PHD #140: Condition Two
Condition Two
Summary: A somber conversation about nothing and everything.
Date: 16 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: Bye Bye Birdie and its aftermath.
Tisiphone Cora Psyche McQueen Sitka Constin Tycho 
Galley — Deck 9 — Battlestar Cerberus
Behind the two hangar decks, the Cerberus' Galley is the largest room on the ship. Nearly half the size of a football field, the eating area is made up of long lines of stainless steel tables that can be folded up and placed against the wall for larger events. Individual seats are the standard military issue, boring and grey with lowest-bidder padding. The line for food stretches across one of the shorter sides of the room while the kitchen behind works nearly twenty-four hours a day to produce either full meals or overnight snacks and coffee for the late shifts.
Post-Holocaust Day: #140

Condition Two. Danger Close. It's just like the Bad Old Days after Warday, when the ship ran this way for /weeks/. It's almost enough to make one reminisce — hey, do you remember that one time we found out the Colonies were /toast/, man?

It takes a person back, it does.

There are few people in the sepulcher-silent Galley at this hour, even at the best of times. Tonight, the count is even lower, but includes one (1) Junior Lieutenant Apostolos, hair damp from a trip through the showers, eyes flat, already back in her unfastened flight suit. Just In Case. She's sitting on the edge of a table, feet on her chair, staring off into space as she smokes.

It's not a terribly familiar feeling for Tycho Aidos, who recently laid down his suit for the all-blacks of the Colonial Marine Corps. He's managed to stuff himself into his oversized work clothes in a somewhat reasonable time, though — not having a duty station to which to report, still in makeshift Basic as he is, he's been left to his own devices. And Tycho, when left to his own devices, will look for one thing: solitude. So it is, then, that he pushes his way into the almost-deserted galley, his small silhouette backlit by the light from the corridor as he heads into the hatch. His sidearm — his old sidearm, that is, from his days as a cop — is strapped to his side; his hard plastic helmet is cradled against his chest, held in position by the crook of an elbow and a single balled fist.

Cora wasn't around for that particular version of the Bad Old Days, and there isn't much about almost getting crushed by a basestar that resembles life in the irradiated wastelands of Kythera. Still, there is something similar about all near-death experiences; namely, the bit where one almost dies. And so it is that the lieutenant has a similarly distant sort of focus as she enters the galley. Her hair is wet from an even more recent shower-exit than the pilot, tied up into a messy bun that hasn't prevented the collar of her tank top from getting dripped on. She's lighting a cigarette as she comes through the door, the flame of her lighter spending a little too long wavering in the air to not hint at shaking hands.

Air Wing, of course, tends to remember those weeks as the dark days of No Drinking Allowed. Or maybe it's only Tisiphone who does. Sleetstorm eyes blink back into focus as movement tickles her peripheral vision — target acquired — and she looks over with the sudden, sharp twitch of a bird of prey. Or a fighter pilot still too keyed-up to sleep. After a moment's scrutiny — stand down, non-hostile target — she lifts her cigarette back to her mouth, pulling in smoke until her lungs ache.

Aidos is enough of a gentleman to allow the lieutenant through before he closes the hatch and seals it behind him, a brief tap of fist on his PLAX-LITE (tm) helmet passing for a salute. The women are ignored for the moment, though, as he makes his way to the snacks being laid out buffet-style by a single grim-faced NCO moving in and out of the galley. It'll take him a moment before he decides what he wants — and then, with purpose, the Marine is reaching for a packet of saltines and a pot of some preservative-packed jam. "Thanks, sir," he says — before catching himself. "I mean. Petty Officer."

Not that the PO seems to care particularly much, waving him off in wordless dismissal.

There's an eerie silence broken only by Tycho's clipped footsteps; then: "Got another?" Looming, if a man his size can be said to loom, at Tisiphone's three-o'clock. "Though I've only crackers to offer, this time." Just like Kythera. "Thirty percent less sodium, I'm told."

