PWD #20: Explosions Are The Answer To Everything
Explosions Are The Answer To Everything
Summary: Bunk poker, smuggled alcohol, and relationship problems abound, Noble and Sera hammer it out for a little bit.
Date: 16/12/2012 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Noble Sera 
Marine Enlisted Berthings - Battlestar Orion
Housing for a whole company of Marines plus headquarters support staff requires more than one hundred bunks for the Marines' enlisted personnel. Divided into two primary bunkhouses, each one holds sixty bunks, one bunk stacked over another against the wall with a table between each row and a thin bulkhead between the sections. Rather than the blue curtains of the naval enlisted, each bunk has a dark green barrier with the crest of the CMC done in black. The lockers for the Marines are triple the size of the Navy's allowances, each locker holding a Marine's personal bodyarmor and several different sets of uniforms plus combat webbing and helmet. The space physically provided in the lockers might be larger, but the allowance for personal space is less, though the drawers beneath each bunk help alleviate the problem somewhat.
Dec 16, 2004

It's midday between shifts, and things are rather boring and quiet in the marine bunkhouse that Noble is a part of. Unable to be found in the Rec due to new and unfair rotations on video game use by other members of the crew, Noble is back in his bunk. His pillows are bunched up into the corner and he reclines on the, idly flipping through the most recent swimsuit issue of Pyramid Monthly. Like it normally is for most men, it's far more informative than it is interesting, but nothing worth jumping up and down about.

"Hey, Nobes!", comes Sera's familiar voice, from where she stands propped against the doorway of the Marine barracks. Nobes. Rhymes with robes. Wonderful. At least she isn't calling him Nobby or something. And yes, she's calling out across the rows of bunks rather than just prancing on over to his bunk directly, lest she interrupt his enjoyment of a, ahhhhh, personal moment. (It seems the little knuckledragger has lived surrounded by a bunch of frustrated dudes stuck in a sardine can with a limited supply of ladies long enough to know what's what.)

One particular dark-skinned marine sticks his head out of the curtains of his bunk and looks towards the door. He fixes his eyes on Sera, gives a little humph, and then disappears back into his bunk. Another marine near the door jerks his head back towards the corner of the room where the antisocials live.

"Back of the row, miss." He says, diving back into his solitary card game.

"Present!" Noble's voice calls out in response from the same corner indicated by the more helpful of the two marines. Sitting up a little more, he closes up the magazine and makes sure that the old bunk is hospitable.

There's an upnod and a quick "Thanks!" directed towards the latter of the two Marines, before Sera turns and pads — barefoot — over towards Noble's bunk. His name tag or his face — one of the two will give away which one is his. She stops short in front of it, wiggling a worn pack of cards in front of him. Ohhhh. Shiny. Tempting? Maybe. "Lookie what I brought."

It might be easy to mistake that as a reference to the cards, except it's followed shortly by her rapping her knuckles against one of the multiple cargo pockets in her fleet-issued off-duties. That is the sound of metal, son. Metal filled with liquid. Which means Sera's sneaking in booze. In the middle of the afternoon.

"Oh shit you want another crack at taking my money you frakking predator?" Noble immediately responds, casting a suspicious glare up towards her that laser-beams through her oh-so-stylish bangs. His lips flatten and he motions to the other side of his bunk. "Frakkin fine. Let's do this."

Taking the folded up magazie into his hand, he stuffs it into the small hiding space between his mattress and the wall of his bunch. Hands freed, he takes out a fresh pack of cigarettes, lights one, and then offers the pack to her. "So how you been, Ess-Jay? I met that Jailbait girl of yours, did she pass along my message that I'd keep an eye out for her?"

"No, jackass. I came over to play a friendly game of Whiskey Poker before I pull swing shift, because I'm bored. And I brought presents because it is rude for a guest to show up empty-handed." There's a roll of her pretty browns. A rather melodramatic roll of them, it seems. It's a holdover from her adolescent days of being an obnoxious teenage girl, no doubt. There's no waiting for an invitation, just a nudge with her knee. "Move over."

