PHD #377: Call Me Khloe
PHD #377: Call Me Khloe
Summary: Some firearms foo in the firing range turns chatty. Almost. The ice queen almost thaws and the fiesty marine almost manages to not be a chatterbox.
Date: 10 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: Don't Hurt The Innocent, Stay Within The Lines, What You Love
Khloe Vandenberg 
Shooting Range - Deck 12 - Battlestar Cerberus
This nearly soundproof room has ten shooting booths in a straight line that face the target field. The ranges move out to thirty yards, each booth using its own track to take targets out to the desired distance vial a simple dial at the booth. Behind the firing line is a long bench that runs the width of the room where crewmembers can load magazines and compare targets. At one end is a huge stack of paper targets that has either Cylons or a few different types of human targets on them. A large sign hangs from the ceiling that details out the rules such as wearing eye and ear protection and watching where weapons are pointed at all times.
Post-Holocaust Day: #377

With only a few days to the assault, Vandenberg has once again disappeared from regular sight. Recruitment is left to others who can handle it. Where she has been, rumor says, is up in the forward missile tubes under armed guard. Except for right now. Right now she's sitting at a table at the back of the firing range with a pair of metal shears, a stack of ammunition, and a knife. She's not even close to in uniform, either. She's in a tight black shirt, her green duty pants, and boots, though. Her rank pins are attached to the ratty collar on her shirt and a pair of earbuds dangle from her neck. She's tapping her feet, working away at cutting a round of ammunition apart.

Khloe steps into the firing range, looking to get some practice in. The Captain signs in, acquires one box of rounds, chooses an available stall, and begins the methodical procedure of checking her sidearm and loading it. She's not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but she's thorough, and deliberate. She gives a quick glance around to see who is present, and notes Vandenberg in the back. She cranes her neck a little to get a better view of what she's cutting at, but since it's Not Her Business, she doesn't get more than the glimpse she's afforded. So, instead, bang bang bang.

Vandenberg slips in her earplugs setting beside her and waggles her fingers at Khloe. She at least seems to be in high spirits. Probably something to do with the glamrock band logo on her shirt and the tapping feet. When the woman finishes firing off rounds Van calls out to her. "Working on our entry bomb, sir. I need the primers out of these rounds to use for blasting caps since we dont have enough and I don't want to steal all of the bombs on the ordnance deck." She just grins and goes back to cutting apart a piece of brass. The pile looks to be all expended rounds.

<FS3> Khloe rolls Firearms: Terrible Failure.

Vakos checks her sheet with a frown. Apparently, she completely missed the target, only putting one hole in the bottom left corner. "What the frak?" She sticks a finger through the one hole, and then crumples it up angrily. She then begins the laborious process of rechecking her pistol. Maybe she missed something? "That's kind of you," she says back to Natalie, a little snidely. "Going to kill the foundry with a shrapnel bomb, then? Or are you leeching gunpowder out of useful rounds?"

Van shakes her head at Khloe's initial remark, smirking anyway. "No. Breaching charge. Disassembled six five-hundred pound mark eight-two bombs from the ordnance deck. Took the RDPX compound out of each bomb and I'm spent the last few days building a linear shaped charge. Got a two-thousand pound bomb up there on Deck Two right now. Got another five-forty hangin' out in a missile tube." She snips one and pulls out the silver primer, inspecting it. "These were already fired, sir. Got not use for gunpowder today." She sets it down in the pile and takes up one of the spent rounds off the floor. "How about you, skipper? Anything exciting in the life of Captain Vakos?"

"You know me, Lieutenant. My life's so exciting, I could write a best-seller," quips Khloe, thumbing more rounds into her sidearm. At the mention of the bombs, both of her eyebrows do go up slightly, and her scowl relaxes. "Demolitions, eh? I had an interest in that, but they said that was for marines and not sticks. Plus, they were probably scared I'd blow something up." She takes aim at a fresh sheet and squeezes off.

<FS3> Khloe rolls Firearms: Success.

"You get to ride around in Vipers, sir. I'd call that exciting. I used to play lots of computer games with them, you know? Those flight sims they sold at Ral-Mart? Killed hours playin those." She shakes her head, smiling as she works. "Duncan had me down in the sims a few weeks ago. Lotta fun." She snips another one looks and inspects it. "Demo ain't hard, sir. I could teach you some easy stuff. A lot of people know basics. I can do most anything up to and including nuclear weapons. Just, you know, don't ask me to design a nuke. That takes people with a college degree in something useful."

When her second sheet comes back, there is far more purchase center mass this time. Still, the Captain looks dissatisfied. "I either need to get down here more often or I need to have my firearm checked," she announces conversationally. "And I'd be glad to take you through beginner sims once we step down from condition two, if you're really interested in learning. Because, frankly, those are not toys. They are combat simulators." Stick in the mud. "Lieutenant, would you mind checking my Five-seveN?"

