PHD #364: Dirt Under Your Nails
PHD #364: Dirt Under Your Nails
Summary: Galen meets Khloe in her usual off-duty place, the athletics center. He survives.
Date: 25 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: None
Galen Khloe 
Athletics Area - Deck 12 - Battlestar Cerberus
A large pair of mats dominates the center of this room, their centers taped-out for a small area to practice boxing or other martial arts. Around the outside are treadmills, bikes, weights, and an impressive variety of gym equipment to help tone and shape the bodies of the crew. To one side of the room is the locker room while at the rear is a hatch that leads back to the oversized swimming pool. Off to the side is a rack that holds boxing gloves, pugil sticks, and the associated pads for the sticks.
Post-Holocaust Day: #364

The constant barrage of attacks against the Cerberus and her fleet have more or less become a blur; while the attacks are frequent, they are not 'round-the-clock, and for those who thrive in high-stress environments it's almost become acceptable. Such is so for Captain Khloe "Poppy" Vakos, who seems to find the time to manage her extensive calisthenics program despite the constant busy-busy, lately. Dressed in a combination of fatigue tanks and work-out sweats, the Black Knights SL is hard at work on an exercise bike.

What a trial by fire for the new guy. Galen had only arrived in the Black Knights a few days prior to the continuous attacks, and since then has taken many a turn in the cockpit of a Viper, patrolling mostly, defending the fleet when necessary which, in the past few weeks, has been almost constantly. Still exercise does help center the mind and, after a quick trip from his berth down the central staircase, he finds himself in the rec center which, surprisingly, is rather deserted aside from the person there on the exercise bike. He is dressed in a pair of dark gray BDU pants and a grey t-shirt with some abstract design on it - probably referring to the planet it was pressed in or something. A shirt, for him, is a shirt. Giving a nod to the other (he may not recognize her…he's only just met a few of the Knights), he makes his way to the center of the mat to start stretching - near enough for conversation, if it comes to that.

It appears that Khloe is 'in the zone' and isn't paying much attention to what's going on around her; occasionally she glances down at the digital read-out of her bike, eyeing statistics like heart rate, distance, and time. Usually her eyes are dark and are focused on some distant, nonexistant point, but finally she does notice Galen. She blinks twice, probably summoning what memory she has of the man, which isn't much. "LeBlanc, isn't it?" She asks, her alto quick and clipped. "I saw the paperwork pass by my desk the other day. Congratulations. Welcome to the meat grinder." The last comment laced with facetiousness, of course. Her facial expression remains stony despite attempting to engage the Ensign in conversation.

Galen looks up from his position on the floor, bending at the waist with his legs out in front of him, making a hinge with his waist. This stretches his back, legs, and arms. Sure, flexibility isn't the most necessary thing, but before doing any exercise, you do want to stretch yourself out. "Yes ma'am. Thank you, ma'am." When in doubt, add a ma'am. he pulls his legs in, sitting cross-legged, before standing, turning as he does so. "I would say that I'm lucky to have started in meatgrinder mode….makes me get better, faster, I guess. And when it slacks off, anything we face'll be like a vacation."

Khloe snorts lightly, corners of her mouth downturning slightly. "I prefer 'sir' or 'Captain', if you don't mind, Ensign. Nothing ma'am about me," she says to him, although it's not voiced as a reprimand or a dressing-down. Rumor has it that if Khloe Vakos is dressing you down, you'll know it. She continues her stationary pedaling, looking forward again. Eyes are brighter and more alert, now, as she's no longer withdrawn into her thoughts. "Nothing like leaving your Nugget time behind to be thrown into all of this. But, trial by fire, sink or swim, you will be a better soldier, yes. Unfortunately for us, being a soldier is all that's left. So you better get used to not getting a vacation, ever."

