PHD #036: Icing on the Cake
Icing on the Cake
Summary: Tisiphone checks in on Kulko and is threatened with spray cheese for her trouble.
Date: 2041.01.04
Related Logs: None.
Kulko Tisiphone 
Officer's Berthings — Naval Deck — Battlestar Cerberus
Post Holocaust Day: #36
Much smaller than the Enlisted Berthings, 'Officer Country' has a less available in it but still manages to squeeze everything into this room. Like the other berthings aboard, this room has armored doors that can lower to seal off sections during fire or depressurization. Over-under bunks provide some individual privacy for the crews who occupy this area with a small blue curtain while lockers stand between each sleeping module to hold personal items. Tables are set-up in the space in between.
Condition Level: 3 — All Clear

The officer's berthings are quiet on Cerberus, most days - not surprising, given their occupants. Engineers stay below decks, Intel has more important things to do than sleep… well, not Kulko. He's laid out in bed, propped up against his pillow, with a notepad and his mandolin across his lap. A pen is held between his teeth, but he's not writing much. In fact, he's staring at the page without progress.

Skreek. Hatches always open more loudly when you're trying to be sneaky than if you're just casual about it. Tisiphone steps in a minute later, trying — and failing — to look like she belongs here. The slightly furtive hunch of bony shoulders really doesn't fool anyone. A quick look around exchanges some of that furtiveness for relief, however, and quick, scuffing steps carry her Kulko-wards. "Stephen," she greets, from a couple paces back. Quiet and scratchy, a little tentative. She's trespassing, and all.

Kulko removes the pen from his mouth and starts idly, or nervously, twirling it between index and middle fingers. "Tis," he greets warmly, setting aside instrument and pad and rising to his feet, careful to avoid the all-too-common head clunk on the upper rack. "Fancy you crossin' the hall. Come to see how the other half lives?" Which is tongue in cheek, because it's exactly the same as the viper bunks.

"I was told featherbeds and soaker tubs," Tisiphone replies, a glint of humour warming reddened eyes. "I see how it really is. How easily-fooled, the mind of a rook. You happier with the bottom bunk too, eh?" She crosses the rest of the distance over, leaning her good shoulder into the locker at the foot of Kulko's bunk.

"The featherbeds were slated to get installed a week after commissioning," Kulko deadpans, scratching idly at the back of his neck. "As if genocide ain't bad enough, frakkin' toasters have to answer for makin' me sleep on this thing for the rest of time." He glances briefly at the top bunk, then shrugs. "Aint' much for heights. An' I know s'not that high up, but why tempt fate, yanno?"

"We had bunk beds, growing up. I hated the top bunk." Tisiphone raises her casted arm and ducks her head over to the side, rubbing restlessly at her shorn scalp. Her head's slightly bowed, but her eyes are tipped up at Kulko. "Mind if- can I sit for a minute?"

Kulko motions to the table, then quickly moves to pull out a seat. "My home is yours. Sorta. Insofar as it's mine to give." His brow tightens with concern. "Everythin' alright? This in't just a social call, is it?"

"No- no, I mean, it is." Tisiphone reaches for the chair, pulling it around back-to-front before slouching down into it. She props her arms across the backrest, hands dangling out in front of her. "Hadn't really seen you since you were cross at me in the Sickbay. Figured it was better to just- you know. Stick my nose in, see if there was a rolled-up newspaper waiting for me."

Kulko settles into a seat across the table. "If I even had one to roll up. Naw," he considers, taking a moment to collect his thoughts. "I just heard you talkin' bout your dead friend, and seein her an'all. Didn't want to get into it there. Just hate to see you get corralled down in sickbay with the shrinks, ya dig?"

"Heh," is Tisiphone's first reply, gaze squirming away down to the pale tangle of her fingers. "Yeah, that… wouldn't go so well. I have this sneaking suspicion the shrink and I wouldn't see eye to eye on anything I'd be there for." She snorts softly, eyes narrowed at her fingers for a second, then abruptly gives her shoulders a brisk roll and looks up. "Anyway. I just- really just wanted to see you." Once she gets past the waffling, the statement is simple and earnest, carried along on a weary-warm gaze. "Get out of my own head for a bit. Snoop through someone else's." Grin.

