PHD #229: Fleeting Memory
PHD #229: Fleeting Memory
Summary: Captain Vakos and Lieutenant Vandenberg meet for the first time… or not?
Date: 13 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Khloe Vandenberg 
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: #229

The athletics area is one of the few places the crew of the Cerberus have to go to let off steam. Often, it's as much a social activity as jawing over a meal in the mess hall or playing a few round of cards in the berths. Those activities aren't high on Khloe Vakos' list of things to do; more often than not, the Viper jock can be found attending to calisthenics and machine-assisted weight training, by herself. Sweatshirt tied around her waist, the woman is currently doing some stationary cycling, eyes dark and focused on an imaginary spot in front of her, somewhere between the handlebars. She's more or less tuned out everything else going on around her.

Vandenberg, El Shortay, emerges from the locker room that leads to the pools with a towel still running through her hair. The blonde has tinted just a little green so she was probably in there for a good while, the wetness dampening the shoulders and collar of her undershirt. She angles for the bikes with her own lazy swagger and mounts up, nodding to the woman beside her. "Afternoon. Goin anywhere in particular?" she offers in a gentle jest before slipping her feet into the stirrups.

Without diverting her focus, the brown-haired woman responds, fairly winded despite her continued efforts, "That's the whole point. You don't move anywhere. Stationary… bikes." However, whatever reverie she was in is broken, and she glances over her arm at the other woman. There's no sign of recognition on her face. "I'm going to guess you're a recent rescue. Captain Khloe Vakos. Call me Poppy." Pedalpedal.

"That's the beauty. You can ride wherever you want. Ain't a need for scenery 'cept in the mind." The shorter woman smirks as she starts peddling, notching the resistance up a bit. The name gets a blink and a glance from her before her attention falls back to the controls quickly. "Uhm, yeah. Fished myself and fireteam off Aerilon a few days back. You-" Her expression quirks to the side as she looks back. "Lieutenant Natalie Vandenberg. Well..met? Sir?"

Khloe ratchets down the difficulty, neutralizing the slight incline her bike was "riding" at. Time to cool down with some level cruising. Then she straightens up a bit on the bike. It's clear she's been working hard, from the thin layer of persperation. "Fireteam? Marine, then." She nods, probably seeming more enthusiastic in the introductions than normal, as she's worn from the cycling. "Good to have more guns aboard. Your team big?" As she catches her breath, her speech returns to its usual reserved, clipped manner. Efficient.

As Natalie sways back and forth with the riding, she glances over once more. "Aye." A hand lifts to tap at her tat on her shoulder. "Loud and proud." She clears her throat, coughing a bit. "No, sir. Four enlisted plus myself. Had more but the Cylons hit us hard about two months ago. Took out most of our militia. Most of us survived because we pulled-out. Most of 'em died defending their homes." She takes a long huff of a breath. Its been awhile since she saw a bike, most likely. "What's your option, Captain? Tactical? Wing? You don't really strike me as one of those mine-faced Engineerin folks."

"Stick," comes Khloe's reply, as she turns in her seat to stretch her back, twisting her spine with her right arm over her left shoulder. Then the opposite. "And as of about a week ago, Es-El of the Black Knights. Formerly of the Checkmates. Mine-faced?" When she finishes her stretching she settles back down onto the bike's handlebar grips with her forearms. "I'm not familiar with the term."

"Shit. Bonafide squad leader. Gotta make ya proud," she breathes out, glancing over with a wistful smile. "Proudest time of my life was leading a platoon." The little woman is starting to work into a sweat, still rocking back and forth. She takes a hard swallow before continuing. "Yeah. You know. Mines." Her left hand lifts to gesture around her own face. "People come up from a hard-ass day in the mines. Faces all the color of dirt and mineral." She clears her throat a few times. Probably a smoker. "Saw one of the engineerin folks in the stairwell the other day. Face all grease-strewn. Grimey. Reminded me of home." The LT ventures another look. "Sorry. My mind works on association. Confuses the hell out of some people."

