PHD #177: EVENT - In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields
Summary: …and in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Date: 2041.08.22
Related Logs: All Sagittaron events.
Cidra Cora Lunair Psyche Quinn Tisiphone 

<OOC> Tisiphone says, "Team Garden (folks involved in the hydroponics workings back on Cerberus and various green thumbs) has a large list of potential harvest locations that were sent down with the Sagittaran team. Today's location are the fields near an abandoned farmstead where morpha poppies are growing. The trip takes us all back over the mountains (via a, uh, scenic desert) to a slightly greener region. Here are a couple pictures for what you'll generally be seeing — though the Atharamuras mountains would be in the (far) distance as well: here and here.

Lunair is not the pointiest, nor the sharpest Marine ever. But she recognizes opportunity when she sees it and is glad to listen to those with far more expertise than she. She also realizes the value of morpha. Really. It's a lovely, sunny day - the sun is warm but not scorching death hot. She'll leave it to the Raptor folk to decide the best spot for landing. She smiles a little, peering around. "It looks so nice down there," She states quietly. "Hopefully, there won't be anything hostile - though, there is large wildlife and I'd keep my eyes open just in case." While she doubts there are Sagittarons in go-karts or anything of that nature, it never hurts to be /aware/. "Mostly, we're after intact poppy heads. I would try not to puncture them when you cut them," She advises to her passengers quietly.

Though, for now, it seems their landing area is open and friendly, waving fields looking ever so inviting.

Cidra was down on planet a few hours before the others likely woke this morning. Watching the sun come up. Her touch-down on Sagittaron wasn't, precisely, fore-warned. But here she is. And she volunteered to take the botanical tour out to the fields, since they required Raptor transport. She's in the pilot's seat now, the quiet ECO in her back keeping her bearing straight, flying rather low and at a medium speed over the terrain. The better to see the sights. Which she does take in from her viewport, eyes drinking in the landscape as they get lower still. "I am putting us down in those fields. Keep your wireless on at all times and maintain regular contact. Will you need to get out of visual range, Lieutenant Lunair, or shall you be able to extract all you need in this particular area?" She manages to talk about flower-picking as if it were dry and serious as any other mission.

Quinn is just enjoying being out and about, really. Off the ship, on her first Raptor ride since she came back from the hell that was their last time stuck on a surface. Even if she's not driving, she's happy to be there. She's in the BDU uniform, it still managing to fit, if tightly in a few areas. She's got her pack and assigned scizzors in hand, more than ready to get to work. She's like a kid chomping at the bit, first field mission in ages.

"I am so ready for this," Psyche enthuses. She has big, round movie-star sunglasses on and has removed her shirt, sitting blithely in her bra as she slathers on sunscreen. "No puncturing the heads. Got it," she responds to Lunair's instructions. "Can we lick our fingers, though?" Mmm. Morpha sap.

What a difference a little southerly travel makes. Over the tan, baked-dry side of the Atharamuras goes Team Botanica to the green-brown fields beyond. If there were windows Tisiphone could press her nose and palms to, she'd be jockeying for position with Captain Quinn, despite looking a little haggard from yesterday's overnight stay with the, ahem, religious mountainfolk. She hasn't spoken much at all today, and when she does, it's with the hoarse squeak of someone a sliver from losing their voice entirely. Bubbles' comment rouses her from her silence, though, with a crooked grin. "Makes one frak of a tea."

Cora has her head tilted at an odd angle as she tries to watch out the front windshield, as curious about where they are and are going as any of the others. She's swapped body armor for a t-shirt (though the blacks are stowed in the Raptor just in case, of course), and when she gives up trying to get a look at the view, she turns back and spots Psyche. Her lips curve in amusement before she asks, "Can I borrow that when you're done?" The sunscreen, presumably.

Psyche conscientiously applies sunscreen to her face (sun damage is the number one cause of wrinkles and other signs of aging!) "Absolutely!" she tells Cora, tossing the tube over. "I'll get your back if you'll get mine?" Tis's tea recipe gets a grin from the little blonde pilot. "I'm so glad I know you."

There's an amused smile at Psyche's question, "That's up to you and your CAG I suspect." Lunair tilts her head. "It can be had in tea?" Her eyebrows lift. "Wow. Well, if we fill the crate I guess some tea couldn't hurt," She admits. Lunair seems pleased with the folks coming along and smiles. Her strangely purple eyes are bright. She has strangely enough, a straw sunhat of her own and smells faintly of sunscreen. Seems she's the sort of Marine that tends to bake instead of fry. "Thank you sir," She nods at Cidra, appreciatively. "We should be fine around here. Though I'll see when our crate is filled. I think this is primarily a morpha run, though if there's any berries, or anything edible, it's a bonus." She affirms. She seems to treat it as professional, though she's still remarkably gentle about it.

"You are to avoid recreational brewing of opiate tea, please," Cidra says. Dryly, but without any real trace of humor. Such a buzz kill, she is. "This is not a pleasure trip, do remember. Medical considers plants such as this quite vital for synthesis. Though gather whatever you can, Lieutenant Lunair, surely." Pause as she works the plane's controls with more attention. They're over the field now, poppies stretched out below them. "I am putting us down. Do make sure you are strapped in securely. Lieutenant…" That aimed at the thus-far nameless and quiet ECO in her backseat. "…picking up anything of note on passive DRADIS?"

Quinn is still quiet, she's fallen out of the habit of banter, especially about making opiate teas. Despite excitement, she's also focusing on being utterly professional. Maybe they'll let her out more if she can prove that she's just as capable of her job as she was months ago. Either way, she settles into the seat deeper, getting ready for the landing.

