PHD #235: Hard Nut to Crack
Hard Nut to Crack
Summary: Vandenberg finds Cameron at Ewe Aerilon, the two falling into conversation about his parents, life, and the sacrifices of duty and service.
Date: 19 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: Finally Found
Cameron Vandenberg 
Ewe Aerilon, Isle of Langley, Aerilon
Post-Holocaust Day: #235

It's another temperate day, the sun finally breaking through the cloud cover from the night before and the morning, filling the Isle of Langley with a soft, misty, diffused warm light. The wind is even gentler this day, as if realizing it had been losing its temper a bit lately and should offer an apology. Since he's arrived here, Cameron has made an effort to keep busy. He's tended to some minor injuries, medically examined some survivors, has cataloged and tagged all of the planets and seeds that he brought along with him, and has helped out the staff and crew of Ewe Aerilon as much as has been allowed. He should head out for a bit to explore the island and see if there is anything growing here that could be useful to add to his collection. That would be the practical thing to do. But instead he decides to take a little time for himself. Elpis has found another child to play with and no one seems to need him for once. Pulling out his case, Cameron carefully unwraps the guitar within from the protective folds of fabric he twined about it and starts quietly tuning the instrument in the sunshine. He's wearing the same cargo pants and heather grey sweater as when he was found, but the man is much improved from then. He's clean, shaven, and his clothes have been washed as well. He looks, well, human again. Feels human too. Feels good.

About this same time a Raptor is returning from a sweep and disgorging the Marines it was carrying along for the ride. Vandenberg unclips her helmet and swings it between her fingers by her side as she angles away from the pack towards Cameron. Its probably not a stretch to think she sleeps in that battle uniform. "Hey Doc," she greets easily, tossing the rifle onto her shoulder as she approaches. "Nice bit of instrumentation there. I can't believe something like that survived the bombs." Her free hand reaches behind her head to pull at the ties in her hair around the bun.

Glancing up, it takes a moment before Cameron recognizes the woman hovering above him from the night of his rescue. Blinking, one hand lifted against the rays of the sun, he smiles and greets, "Lieutenant … hello there. Have a seat," he offers, a grouping of rocks offering their surfaces up for chairs. Lowering his hand, he continues tuning his guitar with a nod. "I was luckier than most," he confesses. "At the time that the bombs struck, I was on Mount Parnassus in the middle of a road trip. Completely stocked, as it were. Food, clothes, my guitar, and of course my extensive medical kit, which we never travel without. My parents and are were kind of house-call doctors, even if the houses in question were 100 miles away or more. Each Jeep was always kept stocked with just about anything we might need."

Natalie settles her rump down into the grass instead of the rocks, opting for padding rather than rough-butt treatments. She unslings the rifle again, settling it across her lap and dropping the helmet beside her. "That's pretty lucky. I can't even imagine being stuck down here that long without something to start with. Military training is good but it ain't that good." She lazily removes the magazine from the rifle, a single finger just tapping the release. "Yeah, I spent some time talkin to your parents about what they did while I was trying to gauge their abilities. I still have a lot of respect for them. They really knew their trade." The reverence in her voice probably couldn't be faked.

Nodding, Cameron concurs, "Very lucky. I don't think I would have made it otherwise." His lips twist as he notes, "I'm not as tough as most of the people of the land here. Living on Caprica made me soft. I'm just grateful that I found others and that between us we could all support each other. None of us would have made it alone." His fingers have started to idly play music, nothing distracting or loud, just a gently finger plucked song that recalls the coastline that they sit adjacent to in tone and pattern. The anger from the other night, as well as the sorrow, are gone now, or at least been banked down. He's had eight months to reconcile himself with their deaths and two days to remember what he had already accomplished. "They were the best people I've ever known," he replies with equal reverence. "I was blessed to be born their son. Everything that they were made me who I am. Between the two of them, there wasn't a disease or injury that couldn't be fixed it seemed, by methods both conventional and unconventional." His lips curl into a small smile, lingering sadness twisting it slightly as he notes, "I don't have that drink I promised you, but if you've the time and are willing to remember, I wouldn't mind hearing some stories about your time with them…"

"Living on Caprica will make anyone soft." There's some thinly veiled disdain there. Van probably doesn't like Capricans much. "But yeah, nobody is surviving this alone. Not a chance. There's too much that can kill you." She runs the slide slowly and the chambered round clanks across the side of the rifle slowly, rolling into the grass. The Lieutenant listens with her eyes on the grass, though. Its a quiet moment for her while she remembers. "I- guess we all have to deal with our demons at some point without the aid of booze." She takes a long breath and looks back up to him. "I'll tell you what I can but what happened in the end cut me pretty deep, Doc. It ain't something I like to think about or dwell on much." Vandenberg probably does not seem like the kind of person who likes to wear their heart on their shoulder. Tough by training, aggressive by requirement, swallowing everything else by necessity. "What would you like to know?"

