Memoir: Go Down, Hosedown

Flashback Scene
Battlestar Volans, 2036 AE

Andrea was concentrating on breathing normally, and it had nothing to do with the less-than picture perfect landing the Raptor driver was making. This was it… her very first assignment out of the academy. Her ensign's pips shining brightly on her dress uniform, she tried not to worry about all the rumors of what nugget pilots were put through when they first got assigned. At least she was in a Battlestar Group.

On the flight deck of Battlestar Volans stands one Lieutenant Pallas Ellinon - or, as he's known to the wing, 'Spiral'. At the age of thirty-eight, he's getting old for being a Viper pilot, but there he is, finishing up the post-flight checks on his bird. Rumor on the ship is that he's all but finished his tour on the Volans and ready to for his next tour elsewhere as a Captain, since he's coming up on his ten-year mark. He's making some idle chatter with the deckhand who's helping him finish up when Andra's Raptor starts coming in. "She's coming in a little hot, don't you think?" he asks the Specialist jokingly. Mostly.

Was electronic navigation off? Andrea gripped her seat just a bit as the Raptor made one of the rougher landings she'd experienced since they started letting Raptor cadets fly students to the orbital platforms. "Frak me…" she whispers under her breath so the Raptor jock won't hear her. They'll be on the same team soon, after all. As the door starts to open, she can't help but look at the flight deck for scorch marks as she shoulders her duffel bag, and then looks around to see who she's supposed to report to.

"Fire, fire, fire on the hangar deck!" Actually, it's mostly just smoke, but they're not going to take any chances. Only seconds after the alarm is raised, three deckhands - fully suited and equipped - run over to Andrea's Raptor and start hosing it down all over. So the first real glimpse of the Volans that Andrea gets is less than ideal, since the eager knuckledragger by the hatch sprays her down with his extinguisher the moment she's visible. "For frak's sakes," Pallas mutters under his breath, making his way over to the Raptor.

One moment, Andrea was calm and collected, the very picture of a capable young officer ready to take her place with a new team, ready to earn her stripes and take on the universe. The next, she was covered in fire-extinguishing foam. "Oh hells…" she mutters to herself as she tries to knock some of the foam off, but a moment later she registers someone approaching her. An officer. Damnation. Doing what she could to save some face, she snaps off a salute, sending bits of foam flying. "Ensign Andrea Demarcos, sir, reporting for duty."

Pallas bites back a smirk when the woman - it is a woman, right? Hard to tell with that foam covering her - salutes him. He returns the gesture in kind. "I'll give you one thing, Ensign - you sure as frak know how to stand out when reporting in," he says dryly. "At ease." Normally, he'd look over the incoming personnel for quick things like dress and deportment, but he obviously can't do that with her. "Normally, you shower before you show up on your new ship," he notes flatly, arching a brow at her. "If you're done with your hosedown, get your kit and I'll show you to the quarters."

"Yes, sir. Thank you sir." Andrea knocks as much of the foam as she can off of her before picking up her duffel again and falling into step next to him. "If I may say so, sir, the Volans has a… unique way of greeting new pilots. Didn't know combat landings would be part of the bargain." She steals a glance back to the Raptor, trying to mark the pilots face. Never could be too careful, if you were going to fly with someone later…

"The bus drivers've been doing some maneuvering exercises lately," Pallas says as they walk - referring to the Raptor Squadron, of course. "Obviously, they need some more frakking practice." They make their way out of the hangar and up several flights of stairs, during which he introduces himself. "I'm Lieutenant Ellinon. You'll call me Spiral eventually, but for now, 'sir' will do. Currently, I'm the Acting Squadron Leader for VF-113 - the Starhawks." People shove past them going up and down the stairway, quite a few of them giving Andrea a double-take before moving on. "I don't know what they teach you in Flight Academy these days, but you'll be working on older equipment here. I'm talking ancient. This is a Galactica-class Battlestar."

"Hence the hands on approach…" Andrea mused. The squishing noises the foam makes as she walks is starting to get on her nerves. "Could be that'll be a bit of a relief, sir. Didn't get much time in the Mark IV's in the academy, logged most of my hours on Mark II's and III's. Never did much like the computer doing the flying." She gives him a glance as they walk. "How's the food here?" A girl's gotta eat, right?