Cora doesn't seem to notice Tycho as she moves past him, though that rapping of knuckles on helmet draws a twitchy turn of her head. She's focused on getting that cigarette lit, though, stopping just inside the door to work on it and then wandering further in. She pauses by a seat, even lifting a foot to set on the edge of the chair for a moment, but then drops it and moves on, circling tables. She doesn't move quickly or purposefully enough for it to be called pacing, just… walking. It's only when Tycho speaks that she looks up, refocuses her gaze on the actual things in this actual room, seeming to notice the other two for the first time. The lieutenant just watches them for a moment, taking a couple deep drags on her cigarette and exhaling with deliberate slowness.

Three o'clock, high. It's where she likes her wingleader to be. Tisiphone looks Tycho up and down — it's a new uniform he's wearing, these days — before she dips him a twitchy nod. "Sure. I'm not hungry." Curt words, reined-in. Eyes a little too bright. Maybe they've got her crunching stims to be ready for the next overlapping CAP, there's a good girl. She leans up onto one hip, reflexively digging in the opposite pocket for her smokes, only to hit the flight suit, instead. Settling back, she reaches into the unfastened suit, finding the smokes in a breastpocket, instead. She starts tapping one out, watching Cora watch them as she does. "Never a dull moment," she says.

"Mmm." Not quite a response. "You need to watch the sodium, see," Tycho says absently, setting down the yellow-wrapped roll after tearing it open with a quick, smooth jerk. "It's my understanding that increased sodium intake heightens your risk of hypertension, and with these processed foods — " His is a perfect Caprican accent, honed by years of training — voluntary or involuntary. There's a faint click as from his pocket he retrieves a lighter altogether too ostentatious for a man of his caliber, its purple-and-red-striped casing turning a glowing red-orange as it catches the reflection of the flame. "Cracker, Miss Nikephoros?" the man says abruptly, turning to the blonde lieutenant while he reaches for the cigarette Tisiphone's offering.

Cora has just been sort of looking through Tisiphone, no visible reaction to the pilot's regard. When Tycho says her name she flinches and blinks, head shaking a little, jerkily, and exhales a cloud of smoke as she looks at the marine. "No," she replies after a too-long pause, voice a little hoarse. It takes another beat or two for manners to kick back in and she adds, "Thank you."

Still damp from the showers, Psyche makes a beeline for the beverages, there to fix herself up a spot of tea. Herbal tea, even. Definitely not her typical cup of cream with a spot of coffee. Her tummy, apparently, is not a happy place right now. Once the infusion's prepared, both hands are wrapped around the cup — and she makes no move to drink the contents. Instead, she cops herself a bit of wall on which to lean, breathing in the steam — slow, deep breaths — and lets her ears, rather than her eyes, tell her who's hanging around the galley at this unlordly hour.

Tisiphone's hair is still damp from a trip through the showers, though her flight suit is back on, if unfastened. She's all carefully-composed calm that isn't really calm at all. She offers a slightly-bent ciggie out to Tycho before slipping the rumpled pack back into one of her flight suit's inner pockets. "So what happened in here while we were out there?" she asks on a breath of smoke, booted toes drumming in an irregular beat on the chair-seat. Ba-dump. Ba-da-dump.

"Suit yourself." Tycho touches the tip of his cigarette to the flickering flame of his obnoxiously-colored lighter before dropping it back into one of his uniform's many pockets. Then, without waiting for an invitation, he's sitting down a few feet away from pilot, holding his cigarette between his lips before he reaches for a cracker — and, more importantly, that small container of jam. Smoke obscures his pointed features as he does his best to open said container in a reasonable amount of time. He fails. "Shit," the Marine mutters, words spoken with significantly less than his usual clarity. Down it goes, replaced by that cigarette so he can — well, so he can not look at anybody. "The power went out in … CIC. I suppose that's what it's called. CIC. The engineers fixed it." It's really as simple as that, as evinced by his studied shrug. No elaboration is required. "You should really dry your hair," he advises after another moment. Gaze slides from Apostolos to Nikephoros and finally to Athenos by the tea. "You'll catch cold."

