AWD #429: Prickly Porcupine
Prickly Porcupine
Summary: Two nuggets talking about a recent mission when a Leftenant walks in!
Date: 24/08/2016
Related Logs: Pilot Rescue Op Over Aerilon
Agrippa Buchanan Elena 
Ready Room
Capable of seating every member of the wing with space to spare in its stadium organization, the Ready Room has more than two hundred seats and is the largest room on the ship dedicated to single briefings. Sections of desks were manufactured specifically for this and wrap the width of each level of seating, rolling leather seats positioned at even points through each row. The head of the room has a small dais with a podium for the briefer and on the wall behind it are a pair of large LCD screens. The walls have the tenant squadrons' patches painted on individual panels as well as a Kill Board up to the left side of the dais and podium, the Training Board on the other side to log progress.
Sat Mar 11 2006

So it hasn't even been a day since Buchanan's spectacular crash-landing. And despite having been unconscious when she was cut out of her Viper, the Ensign is apparently back on her feet. But not taking it easy. Nope. Banged up as hell, mostly just bruised and stiff, though she does have a few scratches and scrapes too. But there she is, in the ready room, watching air combat simulations. There's a notepad on the desk in front of her and a cup of coffee in close reach. Her expressionless gaze is fixed firmly on the screen, focusing on what's happening there and occasionally writing a note, or pausing and backing up to watch a particular sequence over again.

Elena checked medical first, and was relieved to find that Buchanan wasn't laid up in there. Following a few leads and asking around, the Raptor pilot tracked her to the Ready Room. She enters quietly, walking softly down the aisle and slipping into the seat next to her. "Hey," she says. "I just wanted to see how you were doing."

The Scorpian doesn't even acknowledge Elena's arrival. Not initially anyway, still focusing on the screen, pausing to jot down a few more notes. Rewinding and watching the sequence again. Once more the footage is paused and finally, Buchanan turns her attention to the younger woman. "Fine." Comes the short reply, voice completely lacking in any sort of emotion as she continues, "Considering the Captain'll probably never let me in a cockpit again." She doesn't even sound angry, just… nothing. No inflection beyond her Scorpian accent.

"You got shot up and had a bad landing. It could have happened to anyone." Ellie leans forward, reaching out to touch Buchanan's arm comfortingly if she'll let her. "I'm just glad you're okay. You got really lucky."

Buchanan accepts the touch, but only very briefly before shifting her arm away. "It could've." She agrees tonelessly, "Happened to anyone. But not lucky enough. I made a stupid mistake." Clearly she's being insanely hard on herself. It doesn't stop her from giving Ellie a ghost of a smile, barely there, then gone, not lingering long enough to even come close to her dark eyes. "You flew good though. Those pilots okay?"

"Yeah, they're okay." Ellie nods gratefully, then cracks up. "Oh my gods, you… you don't know… when you hit the back of my Raptor, I was already up out of my seat and…" she starts giggling so hard she has to take a moment. "I faceplanted in this guy's crotch, and…" She lets it trail off, just laughing.

Buchanan blinks once and stares at Ellie as she starts laughing about faceplanting in someones crotch. Nope. Not even a flicker of amusement. The Scorpian reaches for her coffee, with a slight wince as she stretches battered muscles and takes a gulp of the black stuff. "I'd imagine that might've been a little awkward." She says eventually, cause she figures she ought to say something. Her gaze moves back to the screen, fingers twitching on the play button, but she's trying quite hard not to be completely rude.

Elena straightens up, collecting herself. "Sorry. I thought… I thought maybe…" She folds her hands in her lap. "My dad, he had a saying. 'You can laugh or scream'. I guess… I guess I chose laughing." She sits there for a little, before getting up. "I don't want to be a bother. I just wanted to say hi, make sure you were okay. Let you know I care, I guess." She rubs her hands against her uniform pants before starting to head out.

"Hmph." Buchanan grunts shaking her head slightly. "You do what you gotta do." Another gulp of coffee, another sidelong look at the younger pilot, before she looks back to the screen which currently shows a paused image of some sort of combat going down. "I deal with failure by studying harder, or kicking the frak out of something. Since I can't do the latter, I'm doing the former." Still toneless. The pilot who was unconscious last night is apparently up and about now, albeit looking like she should probably still be in the hospital.

"Well, do what you gotta do. And let me know if you need anything." The redheaded ensign is already on her feet, making her way toward the door.

It is probably just a coincidence that Agrippa is wandering into the Ready Room from the Air Wing Corridor, not expecting to find any other occupants. His intent was to duck in, check the CAP schedule to make sure it hasn't changed and he isn't slotted to fly one soon or worse, being an Alert Five pilot. However, when he steps into the room, Punchdrunk's steps slows dramatically as his gaze swings to the pair of nuggets that are apparently hiding out in this place. Since he had just transferred back to the Orion not too long ago, he still doesn't immediately recognize each pilot by face, having been away for a few months, but he had somewhat familiarized himself with the info on the pilots that he was supposed to fly with on that previous pilot rescue ops. With the redhead already heading in direction, Agrippa can't inconspicuously do a quiet about face and walk out so he can only choose the other path, which means clearing his throat. Then he offers Elena a nod, then glances towards Buchanan who looks like she snuck out of the medbay.

