PHD #382: Laundry Therapy
PHD #382: Laundry Therapy
Summary: Khloe and Leyla end up in the laundry. Tough officers let down their guard and share as friends, and let out some emotions.
Date: 15 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: None
Khloe Leyla 
Laundry Room - Deck 3 - Battlestar Cerberus
Industrial washers and dryers line each side of this elongated room, which typically has personnel moving in and out all day and night. These front-loading systems are designed to withstand the rigors of a military beating and still function as expected. A sturdy set of counters run the length of the room for crewmembers to fold their own laundry and dress and pins or patches before and after the process.
Post-Holocaust Day: #382

It's funny, the little things that people end up choosing to do during the brief respite from the Cylons. Some are celebrating, as best one can during Condition two. Some are planning for the dire days to come (which of course they're sure are actually coming), some are trying to make repairs to the ships and the people who have taken such a beating in the weeks since the daily attacks begin. And some are fighting. Tooth and nail. For life and death! Case in point. Enter Leyla Aydin. Current location? The Cerberus laundry. The troops? The piles of his and hers laundry waiting to be steamed. The current mechanical threat? The steam press. Her current weapon…a wrench. Though from the looks of it, she's more likely to start banging on the thing than trying to fix it.

When one is devoted to one's duties as much as Khloe, using available time wisely is something that is practiced regardless of the shipwide condition. But, with condition two, the air wing must be ready to launch at a moment's notice, and that usually eliminates the chance of a proper washing. Being as meticulous as she is, this has likely annoyed Khloe to no end. Finally, as attitudes begin to relax as the Cylon swarm seems less and less interested in the fleet, Khloe allows herself some washing time. And her duffel is packed. She settles in by two unused washers and begins to sort.

Bang! Bang! Bang! The ring of things being handled the Taurian way, as Leyla starts her assault on the press, and the recalcitrant joint that's frozen the steamer in the open position. And she's throwing threats, maybe curses at the machine as well, one with every hit. Thankfully though, it's in taurian and not in standard. Her attention perks, hands raised mid-strike as she catches sight of the familiar head and shoulders, "Poppy." Bang! Bang! "You finally got a few hours offduty?" Bang! Bang!

"Senior officers are beginning to rotate off of double CAP and alert status, so I'm taking the time to get caught up on my washing. It's difficult to maintain high standards of locker orderliness when you have a giant duffel stuffed with dirty clothes." That's what passes for humor in Khloe's world - and Sweet Pea is one of the few where she lets her guard down enough to reveal it. "Something wrong with the press? I've uniforms that need starching."

"It's like a black hole, sucking all the rightness out of the world." Which is Sweet Pea's answer to Khloe's humour. Dry and understated, like the SL. As for her current nemesis? "Someone spilled, I don't even know what on the back of this thing, and it's all frozen on the joint, I'm trying to break it off enough to close the press, because I'm not about to go to engineering and ask them to waste time doing a chemical analysis of this stuff, but I also can't risk putting solvent on it," Bang! Bang!, "and then the next thing you know, there's a hole in the deck, and the press doesn't work."

Giving a faint wrinkle of her nose, Khloe continues to sort her laundry. She's gone through her entire wardrobe, it seems, and that consists mainly of regulation… everything. Everything from underwear to tanks to uniforms. Even the mesh lining of her flight suits is getting washed. Cleanliness is next to godliness, or something. "You might want to try some of that red liquid abrasive soap that the deck uses. Could work it free. But if you spend more than fifteen minutes hammering away at it, you're probably going to do more harm than good." And then the Knights SL begins stuffing in her 'whites' - mainly light grays, really.

"Poppy, I love you." Yes, Sweet Pea just said that. Yes, to Khloe's face. Well, to half of her back and sort of her side, given the angle of the washer. And yes, she meant it. And, wonder of wonders, will probably get away with it. "Don't let anyone steal my wrench, I'm going to go pilfer what I can from the deck. When I get back, I'll help you get caught up." Three, now four years, she can be as Khloe as Khloe when it comes to laundry.

