PHD #387: The Awkward Tree
The Awkward Tree
Summary: Keenan tries to adapt to life within the squadron.
Date: 20 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: None
Keenan Solstice Evandreus 
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: #387

A few hours have passed since the Cylon attack on the fleet that gave Keenan his first taste of combat. The fleet is still at Condition two, which never lends itself to much relaxation. However, having found a hot shower and a meal to tend to his aching stomach, Keenan has made his way back to the pilot berthings. His hair still slightly damp, he sits at a table near his bunk. His cleaned flightsuit resting on his bunk, ready to go at a moment's notice, he's relaxing in his off-duties. Arms crossed against his chest, it seems that he's lost himself, and is staring at the wall with one leg propped on a nearby chair.

It seems Shakes has had as similar plan but a beat behind Keenan. Stepping back into the bunks, her Cerberus robe about her, she had eaten first. Her dark curls are still damp, plastered to the back of her head as some begin to dry and softly twirl up near her face. As the hatch opens to allow her in, barefeet hit the flooring as she makes her way to her locker. Towel over her arm is thrown in first as the clang of her locker opening sounds. She is absorbed and for a moment doesn't register the ensign - her calculating thoughts elsewhere.

While the bunkhouse is large, it's not that large, and the sound shifts Keenan back to the real world. Blinking, he turns his head to the sound of the locker to see Shakes from a distance. Glancing up at the clock, he reaches up to his chin to brush softly at his goatee while considering whether or not to break the silence. His gaze turns back to the wall, tracing patterns in the brushed steel lining his bunk, and the continuing silence when there are others nearby starts to gnaw a hole in him. "Hey." He says, a greeting, as he turns back to look at Shakes.

The robe is being shirked when she hears the addressing of her person. Bare shoulders gleam yet in faint dampness. Shakes pauses, blinking as her honey eyes finally rest on him. "Poms." She says and then nods her head. "Liking your callsign?" The marines at the moment are taking over where the air-wing had left off and she slowly lets the robe fall all the way before she is tugging on her sweats and tanks. Her dogtags swing at her neck and she uses the locker door partly as a shield for herself to change - though it hardly is enough in some cases.

Keenan's eyes take note of the woman's exposed, bare shoulder for only a split second before eye contact is established. "Poms is gonna take some getting used to. It sounds like a cleaning product." He replies, giving her a quiet smile before turning his attention to the post of one of the bunks to the side. Her privacy secured, he wraps his arms around himself and continues talking. "You know…I wanted to thank you for giving me a chance to prove myself before treating me like the new fish." He chuckles. "Not that you had much of a choice."

"We were all new once…Keenan." she does him justice by offering his real name and not his callsign. Besides, callsigns were something she really dislikes. "Glad you pulled through. We are all a big team out there, so never worry. Your vipers got your back. Just keep flying and you will do just fine. Very rare for a Raptor to come back damaged." She intones. She is pulling her tanks on, smoothing them dover her stomach as her softly tanned skin gleams and she pulls her hair out, giving it a ruffle to loosen it and allow it to dry properly. She removes a small container of lotion and closes her locker, book under her other arm as she moves for her bunk. "Besides, it would have been worse had it been Skirts." She explains.

That gets a chuckle out of Keenan, who runs a hand through his damp hair as he dares a glance back in her direction. Casting aside any awkwardness as he sees that she's finished dressing, he turns to face her. "Yeah, Skirts would have been catastrophic…" He trails off. Getting lost in another reflective moment, he takes a deep breath and finds her again with his eyes. "I didn't bang you around too badly back there did I? I thought I heard you bonk on something." He asks, raising his eyebrows.

She turns to face him a little, giving a shake of her head as she lowers to the edge of her bunk and sits. Setting down her thinks, Solstice adds, "Nah…it comes with the job. Don't worry over it. You did well." She is drawing the poultice out and rubbing it along a bruised right elbow and forearm. Yeah, he did slam her around a bit but it doesn't seem to bother her. "Used to flying with Priest and Bunny…its been a while since I was reminded how we start out." She intones without looking up, curls starting to dry further around her face.

