AWD #326: Empathy is a Tool
Empathy is a Tool
Summary: Randy tries to talk to Epiphany after the… relieving of duty situation.
Date: 13/05/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: …And The Quest For The Holy Rhino, Part 2
Epiphany Randy 
Bunker on Aerilon
Big place. Ships. Crates. Y'know the deal.
Mon Nov 28 2005 (AWD #326)

It was a defeated woman who walked away. Epiphany generally does well in carriage and holding herself tall, but as she went back to her task, she looked like someone who had lost their faith. She doesn't stop working, no. She just drives herself further into it. Taking inventory. Marking crates. At some point, she returned to where their things are stored and gathered up all of her own. Her pack now lives atop one crate, far at the distance of the hangar. The CAG herself has stripped back her flightsuit to her waist and tied it off. She's moving one crate, by herself, and from the looks of it… that bitch is heavy. Clipboard tossed down atop and hands digging into the wood as she drags it to a new position. Her hair is in a rough braid that's falling to pieces and there's sweat on her brow. Teeth are bared in a grimace as she fights the bulky thing across the concrete floor towards another stack that's already been shifted in prep to be loaded up at some point.

The marine technically should be sleeping. She's still got an hour left in her sleep shift. Perhaps sleeping in full gear isn't easy, but that's what Randy did, almost. She actually stripped replaced some of her body armor with a vest so she could have more range of motion while she slept. And, well, she took off her pack only to sleep with it in her arms like a child clinging to its teddy. After the altercation earlier, she ended up wandering back to her corner of the bunker amongst the machine parts and such. She never set up camp with the others, but she did setup camp within sight of them. After what looked like wrestling with her pack under her sleeping tarp (really an ill and bizarre attempt to fall back asleep), Randy wanders the bunker, hugging her pack. Her hair is still a bit of a ragged mess, given she wasn't going to give up space in her pack for a hair brush. She's not /going/ for the look of a child, but it's somewhat unavoidable.

"Here…" She carefully puts her pack aside where she can keep an eye on it, but hesitates when she has to leave it to free up her hands. Then she moves to help the Captain with the crate. When she realizes how hard it is to move, she grunts and re-doubles her efforts to contribute what little force she can.

<FS3> Epiphany rolls Body+Body: Good Success.
<FS3> Randy rolls Body+Body: Success.

There's a sense of workaholic to Epiphany. Always has been. The woman focuses on goals and gets them done. She's a workhorse. Brute force and a job well done. She is no elegant machine. She is no refined debutante. There's no polish to her. She simply is what she is and there's no apology for that. Not is there one spoken when he marine steps up. For all that she's fairly slim for her height, there's a wiry determination to her frame. A tightly corded muscle meant for her job: flying Vipers. She's built for strength of legs and withstanding g-forces. It means when she braces herself to it, the crate moves. Further, now, that Randy is helping. It gets it to finally bump up along the rest.

"You'll want to let them know this lot is ready to be loaded up." And then Goose is grabbing her clipboard from atop it and moving to the next crate in 'line,' grabbing a bar to crack it open and delve into the contents.

Randy doesn't ask for an apology either. She's always been one to put her back into hard work. For a long time, she never had a choice. Work was a matter of survival, and now, work is /still/ survival, but at least it has a degree of danger which makes her feel /something/. "I will, but that's not why I'm here…You want anything to eat?" She stands to the side as the pilot starts in on the next crate.

Picon was work. Endless. It was Epiphany and one of her students supporting a coalition of farmers who wouldn't leave their lands. Flying whatever would stay aloft long enough for the scavenged KEWs from their Vipers. It was also terrifying work. Never knowing if you'd make it from one day to the next. Not knowing if anyone else was left out there. It's a mindset that the older woman has very quickly returned to. She's shut off and just put her mind to the task. "I have energy bars. Save your food."

