PHD #433: Yellow, Blue, and Green
Yellow, Blue, and Green
Summary: Constin and Vandenberg reminisce over Canceron.
Date: 05 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: Not much, really.
Constin Vandenberg 
Behind the two hangar decks, the Cerberus' Galley is the largest room on the ship. Nearly half the size of a football field, the eating area is made up of long lines of stainless steel tables that can be folded up and placed against the wall for larger events. Individual seats are the standard military issue, boring and grey with lowest-bidder padding. The line for food stretches across one of the shorter sides of the room while the kitchen behind works nearly twenty-four hours a day to produce either full meals or overnight snacks and coffee for the late shifts.
Post-Holocaust Day: #433

With the ship stepped back to limited rations, gone are the halcyon days of loading up a tray with whatever barely edible leftovers were too stale, bland, or greasy to be gobbled up by the time Elf made it through the line. Now, the Cerb's Master at Arms has a closely monitored quantity of barely edible leftovers as he settles down to a vacant table, getting thumbprints on the scratch paper on the clipboard which he eyes between bites. The day;s schedule.

Van is in the same boat, settling out from the line after getting her 'grub'. The woman is in her sweatpants and tanks. There's hints of a necklace that dips into her tanks with her dogtags as she approaches Elf's table. "Bugger the mornin, Elf," she sighs with a smirk. Van seems like she just rolled out of bed but seems in pretty high spirits when she takes up a chair uninvited across from him. She looks at the plate and shakes her head. "I tell you, what I wouldn't give for a heapin plate of bangers and mash."

"Would do better for a real boozer, no shit," Constin grunts back at the cheerful greeting, before setting the clipboard down and taking a fresh bite, eyes flicking up briefly to greet Vandenberg. His eye ticks lower a moment, but only a moment and then its back to the food. "Mmm," he mutters a moment after the best of pub foods are mentioned. "Damnation, yeah."

"Gods, ain't that a bit of right." Natalie shakes her head, taking up the form to poke at the powdered eggs. "Swear, one of these days these nastybits are gonna grow sentience and attack us all. Mark mah words, yeah?" She smirks and reaches for the salt on the table. There's already ketchup on the eggs. "Back in Kirtland we had this pub, Julip's, that only closed from noon til five in the evening. You could go in and get tossed and crack out an omlette at nine in the mornin. My friends and I used to go there for breakfast before school. I think my senior year, on the days I *did* make it to school, we went to first block about five or six shots deep."

"Heh. Man's creations betray him all over again, yeah?" Elf drawls with a grin to the mention of 'nastybits growing sentience and attacking'. "Heh. Days off went like that a whole lot," he mutters at the memory of drinking until breakfast. As Natalie mentions her senior year, he cracks a grin. "No wonder you made officer."

Natalie snickers. "At least this shite they're passin off as eggs isn't armored. We can kill it with some grit, determination, and antacids." She stabs a small pile and deposits it in her trap primly. "Yeah? Had days like that, too? Days I didn't go we usually opted to grab a bottle of apple shine from my boy Robby's bunks and the lot of us would steal off to a tank in the woods or we'd saddle horses and go to the mountains." She grins at the memory and chuckles to his last. "Nah, I made officer 'cuz I wanted to piss off mum and dad. Education was a side effect. What, you never got to high school?"

"Got to the second year, I think?" Elf answers after a moment's thought. "Yeah. Halfway into the second year, before I quit for going to work. Top of the year is when new contracts get signed on." The quip about the 'eggs' draws a delayed chuckle. "Shit, Vandy.. you ever set into a Company cafeteria? Now THERE is some rank shit." A short chuckle rumbles in the big man's throat. With a crooked grin, he wonders, "Whose horses?"