Glancing to the poultice, Keenan trails his vision to the distance between their conversation, but stays rooted in place. His hand loiwers back to his chest, folding his arms as they talk. "Thanks, you did good too. Your suites kept that Heavy off of us, which…it wasn't easy just watching that Raider come down on us." He replies, taking on a quieter tone. "Was it pretty rough your first time out too? I mean, don't answer that if it's too personal a question. Is that something people don't talk about?"

"It's talked about, but rarely. Sometimes you have to take the hit for the team.." she explains softly. Solstice finally looks up to meet his gaze, shifting a little on the edge of her bunk as her feet curl up finally to rest beside her. "My first time.." Shakes actually smiles a little. "Yeah..really rough. Got a pilot who thought it would be great to put me to the test. Had me rolling all over the place. I was so shaken." She motions with her hand. "Barely got my helmet it off in time to litter the ground with my stomach. White and just had the tremors..hence the name." She states with a smirk.

"Oh damn, you're making me feel like I got off easy." Keenan replies, breaking his subdued tone for a moment to meet her smirk. Seemingly thankful to get away from the topic of the afternoon and into other news, he scratches his bicep near his tattoo softly as he talks. "I guess it's only something you have to do to get used to, going out there, that is, and it's only going to get better or worse with time." He lowers his gaze, going back into his reflection. "Still…thanks. You kept me focusing on the solution out there, and not on the problem."

"You look at the problem, you are giong to fall apart. That heavy..yeah. Just a little pothole, not the problem. The problem was the basestars." SHe says. Rubbing the poultice against the bruise, she hugs her arm to her chest. Solstice smiles faintly. "Keenan, don't sweat this stuff. Go to the sims if you still feel rusty. It will help even if its not the same." She admits, "But it will help." She rises then, grabbing at the container to replace it back in her locker. Her small form sways a little, a very fluid gate for someone usually so detached. "Hope I didn't bother you overly. I sometimes can harp in the heat of the moment."

"No, no you were fine." Keenan replies, shaking his head as lifts his gaze from the bunk between them to watch her. "I don't feel rusty either. I did some flying when I was younger and was most of the way to becoming a commercial pilot before all of this happened. If anything it's been nice flying something so…responsive." Keenan adds, lifting his shoulders softly. "It's just a brave new world right now, Shakes. It's a lot to get used to. So please don't be offended if I come across as distracted."

"I don't normally get offended." She says, her eyes peeling away to meet his as her locker closes once more. "I am there to do my job and that is it." Solstice is sliding into that protective outter covering once more, coolness eeking out over the surface of her words. Shakes is being Shakes to stay safe. "I wouldn't call this new, it seems like anytime we fight anything, either ourselves or others we are always going to have to struggle. Its not so new as the playing board has changed." She moves back to her bunk, putting her hand up against Helia's so she can leand for a moment.

Leaning back against his chair, Keenan lets his arms dangle as he uses the chair as leverage to stretch his back muscles. Grumbling quietly, he rises and stretches his arms out before him. Seems he was sitting still for quite some time. "I wouldn't call this new either." He says, a vein of bitterness shining through as he moves away from his sterile bunk to lean against the rack of bunks near hers. For a moment he weighs her, judging her demeanor. The sensitive to eye-contact sort, he looks away again, taking back his personal space. "What colony are you from? I'm from Leonis…came on board with the group from Aquarian Pete's."

The start up of a new topic catches that cold slate unawares and Solstice turns her head up to meet his gaze that is not there this time. "I am from Sagitarron…I was based on Tauron when the attacks came. Stuck in a bunker for nearly a year living off antiradiation shots and stale food. The worst months of my life…so many lost." she says, her gaze drifting, going distant and hollow as she pales a little in thought. She actually shudders, flinching as if hearing something.

Keenan stirs quietly, closing his eyes at the mention of her times on Tauron. "Yeah…" he trails off, nodding softly. "…yeah." A long, uncomfortable silence falls over Keenan, which begs to be broken. Reaching up to scratch the side of his face, he finally looks up to Solstice. He swallows, daring himself to open up a little. "You know. I, um, I know it's probably cliche to say that I know what you went through. I mean, we've all got the same pain, one way or another, but…I was down on Leonis when it happened. When I came up here I just…stared at the wall for months." He pauses, frowning, trying to break the ice. "Sorry, I didn't mean to bring you down."