Vandenberg smirks at the talk of getting down here more. "Never a bad thing, skipper. Never bad." She clips out another primer and looks it over. "Well I'm horribly interested in learning. I love that stuff. And sure!" She sets the primer down and heads over to the stall with Khloe. "I loved the games and I know they aren't toys. To me its mostly fun, you know?" Van takes the gun and begins disassembling it as if it were second nature. "So I don't want to take away from anyone's training time. And me? I'm just a Marine. If I was smart enough to fly Vipers, I'd be flying Vipers." She sets the slide down and looks over the frame. "Wait one." She turns around and heads for the table and her metal snips are picked-up.

"Smarts have nothing to do with flying, Lieutenant," Khloe counters. "If that were the case, I'd never have been let in. Cat-like reflexes and a complete lack of a self-preservation instinct is what the Navy looks for. At least, that's how I'm sure I got in… at least, a lack of fear and vertigo." A beat. "After all, I had died once, already. Nothing I'm not already experienced with." She removes her protective eyewear and takes the moment to gather her spent brass; less clean-up for later.

Vandenberg chuckles, working at the gun. She isn't cutting, but she's scraping at something. "Is this your personal sidearm, sir? Sometimes these pistols tend to get a build-up of carbon cake on the firing pin and its not something they really teach you in basic. They never expect navy crew to have to fire their sidearms a lot. She turns and heads back over, still working the metal snips into the small area where the pin pokes out of the block. "Dunno about the reflexes. But I sure lack the self-preservation drive, skipper." If Khloe has ever seen Van's back in the showers, most of her body is covered with wounds, old cuts, and scarred burns. They even leak out of her shirtsleeves and down her arms right now. "Duncan was trying to tell me maybe one day I could fly a CAP with you guys." She laughs. "Right. Pipe dream. Nobody wants a Marine flying their wing any more than they want a Viper pilot leading an entry team." The scraping continues and she looks back up. "Already died once? Have a close call out there, sir?"

Khloe folds her arms across her chest and frowns a bit at the mention of the carbon build-up. "Yes, it's mine," she states flatly. "I didn't know that." She doesn't seem to like the fact that she, Miss Regulations, missed something about the care of her equipment. "Overdose. Flatlined once. My arteries almost collapsed from morpha abuse," she explains. "I thought you knew that."

"Its cool, sir. Its something they only really teach about in armorers school. Next time you clean it, get some nail polish remover and drop some in the block. Let it sit for a few minutes then drop dry it out. Its a rare thing, though. Should be good to go." Vandenberg smirks and reassembles the gun quickly. To the mention of her overdose, she shakes her head. The smile has faded but its obvious she still cares. "Didn't know, sir. I try to avoid looking at people's files. Is, ah-" She slaps the magazine back into the well and sets it back on the counter. "Is that why you always seem so.. I dunno. Fearless? Like you could take on the universe if it dared to cross you?" There's a smidge of admiration there. Just a smidge.

Khloe picks up the adjusted firearm and begins going through the motions of checking it. It's not like she doesn't trust the Lieutenant, but it's almost as if she doesn't want to handle it without following proper procedures. "If you're asking if I have a death wish, Lieutenant, the answer is, I have nothing other than the service. I've nothing to lose or to leave behind if I were to die. So, nothing frightens me." But anyone who knows her on a personal level knows this not to be precisely true. After checking the gun, she puts her glasses back on. "Clear," she advises, then shoots at the paper target.

<FS3> Khloe rolls Firearms: Success.

Vandenberg steps back and puts her hands in her pockets. "I don't think you have any more wish to die I do. Hard for you to keep opening Raiders like tuna cans if you're not in the cockpit to do it, right? You fight til you can't, skipper. I'm there with ya." She plans with the tin snips in her pocket and steps back once more while the pilot fires, taking up another piece of spent brass. "I think we've all got something to lose, though. You may not think so but you're important to people. Besides, I know the one thing that scares the bejesus out of every combat commander, sir. We don't have to talk about that, though. Or even nod about it. But I know how you mean."

When the sheet zips up, Khloe eyes it with an increased look of annoyance on her face, and a quiet grumble. "Pistol's fine, my aim just sucks," she says, coming to the inevitable conclusion. Looking back to Vandenberg, she says, "Thanks for the check-up. And… can I ask one more favor?" A brief pause, as her facial features soften just a bit. "Don't call me 'skipper'. Makes it sound like I'm a fat fisherman, or something." She snorts lightly at the thought. "Anything but that. All right?"

"You ever want any help with you aim, you find a Marine. But everyone has their off days." And considering Van is playing with explosives today, lets hope this one isn't one of her 'off days'. With the request, Natalie grins. "Aye, sir. Just gets to be an old habit. Ranking officers we respect, and all. Its our way of sort of announcing favor without actually saying it up front. Picked it up on Saggie during my first tour." She looks back to the brass piece and snips at it once more, trying to dig out the primer.

Once she returns rounds to the box, safeties and holsters her weapon, Khloe begins the process of finishing cleaning up her brass. Crouching down and panning the mess into a bucket, she peers up at Vandenberg going right back to work. "Actually, Lieutenant, if you don't mind, I'd prefer… er, well, off duty, of course… and gods knows when we'll step down from condition two… er…" Grunting out a disparaged chuckle and standing up so she can lug the heavy bucket over to where crewmen will deliver the brass for reclaimation, she shakes her head. "Never mind."

