PHD #349: Stopwatch Heart
Stopwatch Heart
Summary: Leyla call in her favour with the ChEng.
Date: 10 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: Questing, Past Is Prologue, Secondhand, Tangents and Enter The Swarm.
Leyla Mark 
Ancient Ship
Stored in the Starboard Hangar deck is a transport vessel - smaller than a craft like the Elpis but clearly designed for long-term travel. It takes up a good portion of the hangar by itself, and its entry is under guard 24/7 by Marine personnel. It's oddly shaped - seemingly built along more curves and gentle lines than standard ship design, and has a decidedly 'alien' quality to it. Neither much like any comparable human ship, or anything the Cylons traffic in. It's shape calls to mind a whale more than anything else, a curved 'tail' at one end and round 'head' at the other, elongated body with a fat 'belly' of a mid-section. There's an entrance of sorts in the 'tail' section with a walk-way rigged to make going in easy enough. From its size, it was originally made for small ships such as shuttles - not people - to walk through. The room one enters into is more a 'foyer,' or some other communal gathering place, than a traditional hangar. The ceiling is domed and rounded over head. The curve of the 'whale's' 'tail.' A large entry foyer, or common area. The 'floor' is bare, though there are openings in the walls. Alcoves. Thirteen of them. While there is an arched doorway at the opposite end of the room, this one made for people, but it's likewise guarded and those without clearance aren't allowed to pass. The walls are covered in thirteen large mural-like paintings. Almost more akin to cave paintings than anything else. Each positioned over the thirteen small alcoves with benches where one could sit. Twelve of those might be familiar to those learned in Colonial scripture, or just the lore of their own colony. A thirteenth, however, would not be a thing any of them have encountered before in any recognizable way.
Post-Holocaust Day: #349

The fleet has escaped the scourge of the cylons. For now. They can breath a bit easier. For now. They can take some time to lick their wounds, mourn their dead and heal their wounds. For now. But some things just won't wait, now or in the future. And so, not so very long after Sweet Pea and Skeeter flew a limping Bertha back to the Cerberus, Leyla left behind the ship that's kept her alive for the better part of six and a half months, and the deck crew she would normally have spent the next few hours, if not days with, tending to the repairs needed on the deck. Instead, she's retreated, made her way down into the belly of the beast. Descended the ladder into the heart of the alien vessel. But not before leaving a handwritten message for the Chief Engineer. Neat and precise, with that oddly slightly flipped tilt to the letters that so often denote a southpaw. 'I'm calling in that favour. The deck will know where to find me.'

And so it goes. Mark finds the note on his desk when he passes through his office once an hour and lofts the expression on his face. Huh. He heads down to the Deck, which is a godsawful mess, and gets pointed towards the other hangar with more than a little surprise. It takes him a few minutes to wander the ship before making it down to where she can be found. With all those bodies, it's hard to make a joke. He leans over the railing and looks to her. "Leyla," he calls. "What's up?"

Leyla is standing, somewhere close to the center of the corridor, looking in on one of the rooms that's particularly full of corpses. For once, she's not wearing her flight suit, her duty greens, or even her officer blues. Instead, seemingly having taken a page out of the ChEng's book, she's dressed in her Chief of the Deck approved, PO2 Fasi issued deck coveralls, the orange marred by the lifeblood, until just recently, Bertha, her trusty raptor steed, was hemorrhaging all over her. "Payback once told me…that I should be careful not to hang my ass out too far." Her attention remains on the bodies of the children curled up in their beds, "Before today, I never really thought about it. The risk always seemed worth the reward. What was my life worth, weighed against the lives of the rest of the fleet. That was a sacrifice I would be willing to make. Worthwhile, you know?"

Mark sees the condition of her clothing and can't help but wonder. But he doesn't say anything. He wanders down slowly, quietly. He finally stops beside her and crosses his arms as he looks on all the dead bodies. Just children. "Mm." That seems to be the only reply to her for a few seconds. "Giving it second thoughts?" He's in his orange coveralls, too. Dirty and greased as usual. Not exactly something he would have worn down here to overlook a gravesite like this.