Allowing herself to smile inwardly, just a little, Khloe busies herself with the half of her laundry that she was already in the process of tossing in the wash, and then begins working on her colors - dark grays and blues. It probably takes the greater part of fifteen minutes for Leyla to go, pilfer, and return, so the entirety of the wash is likely nearing its final spin. Behold the power of industrial-strength military washers.

Fifteen minutes, almost to the nose, it is for Leyla to get to the deck, stea—er, requisition supplies and make it back, complete with scrub brush and heavy duty gloves. This stuff is no joke. "In and out, they hardly knew I was there." She settles in, with scrub brush and soap as she starts working away at the joint, ignoring the bright spots that are occassionally revealed from where wrench met metal, "How are your pilots holding up?" Which is also her way of saying 'How are you holding' up, without seeming, you know, too mushy.

"We've sustained a few casualties but I don't think anyone is permanently injured," Khloe responds, still perched on the edge of the bench in front of her washers. Spin, spin, spin they go. "Hosedown and Spiral were the worst of the lot. Drips almost lost his hand; I've seen less grievous injuries warrant an amputation." She licks her thumb and eradicates a spot, imaginary or otherwise, on the knee of her fatigues. "We held together." Which is her way of saying, I'm holding together.

"Three out of the whole squadron is a gift," as these things go, you see, "To tell you the truth, I was expecting things to be much worse. It's been over a year, but I look around sometimes, and it's like I wonder if people realize that this isn't a training exercise. That it's not a big frat party with a kegger waiting to be broken open." Translation, people are not taking good enough care of her BFF, "Poppy, how much experience do you have flying civilian class ships?"

"None, other than what they force you through in flight school," she admits. The machinery begins spinning down, and Khloe begins tapping her foot, watching the blinking light that screams DO NOT OPEN ME YET. Glancing over her shoulder at the other woman, she observes, "That was an interesting tangent."

Scrub, scrub, scrub, work, work, work, as whatever the hell was on the press starts coming off, wiped away and the rags thrown into a hazmat bag, "When Flasher and I went out those waypoints, that ship down in starboard wasn't the only ship we found. We also found one in the Pelios Run. Might or might not be salvageable. But if nothing else, the metal and the FTL drive might be useable." It's spelunking in a vacuum, yo. And she wants Khloe to come along.

Whirr, click. Finally the wash finishes, and the 'safe to open' light winks on solid. Khloe goes about lugging piles of damp clothing into the nearby dryers. "Did you get a good look at it? Camera footage, snapshots, and the like? If we can identify what kind of ship it is, I can train in the simulators. But really, you would be better off with a pilot with salvage experience, or making the proposal to command and seeing who they assign to you." Whump, she closes the heavy lid to the industrial dryer and sets it to, well, dry. This takes longer than the wash, naturally, so now Khloe has nothing to do but wait. She sits back down, perching on the bench, and watching Leyla attack the press.

"Yes, but it's not the same." Not like in the old days, when they were shooting and bombing and causing general mayhem for the pirate population. A simpler, though not a quieter, time. These girls sure do love their ordinance. "We've got as much information as we could pull out of the ID databases. Transport freighter, with after market hardpoints." A civilian ship with pewpew ability? Bonus. "I'd love to get that thing back up in the air, but it's sunk into an asteroid pretty well. Still, I wouldn't mind it for a transport to save our raptors the work." The last of the cleaning agent is wiped off, before leyla goes to ditch the gloves, clean er hands and give the press a try.

Khloe scratches the scars at the inside of her left arm, clearly giving this some thought; Leyla can pick out that she wants to flat out say 'not my problem', but she's giving her the benefit of the doubt. "Well, I suppose I could run through a few sims of freighters of a similar weight class. It's really just getting comfortable with the consoles and finding where everything is. No twitch flying with a freighter, I suppose." She hmphs thoughtfully. "Might give me an excuse to work on my Raptor cross-certification, although that seems like it's light-years away, now."

"I guess I just miss the fun days we used to have." Fun and Khloe, not two words that usually go together without the worlds exploding, but there it is, "I know you're busy, and if you don't have the time, it's alright. I figure we'll have some viper cover regardless." Thoughtful herself as the press finally starts to give a little, Leyla having to put all of her weight into it, but it's loosening up nicely, "You know you can take shifts on the Elpis. Payback's there…he's an amazing resource." Old salt, FTW. "First War, 30 years in service. He was a raptor stick, but he spent over a decade as a CAG, and as long as an SL beforehand."

