PHD #214: Here's To Them
Here's To Them
Summary: Constin and Tisiphone commiserate on matters of life, death and leeches.
Date: 2041.09.29
Related Logs: none.
Constin Tisiphone 

<OOC: Rec Room @desc will go here.>

Constin sits at an otherwise vacant Triad table as he has for the past couple hours after the end of his shift. He shuffles and reshuffles the same deck of hexagonal cards, wearing the same frown, and gradually reducing the same bottle of cheap whiskey.

The hatch swings open and admits one (1) Ensign Apostolos. She's wearing her olive drab jacket over a ratty old black T-shirt, her fatigues creased imperfectly over loose-laced boots, and her hair — still doggedly growing out — is rumpled and damp. She carries a greenish bottle by its neck as she steps in and flicks a restless, wary glance around the room.

The flutter of cards flipping together is the only audible greeting the pilot recieves at first. There aren't even cubits on the table for playing, just a dour sergeant and a deck of cards. *Shuffle* "Sir," is gradually offered in acknowledgment.

"Bad run of cards," Tisiphone suggests, chin lifted slightly at the dearth of cubits upon the table. Pale fingers loosen and re-tighten on her bottle's neck, making the bottom flip back and forth slightly as she looks at Constin, then his bottle, then him again. "What's your poison?"

"Folks ain't got any kind of stomach for the game, today," Constin drawls flatly in response. "Or yesterday. Or the day before." A short glance aside at the bottle. "Somewhere in between turpentine and whiskey." the unflattering description accompanies another measure of the stuff poured out into a shot glass, and held up in a demi-toast to the pilot before being thrown back.

"I'd say I'm sorry for being scarce," says Tisiphone, striding for the drinks counter, "but I'm not." Her voice is quiet, scratchy from disuse, and her sleet-blue eyes are flat and unreadable. The bottle is set down with a quiet thunk, followed by the soft rasp of it being turned around and around on the counter. "One of the pilots has a bottle of something," she says as she stares at the bottle. "Pretty sure it's distilled brake fluid. Nearly black."

"Prolly one of them idiots who tried distilling in some coffee grounds to cover up the taste. Happens sometimes when the shit ain't had time or quality to smooth out," the marine guesses with a short shrug. Belatedly addressing Tisiphone's non-apology, Elf drawls, "Yeah, well. S'been a shit time all around, sir."

"Yeah. Has been." There's the sound of paper tearing and peeling off as Tisiphone continues to work at opening the bottle. "Least I didn't get the shit beat out of me for shagging my CO." A sidelong glance back — perhaps checking the Marine for lingering bruises — before her attention returns to the counter. "Everyone down your way taking shore leave, too?"

Constin snorts flatly at Tisiphone's comment of not getting the shit beaten out of her. The last lingering effects of fading bruising, especially around the right eye socket are all that remain on Constin's face of the past assault. Apart from a slightly more crooked nose than previously. "Sir, if someone beat all the shit out of you, what would be left?" he needles with a tight, forced grin. "Yeah, pretty much. Ain't got much taste for the World, m'self. Would be setting down a burial detail, but.." a shake of the head. "Remains are still on ice as 'evidence'," he sneers the words.

What would be left? "Half a shadow, maybe?" Tisiphone needles back, giving a snort in exchange for the forced grin. She's never had much weight to spare, and the last ten days have eaten away at it, the olive skintone turned sallow, dark circles moping beneath her eyes. "Haven't been either," she says. "Heard it's pretty. Heard there's cliffs. Don't want to look at the first, don't need to look at the second." The words tighten for a second, followed by a soft POIT of a cork being removed. "'Evidence'," she echoes. "Frak, man."

"Yeah," is Constin flat return to Tisiphone's last. "She wanted to get buried. Of all the odds, right?" He snickers, with a shake of the head. "Long shot that she dies and we have a body. Long shot that we have a body, and the chance to set down on one World or another to bury her. We got both long shots, and still can't do this shit," the marine snarls, slapping the deck of hexagonal cards down on the tabletop. An eye is raised to Tisiphone, "Your fella have anything he wanted done?"