Sitka shuffles into the galley as a couple of crew filter out, the Captain still sporting full flight gear— minus a helmet, but with dark curls smooshed against his scalp to show for it. He begins angling toward the dwindling food queue, then veers away to the coffee machine instead and commences rummaging about — fumblingly — for a not-too-chipped cup.

Ba-Clomp. Ba-CLOMP. The heavy bootfalls of another herald his entrance, maybe about half a minute after Sitka . In his fatigues, the figure of McQueen enters making no sound other than that of his footsteps, that same scowl he was wearing earlier post-mission still hangs on his face making deep, fierce crags upon his pallid skin. He's still got his duffel bag with him, slung awkwardly over his shoulder. He eventually makes a beeline for the food but doesn't look too urgent about it.

Cora has wet hair too, you see, tied back in an unfastidious knot, wet enough that it drips occasionally down the back of her neck. She doesn't seem to notice. She's sucking hard on that cigarette, burning it down in near-record time while flicking a glance to those doors each time they open to admit another pilot. Then she's turning suddenly back towards Tycho, roughened voice offering, "It was the comms and the DRADIS. We lost them a second before we were about to jump. Had to do everything manually while they tried to fix it and waited for it to reboot. Life support to CIC got cut to make that happen at all."

"So much for the backup power they installed after the /last/ time we lost CIC." Tisiphone's voice is tense but flat; the only scorn is evident in the huff of smoke she snorts out. Pulling in another lungful of smoke, her attention again snaps, hawk-like, toward the door as fresh movement's sighted. Target acquired. Non-hostiles. Stand down. Her eyes follow Sitka to the 'food' trays, edge away to Queenie for a moment, then return to the Petrels Captain. Now With 400% Less Petrel(tm).

Psyche twitches a faint, sickly smile at the marine — just in case that bit about the wet heads was also meant for her — and lifts a hand to tousle her damp hair. The better to air-dry it, you see. It's a polite and hollow gesture, like the smile — pantomiming normalcy. Her eyes track Sitka as the Petrels' captain enters, her smile slipping, gaze darting back and forth between the man and the contents of her cup. There's a plainly uncomfortable grief in her expression, helpless and sick. Just what the frak does one say, and how can one say nothing?

"In other words: the power went out and the engineers fixed it," Tycho says again after Cora finishes. His own drags on that cigarette are reasonably calm — but then again, all he had to do during the horror of the past few hours was stay in a crouch while the battlestar rocked back and forth from incessant Cylon shelling. His small smile is vaguely ironical as he leans to rest his back against the edge of the table behind him; his cigarette burns idly between the second and third fingers of his left hand, sending smoke drifting across his face. Then: crunch. Because if nobody else is going to eat those crackers, he might as well get things going. "What happened out there?" An impolitic question, perhaps, but hey — he used to be a detective. The Impolitic Question is the main weapon in his arsenal of tricks.

Cup obtained, coffee poured to the brim with surprisingly steady hands, Shiv finally lumbers away from the machine to find a spot to sit. His eyes briefly slant Psyche's way as he passes the younger pilot, and Queenie is barely dodged around, but neither is offered a greeting. Sluuuurp. Thump, as backside meets chair, a few down from where Tisiphone, Tycho and Cora are seated. The tabletop is watched with a dull and singular fascination while he half-listens to the nearby conversation.

Meanwhile, his head-down, McQueen shuffles through the food line grabbing some choice bits of — well, maybe they're not so choice. They're kind of old and generic. A roll here, a piece of lightly-fried soy-derived /something/, and a cup of noodles. And some tea. And some water. Arranging them all neatly upon the tray, he balances the thing on one open palm and meanders out of the line. He eventually comes lumbering this way (that is, towards the nearest occupied table). He too hasn't greeted anyone or even made a point of making eye contact.

