AWD #001: Playin' with the boys(?)
Playin' With the Boys(?)
Summary: Just because civilization as we know it is burning doesn't mean you don't have to eat. Or horse around in a vain attempt to distract you from the horrors of reality. A bunch of guys (and Bennett) attempt to do just that. And sort of fail. Sort of.
Date: 06/01/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: All that stuff from Warday, yo.
Bennett Phin Keller Tiptoft Wake Jason Sebastian 
Mess Hall
The Crew Mess on the Orion is one of the larger rooms meant for occupation. The room is far longer than it is wide with the classic stainless steel tables that can be seen anywhere else on the ship, standard to all navy ships. Most of the chairs match, their padding on the seats worn down after several years. Towards the rear of the room is the food prep area and serving lines. During the time in between meals the Mess will serve midrats, or 'mid-shift rations', such as sandwiches and drinks. Coffee pots are left to run at all hours to keep people going as needed.
Sunday, January 6th

The scene - 1220 Colonial Standard Time. For the past several weeks, there's been an air of business-as-usual mixed with notes of jocularity in the confines of the Battlestar Orion's dining facility. Knuckledraggers, snipes, jarheads, pilots, tactical personnel all would make their way through here at one point or another during the day, and it was said by a very wise man once that "The commonality of all humankind is the need for sustenance." Which is a fancy way of saying, 'Everyone's gotta eat.' (Note - the Head also has this common quality but that will not be discussed here).

Things have changed, though. Maybe everything changed yesterday, when news of the bombs falling and humanity's homes in the stars were set ablaze. The jocularity and noise is gone, along with the easygoing chow-line crowds you'd often see. Still, the aforementioned necessities of life have not been negated by what may very well be the End of the Worlds. The occasional servicememember can be seen shambling through here, solemly, people are conversing quietly, and there's an eerie discomfort that can be practically sensed in the air.

There's at least one person though, who hasn't lost his will to eat. Stretched out with his boots resting on a chair sitting next to him sits one Lt. Keller, leaning on the table with an open hand and a tray of messy poached eggs in front of him sitting on a split-open Virgan muffin. Next to them is a dodgy-looking spread of chopped, fried potatoes and an unmarked pair of opaque bottles sitting next to the plate along with some steaming hot coffee.

Keller, for his part, seems engrossed in a spread-open notebook sitting on his lap, pen in his left hand but the pages are suspiciously empty.

"You eating that?" For a man so big, Leo Tiptoft can be remarkably quiet. And so it is that Keller probably won't even notice the Viper pilot padding through the empty mess until his massive fist lands on the table, propping up two hundred pounds of man still sweaty from the gym. "Shit." Thumb and index finger snatch up some of the hash to be dropped into his mouth. "Same as my mum's old recipe. A stick of butter for every frakking potato."

The tall man in the chair(s) slowly lifts a hand towards his fork defensively to, if nothing else, protect the chow from this newly arrived threat. And what a threat Tiptoft is. Keller sets his fork down a moment later as he looks over to the big guy and suddenly rises in his own chair, sitting properly and tosses the empty notebook aside onto the table with a barely audible clatter.

"Eventually. What, do I have to lock this shit up with /you/ aboard?" Suddenly Keller throws his head back with a brief, staccato pair of laughs which sound a little forced, even though his smirk doesn't. "Damn. I /thought/ that was you on the roster. Not like I had a chance to…With…" He trails off. "How did you end up on this detail anyway?"

Another one comes from the line. Long frakkin' line. Like folks lining up for their coffins to go with their coffee. Occasionally someone, might break out sobbing. But generally, it's hushed and ushered out. Disheveled and in blues- Wake looks as if he hasn't slept for a week. Though likely it's just the previous day. A clatter of tray next to Tiptoft as some wobbly knee'd ensign is stared off. Mug of coffee extracted from his tray, the smaller of the two men. "Fellas.." the soft drawl of an Aerilon accent rolls on. "You know if they cooked the eggs?" Poached apparently doesn't equate cooked, for Thom Wake.

"'Poached' them in enough oil to run a godsdamned strip bar in Manchester-on-Quick." Which certainly won't stop Tiptoft from swallowing a quasi-fried egg whole. "As for how I got here? Just lucky, I guess." Tiptoft yanks out a chair next to Keller's food and plops himself down with little ceremony. Its metal legs screech against the steel deck, echoing in the gloomy silence. "Meant to drop by after I got settled, but then came yesterday's bullshit. All that shit about 'Thumper' you heard on the squawk box yesterday? That was me." Remembering that he didn't yet have a callsign at CFAB Radix. "Those silver bug things blew out my burner and I punched it."