The ECO is quiet, and shakes his head. "Just wildlife," He remarks quietly. Though, that's to be expected. Nature has a way of reclaiming her lands with remarkable voracity at times. "No hostiles or humans. All poppies and critters." He smiles politely.

Cora just shakes her head a little at Psyche as she catches the tube of sunscreen, squeezing some into her palm and rubbing it on arms already tanned and lightly burnt as well. "I'll do your back if you like," she agrees after a second as she similarly covers her face and the back of her neck, apparently planning to keep her shirt on for the moment. "Anybody else?" she asks, wiggling the tube in the air in offer to the other passengers. To Lunair she adds, "Sounds good, lieutenant."

"Uh." Tisiphone's head turns sharply at the sound of Cidra's voice, and for a moment her expression can't decide whether it wants to be defensive or sheepish. "Y-" It cuts out to a somewhat comical squeak. "Yessir." She lifts a hand to scrub at her hair, remembering belatedly that she's covered her scalp with her faded red bandana. No sunburned scalp for her, this time around. To Psyche, there's just another crooked grin. To Cora, her hand's held out for a dollop of sunscreen, which gets rubbed cautiously across her face and neck.

Lunair nods, and accepts that verdict. What the CAG says for her air wing goes. That's between them though, and she just accepts it. "Well. Even without Medical saying that, I sincerely doubt any of us want to visit a MedBay without painkillers," She notes. It would probably raise the suck level exponentially. "If we're not sure on a plant, I believe Ensign Apostolos and Captain Quinn would be our resident experts though if you've knowledge of botany-" She grins. Well, they can make their own calls. "I'm good, thank you. I put some on a bit ago. I want to grow tomatoes, not look like one." She winks. There's a quiet aura of professionalism, though there's a feeling she's enjoying it. She eventually puts on her straw hat and awaits landing. There's visible relief at the announcement of no hostiles.

The landing should be easy enough, with soft breezes, a clear sky and a delightfully flat field that practically screams 'land on me! Roll in the grass! It's fantastic!' Almost as if they were being welcomed with a wonderously natural doormat.

Psyche grins at Tis and winks, then turns and presents Cora with her back, flashing her fellow Caprican a big, wide smile over her shoulder. "Thanks, Nikki."

Cidra nods and sets them down. Easily as a Raptor ever sets anything down. Which means they can still feel it, and better be secured to avoid bumping themselves on Raptor wall. The buses aren't ever going to be smooth as silk. Once they're on the ground, the doors lift open, flooding sunlight into the ship's interior. "Remember to bring plenty of water and hydrate yourselves properly," she says. Getting one last bit of haranguing out of the way before people risk actually enjoying themselves. She's wearing her sidearm and flight suit, for her part, though she'll likely not be straying far from the Raptor.

Quinn looks over to Cora, her pale, freckled face probably just -asking- to be burnt if she doesn't put something on it, especially after months on the ship again. "Aye… I probably should use some." Maggie calls over, carefully slipping her scizzors in a cargo pocket of her slacks and reaching for a dollop herself. She takes just a little, enough for her cheeks and nose, not wanting to make them run out fast… but she could definitely use it. Her eyes then flicker to the group, "Just ask if you don't know… but the poppies almost look like tiny little balls if they haven't opened. We'll show you a few definites once we get out there." She barely jerks as they finally set down, really quite used to a raptor, still she smiles in pride at Cidra's smooth as silk landing.

Cora quickly and efficiently covers Psyche's back with sunscreen, finishing up just as they set down, pulling her hands back at that bump. She caps the bottle in that bright sunlight and hands it over to Quinn with a smile, gathering up a big water bottle as she listens to the marine's instructions and the captain's description, nodding. Then she's checking her sidearm, and climbing out of the Raptor along with the others, squinting for a moment before drawing sunglasses out of a pocket and putting them on, glancing back over her shoulder at the others.

Psyche pulls her hair up into a ponytail, gathers her gear and flips her shades down. She also double-checks her sidearm on the way out, but it's the briefest of concerns before she's beaming at the day, breathing in deeply through her nose. "Holy shit," she murmurs, her expression rapturous. "Holy frakking shit." Yeahp. It's beautiful out here. There've probably been more eloquent expressions of the love of nature, but certainly none more appreciative.

At the landing, Lunair closes her eyes. She smiles a little. That was a good one. "Rodger that, sir," Lunair holds up a standard issue canteen. good ole Marine 'teens. She doesn't seem to mind any input at all, accepting and considering it. Though — given her memory issues and lack of postits for the moment, how much she will /remember/ is anyone's guess. "If you see berries, tubers or anything like that, don't hesitate to let one of our experts know." She grins. She seems pleased, checking her sidearm. She's covered in light clothing, the mark of a once wealthy traveler. She keeps her plant scissors and odds and ends close, before gathering up the rather large crate. Her hat on, crate at the ready, she straightens. Once the raptor is good and landed, she'll wander on out with the others.

The poppies beckon, loving shades of purple, white and red and artistically wonderous whorls of mixes. Nature is not discreete in her affair, nor are plants known for their monogamy. The fields are verdant and adoring their solar lords. They sway and beckon. Come rest, come away with us, O wayward girls. The breeze is sweeter for the pollen. Soft whispering rustling. Eat your heart out, nature lovers. Many, many, many yards away a few wild horses seem to be grazing merrily. It's very far away, though one can tell the animals are fairly healthy and more concerned with the grass than the Raptor.

