BCH #007: There's a Rat in my Bunk!
There's a Rat in my Bunk!
Summary: Damon heads into the bunks to change and sees an old face from back home.
Date: 19 Feb 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Damon Rat 

[ Enlisted Berthings ]--—[ Naval Deck - Battlestar Cerberus ]

Rows and rows of bunks run along the outside and center of this room which is quite a bit larger than the Officer's Berthings. With multiple hatch entrances to different sections of this area, the entire Enlisted Berthing has spaces for armored doors similar to the ones on the Hangar Deck that can lower in case of fire or depressurization. Tables are set up along the spaces between the bunks and lockers divide each over-under sleeping area. Each bunk is a standard military size and has a deep blue curtain to seal in some privacy for the occupant.

It's… evening. Not late enough that the barracks is full, but at few hours into the night shift. A shift that Rat's not currently on, judging by her current locale. The girl's in her bunk. Or so one would assume, judging by the pulled curtain and the single bare foot that dangles from under its edge. A bare foot that thumps idly, heel against the edge of the bunk, to some unheard rhythm.

Evening's a relative time on a ship anyway, especially since the majority of departments run 24/7 - the only relevant measurement of time is 'on shift' or 'time off'. And it appears that Damon's just gone from the first to the latter, since he starts to strip off his jumpsuit as soon as he passes the hatchway into the bunks. A slight limp accents his gait - still recovering from that Pyramid injury from a couple weeks ago - and he looks tired like he's been working since last night. Which, if anybody's keeping track, he has.
With a grunt, he pulls himself up into the top bunk at the very end of the room, leaving his curtain open while he struggles to take off his boots. "There just ain't enough tea in all the worlds for…" He stops mid-grumble, pausing with his hands on his boots. Thump, thump, thump. Is someone tapping on his bunk… from underneath? He gives the divider between the top and bottom bunks a rap of the knuckles to let whoever's down there know that the top bunk is occupied now.

"Tea?" Comes a rather dubious question from the bunk below, the woman's voice all but dripping of the Tauron streets. "Frak, man, either you got a /low/ voice for a chick, or you need to grow some culinary balls…" Always the charmer, this one. The rapping on her curtain earns, well, a kick to the bottom of his bunk. And just think, she doesn't even know who's up there yet. This is going to be a /wonderful/ sleeping arrangement.

His bunk actually jumps a bit with that last kick, right when he's about to take off the first boot. Of course, he fumbles the leather steel-toed boot and it falls to the floor with a dulled clunk. "For frak's sakes," he mutters, sliding off the bunk to go retrieve it - and accidentally kicking off the other loosened boot right into Rat's bunk on his way down. Accidentally. Seriously, accidentally!

Flying boots! Flying… oh, hell, a boot! A muffled curse comes from behind that curtain as the bit of projectile footwear finds its unsuspecting target, and it would appear the assault was enough to draw the Rat out of hiding. The curtain's thrown back unceremoniously, and the boot is hurled — yes, hurled — as the man's back. For that's all she can see, at this particular moment. "You frakker, that's /nasty/…" The boot, that is.

The boot hits him heel-first nicely in the small of the back, drawing a little yelp and sending him a couple steps forward. But when Damon turns around, the jumpsuit tied off around his waist and showing the shirt underneath, he's not angry - he's grinning. "That woke me up more than a tea would've," he chuckles - and then blinks in surprise. It's been seven years, but he'd be Gods-damned if he didn't recognize her just about instantly from all those times she tagged along with Zander on the Pyramid courts. "YOU!" he roars.

The hair's a dead giveaway, even if he forgot the impish features and always-open mouth. Not to mention she hasn't really… grown. Save a bit of maturing in the female department, the scrawny Crewman is little different from the tagalong sister he once knew. Even the hot-eyed glare is the same, for she seems unphased by his grinning comment. It's only as he shouts — /roars/ — that she's stirring from her bit of indignant rage. Blinking up at him from her spot in the lower bunk — hair standing up with the static of movement in close-quarters — before those same eyes are growing awkwardly wide. You'd think this would be the moment of cheerful ruinion. Leaping from the bunk in a rush of hugs and laughter. And yet… there's none of that. Instead, the color's draining from the youth's face. Parted lips… closing, and a shallow breath drawn inward before she's murmuring, "Dre Damon." She recognizes him.