"Didn't talk about it," says Tisiphone, reaching to snag a pair of steel mugs from the shelf. "Best pilot in the Wing, anything taking him down would've had me sucking vacuum first, so it didn't much matter." She turns and pads back toward Constin's table, bottle and mugs in tow. "Doesn't much matter now. No place on a ship for a funeral pyre anyhow. Your taste buds dead already? Got a drink for you."

"Ain't you heard?" Constin returns, bone-dry. "Burning's what the Worlds are good for," the marine quips to the unliklihood of a shipboard funeral pyre. "That what Saggies do? Set up pyres?" he wonders, idly, before addressing her last question, "No shit? Well, if my taste has limped along through thirty-one years, guess it can hang on for a bit longer. What you got?"

"Beats me what the rest of the frakking planet did," says Tisiphone, sliding the mugs onto the table with a rattle, the bottle next to it with a clunk. She doesn't release the neck of it, as if it might get away from her if she does. Up close, it's clear it's not the glass that's green, but the liquor inside it. "Where I came from, it ends with fire. You and all your precious things." Beat. A glance to Constin that doesn't quite reach his eyes. "Sometimes your wives, too. You're gone. All of it should be gone, too. Keeps the ghosts away."

"Shit, why would we wanna keep the ghost away?" Constin wonders dryly a moment later, steadying the glasses as Tisiphone pours. "Hell, ghosts are some of the best company." Eyeing the green liquid, the marine doesn't ask what it is. "How you holding up?" he wonders, instead.

"Last time I talked to ghosts, they gave me shit I wasn't dead yet." Tisiphone eyes the bottle again, lips primmed into a thin line for a moment, before she tips it to pour. The label's covered in elaborate scrollwork and curlicues, overwrought Sagittaran calligraphy — then slapped over part of it, crookedly, a Standard label that reads 'Imported by Caprican Fine Imports, Ltd.' It smells…/green/. Herbal, maybe a little flowery. Hopefully it won't taste like a summer field's clippings, right? "Supposed to drink it with water," she says, after tipping two thick fingers' worth into each glass. "You want to bother?"

"Yeah well.. they'll still be dead when the likes of you and me get around to kicking off," Constin drawls. "They'll wait," he adds, the last two words stated simply. A sniff of the stuff earns a short lived smirk. "Frak nah. Your drink, your toast, sir. What's the word?"

"It's called, ah. Sunahara. Brewed up north. Dionysian monks. Was a…tradition." Tisiphone works the cork back into the bottle and leaves it on the table, then pulls up a chair and drops down into it. "'Round where I was from, anyway. You made your wedding toasts with it." Sun-bleached brows twitch and tic for a moment as she tips the intensely yellowish-green liquor back and forth in the glass. "Found a bottle in Caprica City of all places, figured…" She frowns again, then shrugs. A short blur of Sagittaran is uttered, followed by (presumably) the translation as she lifts her glass to Constin. "Here's to them," she says, and drinks.

"No shit?" Constin voices dryly in return to the drink's impressive pedigree. A humorless curl tugs briefly at his lip, as the mugs are touched together and the marine echoes, firmly, "To them," following the clink. the thick drink is drawn back in time with Tisiphone's.

It tastes…well, like a Dionysian monk's ninety-proof take on a summer's field. After the burn, there's a green and floral taste that lingers behind. One could almost close their eyes and imagine the warmth was sunshine instead of alcohol. Tisiphone downs an (un)healthy mouthful from her own mug and sets it down with a clank, hissing out a soft breath. "Bet you could light that," she finishes, airlessly. The drink? Her breath? Maybe she's referring to both.

Constin swallows the stuff down and draws a hissing breath in through closed teeth to savor the flavor that lingers behind. "Hoooo shit. More monks did shit like this, I might think better of religion," he drawls with a short grin. Talk of the light-ability is met with, "Damn right you could." Another deep breath drawn to get every last trace of the aftertaste, precedes the question, bereft of ire, "Say. How come you and her butted heads so much?"