No bikini party for Tisiphone — through simple lack of proper clothing, it seems, considering the glance of envy for Psyche's sun-worshipping capabilities — but she has peeled down to a single tank-top. It leaves more of her tattoo visible, as well as the old carpet of whipscars down her shoulders. No sunglasses for her, either, as she strides out into the field, gathering-crate held against one hip, and stops, eyes closed, face tipped up toward the sun. Deep breaths. She might even be smiling.

Cidra does not move from the plane, for her part. Neither does her ECO. "I shall be requesting a sitrep via wireless frequently and maintaining passive DRADIS observation of the area. We shall give you forewarning if we do see anything unexpected," she says to Lunair. All business. Though she does inhale deeply of the fresh air as it fills her Raptor. Smiling, ever so faintly.

With everyone else peeling down to their tank tops, Maggie decides it'll be fine to leave behind her BDU jacket and wear just her tanks as well, it's far more comfortable anyway. She's in her tanks and her BDU slacks, though her tanks are definitely showing a bit of a muffin top over those slacks that she didn't have before. Now she pulls her scizzors back out, slipping to her feet and heading towards the exit. "We'll be back soon, sir…" she comments warmly to Cidra, trying to sound stiff but reassuring before she steps into the sunlight. Her arms will be burnt, she doesn't care.

Cora nods to Cidra, adding a smile that's brief but friendly enough before they begin to head out into the field. She scans the countryside before them, the grass and flowers and oh hey! She nudges Psyche, and points at the horses off ahead of them, "Look. We should go steal a couple, we could have mounted patrols around the camp," she jokes lightly.

Lunair smiles a little at Maggie. She'll offer a hand as needed. "Yes sir, thank you." She has her wireless com with her, it seems, looking somewhat - awkward. But awkward isn't new to Lunair. She seems concerned about Quinn, though she has marvelous bearing and it only seems to show for a second. With a grunt, she heaves and lifts the crate. She's apparently got a pretty good amount of muscle despite her height. Might explain her tipping towards the heavy end of the weight charts. Either way, she seems to be content to watch over the others for a moment, to make sure all goes well on departure. Any happiness at the fresh air seems to please her too, and eventually the smile just lingers. "It's beautiful," She comments quietly. Garden tools around her waist, crate in hand. She's ready to roll out and follows along. She grins at the mounted patrol comment. "They are pretty," She admits. Oooh, purpley flowers.

The poppies still beckon invitingly, their scent sweet and coy in the air. It's like the wink of a shy young lover who turns away at the last moment. Mingled in with the poppies, are various grasses. Butterflies are visible, now that they are closer and likely the odd bee here and there. Though the bees are intent upon their task. Butterflies flutter, sampling nature's luscious bounty. The horses seem to be getting a little closer, though they are more interested in one another and the grass than the humans. A pair of foals seem to be figuring out this 'walking' business and playfully trying to nudge one another over. Donk! For now, it is peaceful, the sweeter side of the wilds. Perhaps they realize what happened once and wish to forget it too. For now.

Psyche wades into the poppies, turning her head to gaze off at the horses. "How awesome would that be?" she asides to Cora, smiling wistfully. "Oh, look at the babies!" she coos over the foals at play, pressing a hand to her sternum. She watches a few moments more, breathing in the scent of earth and green, blissful in the sun and wind. "Gods, I ache," she murmurs, very faintly, her smile turning a tiny bit melancholy at the edges. "But it's beautiful." A deep breath and she turns to locate Lunair and the crate, snipping off a poppy head with a flourish and holding it aloft. "These, right?"

After a final deep breath, Tisiphone looks down from the sky and sweeps a glance around. "Cousins would have lived not far from here." Who she's talking to, it's really not clear. "Aera Yazd's…" She looks off toward the distance. It's better for all of them that it's not visible. An absent hand collects a few of the nearby poppies, examining the light browning on several of the windward-facing leaves. Radiation v. Flowers: FIGHT. She heads off in a different direction from the others, opening her crate and pulling out gardening clips as she goes. Divide and conquer.

Cidra exchanges one of those faintest of smiles with Quinn as the lot of them depart the Raptor. Still remaining inside, for her part, though the doors stay open. Her turns to take in the landscape, and the horses in the distance. "Most beautiful…" she murmurs to herself.

Quinn steps over towards Psyche, not quite having the emotional, free reaction some of the others do. Now that they're outside and she's had a moment to breathe, she's all down to work. She nods towards the bud, "That would be it." SHe confirms for Psyche, before wading deeper into the field herself. Still not chatty. Hell, in the full light she doesn't even look all that well slept, but she's already getting down to work, leaning over to smoothly snip buds off and collecting them all in one hand until she can't hold any more, then she'll bring them back to the cooler. She winces a bit at leaning over, her pants cutting into that muffin top but she's keeping it buttoned. For now. Who knows how long she'll stand it.

Cora chuckles a little as Psyche coos about the foals, picking up her crate and picking the head off one of the poppies near at hand, lifting it for a brief examination. Then into the crate it goes, and others follow after it as she adds, lips quirking slightly, "I wonder if the corridors in Cerberus are tall enough to ride down. We could keep one on each floor."