Chuckling softly, Cameron clears his name by explaining, "I went to University there and then studied neurology and biomechatronics, so I like to think that there was some good to be gotten there, even if it did soften me up some. Spent the last five years back here on Aerilon though." His eyes rest quietly on the weapon. He's never even held a gun in his hands, let alone shot one. That's something he's probably going to need to learn to do now. He frowns slightly before replying carefully, "I don't want you to tell anything that the telling hurts too much. There's no point in dwelling on the pain. There's still plenty of that to be faced yet. But if I know my parents, I know that they believed that laughter was the best medicine. So somewhere, in all that darkness, there has to be a lighter story or two? I bet there was at least one Kitchen Party in there somewhere." There are so many questions that he wants to ask. Were they injured? Did they suffer? Were they the happy, determined, positive people that he had always known, or had Warday been to much for them to muster through with their spirits intact? But the answers that Vandenberg will give him will either be the answers he already knows in his heart, or they'll be answers that he doesn't really want to know.

"I got no problem with going to school there. Hell, I did my college time on Virgon. I just don't like the arrogance and exceptionalism that usually trucks with their load of horseshit they train out behind them like a wedding dress. Frak 'em." Vandenberg sighs and leans back in the grass, finally tearing a knot out of her hair. "I just don't like thinking about certain aspects of how and why, Doc. I usually sleep well until that gets into my head." Her own eyes move to the rifle, lips twitching up ever so slightly. "Aye. Kitchen Party." There's a long sigh as the memories move behind her eyes, projected into her mind like a movie. "You parents had myself and the two other militia leaders over for drinks every so often. Your daddy had a great cellar for storing booze, lemme tell you." No shocker. That was probably the antiseptic. "We'd sit around and talk about life before the war. Who we were. What was important. ..Your mom came up with a fantastic game. Whoever obsessed about the most inane things before the war had to drink and you couldn't ever list the same thing twice." She finally smiles, full-face. Its a pleasant look on her. "We'd sit up for hours telling stories about dumb shit we did in our youths. Other people would hear us yammering on and stop in but you know your mom..couldn't turn anyone away. Next thing you know its three AM, the local kids are out back sneakin moonshine, and half the town is plowed in your mother's living room."

Lips curl slightly as Cameron reminds teasingly, "We're all in this together now. If you're gonna frak 'em, better it be out of love than hate. Or a little tension release. They're probably good for that much at least." Some people do better when the talk, others do better processing that on their own. Cameron's had enough patients in his time to know that much at least. "I think that's the same reason Elpis doesn't talk," he replies to Van's musing. "If she can't talk, then she doesn't have to remember what happened. She can just start fresh. There are days when I pray that she never talks again, if that will spare her from remembering." He smiles at her description, nodding as he confirms, "That's a good Kitchen Party. Good food, good drink, good company, and good music. Everybody welcome." His fingers take on a more lively tune, possibly one Van heard on the night in question, as it was a popular one to play in Neath. All about a overly amorous butcher and the trouble one can get into when you demand that a comely wench give you back your change. "They welcomed you like family then, yes?"

"Point. But I'd rather stick em with a fist than let them stick me. Just a personal preference. I don't sleep with people who think they are the pinnacle of civilization. There's no room for me in that relationship." So she -does- probably have a heart and soul. Maybe. Vandenberg is still staring at the rifle in her lap, though. She isn't grinning but her face still holds onto that lightly expressed smile. His last question gets a bit of a sigh while her head tilts away. "Mmmm not exactly. We spent the first two weeks in town in the Morrison's bomb shelter. Nobody else knew we were there. When we came out, his family and him knew we were no threat. But not everyone was so warm. They blamed us for the bombs. Your parents, I remember, stayed at the back and let everyone else bicker while they made up their own minds. Smart folk, your parents." Natalie uses a finger to scrape a spot of mud off the stock of the rifle. "When it became apparent we weren't out to impose law or take control, people warmed. Your parents helped with that. Had Sergeant Crowe and I over one night to talk. They got us drunk but didn't drink much themselves. I think it was sort of a friendly interview to be positive they were welcoming friends and not enemies. I can't imagine a better way to have done it. I really admire them. They were a big ingredient into the glue that held that town together. Especially your momma's peach cobbler."