Tisiphone calls some manner of short question to Sitka in that spiky, gutteral language their homeworld blessed them with. She edges out her chair a few inches, legs stuttering loudly across the floor, though she doesn't stand up. "Fight and fly and die," she says, muffled lightly against the cigarette in her mouth. "Same frakking thing we always do. Less poetically-" And here she smiles, though the mirth is tar-black. All teeth, no joy. "-we threw pilots at the problem until it went away."

"No, that's not correct," Cora replies to Tycho, tone hardening. She isn't sitting, just standing near the end of the table Tycho and Tisiphone have claimed. "It wasn't a power outage. We only lost DRADIS and comms. Only the things we needed most, at the exact moment that we needed them. Get it?" Her expression is somewhere between accusatory and expectant before she turns away, taking another deep drag and then stubbing out what little is left besides the filter. She digs into her pocket for lighther (check) and pack (empty). A curse is mouthed as she crumples the cardboard in her hand and turns to look around those gathered, "Anybody?"

They threw pilots at it, all right. Shiv's pilots. He, of course, doesn't comment upon this, though bleary blue eyes cut across to Tisiphone briefly for an equally gutteral reply: "Baleh." He digs his fingers into his temples hard enough to blanch the skin, rubs a couple of times, then releases them for a sip of his coffee. Tycho and Cora aren't so much as glanced at, though his gaze filters briefly across McQueen as the other pilot claims a nearby seat.

"Coincidence, you are a fickle and non-existent thing." McQueen's harshly accented voice rings out, it's a lilt tempered by a thick layer of urban industrial grime. "Again." The very nearest empty spot on the table suddenly bears a deposited food tray as he sets the thing down and begins to rummage through his pocket with an idle hand, still not really looking at anyone. And as he sits, he produces a lighter and shoves it across the table near where Cora's hovering. It's a dull, chipped old thing but it works. "That's half your problem solved."

Psyche hides in her tea, shaking her head simply to Cora's request. It's as though the reality of what happened is contagious, and that table over there — the one she's studiously avoiding by holding up this wall, over here — is lousy with it. Yet she can't quite manage to pull herself away from other human beings, and this group seems safe as any. They're not going to ask questions. Most of them, anyways.

"Presumably it was a matter of there not being any power to — never mind." Tycho's head jerks once from side to side as he leans forward, offering his own half-smoked cigarette to Cora so she can finish it off if she so desires. That's the other half of the problem solved. His own voice is cool and steady in the face of the implicit accusation in her tone, and his eyes rise to Psyche in the corner as he sees (rather belatedly) what she's done with her hair. Good girl. "It must have been very beautiful," he murmurs after a while, nibbling delicately at the edge of a cracker. "For them."

"Yeah. What's the going rate on a pilot these days?" says Tisiphone, eyes flicking over to Tycho. "When they're not smothering us, we're-" Whatever she was going to say stays unfinished, cut off with a single shake of her head. She pushes the chair out the rest of the way and climbs down off the tabletop, digging her pack of smokes out again. It rattles perilously close to empty as she taps another one out, leaving it for Cora. A brief glance and the faintest of nods are given her before she stalks the few steps around behind Sitka, dragging out another cigarette. This one gets lit off the cherry of her own before she offers it down to him. "Quick. Before it gets cold," she says, the quip falling flatter than the floor.

"Seriously?" Cora snaps at Tycho when he starts that first sentence, "Were you there? No? Then stop talking about it like you have any idea. For frak's sake. One is probably shitty wiring and the other is probably sabotage. It's a little bit of a difference." McQueen's sliding lighter is caught before it reaches the edge of the table, and she simmers for a second after that outburst before turning to give the pilot a nod of thanks. Tycho's half-finished peace offering gets a shake of her head and she stretches over for Tisiphone's instead, murmuring her gratitude before she steps back to focus on lighting it and then sliding McQueen's lighter back, sending it spinning down the table.

