuming his path in the rough direction of the coffee pot, that head finally raises. Mainly because he's about one turn away from going in completely the wrong direction and getting los-… Nevermind. The pot, the cups and the very tip of Dallas' head are seen, but it's moot. Man's not nearly awake enough to notice.

A couple of moments later, from the far end of the room comes a "Th'shit am I?"

"Sure, let me see what I can dig up for you in terms of training material," Shiv answers, sliding off his desk briefly in order to weave toward the coffee machine and retrieve the remaining cup. It's handed off, mercifully, to Rojas. "I'm not sure I'll have time to sit down with you in the sims for a few days yet, but.. you can start reading, I guess." Back to his desk, he tugs open a couple of drawers and commences rummaging for said material. So inured is he to the Petrels' antics, that he doesn't even bat an eye to the hijinks going on between Dallas and Nathan.

By the time Ethan's come over to claim a cup, and Rojas is looking the way of the pot, Dallas is slinking, as much as one can slink in a crab walk, all bent low around the edge of the cubicle wall. She passes a gap, for a moment visible to Shiv at the very least, Ethan if he's returned to the Captain's desk. She takes a lean, watches the Captain rummage, and nurses her coffee from her place very near the floor. She gestures to Shiv, though he may not be looking, and makes a smoking gesture with her fingers, then mimes flicking a lighter. She digs a smoke out from behind her ear, blonde strands of hair clinging to it. No lighter. How sad.

"That's alright, it's not like I need to start with the sims right away. Some good reading seems to be a good place to start" offers the Ensign with a small smile. He makes his way back to where Sitka's desk is and spots Covington making that lighter signal. By instinct, he pats on the pockets of his flight suit but alas, he doesn't smoke. The man offers an apologetic shake of his head to the blonde woman and looks at what Sitka is doing.

And so Nathan Rojas finds himself at the opposite end of the cubicle maze after some wandering, a cup of coffee somehow ending up in his hands via nefarious Captainry means. A hand raises to scratch his forehead in an attempt to clear the confusion, but all it actually accomplishes is the man gently hitting himself on the temple with a coffee cup. He's just as suprised to see it there as the cup is to be there. "Th'frak?" It's a quiet mutter, barely audible over the tops of the walls he's coincidentally hidden behind. The sounds of a man chugging an entire cup aren't as quiet. The "Th'Shit AM I?" is loud enough to make him instantly wince, shoulders snapping up in an attempt to cradle his head. "Awh, Gods it's too early for that." Out of sight, maybe, but Rojas isn't usually out of hearing range.

Oh, Shiv has a lighter all right. He withdraws it from a pocket of his blues trousers, and sets it down on the edge of his desk with a little thunk. Yes, Covington's going to have to get up to fetch it. He even has the gall to flash her a wink before resuming rummaging about in his clutter for that trai— oh, there it is. He flips briefly through the two, rather thick volumes, before handing over the top one to Ethan. "The theory's a bit dry, but feel free to head down to the hangar bay and ask one of the techs if you can poke around, when you get to the schematics.." And finally, Rojas' odd behaviour manages to ping his sensors. "Could you, uh, excuse us, Ethan?"

Dallas puts her coffee cup down just briefly, and reaches up to drag a rubberband off a little wall tack nearby. There's a slight narrowing of her eyes as the Petrels Captain neglects to toss the lighter her way. She wraps the rubberband onto her wrist. Dallas perks an ear in an attempt to determine Rojas' relative location, then she slides through a gap in the various cubicle walls, and slinks her way toward Shiv's desk, still bent low. She moves in past Ethan's knee, then sidles around the Captain's side, and reaches up to snag the lighter off the surface, just her hand appearing briefly, like a ship goblin in search of fire. Her other hand goes for Shiv's desk, and a pad of post its she saw in there once. She slides a drawer and feels for it without looking. Yes, the Lieutenant is groping around in her Captain's desk, nearly nestled up against his chair.

