PHD #091: Lethe's Whip
Lethe's Whip
Summary: Tisiphone and Bannik have a tense meeting with some of TV4's crew. Sitka joins them later.
Date: 2041.05.29
Related Logs: All Leonis logs.
Bannik Chris Frankie Sitka Tisiphone Polaris 
Sagittaron House — Second Floor — Leonis
Post-Holocaust Day: #91
A grand staircase leads up to the second floor, splitting halfway up to join to either side of a walkway open to the floor below. There are once-opulent sitting rooms here as well, but smaller and more understated — meant for more private gatherings.

Further in from the balconies and sitting rooms are several wide corridors branching to narrower ones, flanked by door after door. Engraved placards mark several of the doors, marking half of the floor for administrative and office purposes, the remaining for guest suites. The doors leading to the latter have, to a one, been bashed open and the contents sacked; several of the administrative doors, made of sturdier stuff, have been left intact.

It's early evening, and out beyond the shattered second-floor embassy windows, the sun is setting across the shattered cityscape of downtown Kythera. Tisiphone sits in front of one of these windows. She faces out toward the city with her legs crossed and her forearms resting lightly across her thighs, palms turned up, sleety eyes focussed on some remote point.

"Cubit for your thoughts, Tis?" Bannik appears behind the pilot. He's in his duty greens again, out of his heavy armor. He never got used to it. His expression — and his voice — is a mix of worried and curious.

Tisiphone's fingers twitch faintly as she blinks repeatedly, reeling her gaze back in to the embassy's confines. Her forearms are carpeted with fine scratches running horizontally across the pale skin, reddened and slightly puffy like a cat's scratches might be. "Tyr," she says, pulling in a slow, deep breath as she turns to look up at him. "Sorry, what did you say?"

Bannik comes closer, peering at those forearms. "Did someone take a look at those?" he asks, his voice laced with almost maternal worry. "We don't want them getting infected." He glances up and over at Tisiphone. "But I asked what's on your mind. What happened?"

"Huh-? Oh." Tisiphone rotates her wrists as she looks down at her arms; the tiny bones in the joints crackle softly when she does. "They're fine, don't worry about it. You mind if I smoke?" She unfolds one leg, then the other, wincing faintly as she does. She's been sitting a while. "Nothing's on my mind at all, actually. It's kind of nice. You meditate, don't you?" She leans a bit to one side as she digs in her pocket for her cigarettes.

"Fine?" Bannik pushes, but he waves his hand at the question of smoking, as if to say 'go ahead.' "You don't get scratches like that through everything being fine. What happened?" He goes to take a seat next to her so he can be closer to eye level.

"Yes. Fine," Tisiphone repeats, only the faintest of long-suffering tones carried along with the light words. "It's a mind-clearing exercise," she explains, as she digs out her cigarettes and lights one up with considerable relish. "Works like a charm when nothing else does, and it's been hard getting out of my own head, lately. How you hanging in there?"

Bannik screws up his brow at Tisiphone. "Scratching yourself, Tis? That's no way to get what's inside out. I mean, really, what do you get? A rush of endorphins? Might as well just shoot up if that's what you're going for." His voice is again laced with worry and vague disapproval. And he avoids the topic of himself.

Tisiphone's hair has bleached out nearly to white under the Leonis sun; wheat-coloured brows shoot up her sunburned forehead at Bannik's words, and her cigarette bobs in her mouth as one corner of her mouth twitches up higher than the other. It's a somewhat patronizing look. "Are you really questioning me, Tyr? 'Scratching myself'? That's what you think? Really?" She huffs out a single smoky chuckle.

"I don't know, Tisiphone. How about you tell me what happened to your arms, and maybe I won't be such a jerk about it." Bannik is to the point, but he stands his ground, pressing the pilot. "But yeah. I guess I am questioning you."

Tisiphone's sitting in front of one of the smashed second-storey embassy windows, smoking a cigarette. She looks relaxed, almost dozy, and has a multitude of fine red scratches across the insides of both forearms. Bannik is looming, rather concernedly, nearby. "Shit, man, I've been doing this since my mothers had to hold the whip for me." She shrugs lightly, still with that negligent and somewhat patronizing tone, and digs into her pocket, pulling her prayer-beads partially out. She turns her hand to flip them over, dragging out the long tassel studded with tiny metal chips at the end. She gives them a little see? wiggle, then slips them back away. "Some people pace circles or lock themselves in a room full of incense. This is the way that works for me."

