PHD #199: Loyalties
Summary: Confined to quarters, lovers learn where loyalties lie.
Date: 13 Sep 2041 AE
Related Logs: Sting Like a Bee
Devlin Psyche 
Pilot Berths
The battlestar's pilots call this place home. Bunks line the walls with grey curtains to cover their sleeping areas. Lockers sit between each pair of bunks and a round metal table sits in the center, furnished with simple but comfortable steel chairs. A hatch at the rear of the room leads to a communal head.
Post-Holocaust Day: #199

Devlin wanders in from the head, a towel wrapped around his hips and his tanktops already pulled back on. There are still visible bruises, despite that effort, on his arms, and the two on his face. He tugs Psyche's locker open and pulls out a pair of gym shorts, stepping into them and then hanging up his towel and climbing the ladder to flop without greeting into her bunk.

For all the pilots that are under house arrest at the moment, the berths are remarkably quiet. Maybe the pugnacious viper jocks are Giving Serious Thought to What They've Done, time-out style. Or maybe they've chosen to drink away their ignominity and pass out. Forty-eight hours can be a long frakking time. When Alex arrives, Psyche is doing nothing more exciting than lying on her back, staring at the ceiling, hands folded idly over Hercules the Pig, who is sitting on her stomach. Her left eye looks like some journeyman special effects artist's masterpiece, so perfectly and painfully swollen, so splendid in its rainbow of bruising, it barely seems real. her good eye shifts in the nugget's direction when he flops, and she rolls to face him. "Hey."

Devlin is at least free to go to class and scheduled sim-time and probably the gym if he could, you know…move without significant discomfort. The shiners on temple and cheek are nothing compared to the mottled purple of his torso, particularly the sides, and his stomach, and that one spot in the middle of his ribcage just left of center where he took the knock-out blow aimed for her head. He settles stiffly, easing himself flat onto his back so he can stare at the ceiling she's just begun to neglect. "You hear there's gonna be a party tonight?" he replies to the greeting, "Down on the surface. I guess they found a real nice spot, too, and no worries about getting blown up like on Sagittaron, so they're letting anybody go." Anybody, that is, "…Except us."

"Yeah, I heard," Psyche replies softly. Her eye tracks down over his bruises, silently cataloging the injuries he sustained for her. Most injurious of all, though, is this: there's a party, somewhere spacious and green. Warm breezes and starlight. A party which, though he's earned a place there many times over, the nugget will not be attending. "I'm sorry, Alex," she whispers.

"Yeah," Devlin replies quietly, eyes still trained on the ceiling. That he's unhappy hardly needs to be said; his default even when not specifically in a good mood is several times more cheerful than this. He's silent for a while, one finger tapping at that worst of the bruises, poking at it lightly, but enough that it can't be forgotten for a moment. "Can you maybe next time just walk away?" he requests finally.

Psyche takes a deep breath and considers her response. The reply, when it finally comes, is guilt-ridden and deeply unhappy… "No." But at least it's honest. She swallows. "I'm so sorry you got hurt. And I'm even sorrier that… I'm so sorry. About the party. I know you just got in it because of me, and I wish… it could have been different. But those sons-of-whores were gonna gang up on Elf. I couldn't just walk away from that." She pauses again, then repeats in a tiny voice, "I'm sorry. I… just can't."

"Elf is a three hundred pound marine who is immune to bullets," Devlin replies flatly, "And he's gonna at some point have to find a way to avoid this or it's going to happen over and over. And we're all going to get thrown in the brig again and again because he can't keep his head down and you can't resist provoking them."

Psyche sits up and cross-legged, focusing intently on straightening and restraightening Herc's crooked ears. "He's not immune to bullets, and nobody's immune to eight or nine or however many jerks piling on at once. They wanted a fight and they weren't going to stop until they got one. Okay, maybe I shouldn't have opened my big fat mouth, but I would have had to step up anyways when they finally went for him. I just thought — okay, I guess I didn't think much. But — " She turns a baleful eye on him. "I was supposed to just let him fight alone? Really? I mean… really?" She shakes her head. "No."

"You could've thought it through for a second," Devlin replies, frowning at the ceiling, "I mean… how do you think this goes from here? Now we've got a bunch of marines out for our heads, MPs, even, one who's gonna come after you in particular as soon as they manage to dig his balls back out of his stomach where you put them. These are people who'd gang up on one of their own, what d'you think they're gonna do to us? Whose bunk's gonna be full of piss next, with 'cylon lover' written all over the walls? Whose are they gonna try to light on fire? I'm all for sticking up for friends, but this is not something we wanna be involved in."