"No. The lives of the other members of the fleet are worth more than mine. I'm a pilot. That's all I will ever be. There will be other men to dream great dreams, other women to bear the generations to come. The only thing I have to offer are my hands and the stories written on my skin, and what use are those, now that everyone who might have needed them is dead?" Still, Leyla doesn't look towards the man who's now walked down to join her. "What if they never knew the end that was coming for them? What if they went to their beds looking forward to the peacefulness of their dreams, never knowing they would not wake up again?" A beat, "The cylons found us, less than a day after we brought this ship home. So many of them. So many, so fast. So many dead, injured, not just friends, but strangers, the other ship's crews. I take risks with my life, because I know when that life ends, the world will move on around me. But I don't have the right to take risks with the lives of everyone else." Finally, she looks across her shoulder, to the much taller man beside her, "Tell me I did not bring the Trojan Horse back into the fleet."

"First, I'd say that a viewpoint like that is flawed. Its precisely because you are a pilot that your life is worth more. To offer it up on the altar of sacrifice is a noble gesture, no doubt. But just because you are a warrior doesn't mean that it should be an acceptable loss. Without pilots, we're all dead. It would be the same death sentence as running out of food. Or fuel." Case in point right in front of them. Mark sighs and looks to the floor, pondering the rest. "So you think that because we got attacked today by such a massive force that it has to do with us bringing this ship aboard? You're afraid that you've put us all at risk because you wanted to bring this back?" He finally looks back to her. "Leyla, I would have done the same thing. Exactly the same call. I believe you made the right suggestion. If this has a beacon on it, then we find it and shut it off. But that is not the most important thing this ship carries." He looks, gesturing for her to follow his gaze with a nod. "It's these kids. These people that died."

"A pilot isn't born. A pilot is bred, trained, given a useful skill set. No different than a cook, than a deckhand, than your average rifleman. I am not irreplaceable. There are a handful of men and women right now, up in the recruit berthings waiting to take my place. It's my job to create my own replacements." Leyla's attention returns to the bodies, the remnants of the dreams of millennia ago. "I researched those waypoints because I had to know. I went there because I had to know. I fought to convince command to retrieve this ship…because I. Had. To. Know. Just like Tauron, when I nearly killed Skeeter, and myself, and forced Spiral and Drips to risk themselves to save my raptor, because I saw that sparker and I just couldn't leave it alone. Just like today, when I saw all the people I cared about being torn to shreds, blown to pieces, and I risked Bertha on a suicide run against three raiders I know I shouldn't have gone toe to toe with." Obviously she made it, but she doesn't seem, for the moment, to be willing to offer the means of her survival. "And now this ship. Not for some noble cause, not for some religious calling, but because I was curious. I had to solve the puzzle."

Mark shakes his head. "Leyla, you can't honestly say you are replaceable. You might be able to say it and believe it, but to look at it logically - that's simply impossible. These rookies you have coming in might be able to fill a cockpit, but they will never have your experience flying. Never. Not your skill, not your bravery, and certainly not all the nuances that make you the pilot you are." He's not even going to touch on personal differences. But the rest he lets go for the most part. He looks at all the bodies of children and wets his lips. "Leyla?" Mark finally speaks up, turning his eyes to her and waiting for her to look back to him. "Life is not about noble causes. For people like you and I, it's about solving puzzles. We look at something and wonder how it works. People look at a door and think about whether it opens in or out. We wonder how the doorknob works and what the functional difference is between in and out. Don't doubt yourself because you wanted to solve a puzzle." He finally looks back. "I've got a guy who dabbled in AI research and violated the single most important ban in colonial law. Swears he was safe. That guy is reckless. You?" He shakes his head, still looking at the kids. "You're one of the smartest officers this ship has and it's not just your aptitude - which is tremendous. It's your viewpoint. People might question you for being someone who keeps others at a distance. I envy the clarity. Of all people on this ship to trust the judgment of on bringing this back here, I would trust yours over probably 99.99 percent of this fleet." Him probably being the hold-out.

