PHD #458: Upping the Ante
Upping the Ante
Summary: Another round at the firing range. Another wager between Sawyer and Trask. High stakes and poorly played hands. More than a bet is lost.
Date: 30 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: Sawyer and Trask logs, in general; Wagers and Decrees (the previous bet), Strong Hands and Kind Eyes (the night in question), and Significance (Sawyer inquires about Trask's tatau), in particular; Referenced: A Major Setback (what happened to Cameron)
Sawyer Trask 
Shooting Range - Deck 12 - Battlestar Cerberus
This nearly soundproof room has ten shooting booths in a straight line that face the target field. The ranges move out to thirty yards, each booth using its own track to take targets out to the desired distance vial a simple dial at the booth. Behind the firing line is a long bench that runs the width of the room where crewmembers can load magazines and compare targets. At one end is a huge stack of paper targets that has either Cylons or a few different types of human targets on them. A large sign hangs from the ceiling that details out the rules such as wearing eye and ear protection and watching where weapons are pointed at all times.
Condition Level: 3 - All Clear
Post-Holocaust Day: #458

When Kal Trask sets his mind to something, the rest of him follows through. After the Kepner Mutiny, he decided that he'd best become as skilled with standard firearms as he is with the heavy weaponry of a Raptor. Thus it is that he has been hitting the firing range far more than the sheer minimum he used to afford to simply maintain his basic qualifications level. It's somewhat slow going with no actual instruction, but he's always been an undeterred self-starter, and he's certainly willing to put in the necessary effort and time.

Maybe Sawyer has the same inclination following the ordeal with Cameron, or this is one of the limited ways she can spend quality time with Kal. Maybe a little from column A and a little from column B. Either way, the blonde looks ready for combat with her hair pulled back in a severe pony tail and dressed in the tanks and cargo pants the marines normally sport. The only difference is instead of dog tags, she wears her civilian lanyard with all her clearances attached to it. And the bullets in the Picon Five-seveN she checked out are rubber. "Nothing like the smell of gun powder in the morning," she quips quietly while she goes through the necessary safety checks of her weapon.

"I prefer coffee," Kal counter-quips, finishing his final checks. Momentarily holstering his gun, he inquires, "So, fancy another wager?" That might be the faintest hint of mischief at the corners of his mouth while he fastens his target sheet.

Sawyer tilts her head slightly like a quizzical cat, her brown eyes giving Kal the lazy up and down as she eyes him from behind the orange-tinted protective lenses of her eyewear. "Something tells me you already have something in mind. Alright. I'll bite." She turns to peel a target sheet off the stack, affixing the little black silhouette of a man to the clip. "Lay down your wager, sir."

With a demure kind of coyness, Trask notes, "You're the investigative journalist. How 'bout you tell me what you think I think should be the wager?" The question is probably as loaded as the guns are. With the flick of a switch, the target starts reeling towards the rear of the range.

"Always with the investigative journalist bit. I'm going to change my job title to 'Lazy Schlub' so you don't expect much out of me. If I could read you, my dear, you'd already be eating out of the palm of hand. Or are you already?" Sawyer's smirk grows a hint more, as she looks sidelong to him, falling into the easy pace of banter with him. "Alright, let's see. What could Kal Trask possibly want from Sawyer Averies? More babysitting. Maybe a topless massage? Or is that too blasé?"

Not one to pass up a joke — even one made at his own expense — the man cracks, "I have a habit of biting the hand that feeds me." Which could be interpreted in countless ways, none of which his tone or demeanor actually indicate. "Topless massage? As in I massage your topless bits or something else?" He is utterly nonchalant in asking, as if inquiring what's being dished in the galley for lunch.

"I'm not afraid of a few bite marks." Eyebrows waggle above the sunglassesque goggles before Sawyer turns her attention back to her weapon. She's fully vested in the conversation, just getting her gun ready for this impending challenge. "As in I'm topless and I massage your bits, as in your back after a long day at the ECO console. I figure whatever it is, we'd have to up the last ante. So a boob flash, babysitting or bath simply won't do. So, what is it you /do/ want from me?"

"And what about the occasional rabid mauling?" is asked with semi-sardonic cheek. "An' I'm not there yet," he then remarks, a touch more sourly, and decidedly displeased that Medical has yet to clear him for return to flight duty, "So, if you're wagering that, there better be no expiration date." *SNICK* The target snaps into place.