"I'll consider it," is Khloe's final say on the matter. Fifty-fifty's a better chance than flat-out no. "Besides, I'm more comfortable in a Viper anyway. If the freighter is a no-go, I'll at least cover your six." At the talk about the Elpis and Payback, Khloe arches a slight eyebrow. "Sounds like you're smitten," she states flatly. "Probably over twice your age. I mean, if you're into that sort of thing." The dryer cycle needs inspection, of course, so Khloe hides her playful smirk by peering in through the thick plastic window of her dryers. Ooh, spin.

"There's more than a bit of humour in her own voice, but some thoughtfulness as well, "You know, I think I am, a little bit. But I dunno, not like that. It's like…I can't wait to hear what comes out of his mouth sometimes. Things I never thought of, ways of flying, little stories from back in the war." Yep, fangirl crush! "But I suppose I am into that sort of thing. Mark's what…fifteen years older than I am?" Again, that sort of feminine humour. It's two girls, dishing on boys. What's more BFF than that? "I think this thing is ready to go now. I'll get started on mine, when yours are done, I'll help with those."

Khloe slowly rises up from behind her dryer, eyes narrowed, looking directly at her friend. "Mark?" She doesn't know. Of all the people in the air wing to keep track of who is dating who and who is frakking who, Poppy's extremely likely to not know unless it's in her face. Case in point, the Devlins. "Mark… who?"

And it hasn't been in her face at all, since Leyla moved into officer country. Still, she can gossip while she works, yes. Which she does, beginning to work her way through the 'his' pile of dress, blues, and duty uniforms she's pulled out of the mothballs of the locker, "Makinen. Captain. ChEng." Truth be told, Leyla's not really been one to flaunt her personal life, so it makes it a bit of a non-issue in the berthings.

"Interesting," Khloe says flatly - whether or not she actually finds it that is questionable. And probably irrelevant from Leyla's perspective. "He… treats you right?" Khloe, going straight for the abuse angle. Although, given her background and her few abysmal failures of relationships since she joined the navy, it's probably first and foremost in her mind.

And Leyla knows Khloe. And being that she knows Khloe, she knows that's really all Khloe cares about. As long as Leyla isn't being hurt, anything else is not her concern. There's really only so much touchy feely in this friendship, and that's okay. "Yes. He takes good care of me." Press. Hiss. Steam. Release. Oh the memories of working in a taurian sweatshop. It's no wonder Leyla looks so at home in the laundry. "Did you say raptor cross-training?"

Change of topic, what? Clearing her throat, Khloe nods. "Yes. I helped hump Raptors around the tarmac when I was at Tau Garrison." See? Everyone learns something useful on Tauron. "I know how to make them take off, land, and crawl along the flight plane. Beyond that and I'd probably end up crashing. But it's something I've always been interested in. You know, better soldier." She glances at the timer - soon, things will be done tumbling.

"I wouldn't mind you and the other viper pilots at the least getting a feel for how things work in a raptor. Frankly, it's easier to learn one than the other, and emergencies might arise." Press, press, press, before the clothes are hung neatly and ready to be relockered, "We've been staying over in officer country." Which would explain why Leyla doesn't really live in the berths anymore, "I come back for Bunny when he needs me." Not changing the subject, more like pulling in two topics at once. Saves time.

"I wouldn't say one piloting is easier than the other, just different," Khloe states. Her dryers sound off; they're done. And probably nuclear hot at the moment. She cracks the heavy doors open to let the initial burst of heat out. "Hmm, Bunny does need careful handling," she observes. "Glad he's not my problem. And I'm glad he's never asked me." Alluding to, of course, Evan's quest to take innocent naps with everyone in the air wing. And she purposefully does not follow up on the information of where Leyla's staying, and why.

"It's a tough situation. Because on the one hand, he's a good pilot, a fabulous pilot, but on the other, well, he needs special handling. I think he might have actually done better in Pony's squadron, but he'd never leave Boots. And Jugs will be back on the flight line soon." Couple of months, give or take, "I can set up a few raptor sims for you to work through, the same ones we set up for Boots, when he wanted to get qualified as a pilot."