Bannik loom goes the Bannik. Loom. Loom. He'll be generating wool soon if he keeps this up. But at the explanation, he looks, well, mostly curious, but a little bit horrified. "But /why/, Tisiphone? Why would you do that to yourself? Hurt yourself like that." Does not compute in Tyr's head.

What, the thought of parents mortifying the flesh of their children isn't endearing? Offworlders are /so/ /weird/. There's some sort of massive cultural gap at play, here — Tisiphone just frowns faintly, as if puzzled by Bannik's puzzlement, and shrugs again. With a sigh, she flops back onto her elbows, eyes half-lidded as she drags on her cigarette. "I already told you," she explains, patiently. "Clears your mind. Gets you out of your own head. If you don't get it, you don't get it. It's an old custom. It probably hasn't lasted anywhere else." Except Gemenon, maybe, where it doubtless involves hairshirts and formal chants, too.

"Yeah. Well. I can think of a lot of other things that do without you having to take a whip to yourself, but I guess if it's been going on for lots of years …" Bannik's voice trails. Who is he to say 'no'? He accepts it. But not without another wary glance. "I'm okay. Helping out where I can. You know."

"Aw, now you're cranky." Not that Tisiphone's tone is helping any, likely — she's still got that faintly patronizing 'wookit the cute widdle offworlder!' thing going on. On a breath of smoke, she says, more genuinely, "I'm fine, Tyr. For the first time in days and days. Seriously." She even pulls a quick grin out from the crooked smirk that had been haunting the edge of her mouth. "Stop worrying. Kid brothers are supposed to think their big sisters are invincible."

"Or fuss and fret over them because they're the one that says 'this is a bad idea, I don't think we should do this,' while the Big Sister wants to go for it." That describes their relationship a lot better, or at least it does in Tyr's mind. "But I've been praying a lot, of course. Just — trying to work my way through things."

"Invincible? Which means if I cut you right now, you won't bleed." Oh look. It's Chris Calita, that sallow and scruffy-looking lighting guy, whose wolfish smile shows strangely sharp teeth as he approaches. The smell of hair gel seems to infuse every bit of him, even his breath — on which can be detected the faint scent of chamalla. Frankie — his large buddy — trails along obediently in his wake, loud feet clomping like tremendous pistons against the consulate's creaking floor. A precious joint burns magnificently in his palm, which now raises it to his lips so he can take a drag.

"Ut." It's a short, dismissive sound at the end of a smoky chuckle. "I said-" Tisiphone starts to say to Bannik, words cutting off sharply at the new audience. Her head turns to watch the two newscrew members stride in, her grin sharpening to a less friendly and more feral curve. "Maybe I wouldn't," she says to him. Her nostrils shiver at the smell of the smoke. "Won't know until you try." A scratchy little laugh; she apparently has no concern this might actually be tested. "The frak you still have any of that left? Gods. You guys find a dumpsterful?"

Bannik raises his eyes up at the entrance of the two — other people — arching a brow at the remark. But since Tisiphone isn't concerned, he's not concerned either. His nose wrinkles up at the joint; he's not a fan.

"Simple," says Chris, whose scratchy voice sounds oddly languid and catlike in the stillness of the consulate. "Conservation of resources, my dear. First thing you learn when you try to overthrow a government, and baby, we've conserved." His Tauran accent is absurdly strong, diluted not in the least by his time spent on Leonis. "How, you ask? By keeping it away from you. Gimme that, Frankie." The joint is snatched from the big man's lips, shoved into his own without any grace whatsoever. A wickedly-sharp knife glints sharply in his free hand, its blade still stained with bits of blood.

Tisiphone glances sidelong to Bannik and gives him a quick shake of the head and a quicker eye-roll. It's the sort of thing that suggests she is Not Concerned — though her gaze is more intent than it was, and stays on the pair even as she lifts her cigarette for another drag, squinting just a little as the smoke stings her eyes. "Thanks, man. I appreciate you sharing the love." She makes a kiss-kiss noise at him.