Sitka eases back in his chair a fraction as Tisiphone approaches. The smoke's offered down, and the Captain's hand's offered up, snagging it between two fingers moments after it's been chain-lit. "Thanks," he offers quietly, lip curling at one corner in some vague mockery of an attempt at a smile. "Hey, you uh.. you did good out there. Going to be okay?" The cig's touched to his lips after those hushed few words, blue eyes making a quick scan of the younger pilot's face. He doesn't, for now, spot Psyche peeling herself off that wall and heading for their general vicinity.

"Not a thing." McQueen says smoothly, looking up just a hair as he eyes his noodles disinterestedly, spying Cora. He slumps in his chair and starts twirling the chopsticks around the bowl, not really making any overt effort to actually start eating them just yet. "This time the bastards really put th' squeeze on us."

"Suit yourself," says Tycho again, folding his arms across his heavy body armor before returning the cigarette to his lips. It's not an argument he has any interest in winning; instead, he kills his rejoinder with a long drag from his (rejected) cig. "It depends on the market, Tisiphone," he says after a moment of thought, closing his eyes before tilting his head backwards to blow a thin plume of smoke up into the air. It's almost as if he's speaking to himself. "I am glad for them. It seems as if their death was — " That sardonic smile of his widens just a tad. "Expensive."

Constin would normally be off-duty when coming to the Galley, but with the ship still at Condition Two the sergeant comes for a meal wearing his battledress blacks. No assault rifles or grenades, but he does wear the marine bodyarmor and sidearm as the big man tosses leftover food onto his tray, heedless of taste. Getting to the end of the line, he regards the cluster of pilots and chooses an adjacent table. "Sirs," Constin voices evenly upon stepping within conversational distance. Tycho is eyed as well and met with, "Private."

Psyche hovers by the pilot-heavy table for a moment, holding her tea, looking from face to face. She takes a breath as though about to speak, then hesitates. Shakes her head. She lifts her cup of tea in what might be a greeting, a farewell, and a general salute. Morituri te salutamus. It's really just a matter of time. With that, she turns and departs again.

Twitchy, too-bright eyes, and a slouch, hand dropped on the back of Sitka's chair, that doesn't manage to look relaxed in any way. Tisiphone's still keyed-up from the clusterfrak, or they had her noshing on stims to prepare for an upcoming CAP. Just what every growing girl needs. "Thanks," she says, offering a wan smile back. "Never flew through a flak ring before." Beat. "Wasn't sure I'd make it. I'm-" She gives the Captain a tiny, evasive little head-shake. "Don't worry about me." Her eyes move to Tycho, full of that viscous black mirth again — what market for pilots, indeed? — then across to the de-effervesced Bubbles.

"The frak are you trying to say," Shiv finally interjects, the scratchy-soft words directed somewhat sharply at Tycho— though lacking uch bite. He probably spent all that on the CAG, judging by the rumour mill. A drag off his smoke, and the junior Lieutenant hovering over his chair is left temporarily to her own devices.

"Sergeant." To Constin, though Tycho's dark eyes are locked onto Psyche's baby blues as she raises that cup — and he meets her salute by dipping his burning cigarette once, twice, thrice. It droops a good half-centimeter each time: a lowered flag, flown at half staff. "Dry it," he suggests, pointing to his hair — a hint for her, perhaps. Then, he's turning to get himself another cracker, withdrawing it from once air-tight packaging as quietly as he can. Nom nom nom. As for Sitka? "They're evergreen, now," he says simply, swallowing dry crumbs with some amount of effort. "A pawn for a pawn is ordinary. A pawn for a queen is extraordinary. A pawn for mate?" Shrug. "Sublime."