Kulko can't help but return the smile. "Happy to help. Imagine you're goin' a bit stir crazy on this ship, what without the chance to get out and play in the stars. Welp. Lessee." He eyes the table for a moment, drumming his fingers along it. "Intel sent me off to get shot at, and not for nothin' I thought it was kind of excitin. Gonna see about taggin' along more often. XO likes it, cause he don't have to rely on the jarheads to decide what's Important Intel and what's garbage. Gives him someone to yell at if there's a frakup, too."

"The XO caught me in the Galley a couple nights back. Middle of the night. If I didn't know better, I'd say he was a real person." Tisiphone gives a tiny chuckle at that, lowering her chin until it's propped against her upper arm. There's a faint wince as the movement stretches something that didn't want to be, but she remains where she is. "Heard there was a whole hydroponics deck over on the Anchorage, but that it's irradiated. You're going to be suiting up with the Marines more, then, eh?" An odd look goes along with that question, as if she's trying to keep it neutral and not quite succeeding.

Kulko shrugs, slouching in his seat a bit. "Yeah, supposin' so. I mean, I can shoot. From hereon it's just a matter of learning how they work and how to work with 'em. XO wants eyes on the ground, he gets eyes on the ground. Same as Warday, really." Wherein Tillman put Kulko in the crow's nest with a spyglass. "He's a person, sure enough. Hasn't got all the answers. But knows when he doesn't know somethin' - and there's a lot to be said for that."

"Well, they've got- some good folks. There's- Lieutenant Stavrian to keep you alive. Lance Corporal Maragos knows his stuff. Should talk to him about sidearm training, sometime. He helped me out a lot." Tisiphone sounds like she's making some sort of compromise with herself. "Just- you know. Be careful. You have no IDEA how miserable I'll be having to come see you in Sickbay every day if you catch a round." End the statement on something flippant; it's safer that way. It makes it easier to grin, too — which she does.

"Yeah, Cadmus is a straight shooter. No pun intended." Kulk matches her grin, fading a bit at the sickbay comment. "Yeah. Not tryna be a hero or nothin. But there's only so long I can sit in CIC and listen to y'all on the headset. My post - well, it's supposed to be a 'watch and learn' kind of job. So that in a year, or six months, I can transfer to another ship and take Calvin's job, or even stand TACCO if the ship is small enough. But, Hades, Tis…" Kulko looks plaintive. "Ain't enough time to 'watch and learn."

"I thought that's why I'm supposed to heal up — so you can hear me bitching on the comms again," Tisiphone counters, with a little finger-jab at Kulko. She raises her head from its arm-perch, tipping it in toward her casted fingers so she can rub at the healing cut curved around her eyesocket. The stitches are long since out, leaving just the angry red curve behind. She stalls for a time there, almost but not quite scratching at it, then finally says, "No time for anything. It's almost- easier, you know? When everything's collapsing on our heads /right now/, than this- this sorta calmness. Relative calmness. It's like- soon as you have a moment to catch your breath is when it all sinks in."

"Well, I'll still be standing watch. Just not /all/ the time," Kulko clarifies. "Plus, I hear it all in the Raptors anyway. But yeah, you hit it right on the nose. Once you get the time to think… well, let's just say we'd be better off busy. And soon enough, we will be. Skipper wants to give the toasters a bloody nose."

"You want a smoke?" Tisiphone asks all of a sudden, drawing her head back from her fingers before she starts scratching in earnest. Of course you do, the look says — she's already digging out her pack. "Two weeks until I'll be bitching on the comms again. At least. Depends what- this-" A nod at her casted arm. "-looks like after it's off. Sims before then, though. You should come watch, sometime. Play backseat driver while I remember how to fly. It'd be fun."