Khloe begins hauling out clothes from the dryer, breaking them up into piles of "fold" and "press" as she does. "Thanks," she responds. "It's not high on my list right now. I'm hoping with condition three I can get things back to normal. I've a squadron of overworked officers who need time off and adjustment back to their old routines, and that means their SL needs to do paperwork and evaluations and whatnot." She sniffs lightly, making a distasteful look on her face. "I hate paperwork. Things were easier when I was just a Lieutenant."

Leyla moves between where Khloe's sorting and where she's working, picking up the SL's pile of 'press' as she goes. She did say she'd help and she means it. "Have you thought about appointing a second? Someone that can handle the day to day paperwork for you and let you focus on your people and getting them what they need?" Press, press. Perfect.

"Well, funny you should mention that," she says, finishing gathering her clothes up out of the dryers. Duffel gets opened and the non-press stuff is rapidly military-folded or rolled up and tucked into the bag for storage later. This part's easier than the pressing. "I'd ask that you don't pass this along to anyone, because I don't want him to get a big head, or anyone else to think I'm picking favorites. I already consider Drips my second. He's done everything he can to help. And when he's frakked up, I call him on it, he gets over it and he fixes it. No lip back. Compared to the rest of the Knights, he's one of the no-nonsense officers I have."

"When have I ever passed on gossip like that?" Never. Khloe's things are being work through first, before the rest of her laundry. Pressed, hung, checked for regulation and left for the woman to pick up when ready. "Maybe you should make it formal. And it's not about giving him a swelled head or letting people think you have a favourite. But you can do that and make him a resource for the wing. If you trust him to act in your stead, I don't see why not. He was the Midshipman in charge when I was a plebe. I know how well he works. He's a good officer and he could be a help to you in an official capacity."

"I don't know," Khloe says as she continues to fold and roll her clothes. "I don't like the prospect of passing on my responsibilities. I'll have to think about it." And the topic circles around again, because clearly she's thinking about it. "So, you and Captain Makinen," she says, brow creasing as she considers it. "I wouldn't think you… I mean, you know. You're like me. Duty comes first. How did it happen?"

"It's not passing on, exactly. It's sharing." Not that Khloe particularly shares well, but there it is. Chaingang Leyla seems inordinately cheerful, considering she's working her way through the steam and the smell and the hands that occasionally need to be flapped around to cool them down, "You know, it's funny, but I don't really know how it happened, exactly. I mean, I know when we started spending time together that wasn't related to work. He had already been coming to Flasher and I for help on one of his projects, and I was sort of a go between for him with that ancient ship. And one night I showed him my tatau," which was a big, honking deal, "and we started reading them together, sharing the stories." Leyla pauses, setting out the last of Khloe's jackets, before she starts on the pants.

Smirking slightly, Khloe nods. "Right. You initiated," she states, clearly understanding what happened in the beginnings of that relationship. Tossing her duffel to the side, having finished rolling up and folding that which can be rolled and folded, she takes the rest of her uniforms parts and other pressables and begins working along side her friend. She clarifies her mild snark so that, hopefully, she doesn't take offense. "Tatau are a very private matter, I thought."

"You remember what happened the last time someone else initiated?" Horror of horrors that was. For him. "I suppose I did, but it wasn't like that, at the beginning, you know? It was like…we were in that ship, the dead everywhere, and I thought…I carry the dead with me, now, all of their stories. And I didn't want them to be forgotten. I wanted someone else to remember them too." The pair work well together, in perfect harmony. "And he never asked that I be anything other than what I was, and he never stopped being the ChEng first and everything else second," which is what Leyla clearly appreciated. "And it was nice to be with him. To just feel accepted. And he never pushed, or asked for what I wasn't willing to give. Even when things got personal. It was always my choice."

Dubious Khloe is dubious, but she's always distrustful when people talk about their relationships. But, Leyla being one of the few people on Cerberus who actually understand her, simply nods. "Well, be careful," is her last word on that subject. She grows quiet, working along side her friend, only the sound of the nearby equipment and the presses under their hands breaking the silence. Clearly, she's thinking about her own past, her eyes really not focused on what she's doing.