She didn't move her things away for fear of the others. There's a bar and water bottle sitting right out in the open and Epiphany hasn't acted like she fears Randy may take them from her. No. She's just doing her job and becoming one apart. There's a grunt as she lifts out some boxes within the crate. Ammo. And by the shape and size of the cannister, they'd go well with the MGs the Rhino has. Crouching down next to one, Arrington pops it open and starts checking over the rounds within. Ensuring none seem to have been ravaged by elements or time.

"They probably taste better than what I packed anyways…" Randy, for her part, feels like a ghost witnessing other people's loss. She already was shelled out before War Day ever happened. It's a state that her time on Picon didn't really help either. She isn't the best person to try and reach someone else, she isn't even a decent person for that.

"I wanted to know if you were okay," Randy just comes out and says it. There's no tact, there's no hidden agenda. She's a marine that deals with explosives. There's no time left in her life to live opaquely, and she doesn't have the skills to approach how she feels or how she explores things in any other way. "That shit was…intense," reeeal eloquent.

There's just a grunt in answer to the comment on the energy bars. Neither to disagree or agree, just to acknowledge that she heard the statement. Epiphany seems satisfied with the cannister and returns it to the crate. A couple more are popped open, but given only a cursory look over. She shifts enough to see how many layers deep it goes. Follow with a bit of math and… some notes are scribbled on the clipboard with a pencil that's been sharpened by knife. It makes the marks look crude on the Colonial Fleet-headed paper.

When the question comes up, Epiphany doesn't respond for a moment. It's as if she's not certain she actually heard it. Was it spoken or all in her head? The woman replaces the lid on the crate and uses the prybar to secure the nails just a bit. Enough that the lid won't slide off. A fat marker is pulled out of her thigh pocket and the crate marked down. 'M-85'. Mike-Eight-Five. She has an organized, clearly defined list. The woman has spent her time since they arrived getting everything organized. There will be no guesswork of the crates. At least she wasn't just lounging about while others worked on he Rhinos.

But it's the latter comment that cements that the query came not from her own mind, but an external source. Arrington leans back on her heels and looks over to Randy. There's a resigned emptiness to her eyes, the green muddied into hazel. She's exhausted and not just physically. "I will be fine. I just want to get done so everyone can get out of here with what the fleet needs."

Randy, for her part, realized she'd just be one too many cooks in the kitchen, and she'd be able to use her skills in other ways. She's put in some time on the Rhinos, for sure, and rooted around helping take stock, but she also carved out some time to herself, poking around the abandoned parts of the bunker, or rather, the less loved. The areas where some bits of forgotten doodads are rusting in the corner, things under dusty old blankets, and even picked through some old trash meant to be shuttled out of the bunker periodically. Did she tell everyone the extent of what she was doing, the value of it? Nope. She just hasn't shown herself to be one who advertises everything on this trip. It's possible that every single person there thinks she's a lazy ass, or that there's a screw loose, or a whole host of other things, but the woman hasn't shown any indication that she's aware of perceptions she encourages or that she cares.

"You will be?" Oddly, it's a sincere question, like when a child asks something really deep without realizing it. There's something off kilter about that side of Randy. There's no boundary, no timid respect for norms, but no realization of rebellion against them either. "I won't. You're right." It's what she doesn't say, what she allows to hang between the lines in utter silence that is more palpable. They're blowing the mission. "We need both…and we'll be able to do a lot more good with them for /everyone/ if we have them," over other organizations or individuals. "That's what the fleet needs. Every time I go out, nearly everyone around me eats another round." She hasn't said much thus far on the mission, but once it starts, she finds she can't stop it from coming out. "And I care…and-I don't want to." She reaches up to rub the tension gathering in her forehead. "I don't have any choice." She grits her teeth, her jaw tensing up visibly as she averts her eyes. The strange phrases come out disjointed without the thoughts needed to connect them fully expressed.