Kulko accepts the proffered cigarette, when offered, gratefully, and exchanges a light. "Be happy to watch, but I wouldn't know the first thing about flyin. They had a hard enough time with me in the back of the school bus on the way to the Anchorage." He savors the first drag for a few moments. "Ain't that I don't like the flight. Just didn't like not knowing what was going on."

Two ciggies tapped out of the rumpled pack, one offered across. Tisiphone kneels up on the chair and cranes forward for the light, grinning around the filter. "Thanks," she says, settling back on her haunches on the chair's seat. "Yeah, Raptors aren't my thing, either. Strapped into the back with nothing to do? Frak /that/. Not a fan of the whole 'let's swing open this door and stare out at hard vaccuum', either. You guys were taking fire on the way over, too, weren't you? Think I would've lost it."

"Not our bird in particular." Kulko looks around for an ashtray, finds none, and so puts a half-full coffee mug to use. It's not his. "But that's just cause Major Hahn is a hell of a pilot, and her ECO knows his shit backwards and forwards. I'm amazed at what he can do with such a small electronic warfare suite - has to get the job done through finesse, where if I were up in CIC I'd just drown the frakkers in static."

"Gotta admire someone who goes out there, basically unarmed, and has to trust us flyboys with their lives, you know? Especially when we're not exactly batting a thousand for keeping them safe." Tisiphone's expression goes pensive for a moment, there, mouth primming against her cigarette, sending a spattering of ash down her shirt. "But. Yeah. You checked out the Heavy Raider they brought over? I'm pitching in with the deckies just to get a look at the thing."

Kulko shakes his head. "Naw. I spent some time on the Anchorage hangar deck playing with the frakked-up raider. Did you know those things /bleed/? All full of goo and shit." He shivers briefly. "Serves me right for pokin' around with a piece of rebar."

"Crewman Bannik was saying something about that. The- goo, or whatever, I mean. He and Lieutenant Paris were trying to figure it out while I was sweeping up." And eavesdropping. Shamelessly. "Biomechanical, they were theorizing? It doesn't make any sense. Must just be… frak, I don't know. Conductive liquid. Insulation against- vaccuum. Something. They're machines, they don't bleed." She's a little uneasy at the very concept. Kneeling up again, she leans over the table to ash into the coffee-cup.

"Looked like blood to me. An' some other squishy bits." Kulko shrugs, ashing in turn. "I dunno. Y'all keep killin' em, I don't care what's inside. Could be frakkin' spray cheeze, for all I care." That conjures up mental images sufficiently amusing to bring the grin back to Kulko's face.

"'Edible Cheese Product', you mean," Tisiphone is quick to correct, countering the grin with a sudden flash of her own. There's a drag off her ciggie, after which she stabs the freshly-reddened cherry at Kulko, accusingly. "Have you read the labels? Don't tell me you eat that- that- frak, it's not even food. You do, don't you? Dude. You are /sullied/." It's said like someone might say /doomed/. Hard to pronounce eternal damnation when you're chuckling, though.

"I may or may not have a tendency to finish an entire can in a sitting," Kulko admits somewhat defensively, giving Tis a sort of 'don't judge me' look and rising from his seat. He approaches his locker, and withdraws from it a can of the aforementioned orange plastic. "I also may or may not habitually steal them from the galley. You want any?"

Too late. Tisiphone's all about the narrowed-eye and grinning judgements, especially when it comes to spray cheese. "Oh, no," she groans, as Kulko heads for his locker. "You're not- you /don't/." But he does. There's a rueful moan of laughter as she gestures with her cigarette at him, as if a flurry of smoke will keep the artificial food at bay. "You really are gonna eat that, aren't you? Like. Right here. While I'm watching." Making a big deal out of recoiling, like a vampire at garlic, without actually budging from her seat.