"Don normally /overcooks/ them." Keller says with a faint hint of disgust, snapping back to the topic at hand as Wake shows up. Keller's own accent is neutral - Faint middle-class Virgan with a slight lilting touch to the middle vowels here and there indicating some off-world inflection. He pushes out a chair for the new arrival and pauses, thoughtfully, before offering the man the chair he wasn't actually using as a footrest. "I think he secretly likes a challenge. Anyway he'll learn eventually —" He turns back to Tiptoft, pointing at the sauce bottles on his table. "Something I stow for occasions like this. Figured I'd celebrate. Be festive. You know, because of the — bugs." His smile falls flat. "I thought you sounded familiar. Can't believe the CAG had me running DRADIS pickets, but I'm not going to argue. I don't have it in me."

"He's got all the time in the world to learn. Hell, he might be the only fella to pass on cooking eggs." Wake jokes, though no smile comes from the Intel officer's face with it. Instead he is reaching over with his fork to poke and prod his eggs. Deeming them, fine, the Aerilon farm boy takes no trouble when it comes to chowing into a couple of bites. There's a brief glance to the two pilots, before his eyes are flicking down. "It was a rough frakkin' night." Understatement.

"Mmmph." Agreement, of sorts. But Tiptoft only has eyes for those heaping scoops of fried potatoes on Keller's tray. On which he promptly dumps enough of both varieties of secret sauce to cause most normal men's eyes to water. For a moment, the only sound coming from his corner of the table is that of sustained munching. Only after he's demolished a full two-thirds of the plate does he look back up. Apparently he approves. "Next time we get to Virgon, I gotta bring you by my place. Mum does breakfast right." Said staring straight forward, as if by sheer force of will he can make this vision so. "You, uh. You heard from your ball-and-chain yet?"

"When things go sideways, you tend to focus on whatever's in front of you. So yeah," Keller nods in agreement with Wake, "I guess he'll be living in the moment. Either that or go batshit-crazy." He draws in a breath. "Like — yeah, you said it. Yesterday. It was like, did you ever have this situation in life where someone warns you about something you think is complete horseshit, but then it actually happens? Like your mom telling you to be careful on the bike..And you think to yourself, 'She's just being mom.' But then you end up with a face full of gravel." he breathes out a hoarse laugh. "We had pilots coming back in boxes. You know. I never saw a death the entire time I've been in the service. Not /one." Snapping out of this a bit, he addresses Tiptoft's question. "Yeah, um — yeah. I was thinking about that. Duly appreciated. I talked to Mel a couple weeks ago before we shipped out the last time. We uh — we split up, Leo. Not bad. She just figured out what 'space duty' really meant when I got shuffled out of Radix and did a tour on The Bitch." The Bitch being a nickname for the Mercury-Class Battlestar Erinys. It's got a rep as a bit of a party ship.

Into the mess hall wanders Phin. He looks like he's showered since touching down on the hangar deck, though whether he's had time for sleep is an open question. He's still in his flight suit, unzipped at the moment, helmet carried in one hand. He steps into line and gets served scoops of whatever the mess is passing off as food today. That done, he goes to get himself a cup of coffee.

A nod is given in Keller's direction for the assessment. "Likely bats hit crazy. Everyone's got a breaking point." Wake adds, before glancing up to the pilot. "I think I spent at least part of the duty, wiping damned tears from eyes, but couldn't make a damned sound if I wanted to." the Lieutenant admits, before he's rubbing at his nose-a quick glance to the amounts of hot sauce poured out, before he is letting his own laugh slide out, rough and raspy. "I saw iron Valos. Mind you, it wasn't like this shit. Like a whole wiping of the whole damned world. But-it looked like the Gods hands had smashed thick on Sagitarron that day.." Another bit of egg. Thoguh mention of the bitch does get a grin from the intel officer-and a chortle.

Sebastian arrives from the Fore Corridor.

"One of my mates ate it at Nike during basic flight. Flew his trainer right into the deep blue sea. Apparently the SAR bird couldn't even find a piece of him to show his old man." Tiptoft shrugs his tremendous shoulders, causing his chair to creak beneath him in protest. He's still sweating from his workout, judging by the black stains spreading across his standard-issue sweats — and the extra-hot spicy sauce isn't helping. "Always wondered what he was thinking right as he went." A diffident grunt. "Figured it out yesterday after getting shit out my bird's cockpit." He means having to eject. "High school. Samantha Spring and her — you know." Leo makes the appropriate gesture in front of his chest.

