PHD #087: Cosmic Omelet
Cosmic Omelet
Summary: Conversation on the Observation Deck takes a turn for the odd.
Date: 24 May 2041 AE
Related Logs: n/a
Constin Psyche Rime Villon 
Observation Deck — Deck 3 — Battlestar Cerberus
With a quiet view to the stars, this tends to be one of the more popular 'quiet areas' of the Cerberus. Up front is a small-unseated area for ceremonies or other activities while the seating rises up behind it. Each level rises up behind the one before it, comfortable chairs and couches set up for crewmembers to relax, get some work done or even take a nap. A large armored plate is lowered during Condition One to protect the interior against a breach in the glass.
Post-Holocaust Day: #87

It's late afternoon, Cerberus time, and the Observation Deck lays in relative silence. Only a few people are here, scattered sparsely amongst the armchairs and couches.

Lieutenant Rime is one of these few. The jacket of her duty blues is unbuttoned at the top, signifying a temporary respite from Official Matters, as she attends to the more pressing issue of tea-making over at a long table at the side of the room.

Constin is unmistakably off duty, entirely lacking the uniform overshirt. The big man sits in one of the many seats- in the second row from the front of the ascending banks of chairs. Arms crossed, one boot is raised to rest on the back of the chair before him, letting Constin recline a bit in his seat. His eyes rarely remain fixed on anything, flicking aside to observe every time another person enters the deck, before returning to the starscape. The tea making is noted idly, as is the tea-maker, before he wonders aloud, addressed to no one in particular, "Not likely to get a view of Leonis from here, are we?"

And on the other side of that table is little Emilie Villon, nibbling with gusto at a dried apricot lifted from the mess while flipping through a book — nay, not a book. The thing in her hands is a veritable tome, and page after page is covered in lines of text interrupted only by a number every ten lines. It's poetry, then, and epic poetry at that, in whose stories the girl now finds herself engrossed. An empty mug rests beside her right arm, its fair skin covered in scars and barely-healed burns that trace livid lines from wrist to elbow; a leg brace raps lightly against the plush softness of her armchair, sleek web of silver and black visible beneath the right cuff of her off-duty sweats. One purple headphone dangles near the dogtags on her chest, emitting a tinny bzzt every four beats. The other is nestled in her ear, contrasing neatly with her dark brunette hair. Constin's words are ignored, though whether on purpose or by virtue of the music is as yet unclear. Instead, wide green eyes track Rime's deliberate movements before flicking back to the page.

Some of the tea-makers upon the Cerberus have elaborate blends or all-but-ritualized preparations. Rime, for her humble part, trusts in the hot water machine, the military-issue steel mugs, and the pre-packaged teabags labelled, helpfully, 'Black Tea'. She has no books with her, nor any burgeoning CIC folders - a welcome or deliberate change of pace for her, this afternoon. "It wouldn't be this quiet if we could see Leonis right now," she replies, raising her voice just a little to ensure it carries toward Constin. There's a touch of wryness, gentled with a hint of smile. Upon spotting Emilie, she gestures to her teamug, then lifts her brows at the other woman. Beverage pantomime.

"Yeah, I meant the star," Constin adds with a short-lived grin at Rime's answer. The man's voice is a bit higher pitched than one might expect from his size. "Eh, just as well," he shrugs in his seat, shaking his head and letting out a breath. "What you doing over there, sir?" he asks idly, blue eyes turned toward the long table.

The short fingernail of Villon's index finger tings gently against the edge of the girl's own military-issue mug, striking it at just the right angle to create a pure but transient sound. It'll take her a moment to realize she's the one the big and burly fellow is addressing, and another moment to put together a proper response in her head. Wide eyes go wider as her fingers wrap around the free earbud to mute the sound, her forearms resting on the tome's open pages. "Reading," she observes, not a hint of snippiness in her faintly-accented soprano. "A book."