"My mother used to harp on me for it, too. What with us having fresh milk and cheese around all the time. I dunno, there's just something about it." He retakes his seat, eyeing the can appraisingly. "But think of it this way. Every frakkin' cow in the galaxy is dead, Tis." Kulko's expression is as grave as his voice as he makes his declaration. "That means no more cheese. Ever. This is as good as it gets." The can is tilted her way; an offering.

Tisiphone kneels up on her seat again to ash her cigarette, pausing before drawing back to look from Kulko, to the orange can, then back again. Her good hand comes up, open-palmed toward him in in a sort of 'whoa' or 'I surrender' gesture. "Sorry, man. Some things you just gotta be drunk to put in your mouth, you know?" Cheeky Ensign is cheeky, as she settles back down onto her heels. "Bring it by next time you've got the bourbon out. We'll play some fivebones. You win, I'll try it."

Kulko nods, tilting back his head and triggering the aerosol mechanism. He doesn't go crazy, just enough to get his fix. The cheese product is chased by a long drag of his cigarette. "Eventually this is gonna run out, too. Best thing I ever did, making friends with the Chief down in the galley. Still can't for the life of me remember his name, but he lets me get away with murder."

Tisiphone's grin twists up like an onlooker at a sword-swallowing performance — intrigued, disturbed, and not quite able to look away. "Damn, man," she murmurs, shaking her head at Kulko. "That's- damn." She pointedly looks away to her cigarette, carefully juggling it between her casted fingers. "Do you know how they do bread, down there?" she asks suddenly. "I mean- is there just a giant freezer stacked floor-to-roof with loaves somewhere, or are there breadmakers the size of a jacuzzi in the galley?"

"Good question," Kulko agrees. "Reckon they store it as dough, pump it full of preservatives. Don't know how they'd keep it from going stale, otherwise." He sets the can down beside the ash-cup and tosses the remnants of his cigarette in. "I'm just praying we can salvage that hydro equipment, to keep the fresh stuff growing. XO doesn't seem to worried about it, but he also seems like the kind of guy who wouldn't mind eating canned peaches for the next thirty years."

"Yeah, I guess that makes sense." A little glum, that. "Bread's probably not any more pure than that un-cheese of yours is." Tisiphone takes the last drag off her own cigarette and tosses it into the coffee cup. "I- yeah. I really hope some of the hydroponics gear is salvageable. That it's not all irradiated like I heard. I- brought some seeds along, you know?" The admission is a touch shy. "Someone in flight school said some of the ships had hydroponics bays. Figured I'd sneak in, next thing anyone knew- wham, galley slop with /basil/."

Kulko cants his head. "The /equipment/ is glowy? An here I thought it was just the chow; that we could spray it down in Decon and call it a day." He glances to the cheese, eyeing it as if perhaps the prospect of an extended future with it isn't so fantastic after all. "Well, frak." Tis' admission earns a conspiratorial smile. "I'd keep that quiet. Valuable commodity, now."

"Not enough for twenty-five hundred souls, /that's/ for frakking sure. But, uh. Yeah." Tisiphone sees that smile, and sends it right back with her own. "The thought of three months away got me thinking, you know? How to pretend there was still earth under my feet." She shifts again, crossing her ankles one way, then the other, before giving up on kneeling and settling back to a seated position. "If you, uh. Find out any of that equipment's salvageable? That'd be about the best news I'm likely to hear ever."

"Agreed. Except maybe the sound of an alarm clock." You know, cause this was all a dream? Kulk sighs, and looks to the coffee mug. "Wonder whose the frak that was," he mumbles. "Hope it wasn't Tillman's."

"There'd be a half-eaten /sandwich/ in it, if it was," Tisiphone says with a snort, a bit of the spray-cheese horror returning to her expression at the thought. It doesn't last, though; there's a more serious look aimed Kulko's way, instead. "So now that we're talking about gloomy crap again, how you hanging in there, anyway?" A wry grin. She's got timing for crap, and she knows it.

