PHD #013: Tearsplosion
Summary: Tisiphone says farewell to Merrell in a very personal way. Atreus and Hephaestus help.
Date: 11 Mar 2041
Related Logs: Aftershock, Another Soul to the Stars
Tisiphone Atreus 
Chief's Office — Hangar Deck - Battlestar Cerberus
Post Holocaust Day: #14
The room is fairly small, to maximize the area of the deck itself. It contains a smallish metal desk with locking drawers, a computer terminal, a file cabinet against one wall and metal shelves filled with tools, spare parts, and manuals. There are two chairs facing the desk, clearly scavenged from somewhere else. One area of the shelving, nearest the desk, has been cleared and is clean. This holds a coffee maker that constantly seems to have some brew or other in it. Above the chair behind the desk, in a position of prominence, a framed picture has been hung. It is an embroidered image depicting Hephaestus with his two metal helpers. The work is beautiful and almost lovingly detailed. The god is laughing, one eye bright where a patch covers the other. He is held aloft by his helpers, one done in glittering gold, the other in silver.
Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close

Somewhere a night owl hoots a forlorn hunting cry. Somewhere. But not here. Not on the Cerberus. On the Cerberus, the Deck Chief is in his office reading messages, writing orders and puzzling over inventory. He sighs for a moment, setting the paperwork down. A hand lifts to run through his hair, then squeezes the bridge of his nose for a moment. Rising, he begins a long stretch that ends when his hand brushes the coffee pot on its shelf. Coffee. That is an idea worth considering.

Weird o'clock, when only the souls ordered to be awake consider such a terrible fate. The Cerberus is never /silent/, but at times like this, it's as close as it gets — until a quiet rap at the edge of the hatch changes all that. Rap-rap-rap. Rap-rap-rap. Bony knuckles, tentative. It's probably not loud enough to wake someone napping within.

The sound is not immediately heard. Only when the coffee has been sipped does the man frown. He glances toward the hatch, then shrugs. Moving around the desk, he pulls the hatch open and is visibly surprised to see someone actually there. "Sir?" A motion with his head, "Come on in."

Tisiphone's got her head bowed slightly, one arm propping her up sideways against the bulkhead while she waited to see if there was anyone conscious on the other side of the hatch. She doesn't look up until she's stepped into the office, clutching a small brown paper bundle in both hands as if for moral support. It's easy to see why she was dodging gazes on the way here — glassy, tear-reddened eyes set in wet cheeks look up to the Chief. When she speaks, it's scratchy and very soft. "Chief. You- got a second? There's- I, I need a favour."

Atreus glances out onto the Deck as the woman slips in. He nods to one or two late shift folk, then closes the hatch. Turning, the condition of her face actually takes the man by surprise. His eyes widen in an 'oh, lords, woman crying' sort of look and his free hand lifts to snag a box of tissues, "Oh, hey, now…" The initial panic in his voice softens to a very gentle concern. "What's happened, Tisi?" The tissues are offered before he notices the bundle. Not sir. Not now. "How can I help?"

"I, I- need to burn something." How's /that/ for an opener? Tisiphone's fingers tighten around the brown paper bag; it's so heavily wrinkled at this point that it barely even crinkles. She does switch it to one hand, though, for the sake of a tissue. Should Atreus be familiar with the Many Faces of Crying Girls, the Ensign is wearing the one that comes after a long, long cry. This may be heartening, in a backwards way; it /might/ suggest no further tearsplosions are on the way. "I- oh, mother of the gods, Chief." She shakes her head, looking more horrified than anything else. "Robin- I mean, Senior Chief Merrell, in Engineering. There was an- accident. Last night. There's- something I need to give her." It…made sense in /her/ head, at least.

Atreus's eyebrows lift further, eyes widening even further, "Uh. Burn something?" Once the tissue is accepted, he sets the box down on the corner of his desk. No further tearsplosions would be a blessing straight from Hephaestus, but he'll deal if need be. The news, when it comes, is grim and the man shakes his head slowly. Leaning against the desk, he sets the coffee and tissue down then folds his hands on one thigh, "Oh, man. I am sorry to hear that. She had a good reputation. Good at her job. Solid." That is when the rest of it hits him, "Wait. You want to give her something?" His gaze lifts to the hanging of Hephaestus on the wall and slowly realization hits, "Ah. Send it to her on the smoke. I see." He lifts the mug to take a thoughtful sip, then nods, "I think we could do that."

Tisiphone is so certain the answer is going to be a 'no', it seems, that a bunch of words spill out before her mental editor manages to pull on the reins. "All I need is just- a spot. Where it won't sent off the fire alarms. It's too much for the Chapel. I couldn't think of anywhere else, it- it just needs to be…" Whoa there, horsie. Whoa. She looks up from wiping at her eyes and letting her mouth run off ahead of her brains, blinking at Atreus. "Really? I- gods, Chief." She looks nearly blind with relief and gratitude. "I- where?"

Atreus listens to the woman as her words flow without reacting. Grief hits people in different ways, he knows. As she winds down, he rises from the desk. He places a hand gently on the young woman's shoulder, "Yeah. Really." His smile is a half lilt, eyes kind. "She meant a lot to you. To a lot of folk." The hand lifts and he motions toward the deck, "Come on, Hotshot." Easing past, he pulls the hatch open, then steps back to let her pass out first.
"Set off a warhead, trying to salvage something- something worth less than she was, whatever the frak it was,"

Tisiphone murmurs, bitterness scratching at her throat, after another wipe at her eyes. "Gods, of all the souls to-" She stops herself short — or her throat closes off. Down that route lies a fresh tearsplosion. She slips out the hatch, pausing just at the other side, attention back down on the brown paper bundle.