"Well don't look so happy to see me," Damon says with a chuckle. If her suddenly pale complexion has him confused, he doesn't show it - he maintains that jovial smile, similar to the one he wore many years back on Tauron. Except that now it's framed by a neatly trimmed beard, and the shining hunger for knowledge in his eyes has been tamed through years of military service. "I heard you just came on the ship and already ran afoul of the Deck Chief. Gods, you almost look like you haven't grown at all." At 6'1", 'Dre' Damon is a good fifteen inches taller than her now. "How's Zander doing, hey? I haven't heard from him in about two years, I think."

She'd have likely bristled at the height comment, in any other scenario. Particularly coming from /him/. Height jokes were bad enough when she was twelve. Now? Well, it's bound to get interesting. But at least for the moment, Rat's temper has been smothered under the weight of his second comment. How's Zander doing? The question earns a visible wince from the youth, and a hand is raised to shove half-consciously at the curls that shadow her eyes. A habit old enough to be recognized, and one that's executed now by trembling fingers. Not… looking at him. This will be easier if she's not looking at him. And so, with dark eyes locked rather firmly on his fallen boot, Rat's admitting, "Zander's dead. /Been/ dead for a couple years…" About the time he stopped writing, no doubt. Go figure.

Stunned silence. A fairly rare occurrence for the upbeat, lighthearted Petty Officer First Class. The news definitely hits him hard, and the smile is wiped off his face in almost an instant. Any levity that was in the air is strangled with gravity, and even his movements seem heavy as Damon reaches down and collects his boots. Suddenly, having someone kicking on the bottom of his bunk doesn't seem like any manner of important anymore. "Sorry," he says quietly. "I didn't know." He places the boots down on the edge of his bunk and reaches out to touch Reya's shoulder with a light squeeze. "Zander was a damn good guy. A damn good guy."

Rat's stiffening slightly at the unfamiliar touch — something she would've killed for, seven years before — but the reaction seems more toward their conversation than the actual touch. Damon left years ago. An eternity. What would Zander's death mean to him? After all, he abandoned him on Tauron to die. Rat's jaw moves silently as she mulls these thoughts, the sentiments all-too-visible in her features, before she's forcing herself to look back at him. Dark eyes hardening against the unbidden emotion, and a quick breath inward driving it entirely downward. Hidden, where it's supposed to be. After a moment of staring at him, unabashed, she's announcing, "Frak, Dre. You got /old/."

Well, that brings a hint of a smirk back to his face. "Come on now, I'm only twenty-six," he says, trying to push past the news of Zander's death. He might've left Tauron seven years back, but he stayed in touch with Zander as he could - a couple times a year, mostly, exchanging correspondence maybe once every two months if that. "That'd make you, what… twenty now?" That seems to amuse him some - she was only thirteen when he left for Boot Camp. "Welcome aboard, by the way. We've got an assignment together if you haven't heard yet. I guess you're workin' under me since Chief's appointed me the Air Engineer Lead - and sleeping under me too." He forces a smile that he isn't quite ready to feel yet with his heart sunk so low. "Though if you keep kickin', I'll strangle you in your sleep."

Rat's gotten good at swallowing this particular emotion. Too good, in fact. The stricken grief is gone as quickly as it came, with the too-quick ease of the repressed. It's still there — still stinging — under her indignant snort and the casual way she's dropping back into her bunk. But she's had two years to learn how to pretend, and she's putting that skill to use now. Smirking up at the once-familiar man as he quotes her age, and raising tattooed arms to fold behind her head. Propping herself up enough to watch him, albeit from a rather strange angle. "Good, they taught you how to count. Gods know you couldn't on the court…" Always trying to weasel a few more points out of him at the end of games. Or pretend a few of his were made up. The bridge of her nose wrinkles slightly as he mentions their assignment, and then she's snorting audibly at the last comment. "You can /try/." Ah, it's still Reya.

"Well, knowin' you, trying is about as close as I'd get," Damon fires back, the good-natured grin returning in full now. There are so many questions burning in his mind, but he knows better than to ask. Not now, anyway. "They taught me a couple things. How to count, how to put a ship back together when some frakking hotshot el-tee decides to try some flyboy maneuver that nearly gets him killed… military discipline." The last one is accompanied with a raised brow. "Chief wants me to try and get you to tone it down a bit, y'know… do my Petty Officer thing." It's obvious he doesn't want to impose rank or be overbearing as a superior by the way he says the last part sheepishly, as though he's apologizing for being a Petty Officer. "Just… stay out of trouble, hey?"