Psyche frowns deeply, wincing as squinting her eyes goes poorly on the left side. "No," she says again, flatly. "There is no 'but' when you're sticking up for friends. Yes, it sucks to be involved in something like this. Do I want a bunk full of piss and graffiti? No. Do I want to get beat up some more? Duh. Would I just… airlock everything I believe about friendship and loyalty, if I could do it all over again? Frak no. I am sorry we're involved in this. Sorry that we are involved. But not that I am involved. And I wish that loving me didn't put you in a position where you feel like you have to take this shit on — I really do. But this… this is one of those things. It's one of those things that makes me me. It's actually one of the things I like about myself, and that slender collection of traits has been kinda hard won. So." She tucks Herc tightly to her chest. "I don't know what else to say about that."

"But you're not actually helping him," Devlin protests, a hand lifting in a gesture but dropping with a wince as his arm tugs on ribs, "All you're doing is helping make this go on longer and get bigger and bigger and it's already gonna get real ugly, real fast. If it were just sticking up for a friend that'd be one thing, but now you're out there as somebody willing to stick up for a cylon, too. If he just took his beating once, maybe they'd let him alone after. And then they'd be the ones up on charges."

Psyche sighs and rolls her eyes. Eye. And winces. The wince turns into a grimace. That wasn't comfortable either. "Frakking ow…" she mutters, lifting a hand to her swollen eye. "Okay. Would you have been happier if I'd tried to talk him down? I wouldn't have succeeded and I'd still have had to step in — I'll admit, I wanted to fight. Ideologically, I was in the wrong. Bad mindset. I can promise that the next time, I'll try to make peace. But if a friend is going to make a bad decision, I'm not just standing by. Or walking away. I'm backing them up. The outcome would still be the same."

Devlin looks up a little at that 'ow', and then sets his head back down again. "I mean, I'd be happier if it didn't seem like you were… gleefully taunting people into hitting you, yeah," he says, "Maybe if everybody hadn't been so itching for a fight it could've been stopped before it started. And maybe try to get your friend to make a good decision before you support his bad one so hard."

"I was in a mood," Psyche replies flatly, back to examining Herc's ears. "I wanted to hit people and be hit. Kind of a first, but I went with it." She nods slightly, sullenly. "I said I'd try to make peace next time. If there is a next time. Okay? But I will not walk away. That's the only compromise I can make."

"That's what boxing is for," Devlin retorts, "Which I guess I'm gonna have to do more of in my work-out just in case." He is pretty sullen as well, arms lifting to cross over his chest, replying finally, "Fine."

"Aphro-frakking-dite," Psyche mutters, frowning at him. "Look, futile as I know this is to bring up: you didn't have to get involved. YOU could have walked away."

Devlin snorts at that. "No, I couldn't," he replies simply, "You do not walk away and let some giant dude beat on your girlfriend, no matter what you think about her getting involved to begin with. Do you know how mashed your face would be right now if I had walked away?"

"So you couldn't have just walked away. And you couldn't have stood by? Even though I was making a bad decision, and it was going to rope you into a bunch of shitty consequences that had nothing to do with you?" Psyche sums up. And just looks at him.

"Are you in love with Constin?" Devlin shoots back, just looking at her.

"Do you have to be in love with someone to be loyal?" Psyche retorts.

"There are, like… levels of loyalty," Devlin returns, "Some people deserve more than others."

Psyche sighs. "Of course there are. But for frak's sake, Alex, standing up for someone when it's eight-against-one is the least a person can do. I would have done that for a frakking stranger. Why are we even arguing about this?"

"Because now we're gonna get branded cylon lovers and our lives are gonna turn hellish and we're gonna keep getting in trouble trying to deal with it," Devlin replies, "And I don't love cylons and I don't even hardly know Constin and I'm not happy about having to deal with this shit for him. It's great that you're loyal to your friends and you've got the balls to stand up for them and I respect that but gods, did it have to be this fight?"

"Okay, you know what?" Psyche snaps, putting Herc back on his shelf. "Go and set the record straight. Put it out there that you're no cylon lover and that it's totally okay with you if people drag the name of an innocent decorated frakking war hero through the mud. Let them know you'll just keep your mouth shut, whoever they decide to accuse — as long as it's not you or me — 'cause you don't have a responsibility to anyone else. Or justice. Or the truth."

