PHD #332: Boys Will Be Boys
Boys Will Be Boys
Summary: Obliquely referencing abusive upbringings before geeking out over the prospect of dissecting and analyzing Cylon tech: this is how Gabrieli and Trask partake in some Guy Time.
Date: 24 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Can't Outrun the Fates (Quinn goes into labor), Raiders of the Lost Raider (crazy-ass Raider foo), & Pressure Points - Air Wing (from whence the Heavy and the Centurion came)
Gabrieli Trask 
Gabrieli's Makeshift Office - Aerospace Fabrication - Deck 11 - Battlestar Cerberus
Just what it says.
Post-Holocaust Day: #332

Since surrendering one shitty office to the new ChEng, Gabrieli dug himself out a new spot within the aerospace facility. It didn't start out as an office and doesn't look like much of one now, but unlike SuperBrass an engineer doesn't require ready-made comforts. A chair, a desk, and most of his personal books moved onto self-constructed shelves standing by the wall. His favorite copy of an original Cerberus blueprint is tacked to one wall. Gabrieli is firmly in recluse mode for the time being, his whiteboard awash in blue and red mathematical calculations that would take days to comb through, books open all over the place, and computer on where he's staring, eyes narrowed, at something on the screen.

A-rap-a-tap-tap on the doorframe heralds the arrival of Bootstrap, who really is no stranger to the aerospace facility, even if his play time has been significantly diminished since he assumed interim command of the VAQ-141. Dressed in his duty greens, as is his wont, odds are that he recently finished his latest shift. Or so the unbuttoned jacket and clear need of a shower would indicate. "So," he remarks, the following pause punctuated by the sound of a cigar being clipped, "this is the pasture, eh?" The way he smirks suggests that Gabrieli isn't about to be turned into glue any time soon.

"Well, I can definitely smell methane." Most of Gabrieli's face is hidden behind the computer screen. His eyes, shielded by reading glasses, look up over the top at his visitor. "And it's not me."

"Recently had a meeting with some Areion peeps, eh?" He went there. Of course, he went there. Inviting himself right into the office proper, the ECO flashes a smile. "I hear the new guy's a real dick. Good to know that he and I'll likely get along." Flick-flick goes the sound of flint being struck, Trask's vintage lighter christening the cigar he starts to puff into smoky magnificence. "Don't worry, though. I'll always make time to be a pain in /your/ ass."

"I'll tick that concern off my list." Gabrieli is like most smokers, in that someone else lighting up prompts him to do the same. He rubs his eyes under the bottom edge of his glasses and shuffles a cigarette from a side drawer. "When did you start smoking cigars?"

"When I had access to 'em. Probably really took to it aboard the Aegean. Proximity an' all that rot." For that is the finest of Allegheny tobacco that he's smoking, lovingly rolled into one of the most exquisite brands of cigars in all of the Twelve Colonies. Pre-Warday, no less. Nor is he being stingy. Indeed, Trask reaches into one of his breast pockets and retrieves a second cigar, which he offers to Gabrieli. "I figure that if ever there was a day to smoke up, this would be one of 'em."

Gabrieli makes a halfhearted gesture of refusal, tapping once on his lower chest. "If I'm going to give myself cancer, I want to get it down where it counts." As he exhales, he pushes his glasses up onto his capless head, into the thin patches of hair that chose to grow back after the fire months ago. "What's special about today?" As if he could think of no reason, himself.

No? The cigar is declined? Really? Trask wiggles it a little bit. Going once. Going twice. Tough. It gets deposited on Gabrieli's desk anyway, whether or not it's wanted. "Dude. Testicular cancer is no joke." Where else would it count oh so very much? As for the question… "I, my good sir, am an uncle," he reveals with a small but nonetheless pleased smile, more proud about the event than he likely is even aware. "Maggie finally deflated." Presumably, both she and child are in good health.

Gabrieli gives Trask a bland smile at the joke, forgotten quickly in the wake of the news. An eyebrow raises slightly. "Oh, the pilot?" He's an engineer; they're all 'the pilot'. "Niece or nephew?"

"Niece. Kallistei a-kajillion-middle-names-after-members-of-the-Quinn-clan Quinn." Puff-puff. "I swear, she refused to come out until I officially got saddled with the squadron. Impertinent little thing." Just like her Uncle Kal, which is probably why there is an element of pride and amusement in his remark. "At least she made sure Cid didn't come out unscathed." Yeah, that's definitely approval right there. Sweet revenge for the Captain pins that he's now sporting.