"Been brewing this stuff since…shit, probably before we'd invented glass to put it in." Tisiphone frowns at the remaining dregs in her glass, then drains them with a shiver. She pulls the bottle closer by its neck, and rolls it around in front of her on its bottom edge. "Kept it all the way through Academy and flight school," she muses, watching the contents slosh about. "Figured I- well." Whatever she was going to say is cut off with another shrug, pale eyes flicking back up to the Marine. "She kept sticking her nose into berthings like she belonged there. I didn't much appreciate it. She didn't much appreciate my telling her to frak off to wherever-the-frak deckies come from. Tried playing diplomat between Lucky and I, and we were fast friends after that." A soft snort, there, as she starts wiggling the cork back out of the bottle.

Constin snorts out a short chuckle at Tisiphone's last. "Yeah," the marine mutters. Polishing off the last drops at the bottom of his glass, the sergeant offers in conclusion to Tisiphone's hanging statement. "You figured there was future. Yeah?" he regards the pilot for confirmation or correction.

"Figured we might drink it someday, yeah," the pilot affirms, stiffly. "Guess I am. You want another?" POIT goes the cork again. She scratches at the emblem seared into the top of the cork with a ragged thumbnail. "I don't get along with people," she says. "Never have. Sisters used to say it was good I was the youngest, I wouldn't hold their weddings up." A tight smile is flicked, there and gone again. "The frak you sneak a wedding in on a battlestar, anyway?"

Constin chuckles tightly at the last question. "The week before she was set to go Air Wing again. Felt so good to have somebody kicking my ass to keep my moving, didn't want to cut it off." A nod to the offer of another as he admits, "The frakking was real good, too. Filed the papers with Jag, got married so we wouldn't be breaking frat regs. Had the one witness that the paperwork required, and just went right along with living. Who the hell needs a big to-do, anyway, yeah?"

"That's right. She said she was aiming for the Harriers. I remember now." Tisiphone snags Constin's mug and tips a couple more fingers into it, then splashes more of the acid-green liquor into her own. The cork is again replaced, brows refurrowing at the bottom of the mug. "Didn't set out to piss on the frat regs, you know?" she tells the booze, frowning deeper at it. "Didn't wake up one day and think, hey, let's make things even more difficult than they already are. Was bad enough when he was Petrels and I was Black Knights. Then they folded the Petrels in and it just- frak, man. I never keep another secret in my frakking life, it'll be too soon."

"Yeah," Constin nods to Tisiphone's recollection. "She was two days from getting the flight wings back- she used to be Air Wing in the.. shit, wizards, or Warlocks. One or the other. Then, that frak-up of a boarding mission got her neck shot up. Nerve damage," he scowls. Eyeing the Ensign again at her latter comments, he sniffs once. "Yeah well." A shrug at her last protest. "It was what it was. The longer into alla this shit we keep wading? The less folks are gonna care about the rules. And frak me sideways with a crowbar if it ain't gonna get worse."

"They were right," says Tisiphone, still frowning at her drink. "SSLF until you die. Leave and they kill you. I wish they'd boiled its oceans off." She gulps down a mouthful, then drains the rest a second after, blowing out a determined sigh afterward. "Tell me something," she says abruptly, lips curling in something like a smirk. "You barely fit in a bunk to begin with, how the frak you fit two? Rig a trapeze?"

Constin snorts once. "Shit, sir- half the boat still thought Lauren was into girls," he quips with a less bitter grin. "Never crammed into a berth. S'how we kept it quiet. Weren't any need for a fuss, was there?" A shrug. "Lotta places on the boat that ain't got camera surveillance. I happen to know a bunch of them, and Lauren was a Deckie. You think there was any suitable little cranny she didn't know about? You'd be surprised how much privacy folks can come by just by timing shit right," he notes with a short chuckle. "That time on the world was real sweet though. While it lasted, it was real damned sweet."

