PHD #233: Stress Test
Stress Test
Summary: What do you get when you mix a pineapple and a coconut, hold the liquor, then flambé?
Date: 17 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: Spin Cycle & Everything Will Be Fine
Sawyer Trask 
News Room - Deck 3 - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #233
This room isn't huge by any means, but it does have all the updated equipment and a small news staff that runs the area.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear

When Sawyer is in full work mode, there is a haze of smoke above her desk. Currently, she's chugging away like the little engine that could, her fingers flying away at the keyboard while a cigarette smolders from its hitch between her lips. Beside her, the printer hums with a steady stream of output, spitting out pages of text in its slow methodical way of an ancient dot-matrix; the holes on each side of the perforated paper getting fed along its spoked wheels. If anyone else does work in this room, they've scattered like the wind for fear of getting roped into whatever Sawyer is endeavoring to accomplish.

Perhaps it's a pre-emptive move to avoid MP patrol harassment that has Trask dressed in dark green navy work coveralls, which are nowhere near as sexy as a flightsuit, or duty blues, or even duty greens, but they serve their intended purpose. After all, he's walking around with an industrial grade toolbox, as well as a long swathe of faded purple fabric folded once length-wise, then by width, that's been tossed over one shoulder. Upon entering, the news room is surveyed. The chugga-chugga of the Averies Express is left to carry on, un-derailed. Instead, looking like any other snipe that might be coming and going, he scopes the space and starts to head for a corner that offers a clear view of the hatch.

Sawyer flicks a gaze up, notes the green, then goes right back to working. Somewhere in there, the cigarette gets set aside in a black enamel ashtray. Obviously, it didn't dawn on her that that man is Trask, why would it? She's never seen him in that attire. So the presumption continues, "I know I put in that work order about my chair squeaking, but you know, I've come to find it comforting. I'm sure you have more important things to work on." She sits back from the keys, hand going to the bridge of her nose to pinch. When it dawns on her he's not coming over to attend to her chair, one eye pops back open to locate him. And her head tilts to observe the view of backside of the snipe she's afforded. "Can I help you?"

Dragging one of the rolling chairs as he goes, this becomes a makeshift counter for the large toolbox and aforementioned fabric. Back still to the blonde, it would be evident that he's wearing one of those lightweight, portable torch kits, the tank of oxygen and the one of acetylene dead giveaways. "Yeah, actually. I need to take measurements." Unlocking and opening the box, some manner of device is retrieved, with which the man appears to be scanning the walls.

"Measurements?" That has Sawyer up like a shot, and in her haste she forgets to don her shoes, so it's in panty-hosed feet that she skitters across the floor to try and put the kabosh on whatever this man is doing to mess with her news room. It's not until she's halfway there, that it dawns on her that that man is in fact, "Kal? Shit." The expletive isn't due to the man, but rather the fact that she just stubbed her toe in transit and now she's hopping on one foot and trying to grab hold of the other without going tits over teakettle while doing it. "What in blazes are you doing?" The hop, ow, hop, ow continues.

Every so often, there is a trill, vibrating beep from the device that prompts Trask to mark a spot with a piece of utility tape that is torn off with his teeth. "Checkin' for studs," is his reply, which surely is not the answer the investigative journalist was angling for. Unaware of the toe-stubbing, he wryly adds, "Lovely to see you, too, Scoop." Eventually, the ow-hop-ow-hop-ow-hop draws his attention, which then draws his brows into a furrow of bemusement. Only when it dawns on him what has transpired does he smirk and quip, "Grasping the importance of protective footwear, I see." The stud detector is swapped for a digital multimeter and another round of scanning commences.

Sawyer rests her rump on the edge of a desk to massage her abused foot, crooking it on the opposing knee to prod at her toe to check for breakage. There's grimacing, but no more cussing, and apparently all is well if the digit wiggling is any indication. "Unfortunately, the steel toed boots really don't go with this ensemble." She mutters underneath her breath while frowning at her toes. "So, when you're not volunteering for high risk missions you're… interior decorating?" Though she's quick to add, "No comment about carpets and drapes matching, please."