The Chief wants him to… what? The words have Rat's gaze trailing slowly upward, and judging by the way dark 'brows climb her forehead, she has her… doubts about this little arrangement. "The Chief can suck my balls. An' if you think you're gonna play his lackey, then you can frakkin' join in. I'm not twelve anymore." And apparently she hasn't gotten the memo on military discipline. Or, if she has, she skimmed the part about respect for authority. Then again, they're alone in the barracks. Just a couple of old almost-friends. Right? It seems she's testing that theory. Where some may dip their toe in the pool to test the water, Rat's the type to hurl herself from the diving board. And hurl she does.

Damon rakes his fingers back through his hair. He hates having to step in between authority and friendship - and he considers many of those who work under him his friends and loathes having to Do His Duty with stern talks, reprimands, or even charges. "See, you can say shit like that /here/, but that attitude out on the deck will have you cleaning heads or worse pretty fast." He steps in close, lowering his voice. "Trust me, I've done my fair share of time in the brig for insubordination. Gotta pick your battles sometimes, hey?" He's just trying to look out for her, truth be told, just like he tried to help out back when they were just kids. An alibi here, a bit of money there to keep her and her brother out of trouble. And that brings back the reminder of Zander's passing, once again affecting his mood. Is it disloyal to be even partially jovial so soon after hearing of his old friend's death? "It's good to see you again, though. Is this your first posting?" He decides to leave that serious business behind and have a friendly chat - plenty of time for all that other stuff later.

Before or after Atreus has her head put on a spike? Damon's cowardly retreat into 'friendly conversation' has Rat snorting again, and her eyes leave the PO to focus instead on the top of her bunk. Or… the bottom of his? Whichever, they're not on him. "Close 'nough," she's murmuring her response to his last question, even as a foot is raised to jam a heel unceremoniously between two of the horizontal bars that separate the bunks. Bodes well for Damon.

It's a bit odd to strip down and change in front of an old acquaintance - /friend/ would be the wrong word for what they were on Tauron - but it is the enlisted bunks. And he's been wearing the jumpsuit for a long time now. So he opens up his locker, stows his boots, and starts pulling off the jumpsuit. "Well, you won't be bored here, that's for sure," he says, rolling the garish orange garment up and tossing it into the laundry bag hanging from the door. "What with the regular maintenance and repairs, upgrades, /downgrades/, and assignments happening on the side as well." Leaning forward toward the tiny mirror above the laundry bag, he runs his hand along his scruffy beard and again through his hair. "How the frak'd you get the back corner bunk anyhow?" Generally, it's Petty Officers on opposite watches that take the back corner - traditionally, to keep an eye on the rest of the enlisted crew, but for Damon, so he can have a bit more privacy than being out in the middle of the room.

How'd she get that bunk? The question earns another dubious look from the youth, and then she's shrugging a single shoulder. Dressed in the ribbed tank of off-duty wear, which displays both a subtle musculature and the proof — albeit subtle — that she /has/ grown up. Tattoos paint her upper arms and shoulders blades, mostly in Tauron, and more than a few scars pepper her small frame. It's been a long seven years. "I… took it. I don't like people walkin' past me when I sleep." She doesn't even feign disinterest as the man undresses. The girl spent too many years pining after him to pass up this sort of opportunity, and with age has come a shamelessness that's likely going to get her killed someday. "That's a matter of opinion," she reminds, her tone dry. "That deck's frakking boring so far. Chief's got a wrench up his ass."

Damon's down to his boxers, reaching into the locker for his off-duty clothing. He's put on more muscle since he was just a teen, most of it in his arms and shoulders - he's been inked, but just on his left forearm. "He might seem like that at first," he says as he pulls on a pair of pants. "But he seems like a good guy. I thought he was a bit of a hard-ass after that brief, but I think he was just putting on his Chief-hat to get everyone in line to start." A brief struggle with the top, and then he's dressed again. No more free show for Rat. "Well, we're building a Viper. Trying to, anyway, if we got the parts for it. It's not high adventure, but it's a challenge, at least - I've never /built/ a ship before, just repaired 'em."

((Scene fades; Damon gets changed and heads out to the gym.))

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