"Damn. You ain't shittin? Never finished? Hell, devil-dag, two years ain't bad. Sounds about standard for Kirtland. Some of the lucky kiddies didn't have to start work until they finished. Senior class? Mine?" She lofts her brow, dipping her head. "Six graduates. Ten students. Finished my ass fifth in class. Put that on my college app and they were impressed, let me tell you." She snickers at the wool-pulling and settles back. The last gets her to roll her eyes, laughing. "Oh rack off, boy. Whose horses you think they were?" She stabs at her eggs and smirks at him. "Daddy bought me three as birthday gifts with all the lovely riding gear and lessons I could shake my studies at." The last is delivered with all the arrogance and snot she can muster - Caprican accent to boot.

Constin barks a short, sharp laugh at how impressed college was. "Heh. Heard from my momma a couple years after I left that one of the neighbor girls made it outta school. Didn't get her much, but good on her anyhow, yeah? That's the World for ya." Ahh, downtown Hades. A bite of his breakfast provokes a fresh chuckle. "Damnation, but those stingy bastards knew how to cut cubits. Had just enough sawdust in the bread, and everything." The Caprican quip earns a snicker and reminds him of a weak old joke. "Hey, how can you tell when a tourist has been to Hades?"

"Ey." Natalie shakes a fork at Elf with a smile. "Anyone finishin school in those locales deserves more than a cursory 'Good on 'eh', aye? You know better'n I do just what kinda pride she musta felt. Somethin' I'll never be able to imagine, fair bet." She gives the chide with her own brand of sly and humor to go with it. Can't be too serious. Natalie gets a good laugh at the sawdust, though. "AYE!" She nearly cackles, rolling her eyes. "Ya know, we had two kinds of pine up where I was? You could tell which one by the taste of the bread. I always like the darker bread. Not sure which tree it was, but it was a lovely bit of okay with a burger." Of dubious meat content. "How he's been to Hades? He's beat to shit, broke, and wishes he'd gone someplace where 'I'll call my lawyer' was actually a threat."

Constin cracks a grin, "Oh no shit," he allows to his long-ago neighbor girl graduating high school. Bread reminiscing is met with a, "Hell yeah! Lords-be-DAMNED but yanno how you'd have to soak it in the soup if it sat out too long?" Natalie's latter answer to his 'joke' earns a snicker, and the response, "Close: His pants run yellow, his eye goes black and blue, and all the green's gone from his wallet. S'why Hades is always the Colony's biggest manufacturer of flags." It's a weak joke, but elf still grins big and broad to tell it.

Natallie laughs again, leaning to the side as she rolls her head back to think about the bread. "Oh my GODS. Seriously!! And the soup?" She leans back forward, motioning with her fork. "The 'peas' always looked suspiciously like pebbles that got stuck in your boots?? The 'trimmins' always tasted a 'lil too much like fresh cut grass? Them 'taters might've been legit but swear up'n down, Lords on high and low, I tripped my frakkin face one day off one of the shrooms in mah soup. I sat in class starin at my teachers faces cuz I could, hand to Zeus, SEE the words flowin out of her waggin jaw! I think I was.. fourteen? Yea, tha's about right." But the telling of the joke gets a hard snicker with her and she lifts her hand to give him a high-five. "Oh hit that, brother." She can't help her grin. "Marine by choice, survivor by chance, Canceran by the GRACE of the Gods."

Constin affects a transparent look of suspicion as he narrows his eyes on Natalie. "You got rock-peas? Lucky," he mutters, before the grin splits his expression again as the Hades joke earns a laugh. the offered high five is given with a sharp clap, because nothing about the Old World is quiet. "A-frakking-men to that, big sister," he voices to the grace of the Gods. Settling back into his seat with a low chuckle, he glances back up to belatedly note, "Didn't know you came from money."

