PHD #356: Regrets
PHD #356: Regrets
Summary: Shiner and Khloe have a "chat" in the Galley that turns predictably confrontational.
Date: 17 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: Shiner's "Flight"
Khloe Shiner NPC 
Galley - Deck 9 - Battlestar Cerberus
Behind the two hangar decks, the Cerberus' Galley is the largest room on the ship. Nearly half the size of a football field, the eating area is made up of long lines of stainless steel tables that can be folded up and placed against the wall for larger events. Individual seats are the standard military issue, boring and grey with lowest-bidder padding. The line for food stretches across one of the shorter sides of the room while the kitchen behind works nearly twenty-four hours a day to produce either full meals or overnight snacks and coffee for the late shifts.
Post-Holocaust Day: #351

Another day. Khloe seems to be recovering from her burns, as she's dressed up in her uniform blues for the first time since the three-hash Raider swarm began its relentless daily assault on the fleet. She must also have recovered from her stomach bug from a week prior, now once again eating the same military-grade slop as everyone else. She's seated at one of the many tables here in the galley, a tray full of a variety of greens, canned legumes, and faux-cheese products; fortunately, the hydroponics effort makes the 'greens' selection a little less canned-and-wilted. She has a thin folder of reports she's browsing while she chows down.

Shiner exits the chowline with a tray piled high with food. Apparently he's never had a stomach bug in his life, or alternatively he's had one for years and is only now making up for it. He wanders down the rows of tables, looking for an empty seat, deliberately passing by the one opposite Khloe. But after two minutes of wandering up and down aimlessly, food getting colder by the minute, he sets his jaw and returns to that single empty seat, plopping the tray down and settling in, elbows on the table.

"There's a reason why folks don't often sit with me, or I choose to eat alone," Khloe offers up without looking up, flipping a page in her reports. "I'm not much of a conversationalist. But you know that already." She flips the folder closed and sets it down, and in the same motion peers up at Shiner.

"And here's me, seeking you out for a long, philosophical discussion, too, sir," Shiner points out drily, jamming his fork into his food and taking a large mouthful, meeting her eyes with a look of challenge.

The right corner of her mouth curling up in a cocky grin, Khloe takes up her napkin. "What can I do for you, Midshipman?" She asks plainly, and then wipes at her mouth with said napkin.

Shiner takes a moment to chew and swallow before he replies. "Why do you want me to quit so much, sir? Hardly overladen with pilots, are you? What exactly would be so bad if I qualify and drive a bus around?"

The lopsided grin quickly fades, replaced by her characteristic, if not permanent, half-scowl. "You know, I've been waiting for you to find the balls to ask me that question. But I need to know, what makes you think I want you to quit?"

"You mean other than you saying I'd get my wings over your cold, dead body, sir?" Shiner queries, loading up another forkful. "Well, blagging your way into my frakking bunk to choke me's another good indicator, I reckon. I'm pretty sure I'm getting /all/ the special treatment, and it's not even my birthday or anything."

Snorting lightly, Khloe presses both hands down on the table, palms flat, as if she was going to rise. But she remains seated. "I'm tough on you, Nugget, because you have a lot of growing up to do. Normally you get four years in the Academy and two in Flight School to mold you into a respectable officer." A beat. "This isn't high school any more. You can't piss your way through your responsibilities and then look good during the swim meet so you can pick up chicks. We're training you to be a soldier, and it just doesn't look like you get the severity of it all." She shrugs lightly, removing her hands from the table. "But what do I know? I'm just a Viper jock. Maybe there's wild sex parties every time you guys go up in a Raptor and Leyla's just been lying to me all these years."

Shiner jams his fork into his dinner, leaning in towards her, voice low. "You're picking on the wrong frakking Nugget, Poppy. What, I'm pissing my way through my responsibilities just because I'm managing this frakking study without having to shoot up? You really think I'm cramming my head with all this crap just to pick up chicks? There's way easier ways to get a blow job, sir, I assure you."