"Girls will be girls," Gabrieli replies dryly. Perhaps in response to the naming, perhaps to the stubbornness. A few moments go by as he exhales a long, steady stream of smoke. "I take it she'll be taking extended leave to properly care for a newborn."

"Just like boys will be boys," Kal wryly smirks. "If it weren't for that mothering instinct, we'd be screwed." That, presumably, being men. Parking it in the up-until-now unoccupied other chair in the makeshift office, he suddenly more somberly notes, "I looked all over for 'em." Meaning Gabrieli's sons. Craning his neck a wee bit to line-up the backwards launch, the ECO and chair roll across the floor to shut the door. "Even did a few off-the-record sweeps." Clack goes the lock.

Gabrieli must have noticed that his comment wasn't answered, but he doesn't push it for the time being. He reaches over and knocks ash off his cigarette into his chipped ashtray, then back at Trask with a raised brow. His train of thought clearly isn't travelling with Trask's, as he asks on reflex: "Looked all over for who?"

Trask doesn't immediately scoot back towards the desk. No, his head lolls a tad to one side and he gazes at Gabrieli, a softness and sadness in his eyes, even if the curve of his mouth seeks to downplay it all. "You know." Not comfortable is he in this realm of feelings. Reflexively, he mildly shrugs, as though that will somehow slough off some of the discomfort. Yeah, it was a somewhat non-sequitur statement when he initially made it, but that doesn't mean he wants to spell it out. "Your boys." Beat. "Tauron."

The silence becomes very stilled, the momentum of conversation pooling between them. Gabrieli's eyes turn to the corner of his computer screen and he takes a drag off his cigarette, exhaling slowly through his nose. "I guess it's good you didn't come across them." His voice is low, struggling hard to sound light. "Mattia would have talked your ear off." His slight chuckle through his nose isn't fake, but it isn't one of joy either. It comes, then it goes. The computer screen glows silently in his face, paling skin and reflecting in his eyes. "Tell your Maggie I said congratulations."

That silence isn't something Bootstrap is eager to break, disquieting as it may be. Eventually, though, one boot heel and then the other, over and over, pull him and the chair back to the desk. "I would've made an effort to at least pretend as though I were listening," he faintly smirks, then adds some ash of his own to the tray. There's a pensive pause, no eye contact, for he instead regards the weft of cigar smoke as though it offered insights and auguries. "It just gets worse, doesn't it? Kids, I mean. This whole caring business."

It's now Trask's turn to slightly chuckle. "When I learned she got knocked-up, I was so pissed." Here comes the eye contact. "Like, you have /no idea/ just how upset I was. And not just because I knew I'd be picking up the slack, although that was part of it. Just… a child. Here. Now. Her." The chuckle takes a self-derisive turn. "Frakkin' Cylons nuke the Twelve Colonies to the Nine Hells. No problem. Life goes on. Business as usual. No great loss on my part. My pilot, my best friend gets pregnant? It's like the frakkin' end of the world." A small smile surfaces, rueful. "Except it's not. BUT IT IS. Nothing's the same now. Even… even when Mags was in labor, it wasn't real. It was just some snarky joke to crack. But it's more than that, now." And it's not something he really knows how to handle.

Gabrieli is not a man who avoids eye contact as a general rule. Right now, though, Trask doesn't get the benefit of seeing anything in them. Eyes stay on the screen, if not on anything in particular on it. "Yeah," he says finally, under his breath. "It's…" Whatever further he was going to say doesn't come. "Where's the child's father?"

"Dunno," is sardonically quipped. "I don't really keep tabs on Major Tillman's schedule." The smile, it's not a nice one, but it's also not directed at Dominic. "I respected him, you know. Once. Back before he went frakshitinsane. I swear, I get stranded on Leonis for 42 days and the entire fleet goes to shit." Ever like Kal to make light of something serious. "Maggie hasn't seen or heard from him in months. Frakker frakkin' bailed. Said he — get this — said he, quote-unquote," emphasized by a derisive, pseudo-whiny sing-song tone and manner, "can't break the oath he swore to his dead wife." Now comes the full on snark. "Oh, okay. It's okay to frak someone /other/ than his dead wife, and to /knock-up/ someone other than his dead wife, but he suddenly gets pangs of conscience and draws the line when it comes marrying the non-dead non-wife he frakked and knocked up." Cue the dramatic eyeroll. "CLASSY, that." As classy as the snort that follows. "They're better off without that spineless, self-serving piece of shit."