"Well of course we did. Kirtland was a fine, upstandin' community who only ate the best the colonies had to offer. Who you take me for? Street walkin hussy from Jonas City?" Ewww. She grins anyway, waggling her fork at him. The woman cuts him a wink with the amen, the gesture accompanied by a click of her teeth as she stabs for more eggs. The last seems to garner some real surprise from her. "No lie? Figured you knew that. Aye boy, you ain't two sammies shy of a picnic so I'll assume the missed words are my fault. Ain't something I normally like to bring up most of the time, anyway." She rolls her eyes at herself, chuckling still. "Aye. Parents were high-brow, stiff lipped Capricans. I was home schooled 'til I was nine. Parents didn't want me gettin what they termed a 'substandard education'. Right, cuz I'ma learn a lot about life locked in mah damned house. Dad was head of security at the Kirtland Mine, mom was a strung out floozy who spent most of her time drinkin and sleepin around. She ran the reinvestment programs for the company." She dismisses the thought as if her parents are irrelevant. "Shinin point of my life was my nanny and teacher, Miss Lazarus. Local lady. Made me fall in love with that place. Lemme tell you, Mister Elfcakes, them first few weeks of school when I finally convinced my parents to let me go?" She winces, but smiles all the same. "First week I learned how to duck. Second week I had a strong right hook down. Parents jobs like mine didn't make me popular. Pudgy lil Natty learned what life was all about." By the look in her eye she doesn't regret it. "Parents cut me out of their wills when I signed my contract with the Corps. Didn't find out until later." She shrugs. "You met a Canceran that trusts a handout from corporate? Frak nah. There's always riders. I always liked earnin my keep, thanks. Heard when they died they gave it all to my nanny. Last I'd heard she fled Canceron with a fat check and lawyers been lookin for her ever since. Used to call me every year or so askin' about her whereabouts. I say good on her. Frak the assholes." She finishes it with a sure nod and stabs at a piece of what these days is termed 'bacon'. Riiight. "Guessin' you rolled polar opposite, yeah?"

Natalie's story keeps Elf's eye, apart from the occasional grunt to reflect amusement, or brief nod to indicate he's still listening as the occasional bite is had of his diminishing meal. "Shit, what's not to love?" he drawls without irony as Vandy gets to mentioning the love of the Old World 'Miss Lazarus' instilled in her. "Heh, you might say that," the big man notes at the last. "Grand-daddy came out of Aerilon, did a time in the mines, back when the mines was still for convicts. Grandmamma's family came out of Hades so when she got knocked up with my daddy, and left the old man, that's where she went." Another bite and gulp of water. "Folks both did work on the coast while I was a kid. Had a little brother, couple years after me," he notes idly. "Figure you're about my years, yeah? Remember back in twenty-five, when the Adrastos Corp pulled off world? Yeah, well, old man got laid off, had to sign on a mining contract. Family was real hard up, so I signed on with him." A breath taken in and out. "Part from a few days here and there over the years, that's about the last I saw of the hometown."

"Everything t'love. Parents wanted a Caprican kid. Fraks sake I went to school on Virgon and get into barfights. Scared the shit outta most of the people there. Corps found me quick." She winks at him and shoves more eggs into her mouth while he speaks, the woman nodding. She makes her own noise at the mention of Adrastos. "Yeah. M'parents made a killing when they left. Mum n dad Vandenberg pulled-up their stake in Kirtland and went.. Oh frak all if I can remember. That deal pissed a lot of m'old friends and their families into tough corners. Made sure their kids wouldn't be able to leave, too. I came back after a few years in the Corps hopin to work back in with my friends?" She shrugs. "Seems trite, aye? Wee bit on the wrong side of smart? I wanted to come back and work mines. College, career, future off Canceron? Toss it all for people I thought were friends. Bah. Turned out for the better." She reaches for the cup of water on her tray. "Say you didn't see much of Hades after that? Damned shame. You got a big family, too?"