Chuckling softly, Cameron shakes his head and lets Vandenberg win this exchange. Course he never really sought to change her mind in the first place. Just some good-natured ribbing. "Who said anything about a relationship?" he fires off in one last playful volley. "Not Mr. Right, just Mr. Right Now." His head tilts as he listens to her story, like his parents without judgment. "When you're as giving as they were, putting all other needs before your own, yeah, you kinda become the glue that holds places and people together. They'd go anywhere, to anyone in need. That kind of reputation gets around. But they were always fair. Never imposed their opinions on anyone else, and careful to make a good decision rather than a snap one. Take all of that and I'd say they had more pull than most governments or town officials. No one could ever claim that they didn't care." His eyes gleam with nostalgia as he notes, "Course, Mom did sometimes cheat with that cobbler of hers when someone needed a bit of extra convincing. But then she was always a little more sly than Dad. Personally I think she laced the things with some of her more, ahhh, alternative herbal remedies. Certainly wouldn't put it past her."

Vandenberg shakes her head. "No 'nows'. Haven't done that since I was infantry. Damned near five years back." Looking at her, though, it appears she never left. The smile fades from her face, now. The memories seem like they might be turning darker. "When we had fights over matters, it got ugly. Your mom would show up with those things out of the blue though and demand people eat before they argued anymore. I wouldn't be shocked if she did lace them with something herbal." She clears her throat. "There was some of that floating around Neath. I put the quash on it with my boys, though. I figure they probably cheated my orders but I never busted them. Gods help em if I had. I made it very clear that we were to remain professional, even in death. If the town was to continue to allow us to stay, and that’s how I explained it to them, then they had better prove it every day that we were worth keeping around. In the end, I think the residents were glad to have us. A few never came around. But we proved our worth. The only time we ever backed down from their defense was during the last day." Natalie looks back up to him. "We tried to convince them to leave. Called us cowards for wanting to evac. You got four Marines that trust their lives to you and they're all looking to you at the same time. It was suicide to fight. Its times like that that you wish you could crawl into a hole and die. But I led them to the fight anyway."

That surprises him. She can see it in his eyes. But Cameron doesn't pursue the topic of Vandenberg's chaste ways. What she does in the bedroom and who she shares herself with is none of his business, after all. But still… he's surprised. "She a surprisingly practical woman. Lots of people forget that sometimes its the little things that screw things up. Not eating, not sleeping … the crucial basics that people think they can do without, but which take their toll one way or the other." His ocean eyes shift toward grey as he tries to reconcile the people he knew to the people who called Vandenberg and her team cowards for doing what needed to be done. But then people change when they've lost everything. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. "My parents… they stayed, but I'm assuming that was because there were those who were too sick or injured to be moved?" They weren't suicidal, and Gods know they were the practical sort who would rather take their patients and move on so as to give them a better chance of survival and be able to help others. Did they change somehow as well? Did they decide to give up? "They weren't amongst those who blamed you for leaving, were they?" His fingers have stilled upon the strings, nothing to be heard but the sound of the wind and the water now.

Eight months on Aerilon, always looking out for her men. Eventually keeping watch on the town. "I never had time," she explains to his surprise. "Not only that, I won't risk it. I couldn't let my team down like that. Never. Emotionally or physically. I just don't have the room for it anymore." It might be a facade thrown up. Deep down maybe she years for companionship. But outwardly, she sure as hell seems resolved to it. Maybe its just the plain Machiavellian practicality of the situation. "As for your parents, yes. If there were going to be wounded, they wouldn't go. They might have when we went back to try and evacuate them, but they couldn't abandon all those people crying for help. We couldn't afford to stay, either. We didn't have a choice but to leave them or get killed ourselves." Vandenberg's knee lifts and she rests an arm across it, swiping once at her eye. More annoyed than embarrassed, it happens. "No. They understood why I wanted the people to evac. I think even part of them agreed. But the rest of the town?" A shake of her head. "They wouldn't quit on their homes. It was just too much for them to deal with. Lords, I've seen a lot of combat. I've dealt with some dedicated fighters on both sides of the government. I had never in my life seen an entire town mount up a defense until Neath. Nobody wanted to fail anyone else, I don't think. Kids, parents, retirees. Farmers, students, ranch hands, shopkeepers. Frak." She makes a face and swipes hard across her face, cutting across one of her bruises. "You get the idea."