"I grew up on a farm, Captain. My days from about age six started before the sun came up and ended long after it went down. Only time I had a vacation was the day after the harvest when we were too dead tired to do anything else." Suitably loosened up, Galen rocks his neck back and forth and pads over to one of the other exercise bikes - close enough to converse, but far enough to not crowd the Captain's space. He climbs on and starts pedaling, slowly at first, but picking up to a decent, road-eating clip, chuckling. "That's the thing. I left the farm and went to the Academy because I thought this would be exciting." One can almost see the lifting of eyebrows and quotes on either side of it. "Demeter had a sense of humor, I think."

The mention of a farm draws Khloe's attention. This causes her not to smile but to frown less. Can't have everything. "I can respect someone who knows what it means to have dirt under their fingernails," she states. There's a pause as she searches for the next words to come out of her mouth. "What colony? Aerilon? Tauron?"

"Aerilon, sir. Little town called Tilium in Allegheny. We had a pretty decent sized plot. Tobacco mostly, vegetables too, but those were for us." Galen leans over the bars, crossing his arms, allowing him to pedal and talk at the same time with the greatest of ease. "Not too much dirt up here, sadly. Still seeing if I can borrow a bit of the hydroponics bay to try and grow a couple of tobacco plants."

"Good luck with that," comes Khloe's sardonic reply. "Last I knew they were only permitting foodstuffs to be grown over there, and anything medicinal is grown aboard the Cerberus. I doubt there's space for luxury items. Besides, that crap is bad for you." Pedal, pedal. "It might be best for humanity if we leave our vices behind with Warday. But, people are still managing to find and smoke cigarettes one year later, so, maybe I'm wrong."

"For me," Pedal pedal pedal. "It's more of a sense of home. I mean, I grew up with tobacco plants as far as the eye could see, and seeing green here means foodstuff plants. It's a luxury, but it's part of my history, and the history of a part of Aerilon." Galen nods slightly. "Er, Sir." He adds that last bit. "That said, yeah, it's bad for you, but there are certain times a good smoke will calm a person down, and damn if it isn't good for trading back and forth."

Eyes narrowing slightly, she spares a quick glance at Galen - it might be one of those looks where lightning or daggers might leap out at what they're glaring at. But, Khloe is quick to check herself and go back to staring ahead. "I don't want to be reminded of home. Cerberus is my home. And I've nothing that I want or need that the fleet doesn't give me." A pause. "And I'll calm down when I'm dead." Glancing back at the Ensign, she offers, "You're going to find that the Toasters and I have a lot in common, Ensign. I don't like distractions and I don't like my pilots being distracted. Smokes, though, I suppose, are all right."

"I guess that's true too, Sir." Galen reaches down to tighten the resistance on the bike's wheel, making him work a little more. "Right now, what we have is on this ship, and that's all that's left from anything." He doesn't get homesick, although telling parents goodbye would have been something he…hell, everyone, would have liked to do. "When we survive this…" Not assuming. Not if. He's being optimistic. "humanity'll find a place and we'll be allright. We may not see it, but we'll be okay."

"You're awfully optimistic," comes another facetious response. Khloe shakes her head, giving a dry chuckle. "Don't look too far into the future, Ensign, is my advice. If you want to succeed in the Knights, there's only today and tomorrow to worry about. Your duties today, and what you can do to be a better pilot tomorrow. That's all." An alarm beep chirps on Khloe's bike, signalling she's at the end of her stretch, and she slows to a stop. "Welcome to the Knights. I look forward to seeing how your numbers keep up in the days and weeks ahead."

"As long as the rest of my squad comes home with me, it'll be a win in my book." That assumes there's a home to return to, but that's another point entirely. "It's one of my faults, sir. Optimism. And thank you, Sir, for the welcome. I'll do my best to keep my numbers up there."

Fishing a towel out of her gym bag nearby, and giving the bike a courtesy wipe-down, Khloe regards Galen with narrowed eyes again - although this time it's curiosity. "We'll see. Clear skies, Ensign." And, with that, she's off.

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