Hangar Deck - Port — Midship - Battlestar Cerberus
Post Holocaust Day: #14
The single largest rooms on the Cerberus are the hangar decks. Each flight pod consists of two stacked landing bays with adjoined decks and hangars, which along with computer-assisted landings results in a faster Viper recovery rate. Mirror images of each other, these two huge areas are located on the flight pods. The inboard sides of the deck, closest to the ship's main hull, are lined with parking and maintenance bays for Vipers and Raptors based aboard the battlestar. The outboard side of the deck contains the launch tubes used by the Vipers for standard deployment. Huge blast doors seal the deck into four sections, each one containing an elevator that leads up to the flight deck directly overhead. The fore-most section contains an elevator system that leads towards Aerospace Fabrication.
Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close

Atreus steps out of the office after you. He reaches back and pulls the hatch closed after them. Briefly, the Chief touches Tisiphone's shoulder, then angles back toward the shop area. "This way, Tisiphone." The bulkhead curves away from Atreus' office around the larger work areas with their Raptors or Vipers, toolkits, coiled hoses and other odds and ends of a busy deck. Almost hidden from view is a shop area complete with welding and metal working equipment. Once there, Atreus aims for what can only be an enclosed forge. Rather than stopping at an enormous maw fit for producing decking, he angles around to a smaller one. Looking over his shoulder, he half smiles at the young woman, "We use this to repair tools or make couplings. I think it'll do." As he speaks, he begins adjusting the exhaust hood. The forge is about two feet by four feet.

Maybe Tisiphone is so emotionally wrung-out that her personal space radar is fritzed. Maybe the Chief has managed to make the list of People What Don't Get Fingers Removed For Touching Me. Either way, there's just a quiet sigh that drains out of her when her shoulder is touched to direct her along. She follows after, bootsoles scuffing quietly at the ground, stumbling slightly over her own steps when the final destination is reached. "She'd-" she begins, sweeping her too-bright stare around the area. "I- I think she'd like that, Chief. She always had burnt hair, you know? Scorched. Scratches. She loved her work." As the exhaust hood is adjusted, Tisiphone stuffs in and finally reveals the paperbagged item — a small, stuffed llama with buttons for eyes. It's ridiculously cute. She turns it over and over in her hands, blinking away fresh tears as she looks at it.

Atreus nods, "I think I'd've liked her, then. There's something wonderful about people who do what they love." He bends a little to adjust the fuel levels, then lights the small forge. It is one of those that heats fairly quickly, but the heat is held at bay until released. The inside area beneath the hood remains cool for a long while otherwise. Looking at the llama, his eyes light up briefly, "Ah, that's cute." Turning, he bends to open a drawer. There are rows of tools and a rainbow of wires, "If you want, you could make a bow of wire. Use whatever color you think Robin would've liked best." Stepping back, he returns to the forge. "When you are ready, set it in here." He gestures to the surface. "I'll set it up, then you can fire it, if you like."

Tisiphone's face squinches up a bit when Atreus speaks of people doing what they love. It takes a rather strangled-sounding clearing of throat to stave off a fresh tearsplosion. The mention of the llama doesn't hurt, either. "It is, isn't it?" There's a wobbly near-grin as she says it. She seems rather fond of it. "It- we. It's a long story." Apologetic. There's no way she's getting that story out, tonight. "But- I know she'll like it." The offer of coloured wire is considered, hesitated over, then grabbed — instead of a bow, however, a short length of gleaming copper wire is selected, and carefully curled into a spiral. Finally, the pieta is arranged — the llama on the folded, crumpled paper, the coil of copper beneath it. She steps back. Stares at it a long while.

Atreus recognizes the imminent tearsplosion, but does not really know what to do about it. He considers another touch to her shoulder, but remembers that she isn't one ot necessarily appreciate that so holds off. When the 'splosion is averted he relaxes some and nods, "Very. Reminds me of a toy that my little girl had. When… when she was little." He inhales, the memory obviously bright, "She used to sleep with it. I think it's name was Aletta." Once the copper wire has been selected, he closes and locks the tool chest. Standing to one side of the forge, he watches the preparations, then clears his throat, "Hey, Hephaestus. Buddy." Judging by his voice, he honestly feels a fraternal affection for the god, "Please see to it that a soul recently sent on gets this gift, please. It is sent heart to heart so she will have a friend to hang out with until those who love her can be with her." Looking at the woman, he lifts that half smile once more. "When you are ready, just turn this knob a quarter turn to the right."

"Aletta." Tisiphone looks at Atreus for a long moment, that wobbling smile struggling to stick to the corner of her mouth. She looks away when he moves to the tool-chest, eyes moving back to the forge. It starts looking like she'll get through this without further strain to her tearducts until the Chief has his chat with Hephaestus. She holds it together, shoulders starting to tremble, until he's nearly through his words — then all at once she's choking on a sob. Start the klaxons. Tearsplosion imminent. Fumbling, as if racing against herself, she turns the knob.

Oh, crap. Tearsplosion! Atreus almost holds his breath, though when she moves to turn the knob he watches intently to be sure that all goes well. When the knob is turned, a few things happen. First, the paper begins to glow a red that tinges to black, then to the grey of ash. It curls inward, then falls away. The copper wire glows red, then nearly white as it is consumed. The llama shimmers, then vanishes in the blink of an eye. The inside of the forge has grown so hot that even the ash is consumed. The man whispers a very soft, "So say we all." Then, gently, he turns the forge off once more.

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