Lunair smiles at Quinn, and nods. "That looks like a good one," Lun agrees. She'll take a spot near Quinn, setting the crate in a fairly poppy-less spot so it's within easy reach. "The sun makes your hair look as red as some of the flowers mom had. Some of those fire orchids or - what were they called? Nuts," Pout. She is still a new soul to this botany business. Though, Lun looks a hair dorky in billowy cotton clothes, the sort wealthy tourists use to keep from crisping and a straw hat. She snips off a good looking bud. Lun looks up and smiles. Ohh. Horses. But something Tis says gathers her attention. "Really?" She seems curious, but does not pry. She just accepts it. These days, asking about one's family tends to be an intensely personal affair. "Ooo, look at this one Maggie-" A full blossom. "I don't think it has a good bud but it's pretty." Snifft. Sneeze. HAWNK. Lun goes cross-eyed. That'll teach her to snort flower. Either way, she happily stakes out a little area to trim buds. Poink!

In the fight of radiation vs. nature, it seems Nature doesn't raise no foo's. While DNA and chromosomes can be remarkably shuffly in the face of errors and radiation, one must consider how remarkably many mechanisms Nature has whittled up from her armada. And that's just /before/ a creature is created. Afterwards, fitness and such take care of the rest. It's somewhat cruel and brutal, but remarkably elegant in a forceful way. Psyche and Quinn are under attack! A few blue morpho butterflies land on hats or hair, fluttering around the flowers eagerly. These strange big creatures are great flower finders! Psyche gets one on her arm, spreading its magnificent blue wings. I say! What is that scent? Quinn's hair is a subject worthy of investigation too. The horses are fairly visible now, doing their own thing. Though a couple of adults seem to show concern, tails still and ears pricked. Hmmmm… What could they be watching?

Psyche takes one last, longing glance at the horses before setting to work, collecting the closed buds. "Awesome as that'd be to take them with us… I think they're happier here." She stills suddenly as a butterfly lights on her hand, its brilliant azure wings opening and closing, delicate and slow. "I know I am."

Quinn blinks up as her hair is commented upon, apparently Lunair isn't the only one who likes it. She wrinkles her nose a touch as the butterflies come to land, but she's a farm girl and if she was scared of insects she would have never survived childhood. She just carefully waves the pretty things away. "Shoo… I ain't no flower…" She drawls out in her usual, lilting accent, pausing in her own cutting to look at the one which is assaulting Lunair's nose. She winces…"Seems you might be a bit allergic. Don't get too close. And no, that's too mature. Even if it's pretty, indeed…" Maggie leans over again, to cut a few more, still wincing. This is -not- going to be comfortable. Stupid tight pants. Tisi gets a bit of aworried look at comment about her counsins, but Maggie doesn't poke… she just looks, and goes back to working, focusing a bit deeper on the buds.

"Probably true," Cora agrees, working at a fairly leisurely pace. After all, if they finish quickly they probably have to go straight back, don't they? When Psyche suddenly stops moving she turns towards the pilot, brows rising faintly at the big blue butterfly on her arm. "Pretty color," she comments after a moment, watching it with one eye while gathering with the other. She doesn't seem to notice the horses turning wary.

"Yeah. They farmed poppies." Tisiphone's rasp — to Lunair, presumably — drifts through the swaying blooms as she snips the seed-pods and tosses them into the crate. "Weather wasn't right for it where I was." She straightens with a bloom in hand, spinning it slowly in her fingers before tucking it into her bandana, lavender and deepest purple against faded red cloth. The crate gets nudged along the ground before she stoops again, the clack of her gardening snips returning to their metronome-like regularity.

Cidra is far off from the horses so she can't really observe their mood. Her ECO continues to monitor from the backseat. Quietly, in his way. "Do keep your eyes peeled for anything out of bounds, Lieutenant," she says to him. Standing. "I am just going to poke my head out for a moment." She'll still be *with* the Raptor. Just on the threshold. The fresh air is unbending her *that* much.

Lunair pauses, "Could be. Or I got a snoutful of pollen right away." She rubs at her nose. Either way, she's not about to try to snort another. She watches Quinn with some concern, but snips a few more buds. The crate is slowly filling with each *snip* or pluck. Snifft. The city slicker learned her lesson. "Oh, wow, those're pretty," She seems impressed by the Morpho butterflies, eyes widen. "Living jewels. Or is that more a fish thing?" Ponder. "I am happy to see the outdoors, and everyone out in them," She admits softly. It pleases her to no end. For her part, she's keeping watch, snipping buds and generally just savoring the outdoors. She ahs and nods at Tisiphone, "Makes sense." She smiles at the rasped answer.

The butterflies near Quinn take the hint, though at their leisurely, fluttery pace. They will investigate this Tisiphone and Cora too now. If Cora's not careful, she might be lit upon. Or Tis' head. These are curious insects, walking over flowers as much as the people. A few even drift towards Cidra and the open raptor, uncaring in their path. Their lives are brief, filled with sun and ambrosia. What cares do they have when the end could come at any moment? Their blues shine, markers of some divine creator's love for color. The marvel of such a creature, living in a moment, savoring it just as much as immortality itself.

The horses are still wary, though the particularly alert might see some cream and white colored blurs low in the grass. Hmm. Nothing much changes for now, the breeze still soft and sweet. As Cidra pokes her head out, she'll be met with a butterfly close enough to see its scales and softly powdery wings. And a /lady bug/. Oooo.

"I wish I had a camera," Psyche murmurs wistfully, watching the butterfly a moment longer before shooing it with a faint puff of air, like she's blowing it a kiss. Setting the blue-winged beauty back on its flower-to-flower way, she resumes snipping poppy heads, tossing handful after handful into the crate beside her.