"How is taking care of yourself, of your own needs, letting your team down?" he asks bluntly. "Unless, you're concerned about conceiving?" This is one arena where Cameron is not entirely in agreement with the oath he has taken, but that's between him and the Gods, no one else. "My mother used to say that if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of someone else. I'm not saying bed the entire platoon, but everybody needs to be touched, Lieutenant. That's just a biological fact. You can get what you need and still be there for your team. They are not mutually exclusive needs." As for what happened in Neath, it's clear that Cameron doesn't blame her for pulling out… or blame his parents for staying. There is sadness and regret in his eyes, for both of their choices, but they were the only ones they could choose at the time. He takes a deep breath, wavering between reaching out and offering the marine before him a comforting touch and staying still as she gets a small portion of release. "Yeah," he assures her, "I get the idea. I know you don't like feeling weak, but if you ever need to talk, please feel free to do so with me." His smile is small, but earnest as he teases gently, "Doctor/patient confidentiality and all that. No one else has to know."

"Its hard to explain. I guess the easiest way to put it is to say that I'm self-contained because I have to be. Having distractions outside the team is dangerous to the survival of the team if the commander isn't focused on the mission. And yes, that is another reason." Conception isn't high on Vandenberg's list of priorities. Its probably a downright fear. The woman's only physical interactions with her team were probably to maintain training or slapping a high-five. "I appreciate the offer Doc, but I'm alright. Everyone has their demons. We all deal in our own ways. I'm no different." She runs her hand along the butt of the rifle absently as if it provides an unconscious comfort to her. "Think about that cute little thing attached to you when we found you. Could you have involved yourself with someone else knowing that your distractions may neglect her? Maybe. You can still include a child. You can't share a spouse or significant other with your team."

"You're talking relationship and I'm talking sex," Cameron notes with a soft chuckle. "Or hell, even just an affectionate friend who gives you a massage from time to time. Someone outside of the unit that you can be yourself with, that you can be vulnerable with when you need to be. And yes, you can have both. But I'm not going to push the point. You know yourself far better than I ever can or will. You know the difference between what you need and what you want and what you can live without. I guess I'm saying don't assume that you can't have more than just what you need to survive. And as for the conception thing, well, I can help with that as well, if you ever change your mind or find someone." He tilts his head as she tries to compare their situations, but her final comment results in laughter and a bright flash of teeth. "I should certainly hope you wouldn't want to share your spouse or your significant other with your team! I mean, there's the whole share and share alike mentality, but that's taking it a bit too far, don't you think?" Oh yes, he is definitely teasing her now. "This is wartime. People know that they have to make compromises. Having someone in your life doesn't have to be a failing or a weakness. If anything, it should be your strength and support. That's the whole point of relationships after all, isn't it? To be more than we are alone? Better than we are alone?"

"I'm talking about sex as well. Its different. We get attached easier than guys do. Its a different way of looking at things." Vandenberg looks away from him and back to her rifle. Its her security blanket. The rifle represents and means a lot to her, obviously. "I'd prefer not to be vulnerable. Its why when I saw you that I worded the news about Neath the way I did. I avoid things that will bring me down and distract me from the mission at hand. When I'm on duty? There is nothing else. I am a cold person. Do what needs to be done to get your people home because they trust you to get them there - alive. When people are the mission, same thing goes for them. Being reminded of vulnerabilities reduces confidence. I'd rather avoid them all together." Its that warrior mindset. The sheepdog to the sheep, Vandenberg mothers in a different way. She knows she can fight. She's worried about those that can't or won't be able to without her. "I work better alone, to be honest. Dividing my attentions is a bad idea. I'd rather maintain the status quo than risk breaking down or breaking out. Some other people can do it. I'm just not very good with juggling. I don't try. My men are free to do as they please, though. I don't enforce my attitude on anyone else."

His smile is wry as Cameron counters, "Depends upon the guy…" but he doesn't press the point. The rifle stands between them, protecting her and keeping him at a distance. He can't help but see the significance of it, the fact that it is both a shield and a talisman for her. "I have to disagree with you on at least one point. You're not a cold person. You're disciplined. There's a difference. We're not all that different in many ways. Whether it's you on a mission or me in the operating room, we both have to push everything else aside in the face of what we have to do. The only difference is that when you get off the battlefield, you're still pushing everything else aside, whether you have to or not." His fingers have begun to play again, lightly strumming the instrument as he concurs, "I generally prefer to work alone as well. Maybe it had to do with growing up without any siblings. I'm used to doing for myself, by myself." His eyes lift to her face, a gust of wind blowing his hair over his brow as he asks, "How about you? Only child?"

