PHD #031: Eyes Wide Open
Eyes Wide Open
Summary: Covington and Bell catch up after her release from Sickbay.
Date: 29 March 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Bell Covington 
Viper Squadron
Viper Squadron pilots call this home. Berthings line the walls with grey curtains to cover their sleeping areas. Lockers sit between each stack of berths and a round table sits in the center with chairs around it. A hatch at the end leads to the communal Head that the Raptor pilots share.
Post Holocaust Day: 30

Into the Viper Berths wanders a slightly bushy haired (curls gone wild!), paler than usual Dallas Covington. Given she's been absent the berthings since her pretty spectacular injury in the Warday incursion, it's probably just that healthy Sickbay glow representing itself that makes her so tasty and pasty. Her triumphant return to the berths is somewhat marred by the fact that there's no one here, and she's wearing sweats, and generally looks like squirrels decided to nest in her long blonde locks. Perhaps squirrels and a raccoon. She carries with her a ball of yarn with knitting needles impaled through it, some project or another begun on the needles.

Well, not /quite/ no one. Present is the equally broken Jeremiah Bell, in his customary 'I'm broken, so don't hold me to decorum' uniform of Colonial Navy sweats. He's at the center table with a glass of something alcoholic on ice, and a binder full of diagrams. Spindly fingers drum a rhythm on the table beside, which he stops abruptly at Covington's entrance, snapping his head up with a smile. "Dallas. So delightful to see you, and in one piece, no less. Have a seat."

"More or less in one piece, honey," comes the sweet reply from the blonde's lips. Aerilon is written all over that accent. "I figured they'da throwed me back if I didn't heal up nice enough for a couple more turns behind the stick." She tosses her knitting on the end of the central table, then, rather than sit, she walks on over to Bell, takes up a position close to the back of his chair, and slides her arms around his shoulders to give him a hug from which he may find it hard to escape until she's through. At least she smells like she's bathed recently, even if her hair looks like it's about to flee. It might be a tad tight as hugs go.

Bell reaches up with his good hand to give the back of the younger pilot's neck a squeeze. "Must be nice, being able to shower without a sheet of 3-mil polymer. Don't worry - I'll be back to making you look sloppy before you know it." The Doctor, for his part, smells faintly of booze and cigars. Passing the time productively, it seems.

"You smell like a good time, Doc." Dallas finally notes, when she's good and ready to release her fellow Petrel. She gives his beard a brief scritch on the cheek, and straightens, then slides over to take a seat in her own chain, relinquishing some of the man's personal space to him. "You look like you got a little roughed up. Heard the Wing took some hits." More hits, that is. She reaches a hand up to ruffle it through her hair, but only gets about halfway down before the tangled curls stop her fingers. "Shoot. I must look a sight. How y'all been holdin' on without me? I mean 'sides the drinkin' and smokin'."

"They say you don't have a problem until you start drinking alone. So I bring an Ensign with me, and order her to drink. Clever, non?" Bell grins, evidently unable to maintain his sour mood in Covington's presence. "Flew a little too close toa frigate with an unstable engine core. Then the ejector seat caught my glove. So, until I'm all squared away and shipshape, they've got me reviewing flight data recorders with Ensign Apostolos. In theory I'm supposed to be looking for new Cylon tactics. In practice, I'm learning a lot about the little quirks of the air wing's finest."

"That's why we call you the sharp cookie behind your back. Always thinkin', Doc. Always thinkin'. One day all that thinkin's gonna get us in trouble." Covington wags her finger at him briefly, but it's shortly dropped, hands lacing in her lap as she smiles, just a little. She winces a little at the description of the injury. "Now you know I'ma be all paranoid ever' time my hand passes the eject lever." She mmhms, and asks, "You gonna apply some creative suggestion makin' to them that you study on those tapes? Imagine that'll be as welcome as a breeze downwind of an outhouse, but a damn sight more entertainin'. Can I be there whenya do it?"

"Hadn't decided, actually," Bell admits, jerking a thumb over his shoulder towards his bunk. "Ms. Apostolos is putting together the Viper equivalent of a Little Black Book. What she does with it… well, you'll get a front row seat, if we do things the hard way. Probably better just to take pilots aside one by one, point out habits and flaws." He lifts the single malt, swirls the ice in the glass, takes a sip. "Not nearly as much fun though. Tasty beverage?"

"Always interested in one of them," Dallas agrees, with a nod to the glass. "What's on the menu this evenin', sir?" She rises briefly, and wanders over to several nearby bunks. She peers in until she finds Nathan's, then snags a coffee cup from his shelf. She blows a breath into it to dislodge any dust, then briefly wipes it out with the sleeve of her sweatshirt. Going into the man's space is arguably an iffy prospect, but she's a brave woman, you see. "You figure this is clean? Or you just wanna share yours? Alcohol should kill anything you been kissin', right?"