"Baby blues, we use ta call'em… back home. I dunno their real name, actually. But yeah, they're pretty. And damn fearless, apparently…" Maggie admits to herself, waving a few more away as she smoothly snips two more flowers. Now that she has another handful to drop in the crate, she grumbles to herself and stands straight. "Alright, that's it…top button's going. If I lose my pants, no one better dare say a word." Thank god Trask isn't there. She undoes the top button and a bit of her pant's zipper, making it infinitely easier to bend in half for the flowers without the waistline cutting into her.

Cora watches as a butterfly approaches her, next, eyeing it a little bit askance as it considers landing on her. She doesn't quite shoo it off, but after another moment she turns away, back to poppy-snipping. "You're going to have crazy tanlines," she points out to Psyche after another few minutes, as she pauses and wipes her hands on her pants, tugging her t-shirt off in favor of the tank-top beneath, "Two halves, totally different colors."

Psyche grins, tossing another handful of buds into the crate. "We'll just blame it on Raedawn's ghost," she calls over to Maggie. Shrugging at Cora, she says, "Enh. I'll even out my tan back at base camp. There's both an art and a science to tanning."

"Frak!" The cutting syllable cracks its way out of Tisiphone's throat as she straightens and looks toward Psyche, shading her face with her hand. "Camera's back at camp." The half-busted digicam she found in the Kythera forest refuses to die; until it does, she'll be snapping pictures of smoking pilots and Junior TACCOs slaughtering bears and other things seemed pictureworthy by her mind. She grimaces deeply as she looks around, regret written plainly across her face.

Cidra just stands in the sunlight just outside the door of the Raptor. Tilting her head up so she can catch the sunlight on her face. Inhaling deep. That faintest of smiles grows a little, affixing itself to her generally reserved face. She watches the butterfly, tentatively raising her right hand, long fingers extended. Toward where it's fluttering. Once the hand is up, she holds absolutely still.

"You'd know," Cora replies to Psyche with a faint smirk that vanishes as Tisiphone curses. She turns that way abruptly, on instinct, clearly expecting bad news…and then relaxes when it's just a matter of a camera. She begins to go back to work and then pauses again, and straightens up, saying, "Wait, I've got one in the Raptor. I'll go get it." She jogs back towards the ship, an easy lope on long legs, and pulls up to try to avoid startling that butterfly Cidra's after as she reaches into the ship for her BDU jacket, camera dug out of a pocket.

"Baby blues," Lunair echoes quietly, peering at a butterfly. "They're gorgeous. And I think we both like your hair," She winks and smiles. "It's pretty," She states smiply. She just grins a little. "That's alright. I think I'm getting more used to people in less clothes," She admits. "I guess Marko's been a positive influence," At least in that regard. She really has grown more tolerant in that way. A wince at Tisiphone's frak. Oh dear. She look sympathetic in regret. "Then I will be glad that our memories will be as bright as the sun and colors here," Lunair states simply. She grins at the tan talk, though for her part, she is content to make sure Quinn isn't baking. The crates are filling happily, a doctor's dream of pain relief and easing patients into Morpheus' sweet embrace. The gentle haze of pulling a body away from a shrieking mind's reminders of its injury well after the fact. Yes, you are hurt… but rest and forget, rest and travel to your dreams, far away from the ache of loss.

The butterflies simply are, paragons of some long clutched ideal. Eat, drink and be merry. For tomorrow… They will drift away from those not wishing their company. As for Cidra's curious traveler, it circles her hand a little. Other flowers, like chrysanthemums, rush roses and floral maidens myriad of name coyly offer their scents into the breeze. Eventually, it will alight delicately upon the CAG's hand, gentle as a child's breath in sleep. It might tickle a little, but soon it watches her as curiously as she might watch it, wings spreading and closing alternately. Who observes who in this world? Who is really caged? It pays no mind to those passing, intent upon its platform. What world is this? What secrets might she carry on that hand? It is wordless, profound and silent. But so simple and unthinking! It's just a moment, watching. Would it smile? Who knows? Only it. Those blurs seem to inch closer to wary, now still horses. The foals seem to pay no mind, circling their elders. Ssshaaa, ssssha, grasses wave in sibilent worship to their lords too. It is.

Quinn rolls a look up to her hair, not that she can actually see it, but she pretends to…"It's a frizzy mess." She admits simply, never liking what you have, it seems. She finishes another hand full, taking most flowers she sees but she expertly passes up a few. It's second nature to her. Her eyes flicker over to Tisi then, and the departing Cora, blinking a touch. "You both still have cameras? Damn nice… Lucky…Seems Cora has one close at hand, unless she's running away from the butterflies."

"You do?" Psyche gasps at Cora, beaming as the other Caprican goes to fetch the camera. "Nikki, you're so my hero!" She takes a moment to gaze out over the fields and taken in the sunlit dazzle of colors, the pastoral peace. "This is definitely something I want to remember." Snip, snip, snip. Another handful hits the crate.

Cora takes a couple steps back, turning the camera on and snapping a quick picture of Cidra with that butterfly on her hand before heading back over towards the others in the field. "It's not mine, exactly," she explains to Quinn, "It's Intel's. Useful on away missions for documenting things we can't bring back with us. But for all intents and purposes, it's mine." And she's gonna use it for this, or rather, she looks between Tis and Psyche and asks, "Which of you wants it first?"

"Not /still/," Tisiphone corrects, after clearing her throat several times. "Found it in the forest on Leonis." Finders keepers. The restless dead can't use cameras, anyway. She pauses mid-stoop with a look to Cora, and waves off the offer with a shake of her head.