This prompt is followed shortly by her plunking her ass down exactly wherever in his bunk. If he didn't move his legs? His fault. Her eyes narrow suspiciously at that last comment, turning on him with the sort of cold, quiet fury usually reserved for librarians shushing rowdy children. "I swear to gods, Nobes, I will not hesitate to shoot you if you knock that girl up. Consider it lovin' reminder from a concerned friend to keep your dick shrink-wrapped."

"While I'm flattered at the total bro move of giving me quasi permission to hook up with that girl I'm not sure whether or not I should be offended that you're immediately assuming that by keeping an eye out for her you assume I meant oh my god reverse cowgirl." His face scrunches up while he turns his leg to the side and proceeds to pull it from underneat Sera's weight. Pulling it in so that he can sit in some hybrid version of cross-legged, he plucks the cigarette from his lips and exhales a cloud of smoke away from the bunk. He pats some free space on the mattress, motioning to the cards. draw.

"The same goes for you, though." Noble lowers his voice, lips cracking into a feral grin behind his tenth cigarette of the day. "Last thing I need is a knocked up Sera Jane trying to pawn some middle name god-parent scheme on me, you read? The moment you get too belly-bump to fit in my bunk and play cards with me you and I are done. I will disown your ass."

"What's the matter?," she asks, finally reaching out for the offered pack of cigarettes only after she's settled herself in at the opposite end of his bed. "You afraid someone's goin' to think the little mewlin' brat is yours? That I'll scare all the little chickadees away?," she retorts with a smirk as she flips open the top and draws out one of his smokes. It's pressed between her lips and left unlit — for now.

"I wouldn't worry, if I were you. I've been in for ten years. I'm like a camel. One and done, and I'm good for the next six months. Until someone walks into the rec room late one night and finds me rubbin' up against the furniture, howlin' like an alley cat." Really, it's a wonder the woman can say that with a straight face. She does, though. For all of about ten seconds after spitting that out, at which point she starts giggling behind lips she's deliberately pinching shut as tight as she can. So tight, they turn white.

Noble laughs as well. Hard. It's one of those laughs where he has to get the cigarette out of his mouth so that he can pinch the bridge of his nose and shake his head, as if to say I can't believe I just heard that. Eventually, like all laughter, the novelty wears off enough so that other things can resume…like smoking and tapping the frakkin mattress so that the cards can be dealt. "Hooch. Now." He whispers, motioning for her to give it over.

"Gods you're somethin' frakkin else, Ess-Jay. As far as Jailbait goes, she was telling these pilot-folk about how you claimed her Jailbait and were showing her the ropes. I'm just being a good old, creepy bastard and am backing up your big sister gig with a watchful eye of m'own." Noble pauses for a quick draw from his cigarette, and as always he politely blows the smoke in the direction of the other marines in the room. "But since you must know, I'm more the type that's like those monsters in the insect horror movies. I attach myself to a girl's face and lay eggs in her esophagus." This he manages with a straight face.

*CRACK* Noble's hand comes up towards Sera's face, this time with a lit cigarette lighter in his hands.

"…If that's what you boys in the CMC are callin' head these days, man, I think y'all would have better luck with the ladies if you just want back to such classy euphemisms as "polishin' your knob"," she advises him, while totally making an 'euuuugh, gross' face in response to that description. "As for Wescott, it seemed fittin'. That's what the called me on the /Universal/, bein' as I was still seventeen when I finished A-school and shipped out.

Well, that explains some things, doesn't it? She leans forward and sucks the proffered flame up into the end of her cigarette and puffs away at it for a second or two, before adding, "Seriously, though. Wescott's already got a baby girl and a daddy that ain't around. She don't need another messin' up a good gig that'll get her life back on track. You see some little pubescent humper that can't fill his beard in sniffin' at her heels, well, I'm not goin' to stop you from growlin' at him, if you want."