Vandenberg hears all that and doesn't let the smile invade her face -too- much. She lifts her eyes to the Captain and nods. "I know what you mean, sir. I'll keep it in mind. Until then, I'll keep it official." Van is -clearly- not in uniform and won't question whether or not Khloe is on duty. "My name's Natalie, by the by. Or just 'Nat' if that's easier. Like the little buzzing insect that bothers you at picnics, Cap." She grins and turns back to set the cup brass on the table and take up another. "Can't wait for the step-down, though. I know you guys need it especially but I think most of the boat could use a steam-blow. Going on a month now the Marines can't have a drink? Gods I can't imagine living in the Wing berths being happy. Might be downright sporty."

Khloe actually seems surprised by Natalie's candor. As if, somehow, she was expecting awkwardness returned by the Lieutenant. This causes Poppy to suck in her lower lip and give it a gnaw for the briefest of seconds. She reached out, and didn't explode into flame. "It's… not that bad," she offers carefully. "Most of us are flying double CAP, so there's not much time to do anything else except groom, fly, paperwork, and sleep." Her lips press together in a slight grimace. "Natalie. Yes, I knew that."

Van keeps cutting and ripping at the small brass cases. She's got a small pile of primers by now. "Aye, sir." Of course Khloe knew that. She keeps smiling anyway. "I've had one of the Raptor guys staying with me. Evandreus. Poor thing just needed some company. You know, I never realy gave much care to a Wing member before." She chuckles as she tears out another primer. "You guys in your dry cockpits and warm beds. We sit in muddy foxholes while it rains on cold nights. Another of my off-the-hip judgments." She pauses her words while she works. "Thanks for doing what you do, Cap." She doesn't look up to avoid trapping Khloe into anything.

"Bunny?!" Khloe asks, an incredulous look on her face. "Let me guess. He asked to sleep with you. Bunny is a good bus driver but he's got a few screws loose. Innocent like a little kid. Please be careful with him, eh? He's slept with half the air wing, practically, and not in a sexual way." A beat. "I mean, it's not like I'm checking, but he just likes physical contact." She wrinkles her nose, now. "Can't say I understand it."

"Well he didn't so much ask as I just invited him in. I guess another pilot he'd been staying with left the berthings for a bit. He needed someone to stay with." She smiles all the same but there's a little mischief there. Another primer is cut out. "We're careful with each other, sir. He's a good guy, screws loose or not. Besides, I kinda crave the physical contact so I don't really mind at all." Van takes up another primer. "Not much of a lady for personal contact, sir? I mean I get that you're not looking for connections, but not even a warm body on a cold not?" Its not as if she doesn't believe her. She's just looking for..something. Without probing force or apparent motivation except conversation.

Khloe's first instinct is to frown and become defensive. "Not appropriate, Lieutenant. I think we've crossed the line." Handing over her unspent rounds and eye protection, the Captain looks like she's done with this conversation. Then, after a hesitation - she clearly could have turned her back and left the range - she just crosses her arms. "Not a topic for discussion here."

Van doesn't look up, she just keeps working. "I'm sorry, sir. I wasn't meanin' to ask about a romantic life. My apologies." She cuts into another piece, still looking at them. "I-" She chuckles. "I'm sorry, sir. I know you don't like to talk. But I don't get to talk to many people from home too often. Gunnery Sergeant Constin is a badass, Cap, but he's usually busy. Just trying to get to know you. Who you are. Who you were. Truth be told, sir, I'm sorry about what I said to you in here one of the first times we met. That was about as called for as.. Well. It wasn't, Cap. I don't expect you to explode in happiness or suddenly sidle up to a best friend or nothin' like that. I just get curious, sir. That's all. I'm tryin' to turn a new leaf. Be less angry. I don't mean nothin' by the questions. Honest."

Khloe nods affirmatively. "You do talk too much, and at the wrong times," she states, her tone a bit edgy. She stands there a moment, scowling at the other woman continuing to work. "Frak," she sighs, and then crosses the room, long legs bringing her quickly to Vandenberg's table. Placing both hands on the table, she leans in to quiet conversation distance. "Ask me again when we're not on duty, and not during condition two." Still maintaining a scowl, so it looks like, at a distance, she might be dressing down the Lieutenant. Maybe.

"Tryin to take the social cues, sir." Natalie looks up to meet the woman's eyes with a nod. Its not an 'Aww pity me' face. She means it. The Marine really is trying to be less of a problem child for so many people. She straightens a little at the approach to the table but the words aren't what was expected. She gives a short nod. "Aye, sir. I'll keep it in mind." That's all she says. There's no look up, either. If Khloe wants to keep appearances up, Van will do just that.

Khloe taps the table with an index finger twice, as if to accentuate what "she said" to Vandenberg. "Keep up the good work, Lieutenant," she says in passing. And then the Captain finally does turn to leave, not sparing another glance for the other Canceran.

"Thanks. You too, sir." Vandenberg cuts another piece of brass and only gives a glances up to Khloe on her way out. She can't help but smile a little.

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