"How do you know she's innocent?" Devlin snaps right back, "Huh? Just because she seemed alright before this? It's not like they're just accusing anybody out of the blue. A guy said he'd seen her on Sagittaron, he called her out and said he'd seen her. I mean, sure, maybe he was just crazy, and I wish people'd wait until somebody's investigated and figured it out one way or the other, but no, I don't want to stick my neck out when I don't know one way or the other. What if it turns out she was a cylon, huh? Then what? I thought you were all into shooting them on sight, what happened to that?"

"How do you know I'm not a frakking cylon?" Psyche demands. "Maybe you really are a cylon lover. Wouldn't that be a hoot? Some things you just have to take on faith, Alex, or the whole universe falls apart. Is that how you want all this to go down? Everyone's guilty until proven innocent?"

"That's not the same, Psyche," Devlin replies, "Nobody's around claiming they've seen you down planetside with the toasters, and nobody's claiming that about anybody or everybody else, either. Just this one deckie, and oh hey, all kinds of bad shit's been happening on the deck, too. And right after she dies, suddenly the cylons find us? It's not like they're just picking her name out of a hat!"

"Some crazy, shell-shocked refugee and some circumstance do not a cylon make. We'd been hanging our asses out around Sag forEVER. It's a frakking MIRACLE it took the godsdamned toasters so long to catch up. Do you think they're not keeping an eye on the colonies, just waiting for the promise of supplies and survivors to draw us back? What reasonably intelligent being wouldn't? This whole operation is batshit insane, but it's necessary and worth the risk. But the cylons finding us? No. Sorry. NOT a big frakking surprise. The timing looks bad if you're looking for reasons to point the finger — or to excuse those who are — but only then." Psyche shakes her head. "And don't you dare dismiss her as 'just this one deckie', as though she were somehow unimportant, and that somehow makes it right!"

"I didn't say it made it definite," Devlin replies, sounding exasperated, "None of it makes it definite, but it's frakking suspicious when you put it all together. And I wasn't saying she's unimportant, I was calling her a deckie because that's what she was and because her working on the deck is another thing that's suspicious. Since when do I ever look down on anybody? I'm a frakking Taurian who didn't graduate college."

"Yeah?" Psyche arches her right eyebrow — the only one she can. "Well if she's not unimportant, and she's innocent until proven guilty, human until proven otherwise, deserving of all the rights and protections and dignity that implies… I guess I don't see your point."

Devlin sighs, and covers his face with his hands. "You know what?" he says finally, "Fine. Anyone who questions whether she might maybe be a cylon is clearly evil, and stupid, and delusional, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to suspect her, because coincidences piled on coincidences clearly aren't worth anything and I made them all up. Fine."

"Oh, my gods," Psyche laughs mirthlessly. "Really? That's really how you're going to be? Since when does outright accusation — which is what's happening out there, pay attention — equal mere suspicion? You're just scrambling to make excuses for those hysterical hate mongers because you don't want to feel obliged to stand against them. And when your position becomes indefensible, you're going to girl out on me and go 'Oh, of course, huff-pout-flounce, you're right and I'm wrong'?"

"I'm not defending them!" Devlin replies angrily, sitting up to glare at her finally, "I'm saying I am not convinced it isn't true and I don't want to get the shit beat out of me regularly on behalf of somebody I am not sure didn't help murder billions of people! Alright?"

"It doesn't matter what you think about Lauren Coll, Alex!" Psyche cries, hands clenching into fists of frustration. "What matters is NO ONE, alive or dead, should have to suffer that kind of accusation, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. What matters is that the friends and loved ones of the accused shouldn't have to live in fear of reprisal. Lives are destroyed when this sort of shit is allowed to happen. You don't have to believe she was human, Alex, you just have to believe that it's wrong to slander and bully and intimidate, terrorize and harass, on the mere suspicion that she isn't."

Devlin frowns hard, but he doesn't immediately retort, this time. Instead he just frowns, and frowns, and glares hard at the bed, thick brows knit tightly together. "Fine," he says eventually, more than a couple moments later, and this time it actually sounds like he might mean it, "Fine, you're right."

"Go, me," Psyche celebrates with a complete lack of joy, drained and disheartened, twirling a finger in the air. It's obviously a hollow victory. "I'm going to take a shower." She begins to climb over him, on her way out of the bunk.