"That…clears up a lot of questions there. I mean, I was wondering why you were so quick to take a knuckledragger under your wing. Frak, preg at seventeen? Yeah. No. That's enough trouble that I'm not gonna want to build on, the last thing that girl needs is to adopt a twenty-seven year old with a very long and elaborate list of needs." Simon shakes his head and sets a small ashtray on the corner of his bunk. Thumb over forefinger, he taps the long, curved stem of burnt leaf and paper into it.

"Either that or you're playing footsie with her on Triad night, too, and if that's the case then well played, Sera Jane Rootie, well played." It's as if he can't help himself. "I bet you two could sell tickets to that."

"Why in the world would I want to, when I can clean you and all your little pervert friends out of your cash in ways that leave my clothes on and the high secrets of the sisterhood of lesbian slumber parties intact?," she pronounces with an arched brow, while she stealthily slides her flask out of her pocket and across his mattress. Once it's shoved securely under Simon's thigh, she sets about shuffling her pack of cards. They're new, and shiny, and stamped with the brand of some casino on Virgon.

"Seriously, though. Somebody needs to watch out for the kid. It's annoyin' as frak, I know, believe me. I've had enough people pryin' into what does or does not go on inside my panties in the last three weeks. But that's exactly why I think I ought to watch out for her, y'know? This way, it'll be someone that's not usin' "havin' her best intentions at heart" as an excuse to be a predatory prick that'll totally hold her while she's cryin', with his hands "accidentally" endin' up inside her shirt." There's a snort before she adds, "Maybe I can aim her and Rembrant at each other and get him off my back in the meantime."

"We don't need to know any secrets about lesbian slumber parties. It's written in frakking law that all-girl slumber parties are nothing less than lingerie make-out fashion shows complete with pillow fights and they are all talking about how adorable I am." Noble nods upwards to her, rather arrogantly. "Yeah, I intercepted the code-talk. You women aren't so hard to figure out. I also know about how you guys hang out in the locker rooms topless and talk about your mans." Did he say mans? "Yes. Mans." He confirms it. He said mans.

He reaches for the flask, unscrews it, and takes a quick snort of the burning liquor. He's a seasoned, non-addicted veteran. It goes down smooth. "So what's this about people being interested about what's going on in your panties? Someone try the big-brother move on you or something? Were they aware you're shacking with Padre? He's a big dude…"

There's another eyeroll. As if that alone were enough to dismiss all of Noble's bull about the lady-talk. His argument, it seems, holds absolutely zero weight whatsoever.

"That didn't stop you from offerin' to beat the hell out of him, if you heard him talkin' trash about me in here." This point is made with a hand of cards passed to him in a neat stack, face-down, with her forefinger resting on top. "Even if it meant takin' on Knox, too, in some kind of JTAC bro-code showdown. So I don't know why you think it'd stop anybody else. It most definitely hasn't, even when their touchin' concern was totally inappropriate." Her mouth drags down in a peach-flavored frown at that. Sera, it seems, is decidedly uncomfortable with some new developments.

"Well, he's not that big. I'm not scared of your boyfriend. Or Knox." Noble huffs, now it's his time to roll his eyes. "Besides, it's bullshit when a guy gets a girl to trust him enough to let him in and then talks shit. I'd crack Ares himself in the face for doing that shit, but for a friend?" He cracks a brow and nods his head towards her, emphasizing his point.

In one single, fluid motion he snatches the cards up and leans his shoulders back against the wall of his bunk while he inspects them. A hrmm escapes his lips while he sorts and arranges the order of the crisp, hexagonally cut cards. "You and Padre don't need the stress and you know he's the type that'll bulldog this stuff to the death. You need me to talk to anyone? I can be subtle."

"My hero." The words are said with a bit of a smirk, but without any trace of irony or sarcasm. It seems that, when genuine and without ulterior motives, she really does appreciate the offer. Thin fingers, with nails stained perpetually grey, begin doling out her own cards, which she inspects with nothing more than a furrowed brow.