"Trust me. I'm a cold person. I have the capability to be warm, yes. You're not wrong there. But I'm not a hyper-outgoing bubble factory. You have a point about the operating room and the battlefield. Its not an inaccurate analogy." Vandenberg sighs, lifting the rifle to feel the weight, but doing it absently. "But I push everything else aside because there's nothing left anymore. We're at war. You, me, the Viper pukes, even this cute little lady with twins I met in Sickbay yesterday. We're all fighting to stay alive for an uncertain future. After Neath, my men and I had nothing. No place to go. No hope. But none of us would quit because we didn't want to let each other down. Keeping my men alive became the mission. That was, and still is my focus. You can all it discipline if you like. I don't know what to call it. I just don't care about having a personal life anymore. It all seems to trite and pointless considering what’s at stake. If that's the sacrifice I have to make to ensure my people are getting the best they possibly can, then so be it." Natalie has either really just given up on life or is so utterly dedicated that she just doesn't know how to really interact anymore on a purely social level. "But yeah, only child. I begged for a Sister. My parents wouldn't have any of it."

Chuckling again, Cameron compromises and offers, "Alright, fine, you're room temperature then. Maybe a few degrees below that." Indeed, her words the first night they met were cold and cruel. He felt the chill of them like an icy blade to the gut. His head tilts to one side as he asks a simple question. "If having a personal life doesn't matter any more. If having a life is trite and pointless, then what are we fighting so hard to preserve? Being alive is very personal. The minute it isn't, well, maybe that's the point where we shouldn't bother to exist any more. Maybe that's the point where we become like the cylons. Living simply to exist, without love, without beauty, without creativity, without joy. What kind of life is that?"

Vandenberg manages a half-snorted, almost non-existent smile to her 'temperature'. She still doesn't look at him though, the woman gripping the rifle a little closer to her body as he asks the questions. "Other people having a life is fine. They can live and laugh and do whatever they want. I'm not saying I don't have my own interests and things I like. I've seen a lot of beauty in my life - in places far away from a uniform. But those?" She uses her left hand to 'slice' the barrel of her rifle into neat sections. "Those are distinctly different from my responsibilities. I have a duty to my men to do whatever has to be done to bring them home. That way they can pursue their dreams and goals. Be human. Have their spouses and enjoy these things. One person at a head who gives up some of themselves for them isn't a hero or noble or anything else. Its just who they are, when they have to be there." Natalie's sole interest anymore probably isn't her claimed hobbies. Its her people. "I'm not married to the job but it certainly is a relationship of its own."

Reaching out, Cameron curls his finger around the rifle that stands between them, willing the woman to meet his gaze. "You've cut yourself a raw deal, Lieutenant. I hope there comes a time soon when you find that you have something to live for that you want for yourself. The Gods don't approve of human sacrifice, after all." His hand drops away, now that he's had his say, fingers lightly retuning the guitar that the warm sun has been subtly un-tuning all this while. "Being a doctor is much the same. Always on call, always ready to serve. Good thing I suffer from insomnia. Just as well, eh?" Leaning against the body of the instrument on his lap, he stares out toward the sea once more before turning and asking, "So what brings you back down to Aerilon? Cargo run? More scouting missions?"

When Cam's finger turns around the rifle, she looks at it and gently tugs away, but looks up at him regardless. "Its not a raw deal. I take immense pride from what I do and what I have done. Besides, its not like I'm trying to offer myself up as dead to my men. I'm no good to them that way. What I want from life is to die knowing that I've made a difference for someone, somewhere. The more I can do that, the more I can feel successful. If I lose people, then I am failing at what I am doing. Its why I push myself and my people so hard, and I always will. The harder I push myself, the less I bleed. The less I bleed, the more effective I can be. Like you are saying with being a Doctor, you're always on call. I'm available anytime of day or night to heed the call. I buy the recruiting posters of duty and honor lock, stock, and barrel. You sign up for this job, its not a vacation. You give yourself over as much as you have to. When it gets to be too much for you to live with in your own version of priorities, then its time to step down. There's nothing wrong with that, either. Its just human nature. Right now, I don't see a way I could ever step back. Not with what we're facing." She looks away again and back towards the squad of Marines she arrived with. "Scouting missions. Looking for more survivors like yourself. They don't want to leave anyone behind if it can be helped."