"I can not be brought down anymore than I am..Keenan. Memories do that enough." Solstice intones before her eyes refocus on him. "Its not a wonderful thing. You know..that Bunker was becoming more like a coffin with each passing day. I still get sick occasionally from lingering radiation poisoning. We ran out of stocks after a while." She whispers. "Some people gave themselves up so others could live. They kept Magus and I alive in hopes we could get our Raptor repaired…" She sounds bitter, wounded and regretful for being alive. Clearing her throat. "I just try to forget it…but its hard. I know. I am sorry for you." She says.

"Don't be sorry for me." Keenan says, shaking his head as he turns his gaze away from her. "No…alot of what I've got going on is my own damn fault. But I guess we all have our list of stuff we wished turned out differently, don't we?" He adds, sparing a glance to her before turning and slowly walking away from her towards his bunk. He brings his hands to his hair again, letting out a sigh. He stops and presses his forehead to the cool metal of his bunk. "Well, if it means anything I promise I'm not going to be one of those people that tries to get you to laugh. Isn't that the worst?"

Her head turns to watch him walk away, that back something she had seen before. Solstice turns many people away and for a moment there is regret creased into her forehead. Shakes clears her throat and lowers herself to sit upon her bunk, "Sometimes.." She admits, narrowing her gaze on the symbols pasted up in her bunk. The ECO pulls the book to her chest - solid and emotionless. One can not get anymore detached than a book - facts. Facts were what glued her together, not laughter. But its a cold existence. "Thanks though, I am not easy to read or understand. I get that." She intones.

"Neither am I, I guess." Keenan replies, turning to sit on the empty bunk beneath his. His eyes fall to the table that he was sitting at earlier as if it contains answers to questions he hasn't yet asked. "You get that? I didn't head back over here because you were bothering me or anything it's just…" He trails off, extending his arms back and forth, emphasizing the space difference between them. "Nerves." He pauses, glancing up to her. "Don't be offended, you're good in my book, okay?"

Sitting on their respective bunks, Solstice hugs her book to her chest and merely nods in silence. "Thanks. You are good in mine too. Great flying today…though next time. Wait for the celebration until we hit deck again." It certainly cost Keenan this time and scooting to press her back against the wall of her bunk, she opens the book. Cool, unthinking acceptance these pages were. It was a solid ground for her - electrical currents and all.

Long after most of the pilots have managed to stagger on home, enter the Bunny in his dark red volunteer nursing scrubs, the name Doe embroidered on the fromt pocket of the scrub top, the sleeves of a grey thermal top bunched up around mid-forearm as he comes off of his volunteer shift, reaching up to his bunk to grab a towel that had been left sprawled over the blankets, yanking it down and bunching it up in both hands to blow his nose into it.

Watching Solstice open her book and sequester herself to the back of the bunk, Keenan glances up at his own bunk. The empty, sterile sleeping compartment has nothing to say back to him. "I'll do that, and good work with the suites. You were working some magic there. If not, that raider would have tagged us for sure." He rises, glancing around the rest of the barracks. For a moment, he stops to watch Solstice reading, completely drained of energy. That's when another body in the room snaps him out of it. "Oh hey…this is the Air Wing barracks, man." He says, immediately shaking off his previous demeanor.

Solstice offers that rare smile to Keenan from where she can see him when Bunny walks in. "Hey, Bunny." She intones and then can not help but smile a little more at the obvious mistake. "Bunny is another pilot, Raptor to be exact and was the one that pulled that Raider off our ass." She explains. "Thanks again, by the way." Intones Shakes, keeping her finger pressed to the book pages.

Evandreus's brows rise a little at being told where he is, but he seems more amused than affronted. Then Sticky chimes in and he gives a full, rich laugh. "Damn it, Sticky. Blew my cover. I had a whole story I was going to put together. Hey, guy. You must be Poms," he gives him a crooked little smile hello, and, tossing his snotty towel into his locker's laundry compartment, he slithers across to Sticky's bunk. "Wasn't anything. I think I'm just used to the Raiders chasing after me. When they don't, I don't feel pretty anymore." He'll climb-slide on in if she doesn't complain, steadying himself with one hand and scratching his ear with the other.