Khloe nods slowly, muscles tensing in her jaw as she clearly grits her teeth together. But other a slight narrowing of the eyes, she maintains a cool exterior. "Sure, like all of those lines you fed me at poolside?" She asks, matching his tone. "And I'd be willing to bet that there are people in this room waiting to see who breaks decorum first: you, or me. So I suggest you cool your jets, because I have no compunctions about bending you into a pretzel if you cross the line." A beat. "I can't go after you for fraternization, now, so frak whomever you like. If the program craps out terrible Raptor pilots with emotional problems, it's not my fault. But Viper pilots are my concern. Rhymes with blowjob, in fact."

"Lines like 'don't swim without a lifeguard', right?" Shiner queries, raising an eyebrow. "Or are you accusing me of something else, now? You've got frakking issues, Poppy. See a counsellor." He slowly, carefully, takes his fork, and takes a piece of vegetable from Khloe's plate, watching her with a serene smile all the while before popping it into his mouth to chew. "Oh, and Snowjob? Yeah, she gives good head."

"Conveniently forgetting the half-dozen times that you said you found me attractive, and that you'd 'do me'?" Khloe asks, facial features hardening. "Do you know how easy it would be, if we weren't in wartime, to just bounce you out an airlock for that kind of talk to a superior?" And at Shiner's casual disregard for boundaries, Khloe slides her tray several inches to the side, further away from him. "See, you have no regard for what is acceptable social behavior. Who the frak invited you to eat my food?" She shakes her head disapprovingly. "I'll make sure I'll mention that to her the next time I see her, that you refer to her in such a base manner. And we'll see who ends up needing the counselor after that."

Shiner returns his fork to his own plate, taking up a forkful of potato. "You're hot," he points out, shrugging. "It's called a compliment, sir. You should try just taking that some time." He points the potato at her, noting, "If you'd just relax some, sir, then maybe you wouldn't scare all the guys off and you wouldn't have to go another billion years without getting any. Are you /scared/ of me, sir? Is that it?"

"And it's attitudes…" She begins angrily, voice a sharply higher volume than moments before. A few heads turn. She clears her throat and leans in slightly, lowering her voice considerably. "It's attitudes like that, that get you into trouble. How dare you try to decide how I should run my life? I'm not scared of you, Midshipman. I'm offended by your lifestyle and I find it disgusting and repugnant that you think I should follow your example."

"I'm a sharing kind of guy, sir," Shiner tells her, a hint of triumph in his smile as she raises her voice. The forkful of potato is deposited onto the edge of her plate by way of payment for the vegetable, presumably. "If you don't like the way I run my social life, sir," he suggests, leaning back in his seat, "How about you get the frak out of it? Maybe you're not scared. Maybe you're just jealous."

Khloe frowns at the potato on her plate, as if somehow it were irradiated or infectuous. "You don't get it, even after all these hints and clues. Do you want me to spell it out for you, Wright?" She asks, glaring back up at him. "Sex leads to emotional baggage. Maybe not for you, but for others it can seriously frak up their brain. I don't want you frakking up the good men and women we do have going through the program." There's more, but the Captain seems unable or unwilling to elucidate.

"Bullshit," Shiner argues, fist going down onto the table. "Dishonesty leads to emotional baggage. Sex isn't some kind of frakking evil plot to screw with your brain, sir, it's a good time with no attachments. What you're thinking of is 'relationships', which is why I don't frakking do those."

"No, damn it, I'm talking about regrets!" Khloe matches his outburst with her own. Cubits are exchanged hands in one of the far corners of the room. There's a long pause as she stares at Shiner, glares at him. Her eyes moisten slightly. Finally, she lets herself breathe, swallowing down whatever was about to come out, and she begins gathering up her belongings. "You've no idea," she hisses under her breath. "No idea."

"Yeah, I know, I've got no idea because I haven't had the crackhead life you have," Shiner goads, snorting. "Boo frakking hoo, sir. I'm not a frakking counsellor, and I'm not a frakking punching bag whenever you're feeling insecure. Go talk to somebody, punch a pillow, write in a journal, whatever. And don't you frakking dare cry on me."

Standing with her folder tucked under one arm and her tray lifted in both hands, Khloe moves to dump off her half-eaten meal and then walk hurried with long strides towards the hatch exit. And she manages to not cry; not in front of Shiner, anyway.

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