Bennett arrives from the Fore Corridor.

There's an icy roll of Keller's eyes directed towards Tiptoft with a faint twinge of a smirk at the big man. "What a lovely way to put it." He declares. "I think Dropout and I were having some kind of philosophical discussion on the nature of robots on that Doom Cruise. I was thinking of something else though." Fumbling with his fork, he continues eating. "Careful with that stuff - Mel's mom made something like it. Got this at a duty-free though on shore leave." He taps his fork against his plate absently between bites.

Addressing Wake, he simply shrugs one wide shoulder. "You were involved on that? I was stationed a little while on CFAB Parizad in the 'nice' part of Sag. Didn't see anything but a nice girl who wanted to get the Hell off that rock. We had a guy who ended up getting rolled into Fleet Intel shortly afterwards who refused to talk about anything he saw during his time there. Nobody was dumb enough to ask him, either." He sighs, deeply, visibly searching for something to say further on that and then just drops it as he scans the mess, eyeing Phin. "Well there's a kid you can't keep down."

Phin finally gets his coffee and starts looking for a place to plant himself. He spots Keller spotting him, and offers the ECO a one-handed raise of his palm that works as a wave. By some definitions. "Hey. You guys mind if I…?" Gesture to an unoccupied seat at their table.

"Yo Dolly. Glad you're still kicking." Tiptoft has been a good boy and has studied the names and faces of the folks in his squadron. "And shit, don't talk about Mel and her cooking. Makes this stuff less good." Not that it seems to stop him from polishing off the rest of his kicked-up potatoes and letting out a satisfied belch, one whiff of which would probably be enough to anesthetize a small mammal. "Good you still chat, though. So she got your kid? He doing good?"

Bennett is also angling for the coffee lineup, once she manages to hustle her way past a couple of broad-shouldered marines jamming up the entryway. She's dangling an empty mug by its handle and sporting off duty fatigues this afternoon; damp hair hints at her having just finished a duty rotation.

Sebastian slips into the mess with his usual lack of a dramatic entrance. The dark-eyed ECO scrubs at his face with one hand, exhaustion written across his face much like anyone else. He makes his way too the coffee line, pausing to let Bennett in front of him with a quick, tired smile.

Jason arrives from the Fore Corridor.

Kicking out yet another chair, Keller indicates to it with a pointed finger towards Phin. "Always room, man. There's always room." As he messily finishes the majority of his poached egg over something resembling toast, he narrates in response to Tiptoft with a shrug of one shoulder again. "Heh. I miss that. Mel hated cooking, which was fine, but she was good at it. So we had to trade off…" He falls silent again. "Yeah, we were — " Uh oh. There's a definite pause there. "/We're/ fine with each other. Just our lives weren't right now. But she had Alex and he's actually walking. And this assignment had a cash value I couldn't turn down, so..You know how it is."

Phin is still in his flight gear, and is even bothering to cart his helmet around, though he at least looks like he's had the chance to douse himself in the showers. "Thumper." Whether the ensign has managed to get names straight in his brain is questionable, but he's mostly assembled callsigns to faces. "Kicking?" He lets out a faint "Heh." "Yeah. I guess. You, too." He doesn't sound particularly relieved. But then, many of his fresh-faced ensign ilk weren't so fortunate. He sits in the chair Keller helpfully kicked out for him. "Thanks, sir." Blue eyes tick up to note Bennett, and Sebastian, and he offers both the pilot and ECO an awkward sort of 'Hello' nod.

Bennett glances up at the fellow who lets her pass ahead of him, and returns the weary smile in kind. "Hey, Booboo." Her mug's filled with piping hot water, and she shifts aside so as not to get in his way. "How are you holding up?" Her eyes are red-rimmed, if he chances to notice, though her expression is fairly placid.

Leo's broad face splits into a taut but genuine grin as he kicks back in his chair, his palms locked behind his head. "Hey, walking's good. He like the Pyramid ball I sent over for his birthday?" Oh, how obvious is his studied use of present tense. "Autographed it and everything. Next leave we get, I'll show him out to launch it like the pros do. If Mel's fine with that. Bad influence, I think she called me." The others are greeted with a wave of his left foot. Bennett, however, receives an actual jerk of his head. "Hey, Cap. Thanks for grabbing me from the drink."

"The same as everyone else, I imagine, Butch." Sebastian says to Bennett, in his usual wry, quiet tone. "Better than most, less so than some." He gets himself coffee, and a pre-packaged honeybun.