"I have more time in the yoke, that's all, Mark. One day each of them will have skills and bravery, and nuances that I will never have." There's something so compelling about the sight of the lost, it takes a few long moments, before Leyla can pull her eyes away to look across at the ChEng, "That's why I went into Astrophysics. It made sense. It made the world make sense, the galaxy make sense, the universe. I could look at all of the things around me, and boil them down to numbers and equations, facts and figures. I need for things to make sense. People, planets, stars, down to the smallest atom, or the largest quasar." Of course, there's always the trouble with black holes, but that's neither here nor there. "Reckless, yes, to think he could control something that is uncontrollable." Leyla pauses, "Will you come with me? There's something that I'd like you to see." She finally looks away, turning her eyes to the observation area, now showing little more than a view of the mostly still and silent starboard hangar. In the wake of the cylon attack, and the subsequent jump to Sagittaron space, there's been little time for sightseeing by members of the crew.

"You couldn't possibly convince me you're replaceable, Leyla. Not in a million years." Mark means it, too. The man doesn't look like he's about to profess his love, but he does appreciate the person standing before him. But the mention of Astro gets a smile from him. "Never got much into string theory, did you? I was planning to do a paper on it for my Masters. You want something that will make you question your existence and the existence of a higher power, check it out. You start messing with that stuff and universal origins, it gets cloudy to talk about numbers, statistics, and what the odds are of you and I ever existing, let alone having this conversation." But she has something he wants to see. She steps off and he looks at the kids once more before following towards the observation area, waiting for her to speak first again.

Nor does Leyla look or give any indication that she either wants nor expects declarations of any sort of affection, least of all love. Mark is what he is. A kindred spirit. Leyla makes her way into the deck, moving to the far side, far from the view of the dead in their beds. Careful hands begin to remove her coveralls, though not her gloves. And there's nothing meant to be sensual about it, though there is an element of ritual to it, ceremonial. Underneath, she's wearing her shorts and bra. Standard issue, and clearly not what's meant to be on display either. "No, the theoretical side never much appealed to me. I never trusted science you could only prove with your imagination." It's not quite as cut and dried as that, but there is a huge divide between observational and theoretical astrophysics. What seems to be meant to be on display, and much of what is now, save for the portions covered by her clothing, are her ta moko. Extensive, dark, pervasive, covering more than half of her body. Her back, sides, backside, legs, down to her knees. Somehow, it seems fitting, this blending of the ghosts of the past in their rest, and the ghosts of the present lying dormant in, on and under Leyla's flesh. "The last stories of a dead world." Carried by herself and all those who wear the traditional tatau.

Mark does seem quite surprised that the woman is opting to disrobe in front of him right here, but given the location he's not going to take this as a signal flare. That's not exactly the last thing on his mind because, at the end of the day, Mark is still a guy and she is undressing. The man's arms remain crossed but he decides to lean against the wall. He flickers a glances to her clothing coming off as she talks, but the interest in physics dies quickly as he looks over the ceremonial artwork that covers her. "My Gods," he whispers, moving off the wall and stepping closer. It's not the sort of expression to accompany someone aghast or highly appreciative of what would probably be her body. He's actually looking -at- the tatau. The man looks her over and steps to the side to look down her front. "I- I don't need to see but does this actually go everywhere? I mean, this is beautiful I didn't realize you'd have all this done. And you say these are stories?" He takes another step to look upon her back. "Gods, this is.." Whoa. He's impressed.

"It does not cover my genitals. Nor does it on a male who wears ta moko." Leyla reaches out a hand, catching one of Mark's as he passes around behind her. Still, there's no attempt at emotionality, or seduction, only to bring his skin into contact with hers. To trace his fingertips across skin that he can feel has not just been inked, but carved into, incised and healed over. Textured. The incisions are intricate as the designs, the directions shifting and changing as letters shift and change on a page. So much work, so much detail. There's no doubt of the sheer amount of pain required to carve her own flesh into these designs. And logically, why such work would not be done in the more sensitive genital regions. "Each tells a story," though, to the untutored eye, it's impossible, nearly, to tell where one ends and another begins, so perfectly blended one into the other, "Some are stories of our people, some of my family, still others record the names of those who came before me. A small number tell of my own accomplishments, my own place within the Aydin tribe." As she goes over each portion, she touches his hand to the place where those stories lie. Given that the tatau is textured, not just inked, the texture itself, seems some sort of language that adds a second layer of meaning to the inkwork.