Buchanan silently lifts one hand to Elena's departure, not attempting to stop her from leaving. She returns her attention to the screen and hits play again, letting the air combat sequence run again, for about the millionth time. Shifting slightly, the Ensign winces, but doesn't make any sound of protest, just straightening her position in her seat, reaching forward to set her coffee cup back down, within easy reach. Taking up her pencil again and going back to her notes.

Elena sees Agrippa arriving, nodding in return. She follows his gaze, and sets her mouth into a grim line. "She needs a friend right now," the ensign whispers, "And I don't think she knows me well enough to let me be that friend."

Hearing Elena's words, Agrippa's own expression in response shows that if she doesn't feel that Buchanan doesn't know her well enough, she sure doesn't know him. But the response he does offer is a slight nod again, "Got it, got it." Even though Mimic is still a nugget and there haven't been proper introductions, they flew together so there is that Viper pilot's bond there. But first things first, Agrippa has to check the CAP and Alert Five schedule, fleet safety is of course a priority.

The Scorpian Ensign doesn't pay the slightest bit of attention to the pair whispering near the door. If she's aware of their whispering, she doesn't give any sign of it either, instead just keeping her expressionless gaze focused on the screen. She fastforwards through some images, then lets the film play at regular pace again, making a few observations on her notepad.

Looking over the CAP and Alert Five list, Agrippa does a quick skim of the names or callsigns that are written on there and after seeing that he is not slated to be on deck, turns his attention back to the quiet nugget that is at one of the desks studying. Scuttlebutt has it that this particular is like a prickly porcupine so with a quiet sigh, he starts approaching. As he nears, he clears his throat again, most likely purposefully as if to notify Buchanan of his presence, "Mimic, right?" Simple question thrown out there first.

The prickly porcupine doesn't even blink when there's the throat clearing near her, and the question that follows. "That's me." She replies in a toneless voice. A tiny frown creases her brow and she rewinds the video, pressing play again to rewatch something. A careless hand bumps the resting pencil, sending rolling off the desk and onto the floor. Buchanan goes still, then pauses the screen and slowly bends down to retrieve her pencil. A quiet hiss of pain as abused muscles complain about the movement. Then she kind of pauses there, in that awkward position, probably working up the wherewithall to straighten up again without causing any unnecessary movement, thereby avoiding further discomfort.

The prickly porcupine, that's her. When Agrippa nears, he also sees what Buchanan is studying so intently, causing to him to more or less 'ahh' in understanding. Before any comment can be made about what she is doing or the vidclip she is watching, he watches as the poor pencil gets sent off to its doom, off of the desk. Agrippa also just watches in silence as the nugget strains to pick up the pencil, not exactly helping… nor does he offer sage advice when he says, "I don't think the doctors want you to be doing that."

It takes a minute, even the smart comment from Agrippa doesn't rouse any sort of reaction while Buchanan slowly brings herself into an upright position. But once she's finally in more or less an upright position, she turns her attention to him. Watching him silently with cold, dark eyes. "No." She finally agrees, "They probably don't." There's a shrug in there somewhere, but she's just too stiff to actually lift her shoulders. Instead, she turns her attention back to the screen, keeping a firm grip on the pencil now, as she reaches for her coffee cup.

There is a twinge of amusement from Agrippa though he doesn't show it as he watches Buchanan maintains her passive coolness to his simple verbal prodding. When she looks back to the screen showing their mission, Punchdrunk does the same though he offers more words this time, albeit in a more serious manner this time, "You completed the basic mission each nugget has when they go out on a mission, especially one that ends up meeting up with some Cylons." Since Agrippa isn't using some smartass tone or a dumb grin with his gaze focused on the screen, one can assume that he isn't mocking her on her Frigate landing.

"I failed." Buchanan doesn't pull any punches when it comes to self-punishment. "I managed to bring down a Raider. Yes. But you all would've brought it down just fine without me. That was probably the only thing that was actually successful on my part. I did everything wrong. From start to finish." There's no tension, no anger, nothing in her voice that lends itself to anything even remotely resembling emotion. She's breathing though. Very, very carefully. Ensuring that each inhale and exhale is moderate and even as she stares at the screen, rewinding through a particularly bad foul up on her part, and pushing play to watch it again.

Hearing Buchanan's assessment of her own performance, Agrippa is silent all the way through until the end and when she is finished, all he does is release another sigh. When Mimic pushes rewinds a particular clip that is of interest to her, Punchdrunk reaches out and pushes pause for her in no particular spot. "Hold up, Mimic. Let me ask you this, what is the basic mission each nugget has when they are assigned a mission?" There's no admonishment of her self-loathing or questioning why she is transfixed on this particular part of the vidclip of their mission, instead the question he asks can be rather open ended or specific, depending on how one assesses it.