Rime pauses by the box of sugarcubes, considering them, then her mug of tea. A moment's weakness - she takes one of them and drops it into her steaming mug. She doesn't sit down immediately, instead crossing to the end of the table to lean up near Emilie while keeping a view of Constin. While there are many standoffish and non-inclusive sorts aboard the Cerberus, the Tactical Officer is not one of them. "What manner of book?" she asks, further shaping the Marine's question. The tone's warm; she seems familiar with the pilot.

Constin raises both brows at the pilot's answer. A wry smile tugs at his expression. "A book? Ya don't say…" he draws dryly. Rime's input goes a long way toward preventing further words from Constin, which is likely good for the immediate conversation.

"Stories," is Emilie's not-quite answer, though she does retrieve a small felt bookmark from her pocket as she speaks, its tassel hand-crafted from strips of leather dyed various shades of purple. Page marked, she folds it closed to reveal the title: an anthology of ancient fables with commentaries by various professors in the field. Not exactly a cartoon version of Aesop, this. "Doc gave it to me," she adds when she's done, sipping lightly at her tea. "After I — af — after — " Voice trembling just a tad, the pilot hunches forward in her seat, shoulders tucking in, elbows touching each other and the edge of the table. "After," she concludes with finality.

Rime gingerly turns the too-warm mug around in her fingers a few times, looking somewhere between sympathetic and guilty. Her eyes never quite lift to Emilie's face, and instead sketch over the storybook and then away to the rest of the Observation Deck. "I heard about that," she finally ventures, as if confessing to something. "I read the injured roster. I'm sorry I didn't come see you in Sickbay, Emilie. I should have done better at making time for it." There's a hesitant, apologetic smile offered.

Constin squints at the displayed title of Emile's book. That's a whole lot of words on the cover. "Huh. Got one about the chicken and the egg in there?" he asks with a raised brow, and brief grin. As the pilot struggles with the word 'After', the grin is gone and he turns an eye out the observation window again, opting to hold his tongue for the moment.

"I don't know that one," Emilie observes, her lilting soprano hesitating ever so slowly as she flips back to the table of contents. Peruse, peruse, peruse — "No," she declares after a few seconds, not lifting her head. "S — so — sorry? And s'okay, Mel." Her face dimples in a semblance of a smile. "I was — um." Her slender pinky finger performs three complete revolutions around her left ear in the universal gesture signifying 'pumped full of morpha.'

Rime's contrite expression warms to a light ripple of laughter at Emilie's pantomime of Morpha: The Sickbay Experience. "Yeah, I bet," she says, glancing over the still-angry scars on the pilot's arms. "Maybe it's not so bad if you don't remember a lot of it, right? How much longer do you have the brace on for?" She turns her mug around in her fingers a second time, then sips once, very cautiously, testing the temperature.

Constin waves off Villon's search through the index for his 'Chicken and Egg' story. "Eh, don't bother, sir. Think your book's a bit out of mah depth," he snickers at the idea. "Was being a bit sarcastic, don't mind me."

Villon's wan smile grows into something more confident as the CIC officer's laughter washes over her, and for a brief moment those dimples deepen until she glances past Rime's gleaming blonde hair to the starscape beyond. "Doctors say soon," she murmurs faintly, green eyes unfocusing — and then, blinking rapidly, she's shifting in her seat, favoring her right foot while draping the other over the armrest of that armchair. "Me neither," is her eloquent aside to Constin, spoken in the meantime. The closed book is pushed out of the way to make room for that cup, which she sets just the right distance away from the table's edge in case Cerberus has to make another one of those sudden jumps that have become de rigueur over the past week. And back to Rime, with odd determination that doesn't seem forced: "Not soon enough."

Psyche enters with the droopy-eyed, tightly wound air of one both sleep deprived and caffeinated to the gills. It's the look most pilots are sporting, nowadays. Cradled in her hands, a soup-sized coffee mug (bright pink and sparkle spangled) steams; she nurses a sip even as she steps through the door. Big, blue and bloodshot, her eyes skim the room, skipping off Constin and Rime to finally settle on Villon. She blinks, smile wide and warm (if weary), and makes her way over to her downed sister pilot. "Hey, Snagglepuss," she climbs into a chair nearby, folding her legs up beneath her. "How're you feelin'?" She gives the other two a smile and a nod, not to exclude them.