"Bubbs. Take care of yourself, 'kay?" comes McQueen's first response as he edges his chin up to eye the blonde pilot's not-quite-approach. This done, he begins to dig into his food listelessly as he remains somewhat detached from the surrounding conversation. Which ends as he weighs Tycho's assessment. "It's a shit game, no matter what pieces are exchanged. They deserved a better fate than that. The fact that they willingly went ahead and /did/ it? They earned their place in immortality. That doesn't make it any better or any easier on anyone, does it? Four lives for an entire battlegroup? It looks good on paper. /Paper./ Of course, so did that airbrushed photo of Ensign Stearnes' mum at the Academy."

"Better fate?" Constin echoes Sitka with a raised brow. "Don't know what kinda death you'd count as good, sir, but going out like that? Boots on, swinging hard, and saving the rest of the frakking Fleet?" A shake of his head, "Only wish everybody could check out like that."

Psyche's departure gets a thin, worn smile from the Petrels' Captain, blue eyes tracking back to Tycho when the marine speaks to him. Another little curl of his lip, this one nowhere near a smile and made faintly thuggish by that deep-grooved scar of his. "Funny that the pawns had to be my pilots," he comments lowly, aimed at both men: Tycho and McQueen. Then, after draining what's left of his lukewarm coffee, he grinds his chair back and starts easing slowly to his feet. Before Tisiphone can disappear, he grasps her wrist and mutters something quietly to her in Sagittarian. Constin, meanwhile, is entirely ignored.

Cora is silent, now that she's got that cigarette, just listening. Or maybe just standing, since it's not entirely clear where her attention is at the moment. Eyes don't dart among those at the table as they speak as they usually might, just staring at the table top itself. She's pretty easily ignored for the moment, all things considered. Except maybe for that wet hair Tycho's so concerned about.

"A better fate would to be able to retire on the beach of some as-of-yet un-ruined and undiscovered planet, the Cylon threat destroyed, sipping homemade papaya wine and watching the local fauna play. Bonus points for naked people in the sun. But I'm an idealist." McQueen says as he too watches Psyche leave, before he turns to elaborate to Constin, stuffing his face with a pinch of noodles languidly. Something going down in mid-bite, and he swallows roughly before addressing Sitka, his mouth finally empty. "I wasn't saying it was a good idea or a nice idea or a fair idea. The latter bein' the worst of all. Even if it /did/ stop that beast. None of this is fair. /That/'s why it's shite."

Tycho taps his knuckles against the top of his duty helmet, brown eyes watching ashes from the tip of his cigarette flutter like leaves onto the frozen deck. "Thirty percent less sodium," he murmurs to himself, casting a blank look Cora's way before closing his eyes once more. "Careful about hypertension. About catching cold." The Marine allows himself a low, cultured chuckle. "I used to watch my diet and habits so I could live a long and fulfilling life. Now, I watch my diet and habits so when an opportunity like that one comes, I'll be there to take it. The game has changed," he tells McQueen, glancing in Sitka's direction to catch the tail end of that thuggish smile. It's met with a thin, frozen one of his own. "And we can't stop playing."

Constin cracks a tight smile at McQueen's comment. "Sounds real nice, sir. But ah think we all know that ain't in the cards. Going out well, for the good of everyone else is about the best any of us have a right to hope for, these days. Semper Fi," he drawls, before turning an eye to Tycho. "Your Drill Sergeant teach you those words yet, Private?"

"I learned a different version," Tycho murmurs, that thin smile playing about his suddenly blank expression. "I serve and protect."

Tisiphone doesn't /disappear/. She /extricates herself/. Hmf. Not that she's able to make good on extrication with her wrist snagged. She looks down at her wrist. Up at Sitka. Her jaw sets for a moment, pure 'sullen puppy with a rolled-up newspaper at the ready'. "Me too," she murmurs, a second later, the expression crumbling away. "I'll try. You too." She waits for him to move away before climbing back onto the table, using his now-abandoned chair as her new footrest.