"To bring everyone back safely?" The barest hint of uncertainty squeezes past the tonelessness, colouring her answer. A small frown creases her brow when he just randomly pauses the vidclip, and that makes her turn slightly to look at him. Buchanan winces with her movement, yeah - she really shouldn't be out the hospital. Or at the very least resting in her bunk. She's not entirely convinced of the validity of her answer, and that much is quite clear before she slams down on the emotion and puts up her blank mask once more.

At her answer, Agrippa shakes his head slightly as he grabs a seat at the desk next to her after seeing that he actually has her attention instead of the video screen. His answer is pretty quick as well once he finds his seat, "Nope! That task is usually reserved for the squadron leader and our CAG. Last I checked, no nuggets were ever assigned the position of a squadron leader or CAG while they are still a nugget. Their responsibility is simpler than that." The answer he is looking for isn't revealed, perhaps giving Buchanan some more time to ponder.

Buchanan stares at Agrippa blankly, with her expressionless mask firmly back in place. Eventually her gaze slides past him and fixes on a spot on the wall. If she's thinking about the answer, there's no indication of it. "Why don't you just tell me. Then I can commit it to memory and not fail again." The Ensign still doesn't look at him, though.

"A nugget's primary mission is to come back from the op alive." Agrippa says rather simply, leaning back into his seat as the answer is provided as Buchanan has asked for. His eyes are on the nugget, as if seeing how she would react or take what he has just said. He isn't an instructor or a squadron leader, so this could be taken as something that Punchdrunk made up during one of his drinking escapades.

"Well, I'll be lucky to ever go on an op again, after last night's debacle." Buchanan replies. She does however, reach for her notepad, writing down what she was just told and underlining it twice, as though to commit it to memory. Her gaze swings 'round to fix on the screen. Her hand shifts over and hits fast-forward, all the way to where she pretty much destroys her Viper on entry to the frigate, and hits play.

Shaking his head, Agrippa is more in disagreement with Buchanan's assumption than disappointed with the way she is thinking, it is as if he isn't even surprised by the attitude she has taken on herself. "I don't think luck will have anything to do with it and I am pretty sure you will be flying more missions. That is if /you/ still want to be a Viper pilot. Do you think you're the only pilot to ever crash land? Your bird was in pretty bad shape, you didn't kill anyone on the deck, and you accomplished your basic mission."

"See." Buchanan is staring at the screen. She hits rewind and then play again, "That… right there. That's where I messed up. I should've steadied her more, shifted the approach…." For a brief second her mask slips and her face is a world of pain and rage and it's like she hasn't heard a word Agrippa just said. The screen pauses, Mimic closes her eyes, battling against herself as she deepens her breathing, inhaling and exhaling slowly until she pushes back the emotions and regains her sense of calm again. "If I didn't want to be a Viper pilot anymore, I wouldn't be here." Back to cool and calm, "And I know I'm not the only pilot to ever crash land, and I know I'm not the last. It still doesn't make it forgivable."

A finger starts tapping the surface of the desk that Agrippa is sitting at but it is more of an idle habit than to show impatience or displeasure. He allows Buchanan to retreat back to the vidclip and then hears her out on her assessment and reasoning, not just of the vidclip but her understanding of what he is saying. "Mimic, it's easy sitting here in the quiet ready room where it is just you and the screen where you can pause as you like. But in the heat of a furball, where is the pause button? Do you mute the sounds inside your cockpit so you can focus on particular segments of the dogfight? No one says that you are being forgiven, or to forget that you crashed the Viper. But there are grievous, careless errors that can be made out there that /shouldn't/ be made, and there is stuff like this." Slowly he sits up and then rises from his seat, a hand reaching out to pat Buchanan on the shoulder, "What you should be focusing on are three things. One, that you still have the desire to be a Viper pilot, not running off scared after your first mission like some might have in your position. Two, you came back /alive/. Three, to get your ass back to the medbay where it belongs until a doctor properly discharges you. Even though we're not Marines, we need to keep our body in good condition."

Buchanan shakes her head slightly and literally flinches away from the physical contact. Then promptly releases a hiss of pain for her trouble. Holding herself steady, Mimic waits for the pain to subside before she nods, "Yessir." He does outrank her, after all, though she doesn't look at him, she doesn't look at the screen either, instead dropping her attention to her notepad, the tip of her index finger idly running up and down the ruled margin.

Oops, Agrippa had forgotten that she may be hurting there too but too late to do anything about it, the brief contact could not be taken back. Instead, he just nods his head when Buchanan makes an agreeable response, "Now finish up here and get back to the medbay. Then you can find any pilot who's flown a few missions any questions you have after you've cooled your jets and properly reviewed that tape. Right now, you're flying on emotions and we've all been there." It appears that the lecture session from Punchdrunk is over as the Leftenant begins to slowly walk towards the exit of the ready room, his job down here. Checked the CAP schedule and gave the prickly porcupine a talking to. He does pause in his steps and glance back, "By the way, don't frakking tell anyone, especially Hobo or Goose that I talked to you. They might end up doing something stupid like put more responsibilities on my shoulders."

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