"Were a couple storage bays with busted locks I knew about," says Tisiphone, nodding absently. "So did half the Wing, though." She sinks down a little lower in her chair, trying to work her shoulderblades into the backrest. The steel mug is tipped forward — did the booze replenish itself? no? alas — then set back again, fingers knitted around it. "Never thought I'd say it, but the Basin was…yeah. It was-" She barks out a single laugh, suddenly. "Went swimming one night, right? Out up the river. Got a leech on my /ass/, and the frakker laughed 'til he cried."

Constin barks out a short salvo of laughter at the leech location that cuts off as abruptly as it began, but the humor lingers. A shake of his head. "Anybody else, I'd call bullshit." Shoulders and throat still stirring with the now silent amusement, he answers, "That little clutch of trees? Few hundred yards off of the farmhouse." A nod. "Little slice of Elysium. Real grass, warm air and shade. Well worth the mosquitos- Hell, least we never got bit on our asses," he needles with a broad grin. "No shit, sir? I wouldn't hate that world half so much if there weren't so much about it that still makes me feel alive, know what I mean?"

"I screamed like a frakking girl," mutters the pilot, shaking her head as if doing anything /like a girl/ is the Worst Thing Ever. The grin never makes it to her face, but the sleety eyes thaw a little — or at least get a little damp. "A /leech/, man." As if repeating it will help convey just how awful it was. "I- yeah. I hear you. Laying in the sun. Eating dates. Frak, even Leonis had some good moments."

Constin snickers at the recounting and lets out a long slow breath. "No shit," he drawls. "You and Bubbles- peas in a frakking pod, clearly," at the talk of girlie panic. "On the ass," he emphasizes, dryly. Leaning back in the seat he eyes the pilot and voices, "You ever think there was a future, since Warday? Like, no shit *believed* something would make it? Curious," he half-explains the question.

Tisiphone thinks on the question a while — a long enough while that she seems to be trying to stare through the intricate Sunahara label. There's a flurry of blinking at the end of it, leading to her gaze lifting back to Constin's. "Guess I did. No point doing anything but putting a gun in your mouth if you think otherwise, yeah? If there's no point, there's no point." Her gaze squirms away, restless, as she shrugs.

"Hell even if there's nothing left but picking how to check out of this life, that's worth something," Constin snorts back to the 'no point' thought. "When all you got left is how you mean to die, I'd say dying's pretty damned important, ain't it?" A wan smile briefly twists his lip. "What do you think of it all now, then?"

"My own fault- doing- whatever- that I can't die being shot down choking that frakker's life out in front of me with my own prayer beads, too." It's over that, of all things, that Tisiphone smiles for the first time that night, wide and black. "Always did have a shitty time knowing priorities." She starts to slouch down lower, then suddenly straightens and reaches for the bottle again. It's closer than she thought it was; she bumps it with her knuckles, and saves it from toppling with a near-panicked grab. "Dunno that it matters anymore. How d'you mean to die? You got something earmarked? Tearing an abomination's throat out with your bare teeth, maybe?" Cue the snort — and the POIT of the cork, yet again.

Constin chuckles bone-dry at the grin and question. "Oh, there's a few frontrunners. But all of them involve going down swinging. Long as I go down fighting? I can look her in the eye on the other side." A slowly drawn breath and rueful smirk at the talk of 'priorities', "Yeah no shit, right? Some specially stubborn bastards gotta see the world end and everything burn before they know what they want, don't we?" A bullish snort.

"He was so mad at me," Tisiphone tells her mug as she splashes more Sunahara into it. "When I- nearly died, trying to kill the abomination. Still wasn't sure I wasn't just, y'know, some bit of sport for him. Some young thing looking like your dead wife, all hot for you? Who wouldn't, right? But he was so mad." She straightens the bottle, wipes off a runaway drop with her thumb, then tips it toward Constin's mug with a querying lift of her brows. "Then- y'know. Shit mattered. Just in time for it to /not/. Maybe the CAG'll need someone else to divedomb a Basestar's engines. 'Bout as noble as a Viper jock ever goes out, you know?"