Measurements of electrical current are taken and the path of wires behind the wall marked off. That done, the multimeter is likewise cast aside. Scampish, Kal flashes an amused, lopsided smile, the gleam in his big, brown eyes naughty like a little boy's. "Is there a rug? Wasn't sure if you were the sort who preferred a wax finish." As for interior decorating, "Why? Lookin' to find someone to install some cute curtains?" Out comes a digital measuring tape. Even seated as she is, a visual estimate is made as to Sawyer's height. Engineers have mad spatial skills, yo. With the calculated number in mind, he starts to measure from the floor upwards.

Sawyer reaches out a hand to lay on his arm, braving the floor again with her virtually bare feet. "Not that I don't appreciate… whatever it is you're doing, but I like things a particular way and whatever you're doing is seriously upsetting my zen balance right now." She's trying very hard not to let her voice pitch into panic here, but he's doing something and not letting her in on the secret. If there is one thing Sawyer doesn't handle well, that's being left in the dark. No comment on the rug.

More tape goes down, laid in a different direction to set it apart from the other markings. Angling from wall to wall of the perpendicular lines that help form the cropped corner, Trask takes further measurements and sets placement marks. When his arm is touched, though, there is a faint twitch of someone not expecting it but having the wherewithal to realize it does not require a further knee-jerk reaction. "Your zen balance has been upset for a while," he notes, completely disregarding the woman's undercurrent of concern in that blithe way of his. Fishing into a pocket, out comes a D-ring, which he lays flush against one wall to better eyeball the set-up in-progress.

Sawyer quirks an eyebrow up as if to say 'is that so', but then he's not stopping. Wait, he's not stopping. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the reporter is trying to interpose herself between the man and the wall, despite the proximity that demands. "Well, you're not helping in that regard so I'd appreciate if you'd…" Do something. Other than whatever he's doing, no doubt, but she sort of lost track of her words. Sawyer looks down to his chin and quickly back up, huffing a piece of hair out of her eyes with an updraft from her lips.

One moment, he's making mental calculations. When he looks back to the ring, there he finds Sawyer pseudo-sandwiched between him and the wall. Peer. Blink-blink. Okaaaaaaaay. "Look," the ECO recovers, "I realize you're kinda uptight and that a thoroughly rompin' good frak would probably do wonders for your sense of equilibrium, even if you may have difficulty walking for a few days, but I require a minimum of three dates before I put out. And not the cheap-o kind, either." With his empty hand, he seeks Sawyer's shoulder so he can start to nudge her aside. "Now," Trask flippantly counters, "what /I'd/ appreciate is you gettin' outta the way." Beat. "Seriously. Unless you're gunnin' for Gabrieli's crown, you don't wanna be standin' there when I light-up."

"First of all…" Sawyer's chin goes up. "I'm not uptight. Second of all, sexual intercourse releases a chemical in your brain called oxytocin which mimics the feelings of attachment or love. I can get the same from chocolate. And third, until you tell me what precisely you're doing, I'm not moving an inch. So. Unhand me, you fiend, and stow your acetylene torch before I find some place to wedge it where the sun doesn't shine. Spill the beans, bub."

How the lady doth protest. Perhaps that's why Bootstrap smiles with a mischievous sort of humor. "The way you're goin', I'm not sure there'd be enough chocolate in all the Twelve Colonies before they were nuked." Since she asked, though, Trask flippantly explains, "I'm trying to get you outta the way so I can weld this here ring to this here wall. And once I've done that, I'm gonna weld a different D-ring to that wall." Which the smartass indicates with a sidelong tilt of his head.

Sawyer very neatly folds her arms over her chest, even if there is some finagling of limbs so they fit in the tight confines between her and the squadron leader. "Don't worry, I stocked up on Aerilon. You're safe." Her lips purse forward, as if she's picking through her various thoughts to choose which precious one is going to surface. Speaking of safe, that's the angle she goes with. "So, when you are finished with D-ring one and D-ring two, what do you intend to attach between them?" Nope, she's not budging.