"Exactly," Pallas confirms. "As for food… well, I can't complain." He shrugs. "Canteen's got good shit when the galley don't." Finally, they come upon the pilot quarters. They're smaller than what one might find on the newer ships - but the upside of being on an older ship is that there are fewer berths in the room itself. "This here's Ensign Demarcos," he announces to the half-empty room, gesturing to the foam-covered newcomer. "You can call her Hosedown until she gets a proper callsign. Someone send off to the CAG and let him know she's arrived." Someone - probably also an Ensign - flicks his hand up. Apparently, this means he'll be the runner; he gives Andrea a smile and a nod on his way out. "You can bunk with Jackknife over there," he says, pointing to an empty top bunk. "She's probably up in the sims or something. As you can tell by her callsign, her flying isn't the most controlled."

Andrea closes her eyes for a moment. It was well and good for the eltee to put in that last bit about 'until she gets a proper callsign…' but she knew how the game was played. She was going to be hosedown forever, all because some frakking knuckledragger couldn't tell when a pilot was on fire. She gratefully tosses her bag onto the indicated bunk before peeling off her dress jacket, ready to get out of the foamy stuff. "Thank you, sir." It's a little strained, but all told, her callsign COULD have been worse. She shares smiles with the rest of the occupants, though to be honest they seemed a bit… amused at her appearance. A few gawked as she stripped down to her blacks but that was just part of life in the racks. "Do you think I have time to get in a shower before the CAG gets down, sir?"

"Considering your luck, he'd get down right as you were stepping out of the shower," Pallas says with a smirk. "But maybe that'd help your career along, all things considered." The berths erupt with that comment - everyone's watching her strip down - and there's hooting and hollering in every direction. One amongst them appears to be the favorite with the pilots, and it gets chanted over and over: "Go down, Hosedown! Bag the CAG!" The LT doesn't even bother trying to hide his amusement. "Get changed into a fresh set and towel yourself off for now. If Deep Throat comes back and says the CAG's gonna be a while, get showered and comfortable." Wow, so that nickname-slash-callsign could really have been a lot worse.

Andrea's face goes from a small smile, to a deep blush, to back to a smile, if a bit still red-faced. After all, she couldn't be too mad if there was a guy named Deep-throat, right? Toweling off as fast as she can while still getting her spare greens out of her bag, she allows herself to relax, at least a little. Until the CAG got in, anyway. But she had a CAG, she had arrived. Whew.

"The CAG is Major Hilliker, by the way. Or 'Sickle', as he's known. He can be a hard-ass, but he's a good guy. He'll make sure you're being taken care of." Pallas leans against the bunk behind him and crosses his arms. "Unlike me. If you fall under me, you'll find out that I'm just a hard-ass. End of story." He motions to the LTJG sitting on the bunk beside him and motions for something. Ah, a cigarette. Looks like he bums 'em off the others enough that all he has to do is motion and they give him one without hesitation. "Light up if you smoke. Musta been a long flight. Where you coming in from?"

"Aerilon, sir. They gave us a week of R and R after we graduated, so I went home." Pulling on her spare pair of dress pants, she politely shakes her head at the offer to smoke. The cigars she had stowed in her pack were celebratory only, and you really can't celebrate while awaiting the arrival of the guy who would own your life for the foreseeable future. "I caught a transport on its way to Virgon from Aerilon orbital, and the Raptor picked me up at the mid-jump point. Transport Skipper didn't like it, and I got my ass chewed. Guess the Rear-Admiral pulls that kind of prank all the time, just to screw with annoying Commanders."

"Another sheepfrakker, eh?" Pallas asks, narrowing his eyes at Andrea. "I swear they're trying to get rid of all of you by sending you to us." Judging by the jeers that rise from the room at that one, there's a few Aerilonians in the crowd. That might make things a lot easier on Andrea. The Ensign - Deep Throat - that left earlier returns and shakes his head to Pallas. "CAG's apparently in briefings for the next hour or so," he reports. "I left a note." The LT blows smoke in Andrea's direction with a smile. "Looks like you get your shower first after all," he says, pushing himself off the bunk. "When you're done getting ready, come find me." And then, without giving any sort of indication where she might find him, he leaves. Just like that.