"Can't kill what ain't there," Bell responds with characteristic modesty and a slight blush. "But I'd be more worried about what crawled into Nathan's mouth while he was sleeping." He leans back his chair onto two legs, steadying himself by locking his feet around the table, and grabs a third-full bottle of something amber and tasty-looking. "Left to us by our dear comrade, Deadlock. May he rest in peace." Jeremiah rights his chair and sets the bottle on the table, uncorking it but letting her pour her own. "Hrm. Looks like Shiv's been into it, too."

"Shiv's always into the good things. That man could smell a bottle at 500 paces." Dallas glances down at the mug kinda dubiously, then shrugs, reaches for the bottle, and goes to pour herself about two fingers into the bottom of the mug. "I guess it's a good thing I's raised on moonshine then. Chances are good I'm immune to anything that man's got to throw my way." She grins and slides the bottle back, then glances around the berthings, her bright green eyes taking in the surroundings, noting the bunks that are empty since she was last in here, sometime before the Air Show back at Picon Anchorage. She sobers just briefly, then raises the mug. "I swear some days that man just don't know whether ta scratch his watch or wind his ass." She glances over again, and her eyes settle on her fellow veteran Petrel. "You know, it's real good to see you. Wasn't sure I'd be back in here with y'all after all them crazy things we been through."

"Come now, darling. It's going to take more than some civilian contractor's shoddy handiwork to consign me to the murky void." Bell's eyes glint with the gallows humor. "After all, someone's got to keep this outfit civilized." He follows her gaze, falling silent as he notes the empty bunks. His glass is raised in turn, the glass clacking against the ceramic of the mug. "To Wheels, and Lefty, and Deadlock, and Dizzy. Gone to the big airshow in the sky. And spared the horrors we have yet to see."

There's a soft snort from Dallas there. "Civilized. Sugarplum, we ain't seen civilized since we all signed up for this lively little outfit. I mean, we seen strip malls and a couple state fairs, but I'm pretty well certain we left civilized behind, then we farted in its face when Spanner got the green light." She smiles slightly, though there's a little melancholy in her humor. "Wheels, Lefty, Deadlock, Dizzy. May your journey end in Elysium where the ambrosia never runs dry, and the whore houses run on cubit night for all eternity." She raises the mug to Bell, then to the berths, as if saluting a cluster of ghostly pilots past. "I'll drink ta that." And then she does!

Bell follows suit, though for just a sip. "I beg your pardon," he feigns offense. "I'll have you know I've maintained every iota of grace and erudition, despite the best efforts of this squadron to the contrary." He sinks into a slouch in the chair, eyeing the binder. "You know, since we went full-time, we've been putting up better numbers than the Knights. Guess all those barrel rolls were good for something, after all."

A sip's gone down, then another, before Dallas says, "Wow." She breathes out a breath, then takes another that burns smoothly all the way down. "Now that's some tasty that'll keep you warm on a cold night in space. Never let it be said you ain't got top shelf taste in liquor." She grins, then, reminded of a night, many years past, when a similar conversation ended in firemen and wild accusations. "I still can't shoot for shit, but at least my hands remember where to go when my brain's busy pissin' itself."

"Well, safe to say I think you'll have plenty of time to practice," Jeremiah assures, shaking his head. "And plenty of targets." He eyes the bottle suspiciously. "It /is/ a delightful single malt. One wonders where Deadlock got the good taste to acquire it. I thought he was always more partial to cheap homebrews."

"You know," she glances over to the bottle, then takes another sip from Spanner's 'Petrels Do It Inverted' mug before she decides, "I'll bet you he won it in a game of Triad off some poor bubba thought he was gonna take the backwater to school, and ended up eating full colors." She tips back in her chair, kicking her legs crossed as she assumes a bit of a slouch. "Kinda like a drunken master. I'm gonna miss him." There's a beat, then she glances over. "I heard there's some chain of command confusion in the wing. That get sorted?"

Bell makes a so-so motion with his cast. It doesn't work quite the way he'd planned. "Yes and no. Laskaris has been filling in as squadron leader for the Knights, but the CAG hasn't confirmed it or bumped him to Captain. So, in a supreme twist of fate, Shiv is actually Viper Lead when we go hunting. Not a bad turn of events - but not perfect, either. You know Abraham - he's not the most… assertive of folk." He swirls the last dregs of whiskey and downs them, shaking off the burn. "Sometimes the orders get lost. Or muddled."