"Ah…!" Cidra inhales soft as the butterfly alights on her fingertips. For a moment she continues to hold herself perfectly still. Afraid the slightest twitch will break her little moment with the creature. Then, light as she can, she blows a soft breath of air toward it. To send it on its way. Still watching it flutter off as she shifts position to kneel on the turf. Still close enough to touch her Raptor, but she gets down among the flowers. Fingertips caressing the stem of a pale red rush rose. Absorbed in that as she is, it takes her a second to note Cora's return to the Raptor. Eyes flit up to the tactical officer. She shrugs. As if half-embarrassed to be caught actually enjoying herself a very little.

Psyche claps her hands excitedly. "Me, me, oh me!" she bounds over to receive the camera. "I'll be super careful with it," she promises, taking the gadget in hand and fiddling with it a little, locating the zoom and other features before lining up a shot. "Smile, horsies!"

Lunair smiles, "Awesome!" A camera. She seems even more pleased. She tilts her head at Quinn, "As is mine. I'm glad to have it back. But Marko likes the scarves I wear, so I guess that will be my thing." She seems amused. She is less expert and has to peer at the plants now and then. She watches the others happily. Snipt! Another bud meets its final destiny. "Oh, thank you for offering but I'm not any good with a camera. I'd feel more comfortable practicing first," And she doesn't wish to waste such precious film. She looks to the crate. "We're getting a nice haul," She considers the loads to come, pleased.

The butterfly upon Cidra's hand is still for a moment too. Maybe he does not wish her to flutter away either, a teasing sort of friend? He flutters off with her gentle breath. He has affairs of his own to attend to, it might seem. The rose is sweetly scented. It might admire Cidra in turn, would that it had eyes. Or perhaps it might curl in envy of her, for having survived so and yet still unwithered. So many silent questions, one could live in a field and never answer them all. The horses might give Psyche a good shot, peering at her briefly. The foals are still at play, heedless of outside. They practice for a day when galloping may mean the difference between life and death, when sharp eyes will mean life, a strong body a place in the herd. When… when. When? Those faint blurs draw nearer. Are those ears? Fur? Hard telling. For now there is peace, alternately tranquil and tense. As if holding one's breath before leaving the berth or bed. Stillness is not an eternity, it is not life. Even if sometimes life is still. But the flowers exist like Dionysus' fantastic troupe, reveling, laughing and spreading themselves to the breeze. Nearer… nearer…

Quinn has fallen back into her quiet introspection again, though she's definitely more comfortable now that she's undone the top of her slacks. She can bend over easier, even if she's still taking it slow. She probably wouldn't end up dizzy, but just in case she really doesn't want to pass out under the heat in front of the crew. Snip, drop, snip drop… just a slow pattern of cutting and gathering, the sun already tinting her arms a bit red.

Cora did shoot Cidra a quick smile as she caught eyes with the CAG after taking that picture, then heads back out and passes the camera off to Psyche with a, "Please don't break it." She then gets back to work, suggesting to the pilot, "Get some more with people in them, too. And don't think there won't be any of you in that outfit," she teases lightly. Poppies are snipped and tossed by the handful into her crate, blurry grass-movements unnoted.

Pleased with her shots of the horses, Psyche turns and lines up a shot of Quinn and Lunair, working together in the sunshine. "Oh, please," she tells Cora at the threat of being photographed. "You know I have no shame." She steps back a few paces, turning the lens on Cora and Tisiphone, now. "Say, 'morpha'!"

Tisiphone's boots crunch softly against the earth as she starts back toward the Raptor, her crate full of poppyheads. Unbeknownst to her, one of the giant iridescent butterflies has alighted on the back of her bandana and comes along for the ride, its blue wings slowly fanning the air. Human parasailing. She looks over toward Psyche and chimes, complete with snarky grin, "Me-e-edicators!"

Cidra is a little more withered than the rose she's fingering now, admittedly. It's been a long stretch of months for all of them since the attacks. Her hands linger on the stem of the rush rose. Then, her right reaches back and up. To undo the duty bun she affixes her ruddy brown hair in on duty. She shakes it lose, so it falls around her shoulders. With it down, she plucks the rush rose. And sets it behind her ear. Held in place partially by her loose, straight tendrils. She just stays kneeling among the blooms by the Raptor for a moment. Head tilted up to the sun. Flower behind her ear.

"True, silly me," Cora retorts to Psyche, watching her snap photos. When she and Tis are called out, she grins for the camera, and then tilts her chin back towards the raptor, pointing out somewhat discreetly to the blonde, "Hey, get one of the major like that." More sneaky Cid-spotting. Mwaha.

Psyche wide-eyes and ooooos silently as she lines up the shot of the CAG, sun-worshipping with a rose behind her ear. Click. "Good call," she whispers to Cora, taking another just to make sure. Then, handing off the camera, "Here, get one of me?" She plucks a poppy and puts it between her teeth, striking a heroic pose. Cheeseball.

Lunair watches Quinn a moment, headtilting. "Feeling okay? It's kinda hot," The crispy Canceron admits. "You can borrow my hat if you want. I've got dark hair," She notes. She smiles, snipping another bud. She giggles at the pictures, smiling. She's full of good cheer and tries not to grin even more seeing Tisiphone used as a parasailing platform.

