MD #236: Nothing Lost - Only Changed
MD #236: Nothing Lost - Only Changed
Summary: The ghost of Kapali visits Randy, and the conversation doesn't go quite as planned.
Date: Wed 29/Nov/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/ghost-of-battle-past
Randy Kapali 
Observation Deck - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
The Obs Deck is one of the more quiet areas on the ship where people can come to get away from the hustle and bustle that goes with the rest of service in the fleet. The front of the room is a very large armored glass window to allow a dominating view of whatever is out ahead of the battlestar. Seats rise up at even levels, plush chairs and couches provided for the crew to relax in. During Condition One an armored plate is lowered down to cover the view and prevent the room from becoming a hazard and sealing it tight.
Sat 16/Jun/2049 (IC Date)

The Obs Deck is one of the more quiet areas on the ship where people can come to get away from the hustle and bustle that goes with the rest of service in the fleet. The front of the room is a very large armored glass window to allow a dominating view of whatever is out ahead of the battlestar. Seats rise up at even levels, plush chairs and couches provided for the crew to relax in. During Condition One an armored plate is lowered down to cover the view and prevent the room from becoming a hazard and sealing it tight.

Letter writing. It's something Randy picked up years ago. It's habitual, like keeping a journal. She has a history of writing letters to people that never get delivered, aren't expected to be delivered, and are likely doomed to circulate in snail mail forever. This one appears to be addressed to who once was her youngest son (who knows what he is now). It's good old-fashioned pen to paper time. A handrolled cigarette dangles from the side of her lips, a tendril of smoke swirling up constantly, accompanying the occasional absent little puff.

Though no sound of footsteps can be heard, no stirring of the air or anything dramatic - and she is no more dramatic in life than she is after it - Kapali's voice is still quiet enough that her tone is as pensive as not. "But a man is not forgotten, as long as there are two people left under the sky. One, to tell the story; the other, to hear it." She looks over Randy's shoulder for a moment then stares out through the armored pane of glass. "Where ever your son is, as long as you have not forgotten him, and you share his story, then he will never be forgotten. The same can be said of all of the people that we have lost, don't you suppose?"

Randy has always been paranoid, since the day Kapali met her. More than most. Jumpy at times and completely unfazed and relaxed at other times. It got worse after the war and she never quite got back to baseline. Add in the hypersensitive hearing and the /lack/ of warning signs with this encounter? It's no surprise that she hops up and reaches for a sidearm…that isn't there. Her garb is no longer officer garb, but that of a Private. When she see's Kapali, Randy's eyes don't relax. Is it disconcerting that Kapali of all people is waxing poetic? Perhaps. "What the frak are you doing here?" Her letter, the pen, it all splashed haphazardly to the deck along with her cigarette which is the only thing she stoops to snatch up quickly.

The look on Kapali's face conveys a measure of calm and almost - almost - a touch of amusement at the way Randy reacts by flying immediately to defense and combat mode. In the twenty odd years, forty odd years, between her last day in combat and now, Kapali hasn't aged a day. Gone are the marine fatigues, the grime and the grit, the smudges and smears of dirt and everything else from the final day on that field. The rifle she carries is worn cross body, attached to a tactical sling that keeps the rifle exactly where she wants it, her hands cradling the weapon in place, fingerless gloves protecting her hands without affecting her dexterity. "Do you remember that thing I used to say? Rule Seven? Decide what you're willing to fight for, die for, and what you're willing to send others to their deaths for."

Randy has only aged physically about three or four years, but the scars. There's a weariness in her eyes, the kind only fifty years and the hardships of war /and/ peace can bring. "I don't remember a gods-damned thing. How come you ghosts can't ever give a straight frakking answer?" She tries to slow her breathing, slow that beating of her own heart, the blood in her ears. There's something even more uncanny about being in the room with a being that has no heartbeat, but there's a creeping sadness coming into the little EOD's eyes.