He isn't going to pull away. Mark lets her guide his hand over the carvings and ink in her skin. The texture is something that definitely takes him aback, though not repulsed. Not even close. The man's eyes flash a little at the feel of it. "This is probably the most incredible artwork I've seen. I mean, I've seen this once or twice before, but never so much. And certainly never this close." He glances to her eyes then back down. His eyes drift from her skin, in the end, rather to feel the outlines without the aid of the eyes. Though when she touches his hand to the part of her body and she mentions her tribe, he looks back to her. "You keep a family history on yourself like this?" It starts to make sense. The dedication to family. To a people. What she was saying before. Even the other night. "Not nearly enough skin to record all that's been lost," he repeats of her own words. "Gods, Leyla, you're a beautiful testimonial to your people."

Leyla's hand drops away, allowing Mark to read her at his own pace, though it would take more than a simple touch, but probably hours upon hours for Leyla to translate the stories he feels into words he can understand, "It is called Achyddiaeth, the genealogies written on the skin. These are of those who came before me. If I were ever to marry or bear children, I would add them as well." A nod, as Leyla finds that she doesn't need to explain it. Like all kindred spirits, Mark just gets it. "If the worlds had not ended, there might have been a chance that I could have been something more. Become something else. Now, I have become a memorial. A living record of all who have been lost. When I was young, I never minded it. I was honoured to be chosen for it. Not all are given the great stories, the family histories. And it fit with my mindset. My need to lose myself in logic, in facts, in tangible things." And what could be more tangible than the canvas of her own flesh. "Now I see myself coming to the end of the road. Reduced to little more than logic and sense." There's an expression curving Leyla's lips. A smile, but not a happy one. Rather, something very close to melancholy, to exquisite sadness, "A tin man with a stopwatch heart." A sanctuary, now turned into a prison. "I am afraid of what I have become. Of what it has led me to do." Like bringing back this ship.

Mark doesn't bother to stand. The man takes a knee beside her and looks over her hips, looking over one with a long eye for study. He even sits back on the knee a bit to get a better view of it. He uses two fingers to trace around the outside of each individual carve to get a feel for it. "You're not a memorial, Leyla. Not even close." It's whispered. He's trying to figure out patterns. Solve a puzzle. But he stops and looks back up to her from the kneel. "You carry the memories and history of a people going back.. Gods, this looks like generations? ..and it shouldn't be something to lament." He rises from the kneel to step over to see her accomplishments. "Tin man. And what this might have led you to do." The man sighs, moving to touch her once more. There's nothing sensual about this, not even from him. It's sharing something deeply personal. "Leyla, if anything this honor you carry proves you're not tin. You might think you've become something hollow or empty, but this?" He shakes his head. "Leyla, this is -life-. This is more life than anyone else I know could ever carry. You see the world and think other people are so much more lively, right? This is something that I don't think most people could handle the burden of. If this has made you a person that is more precise and curious, then that's not a bad thing. It's part of who you are. If you can stand here and tell me that you feel you are doing right by your people who you carry with you, very literally, everywhere, then I can't see a single fault with it." It's not harsh or condescending. He's still in mild awe of the woman in front of him. It's a lot to take in and this view to her soul is breathtaking.