Constin nods once to the offered tilt, placing the cup within easy reach of the ensign. "Yeah. Then shit mattered," he drawls, voice carrying the certainty that the ambiguous words are clear. "Then they're gone. And whether or not anybody lives through this, it don't much matter whether you're one of them anymore. I ain't in any rush, mind.. but once my number comes up? Will be glad as hell to see the other side." Another dry snort, as he lifts the glass, to offer, "To the Good Death."

Glug, glug, glourg- the two fingers' worth are getting fatter and fatter each time Tisiphone pours, the ritualistic replacing of the cork more and more overcautious. "That's- I like the way you think," she mutters, lifting her glass to Constin with a brief, wan tug at one edge of her mouth. "I can frakking drink to that. To the Good Death, man." Down the hatch — not as smoothly as the others, the final gulp setting off a brief spate of breathless coughs. Alcohol fumes are not for breathing — who knew?

The stuff is strong enough to make Constin's eyes water a bit- and not in a macho 'These aren't tears, its the drink' sort of way, but in a legitimate 'body, this is your liver, what the hell are you doing?' sort of way. Another couple mouthfulls of air to keep the flavor alive. "Damned right. Damned frakking right. Don't want anybody crying when I go- I want them to give out a low whistle and say 'holy frakking shit, that was Good Death'."

Dionysian monks may be fun at parties, but they're not so fun for one's liver. At least the organ damage tastes good on the way down, right? Right. "Yer supposed to drink this with water," Tisiphone repeats, wheezingly, as if to justify the coughing. "Like. Half and half with water. When you wake up tomorrow feeling like you got worked over in the back rooms of Tihar?" When. Not if. "Not my fault." Pause. "Marines throw wakes like Air Wing does? You find some grand way out before me, you figure they'll throw me out if I show my face down there?"

"Heh. Frakking officers.. can't hold their damn drink," Constin needles with a drawl and smirk. "You want to find my wake, just look for the first brawl to break out after 'some day' rolls around. Anybody tries to throw you out, give them a pop to the jaw, and you'll finally be taking part in a proper wake." A breath drawn through flared nostrils. "And if you get the Good Death before me? I'll damn well be there, if only to piss you off that a ground pounder strolled on in," he promises.

Air Wing's liquor consumption is a thing of legend… amongst the rest of Air Wing, at least. Whatever tolerance Tisiphone may typically have, she's still only a hundred and twenty pounds of pilot that hasn't been eating well. The overwrought calligraphy is starting to look more like snakes than artistry. "Not /everything/ pisses me off, you know," she points out, frowning petulantly. "Only /almost/ everything." She snorts once at her own comment, then coughs, then finally laughs, shaking her head at it all.

Constin snorts in amusement at the 'not everything' line, before cracking into a proper chuckle as Tisiphone breaks into coughing, then laughter. "Right," the sergeant drawls, reaching for the bottle to press the cork firmly into the mouth of the bottle- firmly enough to survive being carried by a drunken ensign. "No shit, sir. This was good."

"Best thing about the frakking planet," declares Tisiphone, lifting her mug to drain the last few drops from it, then set it down with an overloud CLUNK. She peers muzzily at the much-depleted alcohol level and says, "I should save some. Dunno what the frak else to give Flasher and, uh. Uh." Her hand waves in a small little you know gesture. "His girl. Lieutent Lunair. They just better get married before one of 'em frakking dies. I should. Rack out while I can still climb the frakking stairs."

"Yeah, the El-Tee.." Constin supplies unhelpfully, only after the inebriated Ensign actually names who she meant. "And yeah, you should. "Will see you to the berths, then. Last thing I wanna do is walk into the Brig tomorrow and see your leech-chewed ass in there for a Drunk and disorderly."

"He pulled it off, you know," Tisiphone informs Constin, sounding vaguely defensive as she pushes herself up. "After he was done laughing." She snorts again, a lopsided grin wobbling across her face. She balances against the edge of the table, then experimentally draws one hand away, followed by the other. Balance: achieved. The Colonial Fleet didn't waste half a million cubits training her, after all. "Let's go," she says, determinedly, "before I fall over." The depleted bottle of Sunahara is grabbed, the cork unnecessarily checked and double-checked, and she heads for the door with the gentle sway of drunks the galaxy over.

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