"People do some shitty things when they're… confused." Gabrieli pronounces the last word as though it had an unpleasant taste. "But if he won't step up then he won't step up. Gods know plenty of children have come up through time without a father. Doesn't make it right, but doesn't make it hopeless either."

"Growing up without a father is far from the worst thing," is somewhat darkly spoken, the anger melting into something more brooding. "S'alot better than having a shitty one, no doubt." A conclusion drawn from someone who had a downright abusive one. With the matter having gone beyond the actions of Clive Tillman, a certain agitation starts to fester. "Some people should never be parents," is all that Trask really cares to say. It's certainly more than he's ever said regarding the topic. So, he just smokes some more.

Gabrieli smokes some more too. "Some people shouldn't be," he agrees at length. "Unfortunately, they aren't the ones that pay for it." He gently taps his cigarette against the ashtray, watching his fingers. "I know your father wouldn't have won any medals, Kal."

The reply is quick and cutting. "Sure, he would've." None too gently, more ash is tapped. "Just not for anything a man should be proud of." It's not quite a grimace that forms, but it's certainly kin. "He would've won a /lot/ of awards," comes the quasi-staccato. Roughly, he works his jaw, eye contact not made. A faint scritching noise fills the air when he rakes a thumbnail against the stubble of the upper corner of his lip. "You, though," he finally says, directing his gaze to the other man, "You were a good dad. I can tell." Never mind that he's starting to seem a bit manic with this onset of emotion, those big brown eyes of his glistening with emotive sheen of what he refuses to shed. "I can tell," he reasserts. Leaning back in the chair, Trask folds his arms across his chest. "I can tell."

Gabrieli shakes his head slowly, finally looking at Trask instead of the computer screen. "You can never tell. You know? Some men make excellent fathers… just not to their children." His tone makes it very hard to tell if he's talking about himself or not. A thought that's been with him for a long time. "You can talk about him if you want. I'm not a shrink, but…" He lifts his chin towards Trask. "I know another one when I see one."

"Another what?" It's difficult to feign ignorance when battling the onset of tears and a caginess to one's demeanor. "You… you know another /what/ when you see one?" If there's sharing to occur, Kal most certainly isn't going to be the one to go first. "Yeah, well, some men are shitty fathers regardless of the kids." Seems someone is too focused on the anger, hurt, and hatred of his own upbringing to interpret Dom's words of wisdom with anything other than defensiveness. To do otherwise would mean humanizing Kevon Trask. "There's nothing to talk about. Only good thing about 'im is that he's dead."

"I meant," Gabrieli goes back to rephrase in a quiet voice. "That some men make good fathers except… except when it comes to their own children." He taps the cigarette against the chipped glass lip. "Does that make more sense? Sometimes what everyone else sees… isn't what you have to see. Sometimes you're the only one that knows. You, maybe your mother. Maybe a sibling. But sometimes, it's only you."

That really wasn't what the Taurian was expecting to hear. Not unless 'I know your father beat the ever loving shit outta you for 14 years straight' suddenly sounds like whatever it is Gabrieli just said. "I maybe understood half of what you said." Beat. "Maybe." Indeed, he looks vaguely confused and more than a little apprehensive.

"Probably means I'm talking too much." Gabrieli's chuckle sounds uncharacteristically nervous, like he'd just dipped a toe into waters he wasn't prepared for. "We don't have to talk about this anymore." He reaches for his pack at that, sliding a fresh one out.

The ECO is being offered an egress? Yeah, he's totally gonna take it. Still not entirely sure what has transpired, he's not going to try to figure it out. Like with just about everything else he consciously pushes aside, it'll be unconsciously processed and dealt with sooner or later. Probably later. "That might be a good idea 'cuz I'm a bit sketchy on just what 'this' is." He also isn't seeking clarification. No, just sweep it back under the rug and stomp on it a few times so it doesn't overly protrude. "Anyway, I'm an uncle." A small, lopsided smile follows. "I'm also no longer the 'interim' SEE-OH of the Harriers." That garners wry smirk. "Maggie's still hopin' to get back on the flightline. We sure as frak want 'er back. It'll be a while, though, before she's cleared by Medical. Plus, she'll want some time with Kalli." The earlier question is finally answered.