Bannik isn't particularly good in these Alpha Male situations. It's perhaps because he's not an Alpha Male. Or an Alpha Woman for that matter. So he takes a step back, retreating behind the relative safety of the presence of Tisiphone. But he eyes that knife. Warily.

"This shit ain't for kids," Chris observes, exhaling upwards and grinning as the smoke falls over his face. "Or for cutters." Hyperactive eyes dance from the cowering Bannik to brave little Tisiphone. "Used to date one," the man continues. "She was frakking alt. Found her dead in my bathtub with some lines of coke on the toilet seat one night. Cleaning that up was a real bitch. Stains and shit. Frankie, wake the frak up and take this shit back."

Obediently, the big man complies, retrieving it from his comrade's hands with something like reverence in his expression before offering it in silence to the pair of military folks at his left. Behold how kind-hearted he is.

"You find a cutter, you let me know, man." Tisiphone has a few tones polished to picture-perfect delivery — dismissive scorn is one of them. She pushes up from her elbow-propped sprawl to a seated position, one leg drawn toward her chest, the other stretched out in front of her. "Is this how you make friends and influence people? Walk around like King Badass? Smoke up, don't share? Tell stories about your dead junkie girlfriend? Ah- scratch that about sharing." She reaches for the joint. "Thanks, Frankie."

Bannik is practically almost a kid. I mean, he just turned adult. So he demurs. "I'm good, thanks." He crinkles up his nose in vague distaste as the joint is passed around. "You really want to flunk your drug test when you get back and not be able to fly, Tis?" Ever practical, that Bannik. "You just got put back on flight status." He really /is/ that kid brother.

"Never thought I'd see fat pussy, but here's one. Or teen pussy, but there's one." Calita drops to the ground, resting his greased hair against a cabinet full of books, as he jabs his knife first in Frankie's direction and then in Bannik's. The big man smiles dully in response, as if amused — or even pleased — at the ribbing he's receiving. Bannik? His eyes don't linger there long enough to check, instead darting to the window as if half-expecting a Cylon — or worse, a Fed — to come rappelling in through the window. "Who knew it'd take the frakking world exploding for me to sample this world-class assortment of — " Fingers make the shape of a lewd triangle after he stabs his knife into the ground, tip first.

Tisiphone's sitting in front of the window like a sniper's dream — four or five feet back from the edge of the building, but right there in the middle. "Religious Rights and Freedoms, Section C, Paragraph 1, Clause (d), Tyr — Religious Sacraments and Permitted Substances," she recites to Bannik, giving the tiny cigarette a tinier, testing puff. If it's not /terrible/, she'll take a quick puff; if it's /good/, she'll fill her lungs properly before leaning forward to offer it back. "You guys still looking to hitch a ride off this irradiated rock? You'll show the Crewman a little respect, hey? He's the one with the skills to get us out of here."

Bannik is stuck in the middle here, among many folks not — well, not quite like him. So he does what he does best when he sticks his foot in his mouth. He shuts up. Yeah. He's the guy that's going to get them out of here! He'll show you!

Sitka has arrived.

"Way I see it, missy, you — " Calita grunts as he removes the blade from the floor, jabbing it directly in Tisiphone's direction. "Owe us. You're lucky Colin's such a nice guy. I was okay with pasting you and taking your shit. Might've even been fun. Cylons don't bleed. Boring." Yes, it's about time this inconvenient fact came up in the course of casual conversation: four shiftless stoners rescuing four military men from the hands of four merciless Centurions. "So how 'bout you be a good little girl and suck on that joint?"

And Frankie? Bloodshot eyes look frantically at the two military folks before him. He's joking, the man mouths, lips moving in strange and terrible ways. Oh, what a joker! An uneasy smile.