"Tiny, you manage to change and not change at the same time," Kapali remarks in a tone of voice, in return, that is just a trifle acerbic and chiding at the same time. "Which is a little unfair, shouldn't you look older by now? Where's the gray hair? The reading glasses? The crochety tone of voice and a cane? You ought to have a cane so you can yell at the green recruits right out of basic that they need to stay off your lawn and out of your stash."

Randy's brow furrows slightly at first, then softens as Kapali continues. "I'm pretty sure I was /always/ reserving that for my seventies at least." Her tone shifts faster than the rest of her body does, but it is trailing just behind, becoming more and more relaxed on top of the ever present underlying melancholia. "Back just before I had to do the transplants, I went to go see that Arpay doctor about some advanced screening. She found out I had cancer, treated me for it, gave me genetic treatments for shit I had or was likely to get, and also offered to let me do longevity treatments." She takes a drag off her cigarette. "So I did," she says almost flippantly. "So now I look like a baby space elf for the rest of my life or something."

"Oh, well, that's fair, I suppose," Kapali replies after a moment of studying Randy and then - on purpose - walks around Randy like she's checking her over for other changes. "Dunno about the pointy ears though. Don't the tips get cold, sticking up like that? And also, can you see in infrared, like a cat?" is asked in an almost serious tone of voice but the sneaking edge of a grin tugging at her lips is a give away.

"Sometimes, but the tips of your ears are the first part to be covered by a cap, so if you're keeping warm to begin with, you're usually no colder than anyone else. Sometimes it's extra itchy with wool though." Randy just stands there, letting Kapali go where she wants as she shifts her weight to one leg. Squinting as she takes a drag, Randy puffs out the smoke with the words, "Not quite like that. I just have really good night vision. Super hearing. I can match my heartrate to someone else's with prolonged contact. Can see super far." She looks upwards as if trying to remember if there's anything else that she's just taken for granted. "Plus other stuff." She sounds certain there /is/ other stuff. "Though not everyone seems to have those things."

"Nothing is lost, then, only changed? Thats the first law of thermodynamics, if I recall correctly," Kapali retorts with that wry glimpse of a grin. "But, it's also faith." She comes around once more and stands alongside Tiny, looking out through the armored pane of glass. "Infrared would've been cool though, and if you could move your ears, like cats, or radar dishes? That would've just taken the cake, all across the board." She angles her head to the side and wonders, "Do you suppose the Arpay knew, when they met us I mean, that someday we'd be standing here, like this?"

"I lost the cancer and all the genetic crazy," but environmental? Randy says nothing of that. "Aye. I don't know about the ear moving thing though. I think it would have just made you laugh." Randy blinks rapidly for a moment, eyes watering a touch. "I don't know. Like this? That's so many things…But no. I think if the Arpay could see anything coming they wouldn't have been ambushed by the Skath too. I worry about the evacuated. I wonder if the Skath went after them."

"Maybe it's still something you could learn to do. Make the ears twitch just a little, like when you're being super serious, and then you get one ear to twitch and the other to go the other direction?" Kapali gives that brief, quickshot, slightly lopsided grin before she makes a subtle sidelong move as though to bump her shoulder against Randy's. "I think maybe.. maybe if they could see it coming, they wouldn't have run. I think that if they knew that the Skath were inbound, that they'd have fought all the way to the last living person. Like they did, on Piraeus. I wonder if we would be so bold? So damned stubborn." She aims a sidelong look at Randy, "Why are you here, Tiny?"

"I'll give it a practice then," Randy says, quickly seeing the upside to such a frivolous skill. With the bump, she gathers in a deep breath and lets it out. "Well one could also say that their entire existence was in support of helping people run to survive…I don't know if people have much of a choice in the matter. It's usually one or two people truly calling the shots you know?" She makes the mistake of glancing towards Kapali out of human instinct just as her friend looks her way, so Randy kicks her eyes back to where they were at that question. "I don't frakking know." There's pain and a hint of confusion or desperation in her tone, almost imperceptable. "So many things."