Gabrieli offers no clarifications. Just smoke, until Trask is finished. "Suppose the whole squad'll be calling you Uncle Kal now." Faint smirk of his own. "Don't let them change your callsign on you."

"Doubtful. Bastard, jerk, and asshole are less syllables, an' everyone knows pilots are lazy fraks." Smirk is met with smirk. "Besides, only Toast has that power, except she doesn't." Make Kal Trask accept a new callsign? Hells, make Kal Trask do anything he doesn't want to do? Yeah, right. "So, what about you? What do they call you now?" Back in goes the cigar.

"Domimodo, the Hunchback of the Cerberus," Gabrieli replies, mouth still drily quirked up at the side. "I shot for the Phantom, but I can't sing."

"You also have no hump," Trask chews around the cigar, pausing to blow out some smoke rings. "AND, like the Phantom, you still get the ladies despite the burns and shit. I bet that's the real reason she's called Toast." Idly glancing about, he more seriously inquires, "So, what does an ex-ChEng do, anyway? 'Cuz if you've got the time, I've got some toys for you to play with."

Gabrieli just scratches his nose after the mention of Cidra. He glances at the ashtray, aiming a well-flicked mound of ash into the middle. "Mostly whatever I want, so long as it it's useful. Train staff. Research." Brood. "Why, what have you got?"

"Well, there's that Centurion I left gift-wrapped for you." Not a shot to shit one like the last one Engineering had, either. Admittedly, this one is electrically fried, courtesy of The Gun. "Had a chance to dissect it, yet? I'm curious just how that frakkin' Gun fraks things up. Deck's been swamped, /I've/ been swamped, so the Heavy I towed back to base a few weeks ago remains untouched. I'd really like to know how its innards are looking. Like, did The Gun boil all its bio goop?" Puff-puff. "Part of me wants to try getting it to work. As it stands, we don't even know how to power it on. We've programmed a virtual Heavy that some of my peeps have been practicing with. A longshot that we'll ever be able to pilot a real one, but the sim /is/ really frakkin' cool." Spoken with all the pride of an engineer geeking out.

Amazing how shop talk just changes the whole atmosphere. From moodiness emerges sharp interest, Gabrieli folding his arms on the table and leaning on them as he listens. "Would take quite an effort. More than one department, certainly. No reason a dedicated team couldn't crack into it, though… have you submitted a proposal? Anything formal in the works?"

"Always takes more than one department," Trask wryly notes, but that makes it no less true. "Shit. You're not ChEng anymore. I bet if you submitted a request, we could start up an R&D department." Yes, he said we, although he'd have to be more of a silent partner, all things considered. "Hire some qualified civilian contractors, have assigned liaisons from the different departments." Naturally, he'd be one such liaison. "Yanno, kinda like what I've been doing without the whole R&D umbrella, but with you as the lead." More ash and more enthusiasm. "You totally should do it." Yes. It is decided. "Make it happen, Dom. I command it."

Gabrieli actually laughs. Mild but by gosh it's a laugh. First one since Trask walked in. "How could I turn down such… earnest begging? I'll look into it with Pewter. You don't even have to bring me flowers."

Happy days are here again. "I'll see if I can scrounge you a nice handkerchief to wipe up the spunk," he smiles in that impish way of his, eyes a-glitter. Because this really is a geek's wet dream. "In the meanwhile, I'll send you copies of my notes. Some of what I have in mind… well, we'll go over that later." There's an earnest air in that, as though whatever it is qualifies as SRS BIZNIZZ. "There's still plenty to tackle between now and then." Suddenly, those big brown eyes widen. "Oh, snap. You still haven't seen the crazy Raider footage from three weeks ago." Beat. "Shit. I'll get that to you ASAP. I'm sure you saw the foundry footage, but not /this/."

Gabrieli doesn't even hear the handkerchief comment. It might be true soon if they keep going like this. "Alright. Good, this is… hah." He raps his knuckles once on the desk, jittering the ashtray. "Send it to me. Whatever you have. I'll get the ball rolling upstairs — and, I'll need suggestions for people. You get out more than I do these days." He remembers his cigarette, taking a quick drag that barely gets a sniff. "What footage is this, now?" The things you miss while comatose.