Tisiphone was sitting there, joint held back toward Chris and Frankie, still enough that the smoke rose in a barely-wavering ribbon. (Holding her breath, you know. Waste not, want not.) Her hand stays outstretched when the Taurian picks up his knife again, though the eyes flick to it, then the man's face. Uncowed — or putting on a damn fine performance of it. The ball of her booted foot shifts slightly, though, in the anticipation of sudden movement. Then — "Pfft." She exhales toward Chris, rolls her eyes. Corrals the joint back for another drag. Twist her rubber arm, why don't you?

"Look. I. Uh. I ought to get going," says Bannik finally. "I might — maybe — someone — needs. Something." Discomfited past all get-out, it seems that it's time for Bannik to hit the road. "Uh. See everyone."

There's a dull thud of booted feet hitting the staircase, and a soft, dissonant jangling as of keys. Or possibly dogtags. Upon the landing, the footfalls pause with a quick flare of red in the mottled dark as a cigarette's lit— briefly sketching a bulky frame and a mess of dark curls. A moment later, the ascent is resumed. Upward and onward as Bannik descends past him, angled roughly in the direction of where Tisiphone and the newscasters are huddled.

'Pfft' and an eye-roll? He'll chalk this one up as a win. It's with a bored little sneer that Calita watches Bannik go, eyes watering slightly as the smoke touches down on his face. "Nice boy," he says off-handedly. "Soft." Another toothy grin. "Didn't know they came in that flavor." Eyes drift over to Sitka before returning to the joint, fingers snapping at Frankie to retrieve it. The big fellow complies, even offering puppy-dog eyes in the process. Don't refuse those eyes, Tisiphone. It's not just the asshole with greased hair who needs to hop on the next train to highland park, if you catch his drift.

Dude wants to chalk up a victory by making her take another drag off that joint? Suits her ju-u-ust fi-i-ine. "Pfft," Tisiphone says again, again holding her breath until her lungs twinge, before the exhale. "Thanks, Frankie." She offers it back, juggling it out to the very tips of her fingers. Girl-cooties, y'know. "How the frak-" she starts to ask Chris, trailing off at the heavy footsteps and new shadow at the door; once Sitka's close enough to be recognized, a lazy grin crawls across her face and a bit of tension uncoils from between her shoulders. "Just in time for a smoke," she says to him.

'Frankie' and 'Chris' are each studied in turn by the arriving officer, blue eyes flickering from one to the other with an expression bordering on amused. "Naw," is murmured as he touches his cigarette to his lips, and settles half atop the arm of a couch facing the trio. "I haven't done one of those since I was.. well, probably about your age."

Frankie sucks thankfully at the joint before letting it dangle between his lips, caring not in the least where the delectable thing has been. Eyes flutter shut as he lets the dullness take him, worried expression fading into something approaching contentment.

As for Calita? Something in the window catches his eye, causing him to twitch a bit beneath the sun's pale glow. It's without any hint of explanation that he picks himself up from his seat at the ground, knife slid into its sheath at his belt, before — keeping his head down — he moves away, straightening only when he no longer has line of sight to the window.

"Crazy frakker," mumbles Frankie, lips moving slightly in the shadow cast by his hoodie. "Got Cylons out there and he still thinks the Tauran police are listening to everything he says." Shrug. "Dude sees a cop, he'd waste him no doubt." And then, passing the joint back to Tisiphone, he lumbers to his feet. "Gonna find some eats. Bee arr bee." Spoken just like that, without a hint of irony, eyes blinking as he thuds away.

Crazy frakker? Tisiphone may have been putting up a good 'this is me, so not concerned' front, but the narrow-eyed look she shoots the departing Taurian says otherwise. "Ain't /that/ the frakkin' truth," she mutters, before forcing out a sigh and lifting a friendlier expression to Frankie. "Thanks, man," she says, blessing him with a quick, easy grin. "I owe you one." She holds the joint between her fingers, watching the big guy lumber off, before flopping onto her back, one arm tucked behind her head. "Back when you were my age? All five hunnert years ago, ri-i-ight?" she teases, tucking the tiny ciggie to her lips.

Ibrahim's eyes follow the departing Frankie for a few paces before drifting back to Tisiphone, now sprawled on her back with the joint guarded close to her lips. His own mouth curves in a brief smile, dimple appearing then disappearing amongst dark beard bristle. He pulls from his own, far more pedestrian smoke. "Sounds about right," he murmurs. "You're right out of flight school, yeah? Can't be more than twenty-three? Twenty-four?" As he utters that first word, smoke streams from his nose and parted lips, coiling into silvery spectres between the shadow and the light.

