Memoir: Don't Pity Me

Flashback Scene
Battlestar Volans, 2037 AE

Shore leave again on the Volans, but this time both Hosedown and Spiral are members of the lucky group who get to stay on for CAP duty. Herself having just gotten off of CAP, she is relaxing in the empty Pilot's berthings. She hasn't even bothered to get out of her flight suit, yet, just sitting back with the top of the suit pushed down to her waist, allowing her upper body to breathe.

November, 2037. Seven long months have passed since Hosedown and Spiral relaxed on R&R at Pasithea Anchorage. So little has happened for the Volans in the intervening time, but so much has happened for Pallas. The majority of it has been kept quiet, with no official explanation given to the Starhawks or anyone else from the chain of command; and of course, it's not like Spiral's going to step up to explain himself. All they know is that he showed up with two black eyes, a fat lip, and bruised knuckles after an unexplained and unauthorized shore leave. Some weeks after that, he was court-martialed for a bevy of charges: absenting himself without leave, dereliction of duty, drunkenness, assault, uttering threats against a superior officer, disobedience of lawful authority, and disobedience of a lawful command. His penalty was heavy: three months in a military prison, not the brig; suspension of pay for six months; forfeiture of seniority by five years; a severe reprimand on his personnel record - and those were only the ones the Squadron knew of.

But he's been back with the Starhawks for just over a week now, obviously no longer the acting Squadron Leader, and everybody is giving him a wide berth, uncertain of him. His constant glib, sarcastic comments have retreated into a sullen, solitary silence. He's been denied shore leave and assigned to CAP duties for the duration of leave, and so he sits back in his bunk, having finished his rotation several hours ago. A cigarette in one hand and a bottle in the other, he watches as what's left of the day slowly crawls by.

Andrea glances up into the bunk where her former squad leader is… well… lurking. After thinking for a moment, she leans over to her own bunk and pulls out a bottle of Aquarian Rum. "Hey, Spiral. Care to crawl out of the cave and join me for a drink?"

What a miserable son of a bitch. Glazed-over blue eyes slowly make their way over to the source of the question, tracing a haphazard path across the room before finally settling on Andrea. Even then, they take a few seconds before they really focus on her and see who she is. Looks like that whiskey in his hand is hitting him pretty good. "I don't need your fraggin' pity," he slurs, the bottle coming up for another drink.

"Good, because I wasn't offering any." Andrea gives a wave. "You clearly have enough of your own. Look, you were a idiot, but that doesn't mean you just have to wallow away the rest of your career. I'm your wingman, for frak's sake, so come on down and have a drink with me. If it makes it feel more like R+R to you, I'll even pretend that I don't know your name."

That little comment might've earned a derisive laugh from him before; now, it doesn't even register a twitch on his lips. "You think it's all so fraggin' hilarious," Pallas drawls, pushing himself off the back of his bunk and trying to stand up. It's not easy when you're smashed. He stumbles left and right, forward and back, before he catches himself on the bunk frame to steady himself. "It's a, it's all so fraggin' hilarious," he repeats, this time with a wheezing kind of laugh. One step, two steps, three - and he's sitting down in someone else's bunk. Luckily, that pilot's off on shore leave, so the bed is empty. It takes him a second to get back on his feet through the haze of drunken confusion.

"Enough with the frakking self pity, Spiral." Andrea says sharply. "It's funny because you're making yourself a joke, so why not sit down before you fall down and talk to me. No one's gonna be in here until next CAP gets out, anyway."

Pallas gets just over halfway to Andrea's bunk before he gives up and sits down on Deep Throat's bunk to finish off his cigarette. "Do I look like I want to talk?" he snaps in response to her. "I've been out of jail ten fraggin' days, I think I'm entitled to some drunken self-reflection." The drunken part, he's got covered; the self-reflection part, that's a little iffy. Those glassed-over eyes don't seem like they've got much thought behind them at all.

"You wouldn't reflect in a room full of mirrors," Andrea retorts, moving around the table to sit opposite him. "Ten days of drinking yourself silly when you're not on duty is enough. It's time for something the frak else." She looks him over. "So what was her name, how did she find out your real one, and how did it lead to you ending up like this?"

"Wasn't a her," Pallas replies. The words taste bitter on his lips, and he washes them away with another mouthful of whiskey and smoke. "Him. Thaddeus." He falls silent while he tries to organize his thoughts enough to string together a coherent sentence. "Last time I called him, he said the fraggin' bastard that his mother's bangin' now backhanded him 'cross the face and made him fall down the stairs." The sentence is a little hard to make out through the slurring and the gritted teeth.

Andrea sits there a long while, drinking her rum as he shares. "Ahhh, frak, Spiral. So you took off to take care of your kid. And some rank didn't like it and you mouthed off, eh?"

