PHD #065: The Nightmare
The Nightmare
Summary: Tillman happens upon Allie, catching her when she's unable to sleep; she tells him about her nightmare and he gives her advice as well as makes her an offer.
Date: 02 May 4041 AE
Related Logs: Clankers - Hammer and Anvil
Tillman Alessandra 
Pilot Berth
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: #65

Its Late. Capital 'L' - Late. With a muffle and ruffle from Quinn's bunk, Tillman slides out and ruffles the buzzcut on his head, the man wearing just sweatpants as he digs into the bunk for a pack of smokes. Scars dot the man's arms and torso while a 'MARINES' tab is tattoo'd to his right bicep. The curtain is still closed on the bunk behind him so he moves to the table before plunking the pack down and pulling out a smoke from it and the lighter stuck inside - his gold zippo. With the lights low, it even feels more quiet despite the normal sounds from a berthing - snoring, sexing, and the most quiet: sleeping.

Despite how late it is Alessandra's awake and has been for a while, something having woken her up and making it impossible to fall back asleep. She's at the table when Clive sits down, her right arm folded upon its top while her left covers her head which has been laid upon its mate as it rests against the furniture. A quick glance has her noticing the Major but not the bunk he had slipped out of. "Sir," she intones dryly while managing an exhausted smile. "What's up, eh?"

Tillman's face glows with the light from his zippo, the overheads turned down as they are. He closes it gently and settles it atop the pack while he shakes his head, exhaled smoke lifting to the air overhead. "N'much. I am. You are. Probably the only people on the ship awake right now outside of shifts." He flashes a tired smile to her as he flicks the ash into a nearby tray, leaning forward onto his forearms at the table. "What about you, kiddo? How come you ain't racked?"

Alessandra looks at the pack of smokes almost longingly but eventually looks elsewhere, into the XO's eyes. "I couldn't shut my brain down," she says in partial truth, it being left at that if Tillman doesn't ask for elaboration. "So you're becoming a regular fixture here in Pilotbalognia. Should we get you a pair of wings and assign you a bunk, Clive?" Unfolding herself from her slump, she gets to her feet and approaches her locker which she opens and starts to rifle through, being careful not to make too much noise as she does.

Tillman grunts, half smiling. "I've got a warm bunk. And you can keep the wings. I'll leave the flying to the pro's. I couldn't -crash- a plane, let alone land one." He takes a long pull from his smoke as he glances sidelong to the pilot going into her locker. Its quiet for a moment. "This time of night and someone hasn't racked yet? Means they got some serious shit rattling around if they can't shut it off. I ain't throwin' demands, Allie, but what gives?"

A jar is finally extracted from the depths of her personal storage space, the glass vessel being one Tillman might recognize as being one she has had in her possession before but this time it's filled with a near-neon green liquid, perhaps some Ambrosia? "Are you the asshole who is snoring," she asks in all seriousness, the question more an accusation than a query. "Because if you are then I'm so going to kick your ass….sir." Sitting down, she takes her time in unscrewing the lid and taking the first long pull from it, her body twitching long before the draught is finished with. "Depends. You asking me this off the record or on it, Major?"

The Major smirks at the jar and shakes his head to the question. "Sorry, Allie. I think one of the other pilots is sleeping with a snorer. Nobody noticed or said anything, at least, in the Raptor berths." He takes a drag of the smoke, watching her pull on the jar. His eyes move over her in the way that some gives a quick assessment of another. The smoke drifts towards the ceiling after she asks the last, the silence hanging as he looks away to the table. "I'm hardly in uniform. But if you're asking? Just think of me as someone who has worn rank and had some life experience. I'm not going to report you for anything unless you tell me you killed someone or something like that. Besides, its Major Hahn's problem. Perks of the position and all." His voice is low, slow, and quiet. The man's obviously not in any rush to get through anything.

Alessandra holds out the jar to Clive, her way of offering it without going as far as to verbally do so. "Alright. You're asking which means you're offering, so no taking it back." Even as she keeps her arm held out she's looking away. "You know when we were boarded? Uhm…bunch of us pilots…me and the Captain and Spiral and Click…we got caught in the stairwell by some of those frakkers so we…we went to get weapons on the same deck CIC's on." When she explains she does so haltingly and she gets the 'thousand yard stare', the visions starting to come back even as she looks straight ahead of her.

"No taking it back. Its fine, Allie." Tillman reaches for the jar and takes a small sip before returning it back to the table between them. No thanks or words otherwise said while she's bringing up the topic. He just nods to her and takes a slow drag from his cigarette. The tobacco crackles as it burns, the silence hanging for a moment. Just long enough for the ember to glow red.

The booze tastes a bit like the liquor it resembles but not quite, it being either a cheap knock-off of real Ambrosia or something entirely different that just happens to be similar in color to it. Whatever is the case, Allie's not saying. What she -is- doing, however, is continuing with her story. "We ran into a bunch of them and I…I wound up hit in the chest a few times and had to take cover back in the stairway. There were…so many bodies. So much blood on the deck and on the bulkheads." Taking the jar, she takes a second long pull, needing it for 'courage'. "Did you know that blood kind of dries from the outside in? The middle of a blood splatter will stay wet longer."

The man doesn't say anything to her while she talks, instead saving his words until the end. His eyes stay on her - even as he flicks the butt of the smoke to ash it into the tray. "I do know that. Helps with clotting. Makes it sticky." Clive watches whole body as she continues, watching her for anything like a twitch. He hasn't moved the whole time though except to reach for the drink and ash his smoke, both with the same hand.