Andrea deflates a little as the eltee heads out, not managing to get a shot in to defend her home planet, but luckily the others managed for her. Glancing around, she dashes off to the head… and a few minutes later she is back in her greens, though now having managed to actually appear up to snuff, rather than being partially covered in foam and in dress gear that been pulled out of a bag. Glancing around, she heads to one of the Aerilonians. "Uh, any idea where he might have gone?"

Every single person in the room responds simultaneously with a completely different answer. Either they really have no clue or this is something Pallas pulls regularly on new pilots coming onto the ship - three guesses which one it is. One of the pilots that shouted when Pallas was having some fun at the expense of Aerilonians gives Andrea a quick wave to catch her attention, then mimes piloting and mouths, 'Simulators'. Either that, or he's miming something else completely and mouthing 'See me later'. Hmm.

Well, piloting was all about making judgement calls, right? Nodding in thanks, Andrea heads out and does her darndest to find the Simulators. Let's see… Galactica class… did they have the Sims near the flight decks, like other ships, or maybe they were back by the CiC so they could take advantage of the main computer banks… signage? Anyone? It takes a bit of searching, but after asking a few knuckledraggers she finally walked into the room where the sims were kept, looking about to see if either A) the eltee was here, or B) that other guy wanted a date…

Well, the guy might still want a date. But yes, Spiral is at the Sims, talking to someone. "No, not that one," he's saying when Andrea walks in, his back turned to the doorway. "The one where the ship malfunctions, remember? I had you pull it up a couple months ago. Thruster fails, it spins out, rook gets blasted, I ride their self-esteem for a couple weeks? This not ringing any bells?" There must be something that he notices - the reflection in his companion's eye, possibly - that makes him turn around to face the newcomer. "Fast shower," he says. He looks her over now that she's not covered in foam. "Not terrible," he declares on the state of her uniform. "And quick to find me, too. Who talked?"

Saluting again, Andrea stands at attention. "Didn't have time for introductions, sir. I was in such a hurry I didn't even get a good look at him." Her face is completely deadpan, save maybe a touch of humor in her eyes, but not enough to be said to be 'eyeballing' anyone.

Pallas returns the salute again, but arches his brow at her. Saluting the one time is enough on this ship, it seems, but he doesn't say anything. "Well, I was going to have you go for a spin on the sims, but… well, I'm assuming you've been standing there for more than two seconds," he says dryly. "Lucky you - you don't get the initiation sim that everyone else got." He spins up a different program. "How about going on a basic bandit run? Show me what you learned in Flight Academy. Then we'll go find the CAG." He gets into a simulator and straps himself in.

"Yes, sir." Taking a quick look at the setup, Andrea eases into the simulator and seems more at home in that moment than she had since ten minutes before the Raptor landed. She'd spent so much time in Sims before that this one felt like home. As she started her setup, including a full pre-flight, she occasionally glanced over to the eltee. "What birds do we normally fly in here, sir? You said the tech was ancient…"

"Twos and threes for the most part," Pallas answers, distracted as he starts up his simulator. "I think we've got, like, two fours. CAG refuses to touch 'em, says being in one of those things isn't flying at all. But I'm pretty sure he's been in since before the Mark Ones." There's a loud humming noise - the sound of his sim booting up. He leans out of it and points to his headset, indicating they should continue over comms. Even the simulators are old-fashioned, most likely more outdated than what they use in most schools across the Fleet. "What's your skill, Hosedown?" he asks. It's not a very specific question. Probably, again, on purpose.

Pulling on her headset, Hosedown acclimates to the space while the program boots, still running the simulated pre-flight. "Dog-fighting, sir. Got top marks in Space Combat in my class, and my wingman and I came in second in the Academy Sim Tournament." There is still a bit of bitterness there… her teammate had gotten them both obliterated after celebrating their entrance to the finals a little too emphatically." Her eyes light up as her board gives her all green, and soon she is looking at the simulated launch tube through the screen. "My board shows all green, sir…"

"Let's fly, then," Pallas says, punching his sim-Viper to launch. "Dogfighting, huh? Not a lot of that going on these days." He guides his ship through a series of warm-up exercises as he talks, so used to the movement by now that they've become rote. "Still, it covers all the basic functions of a pilot. Flying, shooting, split-second decisions, all that shit." He rolls his Viper from side to side, waiting until Andrea's also good to go. "So. Show me what second-best can do."