When Tiny glances sidelong, however brief and fleeting it is, Kapali's eyes hold hers for a shared moment before she too looks forward again. "I think it was more than that. Their whole society, their entire way of life, it was a promise. An oath. A calling. It wasn't just something one or two people or even a hundred had control of. The Arpay, the Rally Point, they were a promise. One that they made good on, fulfilled, from first to last. Because they knew," and she again looks sidelong, and this time doesn't look way, "that this is the fight to end all fights. It's the war to end all wars. What you're doing, what the Orion is doing, this is the one that you have to win for all time. The little things people fight about, money - power - politics - religion? they're just petty squabbles. But taking away the right to be, to choose, to live, to think our own thoughts and be who we are?" She doesn't pause for breath, she doesn't need to, but she pauses to study Randy for a silent moment. "You could have stayed where the evacuees have been moved to, but you didn't. You're still here. You've lost so much, all of you have."

"I couldn't do that. Not with Julian still out there. I'd rather eat a bullet." Randy keeps her sad stony gaze forward. "Because I'm too chickenshite to figure out how to get a ship to go after him. I don't know if we're still fighting for the survival of this galaxy or others or whatever. I don't know. We're frakking ants Kappa, and the ants we've run into don't know how to put aside power and territory and dogma…I'm here because there is nothing for me left anywhere. I'm boxed in, raging, and trying to keep my kids from getting themselves killed because it's all that's left."

"A single ant isn't terribly impressive, but a colony of those little buggers can eat a bear carcass in a matter of days. They can make a bridge of their own bodies so that the colony can escape flood waters. They survive against ridiculous odds, they die by the countless thousands, but they live on. You aren't chickenshit, Tiny. You never have been. And you never will be. You're stubborn and scared, hurting and angry, so very very angry. And you're mad, maybe more than just a little still, that I got in your way on Piraeus. I couldn't let you die, I'm not sorry," Kapali adds in a voice that has gone soft and both kind and stubbornly resolute at the same time. "It wasn't my choice to make, and it wasn't my right to interfere. I only knew that Clara had a chance to survive, as skinny and anemic of a chance as it was. But it was a chance that you wouldn't have had if you'd taken a bullet to the back of the skull. Where there's life, there's hope. This world, for better or worse the way it is right now, is better for you being in it." She moves around, just a few steps, until she's facing Randy. "Where there's life, Tiny, there's hope. You're still here. The Orion? she's still here. The crew? all these marines and navy pukes and brass asshats, they're all still here. Every decision you all make, and keep making? It's hope. One breath at a time. One person after another saying No, I won't surrender. No. I won't give up. No, I won't give in. It's hope. It's not pretty, or fancy, or spiffy, it's not spit polish and shine. It's gritty and exhausting and scary and frustrating and real and it's awful. Just.. flat out awful. But it's still hope."

Randy's eyes don't seem to lift with Kapali's words. "We're too busy fighting each other." As Kapali continues on, Randy's jaw begins to tighten. "The chances were next to nil. You didn't stop me from dying. You stopped me from being-" but she cuts herself off, "You frakking were busy stopping me when we all could have been fighting to give her a little more time to get back." She glares sidelong at Kapali. "When she came back, all the years, gone from her memory. She's /not/ the same person. That's not the Clara that died that day. If I had died fighting to keep her alive, she never would have been resurrected. We would have finally been at peace. The people still here are frakking cursed. Me, my family, and all us old haunted veterans. Let alone the poor young souls this war, this reality is ripping through. I'm sorry I don't have the cosmic confidence you seem to have shoved up your arse." Randy plucks the cigarette butt from her lips and stubs it out before leaving, wondering momentarily if she can ever really leave behind the ones that haunt her.

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