"Oh shit, Bunny. Okay you're one of us. I saw the scrubs and figured you might have been lost." Keenan grimmaces, glancing to Solstice to make a funny face in her direction. The lightswitch has been flipped. "Definitely, thanks for pulling that one off of our ass and sorry for calling you Buddy, too. It's been a rough day at the office." Keenan adds, staying near his bunk. "Yeah, I'm Poms. Keenan Raios. Leonis."

Solstice doesn't refuse Evan as he slides in and she actually makes a little room. Odd for her. She offers a faint smile over at Bunny and then says, "Well the poor pilot got Poms as a name. I figure there should at least be some break for him. Enough is enough for one day." She intones, casting her gaze over at Keenan for a long moment. "Helping out?" She asks him as she eyes the scrubs and places her finger back underneath the sentence she had been reading. Physics book. She's really an interesting type.

Evandreus slides around onto his back, pulling his arms up above his head and crossing his forearms beneath his head like a pillow, smiling at Sticky, one knee raised into the air, wavering back and forth slowly, like a metronome. "Yah, had a half-shift to get through. They'd pulled someone to cover me when the swarm came, but I ended up getting there on time anyhow. One arm moves from under his head to try to snug Sticky closer to him. Cuddles. "Raios, yah. I saw your name on the roster. Some first day, eh?" his own Leontinian accent ringing clear as a bell, rounded and nasally.

"Yeah, I had to run all over in the morning to get my final paperwork and my commission, and then I had about twenty minutes after getting my squadron assignment to get ready for the Cap…" He nods his head, emphasizing the day getting worse with each nod of his head. "…followed by the Raiders, followed by the callsign, followed by just being exhausted. It's been a hell of a day." He chuckles, watching the two of them get comfortable. "But…I'm not opposed to getting some dinner before I turn in. I'll give you guys some space." He says, turning to grab his flight suit.

Still a bit tense with the cuddling, Solstice allows herself to be brought closer to Evan, but still given her usual distance. She smiles down at him and then blinks, looking up at Keenan. Space? Shakes clears her throat and doesn't say a word but looks to Bunny. "Its a good callsign, you know. A wonder they gave that to you before they got to see you after." There is an understanding tone to her voice. Afterall, its how she got her's. Drawing a long breath, she closes her book.

"Dude, you don't have to leave. The more the merrier. Who needs space? Let's see if we can get three in a bunk," Evan suggests brightly, underscoring the sentiment with a low chuckle. "I knew a Raios back on Leonis. Y'know. Once upon a time," he goes on to indicate that he means Before Everything. "Sometimes callsigns just stick. I got mine from the SL of the Open Arms on CEC Marsyas during my first tour there. I jumped into her bunk for a cuddle and she said I was like a little bunny."

Something in Keenan's brain has a bit of a traffic jam. First, he blinks, and then he tilts his head to the side a little bit. "Uhh." He starts, his ears turning a shade of red. "What? No, no that's alright I steal blankets, kick, and am prone to days where I fall off of the awkward tree and hit everyfrakkin branch." He rubs his forehead, turning his gaze away from them to find a water dispenser. It's a safe choice. He starts towards it to get something to drink. "You…knew a Raios?" He asks hesitantly.

Watching Keenan's discomfort, her own is there as well. It took a great lot of work for Bunny even to get through to Solstice in his warm cuddly way. She lets out a long breath, watching Poms a moment as she sets the book aside, her own cheeks red from the suggestion of three. One was a giant leap for her. She is silent, not much to say right at the moment and deadly embarrassed too.

Evandreus is making everyone uncomfortable. And, after a while, he seems to recognize the fact. So, abashed, he sort of half-slides out of the bunk and back to the floor, giving Sticky an apologetic little slip of a smile on the way. He shuffles back across to his own bunk. "Yah. Good guy, on the whole. Kinda helped me get my life back together when I didn't really know where I was going or what I should be doing. Gave me some options. Not the -best- options, but… better than the no options I was looking at before. 'Scuse me," he murmurs, picking up a fresh towel, "The lady of Scalding Water is calling me." Showertime for Bunny.