"Ibrahim," Dallas nods, though she pronounces his name like Eye-bruh-HAM, always has, even though it probably drives Shiv nuts, "Never had no troubles barking orders at me." She grins again at that, probably because her tales tend to go on to the point of frustration. "Like that one time was was doin' the Green Country Strip Mall, and the interviewer got ta askin' me about what it was like growin' up on Aerilon, an' I barely got halfway through my hayloft sweet sixteen drunken roll before Cap put the brakes on my fun." She shakes her head a little, as if lamenting that interview. "Still can't remember that boy's name. Eric, Aaron… somethin' a little fruity." She waves her hand a little, side to side, much like Bell just attempted. She takes a breath, then shakes herself out of that reverie, "I figured somebody just needs authority slapped on they ass but good, and it'll sort itself out from there."

Bell can't help but grin at the retelling. Not that he hasn't heard it once or thrice. "The problem isn't that he doesn't know what to do. Or what to tell us to do. He does - never had a problem with it. It's that we're simply not used to the chaos of combat, and neither is he. 'Barking' would be a welcome change. He almost makes suggestions. And it was Eric."

"Was it Eric?" Dallas thinks on it a moment, "I think that's right." She nods, assured now that she's had a reminder. "Don't know what his parents was thinkin'. That ain't a proper name for a farmboy." She shakes her head, then moves on to a more interesting topic — their very own Captain. "I'm real sad I missed the last couple weeks with y'all. I know… I mean I 'magine a lot has gone on in the dynamic. Kinda fun lovin' group we always been. There's some gaps now, you know?" She skirts the subject, then finally says, "People change with bad things happenin', and I don't want to lose my family." My family does and always has meant the Petrels and blood relatives. Dallas treats them both the same. She doesn't directly bring up the dead. "Everybody doin', you know, more or less as okay as they can be?" She watches Bell with particular attention as she asks that question.

"Rojas has retreated to sarcasm and profanity as a defense mechanism. Which is to say, he hasn't changed much." Bell ticks off each of their squadmates. "Davis can't shoot worth a damn, but she's still smiling. Arkili's been… quiet. I think it's hit her harder than most. Our fearless leader is coming into his own, slowly but surely." A long pause as Bell straightens in his seat, and considers the last bit. "I'm worried, myself. Major Glory suggests the strong possibility that my wrist will not heal properly and I will be permanently grounded. LSO, perhaps, or a spot in CIC directing air traffic control. I am, quite frankly, terrified."

Dallas reaches over to slide her hand over Bell's. She skips over the good hand and goes right for the cast. She just touches it lightly. "That ain't acceptable to me, so you better g'wan an' heal up." She taps a nail against the thing. "This thing sign-able? I got a inspirational message for you." That could lead to badness and limericks quite quickly, the likes of which no one wants sticking out of their blues. "You're bein' all honest about your innards, sugar. How much you had to drink?" She teases lightly, though her eyes, as always, betray her genuine concern. "Course your wrist'll heal up. Don't even think t'other, cos then Spanner'll break out that awful accordion and try to play a dirge. Nobody wants none of that. You get some physical therapy orders and we'll work it out. I know a couple arm and hand tricks when it comes to massage therapy could help you you get problems with tightness and such. We'll get you fixed up." The only way to go into it is certain, and Dallas is on that train all the way to the end of the line.

Bell eyes the cast suspiciously. "You can try," he suggests. "That godsdamned doctor was talking about amputation. Said I had nothing but pulverized flesh and bone. Can't say I know much better than him, I was on so much morpha at the time." He nods slowly, following her line of thinking. "You're correct, of course. Have to assume I'll be right as rain. Else, I'll just send myself into a mental tailspin of the worst sort. Glory can take her dire predictions and space them right out the airlock."

"I'd say shove 'em up her ass, but she outranks me too far for that kinda talk," the blonde pilot responds with a wide grin. "You know I got a delicate stomach the likes of which ain't accustomed ta words like 'amp'tation' and 'pulv'rized flesh'." She nods to the hand in the cast, which she still touches. "See, you go inta a tailspin, then Nate goes, pretty soon we're all drunk an' who's left to do the rescue? Nobody." She leans in a little, "Course I'm right." She tips back to her chair, and ruffles her hand across his upper arm. "Comes with the upbringin' an' southern charm." She gives him a critical type look over, some folks might call it the hairy eyeball. "You look ok. You best be ok. Old and wise, ain't that how it goes?"

"Precisely," Bell exhales, taking the whiskey in his good hand and distributing it equitably between them. He tosses the empty onto Nathan's bunk. "Leading by example. Being a positive role model. Showing the rooks how to get properly soused. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." He returns the scrutiny, raising his glass her way. "For losing a plane, you don't look half bad yourself."