Consider a heartbeat. Thump. Lub. Dub. Sometimes it's forceful, pushing the blood in one's ears urgently. Sometimes it's a soft flutter, mooning over a love. But it is always a pulse, a rhythm. When it fails, it is death or sickness. thump. thump. THUMP. Some long lost drummer, pounding to a primal beat. It only takes one heartbeat to change a world. There is time for a few more photographs of this place's beautious, wonderous side. Its joyful green skirts, smiles and hair adorned with maidens of petals. Its revelers, who seize each moment as if they were made of gold, of the sweetest drink, of one's brightest smile. But. It only takes one. One. Single heartbeat. The snap of a start gun. The launch of a bullet, propelled by explosives touched with spark. A wingbeat. A breath. A stalled word. All of those - a heartbeat. And so, those blurs beat. A lioness, pure white as a queen's silks bolts at one of the herd's rear members. She is silent, intense. A stone Sagittaron goddess - utterly concentrating and utterly inscrutable. She is a predator. Her heart beats for the hunt. She cannot catch that horse. Not that maternal aunt who bravely tries to move the foals towards the middle. An outcry, a warning. Beat. Beat. Another heartbeat. Soon, a second lioness- Goddess' sister, inscrutable and warriorlike as her other joins and flanks the defender. There is a sharp protest. Run, run o run! O flee! Those claws are razor sharp, brutal in their honesty.

Simple in their trade. Effective in their task. Symbols of this planet itself perhaps. Stark. Sharp. … simple? No. A stone goddess, mysterious in her cold smile. Her thoughts are her own. Her words are plain, leaving behind civilization's veil. O! But those lionesses, for them it is life and death too! A third appears, to finish the tackle from the other side. They are stunningly clever in their tactics. Simple? Simple. Simple… Old. But people do much the same, all considered. The struggle is mercifully brief, the third cunning sister managing to catch the neck. The defender has fallen. But others live on, bolting away. The running herd is a majestic sight, if one ignores the reasons. She has done her jobs, the foals are learning fear. Those sharp whinnies, that run! Run! Hearts beat like thunder. But is it cruel?

Cidra does not notice she's being photographed. She kneels like that a moment, then straightens up. About to head properly back into the Raptor, though the sight of the lions in the distance gets her attention. She holds herself still again as she watches them hunt. There's no particular discomfort about watching the act of hunt and kill. If anything, she is transfixed by the visceral sight in the same manner she was the butterflies.

The question of the heat makes Quinn's nose wrinkle just a bit. She waves off the hat, "Nah… I'm not that hot, just a bit but… hell, not like I'm gonna topple over because of a bit of sun. I'm fine." Maggie insists, almost a bit defensively as she dips for another bud and then pauses. The sight of the line draws her eyes up, going just a bit wide. She actually allows herself to be fully distracted from work a few moments, watching it all wordlessly… no wince, no doubt.

Cora laughs, and snaps a picture of Psyche posing like that, and then leans back and holds the camera out to get one of the pair of them before turning back to the others. The auto-focus makes quick work of capturing the scene, before the sudden movement and noise has her turning and commenting simply, "Whoa."

There is unquestionably a magnificent savagery to the hunt, a stark and terrible beauty… but Psyche is tender hearted, and though she could never find it in said tender heart to starve a lion, she cannot help but grieve for the horses. Her mouth drops open and the flower falls from her lips, hands lifting to stifle a short, strangled cry of distress. "Oh, no…!"

Simple and bloody. Mother Nature's a bitch like that, no matter the colony, though it may be particularly poignant upon Sagittaron these days. Tisiphone's steps amble to a halt at the sound of the spooked horses. She squints against the sunshine as the visceral scene plays itself out as it has countless unwitnessed times before. "Least the foals got away," is her own take on it, with a glance to Psyche. No poster child for sympathetic responses, her, but she takes a stab at it anyway.

There's no sign of grief or anything like that from Cidra. But then, her reputation is not precisely that of a tender heart. She inclines her head in the direction of the lionnesses. As if doing them some obscure bit of respect. Then goes to retake her seat in the Raptor. Hair still down. Flower still tucked behind her ear.

Blink. Lunair's eyes are wide as saucers. She's in the same boat as Psyche, biting her lower lip. Poor horse. But … the lions. "I- think we'd best finish our loads and get going before they finish eating. I don't want to harm white lions, nor do I want to take them on with sidearms." Modern as they are, it's still a dicey battle. And those cubs… Still adorable. She'll offer a hand to Quinn, and if that's not needed, begin loading the crate.

It simply is, in the end. One life, traded to protect others and to feed. It's severe in its truth. One of reality's many faces from subtle to contrasting to cruel to stark. People and animals, their jungles, savannah and worlds made of different materials - all carve their existence out or fall to the wayside as memories, fall to the wayside and are lost forever, fossils or bones serving as warnings or history lessons. So many questions might linger about who or their place. Was it Fate's most cruel yet utterly impartial older sister trimming her threads once more? All threads must end after all. It is grief and relief at once, feeding and being eaten. White and naked as bones left in the sun, or beautiful as the most worked ivories. Raw in its honesty. Whose life was given for breakfast, what thing taken to carry on? For now, the lions are busy divvying up dinner. Kittens tussle and one squeaks indignantly as he's rolled out of the way. HEY! The male is considering his choice, before bellowing a roar. He is here. This is his. It might be a warning, him simply stating his dominance, or it might be an alert to the others. For a lingering moment, he might regard those people with intense green eyes. A stone warrior to match the others. He huffs softly, tongue lolling in the heat. Climate has a way of humbling even kings. Well. He'd best not miss out on eating. It buys them some time at least. The lionesses might peer over, muzzles stained red. They seem to quietly return the respect, peering intently. Who are you? Not part of this tapestry. Something to be watched, for now.