"Mmhm-!" Tisiphone agrees, airlessly — holding her breath for a few beats before exhaling the smoke toward the ceiling. "Turned twenty-four just after coming aboard," she says. "So- only four hunnert and ninety-nine years ago for you." Grin. She stretches her arm out toward him, offering the joint out again with a little twitch-wiggle of her fingertips. The inside of her forearm is covered in thin red lines, rather like cat's scratches or someone on the losing end of a roll through thornbushes. She doesn't seem to be paying it much mind, however.

Another ghost of a smile from the Captain; nothing near so broad as could be termed a grin. He puts his own cigarette out, and tucks it carefully into one of the many pockets of his gear, then leans forward to reach for the offered joint. The sofa creaks somewhat ominously beneath his one hundred eighty-odd pounds of weight. "Something like that," is offered sotto voce. The cig is plucked, turned over once or twice, then brought to his lips almost hesitantly for a 'taste'. The first hit has his lashes sinking closer to his cheek, and his shoulders slouching a little more. "What happened to your arm?" he thinks to ask, after a couple minutes' worth of silence.

Tisiphone's grin widens as the tiny cigarette's taken from her fingers. She's a happy Ensign. These things are for sharing. Content enough to sprawl there in silence, attention meandering around the room in a slow circuit, she finally looks back to Sitka when he speaks. "Huh-? Oh." She rubs her forearm against her cheek, wincing faintly as she does, then jostles slim shoulders with a negligent shrug. "Meditating," she explains, as if it makes perfect sense. "'s fine. It'll be gone by morning. So how old are you, anyway? Can't seriously be more than… three hunnert-fifty or so." Another grin.

"You often meditate with barbed wire?" Shiv muses, joint held a hair away from his lips while he speaks, then touched to the narrow space between them so he can toke from the thing again. His eyes come up when she asks her question, and this time there is a grin. Slantwise, at the mercy of his scar, and he leans in to pass the cig back after he's exhaled slowly. "I don't know, I kind of lost track after thirty." He mulls for a moment. "Seven. Thirty seven. I think." Speaking of strange marks, she may or may not glimpse the pair of old, pale scars slicing lengthwise along his left wrist. They're tough to spot amidst the ink, and he doesn't tend to advertise, but.

"It's Lethe's Whip, not barbed wire," Tisiphone corrects, full of patience. These are tricky matters to explain to the godless, after all. "Clarity of mind, when you get too far into your own head, you know? Should've put my greens on, forgot it weirds people who haven't seen it before." She pushes up onto her elbow and reaches out for the joint, eyes travelling down the ink to his hand. "Thirty-seven and you talk like you're ancient," she says. "When was that a good idea, hey?" The joint's pinched between thumb and forefinger — she has to point with her pinky, touching one of the pale scars before she draws her hand back. Smoke's a-wasting.

"Frak's sake, I know what it is," mutters the ex-reservist with mock indignance. He turns his hand over slightly when the scar's indicated, eyes dragging away from Tisiphone's face to see what she's gesturing to. "Uh…" He continues studying it for a few more seconds, like he's lost his train of thought. Or got off at the wrong stop, maybe. "..yeah, it's just.. you know." Another twitch of his lips, and a glint of blue in his swarthy visage as he glances up briefly. "A long time ago." The hand's withdrawn, scars vanishing with an adroit roll of his wrist; he offers up the right instead, to reclaim the joint with scissored fingers.

"Mmn." Said around the joint as she pulls another lungful of smoke from it. Tisiphone's eyes track his inked wrist until the underside twists out of sight, then flick away abruptly and uneasily, as if jostled off the tracks of her own train of thought. "S'nearly done, keep it," she says airlessly as she offers it back to the waiting fingers. She stretches out onto her back again, head pillowed on one folded arm, the other scritching absently at her stomach. "I'll drop it," she says eventually. "Heavy topic to drag your first joint in centuries-" A glimmer of mirth, again. "-down with."