Alessandra doesn't really twitch but she does sigh, sounding quite upset. "I know they had to go on to help the others but they…they left me there." Now she winces, her eyes narrowing in a grimace that matches the tightening of her mouth, her face growing pale as she gets to this part of her story. "As I was laying there I could hear them try to lull me to sleep. Telling me…as I laid bleeding. Alone." It might not really be a shock that she hallucinated and thought she heard voices, perhaps it being common place enough to lessen any shock Clive might receive.

Clive takes a breath and looks back to the table. He rolls the hot end of the cigarette gently in the ashtray. Its just a light enough touch to take the excess ashes off. The gesture almost seems absent of conscious thought while the pilot finishes. He's quiet for a few long moments. "If you're worried I'm going to say something to the CAG or Medical, don't worry about it." He glances to her and ghosts a smile before coming back to the table. "So then you feel like something is pulling you towards death? Or what does it mean to you? I've heard things like that before. Everyone has their own reaction, Allie. Its nothing to be ashamed of."

There is a slow nod and a minute smile of relief, Tillman hitting on exactly what she was concerned about. "Thanks. I really would like to try to work this out on my own without it being a blemish on my records. But if I can't, I'll go and take it up my CoC. Promise." Finally deciding on asking for a smoke, she makes a rather obvious gesture towards Clive's pack of smokes, asking for one in her own way even as she goes on. "Do I feel like that? Nah. But I've been having nightmares about what happened. That's why I am awake now."

Tillman slides the pack and zippo over with his hand, stopping it on the table in front of her. All of his movements seem subdued and more relaxed. Even the shake of his head seems more at ease. "You don't have to explain yourself right now. Not like this. You deal with it as best you can. If you can't, I trust you'll know where to look for help." He looks back to the smoke and takes a slow drag. "Nightmares about it." A nod. "I've had some bad experiences like that. Even had some problems like that." A long breath is taken. "I came back from a deployment with the Marines. Real bad shit on Gemenon. My wife'd just had our second. I'd get these nightmares that I was back in the mud. My wife used to wake me up slapping and punching me because I would be caught in these violent, defensive rages and trying to strangle her in my sleep." He clears his throat once more and takes another drag. "You reliving the moment over and over when you felt like you were going to die? When they left you?" He finally looks back to her.

Alessandra's not a smoker by any means and it'll show in how she fumbles with the pack while trying to get one out and then again, this time when she goes to light it, her coordination in a Viper doing nothing to help her here. A shallow hit is taken once the end is smoldering, the rising smoke causing her to have to close her eyes. "Oh…kind of, yeah…let me show you. Easier that way." She goes back to her bunk and gets something else out from her locker, this time her journal which is opened to the proper page and held so he can read it, not seeming to mind if he takes it from her or if he lets her hold it. "It's kind of frakked up, isn't it?"

The shirtless Major watches her move once more and seems infinitely patient with her and what she's trying to get across. There's no move to take teh journal or even touch it. He just reads it quietly and looks up to her eyes when he finishes. "I know that feeling, Allie." He turns the chair more to face her. "Its okay. You're not alone. A lot of people have been there. Its not something a lot of pilots deal with and most Marines never talk about. But again, I won't tell you to see anyone." He ashes the cigarette and leans his head onto the hand, propping it up as he looks to her. "What scares you the most about this dream? What really wakes you up?"

Alessandra goes through the motions of smoking without really doing so, the way she inhales more like a puff one'd take while enjoying a cigar. "How real it feels," she manages to get out from around the butt, "I mean it feels really real. I can feel the bodies as they lay under me, can feel the blood as it runs down my chest and smell it in the air. That's what wakes me up." A yawn tears through her and is barely stifled in time, it almost muted by the back of her hand which is pressed against her mouth. "But even then, it's surreal, too. The way the corpses claw at me. It's like a bad trip."

"Ever let the dream just take you where it wants to? Or tried to control the dream rather than let it control you?" Clive crosses and ankle over the other knee and stubs out the cigarette into the ashtray as he leans back forward. "Or do you wake up terrified every time?"

The cigarette dwindles to ash as the pair speak, it now mostly forgotten except for the occasional small hit here and there. "I haven't tried but I am not sure if I could even if I did," Alessandra answers. "I should see if I can stay asleep through it long enough to see if that's possible or if these nightmares are always going to do that to me."

The Major nods a few times. "Give it a shot. It takes guts, but it might be worth it. If you can't?" The XO sits back in the chair. "Then one night you and I will go sleep in the main stairwell. All night. I saw what it said in there about feeling it when you're in there. Facing it head-on might help. Living in fear of it sure isn't going to fix anything. It'll just eat you alive, Allie. Besides, you need to sleep. Gettin' drugged and drunk is only going to make you use that shit as a crutch. Gotta find that internal strength that lives down in your guts."

Alessandra's brow arches but she finds herself unable to turn that offer down, how Clive - the XO of the Battlestar-mutherfrakking-Cerberus - is willing to go that far out of his way to help her getting her to nod quickly. "Yeah, hey. That's a good idea. We should. I'll let you know. But for now, I think I should try to get a little sleep so I can hit the sims and not do crappy."

"Make the effort in your dream first, Allie. Conquer it and try your damnedest. You don't have to fight. Just know that no matter what, they can't hurt you. See what happens. If it doesn't happen, then we'll go face some demons together. A Viper Lieutenant and a grumpy ex-Marine are formidable opponents to anything." He smirks and slowly rises from the chair. "You're right, though. Take care, Allie. If you need to talk about it more, just grab me. My word about keeping it between us still stands." He winks before taking a step back and pulling at the curtain to Quinn's bunk.

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