ALT #423: Resurfacing
Summary: Phin flails around a bit, post-Helios Gamma recon. Various blondes put up with him, to varying degrees of success.
Date: 05/03/2014 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Return to Helios Gamma
Atalanta Phin Ygraine 
Pool — Deck 2 — Battlestar Orion
The floors of the whole room — including the bottom of the pool — are made of poured concrete, and the pool itself is designed to accommodate barriers and other obstacles used to simulate operations in high-pressure environments. A large sign on the aft bulkhead warns visitors that no lifeguards are available, and that swimming is done at each person's own risk.
Sun Mar 05 2006

It's no particular surprise that Phin McBride would be working the battlestar's pool. He does as much of his physical training in the water as he can manage. It's not an hour he has slotted into his schedule for water exercises now. Yet, here he is. He's not swimming laps at the moment, but just floating on his back, occasionally working his legs to propel himself along, watching the play of the reflections off the ceiling. He's got the place to himself just now. It's zero dark thirty so, even in space where there's little sense of a proper 'day', it's not an hour where he seems too concerned about being interrupted.

The lack of concern is, it seems, a mistake. The hatch opens, a sound that echoes off the metal walls of such a large, empty room. Bare feet slap against concrete floors. No, he's definitely not alone — not anymore. Atalanta is skirting the edge of the pool, in a swimsuit and shorts, her towel tossed over her shoulders. It makes it painfully obvious, how thin she still is from her time aboard the Rubaul — too thin, really. Too thin to possibly meet the regs to fly a Viper. She doesn't seem to be inclined to hide it, though, as she wordlessly slips out of her shorts and towel alike, perches her toes on the pools' lip, hovers for a moment over the edge of the water.

Phin isn't so faraway in his own head that he misses the sound of the hatch. It startles him a little. Enough to make him roll in the water, off his back and into a more straight ahead position where he can turn and see who it is. "Oh. Hey, sir." For a second he just paddles in place, like he's not totally sure what to do with himself. "I'm, uh, done here if you want the place to yourself." He keeps himself in good shape, for his part. He's got a traditional swimmer's build, which doesn't make him look all that imposing in hand-to-hand exercises, but suits him very well for this. He's a little less squarely clean-cut out of uniform, between the tattoos on his right forearm and shoulder, and the fading surgical scar on his chest. His memento from the Caprica bombing.

"McBride." It's an unusual greeting — very rarely does she address her fellow soldiers without their rank, save for in the most casual of situations, like Charlie's. She watches him for a moment, frozen in place, the corner of her mouth twitching slightly. She doesn't seem to be making any particular attempt to hide a smile, though. Her expression is far too sober for that. "No. I… I couldn't sleep. That's all," she explains, swiftly and simply, before launching into the water with the trained grace of a well-practiced diver. There's almost no splash, just her lean form cutting through the still surface, disappearing into a amorphous shape underneath the freshly-made waves.

"Uh, yeah. Me either," Phin says, when she mentions not being able to sleep. He swims a little off from her, like he's considering heading out of the pool entirely, but after a moment he seems to decide to stick around. He starts doing a lazy lap a little off from the side of the pool. More as if he's just taking the feeling of his body cutting through the water than as if he's really pushing himself.

When she resurfaces, it's a good twenty feet from where she entered the water. A few blinks takes the initial sting of chlorine from eyes. Sure, she's spent plenty of time in a pool, but it's not the same thing as the saltwater bays of Caprica. "I thought I might find you here," she remarks quietly, before rolling over onto her back in the beginning of several lazy laps of a half-hearted backstroke. This is not her morning routine, but rather an attempt — possibly misguided — to relax. Exhausting herself to sleep would probably work better.

"Uh…" Phin's not sure how to respond to that remark. "Well…I guess you were right." Polite, a little overly formal, a touch awkward. Which is pretty standard Phin, for better or worse. He swims over to the side of the pool, so he can put an arm on the edge of it to hold himself in the water without working. Again it looks like he might get out, but he still doesn't. "Is there, umm, something you were looking for me for, sir?"

"No," she says simply, slowing to something more akin to a float — doing little more than resting on her back, really, aside from the occasional flutter of her feet to keep her from stopping dead in the water. "But I thought that you could use the company. We have more in common than you realize, McBride, and if it had been Caprica… when it was Caprica…," she trails off, shrugging. Or as near as she can come to it, in the water.

"Do we, sir?" That question is a little flat, when she says they have more in common than he thinks. Still polite, but a touch more strained on it. As for the rest, Phin says, "I left Scorpia when I was eighteen. Never figured I'd go back." Though after a beat he adds, "First time I'd seen it since then."

"It makes no difference, how long you're gone. That you never expected to go back. Even if you swore to yourself you'd never go back. Burn all the bridges you like. Home is home, and you can't ever really escape it," she says, her brow furrowing. Not that he can really see the expression, as she's staring up at the overhead lights. Staring long enough that it forces her to blink, leaving bright white spots on the inside of her eyelids. "When it was Caprica, well… I'm fairly sure I ruined Major Holtz's jacket, that night." A beat. "I sent a Raptor team with a priority message for Spree." And then another. "….If you need anything, McBride…."