The jibe earns, this time, a heavy THUMP as the toe of his boot meets the underside of the chair Tisiphone's sprawled in. Enough to jostle her slightly, but nothing more. "Centuries, my ass," he retorts around the slim remnant of the joint, held close to his lips like the precious thing it is. A soft, barely audible breath follows. "Shit, this is good stuff. Wonder where those boys found this." His tone of voice suggests he may not want to know.

A ripple of low, amused laughter — and a deeper, more boneless slouch — greets the jostling. "Shit, careful," Tisiphone murmurs, eyes narrowed mirthfully at Sitka. "You might smile if you don't watch it." She chuckles again, the sound deep in her throat, and the narrowed eyes fade to a lazy-lidded smile. "Police station, Ashwood said. Bet- what's his name, the creepy frakker- blew the Evidence Room doors off with one of his homegrown bombs. Jackpot."

"Baleh," murmurs the Captain, reverting to the brash-on-the-ears language of his filthy slice of Sagittaron. "Nemidanam. Nazari nadaram." He doesn't have much of an accent left, but every now and again it sneaks out. Abruptly, after a toke from the joint, he shifts back to Standard again, "Kind of a weird kid, isn't he. You been getting along all right with Anton lately?" He slides down into the seat proper, so he's no longer balanced precariously on its broad arm, body sinking into the dusty upholstery; head draping back so he can gaze up at a cobwebbed light fixture.

To each their own definition of brashness, perhaps — Tisiphone's eyelids are soothed down the rest of the way at the syllables, though the corner of her mouth twitches crookedly. "Yeah, he's-" she starts to says, then lurches to a halt at the question. Her turn to be caught off-step — tension snaking back into slim limbs and gathering sullenly between sun-bleached brows. She looks over at him, hesitating, then rolls her shoulders a little and sits up, arms folding in tight across her chest. "No," she finally says. "Not at all. It's- nothing."

His head lolls over to the side, dark lashes lifting so he can regard the bird-thin young woman sitting across from him, suddenly closed up like a night-blooming flower in the sun. "Come on," he encourages, callused thumb flicking a little ash from the end of the hand-rolled cigarette before tucking the tiny thing between his lips again. "It's obviously something, or you wouldn't have clammed up like that."

Tisiphone's brows knit in further toward eachother, mouth set in a thin, defensive line. She didn't clam up. It's just… cold. All of a sudden. That's it. She adjusts the tight fold of arms slightly, unhooking one hand to give her fingers access to her wrist-cuff, fidgeting at the edges of the metal charms as if they were fretful and in need of calming. Somewhere in the middle of her fingers' pensive wanderings, she starts to speak. "He just- it's just- everything I say is /wrong/, somehow. I have an idea, it's dumb. I have a suggestion, it's obvious. I- just- he wants me to just shut up and listen? Fine. I'll shut up and listen. If my piece of mind's so useless to him, I'll frakking take it elsewhere."

There's a soft snort from the Captain, and his head lolls to the other side, mussing his dark curls even further askew. "He's a jock. What do you expect? Having your head stuck up your ass is practically a requirement for climbing into a viper cockpit." Somewhat muffled by his last, precious pull from the joint before he snuffs it out on the chair's upholstery, "Hell, I remember when I had my head firmly lodged up there. Did a lot of dumb shit." His eyes trace a wandering, desultory path along her wrist, and the fingers toying with her soma braid, then away again. "He's probably just afraid of losing his authority over you lot."

Tisiphone's final words come out like horribly guilty bravado — as if withholding her opinions from Lasher are the very last thing she wants to do. For someone so quick to brashness and flippancy, she sure is eager to please — and rather stricken when she fails to do so. Failing to make one's Squadleader proud — could there be anything worse to a shiny new Ensign? "Yeah. I guess so. I just-" She shakes her own statement away, finishes instead, "Yeah. That must be it."

"You just?" The prompt is gentle but firm, and accompanied by a slight upward tic of the older man's brow. Could be the residual effects of the 'sacred herb', or it could be he's just had a long day on foot patrol, but his usual standoffishness seems somewhat relaxed tonight.