Constin chuckles ruefully as Natalie describes her family's maneuvers and her own ill advised best of intentions in returning. "Yeah, don't imagine that went too good. Heh," A shake of his head, before he answers the last. "Not so much. Well, a few cousins and such that I never met, but the family was really just momma, the old man, me and Alex. After me and daddy headed out to work, Alex found a girl and got hitched. Met her a few times. They had a little girl that I saw once, after brought the old man back home after he passed on." A shrug. "Were never too close to any of them after I left. Least, not until I went into the Corp. I could live without seeing Hades.. The housing projects? Damnation, that was shit. The shame is I didn't see much of them. Saw the old man plenty, sure. But the rest? Barely recognized them when I decided to enlist."

"Nah. Like, they's my mates, yanno? Friends for a lot of years. They didn't just discount me, but all had kids - at least one. They knew how they got frakkered and their kids, too. They didn't blame me but the blood was bad. Think someone woulda fragged me down in the mines one day if I'd stayed." Natalie shrugs. What's done is done and she's alive today. "Sounds like some craziness in that family. Said Alex was a few years behind ya, too. Sheesh. I used to hear rumors bout them projects, too. Bad stuff. Rats the side of my leg, roaches that could withstand a bullet. Whew. But joinin the Corps changed things with your family? No kiddin?"

"No shit," Elf notes with an easy shake of his head. "First job I ever HEARD of where the boss weren't trying to cut cubits. Made more cash every month than me and the old man had put together back on the world. Old lady got a little computer- Alex's girl was good with computers- and we could sit down for some of them face-to-face calls pretty regular. Shit, they even sent me this little photo one year.. all four of them setting down at the table with the sad little cake, smiling for the camera. Alex had his little girl scratch 'Happy Birthday Uncle Elf' across the bottom." A chuckle. "I weren't a real good fella before the corp-" A wince as he turns an eye toward the roof. "Settle, that ain't what I meant." Back to Vandy. "S'just.. weren't close to nobody before the Corp. Weren't much good at being alive, yanno? You ever had that kinda feeling?"

Natalie chuckles, nodding along. "Boss takes a cut, but it ain't so the fat cat gets fatter. Goes someplace. Like battlestars that save your life years down the road." She flahes a smirk. The message of the cake gets.. perhaps a surprising reaction. "Awwwww," she whispers. Obviously that was intended only for him as that is not a common sound for her by any stretch of meaning. She follows his gaze towards the ceiling and almost does it again. Nat remembers the night at the bar. He talks to his wife. She bites her lip, staying quiet until he finishes. "Course, Elf. Been a lot of people like that. I'm an officer and I've probably stolen several hundred cubits worth of dinners and wallets. We were who we were. You got too much heart to go rapin and murderin. Hell, you're a cop. The Cop. What'd you do that's got you worried?"

"Didn't really do nothing too bad," Elf notes with a shrug, trying to make his point better. "Hell, when I was a kid, the old man found out I snagged a neighbor's shoes one time, he thrashed me good before he made me walk barefoot to give them back." A tight grin. "Just. I get the notion that if I hadn't had them years in the Corp before the Worlds ended? I wouldn't even have blinked if my whole damn family up and died in a day. Ain't a good feeling to look backward and see yourself as somebody who could hear that and just.. not care."

Natalie nods a few times. "Heh. Had some of that. Most of it was people stealin our stuff off our property. I used to get pissed with my parents about it. Until I got out and met some of the folk I came to consider kin." She takes up her bacon and crunches on it a few moments. "Don't feel too bad, aye? Ain't nothin' to be shamed on. Doin your whole line proud these days. Not a lick of em is gonna sit anywhere up in Elysium wonderin whether or not they're worried about knowin you better, I bet. Just happy to claim on ya." She smirks. "Hell, Elf. Bombs went off? Even if m'parents hadn't been lost before? Not sure I'd be worried. I went to the funeral but didn't feel much. The family we got now is what matters. We stick together. We all have our regrets about what we lost to the bombs, aye. No question. But? Hard to deny what we got. And I don't mean just your sister sittin cross the table, hear that?" She winks at him and pops the rest of the bacon into her mouth with a proud grin.