The water filled into his cup, Keenan seems to leave the talk of the three people cuddling in the bunk aside to focus on Bunny's description of the Raios he knows. He opens his mouth to reply, but Bunny is out of the room before he can get a word in. When the door closes, he just stares at it. He shakes his head, warding off the thoughts, and then starts back towards his bunk. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to cause any problems." He says apologetically, casting a glance in Solstice's direction.

"There are no problems..none…" She says. Solstice shifts back to where she had been, watching Bunny go for a moment. "He makes it so easy to just let him do know?" She says with a guarded way about her. Shakes finally draws her gaze away from the hatch, drawing her knees up to her chest. "Didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable…Bunny..plays for the other team so I don't have much to fear with him. I guess thats why I don't worry." She says, "Don't get the wrong impression, he likes to cuddle with everyone."

"Oh…that makes a lot more sense then." Keenan says with a chuckle, setting his cup down on the edge of his bunk. "Look, hey, you haven't made me uncomfortable once since we started talking. It makes total sense now about Bunny, that's fine. Nothing to feel awkard about, alright?" He clarifies, waving his hands as if to ward off the notion. "Just…chalk it up to me figuring my new neighbors out, okay?" He asks, giving her a hopeful, helpless look. "You're good people, Solstice. Pardon my construction. Sawdust gets everywhere."

"You are fine, really." she says. Solstice studies him, offering him a faint smile. "I just didn't want to give you the wrong idea …about Bunny or myself…leastwise to scare you off. You are good people too..I generally don't like to chat." She admits. "But its rather..easy." She says as she regards him. "Must be the fact you are from Leonis, I swear." She mutters, but it is a joke. A mild attempt at one and she is awkward at it.

Keenan raises an eyebrow, grinning to himself. "We're a strange lot, aren't we?" He asks, raising his cup of water to her as if toasting her with it. Sipping quietly, he then sets the cup down. "Honestly, I generally don't like to chat either. Truth is…I really haven't done much of it at all since I came into the fleet. It's been a long, quiet time up until I decided to enlist." He shrugs, taking antoher sip from the cup of water. "Long, quiet time."

Tenatively, Solstice eyes him and scooting, she pats the edge of her bunk for him. Drawing her hand back, she hugs the book to her hip and watches him. "Well then let us talk, while we both find interest. Priest has been gone for some time. I think he's taken leave for prayer. I usually speak with him, usually go pray with him." She touches her bare wrist, her soma braid with someone else. "Perhaps the lady of secrets will answer me and show me the way…" She says softly. "Maybe she will help me understand you as well."

Keenan is as tentative as she is, but rather than eyeing her with suspicion, he seems to be choosing whether or not to allow his personal space to be breached. Another sip from the cup of water is taken, and Keenan slowly walks over and sits down beside her. "I know you're from Sagitarron, and please don't be offended but I haven't done the prayer thing…in a long time." He says, settling in on the edge of the bunk. "Who's the lady of secrets?"

As he takes a seat and they hit upon a topic Solstice knows best, her smile warms. "Demeter..lady of secrets. I pray to her to guide my way, to answer my questions." She says softly. She sets the physics book aside, quite a contrast to her religious talk. "She is the one that knows what will happen. That is why I look to her. All these other Gods have purposes, but she knows. Of the Cylons and us..what are path is. I have yet to see it, but she will aid us." She says with complete conviction. Her hand unconsciously rubs at her vacant wrist and then lowers to the bruise along her arm where she had slammed her appendage against the console.

"How does that work, though? I mean, I don't know much about the gods but I know enough to know the people that worship the gods don't get responses like radio calls. It's…more vague, right?" Keenan asks honestly, scratching the side of his head. "If she knows does she give that information out, or do you have to earn it? I know these are probably stupid questions, right?" He asks with a pensive chuckle. "Shit, is that my fault?" He asks all of the sudden, noticing her bruised arm.

"Well to be honest, even the most devout may never hear the answers. Sometimes people are chosen. I hope that I understand." Facts. Solstice wants hard facts. But then as he makes comment of her purpled forearm and elbow, she looks down, turning it up a little to get a look at it. "I slammed it into the console..not your fault. Usually I am better prepared.." She notes. The poultice lotion that she had placed upon her skin makes it gleam all the more.