"You do know I would /never/ raise a Twins fan." Keller's curt response isn't devoid of warmth, eyeing Leo with a sidelong glance. "But yeah. Yeah he did. And she didn't mind you, for what it was worth. That wasn't the problem. He finishes this sentence, thoughtfully as he fiddles with his fork. Peering over at Phin now he says as he finishes the rest of his potatoes with some ocd scraping. And then he notes the other Raptor crew, both of them. "Uhh, must be a shift change. But yeah — so what's new?" What's new. Yeah. What's new, as in, 'other than the full-scale slaughter that broke out yesterday?'

"I'd like to finish the talk we'd started, later," Bennett pitches back to the ECO, two steps backward and then a little lift of her coffee mug to indicate where she's headed: the table with the other pilotry. To Tiptoft, "I'm glad we could get you home safe and sound." She smiles, fingers closing around his shoulder for a squeeze before she claims a spot at their table. "I was a few seconds away from asking Milkshake to try to hack into your controls." Probably wouldn't have worked, but desperation is often the mother of invention. Or is that necessity?

Phin winces when Tiptoft mentions his adventures in space ejection during the attacks. "Oh. Yeah. How're you doing, man?" A pause and he adds, "I mean, after getting tossed out into space and everything." Because there are many ways to be doing poorly just now. "I've heard it really fraks with your neck." Mention of the twins makes his eyes flick up from his plate to the other Viper pilot but, if it reminds him of anything, it's nothing he speaks on. Keller's 'What's new?' does get a faint smirk. "What isn't man? You know? You figure they'll be sending us to the other colonies soon?"

Sebastian nods to Bennett at her departure, and after tossing a liberal amount of creamer and sugar into his coffee, he makes his way for a quiet corner of the mess hall, as per his usual mode of operation.

The sound is probably heard before Jason steps into the mess hall. Played on a harmonica, the tune comes, a bit shakily. Finishing on the last tone right after he's entered, he looks around as he lowers his instrument now to look around at the people present now. A brief shrug as he moves over to get himself something to eat now. He's dressed in his flight suit, and moving rather slowly for the moment.

"Bruised me up some, Dolls, but the nice doc kissed it and made it better." Hence why Thumper's not still locked in medical. "And shit, Cap, forget the fancy zappy stuff. Looked way better how we did it. That'll make the highlights for sure." Leo claps his thick hand — still somewhat smeared with potato grease and two varieties of sauce — over hers, squeezing back. "You know, my bird's probably still flying. Three months from now it'll come soaring outta nowhere and blow up one of those silver bugs, who'll be all like 'One one zero one one shit what the frak just happened oh shit boom.'" His harsh, barking laugh booms through the mess, its echoes pinging about the rafters — but not enough to drown out the sound of Jason's harmonica. "Anyway, frak the Twins. They just drafted me. Reds then, Reds now, Reds forever."

"You'll never live Gemenon down." Keller says towards Tiptoft, flatly. "But I know. I know." Wheeling his head about he surveys the arrivals a moment. "Sir." He adds for Bennett's benefit. "So, we know those things can die." Suddenly he switches topics, flatly addressing the war as he scrapes his plate clean. Bone-clean, in fact. "The other colonies. Has anyone even heard anything? I mean — where are they? Where's the fleet? Other than what we saw of it.."

"You boys and your showmanship," St. Clair murmurs, lips quirking to one side in a faintly dimpled smile. Sinking into her chair, she not-very-surreptitiously wipes her hand off on the thigh of her fatigues, then goes a'hunting for a bag of tea in her jacket's pockets. "Would that count as a kill, do you figure?" she asks, of his runaway viper. "Hey there, Sandwich. Heard anything? No more than you; if Command's got intel about the other colonies, they're being pretty tight-lipped with it." Her eyes flicker away briefly when she catches a strain of harmonica music, then *plunk* as she dunks her tea bag in hot water.

Sebastian may have spent a significant chunk of time in CIC, but if he got any information while in there playing fly on the wall, he's not talking. He just sips on his coffee, listening to the talk.

"'Stars're stronger in the paint," Phin opines, on Pyramid. Argentum Bay Silverstars, that is. He's still got a slight Scorpia accent, which probably explains his sports prejudices. "And they make the play-offs without just flat buying players, like C-Bucs. Reds're fine if you just want bruisers, but it's more fun to watch an offense that can run with finesse, y'know?" His heart isn't in the mundane sports conversation, though, and he tilts his head toward Bennett as she answers Keller. He frowns at her answer, but nods. Fair enough. The strains of harmonica music make his eyes tick up toward Jason.

Sebastian gets to his feet, finishing his coffee and tossing the cup in the trash. He then slips out of the mess, as quietly as he entered.