As for what the ECO-turned-SL wants in exchange, Trask vaguely shrugs, "Dunno." And what began as an off-handed reply takes root to furrow his brow and cast a light of sudden awareness in his protective ware covered eyes. The man honestly and truly isn't entirely sure just what he wants from the blonde, and not just within the boundaries of the bet. Perhaps this accounts for his somewhat oblique counteroffer of, "Something you'd rather not share but would be willing to give to me." In short, the most uncomfortable thing he can acquire without fostering resentment, because there is always a need for control in whatever he does. "And I'll wager a story about one of my tatau." Which is something not to ever be parted with lightly, and something he definitely knows that she wants to know.

"Done. But you'll have to give me time to think of what that is, precisely. But I promise it'll be equal to, if not greater than, a story of one of your tatau. Are we in agreement then?" By the pensive expression on Sawyer's features, it looks as if the blonde might just have something in mind for this little wager, but it just hasn't solidified in her brain yet. "What will it be? Dueling pistols at ten paces?" Her words in jest as she pushes the button to send her target skittering out to the far end of the range.

"Shit, Sawyer. You're losing your edge. I said /A/ story, not /THE/ story, or are you content to just know how long it took, or what ink was used?" He doesn't quite sound angry, but this is beyond a mere good-natured ribbing. "I didn't even say that you could choose /which/ tatau." There is an unmistakable air of frustration. "You should be digging, questioning, HAGGLING." Not to mention sharper and less trusting. Indeed, it's a somewhat critical look that he levels upon the blonde. For whatever reason, her easy acquiescence has him upset.

The firearm has the safety secured with a flick of her thumb and she's setting it on the little table in front of her. "Alright. You don't want to be let off that easy? That's on you." The journalist peels off her goggles, folding the little plastic arms together and setting it neatly beside her firearm. "I was giving you the Bootstrap discount." Because somehow, he's supposed to be different than anyone else. "Alright. If I win: you, Kal Trask, will give me, Sawyer Averies, the complete story behind the meaning of the tatau of my choosing. I want to know the reason it was chosen, the time in your life it was chosen, and where you had it done and by whom, and who was in audience. Then you'll walk me through the complete symbolism of every line in that portion of your tatau. And you'll not stop talking about that tatau until I'm completely and utterly satisfied."

For all that some part of him might want some preferential treatment from certain people, it gets pounded into brutal submission and heaped with scorn and contempt. Such is the way of someone who's fought for everything that he has and who defines himself by overcoming adversity (including the kind he creates as a matter of dysfunctional compulsion). "Do I really strike you as someone who needs to be let off easily?" Riled as he is, that might not be a rhetorical question. Even his body language unconsciously reverts to that of someone who can endure excessive roughness.

There's a bristling of pride and genuine indignation… and a flash of that vulnerability that fuels this kind of irascible response. In some ways, Trask truly needs to be handled with the utmost gingerliness. A feint, however, or pressing an attack and then falling back when all parties acknowledge the victor are not the same thing as abstaining from combat. The only time /he/ ever pulls his punches is when everyone realizes that he could go in for the kill, that he'd succeed in the maneuver, and that he's willing to refrain from doing so as long as the other party backs the frak off. Getting less than that from anyone else simply offends him and his bizarre sense of courtesy.

Ambivalent creature that he is, however, Sawyer's rebuttal both pleases and discomfits the man. "Save your discount." That's somewhat derisively spoken. "If I'm interested in a break, I'll bargain for it." In response to the blonde's revised terms, Bootstrap stresses, "Something of /equal/ or greater value, or the bet's off." Perhaps he's posturing, or maybe he's trying to find a way to back out without losing face, or it could even be that he's just ensuring that he's not going to somehow get shortchanged. Knowing him, it might well be all of the above.

That all said, he retains his composure, even if there is still tension. "So." Just a wee clipped before his tone is forced into something more laissez-faire, "Same rules as before?" Best cluster wins.

"Need a discount? No. Deserve one? Perhaps." Sawyer's smirk remains on her lips, her eyes partially lidded in a vaguely wry expression. "But have it your way. No quarter given." With that same bemused expression - more so at their conversation than directed at the man himself - she reaches for her safety glasses again. "And I know just the thing to lay down on this, on my end, now. Equal, if not greater in value." The eyewear is slipped back up the bridge of her nose and she reaches for her gun again. "Same rules as before."

The wagers and the terms accepted, all that remains is for Trask to say, "Ladies first."

Opposed Roll — Sawyer:Firearms vs Trask:Firearms
Sawyer: Bad Failure Trask: Good Success
Net Result: Trask wins big.

