WD: Pyramid
Summary: Tiptoft and Ward discuss Pyramid, Virgon and where things go after War Day.
Date: 06/01/2013
Related Logs: Into The Fire
Tiptoft Hektor-Ward 
Fitness Center
Smelling of sweat and grease, the Fitness Center is a place where individuals can come to work out or just work off stress. The area closest to the entrance is taken up by two very large sparring pads with a pathway down the center, each pad removable to reveal a Pyramid court beneath. The walls beside the pads hold lockers for everything from pugilist sticks to boxing gloves to rubber guns, though deadly weapons are strictly prohibited in here except by authorized personnel such as on-duty Military Police. Standing goalposts for Pyramid are also kept against the wall. Past the pads are a vast number of nautilus machines as well as free weights to lift. At the back of the room are workout bikes, rowing machines, treadmills, and stairclimbers. There is an entrance to the pool at the rear as well as a locker room to the side.

Normally packed with hundreds of gym rats on any given day, the Fitness Center is almost completely empty. Two young men have parked themselves on the rowing machines, their white headbands matted with sweat, their greasy orange uniforms discarded on the deck. A Raptor pilot, still in her flight suit, walks absently from treadmill to treadmill, gloved fingers grazing the bars of each machine. And on one of the compartment's two Pyramid courts is none other than Lionel Geoffrey Tiptoft, playing alone. The angry rattle of ball against cage echoes in the cavernous room every ten to fifteen seconds as he shoots against an imaginary foe, slamming shot after shot into the gunmetal head.

Two hours after the Cylons hit, and all's well.

"You know," Ward announces, stepping up to the edge of the pyramid court, "As much as I despise the Twins, I always thought you would've looked good in United colors." He looks down at his fingernails, his aristocratic facade previously shattered by War has managed to return for the most part, "Still, don't want to provoke those Gemenese. They'll blow you up."

Leo looks up in the middle of his wind-up, and the distraction is all he needs to send the ball off-target. It clatters uselessly against the side of the head before rolling to the floor, where it'll bump into Ward's foot with a whimper and not a bang. "I grew up a Reds fan myself," he grunts. "Year I declared, they just kept on winning. Dropped too low in the order so the Twins snatched me up first chance." Beady eyes dart over to the taller man, then flick down to the deck. "Bullshit."

"Nope, honest to gods United fan here. Well, as much as you can be a fan of inter-colonial games. I like to watch the championship but I always prefer … " Ward pauses, stooping down to pick up the ball and passing it from one hand to the other, "Well, preferred to watch the Virgon league. Ever see a Merceyside game? The lads'll riot if you give 'em an inch." Strangely, the aristocratic accent he puts on melts away briefly to reveal a distinctly Merceyside tone. He covers it up quickly enough, though, tossing the ball back to Leo, "You're a lucky fellow. Not too many people get caught in mid-space by the beautiful ladies of the Gentlemen Ghosts."

"Don't know why it's 'Gentlemen' if — " Leo grunts as he snatches the ball in mid-air. Then, in a single fluid motion, he uncoils like a snake preparing to strike. One second later and the head rattles once more to confirm the point. "If they've got chicks. And yeah, I know Merceyside. One of my mates went over on transfer." No feigned accent for him; Leo's accent is working-class Virgan, through and through. "Bill — William Gant. Played the post." Beat. "Good guy."

"Oh, yes," Ward says, suddenly filled with recollection, "I remember. They had a chant for him." He opens his mouth, as though he's going to recite it, and then thinks better with a knowing little smile, "As for the name, well, traditions will be traditions. I don't know if there are many actual Scorpions in VAQ-102 but I was with them as well."

Leo's bulky forearm wicks some sweat from his head, which gleams a burnished gold beneath the gym's dim light. "I used to be Vee-Eff-Ay Eight. Vipers, but I guess you picked that up after my bird went tits up. Ragin' Rams, on Solaria. Just transferred out like two months ago or something." Comrades of a different sort, remembered all the same. "You play much?" He jerks his thick thumb down toward the court.

Ward shakes his head, lifting a hand before himself, "Oh, not in years. I used to until the Deck crew started putting me to shame on a regular basis. Now I'm just an armchair critic."

"Hmph." Leo smiles tightly before falling into reflective silence. Then, at length: "Been a couple of years or so since I picked up that ball. Guess I couldn't stay away." Guess I couldn't stay away today, is what's unspoken. "Heard anything about Virgon?"

"No," Ward answers, a sigh escaping him as he says it, "But then, after seeing how hard we can hit them today I wonder if we might be holding the line somewhere. Nuclear bombs don't get through everything, after all. I suppose we'll find out soon."