Sebastian leaves, heading toward the Fore Corridor [FC].

"Stars, Ppft. Anyway, I like the Reds." Keller says flatly. "I mean — I had to. You'd get strung up where I grew up. But mom had a bug up her ass being a Hib and all that so she latched onto the Bulls just to be contrary. So there's that." That's all the Pyramid talk out of him, though, glancing briefly at the departing Sebastian. "Guess he doesn't like Pyramid." He opines weakly before turning to address Bennett.

"I haven't heard a damn thing, Butch. Not a damn thing. Other than when my ass is going to be back on the line shlepping a DRADIS picket like a godsdamn stooge." His brows knit. "Uh, sorry, sir. But you know - I trained on Preds on the Erinys. Kind of wish I was in one yesterday."

"Might be a kill," Thumper begins, but his laughter fades when he registers Keller's choice of words. The sight of Gemenon's charred husk isn't as easy to dismiss as the big man might pretend. But aloud: "Nah," he mutters, reaching out to take a swig of Keller's coffee before slamming the now nearly empty cup back onto the table. "Guess I won't." His blue-collar Virgan accent lends an odd lilt to his deep bass. "Anyway. 'Stars, huh? Finesse is just media bullshit. Just dirty play. My mate Bowen was a guard for them for a bit — smallest in the game. Tiny hands. No ref could see his bullshit." It's your usual trash talk, spoken with what shreds of good humor Tiptoft can recover from the otherwise grim chatter.

Jason gets himself something to eat now, not really paying much attention to what it is. Looking around at the others for a few moments, before he moves firther into the room now, looking for a place to seat himself now.

If the blase look on her face is any indication, Bennett's not much of a pyramid fan, herself. She leaves her tea to cool slightly, and taps out a clove from her dwindling pack in the interim. Talk of the Predators, however, summons her attention back to the bear. "Trained on the tandems, huh? Are you any good in the back of one?" If the question sounds casual, it probably isn't.

"Their fans do seem…hard core," Phin says, after a glance between Keller and Tiptoft. He probably originally had a different adjective, but he decides against it. "I thought Preds did best in atmo. But I've really only flown them when I was doing my Academy quals. Major Duke had just doing amped up training in them so…I don't know. Maybe he figured we'd need to put in more time in them soon. Maybe that's what all that readiness stuff was about…" Eyes flick to the faces of the other pilots, a touch wider than they were before. The implications of all the recent 'training' and 'Alert' stuff churning in the ensign's brain. He raises a hand to Jason as the pilot wanders about, an invitation of sorts to their table.

"Stars aren't at least 'Caprica's Team'." Keller's voice one-offs one more observation about the ins and outs of Pyramid. "Those assholes, and everyone involved in that franchise should have been spun off and sold to a mining colony a long time ago." He snorts, laughter fading as he's all seriousness again, leaving a bone-white plate as he shoves his tray aside. "Anyway, yeah, I got back into one of them when we started doing training rotation, sir. Predators, that is." With a gesture to Phin. "I topped off three training exercises in the Erinys against the Odin and her battlegroup during a Thursday War. But y'know. Wargames. Probably not real life." His nose wrinkles. "I like them, though. Their backseat console's a lot more streamlined than a Raptor. It's easy to balance DRADIS and fire control duties, they were designed for targeting synergy."

"I qualled Preds back in Flight," Tiptoft notes for the record. "I liked them. Mean, fast, hard. My style." His two cubits. "And shit, Dolls. Just say 'hooligans.' We're meaner than the team." It's a term he wears with pride. "And don't you buy this crap from Keller about getting forced to root for them. Canny frakker wanted me to grab him a Rick Rollins jersey second day he met me." Spoken as he kills the rest of his friend's coffee in a single swig, the beginnings of a thoughtful look on his blocky face. At length: "Virgon dies hard."

Jason pauses for a few moments as he sees Phin's gesture, moving over to the others there. Pausing for a few moments as he hears the talk about the Pyramid. "You know, I used to dream of playing for the All Reds, but then my father decided both my sister and I should take part in his movies." His voice hardens a bit at the mention of his father, before he looks to the others again as he seats himself.

Bennett rolls her eyes a little as talk of pyramid just refuses to die. This is what happens when you're the only woman seated at a table of mostly jocks. "I qualified, technically, on the Predator airframes," she proffers, "but give me a bus any day. She may not have speed or grace, but let me tell you this: she's the last thing anyone wants to see behind enemy lines." Because if a raptor's made it in that close, the bombs are gonna start dropping. And its payload quite literally blows everything else out of the sky. "We should get you two doing some time on the Predators, though," she tells Tiptoft and Keller, lighting her smoke. "If your squad leader approves, of course." That's directed toward the viper pilot.