Khloe's pedaling slows to a crawl now, as she's clearly got some memories triggered by Natalie's words. "Mine-faced… you're not referring to Canceron, are you? I'm… originally from Canceron." And now she's regarding the woman with a critical eye, looking as if she can't decide if she's familiar not. "Forgive me, Lieutenant, but there's something about you."

Natalie's singsong chuckle returns through her biking. "Yeah. Canceron. You, too?" Her head tilts forward as she looks back over to the Captain, keeping her focus this time. "Yeah. I- I wanna say I recognize that name of yours, sir. Born 'n bred there, myself. Lived most of my life in Kirtland City. You know- way up north?" Tylium mines. Lots of them. "Used to stomp all over. Know it?" She's got a look to her like she's trying to find some kind of connection in her own mind.

What are the odds? There's a hint of a smile from the woman, the briefest of white showing through her tight-lipped grin, corners of her mouth turning up in what could be considered the largest smile Khloe Vakos has ever smiled. But then she brings it in quickly, drawing her lips taught so it's just a slight, closed-mouth grin. "Nakah Valley," she says, giving the location of her home. "I was in Kirtland Elementary #83 when I was nine. Just for that year, though; then I was back to the Valley." She shakes her head. "I can't place your name or your face, though. But there's something. I, er… was a bad kid. Maybe that's where the disconnect is."

Natalie leans forward, resting her head on the bars of the bike as she laughs. "Ain't this somethin fantastical?" She slows her peddling and turns more to face the woman, resting her hands on her hips and leaning back. "Ho-lee hell. I went to that school K through sixth." Her face turns up in a stupid smile. "I was a little pudgier. Add about twenty pounds to this overhead storage compartment-sized frame and knock off around thirty years. Bookish. Nerdy. Little arrogant snooty bitch." If she can look as stupidly entertained by this, its probably something she's come to terms with a long time ago. "You mighta been bad but I was a little hated. You get sent back to Nakah or something? I wanna say I know your face from -somewhere-. Gods, if I don't recall the name for some reason."

"Something about money running out for the Nakah schools," Khloe says, shrugging lightly. It's clearly far in the past and it's not something she put much thought to, then or now. "Well, it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance," she says. "Always good to meet another Canceran." Looking down at her bike, she's realized that she's come to a stop. She steps off of it, and begins toweling it down for the next person. Yes, that's definitely an old tattoo removal scar on her left shoulder. Bad kid, indeed.

Vandenberg watches the woman dismount and try to disengage from the conversation. There's an awkwardly entertained furrow to her brow. "Sir? I've been an MP for the last four years. Can't be a person on this boat going to worry a hair nor hide about something you might've done thirty years back. Besides." She glances over the Captain's shoulder, slowing her own bike to a stop. There's a flickered glance to the marks on her arm. "Past ain't nothin' to be ashamed of if you're holding your head high with who ya are today. But?" She shrugs. "Always a pleasure to meet someone from home, sir."

Khloe tosses her towel over her shoulder, and turns to regard the other woman. It's like there's something on the tip of her tongue, as she goes to say something not once, but twice. Finally, her brow screws up in a mild scowl, and she manages to find the social spine necessary in order to possibly make a friend: "Call me Poppy. After all, it's who I am now. 'Sir' is for when others are around, and crunch time. And, right now, it's neither." There's no parting smile, but her voice has lost its usual command-edginess to it. Probably the best Natalie is going to get out of her with a first meeting.

Natalie gives Khloe an even smile and holds her hand out. "Good to be meetin you again, Poppy. At least, I think its 'again'. Call me whatever ya like though. Some people get sick of my last name and just call me Van. My last CO called me Nat because I'm about the same size as the insect." One thing is for certain, she does not let her height bug her. It might even be a source of amusement for her. "You one of the rescues too? Or have you been around here since initial deployments?"

Khloe takes the proffered hand, shaking firmly. "I've been with Cerberus since she deployed," she explains. "And we'll have to come up with something suitable. Natalie works, though, for now. Have a good ride." And with that, the Knights SL turns to go.

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