"You know, I /do/ remember a story about an egg…" Rime's going to bat for the Marine, here, her eyes focussing somewhere beyond the giant windows as she tries to remember. "The Cosmic Egg. Part of the creation myths." Her gaze pulls back to the room, moves over to Constin for a second. "I don't remember any Cosmic Chicken, though." Her grin is visible over the rim of her tea-mug as she sips again. Psyche's greeted with an easy nod and a simple, "Hey." She takes a few steps over, crossing to the nearest couch. She doesn't take a seat on it, instead perching on its armrest.

Constin is sitting in one of the second row seats, facing the starscape, not far from where Rime and Villon sit. Arms crossed, with one boot on the back of the empty chair in front of him. Psyche's good natured entrance is answered with a raised hand, in return, but no words. What was rapidly turning into a pilot's chat draws him back in with Rime's quip about a Cosmic chicken, provoking a short barked laugh from the marine. "You may not have heard of it, but where ya think the Cosmic Egg came from?" he grins.

More people. Psyche receives a little wave before Villon sinks deeper into that seat of hers, worrying the hem of her stretchy sweats with rapidly-moving fingers. The music filtering out of her headphones changes abruptly, heavy backbeat giving way to some sappy guitar ballad whose melodramatic opening riff provides an absolutely bizarre backdrop to this discussion of the Meaning of Life. "I don't know," she confesses. "But — but maybe that'd make us the, like, Cosmic Omelet or something." Behold her contribution to the matter at hand.

"But… wouldn't the… the chicken that laid the egg have to have… you know… come from an egg, itself? Which… like… there'd have to be a chicken…" Psyche trails off, a line deepening between her brows. "Yeah, okay. Now… now I remember why I always hated that question…" She shakes her head a little, the waves and curls of her impressive ponytail looking almost as confused as she does.

Rime's no pilot. She just consorts with them. Occasionally. Which, as everyone knows, is the first step towards downfall. She laughs again as Psyche spirals herself down into the chicken-and-egg dilemma. It's a warm little ripple of mirth. "We had questions like that posed to us at Academy," she says to the group in general. "The only difference was that we were expected to find answers. And then graded on them." She shakes herself faintly, as if dispelling the memory, before taking another sip of her tea.

"Heh," Constin grunts, dryly. "Well, we're running short of miraculous space eggs, so here's hoping it starts with a chicken, yeah?" He turns a skeptical eye toward Rime at her own account. "What kinda school grades you on chickens and eggs? Apart from chef's schools, obviously.."

"Not the Academy — or — were you? Chickens?" Emilie asks Rime, cocking her head to one side while keeping the stars very much out of sight. No need to confront them just yet. "I don't remember," she observes a little worriedly. "But I — I just read maths, so." Unconsciously, slim fingers trace their way up and down the mess of scars by her wrist, flicking at the ugly ridges in otherwise smooth skin. "Um." Quick: take another sip of tea, Snag, and stop your literal mind from ordering your lips to contradict a superior officer.

Psyche blinks at Rime, looking baffled and more than a little impressed. "Wait, so… you were graded on questions like that? I mean… so… do you know the answer?" She blinks a few times, pondering the lieutenant over her coffee cup. "Or… is it one of those answers that are more confusing than the question? Like… 'There is no spoon.' Or, 'The cake is a lie'?"

"It was part of the Tactical stream. I think they called it 'Analytical Reasoning'. Personally? It just felt like a year of the professors asking us unanswerable questions to watch our brains try to tie themselves into knots." Rime again gives herself a faint shake, as if to remind herself that those days are long since gone. "The way I argued it…" She thinks on it a moment, drinking more tea as she does. "I tried to prove it was unanswerable. Literally unanswerable. No point in trying to pin the tail on the tiger, if you can prove there's no tiger there in the first place, you know?" She grins suddenly, and straightens up off the armrest. "I've got to get back to CIC or the Major will have my hide for a footrug. You guys have a safe night. Come paint with me sometime soon, Emilie, okay?" She lifts a hand in farewell before turning to go.

<More to follow, if someone else continued logging.>

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