Leyla remains standing, perfectly still, as though she were used to this. And perhaps, given what her ta moko are, she might certainly have been a part of ceremonies where she was read in just this way. A book, even a book of the flesh, is nothing if it is not read. "It would take many days to read you all of their stories." Her family, her people, "Many generations." She indicates a place just where the curve of her hip smooths onto the flat of her back, "The first story…the journey from Kobol." Perhaps, a record of the journey those sleeping eternally here on the ship were making. "Too much life. So much I feel as if I cannot breath, with the memories, the stories filling me up. It's easier not to feel, to stay apart, to be apart. Then I don't risk splitting at the seams, the words all tumbling out. "They deserve to be honoured. To be remembered. I think, none of us who carry the stories would wish to have become vessels in this way. But we do not, now, have a choice. What are my own feelings, my own needs, my own desires, when set against that responsibility? And with lack of use they have atrophied. I could not, I think, even if I tried." Finally, Leyla looks down, studying the man studying her, "But perhaps you can." She takes a moment, "Will you help me carry some of their stories? These people here? Help to give them voices?" To find them, pull them out of the darkness of systems long dead. "Prove to me that this was not a trap, but an ark, a place of hope, and life." Not that Mark had no intentions of doing it, of trying to being the systems on-line, but, yes, this is the favour she's calling in. To focus, not only on the science and technology of the ship, but its people and their stories.

Mark lets her speak without interruption. He's listening quite closely while still trying to take in all the minute turns of the language. The way they blend with the colors. After she finishes, he lets her voice fade in the walls. "Leyla, I'll tell you a secret." The man glances up to her eyes and then back down to her skin as he follows a particular. "I'm more interested in their history. The science is really great and the symbolism of engineering like this is fantastic but do you know why I love astro so much?" A smile flickers across his face. "Because it's the greatest story ever told - the history of the universe. Dark and light forces acting with violence and harmony." His hands finally drop from her and he comes back to look at her face rather than the tatau. "I have every intention of telling their stories. Save your favor. Though.." He takes a breath, crossing his arms. The man's eyes drift to her arms. "Have you tried telling these stories? I'll pass along everything I can from these people here. You have my word. But if you're afraid of letting it tumble, have you ever tried opening the floodgates? You were given this gift for a reason. Maybe you passion for the tangible was why? I obviously don't know why you were chosen but maybe it would be worth letting out. One story at a time. I'm sure you know them all on here. This isn't just a legacy, Leyla." He looks back to her face. "This is lessons. This is what your people deemed important for other generations to know. Why not pass it along? Share the wealth of your people. This is something you should be proud of. Something that makes you hold your head high. You're an embassy to a culture."

Once Mark returns to his feet, the ritual plays itself back out in reverse, and Leyla slips her coveralls back on, settling herself back into her skin, as it were. She rarely, if ever leaves her tatau fully exposed. Clothes are, for her, a way to close the pages of the book, to keep them safe and unsullied. "You sound like a romantic," meaning that in the academic sense, "And not at all like a scientist." Once she's reclothed herself, she settles into a comfortable stance, a far cry from the parade rest she greeted him with not so very long ago. "I have considered…perhaps, a lexicon of some sort of a visual encyclopedia. There are songs and stories as well, dances and rhythms that go with the stories." Clearly, her clan, and the tribe from which she came were very much in the oral tradition, "I have never felt comfortable to share it. To feel that I could do it justice. But perhaps, now that we have a true Matatau in the fleet. He will be able to advise me." And then a smile, not sad this time, but genuine. A first, "Thank you." Two words, but filled with all of the things Leyla could say in their stead. And perhaps, the things she cannot.

Mark drops his hands to put them into his pockets. "There's no reason a scientist can't be a romantic. Sappy idealism with a positive spin appeals to me. Its no replacement for cold granite facts in tough situations, but the rest of the time?" He gives a big shrug. "Why not?" He doesn't make a spectacle of her while she gets dressed again. He's talking to her, not her tatau. But he shakes a finger gently to her. "I was going to ask if there were dances associated with this. Especially song. That's fantastic. I'm not about to suggest you should get up on stage in front of the crew and share your history like that.. but there's a certain appreciation to a culture that's to be found in that kind of expression. Heck, maybe even teach someone else to help carry your tradition. A full twelfth of this fleet is Taurian. Probably more since the rescues. If you've got someone out there to help you better understand it, all the better." But there it is. That genuine smile. He doesn't point it out, he just returns it. But with the thanks, he shakes his head. "No. Thank you, Leyla. That gives me a lot to think about. Gives me a lot of pride that you could show me that. You're an exquisite person and its an honor just to know you."