"I don't understand why he's doing it, that's all. Either he's rubbing one out to grinding his wingman's face into the dirt every time she opens her mouth, or everything I say really /is/ full of shit, and neither of them are things I really want to think about, you know?" She leans forward, pulling her bandana off her head, and starts scrubbing at her hair with both hands. It's almost beyond dandelion-fuzz, now, sun-bleached nearly white and laying in a dozen wrong directions against her scalp.

The scrubby blonde hair gains Shiv's interest for a second or three, while its owner continues speaking. Might be that he figured her for being truly bald under that bandana— or, again, it might just be the joint. "Hmm?" he replies, distractedly, after a moment. "Well.. I'd say I was roughly seventy-five percent full of shit, when I was brand spanking fresh out of flight school. Then again.." He scratches at a bristly cheek, the sound of nails going through stubble almost audible in the quiet space. "..I wasn't as smart as you."

Was the bandana to hide the horror that is /hair/, or was it to give her sunburned scalp a chance to recuperate? Little of Column A, little of Column B. She hasn't managed to stay out of the sun long enough to shed the sunburn on her shoulders and arms, or across her cheeks. Something perilously close to a /tan/ is starting to appear, which makes the sun-bleached hair stand out all the whiter. The scalp-rubbing started out of restlessness or itchiness, but ends up a hand-tickling distraction before long. Who know how long she'd sit there, lost in the smoke and her own nerve endings, if it wasn't for Sitka's observation bringing her head up. Blink. Blinkblink. She can't seem to decide whether to dodge the comment or accept it, and ends up just looking at him, the corner of her mouth tugged up, awkward and shy.

The sun's been kinder, at least, to Ibrahim. Naturally swarthy as he is, he seems to have tanned rather than burned. His dark hair is streaked with bronze here and there, peppered in amongst the flecks of silver that are starting to gain a foothold at his temples. "You're welcome," he murmurs softly, mouth twitching up at the scarred side for a quick, toothy grin.

Two seconds, three, before Tisiphone recovers her composure by pointing, accusingly, at Sitka's grin. "Hey," she says. "Hey. I to-o-old you to watch it or you'd end up smiling. Now look what you went and did. Heh." The single 'heh' triggers another, then a whole peal of chuckles. "Not how I planned it, but frak, man. I'll take it." She flops back, grinning.

"Well.." There's a grunt, and a creak of dusty furniture as the pilot climbs slowly to his feet. "..I think my work here is done, then." He, of course, is a habitual slacker. He probably wouldn't know the meaning of 'work' if someone clubbed him over the head with it. "I guess I'd better be getting back down there." The pistol holstered at his thigh is slid out, and its clip slid out, then slapped back in again for a quick doublecheck. "Behave yourself, all right?"

It's a tough life when your workload consists of being manipulated into a smile. Wait, what? Tisiphone of course, of /course/ has to insist, "Hey, I /always/ behave myself," complete with a lazy, insouciant grin. She would be remiss in her own duties, if she didn't. She half-turns, cheek propped against her scratched forearm, watching the sidearm check, then looks up to his face. "Be safe, Ibrahim," she murmurs; if he's within reach, she stretches out her free hand and trails her fingers a few inches down his forearm before drawing her hand back. "Thanks for sharing that smoke with me, hey?"

Oh, a tough life indeed. The backhanded comment garners a chortle from the man, who's just in the process of fastening the snap on his holster when Tisiphone's fingertips make contact with his forearm. He pauses, watches her for a couple of seconds, and gives a short little nod. "No problem. Couldn't let it go to waste." A wink, of all things, and a brief scrub of his own fingers over her bandana'd head before he lumbers off for the stairs. "Hey, if you see Stephen, let him know I need a word with him, yeah?"

Heavy-lidded eyes and a sigh at the head-rub, followed by an, "Eh-heh." Just which part of Sitka's response set her to chuckling? Impossible to tell. Tisiphone nods, though, and stre-e-etches her way through a dozy smile. "Mmmyeah," she sighs at the end of it, flopping back. "Of course. You bet. I'll let him know." The sound of another lingering stretch and contented sigh drifts toward the stairs before she fades away to silence.

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