"I talked him out of havin' a manly chat with you about watchin' a movie in my bunk, at least. I don't think he was foamin' at the mouth or anythin', so much as decidedly unhappy about there bein' potential competition. I don't know how he's goin' to react when I tell him about the Chief, though, 'cause that was just… that was somethin'. He wasn't makin' a pass at me, but that doesn't make him right for expressin' his concern." Irritation. It's there, and readily apparent in her voice. "Even the Captain wasn't that bad." Wait. The Captain? What? That… that's frat.

Hero. The word illicits a response from the red-headed marine that comes in the form of a glance from over the mound of his cards. It isn't much of a gesture, but it does draw his attention away from his work. He takes two of the cards from his stack and sets them face down to the right of his knee, indicating a discard pile. He helps himself to two cards, and then is reminded of the need to ash his cigarette once more.

"For some guys, every guy is competition. For others they just want to make sure another guy's not trying to muscle his way in. Other guys just assume if the girl's gonna stray than she never was his girl. I don't know which one Padre is. Can't help you there but if he does give me the hairy eyeball, don't worry. I won't render him useless to you." Simon's lips part into a broad grin as the chuckle escapes him. "It's cool, seriously. It's like the slumber party thing. Guys got ways to deal with this shit on a level we understand."

"A Captain, however…" Simon sets his cards down, reaching once again for the flask. Idly considering how many regs they're breaking at this very moment, he still unscrews the cap and takes another sip. When he's done, he wedges the flask under her hip, putting a little distance between him and it. "So, I don't know if I have to tell you this or not, because for all I know you could be one of those girls that just don't get shit, so I'm just gonna lay it on you. Guys, about every fifteen seconds, have to decide between wanting something to frak, think about boobs, get obsessed with some sort of project like working on a car, not look like a pussy, be some sort of protector, or think about boobs. It's what we do and really some of us are just better about smoothing those transitions because I frakking swear to you it's every fifteen seconds. We are troubled, troubled apes." He pauses, looking up in an attempt to secure a little bit of eye contact. "Do you think they have a reason to be concerned and that's why this gets under your skin? Or…does it just piss you off that they're getting into your business?"

"I don't like the implications bein' made — about Hook, and especially not about me. I mean, I still don't know if the Captain was makin' a pass at me or just bein' awkward." She doesn't avoid the eye contact, but she's certainly not especially happy about this subject. Sera rols her shoulders, one at a time, as if it will do anything to relieve the tension in them. Her voice drops for the sake of not being overheard as she explains. "He's a nice guy. A friend, sort of, from an old assignment. His wife left him about two years back and he ain't the man I used to know. So maybe he was just bein' friendly and tryin' to reach out, but missed the mark. Or maybe he was makin' a pass. Either way, he seemed real interested in the dress I'd been washin', and who I'd worn it for, and seein' me in it some time."

"The Chief? The Chief wasn't makin' a pass. Just givin' me a lecture in self-defense class about how I need to learn to defend myself and keep my "honor" intact, when there aren't any men-folk from the deck around to save me on the day my whorin' finally gets me raped, after I go "makin' eyes at the wrong man." Her voice is bone-dry as she drops that bomb into the conversation, wearing the sort of expression that suggests it isn't Hook that needs to worry about being neutered. "And then I got an earful about how I'm his best deckhand and he's just lookin' to teach me somethin' and get me to step up. After I laid him on his back and told him that while I appreciate his concern about the possibility of me sluttin' it up on his strip of ship gettin' me in trouble, my business ain't his."

"Maybe that's what the Chief needed to know?" Noble asks, eyebrows hopeful. "I know it's frakked up and sideways but maybe he was trying to poke you in the self defense class to see to what level you'd go to take care of yourself, or see what kind of fire you got under you? He's your Chief, so maybe there's a chance in there that he was looking to see how talkin about Hook might throw you off center; give him an idea of whether or not his deckie's in a negative relationship or not?"

Noble sighs and leans in to one side, using the side of his bunk's rivets as a back scratch. Like a lion using a tree to get rid of a train of ants on its back, he's in heaven for just a moment.