"Then be assured," Cameron replies simply, "you've made a difference." Putting the guitar back in its case, the doctor asks just as simply, "Can I be of assistance?"

Natalie's dry, lopsided smirk returns and she looks back at him. "But can I make a bigger difference? I won't know until I try. I may have saved my four Marines, but they also saved my life many times over. I have to believe I can do more good than that." To the last, she shakes her head and looks back to the Raptor. "I don't think so. Not at the moment. Everyone seems to be healthy and most of the bad cases have been evac'd to the Cerberus." She sighs once more, taking up the magazine and pressing that loose round back into it. "Ever seen a Battlestar before?"

Laughing softly, Cameron shakes his head at her ambition, eyes gleaming with amusement and respect as he replies, "Oh, I'm sure that you will. You've saved far more than four Marines." He tries not to be too disappointed that he can't be of more help, tempering that emotion with the sense of relief that he isn't needed. Shaking his head, Cameron confesses, "I came back to Aerilon aboard the Marsyas after the Kildare earthquake as part of the relief aid, but that's the biggest ship I've ever seen."

"Gods willing." Natalie gently slides the magazine back into the rifle as if it might signify her unwillingness to open up anymore. She's once more ready for battle. "Don't feel too bad. I hadn't been on one before last week. Biggest damn thing you've ever seen. Its gotta be more than a mile long. It might take you a bit to get your bearings, though. I'm still trying to learn. Its like trying to navigate a massive city for the first time, except there's no street signs." She looks back to him, then. "There's a civilian freighter being run up to join the fleet. You going to want to stay on the Cerberus or transfer over to be with the civilians?"

He's done trying to persuade the Marine. Her will is stronger than his. She need not worry about the good doctor prying into her affairs any further. He looks at her quizzically and then laughs, shaking his head as he asks, "Why do I feel like you just compared dick sizes with me and I came up lacking? I don't feel 'bad' at all for never seeing a Battlestar. Rather proud, to be honest. But I'm sure once I do see the Cerberus, I'll be suitably impressed." Her question is one that, indeed, he's been pondering over ever since they've been rescued. But the answer now is the same as the one this morning, and the night before and the morning before that. "I want to be wherever I'm needed. Military or civilian, I don't see why anyone should not be able to make use of me. I'm sure there is someone of authority who will decide where best I may serve, but I'll always strive to help any and all who are in need, regardless."

Vandenberg chuckles, shaking her head. "If that's how you felt, that's your problem. I just meant that you shouldn't feel at a disadvantage. I heard from Viper stick two days ago that his first time on one of those big mothers it took him a month to figure it all out." His answer gets a slow nod from her as she slowly rises from her seat, stretching her legs. "They may ask you to go officer. It would mean that you could travel between the ships freely. You'd also have access to the Cerberus more freely - but you would be stationed aboard, I'd think. As a civilian, you'll probably stay on the freighter and have to shuttle as needed. But? That's just the opinion of a lowly MP. Who knows? Maybe the CO or XO will decide different. Anyhow, I need to get back to the ship." She leans to scoop up her helmet. "Have yourself a good one, Doc. Stay safe and check six."

He chuckles good-naturedly and pushes at Vandenberg's leg with the tip of his foot in a casually affectionate gesture. "Yeah, yeah, yours is bigger than mine. Big whup." He ponders her reassurance for a moment before countering, "It can't be any worse than leaving Aerilon for Caprica and University. I managed to master that, I'll master the Battlestar…. at least eventually. And in the meanwhile, I'll rely upon the kindness of strangers to let me know when I'm going the wrong way. Maybe get myself a GPS device or something." His head tilts at the idea of becoming an officer. It's not something he's ever considered before, but if it allows him to go wherever he's needed, then it seems like the best course of action. His eyes lift to judge the position of the sun. Still hours of daylight left. Plenty of time to go searching for 'survivors' himself, even if they are of the flora persuasion rather than fauna. So as Van rises, so does Cameron, picking up his instrument and slinging it over his shoulder. "Good hunting, lieutenant," he offers in return, a flicker of bemusement coloring his features at the 'check six' comment. Check six? Six what? And what is he supposed to check them for? But before he can ask, the woman is on her way back to her Raptor leaving the doctor with many questions, per usual.

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