"Look, if you don't want me to install this hammock, stop sleepin' at your frakkin' desk." In his jerkassy way, the jerkass is being very thoughtful. Caring, even. Still a jerkass, though. An undeterred one, at that. "Woulda been by sooner but washin' laundry has taken a backseat to other things, and I wasn't about to set you up with something unsanitary. I'd've had Bunny handle cleanin' it but he's exhausted between his dayjob an' moonlighting as a baby drool magnet. I'd've had Shortcut do it, but I really don't trust him with that." Ulixes is, well, Ulixes. "The rest of my lackeys are on vacation." That said, he glibly tacks on, "Now, kindly get the frak outta the way." Once more, Trask is attempting to nudge her aside.

"A… hammock." Sawyer couldn't be more dumbstruck than if her jaw were literally on the floor. As it stands, her lips are partially agape as if she's about to protest, but her lungs lack the wind. Finally, she settles on an eloquent, "Oh." She pushes off the wall and seriously muddles through an attempt to kiss him on the cheek before giving him his wish and withdrawing from his work area so he can go about his business. She has a perfectly good cot in the adjoining dark room, but for some reason, it goes unmentioned. "Good for a girl to know where she ranks. Suicidal mission. Laundry. Then destruction of fleet property."

Continuing with the trend of things unexpected would be that peck on the cheek. A flurry of emotions flickers in those emotive brown eyes of Kal: Apprehension. Discombobulation. Assorted other -ions. Yeeeeeeah. He's just going to smooth out the quizzical furrow of his brow and cease the incredulous cockeyed sidelong glance before things get even more awkward. Yay for adhesive! Applying that to the back of the ring means he can totally ignore what just happened. Once fully coated, he presses it against the wall and leans into it, applying pressure. "I'm a licensed engineer," he drolly remarks. "Spent my first six years in the fleet as a snipe. Electrical, mainly, but you learn how to do other stuff as part of Dee Cee." Damage Control. "And it's only destruction of fleet property if Gabrieli says so, an' he doesn't say so. So." Yeah. Smirking a little, he notes, "Hey, if you'd rather this hammock not have been washed, I can put it back where I found it an' let it stew for a while."

At least he looked as awkward about receiving the kiss as she was in delivering it. There's a faint blush to the apples of her cheeks by the time she slips up on a deserted desk, pulling her legs up slowly until she's sitting cross-legged on its surface. "I appreciate your attentiveness to providing me with a germ-free sleeping sling, and withdraw any previous comment which held any indication of unintended lack of gratitude. If a man wants to weld a shi…stuff together on my behalf, then so be it." When he says he's a licensed engineer, there's a flash of something across Sawyer's features that doesn't seem all together as if that's new news, but she just goes with the flow of conversation. "Then what made you turn to air-wing?"

From where — and how — he's standing, he's in no position to notice Sawyer's reaction, or lack thereof. "From Engineering? Nothin'. I transferred to the Deck. Spent the next six years as a knuckledragger. Avionics, initially, but that changed when I became a licensed aerospace engineer." To go along with being a licensed electrical one. Bootstrap most certainly has lived up to his callsign. "Was made an AE lead 'round the time I met Toast. Kept her birds in order for two years." Which probably accounts for a lot of the trust and tolerance she shows the cheeky SL. Once enough time has passed for the joint to be affixed, the goggles around his neck are drawn up and on, adjusted into place. "I imagine you don't wanna go blind, so you're gonna have to miss this bit."

Sawyer turns her head away at the threat of blue sparkage, "I already have the misfortune of being the proud owner of a perpetual headache, blindness might be preferable." But avert her eyes she does, despite the pull to keep an eye on every one of his movements to make sure he's doing only what he described. "So, do you get bored that easily, or do you pride yourself on being a jack of all trades? Sorry, a licensed jack of all trades."