Watching her DRADIS carefully for signs of contact, she maneuvers into a supporting wingman formation, hyper alert as she watches the screen. So he was that kind, eh? Well, it figured. Suddenly a dot appeared on her screen. "DRADIS reports hostile contact, sir, carom 4.5."

"I know," is Pallas' sarcastic reply. "I've got one of those fancy doodads, too." Yep - he's that kind. But instead of going after the enemy contact, he starts maneuvering in a right spiral downward, then sideways, then upside-down to the direction they were in before. He's moving perpendicular and upside-down to their launch trajectory now, on a tangential intercept with the bandit. So, the enemy is now beneath them. "Ready to engage?" he asks.

Only barely holding back a question of whether they used DRADIS back when he started flying, Andrea shook her head a moment to clear it and made a few adjustments to her formation as they settled into the trajectory. "Ready when you are, sir."

"Going in. Weapons hot." Pallas 'dives' in toward the enemy. His piloting is wild - it's like watching a drunken man pilot a Viper, except that there's a method to his madness. Instead of going head-on with the bandit, they're now diving on him, but from underneath by his orientation. Whether it's on purpose or not (hopefully on purpose), all of Spiral's shots go wide, only a few glancing shots landing on the enemy ship. "Finish him off. Give chase if needed," he says to Hosedown, breaking off to come back in around.

There may be method to the madness, but damned if it wasn't hard to stay in formation with it. "Weapons hot, aye," she says as she watches his mad approach. His shots all wide, her own eyes go wide as he orders her to break formation for a kill shot. Another glance at DRADIS… still not other contacts, so she squeezes the trigger as she shoots forward out of her previous defense formation. Her shots pepper the contact, several striking on one side and exiting the other, but no flash of a confirmed kill. Checking her own thrust to match her quarry's, she squeezes the trigger again…

Spiral glides in easily behind Hosedown, looking like he's coming along for the ride more than switching back to a support position. If Andrea glances over, she'd see smoke billowing out from his simulator. That's not because it's old or broken, it's because he's lit up a cigarette and is enjoying the show. "Blow him to dust," he says. He wants to see that little dot go boom.

This time, there is no error, and a stream of simulated hot metal flies up the thrusters of the already crippled ship, leading to a nicely mediocre simulated explosion as the DRADIS blip vanishes. Automatically pulling into a trajectory to avoid any blast debris, she checks her screen for contacts… none at the moment. "Visual confirmation of kill, sir." She reported into the mic, just as they'd been taught to do in academy. It had always struck her as stupid, but it was regulation.

"Good kill," Spiral confirms, blasting around the debris on the opposite side. "Next time, more rounds, less hesitation. RTB and we'll kill the sim." Instead of simply pulling up to bring himself in alignment with the simulation Battlestar, he twists about and brings himself in sideways, only orienting himself the same way as the Volans when he starts the approach.

"Understood," she says as she gets into an RTB formation, headed back to the flight pods. She watches his flight path with a bit of fascination as he makes his approach, as well. His flight path was not regulation, either, though it was also… more efficient? She could see it being handy in a combat landing situation. Flying into the pod herself, she sets her bird down like she's laying a blanket on a baby. There, THAT was a landing.

"Least you didn't need a second hosedown in the sim," Pallas says as he slides out of his pod, cigarette between his lips. "It'll take you a little bit to get up to standard, but for being straight out of the school, not bad." Maybe she'd have done even better, had he not forced her to play the simulation in her dress uniform instead of being in something more comfortable and appropriate. "Head on down to the offices, someone'll show you where the CAG's door is. Report yourself in, take the rest of the day to get acquainted with the ship and her people. I expect to see you tomorrow morning with the rest of the group. Dress is flightsuit." That's right, she's a Starhawk from here on in.

Having noted his earlier reaction to yet another salute, Andrea opts this time for a head nod. "Yes sir, thank you sir." As she starts towards the door, she pauses and looks back at him. She had a feeling that she had just recieved the nearest thing to a compliment she was ever going to get from him. With a smile on her face, she heads out into her new home.

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