Spanner's probably going to be overjoyed to find the bottle on his bunk, up until such time as he finds it empty of even a drop left to lick. "You think I look good, you should see me naked." Dallas lifts her mug, and salutes Bell. From her, that phrase doesn't even come off as suggestive or teasing. She means it. "I got scars from my knees on up. Dang, it's a good thing I'm so gorgeous otherwise." She holds the mug for a moment before she decides on a toast, "May you live all the years of your life."

"Only you would toast to a tautology," Bell replies. "Each and every day, with eyes wide open. So say we all." His glass is duly clinked and a hefty sip taken. He makes a face. "Well… then. My, my."

"I thought I'd get a marker an connect all them new scars I got, see if them cylons left me a love note." Dallas thinks about it for a moment, then says, "Prob'ly just end up lookin' like my kitchen wall after Cricket an' Rabbit found them jumbo markers in my sister in law's purse." There's a softer smile there, as she thinks on her girls, and then a clearing of her throat. "So say we all."

Bell chuckles mournfully at the recollection. "Dear Dallas. We are so utterly enamored by your squishy human form that we have decided merely to maim you, rather than slaughter you outright. We hope thereby to look upon you again in the future, and maim you forevermore. Love always, the Cylons of Cyrannus."

Dallas looks down at herself, then glances over to Bell. "You reckon my ass is wide enough for all that to fit, hon?" She stands up, and does a little turn, as if to inspect the merchandise. "I ain't been in bed that long!"

Bell waves a hand dismissively. "Firstly, we've no idea what their language or syntax are like. That could be encompassed by a few words. Second, they are, after all, machines. Precision would enable them to write it in whatever space was available."

That brings a wide smile to her lips. "You'd make a real good husband. Record low numbers on couch ridin' nights if you respond ta questions like 'does this make me look fat?' with an answer like that. Or you'd marry a woman takes it all as a dodge, and she'd chain ya to the nearest heavy piece of furniture." She finishes off her mug, then says, "You're right though. We got no idea. Me less so than some others. I just work here lookin' pretty." She rises, and slips over to replace the mug, still smelling of delicious booze, back onto the shelf over Nathan's pillow. "I got a lotta catchin' up to do. You got my back, right? I can't hardly remember anybody's name ain't with our squad. I took a pretty hard jog to the noggin'. Might need a little cheat sheet."

"Precisely why Maia never took to me. Said I never gave a straight answer." A mischievous grin creeps over Jeremiah's features. "Damned if she wasn't furious when I started encouraging Dorothy to ask 'why.' It's a simple question, after all." Talk of the squad robs his face of the humor. "Won't need much of a cheat sheet, at this rate. Unless there are some talented crop dusters down in the cargo hold, waiting to join up."

"Hey, crop dustin's where it's at. Ever'body knows." The smile is back, even as his amusement fades, as if her cheerfulness ramps up in direct proportion to the melancholy around her. Maybe it does. "Why's a good question, till the little one decides it's a three hour long game ain't gonna see no end. Confuses 'em a little when you say it back though. Quickest way out is offerin' ice cream with sprinkles. Makes me wish all relationships was that easy." She mms, then says, "I might could catch some shut eye here with my belly full of single malt." Dallas leaves her knitting where it landed when she tosses it onto the table, and turns briefly to scope out the bunks, as if trying to remember which was hers. "It makes me happier'n a puppy dog with two tails seein' your scruffy face still with us, Jeremiah." She drags out his name, almost adding an extra syllable. She dips in to brush a little kiss to his cheek, brief, but without her habitual pink lipstick she used to wear when coming in for the weekend rounds (a Southern woman isn't a woman till she marks every friend around her with a little lip print to the cheek). "You get some sleep too, hear? Too much late night philosophizin' with too much drink makes a man fatalistic an' twist inside."

Bell returns the gesture with a bristly peck of his own. "Been there, dear. Done that. Prerequisite for the doctorate - we go through stages. First, question the purpose of schooling if all knowledge is subjective. Then, question the purpose of life if everything is finite and potentially predetermined. Finally, question the wisdom of your thesis advisor when their dissertation wasn't even that good anyway." He folds the binder shut and heads toward his own bunk, mercifully on the bottom level. "Wouldn't miss it for the world, at any rate. If I'm consigned to live through the apocalypse, I cannot imagine a better group of lunatics alongside." The book is stowed beneath his bunk and he sets off towards the head, to begin the arduous ritual of preparing for sleep with a cast on. "Sleep well and soundly. There'll be plenty of CAP to fly in the morning."

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