"Hey," Devlin protests but quietly, hands reaching up to catch her as she climbs over and prevent her from passing out of the bunk. "Hey," he repeats, trying for eye contact, "I mean it. You're right. It… it was the right thing to do, and… I should support it. I do. Support it. And you. Doing it."

Psyche nods, ducking her head. Her voice is thick with tears. "I believe you," she whispers. "I just didn't want to fight. And I'm tired. And I feel all kinds of guilt for getting you involved — all the more because I know you really don't want to be. I've… really dragged you in. Anything that happens to you — it's my fault. Just like you not being on Aerilon tonight. And — " there's the soft hitch of a sob, " — and I didn't mean to hit that stupid frak so hard. I feel so awful."

Devlin doesn't seem to have been expecting tears, and without thinking, he pulls her in close, arms tightening, only to shut his eyes in a wince that at least she can't see. "I didn't want to fight either," he replies, before chuckling, "And I'm tired, too. And, I mean…" He strokes her hair carefully and then goes on, "I could probably go, really. The CAG'd let me. But it would've be any fun without you. Besides," he adds, "I hear they're making officers wear the formal gray uniform and I was half looking forward to it 'cause I thought I'd get to see you in a dress, so. You know. I care a little less. And that dude'll be fine, he had it coming. Who the frak hits a girl a foot shorter than them, even if she is a blood-thirsty knee-biter."

Psyche makes a strangled snuffling sound which might be a bubble of mirth. "Blood-thirsty knee-biter. I wish there were a word that meant that. It'd make an awesome callsign," she mumbles against his shoulder. She takes a careful breath, cautious, it seems, of pressing too much against his bruises. "But he didn't deserve that much. He's gonna be in sickbay a week — I mean, that's serious, right? What if I, like, permanently damaged him? And even if not, what was he doing that was any different than I was doing? He was backing up a friend who made a bad decision."

"It'd make an awesome callsign," Devlin agrees, tilting his unbruised cheek against her head, rubbing his face against her hair a little. "I mean… no, he didn't," he admits, "But you didn't mean to hurt him that bad, I don't think? But now you know, right?" he replies, "You should be careful with balls," he says seriously, drawing back to fix her with a somber look that's half real and half tease, lifting a finger to wag, "They are important, and delicate, and you should not kick them unless you are actually defending yourself from, like. Real danger. I'm afraid about the only way you could make it up to him would be to blow him, but I'm going to have to veto that."

"I was thinking, maybe, I could put together a little basket of rum, cookies, and cigarettes…" She sounds entirely serious about this. "And we could have a talk. I need to apologize. He probably needs to call me some names. It's probably all done more safely when he's bed-bound." She nods solemnly, cuddling back up, her unbruised cheek to his less-bruised shoulder. "My career as a ball-buster is done. I've learned my lesson."

Devlin blinks, and then chuckles, and then spends a thoughtful moment considering that, and then nods, "Yeah, couldn't hurt to try. Definitely best to do while he's still stuck in sickbay, too, yeah. I can rustle up some booze for you if you need." He rubs her back absently, and nods against her hair, "Good. Glad to hear that. Just stick above the belt and you'll do better. Certainly better at that stuff than I am, turns out. But I'm glad you put down that chair."

Psyche laughs wryly, nodding. "Yeah. The chair was meant for the two guys who jumped on Elfkin's back. I sort of had this idea it'd splinter apart on impact like something in an old film. But then I realized it was made of plastic and metal — and then the big guy hit you. There was a lot going on. I also sort of forgot I was supposed to be squaring off with that chick. I guess you just have to go with the flow." A soft kiss is pressed to his shoulder. "Mind curling up with me for a nap?"

Devlin snorts and shakes his head, "Yeah, that would've gone really badly. No more cowboy movies with saloon brawls for you." He shuts his eyes, and rests his head against hers silently for another minute before that kiss and the request. He nods, and draws back enough to admit, "Not sure how much curling I can do, but… yeah. That sounds good."

Another kiss is placed on his shoulder, then she lifts her head and tenderly kisses his lips. "I love you," she says softly.

Devlin smiles faintly, not enough to tug too hard on that bruised cheek, and returns the kiss with another to her lips. "Love you, too," he replies, "And I love naps. At least I have an excuse to get more of them for a couple days. Sort of."


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License