Ethan takes the big ass volume offered by Sitka and gives it a brief look. "Ah, yes, I can do that…" the idea of getting a close looks of the schematics of a Viper is something that excited the little engineer in him so he show a smile. Now, he gets fairly distracted while flipping the pages so when Sitka speaks to him again, he looks up and goes "Huh?…" and then shakes his head "Oh…yes, of course" A nod is offered to the Captain and Ethan takes a step back "Thanks for the material, I will ping you when I'm done with it." Now he looks around and offers a polite nod to everyone that sees him "Have a good day" And after that, he leaves.

Nathan's empty coffee cup settles on top of the nearest desk, the man doing a good three or four 180-degree turns in an attempt to figure out where in the labyrinthine layout he's positioned himself. It doesn't take him long to get bored. There's a little grunt as the old ensign sits his butt on the floor, and a strained sigh as a few recently overworked joints complain about moving while he streches out on the ground, flat on his back. A hand delves in a pocket, pulling out a slightly battered cigarette that's soon found a new home at the corner of his mouth. Said hand then tucks behind his head as a pillow, while the other finds his flippable metal lighter. The snap, spark and thunk noise are as good a locational device as any, after all. If not, the long grey tendrils of smoke blown upwards with a tired exhale should serve just as well. Smoke signals work in office environments, right?

Sitka goes to shove his desk drawer shut, only to find Covington with her grubby little hands rifling about in it. And Rojas over there, lying on the deck, smoking like it's his own living room. "All right. You, up." That's to Dallas. "You too, Nathan. Move it." He reclaims his spot on the front of his desk, and points to the floor a few feet in front of him. He doesn't wear his Captain Face often, but he's wearing it right now. It looks an awful lot like a frown.

Dallas remains crouched next to Shiv, half drained coffee cup in one hand. Her rubber band bearing wrist skims the edge of his desk drawer while her fingers grope around for those post-its. Her wedding ring is still in place, the platinum and white gold shining dully in the overhead lighting. She glances up at the Shiv-tone, and the grasping fingers still. Ruh-roh. Lieutenant Covington clears her throat, and moves to rise. "Sir." She takes her coffee with her, and leans over to say something quietly to the Captain. Her chin brushes his shoulder and she speaks a few words so quietly there's no way they can be overheard. She moves to head around the desk, presumably to take up a spot in front of it facing the Captain.

You sense: Covington's lips don't touch skin, but her breath whispers across the earlobe as she says, "His birthday yesterday."

Nathan takes his sweet time navigating the cubicles before he pops into view, although it's a toss-up as to whether that was intentional. When he finally does, the coffee cup dangles from a pinky, swinging back and forth with a lazy sway of the hand. It might just be the smoke in the way, or the fact the cigarette is clinging on to his lip for dear life in a fashion that suggests his mouth doesn't really have the energy to keep it there but Rojas looks done. The usual spark in his eyes that suggests a humorous rejoinder is just what's needed is gone, and the lines that outline the features of his face don't quite match the Captain's appearance but… Well, he's done a lot of catching up in the 'weathered' department the past few months. "Sir." He does at least straighten.

Sitka's head turns slightly as Covington comes around the desk, and leans in close to impart something very quietly to him. Blue eyes meet green for a second or two as she pulls away, then cut across to Nathan's darker ones. What began as grudging sternness evaporates quickly until there's only something resembling self-recrimination remaining. Spoken quietly, "Yesterday was your birthday." It's the first year he hasn't renewed Nathan's subscription to 'Picon Motorsports Monthly'. Mostly since Picon's a nuclear wasteland now, but hey. Covington's given a sideways glance that both relieves her of standing at attention, and conveys some sort of gratitude, before his gaze roves back to Rojas. The question is unvoiced: what's going on?

There's a slight nod to Shiv as his glance cuts her way once she's on the other side of the desk. Her stance relaxes, just a slight shift in the line of her back and shoulders. She raises what's left of her coffee to her lips, and finishes off the cup once permission to move is granted. Once the cup's done, however, she bends to set it down, and stands with her hands clasped behind her back. It's the first year she didn't completely cover Nathan's bunk in cherry icing chocolate cupcakes, with tiny gummi roadkill (with tire treads) on top. Aerilon humor. Silence falls for the Petrels for a moment, and Covington's bright green eyes flick from the Captain to the Ensign stood beside her.