Phin does a double-take at Jason. Small one. His brow furrows, like dots are connecting in his brain. It's not unlike the look he gave Tiptoft earlier. And, again, he doesn't say anything on whatever it makes him think. Smirk. "Hooligans. Yeah. In the 'Bay we tended to keep the stabbings to the alleys off-court but, whatever floats you, y'know?" To Jason himself, he chuckles. "And then you joined the Fleet? I mean, good for you, man. Plenty of people don't have to serve so they just…don't." As for Preds, "Gods know what they'll have us doing now. I guess the D-CAG'll let us know, though. Or, I mean…I guess Major Duke's the CAG for real now." It's not like the regular one is probably going to come back.

It's a sort of mix of emotions that are evident on Keller's face here as the conversation goes on around him. "Hey. I said I /like/ the Reds. But — yah, you picked a better career. Film. All things considered." He notes towards Jason. "Speaking of which - I've got something sitting around I'd like you to take a look at later. When these /hooligans/ aren't around to add commentary." The 'hooligans' in question is singular - Tiptoft.

Keller continues, gesturing as he fumbles at something under his chair with idle hands. "Sir, I'm crazy enough to put my life in this guy's hands, which probably says I'm due to blow several psych evals. But with this war — who isn't? I mean — who isn't?" He smirks weakly. "Anyway, you're right. I'm itching to pull a non-picket Raptor, is all." Trailing off, he continues to fumble with something on his chair or below. "But Virgon. It dies hard. I'd like to see these bugs take a walk down a dark street in Bluegate after last call. Pricks will end up hollowed out like trash cans. OY, WANNA SEE SOME FRAKKIN' VIOLENCE?"

"OY, REDS FOREVER!" Tiptoft hollers obligingly, even as he tries to slam Jason on the back with a meaty fist. "My little bro's back in Kingston right now. Kenny. Punched out six United fans a few years back and enlisted when the judge made him. Pity the poor chromehead who runs into him now that the dumb frak's learned to shoot." As far as Thumper's concerned, no news from Virgon is good news. "Anyway, Cap, I hold no hate for the Raptors. My FI at Nike made us well sure where Vipers stand on the court — we get shot so the important guys can do their job." Like deliver thousands of pounds of ordnance. "But sure, I'll ask around. I'm easy. Brass shouts, I jump."

"I don't know that I'd call it a war, yet," Bennett opines, bright blue eyes on Keller and his fidgeting hands. Hard to say whether she's always so mellow, or just seems so in comparison to the boys at her table. She pulls from her smoke, and flicks some ash into someone's empty cup with what looks like a manicured thumbnail. "I think we're all itching to do some damage," she confides quietly. "And with six gunships ready and waiting to go, you might get your wish sooner rather than later." She scoffs gently at Tiptoft's quip. "We're all soldiers, Tip. None of us are important, in the scheme of things."

"Had a bit of a… falling out with 'dear old dad'," Jason replies to Phin. "I didn't want to play in any films after that, so I went back home to mother, thought life through, and decided to come here." A brief pause, before he adds, "My sister still…" Trailing off, as he seems to realize something. "I think she was filming in Cap…" Once more trailing off, taking a few moments to let his gfaze go around the room, before he sighs a bit, looking over at Keller rather carefully. "Oh?" he asks, before he nods, "Anytime…" As he's slammed on the back, he winces momentarily, before he looks over at Tiptoft, unable to hold back a bit of a chuckle at the mention of Kenny.

Phin nods some at what Tiptoft is saying. "Yeah, I never understood the frame-on-frame slagging. We're all the same team, right? Just play different positions." Though Bennett's comment about war gets a look of surprise from him. He looks on point of disagreeing, but he just mutters something unintelligible and moves his food around on his plate with a fork. He makes himself eat some of it, then gulps some coffee. Jason gets a sympathetic look, though he says quickly, "I heard they picked up survivors so…maybe…" He just trails off.

"Hear that, Kells? He's a real-life movie star." Tiptoft's taut grin widens. "Kid — " That's Jason. "You're talking to a godsdamned artist over here." That's Keller. "He writes scripts in his spare time. Bad ones. Like, ladies talking philosophy or some shit while taking off their clothes bad. Maybe you should get together. Put on a play. Good for morale." Just a suggestion — though his good mood fades yet again at Bennett's observation. His grin turns sour as he reaches for Keller's cup, forgetting that he's already drained it. Well, shit.