"Facts make sense." They fit into slots and have the right sizes and shapes. "I try my best to relate, but it doesn't always work. I know what I have to do, I know the cues and precursors. If A, then Y." A nod, as Leyla considers, "If I do record them you would be welcome to watch. I am not certain we have any of the traditional costumes still in the fleet, but we could make approximates." Back to finding pieces and fitting them in the right configuration, "There are songs and chants that go with the stories, and songs and chants and rituals that go with the carving of the tatau. Some belong to the one who carves, others to the one who is receiving them." A decided shake of her head, "No more than there is in my knowing you." And while the obvious, though non-sensual intimacy of the moment has come and gone with the unmasking of her ta moko, a camaraderie remains, "Do you have work you need to be carrying on with, or should we take a crack at that electrical system?" And in this instance, it's not even a chance of subject but rather, a means for Mark to fulfill his own aims, and her favour, returned to her as it was.

Mark watches her explain the 'If A, then Y' relations and he can't help but smile. "So that's why you don't drink, isn't it? If it is, Leyla, I'd say you're not putting enough faith in your friends - which you do have. I promise, some of us might be assholes once in awhile but we're all so thoroughly flawed in our own ways that its pretty funny." It's not so much a lecture as a friendly challenge - one he doesn't expect her to actually take on because it's not serious. That's obvious. "And yeah, if you record any of that, please let me know. I'd be floored to see something like that. I never knew the Taurian did anything like what you have." But with her question the man swivels at the waist and looks back up towards the direction they came and then back. "I'm an insomniac. I can sleep next week for my scheduled hour of snooze." He grins and sticks an arm out for her to lead the way. "You want to take a peek at these control interfaces first or try and allay a fear about a transmitter? I'm game for either one."

"I do not like the feeling of being out of control of myself." As if that were a perfectly good enough to not do anything stronger than cigarettes, "I like to know that I have control of all of my faculties at all times." OCD, doncha know, even about herself, "It does make certain situations impossible, but I have learned to live with it." A final glance, to make certain everything will be just a they arrived, and the real problem ca be decided on, "Transmitter first. That is the priority. I am also a late night person, but I know I won't be able to sleep until we find any trace that they might have tracked the ship." Another glance, down to Mark's arm, before her hand settled, still gloved, on his forearm, "I know that we haven't known each other for so long. If it becomes to much, let me know." She certainly doesn't want the man's head to explode "Do they have any traditional things where you come from on Picon? I mean, aside from homeschooling."

"Hey, fair enough. But if you ever feel like you want to give one or two beers a shot, make sure you find me. We can lock my office or something and watch some movies from the library or something. You should see the chairs I have access to. Pins has perks. Who knew?" Mark just grins at her. He tries to be as easy as possible. It's a wonder his whole department isn't filled with people who sleep late or come in hung over. He only nods to the idea of the transmitter, though the hand is surprising. But the only glance is to Leyla. "Too much?" Mark exhales, nearly chuckling as he shakes his head. "Leyla the more I talk to you, the more I wish I had insulted you sooner. I don't give a rat's rear what you think, you're funny. You've got a lot of great stuff locked away in your head and I'm always pleasantly surprised. But me?" There is an emphatic shake of his head. "No. There's nothing there. My part of Picon was too focused on trying to crawl out of the rubble. It's sad, but I literally have no culture. I lost my parents at ten in a car accident so no family history to speak of. I'm just a lost, wanderin soul with no destination."

"Beer smells like feet." And from the look on Leyla's face, she's quite certain it tastes like it too. "But…one would suppose it would be better than the stuff that comes out of the still." Yes, there is a still, or perhaps two, aboard the ship. "Oh. Of course." Clearly, the Taurian has misread the Picon. Taurians are not known for their gentle good manners, but she has seen plenty of TV. Clearly, she misinterpreted his gesture as the sort of thing one does when offering his arm to a woman. The sort of thing they do in movies and it's only polite to accept, even if you're not entirely sure why. "My apologies." Her hand falls, settling back at her side, as she moves through the corridor, not, now, looking in the rooms, "Where would you want to begin? Up in the controls areas, or here with the dead?" A quirk of her mouth, "Funny is not usually a word people use to describe me, but I will take it as a compliment." As they walk, and some of his history comes out, "Sometimes we make the family we do not have." A pause, "Not all who wander are lost."