"Eh. Y'know what they say, yeh? Hope for the best but prepare for the bloody worst. I'm just keepin' in it perspective." McQueen's drawl comes between a couple other bites, directed towards Constin. "But yeah. We can't stop playing."

Sitka drops a firm nod to Tisiphone, as if to underline whatever it is he told her. Wrist released, he puts out his cigarette and slips the butt into one of his gear's many pockets as he heads for the hatch. "You all have a good evening," he indicates toward the group at large, wobbly smile summoned up out of somewhere and then neatly banished again. And he's off.

"You ain't a marine until you know those words, boy," Constin drawls back at Tycho, sniffing bullishly once. "Semper fi. Always faithful. Goes real nice with the one you already learned, Private." McQueen's reply is met with a nod, and the departing Sitka acknowledged with the single word, "Sir."

"Thought he was going to punch her," says Tisiphone toward the galley hatch, once it's swung shut behind Sitka. "Can't believe he didn't." A little huff of smoke is exhaled through her nose in belated disbelief before she raises a hand to scrub at her hair. Constin is finally greeted with a faint nod. "Guess I better write that mouthful of brandy into my will," she says to him. "Hate to deny you on account of luck like-" A vague wave of her cigarette at the Battlestar surrounding them all. "-this."

Tycho watches the man go, inclining his head in farewell. He doesn't speak that language — but it doesn't take a common language to read the wobbly nature of that smile. Hrn. "Semper Fidelis," he repeats — and expands. "More succinct." His own cigarette — which has long since stopped burning — is crushed in his palm before he places it in his pocket, next to the lighter. "Not necessarily better. But I'm being combative again." He relaxes incrementally as, for the first time, he allows himself his first really genuine smile of the evening. Surely it has nothing to do with the mention of brandy.

"The CAG?" Queenie takes the bait as he delivers a request for elaboration faintly in Tisiphone's direction. "I got mad at her once. Turns out we were kind of both wrong. This is the kind of thing I couldn't pick sides in even if I bloody well wanted to." More food chomping as he turns from his dish towards the two relatively unfamiliar marines.

"What we were before? Has a part in who we are now, but the old life is just that, Private: frakking old," Constin opines, adding, "Now, you're a marine- the last line of defense at the end of all days. And you'll damn well say Semper Fi," he declares with a cracked grin, amused at Tycho's declaration of combativeness. Taking a mouthful of his collected food, the sergeant regards Tis. "Fella seems to take a lot of this shit personal," he notes, motioning his head after Sitka. "Bad trait, these days."

"You'd be out for blood if the-" Tisiphone's sentence pauses for a moment, as she tries to remember the Marine equivalent. "-fireteam you'd been with for the last five years got thrown to the grinder while all you could do is listen to it happening, too." She looks straight at Consin as she says it, pale eyes glimmering with a cagey light. "Rest of us- Air Wing, I mean. We came in from everywhere. They were already a team. Just- frak me, it's frakking horrific." It's a sort of sodden disgust she says it with, the emotion pulling apart like wet paper towel as the words come out. "And- yeah. Like you said." A restless scrub at her sun-bleached hair. "Necessary."

"Maybe. Maybe that." McQueen's statement is more neutral than anything else. A flat sort of agreement as he continues to work on his food in silence, otherwise. His mousy brown eyebrows droop slightly as he chews.

"You think ah ain't seen that happen, sir?" Constin drawls back to Tisiphone. "It wasn't even to save the boat. It was because some Lieutenant thought she knew better than everybody else what needed to happen- and they followed those orders. You know what ah had to do about it?" he drawls, eyeing Tisiphone. "Ah salute the bitch every time she walks on deck, and ah do mah damned job." That said he drops his eye and nods once. "Hear you, El-Tee. No shit, ah do. It really is a royal mess. Just seems a Captain oughta be above that kinda thing."