"Oh come on, what is that? It's your fault because you weren't ready for my shitty hard turns?" Keenan chides, giving her a smirk as he eyeballs the purple bruise. "Well next time I'll let you know before I do that. I don't want you cracking your elbow on your console." He folds his arms again, watching her as he lets the conversation slow once more. "You sure it's okay?"

She lowers her arm a little and Shake eyes him back. "It's fine, Poms. Don't make me call you skirts." She quips. There is an icy edge to the tone as she turns her head faintly. "Really, fine.." She says. "My fault. I am used to keeping myself pinned down by knees beneath the console..I wasn't. I was too busy giving you orders, which I should not have been. Its my fault. You fly, I suite. Thats that. Just worried about you." she admits finally, her voice softening.

"Me?" Keenan asks, not quite knowing what to say. He averts his gaze while choosing his words. It takes a quiet moment, but finally they come. "Shakes, I don't really know how to explain it but I can't have anyone worrying about me." He immediately prepares more, extending his palm towards her to try to ward off a reply and looks back to her. "I know if you were worried about me that simply saying I don't want it doesn't make it happen, and don't apologize for it, okay? I'm just…" His face contorts. "…I don't know what to do with that."

"You are fresh off the nugget line..that is what you have to understand. Everyone out there is concerned about you and most likely Evan is the most. Hence why he took that Raider." She says. Solstice lets that sink in. "You are one of us now, Keenan. Full fledged and out burning afterthrust." She sighs and lets it out. "We take care of our own, and you were with me. Makes you mine to worry over…you okay with that?" She asks him.

Keenan listens quietly, letting her words settle in. When she finishes talking, he nods slowly, maintaining eye contact with her. "Okay…that's fair." He says, comfortable with letting the logical boundary fall where it should. "I guess you're right. I mean, after all, even if you're not assigned to me as an ECO the better I am as a pilot the better I end up in the long run, the more safe I keep my ECO." He talks it through, bringing the cup to his lips. "Sorry if that came across as rude."

"It's a family, no matter how you twist it, Poms. I tried to deny it and distance myself, but its there. No matter how I dislike some. We work together." Her eyes lift to his and Solstice adds, "I won't always be paired with you. Though I wouldn't mind it again. Sans the bruising." She smirks a bit and gives a push of her curled hair from her shoulder and face. "And it's not rude, Air-Wing can be very disconcerting. It still is for me at times…and some people…" She lets out a long breath and shakes her head.

"Yeah, I heard what Sweet Pea was saying over TAC. I can see where it's like a family and I won't lie. I may need some time myself. It's been a long time since I've had a family and … that's a place I don't like to go." Keenan replies, eyes widening as he speaks. Reaching above them, he grabs the top bunk and pulls himself away from her with a grunt. Coming to his feet, he finishes the last of his water. "Alright, Shakes. How about this?" He asks, turning to face her. "I'm dog-ass tired and sooner or later we're going to get called for a CAP. I've had a rough day and I really need my sleep. Let's do lunch or rec room and I'm going to ask you a million questions about the gods, so you better be ready, okay?" He asks, trying to end the night on a positive note.

She watches him, if but in silence and as he draws himself up, Shakes's smile grows, tentatively. But when he mentions the gods, her honey eyes spark and she nods her head. "You have got it. I am already prepared and you will be buried under information." She says with a faint show of teeth. A very rare sight from her. "Go get some rest. I am sure we will be paired once more for CAP as you seem to assume." She was tired as well and wasn't going to argue the need for sleep.

"Sounds a plan." Keenan replies, grinning as he turns. Passing the bunk that rests in between her bunk and his, he offers her a wave over his shoulder. "Sleep tight and I'll see you on the flipside." He adds, grabbing the ladder to his top bunk. Climbing up inside, he makes space for his flight suit and closes the curtain, sealing himself in darkness.

As she watches him go, Shakes lingers on his interest. Her gaze trails after him till he disappears and she finally lays herself down, brushing a hand to the book of logic and reason. Her gaze goes distant and finally as she breaks from her thoughts, she pulls the curtain closed.

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