Dwindling cigar dwindles, but Trask has his work to keep him warm. "Scaurus," he relays without hesitation. "He's my best man. Programmer. Hacker. Good kid. Works hard. There's also this civvie doc. Adair. Cameron Adair. He specializes in biomechatronics, of all things. I pressed to get him clearance to work on some of the biotech but I think that's all been at a standstill due to recent events. You'll definitely want to pick his brain. I have no doubt he will most willingly lend his expertise. Most everyone else I'd tap is dead." It's not quite a frown or a wry smirk, but it's at least of a black sort of humor. "I'll give it some more thought." And speaking of thoughts, "Oh, hey. You have a chance to speak with Belgoin yet? Guess we finally know what happened to him after he left the Chimaera." That prompts a decidedly wry smirk. "I'm sure he'd appreciate that." A tilt of the head indicates the unsmoked cigar on Gabrieli's desk.

Gabrieli tics a brow up, wryly. "Belgoin is just as I remember him." Which may or may not be a compliment, it's hard to tell. "I'll leave it at that for now. Scaurus, then… Adair. I'll check their status. Now don't start jerking off in public yet; I'll have to get it cleared before I can start pulling people. But I've got the feeling Pewter will go for it." Or he'll annoy the shit out of Pewter until he does, is the unspoken addition. "What footage is this you said?"

Those eyes roll, accompanied by a mild scoff. "I already jerk off in public." Gawds. Everyone knows that. The footage, though. "Right." Again, the eyes widen with animation, and he leans forward to rest his elbows on the desk. "It's crazy-ass shit, Dom." Which he's already said. "This Raider, right, came outta nowhere, all by its lonesome. Started transmitting all this encrypted crap, which I snagged for analysis, and more or less acted all crazy-ass." Which, again, he's already said. "So, it starts zooming off parallel to the Fleet, which is weird. Its flight pattern was atypical, so we pursued — and shit, Dom. You should've seen how that thing frakkin' blazed through the black. Went WELL BEYOND what prior analysis calculated to be the top end. Saw it with my own eyes, gauged it with my sensors, and I scarcely believed it." And it is no small feat to impress Kal Trask.

The cigarette burns away into a steady column of dead ash, now utterly forgotten. Gabrieli's eyes narrow, and he pulls his glasses off his head to toss them by his keyboard. "No shit. You got the encryption… what about those sensor readings, are they recorded?"

First the wanking and now this? Incredulous Kal is incredulous. Look how he levels his gaze at Gabrieli. 'Really? You just seriously asked that? Seriously?' "Yeah," is the dry reply. "Turns out I managed to exert enough willpower to do my job instead of pumping and discharging my 'personal rifle'." More ash is deposited, that beloved cigar soon to be laid to eternal rest. "Can't make heads or tails of the transmission. All we can determine is that it was generated by Cylons for Cylons. We're scouring our birds' buffers and cross-referencing with CIC captures to try and determine if we can somehow construct a cipher. As it stands, it's the equivalent of decrypting something in an unknown language. We can see what it says. We just have no idea what it actually means."

"Good, you didn't turn into a Marine when I wasn't looking." The cigarette finally gasps its ash all over Gabrieli's hand, and he tosses it into the ashtray. Ash wiped on side of pants. "If CIC's got its hands on it, I doubt they'll let it go. But we can tear the hell out of the footage and take a look at the signals you got, see if any fresh eyes can spot something. Alright." Game plan time, both his hands tapping down on his not-so-sturdy table. "You get those notes and anything else you can pull out of your ass. Let me know when you're ready. I'm going to get on a proposal format that won't make Pewter think they gave me too much morphine."

"Oorah," is deadpanned. With a few final puffs and several more rings of smoke, the cigar is given its last rites. Rising to his feet, Bootstrap beams as befits a giddy geek. To the rest, he simply says, "Oh ye of such little faith. If there's anything worth looking at, I'll get it to you." Does it qualify as bravado when what is stated is actually the truth? Regardless of the answer, he has his ways and means what he says. "And, really, Dom, some things should simply be flushed down the toilet. But if anything pertinent emerges from my ass, I'll be sure to pass it along."

"Sometimes you've got to dig through a lot of shit, Kal. But I know you can do it." Gabrieli gives the younger officer a deadpan nod of approval. He jars his mouse with his fingertips, bringing up the complicated screen he was working on — which he promptly closes without saving. There's bigger fish to fry now. "Go on, git."

"Aye, aye, sir," is the cheeky reply, complete with snazzy salute. Then, with a crisp turn on his heel, Trask unlocks the door and departs… hand still on the frame long enough to pop his head back inside. "Real glad you're still around." It's genuine, carried over to his face. Then, with a small smile, he's gone.

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