"Shit, I'm fine with it," Constin drawls simply. "What's been is part of who we are, and when some day does come and I cross over, ain't either of us should be ashamed." Vandy's last quip tugs Elf's lip in a sniff. "Well, what 'my sister across the table has got' has been grabbin at my eye since you sat down, Vandy- what is that thing round your neck, anyhow?"

Natalie holds the cup of water, the rim dangled by her fingertips. "So say we all, Elf. When we have our time, I think we'll all stand tall when we arrive. I can honestly say bein religious gives me a bit of comfort with it. I ain't worried 'bout dyin anymore. We all have our mates on the other end waitin with open arms." Its all said with the ease of a person content with the thought. But at the mention of what's around her neck, she turns a bit red and fingers at the necklace under her shirt. "This isn't what I meant, you dag, and you know it." She chuckles and slowly removes it with both hands after setting the water down. "This?" She looks down at it. "Uhm. Khloe gave this to me yesterday. It was a gift to go with my Captain's pins." The officer has to try really hard not to squee all over the place and its obvious. "I think its beautiful. I haven't had anything this fancy in eons, either. And she..just decided to get it for me. Don't know what she traded but it couldn't have been cheap." Her eyes finally lift back up to Constin. Nothin but love there.

"Yeah, well. I ain't," Constin notes dryly to the question of 'being religious'. But then his light barb scores and there comes the blush. "I know. Said it anyway." As the necklace's origin and expense come to light, elf's blod brows raise slightly. "Damnation. The only two folk less likely to strut around sporting girlie jewelry than ME is you two." He cracks a grin after the jape, grin deepening a bit more at the look on Vandenberg;s face as she describes the gift.

"Hey, ain't a thing. Its not a requirement. Some of us are. Some aren't. Just a matter of life experience tempered into who we are. One day we'll get into it." Natalie gives him an easy smile and looks back to the necklace. She gives a soft, feminine laugh at the mention of being girly. "Elf? Ya don't know me all that well in that respect but I'm a big sucker. Stuff like this? Flowers? Havin' the door held for me? I really like it." She smiles, the look a little meek and almost apologetic as her eyes rise. "Romantic comedies, movies you watch just because sometimes you feel like crying, sappy books about impossible romances. I'll take all comers. Its just- Well, I am who I need to be right now. I never had a reason to really let my hair down off-duty so.. Now I do. Annnnd I am!" She preens and replaces the necklace under her shirt. "Feels really great."

"Girls and their frakking hair," Elf chuckles, good naturedly to Natalie's talk of letting her hair down. Her litany of girlie indulgences just earns a wry grin and shake of his head. "Shit, am I gonna have to request Lieutenant Devlin come down here and start translating this shit you're saying to me?" A short exhale. "No shit, Vandy: Hang onto that long as you can."

"Hair is important!" A pause. "No, really! Why do you think we're so devastated when we get a bad haircut? Why do you think I'm all paranoid about combing over by bald spots around Khloe?" she asks with a short smile. Natalie hasn't smiled this much since before she took that blast scarring to her face. Its obviously good for her. "And no, leave other people out of this. I'll figure something out. Write you a guidebook or something." To his last she nods a few times and takes up her tray. "I took the advice, Elf. We talked about a few things. We're going to try and make it work. But duty comes first. Hardest part." She takes the long way around the table and kisses the back of his head. "Thanks. I owe you big. I suspect Khloe does too. Just my personal opinion, though. See ya at watch, brother."

Natalie hasn't smiled this much at a stretch without a table being destroyed, and this smiling is different. Better. As Natalie asks why else she would do such things, Elf shrugs and deadpans, "Just figured you were crazier than a shaft rat." Allowing another tight grin to tug at his lip as Vandy speaks of taking advice, and keeping duty first. "You'll run into harder parts. But that's real good to hear." Following the endearment, he nods once, and returns, "Be seeing you, big sister."

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