"It was." Nathan doesn't even have a witty rejoinder for that. Somewhere, on a planet with resistance, some dude just slammed on the brakes. The coffee mug scratches at the back of his head while a top lip attempts to draw the cigarette back where it belongs. Shiv's flight wings are getting eyed like never before right now. Eye-contact isn't really on the agenda today. "Least I got to fall into bed without landin' on a carefully placed line of cupcakes."

Make that Shiv's crooked flight wings. He puts about as much effort into making them straight as he puts into hanging his uniform, so it doesn't get creases in it. Which is to say, he doesn't. So it does. He could also use a haircut; he's getting dangerously close to being mistaken for one of those root-chewing, tree-hugging freaks his colony is famous for. "Well, that's just a shame," he murmurs, sharing a brief glance with Covington before returning his attention to the 'birthday boy'. "Tell you what. I've got a bottle of what I'm pretty sure is vodka, straight from Leonis, and some, uh, reading material.." Covington, of course, is still standing right there. "Anyway, I'll take you off the flight roster for tomorrow. Sound good?"

Dallas eyes Nathan for a moment, as a 2 word reply comes out of his mouth without humor, sarcasm, hacking up a lung, pissing on something, or otherwise sullying the reputation and professionalism of a Colonial officer. Her lips twitch slightly at the mention of the traditional cupcakes. The Lieutenant reaches over to wrap her fingers around Rojas' upper arm, and she gives it a squeeze. At the pause from Shiv before he says 'reading material', that smile is back, and dangerously close to a grin. "Cheer up, Nathan. We can compare tits and figure out which ones has work done, then go try to replicate our favorites with piles of mess hall foods." Her eyes remain on Shiv, and the smile grows.

A quirk on the edge of Nathan's mouth threatens to break into a smile at any moment. Baby steps. It would be the mention of Vodka that did it. "Sounds like a damn fine present, if you ask me." So close to a smile. It's trying. "But I don't think I'm gonna need the readin' material." His face approaches something resembling apologetic, but the smile finally comes just in time to ruin that notion. At least his hand moves to squeeze the one on his arm in lackluster sincerity. "Dally here still sleepwalks, afterall. Besides, ain't enough mashed potato in the world to replicate some'a the fine female folk in some'a those books."

"She sure does," Shiv answers as to 'Dally's' sleepwalking. A bit tongue in cheek, that. Literally. Clearing his throat, he pushes off his desk and snags the folder he'd come in here for, in the first place. Along with his roster for the squad. Like he needs it. "I'll go make the change to the schedule now. You kids have a good night, yeah?" His hand closes over the taller pilot's shoulder on his way by, and squeezes firmly. "Hey.. and happy birthday, Nathan." It's spoken softly, and with a wonky little smile in accompaniment.

It takes Dallas probably a beat longer than usual to pick up on what Rojas just said about her sleepwalking. "… Nathan Rojas." She just says his name. That's it, but it's all in the tone. And then Sitka chimes in with agreement. Dallas' green eyes flick to the Captain, and her chin comes up just slightly. Her eyes? Yep, just faintly narrowed. "Mmhm." That doesn't stop her from punching Rojas in the shoulder. "I'm goin' back to bed. I better not find any photos of me sleep walkin' anywhere…"

Nathan's head drops in a little nod, but not before he glances at the hand on his should as if it's some kind of alien creature. A mixture of suprise and curiosity. "Thanks, Shiv. Can we spend my next one on some kinda tropical island where bikinis are mandatory? An' I get served drinks while sunbathin'?" The smile is back in full force. Seems that sometimes a man just needs a few moments to be grumpy. Especially when they start getting old-but-not-actually-old. Dallas? Dallas gets an arm high around her waist in a squeeze as a retort for the punch, coffee cup being placed on the desk for someone else to clean up later. "C'mon now. I'm better than that." … "Probably."

Someone else, most likely Ibrahim. "You got it," he calls back over his shoulder as he heads for the hatch, then lifts his paperwork in 'salute' and ducks on out.

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