"From what it sounds like, though, the Chief seems like he's gonna be less of an issue than you Bumper." Yeah, Noble remembers that day in the Laundry well, it's the same day that he hit her in the back of the head with a pyramid ball. She was washing a dress. "Sounds to me like the Chief might even be looking to see if you've got the chops to maybe even one day replace him, see what kind of girl he's working with ladder-wise. Bumper, on the other hand…" Noble tsks and lays his cards out. It's not a bad hand. "Hand. Get it?" He tries to slip some funny in there. "I'll keep an eye out. Don't go anywhere alone with him if he makes you uncomfortable and if you come by me and give me that look when he's with you, I got your back. Not that you can't take care of yourself, but it's nice to know where your lifelines are."

"There's this bullshit double standard that a woman can't seek out whatever she wants without risking being raped or being a whore." Noble suddenly murmurs with a shake of his head. "Meanwhile us guys frak and sweat on everything and give this look of what's your problem when girls aren't charmed by it. The fact conversations like these even have to take place is a sign that somewhere in the back of their minds, most guys just don't see women as equal, you know? I don't envy y'all sometimes."

"Most men don't, even though there's been women fightin' next to 'em in the Fleet for fifty frakin' years," Sera mumbles as she discards two cards and lays out her hand for his inspection. Her sigh, which is accompanied by a cloud of cigarette smoke, is exhaled loudly and off to the side, where it can annoy his bunkmates rather than him. "They can't come out and say it. Not anywhere that'd end up on paper, because then they'd get a reprimand. Or slapped with sexual harassment charges. 'Cept the trouble with that is, then you've got everyone from command on down squintin' at you like you're a liar, or a traitor, or a bitch. So unless you've got video, you're pretty much shootin' your own career straight to hell in the process, too."

Sera's frustration is written all over her face in increasingly violent lines. They start in her brow and go all the way to the corners of her sharply downturned mouth. "I can't afford that. I can't. I've got people at home dependin' on me for somethin' better, like I have for most of my life. I don't have time or energy for this anymore. It's gettin' old — real old. I'm amazed there ain't more women walkin' off from fight night with broken knuckles and more jerks with broken jaws." One hand reaches up to reflexively flatten her bangs, which doesn't do much to keep them out of her eyes.

"Maybe you're right about the Chief. I don't know. I hope so, 'cause I've got another seventeen months on this boat under him and if I piss him off, I don't know what I'm goin' to do. I was supposed to have it made after this cruise."

The edge of Noble's bunk creaks as he shifts his weight from one ass-cheek to the other. Made silent by her concerns and her fears coming to the forefront, his green eyes study her features and the absolute tension coming off of her in waves. The dark cloud she's casting around herself is a tangible, living thing. At no loss for sympathy, he suddenly finds himself at a loss for words, and he casts his gaze around his bunk for answers.

His wall. His eyes fall onto pictures of bikinis, explosions, school masc—

"You wanna go hit the range?" He suddenly asks, reaching across the distance to give her shoulder a squeeze. "Squeeze off some rounds, tell dirty jokes, get rid of some old schoolyard bullies?"

The little knuckledragger forces the lines in her face to smooth out, restoring that contradictory, adolescent look that she always has about her. That and her bobbing ponytail? Sometimes, just sometimes, it's enough to fool people into thinking that Sera didn't turn forty-five the day her baby sister was born. "Pop-pop-pop," comes her reply, complete with a half-assed smile. "Maybe I can pretend I'm a soldier after all, instead of a glorified mechanic with a government stamp on my ass, trackin' my every move." Ohhh. Sarcasm.

She reaches across his bed, sweeping her cards up in a broad stroke that's followed by a few quick flicks of her hands. "Thanks, Nobes," she says as she rises from the bunk. Any further conversation? It's stifled by her poking her tongue so far into her cheek that it bulges outwards…. which, at least, is not accompanied by vulgar hand gestures and an "O"-face.

Because, after all, with concerns like that? Sera's totally a grown-up.

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