Kulko has to think about that for a while. Finally, "I'll live. Just… tough to keep your mind from wandering, yknow? I hadn't been home since I shipped out to the Academy. Got letters and stuff, but never set foot on Canceron again. Now I never will. Last thing I told my pops before I left - he was hoppin' mad that I joined up - was to frak off and die…" A pause, there, and Kulko makes pointed eye contact. "Then he did. Go figure."

"Funny how little statements like that suddenly aren't so funny anymore, isn't it?" Tisiphone's expression is a little cautious — someone who's not too confident at the whole 'empathic' thing, but braving forward nonetheless. Once more into the breach. How disastrous could a poorly-timed comment be, anyway? "I hadn't- been- back since I left for Academy, either. Seventeen, I guess. Decided you didn't want to stay on the ranch? What made you go?"

Kulko digs around in his pocket for his own cigarettes. It's getting heavy in here. "I'd planned on it. Just cause, you know. It's what we do." /We/ being the Kulkos. Stephen lights his cigarette, offering the closed lighter across the table. "Have one son, teach him how to run things, then relax and enjoy your twilight. S'what I was gonna do. Then Coach put the bug in my head. Said I knew how to turn a gang of kids into a team. Thought I'd be officer material. Made a few calls for me." His first long drag is blown upwards. "Suppose it worked out for the best."

Tisiphone watches Kulko light up his cigarette and slide the lighter over, then grins down at herself as she digs her own pack of ciggies back out. It's like yawning — one starts, and the rest have to join in. "Pyramid?" she asks. A moment of appraisal of the man's frame before she appends, "Rodeo?" Half-teasing, that, but only half. "You leave anyone else behind?" she asks as she starts tapping a ciggie out of her pack.

Kulko seems confused by the question. "You mean besides everyone? Ma, Da, Gramps. Coach. Hadn't talked to most of my friends during the Academy, either." Just a touch bitter, but as if he knows where the misunderstanding comes from. "Rugby, matter of fact. Started off as a fullback, but Coach put me at fly-half when our senior broke his leg."

"Sorry, sorry," Tisiphone murmurs around her cigarette, holding her hands up again. Commencing poorly-thought-out questions in three.. two… "Meant, y'know. Wife. Kids. Girlfriend, boyfriend. Whichever." Apparently these are the things warranting upset, rather than /family/. She's startled into a small grin when rugby is mentioned, though. "Yeah?" she says. "No kidding? Makes a lot more sense than Pyramid. You play all through school?"

"No, nothin' steady. Nothin' worth missin', at any rate. And if I had any kids, I'll never know about em now." He lets the cigarette dangle from the corner of his mouth and cracks his knuckles, each hand in turn. "Hells, yeah I played till I couldn't anymore. Tore it up, too. We took All-Canceron my junior and senior years." The beginnings of a grin come back to his face with the memory.

Ah, that's more like it. Tisiphone's expression lightens back up, as well, and she slouches forward more comfortably against the chair's backrest, gesturing a little with her cigarette as she talks. "Shame it doesn't carry across to a ship's gym the same way Pyramid does, eh? You end up the team- uh, captain?-" She's uncertain of the terminology. "-your senior year?"

"Junior year, too. Like I said," Kulko takes another long drag off the smoke. "S'why I went to Academy. Yeah, somehow I doubt we'll be getting a scrum goin' down there. Plus, I'd have to teach everyone to play… nah. I'm frakkin' worthless at Pyramid, though." He grins. "On offense, anyway. I can shove someone away from the goal with the best of em, but that's a mighty small target to hit. Give me an end zone anyday."

"Guess it'd be better than nothing to get some Pyramid going- once I've got both arms back, at least. I stuck to boxing, kick-boxing, in Academy. Girls didn't get any team sports at my- school." Tisiphone smirks to herself, at that, studying the end of her cigarette as she leans forward to ash it. "You decide you need to school some poor sucker at Pyramid, let me know, hey? Physio's going to be the mother of all black bitches after all this sitting on my ass and smoking."