The torch is unhooked, the acetylene valve on said torch twisted, the striker squeezed a few times to create a spark, and then oxygen added to the mix. After a few tweaks are made to the output levels, it's time to apply the heat and the filler to fuse the D-ring to the wall. Even with her looking away, Averies could still see the reflected flickers of light. She certainly could hear the roar of the flame. Perhaps that very roar is why Trask doesn't answer the posed question. It's possible he didn't hear it.

With the lack of response, there is no sense on trying to carry on a conversation. By the time he's finished his first weld, she's grown listless and goes in search of a cigarette. Keeping her gaze pointedly down, she starts pawing around the loose papers on her desk trying to unbury her elusive pack of blue wrappered nicotine bliss. "I'm also secretly attracted to you, which loans itself to a whole host of problems, not to mention the moral dilemma." She mutters to her desk during the search while he's busy with his welding project.

Odds are he didn't hear that bit, either. After some time, the roaring stops. Re-hooking the torch, Trask drags one arm across his forehead to wipe away some beads of sweat. The goggles are then lifted to rest against his hairline. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he turns to look where Sawyer /was/ sitting but no longer is. A quick scan notes her current location. Leaving the first ring to cool before he tests its structural integrity, the quondam snipe readies the second hook for affixation.

Maybe she was just testing a selective hearing theory, but either way she falls blissfully silent while he finishes up his job. Sawyer slips back into her desk chair and momentarily looks at the blinking cursor on her screen before she just reaches out and shuts off the display. Easing back into her chair, she leans back with her cigarette and sparks up, keeping her eyes averted for round two of welding.

Second D-ring pressed against the wall, Kal again leans in to apply pressure. In a causal tone that undermines the seriousness of the topic, he relays, "So, the Ess-Two seems to fancy me. Poor guy is so shy that he had to bring four of his friends to ask me out on a date to the SecHub."

Sawyer tuned out for a minute when he said 'date', expecting it to be followed up by some gory details that she just did not want to be privy to, even with her annoying habit of being a nosy bitch. She's about to dismiss it with a non-committal 'mmm' when it dawns on her what he's /actually/ talking about. "Wait, what?" Sawyer's pulling her bare feet off the corner of the desk where she had them hitched, once more hastily stamping out a half-smoked cigarette. "You were detained by," a quick look to some seemingly random note on her desk. "Lieutenant O'Hare? What for?" Is she irritated? It certainly seems so. Maybe it's because she didn't already /know/ this.

No less nonchalant, the man continues, still leaning forward. "Questioning relating to an ongoing investigation is the stock answer he gave Major Hahn when she intercepted us." Smirkity-smirk. "No charges were pressed but I wouldn't be surprised if he calls me for a second date."

Sawyer's face twitches with the little various expressions of thoughts as she works through the myriad of implications there. "But you don't know what precisely it was in reference to? Hmm." She feeds her brain with another hit of nicotine. "Well, I have some friends in the MPs. I could ask around if you'd like, or do you prefer your interrogations to be a surprise?" If she knows for certain what this is in reference to, she's not offering up any information on a silver platter for the man.

"I didn't say that." Which is true. He simply opted for the smartass answer. As for surprise interrogation preferences, "Like now?" All the same, Trask sounds wryly amused. This is Sawyer, after all. "I sure as frak don't want another incident wherein anyone from the Wing is detained right before their CAP shift." EPIC CMC TIMING FAIL. "An' you can quote me on that."

Sawyer looks back at him with a bemused smirk, now that she can in fact do so without risking her vision. "You brought up this particular line of conversation, knowing full well that questions had to be asked in order to keep the flow of conversation going. Surely, you know by now that if you wanted someone to look at you with a blank expression and merely smile and nod, then you should go fishing in a different pond. So, no, not like now. I have no legal recourse with you, after all. This had something to do with the call for an emergency change in shift, then. I heard that. So do you know why you were detained?"