The crate is fully marked and Epiphany uses her hip to shove it at least a short ways. Enough to indicate 'hey look at me' to anyone who might come by for it. Just feet away lies her equipment atop another crate. One examined and found wanting. Not worth their time, thus a big 'X' across the lid in that same marker that has since been returned to her pocket. Epiphany stops there and grabs a bottle of water. She cracks it open and drains a good bit before setting it back. When he woman closes her eyes and arches her back, hands on hips, she looks… no old, but aged. She's in her mid-thirties. Her prime, especially for a pilot, is gone. And the war has aged her further, as it has many others.

"If you don't care, you're not here for the right reasons. Empathy is one of he few tools we have left." Against an army of machines? Damn right. It's clear Epiphany believes this, fervently if nothing else. She looks over to he engineer, returning to clipboard and prybar. Time for another crate. Wood creaks, nails strain, and finally it cracks open. "We have both. They took the Raptor. They're not coming back, if they make it off-planet at all." That leaves the fleet with Two Rhinos and One Raptor. The former were their Mission, the latter, well… it'll replace the one they crashed. "The mission will be a success if you make it back in one piece."

"It's not that I don't care. It's that I do. Empathy isn't a problem. It's direct empathy. In my line of work, it clouds your judgement. It gets you killed. But worse, it gets others killed." Randy deals with the 'big little picture' every time she faces down an explosive, but she doesn't realize that this part of her job has just as much to do with her personally as it does the nature of the job. "The more you have, the more you have to lose. It's just easier…" Her eyes are somewhat glazed over. "I know," which is to say, this conversation isn't happening because the mission is still currently in danger. "That's because you put your foot down."

"Yes, I did. The mission, at least, will be a success. I'm sure they'll enjoy the feathers in their caps when they return to Orion and report it as such." Maybe Epiphany realizes that this marine isn't going anywhere. Maybe she has a little talking to do herself that isn't full of people looking at her as if they wished she were dead. The new crate is cracked and she's leaning over it, making a few notes initially on the clipboard. She reaches out and tosses aside some plastic. There's a snort of amusement. Inward, mostly, but if Randy looks… Why yes, it's a crate of TP. And in fact, that's all it's labeled as. TP. On the board and — once she takes out the marker — on the crate itself. No need to categorize and then sub-categorize it. TP is TP is TP. It has one primary use that is universal amongst all the fleet.

"Then you learn to switch it off. Or hold in mind that bigger picture." She looks up and towards those Rhinos, now in the distance within the hangar. She points in that direction. "I would have killed those civilians had they threatened any one of you. Yes, they are human." Meaning: any loss of Colonial life is a shame. "But they were one group of six out for their own damn selves. I had a mission that would benefit the fleet and possibly the war. Frak them. I didn't come here to play games of diplomacy."

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't," Randy says solemnly. She leans back against a crate next to the TP crate and glances inside. "I always love how they come in their own crate…" she trails off, still capable of a small appreciative grin. But when Epiphany speaks about how she would have reacted if anyone was threatened, Randy's brow crinkles in confusion, "I would have too. This is war. Not a negotiation."

"Well. Tell that to the new commander, because she apparently thinks it ought to be a tea party." Epiphany isn't happy. Who could truly blame her? Their Raptor crashed. Someone died. The mission began to go sideways. She was nearly shot. And most of her own people — supposedly her people — turned on her. She straightens a measure, studying Randy for a moment. Then it's back to the crate. Affixing the lid again as best she can. "I've got it from here, Sergeant. You should get back before they miss you."

<FS3> Randy rolls Alertness: Great Success.

Something about Epiphany's usage of language clues Randy into the fact that she missed something about the altercation…something really important, though she can't jump to any conclusions. Instead of confronting or asking, however, she takes a clue and simply nods to the Captain. As Epiphany regards her, the Aquarian cannot help but wear her troubledness on her sleeve. Something is more awry than she realized and it doesn't sit well at all. "Yes sir. I'll let them know we have some crates ready to load up as well." With that, she turns to make the journey back to the other group.

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