"I'm always careful." Which is probably why, well, this is the first time in all the time Khloe's ever known her that she's actually 'in a relationship.' OMG. "He really is a good man. Smart, and funny. And he's got a really nice—" Okay, maybe TMI, "You want the crease to go all the way up the leg on these, or just to an inch under where the jacket will fall?"

"Yuck," Khloe complains at the almost-too-much-information, visibly shuddering. "All the way up, please." The next press and steam gets a bit more of a vigorous treatment from the older, more prudish woman; she is either blushing from embarrassment, or from the heat of the laundry. One is more likely than the other. "Seriously, you've seen one naked officer, you've seen them all." Of course, refering to berths life.

All the way up it is, the steam hiding the slight smile that crosses Leyla's lips. prudish, maybe, but Leyla wouldn't be Leyla if she didn't occasionally forget what's appropriate and what isn't. "Depends on who it is you're seeing. There are a few that I needed to scrub my eyeballs off after. "Remember Half Stroke?" Given the callsign for…obvious reasons. "I thought we were going to have to cut it off, before he learned his lesson."

"Leyla!" Khloe is certainly red now, and not from the steam. She's doing everything in her power from bursting out laughing, or in an atypical giggle fit appropriate for someone a third of her age. She's desperately clinging to her best manageable frowny-face, although it's not working very well. "You are so vile," she whines while shaking her head, half-giggling as she does so. "If Spiral or Decoy or Wright even so much as heard we were having this conversation, I'd lose all of my hardass credibility. You. Are. Gross." And, with that super-mature declaration, she presses her last pair of pants. Ssssssss. Giggle.

"What? You were in the berthings that night." Leyla's voice shift, turning high and girly. Like a boy who's voice is still changing pitch from puberty, "Okay, I'm done." Clearly mimicking the voice of said Half Stroke. And then, soft and willowy and incredulous, but feminine, "What, you mean you already started?" Leyla, not as ready to be frowny face as Khloe it seems, does giggle, "Talk about false advertising!" Which the girls in the squadron quickly rectified, "You didn't think that magnifying glass was just a prop did you?" The one that found its way into the berths, complete with its own glass case and sign, 'In case of emergency, break glass.' "Sunny was bound and determined to make sure nobody ever made her mistake again." Leyla even bats her eyes, as she finishes the last of the pants on her side of the table, "I know you are, but what am I?" Yeah, totally mature.

For the first time since the war started, and perhaps a number of years prior, Khloe is actually laughing. Tears are streaming down her cheeks. When she finishes folding the last set of slacks, in a rare gesture of affection, she turns and wraps her arms around Leyla for a sisterly hug. "Thank you," she says into the younger woman's shoulder, still giggling. "You are gross, but you are still my friend."

"OMG, you never had to break the glass did you?" of course Khloe didn't, but it's still funny, the words coming out between fits of giggles. Oh, if the rest of the ship could see these two now, laughing, crying, hugging. Tight and fierce. It's not often that Khloe actually shows affection. At all. So Leyla has to save up. Bear hugs are her specialty. "I couldn't ask for any better a friend than you, Khloe."

After a long moment of what amounts to clinging to one another, Khloe will actually pull back first, wiping at her face. "Gods, I'm a wreck, but I think I needed that," she says, sniffling. She takes a deep, cleansing breath, and then moves to gather up her pressed clothes to transfer them to the duffel. "Thank you for helping me with all of this, Sweetiepea. Hmph. Laundry therapy." Clothes get carefully put away.

Leyla allows the other woman to choose when she's had enough emotional sharing. Understanding has always been key to their friendship. The last of the pressed clothes are handed off. "We all need that sometimes." A smile, and a nod as she settles in, pulling the rest of her laundry over. "You don't have to thank me. You're my best friend. But you're welcome." laundry therapy, "Sometimes, that's the best kind."

Zip, and the bag is closed. "Well, let's get you finished, then," she states, all serious and back-to-business. As she comes to stand by her proclaimed best friend, there's that faint smile as she gets to work. One of the few people in the universe still left alive that actually understands her and gives her exactly what she needs. At the end of the world, they're here, folding laundry together.

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