"Thank you, sir." The reply is even flatter, and he pushes himself out of the pool, standing. Before going, though, he turns back to regard her. Blue eyes steady. It's a long beat before he says, "I don't see why we couldn't at least respond before the corvette jumped away. Let them know somebody was still out there."

"They know; ANVIL has made contact with them before, as I understand it. It's why I sent the Raptor back to Picon — to loop the Marines in on it." She frowns, however slightly. "There were eleven basestars and hundreds of Raiders in that system, all of whom would've been hunting us down if they knew we were there, when we still had points to check. Eleven basestars and — what — four Vipers? Which aren't passenger ships. We couldn't have done a damned thing for them while we were there, even if we could've landed unseen."

"ANVIL made contact at some point, sir, as I understand it," Phin repeats, with a trace of bitterness. He's not really bothering to hide it now, and his veneer of good manners is slipping. "Don't think we've given enough of a frak to talk to them ourselves, though. We were too busy with Caprica, I guess. And Picon. The Fleet has its priorities. They're the same priorities it had before the bombs dropped. And that's not going to change. I'm sure somebody will get around to it. At some point."

"Caprica is going to be the last battle of this war, assuming we last that long," she replies. Her tone is subdued — perhaps surprisingly so. Withdrawn, rather than clipped. "And Picon was a mistake, frankly. I've seen some of the suggested battle plans and the proposed order of interest in the Colonies that were handed down is absurd. It leaves us scattered across four systems, when we've barely got enough of a Fleet to hold one. But they started with Picon, anyway, for the resistance — even though Tauron and Gemenon are dead. Even though Caprica is a pipe dream, as things stand. If it was Colonies we wanted, we should've started with Libran and Scorpia."

Phin has withdrawn into himself as well. He's good at doing that, though his veneer of politely affable blandness sometimes makes it far less apparent than if he came off icy. He shrugs, barely seeming to listen as she describes the battle plans of the Fleet. "Well, we are where we are. And I doubt I'll be seeing Scorpia space again anytime soon." He half turns to go but, before he does, he says over his shoulder, "And with all due respect, Lieutenant Colonel Franklin, sir…" He puts a certain amount of stress on her surname. "…I seriously doubt we have frak-all in common, and I don't need your pity. Excuse me." And with that, he finally does walk over to grab his towel and make to properly stomp off.

Observation Deck — Deck 2 — Battlestar Orion
The Obs Deck is one of the more quiet areas on the Orion where people can come to get away from the hustle and bustle that goes with of the rest of duty on the ship. 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 seal tight.
Sun Mar 05 2006

Ygraine arrives from the Fore Corridor.

Phin has been drawn into himself since the return of the mission to scout the Helios Gamma system. Predictably. Whatever else it included - and the rumors flying around the ship vary wildly - it's the system Scorpia is in, and any venture out there would've included a look at his home planet. He's continuing this trend of brooding tonight. It's past zero dark thirty and, rather than heading back to the berths, he's slouched onto a sofa with a good view of Piraeus. Earbuds in, some kind of music pumping into his brain as he half-watches the planet and the Fleet over it, half simply zones up in his own head.

And suddenly, Ygraine. She vaults over the back of the sofar and onto the couch seat, sitting cross-legged and staring at him with intent expectation. "Hey." she says, and nothing more, at least until after a moment, and then it's "Heeeeeeeey." again. She's like a cat, demanding attention.

"Whoa!" Phin was sufficiently enough up in his own head to be startled by that. He actually springs off the couch, not unlike a surprised cat himself. Before realizing it is - suddenly - Ygraine. He slumps back down, sheepishly. "Uh, hey." He would try to recover his veneer of broody coolness…but he's not really all that cool. His hair, and sweats, are wet, and there's the faint smell of chlorine about him. Like he's come from the pool, and hasn't bothered to hit the showers yet.

She leans in and sniffs him. "Been swimmin'?" she asks, leaning back and watching him thoughtfully. "You been spendin' an awful long time alone, Phinny."

"Yeah, I figured I'd log some time in the pool tonight," Phin affirms, noting her sniffing at him. It makes him sigh and mutter "Gods" for whatever reason. "I've…" He starts to answer her and trails off, gaze going out to the stars again. "…every time I think I've figured out how I feel about it…home…every time I think I've got a handle on it, it turns out, I don't…I've been trying to process it and I just…"

"I know ya were in th'run that went over Scorpia." she says softly, and scoots closer so their feet are touching. "So what were ya feelin', then? Don't think about how t'make sense of it…even if th'feelin's were entirely contradictory…what were they?"