"I know how that goes. My dad and I don't see eye-to-eye. He wasn't big on the military, I wasn't big on collapsible Aquarian installation art. One day, though — one day he kind of came around." He doesn't elaborate, but his tone softens. The big guy's apparently a bit of a softie when it comes to family, if it wasn't already obvious. He then lifts up his now empty coffee cup towards Tiptoft and furrows his brow. His other hand continues fiddling under the chair. "To Kenny, man. And to your mom." A pause. "I don't mean it that way. And to dad, and mom. And Mel and Alex. And Sarah and Vesta." He names them all off. "Maybe." To Phin. "Uh, before I get too dramatic, Butch, I respectfully disagree. We're all important. We have to be. I mean — if we're not, then who's fighting these things? Commander Pashilidas on the Erinys memorized her entire flight line's roster, who they were, what they were good at. The woman's a machine and there wasn't a soul on that ship that wouldn't give their life for her. I'd like to think there's something to that kind of leadership."

Bennett leans back in her chair, exhaling smoke upward rather than in the faces of her cohorts at the table. She lifts a shoulder delicately and explains by way of quotation, "The individual has become a mere cog in an enormous organization of things and powers which tear from his hands all progress, spirituality, and value in order to transform them from their subjective form into the form of a purely objective life." Her head turns slightly, messy bun smooshed against the back of her chair as her eyes alight upon Keller again. "Commander Soto. My previous CO. Though to be fair, I think he ripped it off from some pretentious author." She pulls from her smoke again, and reaches over to rap on Tiptoft's arm lightly with her knuckles. "Cheer up. Sandwich is right: whatever you want to call this.." Caprica and Gemenon going up in smoke, the wreckage of capital ships scattered like children's toys in the colonies' orbit. "..whatever you want to call us, we're it." She ashes out her cig again, eyes to Jason briefly, then Phin, then back. "We're it."

"Well, mine was more how he broke our family to pieces because he couldn't control certain aspects of himself," Jason replies to Keller, before he nods a little bit. Studying the man at Tiptoft's words, he nods a little bit. Nodding a little bit as he hears what's being said now. "A case of something being more than the sum of its parts, or something like that?" he remarks, rather quietly.

"Due respect, sir…" Phin does more shoving around of his food with his fork, and doesn't look up at Bennett when he sort've responds to her. "I mean, what would you call it? Talkshow's dead…I was looking at some of the casualties today and Peacock's dead and…and…" There are more names, but he can't seem to choke them out. "I mean, they nuked Caprica, they nuked Gemenon, the bus from Virgon was really frakked up, and…if that's not war, I mean…" He trails off again, like he's just found the will to make himself stop talking. "…I mean, what is that?" Blue eyes tick up to the table at large, like the older officers would actually have answers for this.

"Can it, Dolls," Tiptoft growls with sudden heat. "You and all the rest, moping around like it's all over. Remember that '03 game? 'Stars at United, for all the marbles? And my mate Bowen dropping five to force OT?" One of the bigger wins in Argentum history. "Hey, we got some yesterday. We'll get some tomorrow. Game's four quarters long." Oh, don't worry, Bennett: Tiptoft is cheery. Look: this is his cheery face. Which apparently is indistinguishable from his regular face. "Also: Kells, never talk about my Mum again." A meaty fist punches the taller ECO in the shoulder with good-natured force. But his other hand reaches for the medallion dangling by his dogtags — a silver coin marked with the Cadeuceus of Hermes, which he'll clutch tightly until Keller finishes his toast.

"Actually, I was thinking 'bout heading down in a little while and saying a prayer for her. If that's /more/ your speed." Keller retorts. "And my mom. And all those people I mentioned. You know I really don't go in for that sort of thing that much but — I don't know. Maybe it couldn't hurt." The ECO is now a bit solemn. His free hand rises from below the table now and he sets his sadly empty cup down, glancing up at Bennett and beaming a little a little bit like a kid whose mom said he was right. Maybe that's the truth - Keller's a big kid in a way. He winces a little at Jason but doesn't comment, wincing again at Phin. "Yeah. I mean we all /know/ that. But if we just drown in that - then what are we even doing here?"

"I'd call it rage," St. Clair demurs softly, eyes meeting Phin's for a beat with an odd juxtaposition of ferocity and calm. "But, semantics." Her tea's gone lukewarm by now, and she grimaces slightly before draining it. "If you want to call it war, then war. I have a son on Virgon. And I will fight for him to my last breath." She collects her cup, drops what's left of her smoke to the deck, and crushes it out with the toe of her boot as she stands. "Clear eyes and steady hands, gents," she tells her companions with a faltering smile, then heads for the hatch.