Kulko snorts. "Like running around and smoking is any better. Face it, Tis, any strenuous activity we're gonna have to do from hereon out we'll be running on enough adrenaline that nothing else will matter." He ashes in the unfortunate coffee cup. "What about you? How'd a slightly off-base Saggie wind up behind a viper stick?"

"Slightly off-base?" Tisiphone dodges the question, for now, by taking mock-umbrage at Kulko's insinuation. "Dude, /I/ am the /sane/ one here, and you best be remembering that." A stab of her cigarette over at him, for emphasis. "More seriously, though." She takes a good long while to consider that, eyes moving from some unfocussed middle distance back to Kulko as she decides. "Honestly? Ask me another time? It's always…" A vague gesture. "One frak of a mess of a story to pick apart. I poked my nose in here because I was just- hoping to spend some time around someone that wouldn't end horribly. Wouldn't kill either of us to smile a little more, you know?"

Kulko raises both hands in surrender. "Right, right. Forgot. Let's talk about me, not you. That /was/ the whole point of the exercise." A pause, and this time when he exhales it's without regard for the direction of the smoke. "You know, when I shipped out, I thought maybe someday I'd have my own boat. Silly, right?"

Tisiphone's grin goes wide and rather crooked, teeth flashing for a moment. "The point was coming to see you, man. That I get to know you a little is just bourbon-y icing on the cake." Cheeky, again. "Possibly," she answers slowly, in regards to the potential of silliness. "Like- yacht waiting for your shore leave, or- Admiral Kulko on deck, all salute?"

Kulko waves a hand dismissible, smoke trailing after it in the air. "Never was much for sailin'." Surprising, given his colony of origin, but maybe not so in a holistic inquiry. "No, I'd have settled for somethin' small. A frigate, maybe. Crew small enough that you could let some pomp and circumstance slide. Keep it casual."

"A crew that's more a /team/ than twenty-five hundred /personnel/," Tisiphone agrees with a thoughtful nod. "Yeah. I can see that a lot more easily than some douche at the harbour wanking over the size of his spinnaker. Still, you gotta admit. Admiral Kulko. Not a bad ring to it." Pale brows shoot up her forehead a little. C'mon. Try and deny it.

Kulko can't help but laugh at Tis' characterization. "Not that Skipper's… wanking over Cerberus," he clarifies carefully. "Just… there's somethin' impersonal about a boat this size. And no, I wouldn't be opposed to it in the least," he says of the promotion. "Just… not quite so likely, anymore."

Tisiphone can be a very simple girl with very simple pleasures, sometimes. Making someone laugh, for instance? She's /all/ about that — just sits there, warm-eyed and patient as can be, not adding anything but a grin lest it ruin the alchemy of the moment. "Yeah, suppose so," she'll admit at length, leaning forward a final time to add her second cigarette butt to the coffee-cup. "You'd be in line for command, but- yeah. Not something to consider, so much. You serious, what you said? Watching me making a fool of myself on the sims wouldn't bore you to tears?" The change of topic is slammed right up against the previous one.

"Yeah, in line for command of a boat with no frakkin' crew. We are at the way bottom, darlin'." Kulko gesticulates with his cancer. "If I'm ever in command of anything bigger than an away team, something is seriously frakked up." He flicks some ash into the mug. "Yeah, I'll watch you crash. Beats seein' it in real life." Eyes the mug some more. "Hm. Ought to have a coffee machine, here."

"So say we all, man. So say we frakking all." Whether that's to the last or second-to-last statement, Tisiphone leaves be. Instead, she pushes up to her feet and swings her knees a couple times, then rotates her ankles, as if her seat left her legs unhappy with her. "We've got one across the way, you know. Next time you're up to braving Club Viper. I need to get back to my flight footage, though." Not that she actually makes good on her statement — she pauses there a moment, hooking her fingers back around her neck.

Kulko tosses the cigarette into the now-foul coffee mug, and rises to see her off. "Thanks for stoppin' by. Hope you're feeling better - so you can get your ass back in the cockpit. Tac Three just ain't the same without a perpetual string of curse words I don't understand."

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