There is a little bit more riding on this particular round at the shooting range, and when Sawyer gets honestly nervous? She fidgets. It may only be noticeable if one were paying close attention to her fingers, but her thumb flicks the safety on and off once or twice and she can't quite seem to get a grip she likes on the handle until finally she settles her index finger inside the trigger guard. A deep breath later, and she's firing off a quick staccato of rounds at the target, but only one of them even falls within the outermost circle on the little blackened torso. Looks like one thing the blonde forgot to do was aim. Her shoulders are already slumping in resignation by the time she hits the button to retrieve her target, not even acknowledging it's now Trask's turn.

All the extra time at the range has been paying off. Bootstrap's array of rubber bullets perforates the paper in a pattern of killshots at the head and chest. Although not as tightly grouped as is possible, if that sheet were a person, they'd have died several times over.

Unlike the last time they made a bet, he is not at all pleased when the sheets come back to reveal that he's the victor. It begins with a searing scouring of Sawyer's sloppy work that manifests in a sharpness of his regard and a tightness around his all too expressive brown eyes, and it culminates in a clenching of his jaw. One deep breath that does little to calm him, followed by another, and then another.

"Frak you, Averies," he practically bites off, seething. "FRAK. YOU." The blonde's sheet is shoved back at her. Whether it ends up in the woman's hands or crumpled against her chest, he does not care, for he is disgusted and his ire is now raised. Precipitously, he starts to reload his gun. When he is emotional, though, he becomes somewhat manically animated, which means he just can't keep his trap shut. "If you're gonna frakkin' throw the match, at least have the decency to make it look like you actually /tried/ to win."

Sawyer raises her hand to try and grab at the sheet as it gets shoved at her, but her fingers clasp on empty air as the target goes tumbling towards the deck. She doesn't make any move to save it before it hits the floor, because it would have to race her jaw on the way down as it is. "Frak me? No, see, you won't. Or you can't. Or you don't even want to. That's what this is about, isn't it? The other night? Because it sure as hell isn't about this wager. Believe you me, this was probably the one match I'd give anything to have won. That chance to have one tiny ounce of insight into you from your own lips." While Trask irately preps to have another go at the target, it seems the blonde is all too happy to call it a night here. She presses the lever to spit her clip out, and then she empties the remaining round from the chamber. "So if you want to be a spoil sport, how about you just say 'go frak yourself'. That's more realistic."

Angry as he is, that new cartridge gets shoved into his Five-seveN far more forcefully than it ever should, and the gun voices its protest with a choked-up *CRACK* that is amplified by jamming, which only serves to piss off the man even more. Growling, he roughly sets down the weapon in the tray before him, safety still on, and then spins on Sawyer. Were the metal guard not there, Bootstrap would be all up in her personal space. "Oh, no," he begins, growing further animated, "Don't you /dare/ try to pin this on me, and don't you /dare/ give me some bullshit line about the other night. I outright /asked/ you if you wanted to frak, and /you/ balked." It's quite possible that, in his twisted psyche, he honestly believes that's how it played out. Never mind that the truth is far more nuanced and complicated than that.

"I didn't balk." Sawyer has no trouble in matching him both in timbre and by stepping up to the partition. "I suggested a change in venue. And when a girl kisses you and you don't kiss back? She's apt to take that as a sign of unwillingness on the other party's part. So, yeah, it's on you. So while you should own up to the fact that you sabotage any good thing you've got going for you, I don't need to. I didn't throw the match, because if I had, I damn well would have made it look a lot more convincing, don't you worry your pretty little head about that." She eyes him up and down in a less friendly manner than she had earlier, and then finally takes a step back, grabbing her firearm to turn back in to the attendant at the arms cage. "You'll have your winnings by week's end. Try not to choke on it."

The woman's not lying. That doesn't mean he actually realizes that. Denial is a powerful thing, and he's had plenty of practice shoving aside his feelings (and usually people, too, in the process). Displacement and rationalization are two defense mechanisms that he has largely perfected out of necessity. Destructively so, perhaps, but that is merely a testament to the ferocity of his survival instinct. "PUH-leeze!" Now, the eyes roll, and his head dramatically arcs with them. "You got a frakkin' headache! That's She Doesn't Wanna Screw 101!" Which is no less true than Sawyer's own observation, even if his interpretation is far more fueled by the need for self-protecting revisionist history than it is some sense of rejection. Although, to be fair, the latter is likely also in play.

One thing is for certain: no one has won.

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