Phin meets Bennett's eyes for a beat, before he drops his gaze again. Flushing some. "Yeah. I mean…I didn't mean…yeah. Right, sir. Sirs." He doesn't even seem clear on who he's agreeing with, if anyone. "Sorry." He also doesn't seem sure what he's apologizing for, but it's all he can think to say to follow that. He does glance up when Bennett departs to offer her a, "Later, Butch."

"Whatever. I'm getting some coffee." It looks like Tiptoft's spiel has exhausted his inspiration reserves. With a tired grunt, he pushes himself to his feet, moving to join the slow-moving line. Or he would, if Keller hadn't tied his shoelaces to a duffel bag beneath the table. When the big man hits ground, he causes the deck to shake — and then, with a half-laugh half-snarl, he twists to seize the leg of Keller's chair, jerking back hard. "Kells, you better lock your shit up tight," says Thumper from the deck, panting for breath. "Tip's coming for you now."

"Fly straight, Butch." Keller musters whatever enthusiastic chipperness he can for the Captain and grins an earnest grin. "Relax. I'm not trying to bust on you." He addresses Phin now, "And " He's rudely interrupted by Tiptoft's mighty mishap, and suddenly barks a loud, out-of-place laugh "Oh so where's that Reds defense /NOW/?! It looks l— WHOOOAH" and suddenly the ECO's gloating is short-lived, even as the big Viper pilot topples, he manages to knock the chair out from under Keller's ass - the same ass he resoundingly falls on. "Suddenly, everything..looks different from down here." he grunts, the wind momentarily knocked out of him.

Laughter follows Bennett out the hatch, and she keeps riiiight on going.

Bennett leaves, heading toward the Fore Corridor [FC].

Jason nods a little bit as he finishes his food, "Take care," he offers to Bennett, with a bit of a nod. Finishing his food now as he turns to look at Tiptoft and Keller, blinking for a few moments, before he ends up unable to hold back laughter now. Lots of it.

Phin can't help but laugh either. It's not particularly boisterous laughter, but he chuckles and can't stop for a long time as he gawks at Keller and Tiptoft. So that's something.

Tiptoft's grin looks vaguely feral as he tries to yank himself free of the duffel. His large fingers aren't exactly suited for the dextrous task of untying his laces, and after a second or two of fumbling he just tears the Gordian knot apart. "Meant to get new ones anyway," Thumper mutters, and then chucks his now-unlaced shoe at Keller's gut with remarkable force. "Hey catch!"

"Hey so—OOOF" There's an exclamation as the shoe hits Keller lightly in the gut. It's non-lethal, though. "So okay, you can shoot." He grunts, grinning, and all of a sudden collapsing into laughter on the floor, uproariously. "There's th…" Cough, cough. "There's the offense. At. Least. Hahahah. Hah..Hahaha."

Jason continues laughing as he shakes his head a little bit now. "Thank you," he offers, after a long while.

"Nice shot, Thumper," Phin says, through his chuckles. "Guess that's what they draft for." He stands, and extends a hand down to Keller in case the ECO needs help getting up.

"WHOO! And number seventeen drives it home. Shit, all we need now are hotter cheerleaders — " This is accompanied by the jerk of a finger toward Phin and Jason. " — and we'll make a proper game of it." Thumper winces as he pushes himself to his feet, shaking his head to clear out the fuzz. Then, in a shoe and a sock, the pilot stumps toward the coffee line to get himself a pick-me-up before CAP. He'll retrieve the other trainer later.

"And this is why he's flying a Viper." Keller observes, smirking as he discards the shoe, accepting Phin's hand up as he slowly pulls himself to his feet. "What an idiot. I'm glad he's our idiot." He observes. Of course, when Tiptoft is out of earshot. "Uhh.. So. Guess I need to clean this mess up and get to flight duty."

Jason snickers a little bit as he hears Keller's words, but he doesn't say much at the moment. Nodding a bit at the mention of flight duty.

"He does seem…yeah." Phin can't help but laugh, which denotes agreement, when Keller calls Tiptoft an idiot. Not there's an real dislike behind it. He's mostly cleaned his plate, so he picks his coffee up and gulps what's left of it. "Right. I guess I should get back, too. Whatever they'll have us doing. Whatever the frak this is."

"Probably sitting with my thumb up my ass as a DRADIS picket. Maybe Butch was right." Keller responds, hollowly as he proceeds to clean up and meander towards the exit. "I don't think she was, though."

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