Quinn waves off the help from Lunair gently, an honest motion but a bit defensive. She's fine. "I got it… You think we got enough?" Maggie frowns a bit as she drops a few more into the crate and looks in to see how many extras they have. "Seems they're gonna be well fed enough after that, we probably got a bit more time." Maggie admits, apparently not too eager to leave the outdoors, even if there is a heavy line of sweat across her brow.

Psyche flashes Tis a weak smile, acknowledging the reassurance — and it's certainly not without comfort. The foals live — poor, spindly things — thanks to the aching heroism of their aunt, who now feeds the lions and the green, growing things. "Yeah," she whispers, watching the bloody scene a moment longer before turning to harvest more poppies, subdued.

"All we /needed/ was a single poppyhead," comes Tisiphone's raspy theorizing, as she pulls her bandana off her head — and dislodging her iridescent companion in the process — to mop at the sweat on her face. "Could grow up our stores from one seed. Slow as frak, but-" She shrugs. "All this?" A gesture at the storage crates they're all carrying. "We're laughing." Not as hard as they would be, if they'd all had some poppy tea, but laughing all the same. "Frakking tragic to have to shoot them just 'cause they're protecting their lunch." For her part, she doesn't return to the field, instead stowing her crate and lingering near the Raptor to light up a cigarette.

Lunair considers it. It's a sombering sight. A reminder of one's place. No one is exempt from the cycle, however majestic or small. Each player lifts their mask, steps upon the stage and falls away. She nods at Tisiphone. "Also, I think I see some kittens. If I know anything about animals or people, it's don't mess with momma and don't give momma the ideas you might mess with her babies." Especially not with these warrior women, fuzzy as they are. They seem to hunt /together/. She'll allow a few moments, to finish any buds or for one last glance but Lunair doesn't seem to want to have to deal with the immense felines. They might still put a dent in the Colonials after all. She smiles, "I am … really glad you guys came. It means a lot to me." She admits this quietly. "Thank you. At this rate, we'll be taking over that deck," She winks. APparently, they are welcomed into the project too.

For now, the lions are indeed quite busy. Kittens catching scraps, rolling and nudging one another. Playful bats, indignant noises are exchanged. Practice. For One Day. The mothers and aunts watch intensely, some with darker eyes than others. Each eventually dips their muzzle, returning with bright red that almost resembles war paint or ceremonial markings. And yet, all it took was a heartbeat to change worlds. Even the male is getting his share, even if he played no part in the hunt.

Quinn nods in agreement about the kittens and mommas, "Well, yeah… I guess we have enough. Anyone need help carrying a crate?" Maggie asks, hands free now, her scizzors slipped back down into one of the cargo pockets of her slacks.

Cora snaps a photo of the lions once they're all settled down and arranged in such a conveniently tight formation. Then she lifts her crate up too, wandering towards the Raptor after Tisiphone. "I think if we're forced to start shooting lions, we've got larger problems," she remarks before turning over her shoulder towards Lunair and smiling a little. "This was nice," she comments, "A change of pace. Thank you for organizing it."

The prowling male, taking his choice of the food after the lionesses did all the meal preparations. Tisiphone watches the whole ritual from the side of the Raptor, puffing thoughtfully on her cigarette. There's a glimmer of wry amusement in her pale eyes. "Ever tell you about the grizzly bear on Leonis?" she quips scratchily to Cora. "Shit, frak that- did I tell you the hippopotamuses on Sagittaron are carnivorous?" The corners of her lips twitch as she grinds the remainder of her cigarette out underfoot and climbs into the Raptor to help ferry supplies aboard.

Psyche pockets her scissors and hefts her crate, shaking her head at Quinn. "You really shouldn't be doing any heavy lifting — we've got it." She sighs and looks back over the scenery. "I wish we didn't have to leave so soon. Sign me up for the next time, huh, Lunie?" she asks the marine officer. "This was beautiful."

Cora lifts her crate into the stack in the Raptor and turns back to Tisiphone, brows lifting, "A grizzly bear? In Kythera? Seriously? I didn't see any of those, thank the gods." As for the hippos, she lifts a brow, skeptical, "I distinctly recall learning hippos are herbivores," she replies, "But nice try. Unless it was the radiation that turned them?" she asks, or rather, suggests, with a conspiritorial glance that offers it as a possible embellishment.

Quinn slips back, quietly onto the Raptor… she'll actually fall asleep on the way home. Maybe the heat was more than she expected.

"I'm good, but thanks," She smiles at Quinn. "I'm really glad you came out," Lunair nods. She's sincere, grateful for the company. "And Ensign Apostolos had her hand in this too," She smiles at Tisiphone and Cora as well. "I'd be glad to have you guys along on the next stop we make," She promises quietly. Then a nod at tisiphone and her eyebrows lift. "Well. I'd frankly rather not risk anyone fighting wildlife that I can avoid." And there's something special about the leonine family, color included. "It was beautiful and the company was nice," She is pleased. The last crates are loaded and the passengers safely onboard. Nothing will impede them from taking off smoothly as they came. Nothing will cease to be the way it was once they have left. It is kind and cruel at once, resuming its business with but a glance at the interlopers. The lions resume their surviving, eyes turned into the breeze. And the Raptor has a healthy supply of morpha buds, ready to be grown or processed. "And thank our drivers too," She flashes a smile at Cidra and the quiet ECO. There is much to be thankful for, and much to be sad. Two stone faces forever side by side. Two shadows and lights, all changing. In just a beat. But fortunately, you make it home safely in myriads of beats settling into the usual once more.

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