Time for Round Two of welding, it would seem. The goggles are going back on. "Combination info pump slash suspect sweating was the unspoken official reason, but I'm sure my being delicious eye candy was also a factor. Speaking of which, as difficult as I know it is, you must find the strength to avert your gaze." The torch is retrieved.

Sawyer flashes her eyes towards the ceiling before her chair squeaks on its pivot, and she swivels to look in the other direction. "But suspect for /what/?" comes the exasperated retort from her and then she waits until the torch is roaring once more before she continues, "You are so not good for my zen." The heel of her hand gets ground into her eye, massaging at the socket ruefully. "What are you doing, Sawyer Averies."

Once more, the flame and filler meet metal in an ebb and flow of smooth rivet-forming motion, leaving Sawyer Averies, investigative journalist, time to dig through her inner-workings to try to find the answer to her latter question. Here's hoping her deadline isn't Kal's completion of the task at hand.

By the time he's completed his last weld, Sawyer's once more pitched back in her chair, this time her arm is slung over her eyes to protect them from the angry blue sparks. When the roar of the torch has died away for the second time, her voice raises up again. "Too bad those couldn't be coconut trees you were slinging that hammock to. Salt air, warm sands, the soothing sounds of the waves crashing against the shore. Very thoughtful of you, though, thank you."

Yet again, beads of sweat are wiped from his temples and brow with the sweep of his coverall covered arm. That done, he re-hooks the torch and draws the goggles up to his damp hairline. "Warm sands and crashing waves, eh? Not scantily clad, studly cabana boys bringing you a steady stream of tropical drinks served with tiny, colorful paper umbrellas tucked in hollowed pineapple cups?" Like any craftsman worth his salt, Bootstrap returns to the first ring to examine his handiwork, running gloved fingers across the seams before pressing both hands on the protruding object and pulling down. Nope. It's not going anywhere.

"Coconuts. I prefer hollowed out coconuts." Sawyer pulls her arm from her eyes, looking a little bit more drained than when all of this started. "And I told you, I have chocolate for the rest." This time she has the presence of mind to slip on her heels before she heads over, the shoes lending her a few more inches to her height and bit of musical tick-tock to her walk as she comes over to inspect his work. Her finger hooks into a D-ring, "I suppose the true test will come with stressors."

Stress Test Phase One Ring #1 Result: PASS.

The second ring needs to cool before being similarly molested. In the meanwhile, Bootstrap decides to slough off the welding kit, which he carefully sets on the floor nearby and within his line of sight. Safety first!

"Really?" It sounds too smirky to be a question but yet is not a statement. "I'd've pegged you for pineapples. Rough on the outside, a bit prickly, not the easiest to get into, but containing such a sweet acidity when ripened just so." Whether or not Trask is comparing himself to a pineapple isn't at all evident, even in jest, but there certainly are similarities between the two. Fishing into a pocket, he removes an 'S' hook and loops it through the first ring.

"What can I say, monkeys trying to bust open a coconut is far more amusing. Something about cracking open the husk and beating the nut until it finally cracks and spills milk all over the rocks. Poetic." Sawyer's tone is dry, but amusement crinkles the corners of her eyes. "So, how much poundage is this thing going to be rated for?" That question seems completely serious, or at least it's delivered as such. "I do like pineapple on a cake, however. If that's any consolation."

"Dunno. I found it hangin' at a scenic overlook at Carmine Ridge." Yes, he swiped it from where it hung between two trees in Allegheny. No wonder he insisted it be washed. Said bundle of cloth once a rich, deep purple courtesy of natural mulberry dye remains on the chair upon which it was deposited, having long since faded with time and exposure to the elements. Idly rolling his shoulders, Trask turns to face Sawyer, faintly canting his head as though she were being considered. "You /are/ something of a cheeky money," he concludes. "Coconuts it is."