"Uh-huh." Leo has taken to pacing up and down the court like a caged jaguar, stopping only once — to retrieve the ball. "Heard some folks talking about why they came back. Maybe negotiate for peace." He, at least, expresses no doubt that the attackers were Cylons. It's simply the easiest conclusion. "Hope we get to knock their teeth in some before we do."

"I'll wager it's tough to negotiate peace when the overture was orbital bombardment of at least two worlds," Ward simply stays where he is and folds his arms low across his stomach, "Though I can't say I hate the idea. Anything is better than what they're doing now."

"Donno. Maybe. Maybe not. Guess we'll know when the boss tells us." Tiptoft flicks the Pyramid ball up into the air and catches it behind his back. "Never seen those fast little frakkers before, though, so I guess they've been planning this whole thing for a while. All dancing this way and that like — like those silver bugs. You know." And with that profound thought he falls silent once more.

"Strange things, yes," Ward replies, lifting his chin once he does so, "Still, they blow up the way they should which is good to know. I'd imagine they're going over everything they've got now in order to find the little weaknesses we can exploit."

"Yup. So maybe next time they won't bust me up so bad." There's that tight little smile again, playing about Tiptoft's narrow mouth. "Lot less scary getting shot at than I thought. Still kinda scary, but less. Donno what that says about me." As he speaks, he plays with the Pyramid ball some more, chucking it from hand to hand with remarkable force. "Was tonight your first ride too?"

Ward nods, "I did a few training skirmishes over Scorpia and back on Virgon, but never any real action. But then, I wasn't being shot at … they were gunning for you Viper pilots. Still, even when you're not being shot at it's scary. Best to get used to it, though."

"Mm." Tiptoft shrugs his massive shoulders as he ponders the implication of that prediction. It's not one he cares to dwell on, judging by his expression. "Suppose that's the job," he observes. "Get in the way so other folks can do the shit they need to do." The man grins at some long-forgotten memory. "Like Gant in the post. Ran the pick like a boss back at KSU. Lost a step in the pros, but least he's still in." What stubborn refusal to abandon the present tense. "Meant to drop in when I was on planet. Too busy."

"I know the feeling," Ward replies, though he doesn't elaborate on just how he means it, "There might still be time, though. We don't know what happened to Virgon yet. Caprica is the seat of government after all, it makes sense that it would bear the brunt of the blow." He doesn't sound all that convinced by his own words, though.

"Hey, yeah. That's gotta be right." Tiptoft doesn't sound convinced either, but he'll grasp that ray of rationalization like a drowning sailor would a life vest. And then he grins. "Shit, man. Merceyside's all sorts of junk. Way worse than Kingston." His hometown. "So frakking busted you probably couldn't tell whether the Cylons bombed it or not."

"Come on, now," Ward says, a genuine laugh escaping him as he says it, "They're still rebuilding it from the last war. I think it was the place all the Marines went to test their grenades back then."

"Man, ain't that the truth." Laughter is contagious and, despite his mood, Tiptoft can't help but join in, his body shaking with mirth. "Guess it's better to build the grenades than to get hit by them. Back in the day, Pop used to work in one of the Kingston bomb factories, yeh? A little kid making boom-booms for the grown-ups. Used to tell all these stories about air raids and shit." The remnants of the laugh die on his breath. "So he's got practice." You know. For this.

"My dad was in the First War," Ward replies, his own laughter fading as well, "Lied about his age along with some mates of his so they could all enlist as marines. Only two of them came back when it was all over. Still, I don't think my old man's the sort to let Cylons get a look in after he spent his formative years shooting them."

"Get out the old twelve-gauge and let the toasters have it, yeh?" Tiptoft sounds like he's got half a mind to do that himself. "Think I saw that in a holofilm once. Except it wasn't Cylons, it was these bug-eyed aliens from the planet Zantroplax or some other B-movie bullshit. And there were more hot girls. So it wasn't like that at all. Except the shotgun. That was there." Stream-of-consciousness: Leo has it, and every third word is punctuated by the sound of his Pyramid ball slamming against the court.

"Don't think I saw that one," Ward grows quiet, looking down at his feet for a moment and then straight up at the ceiling, "I think I'm dead on my feet. I'm going to try and get something to eat and then try to sleep. Maybe pay a visit on that other Viper pilot … " Which Viper pilot? He doesn't say.

"Right." Tiptoft returns his attention to his game, sighting down an invisible lane to the head at the other end of the court. But just as he's about to wind up, he pauses. "Hey, you let me know if you hear anything, yeah?"

"I'll make sure you're the first to know after I do," Ward promises, sounding oddly determined in that as he steps away from the court. He offers a faint smile to the other wandering Raptor pilot in the gym but keeps walking, heading out into the corridor.

A grunt's the only thing Ward will get in response. That, and the thud-clang of ball hitting basket every ten to fifteen seconds.

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