"No, cheap beer from big breweries smells like feet. It tastes just as bad. This may or may not be odd considering it has the strength of water. The best beer is from Aerilon. Thick beers that taste like unsweetened chocolate and have the aftertaste of oatmeal cookies. Now -that- beer is delicious. Or.. No, you might be a hard cider type of lady. You like sour apple flavors?" Annd there he goes. But seeing her arm drop, he chuckles and moves to have her take his again. "Go. Take it. Otherwise we'll spend ten minutes secretly wondering how awkward it is for the other person that we both suck at social cues." To the last, he shrugs. "I'm lost. That's why I wander. I don't feel a need to know where I am. I'm happy just to see where other people are. Listen to their stories. I know my own life. It's unexciting and dull, like late night sitcoms in syndication, but without the shitty laugh-track." As for the transmitter, his eyes narrow in thought. "Well, the Cylons landed in the putter bay. I'd say we start there and then move around the outside of the ship. We'll need EM freq-" pronounced 'freak' "-detectors, thermographic sensors, and magnetometers. And coffee."

"And we have beer from Aerilon left in the fleet now?" Certainly some of it must have been rationed, and a bit of everything was salvaged from Aerilon, but it is a hot commodity. "To be honest, I am not that familiar with fresh food. We ate a lot of processed in Derry. I don't think I even had an apple until I went to the academy. I do like berries though. Flasher's wife, Lunair, she made the best pies for their wedding. I used to be half the size I am now." Clearly an exaggeration, as she's regulation fit, "Sometimes it just…seems so wrong. Were you at that party when the Areion joined the fleet? The food was looking at me. I swear, the deer's eyes were following me around, every time the turned it on that spit. 'What did I ever do to you?" Which might explain her happiness with food from the galley that have most people wanting to spit. "I have a particular fondness for jerky." A tilt of her head, as she accepts the arm, "I am not the most socially adept person, but I do study as much as I can." They begin the ascent up to the upper deck, "Coffee I can handle. The deck has a pot and the fixings. I can't do the rest, short of pulling them out of a raptor, though. We could share the collection duties?"

"Sure. I don't see why we couldn't have any left. I still pull my bottled booze from supply. I spend my chits on it. Besides, the only people that drink Aerilonian beer are Aerilonians and adopted ex-pats like me." Though her depictions of food gets him laughing pretty well. He nods along. "I know the feeling, but missed both those. I had to take over duties for the Chief Engineer on the Praetorian because he went to the party. Little bastard did that to me all the time. And I've only met Lunair in like a super-fast passing in the Galley. Sweet, not what I pictured from a Marine. Though I heard rumors about a couple of rednecks on Sagittaron sniping hippos with railguns or something. One of my missile guys brought me a steak? Holy Gods I died on the spot." He takes her arm politely, escorting her up the walkway. "You study to your heart's content. Then you can teach me. People never invite me to weddings because they're afraid of me." He flashes a grin. Apparently he is capable of being just -that- bad. "Bah, I've got all that shit down in Engineering. The coffee is the easy job." An askance glance to her with a tease: "Slacker."

"I will consider it." It's hard to break a turtle out of its shell. Not to mention that Kal's banned alcohol in the squadron. "I ended up mostly sitting on the sidelines nibbling on ration bars. I just couldn't eat something that looked like what it was before it was on my plate." Clearly, she's squeamish about the oddest things, "She does a good job, but she doesn't have that hard edge that most field Marines have. She's better served riding a desk." Clearly, from her tone there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone has their niche. "Now that you're the Chief here, you can do that in turn." Rank has its privileges, "They're probably afraid that you would leave grease stains on the bride's new white dress." Yes, she just went there. "I can certainly come with you, if you need my assistance. But I am not as familiar with your storage as I am with where they stash the coffee and condiments on the deck."