"Ooh ooh aah aah," comes Sawyer's deadpan approximation of monkey noises. Not entirely life-like mind you, but the enthusiasm could use some work. "I'd have to say, some dead sheep farmer's hammock is just about the sweetest, most thoughtful gift I've ever received. And I have to tell you, you're going up against some stiff competition. I have a drawer full of pens. For some reason, being a journalist by trade just screams 'I need a writing implement'. Though Tisiphone's pen was special, because it was spiteful. It's the sentiment behind the gift that really counts." So what does 'hey, have a bed' mean?

"Is it the kind of pen that has liquid and a drawing of a lady inside, and when you tilt it her dress falls down to reveal her unmentionables?" This might actually be a serious (or at least quasi-serious) inquiry consider it's Trask and Tisiphone. On to Stress Test Number Two. First, the seams are examined. Gripping and pulling follows, which involves a bit of a grunt because that's what men do when they do this kind of thing. "Yeah, well this dead sheep farmer's hammock survived the holocaust. That's a testament to its quality, yo."

"I will neither confirm nor deny the possession of such a writing implement." Sawyer watches his little test phase with idle bemusement, before her gaze shifts over to the heap of faded fabric. "Wait. The farmer wasn't still /in/ the hammock when you salvaged it… was he?" For once her expression is clear as day: please, dear gods of Kobol, say he wasn't. Please please please say he wasn't. As if expecting an answer to the contrary, she lifts a hand to touch at her temple in a pre-emptive wince.

Stress Test Phase One Ring #2 Result: PASS.

Sliding in the second 'S' hook, he actually looks as though he's earnestly considering the question. "I suppose that could've been what those ashes were…" Sawyer might want to pray to the Gods for clarity on that one because there's no real way to tell whether or not the SL is being serious.

Sawyer sighs, the sound coming out as another huff with the slight flare of her nostrils. "You're a cad. If I sleep in that thing and have nightmares, I'm going to hunt you down, crawl into your bunk, and then you're going to have to deal with my cold feet on your back all night long." A tilt of her head. "That came out entirely wrong. I'll just choose to ignore the ash comment and insert my own reality. Yeah, that works better."

A cad? Kal turns around and presses his right hand across his heart, drawing forth the most sardonic look of shock and dismay. "Oh, how you wound me." Yeah, he sounds really devastated. To the rest that Sawyer says, his lips purse into a sly expression of amusement, that gleam evident in his eyes. "Uh-huh," is all he remarks about Sawyer's threat. Verbally, anyway.

Sawyer gives him a long, slow up and down with her eyes. Her lips press together as if she wants to say something more, but is physically restraining herself. And it's really, really hard sometimes for the reporter to contain herself. "Yeah, well. Hang your stupid, thoughtful hammock and get out of here. I have work to finish and you're distracting me, with all your…" She makes some vague zig zag gesture in his general direction, then turns to leave him to his work. There was, however, unmistakeable laughter in her voice, even if it's a bit self-chiding.

Mmmm-hmmm. That slyly amused look does not abate. No, his lips remain pursed even as the corners of his mouth are tugged upwards with a smug sort of glee. And those big brown eyes of his? Positively alight with impish delight. Not a word out of him, though. The expression and demeanor convey all that needs to be conveyed. Instead, he starts to hang the hammock, which has a scalloped trim edged in small tassels, the overall knitting of the embellishment looking vaguely lacy. Whoever crafted the thing sure took their chillaxin' seriously.

Sawyer gathers a stack of papers from the printer, tearing the last from the accordion feed. "I have to run these up to the XO's office, if you're not here when I get back, well… thanks again. At some point you'll have to tell me what I did to warrant it." She flashes him a smile, then leaves him to his own devices in the news room. She left someone alone. In the news room. Either she A) feels comfortable enough with him or B) won't be gone long. Most likely the latter.

However long it is that Sawyer is gone is long enough for Bootstrap, boots and all, to test the hammock and his handiwork. For when the reporter returns, there he is, having succumbed to the need of sleep and perhaps palm tree dreams.

Stress Test Final Phase Result: PASS.

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