Pallas numbers off on his fingers as he goes through the list. "Well first off, I lied to the transport pilot to make him take me down to the planet. Then I tried to find the fragger and beat his skull in. Couldn't find him, so I swung by to see Thaddeus. Then his whore of a mother started losing her fraggin' mind, shrieking that I'd come to steal him away, and called for help. Four guys, who've probably all been balls-deep in her at the same time, showed up and kicked the shit out of me in front of my own son. Then the…" His finger wavers over the next digit to be ticked off as a frown of confusion crosses his brow. "Then… I forget where I was."

Andrea shakes her head. "You always do find ways to make a good impression on people, don't you." She looks up at him. "Look, Spiral. I'm sorry for all of it. But you don't have to deal with that shit alone, right? You've done your time, now you're back home. You got folks here who care about you, dumbass. Shutting us out won't make it suck less."

"'Sorry' don't do shit," Pallas drawls as he takes another drain of the bottle. His words are starting to become more and more slurred. "I los' five years' sin..ority. Can't make Cap'n fer 'nother six years." A lot more pausing in between words, too. "Not that it matters with a severe reprimand on my file. Can't appeal that fer 'nother year." In other words, his career's at a dead end now. "Did I mention that with six months' of not gettin' paid, I can't make chil' s'port, so that bleached-blonde bitch-cunt won' let me see or talk to my son?"

Andrea shakes her head. "So, what now? Just gonna lie around, squelching in whiskey until you give 'em reason to chuck you out completely? The situation is frakked, I get it, but… Athena and Apollo, Spiral, you gotta put yourself together, all right?"

Pallas narrows his eyes at Andrea, though they don't focus too well. "When you getcher whole fraggin' life, career, and future turned upside-shit in two weeks flat, I'll ask fer yer fraggin' advice," he says. "Until then, shut your dirty cock-hole." Up comes the whiskey again. He's all but gone now, the whiskey barely even tasted before it's swallowed, bits of it dribbling down his face.

Andrea stands and walks over. "Stop trying to fly solo, would you? Yeah, I get it. You screwed the pooch, screwed it big time, and do you know why? Because you flew… frakking… solo. I mean gods-damn, Spiral. If I tried to take on an enemy wing on my own in those training sims you'd have slapped me one the second I stepped out of the sim. But then here you are, and you gotta take on all this shit by yourself. And it got you grounded. Well, now you're flying again. You think you can learn a frakking lesson from all of this? Let me HELP, genius."

Pallas shakes his head. Or tries to. It ends up being more of a neck-limp-headroll in his current state. "Help? What help are you?" he asks, pointing at her with his cigarette butt. The cherry has long since expired and a clump of ash sits on the ground before him.

Andrea shrugs. "Dunno, Spiral. What help CAN I be? You're the one lurking in your cave at all hours. Least I got you talking. So think about it. What do you need to get going again?"

"Whadda'I need?" Pallas echoes, staring blankly at her. Besides needing to get paid, be promotable, and not have completely wasted the past fourteen years in the Navy? "I need a stiff drink, some good drugs, and a long hard frak," he says with a laugh. "Only one a'those things on this Battlestar." He raises his stiff drink, sloshes it around, and takes another gulp.

Andrea crosses her arms for a moment, and looks Pallas over. Despite everything, he doesn't look THAT bad, and she hasn't had a tussel in a while, either. "Just the one, Spiral? Dead sure about that, are you? If you didn't smell like a bar on Scorpia, I might even think about it, and there are showers can handle that kind of shit."

The implication doesn't dawn on him for a moment. Then it clicks. His eyes go wide and he blurts out, "You?" He just stares at her for a while, not saying anything. Debating, maybe, or trying to figure out if she's serious or not. Then, without saying a word, he gets up and laboriously makes his way over to his locker, grabs his shower kit, and exits to the head.

Andrea smiles slightly as he walks off, then she goes to her own locker, stripping off the rest of her flight suit and tossing it into the laundry, leaving her only in boxers and her sports bra. A quick sniff check… her anti-perspirant had done its job, apparently, and then she sits back down, taking another drink of her Rum. She isn't totally committed yet… she'll see how he is when he gets back.

How Pallas is when he gets back? Well, he's clean, and he doesn't reek of booze from every pore anymore, though even a good scrubbing can't completely get rid of the smell. Parts of him are still wet, his drunken towel-drying not having been particularly thorough, and he apparently forgot to take his socks off before showering. Squish, squish, squish, they leave a wet trail from the hatchway that weaves this way and that all the way to Andrea's bunk.

Andrea stands up and looks him over. "So you can still clean up, good to know. Lose the socks." She steps over to him. "I don't do sympathy fraks, you know. I'll frak you because you're damn fine specimen who's helped me out a lot, and I always sorta wondered how you'd be in the sack."

The socks come off with a bit of effort. The shower sobered Pallas up some, but being a bit more sober than 'smashed' is still 'fairly wasted'. He drops the towel, which (apart from the soggy socks) is the only thing he's wearing. Or was wearing, now that it's on the floor. Not even so much as responding to her words, he leans in and kisses her hard, pushing her down onto her bunk with increasing pressure. The movement is rough, possessive; but his hands are surprisingly soft on her skin as he traces a finger down the side of her neck and between her breasts. "Prove me wrong," is all he says.

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