It's not a debate Tycho wants to get himself in, not at the moment — not after he's said his piece. Instead, he gets himself a third saltine, having demolished the first and the second in nigh-on record time. His plan, it seems, is to overload on carbohydrates. Call it reflex. Only after he's munched on a fourth and a fifth does he stand to get himself a cup of tea with which to wash all that down. Posture ramrod straight, the Marine excuses himself from present company and — a half-minute later — returns, plain black tea (mixed with powdered milk) in hand. "I've seen it happen too," he observes, voice as bone-dry as those crackers he's been eating. "I watched Otis shot dead by Cylons on Leonis." Otis, the big, growling, wuff-wuffing canine with a heart of gold.

Cora hasn't said anything for a while, just standing nearby, one hip leaned against the table, smoking. Now, whether it's the fact that her cigarette is gone, again, or maybe the mention of Leonis, or just some sort of internal alarm clock, she straightens up, and without a word, heads for the door.

There's a sullen, defensive flash in Tisiphone's pale eyes at Constin's last words. Her mouth prims, making her cigarette bob and sift ash down the front of her unfastened flight-suit. There she goes, circling the Sagittaran wagons at the slightest provocation. It is, of course, a little like a Chihuahua snarling at a Great Dane. "I'm not getting into it," she finally says. The pilot has no taste for ankles, tonight. She looks over with a faint start as Tycho re-enters her peripheral vision, reminding herself to relax a second later. "Thought he was gonna make it," she says, on matters of Otis. "Shame he didn't."

"The hair, Miss Nikephoros," Tycho says flatly, but he doesn't bother going after her. Maybe he's comfortable presuming she's off to find a towel. Instead, he takes a truly bold gulp of that still-steaming tea, minding not in the least as the scalding liquid burns on its way down. "He bit you, didn't he? I should have had him apologize by bringing you a dead rabbit or something." A fond smile at the memory plays across his face.

What can he say? McQueen's for once, got nothing as he continues to shovel in his food. There isn't much left of it at this point, and he merely twirls his chopsticks in a slightly rude manner until he lays them flat. Yeah, there's a big ol' shrug.

Tyche's words toward Cora direct Constin's attention to the woman for the first time. "Sir," the sergeant voices evenly as she departs. Tisiphone's defensiveness and non-confrontation is answered with a simple, "As you like then, sir." Wolfing down another measure of his meal, the big man has made short work of the nutrient-absorbing. Probably managed to not even taste the stuff.

"He bit me because you told him to." That's Tisiphone's recalling of the situation, at least, levelled rather steadily at Tycho. It had nothing at /all/ to do with the fact she had her You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry voice running off at the dog's beloved master. Nothing at all. Looking from him, to Queenie shrugging into his noodles, to Constin's 'Sir', her faux-relaxation suddenly /isn't/, and she pushes up to her feet. "CAP's coming up," she announces. "I'll see you all if it doesn't frakking kill me." Add one more to the girl-exodus, her restless strides carrying her toward the door.

Constin climbs back to his feet as well, nearing the end of his scheduled break. "Sir," to the departing Tis. "Sir," the the silent McQueen. "Private," to Tycho, and the big sergeant takes his own leave as well, dropping the emptied tray on the appropriate recepticle.

"The apology was meant to be transitive, anyway." Tycho chuckles into his tea, his clipped voice wet — for lack of a better word — after he takes another gulp. "To you from him for me." But he'll let that one slide, too, as the empty cup is turned over to make sure there isn't a single drop left. And then, despite his very best efforts, he grabs another cracker and bites down hard on its crispy edge — because gorging on carbs is so much easier than arguing. "I'm sure I will be seeing you, Sergeant." A nod to Constin and another to the pilot; then, the entire package of crackers in hand, he too is moving to leave.

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