"Consider away. The offer is planted half way across the bridge. I'll meet you in the middle if you feel like it." Mark's not going to try or push. He's made the offer a few times. She knows it's there, there. No sense to push anymore. "Aw, really? Man I love venison. Even if it's roasting on a spit. I used to know this Scorpian guy who had this family tradition of roasting pigs every summer. He'd invite me back to his family's place. Skipped three years running. Went last year. I kicked myself soooo hard. I should have gone earlier. Best food evar." Evar. Though he snorts, laughing at her implication about wedding dresses. "Leyla? Are you trying to imply that I would sully the purity of the bride with my simple close proximity?" Fauxgasp! "Damn that explains a lot. And for that point of fact, I'm dragging your happy orange ass down to Engineering to help me fetch these tools. You'll probably blend right in. Though if some Specialist grabs you and tells you to do something right away, just do it. Things tend to explode when you fight Specialists." Hazard of the job, really.

It's clear, as much as Leyla appreciates the offer, she also appreciates his lack of pushiness. Sometimes, baby steps are all the small pilot can manage. Most times, the people looking in from the outside don't really grok that. "We do not now have any animals on the Elpis, but I see no reason why we could not bring some sort of breeding stock aboard, as they did in this ship." The pair finally arrive at the top deck, the corridor leading down to the 'foyer'. "Well, you were the one who brought up venereal diseases, the last time we spoke. You know what they say…'where there's smoke'." The woman seems not at all perturbed at the warning, "I am no engineer, but I know a few things about handling a wrench. I've been cleared to work the raptors on the deck. How difficult could it be?" Yes, clearly joking.

"I suppose we could bring breeding stock aboard but I'm afraid Pewter or Rejn might mistake the terminology used. The last thing this fleet needs is some photographer snapping shots of one of those two.. well." Mark isn't going to finish that thought. Some things just cannot be unimagined. Continuing their walk, the man hangs his head and starts laughing at the reference to the conversation about venereal diseases. "Hahahahholyshit!" He shakes it off and looks back at Leyla. "That right there? That was bad. Well-played. Wish I'd thought of that. Damnit." But as she discusses her Deck qualifications, the Chief nods a few times. "Alright. Alright. We'll see how this goes. At some point I'll kick down the door to stellar cartography. We've got an obs deck waaay on the dorsal between the numbers two and three engines. We can use it to manually take star plots for an FTL jump. Its a pretty sweet set-up. High powered scopes that rival most of what you see on the ground." Basically a mini-Hubble.

"Well, I imagine, for size and portability, we would have to use small animals. Like they did here. Birds, small rodents." For whatever reason, deer wig her out, but not rodenty things. "As long as we do not start to carry insects for food." Leyla holds up a hand, "I know, I know, they're excellent sources of protein, but I simply cannot abide all of the legs. You have to pick them out from between your teeth for days." Completely serious, is Leyla Aydin, as they arrive back in the foyer. "I told you I was well known for my wit. Though I would certainly love to be able to watch and plot the stars in that sort of setup. It has been too long since I was able to do the things I enjoy."

"Gods, the hell are we gonna do with birds and rodents? We'd need some cow and pig here. At least!!" Though her description of insects gets a solid laugh out of him. "Seriously? You just described in detail the problems of chewing of insects. Like, Leyla, that wasn't some 'I read it in a book somewhere' information, either." Mark can't help laughing. But NO! Not judging! Never. Mark does not judge. Except his shirts. Those must be chosen with clarity and conviction. It takes a confident man to wear a lime green tropical shirt. "Cool. I'll see if I can find the key to it. I don't even know that anyone has been up there since it was built. Damned place probably still has the plastic over the computer terminals. Though if we look into it and see only black, you're not allowed to make lenscap jokes." Marching off down through the hangar deck and not-awkwardly arm in arm! Ha! Take that unknown social cues! It won't take too long to get everything and get back - provided a Specialist does not require Leyla to prevent explosions, of course.

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