Phin frowns. Stupid contradictory feelings. He very much wants everything to make sense, all the time, even when so little does. He looks down at his feet when hers touches his. Focusing on that, rather than staring off into space. "It was the first time I'd been home since I was eighteen. When I left to join the Fleet I told myself there was nothing back there for me. I just wanted to…burn all my bridges. That's how Teatime put it." Saying the CAG's callsign makes him wince slight. He swallows. "It's not like I hadn't seen what it was like after the Cylons…I must've watched the recon footage you and Butch first brought back a thousand times by now." Phin devotes a lot of his non-flight time to reviewing guncam footage, and not all of it is his CAP tapes. "…but actually seeing the planet…seeing seven frakking basestars hovering around it like godsdamn vultures…" He closes his eyes. Maybe trying to erase the image in his head. Maybe trying to clarify it. Maybe a little of both. His voice is a little rough when he speaks again. "And then we just flew again. I just flew away. There was this transmission…somebody was asking for help…their resistance leader had been killed and they were…they just wanted to know there was somebody out there who might help. I still might have guys I knew back at the Ares school down there. Friends. My mom might still be alive down there. And I just…left. Again."

As he talks, Ygraine laces her fingers into his, keeping her gaze on his face. "Ya had to." she says softly. "I know that don't make it better, but ya had to. I think about Leonis all th'time. Arthur said our brothers are still alive. But I don't know if they're still safe in th'resistance or in a Cylon camp somewhere. I got access to a jump drive every time I board a raptor. Somedays it's real hard, and I can only imagine how much harder it musta been t'fly over. But ya had to, Phinny."

Phin lets his fingers curl around hers, swallowing a lump in his throat, and shutting his eyes again for a beat. "Sorry…" he murmurs. It's unclear what he's apologizing for. He might not even know. "I had to. Right. There are still people alive on Scorpia. It's not like everybody can say that." It's said numbly, though. It's a thing he keeps reminding himself of and, even if it's true, it doesn't make it easier. "Did you see your family? After you were done with flight training. Before you shipped out to this post?"

"Don't apologize." she chides him. "Aint no point in apologizin' for what ya feel. I know I ain't even gonna bother no more." There's a pause. "I saw them at graduation from flight school, on Caprica."

"Sorry…" Phin begins to apologize again. For apologizing. Before the absurdity of that hits him, and he has to chuckle. It's not filled with a lot of humor, but he manages it. He sags back onto the couch, turning to look at her. "I wanna go home, Ygs. I never thought I'd want to but I do…and now I can't."

"One day," she says, shifting so she's on her knees, leaning forward to put her arms around him. "One day ya will go home. I promise." How she can make that promise isn't clear, but she does it anyway because she can't accept Phin's despair.

Phin doesn't ask her to elaborate on how that's going to happen. He does take some comfort in that, though. And in being able to just lean into her arms. "We'll go home," he says. "You'll see your brothers and…one day." He also has absolutely no way of being able to promise this, but he very much wants to.

"I know." she says, with a certainty of faith. "But in th'meantime, we gotta be each other's home. Okay?"

Phin nods at that. He pulls back, just a little. Only enough so he can look into her eyes. "I know. I…after they brought me back from Caprica…after the bombing…" His whole near death experience thing. "…I don't remember much, for awhile, after. But the night I got out of surgery I remembered waking up for just…like minutes, maybe even seconds, and I no idea where I was. Except…you were there. And I just remember falling back to sleep and figuring…I was OK. Wherever I was, that was OK, because why wouldn't it be if you were there?"

"That's th'way it is." she says matter-of-factly, "If one of us goes into sickbay, it's both of us goin' in." She muses thoughtfully a moment. "I think th'nurses had a bettin' pool about how long I was gonna hold your hand."

"That's the way it is," Phin agrees soft. He unwinds the fingers of his right hand from hers, to reach out and brush a blonde curl back from her face. He's quiet a beat. Just looking at her. Then, like it suddenly just occurred to him (or he needed to abruptly change the subject), "We…umm…got some shots of Libran, too. Cylon presence seemed lighter there than Scorpia, but they were still holding the planet pretty tight. And…we found a dead battlestar."

There is a faint tilt of her head toward his hand, and she studies him in turn. "I heard. It's been around." Ygraine admits. "Was it blasted t'hell? Was any of it recoverable?" she asks.

"It was blasted," Phin replies. "Couldn't even see the name of it anymore. It looked like the crew had tried to repair parts of it before it totally gave out, though. No signs of anybody alive in there, but parts of it were intact. Teatime and Storm figured it'd gone into this asteroid field to hide. Did a better job of it than maybe the crew wanted."

Ygraine lets out a little sigh. "Still, I bet there'll be some salvage ops." She seems relieved for that. She then leans back, noticing suddenly, "Ya know Phinny…ya smell like chlorine."

"Is this your real subtle way of saying I need a shower?" Phin asks with a roll of his eyes. Leaning back into the couch cushions. "I'll hose myself off before I go back to the berths and change tomorrow. I think I might crash out here tonight."

Ygraine says, "No," she disagrees, "Go now, because I ain't sleepin' out here with ya if I'm gonna breathe in chemicals all night. And I ain't not. I'll drag ya by your ear if I gotta.""

"You don't have to…" But Phin doesn't finish that sentence. It's not like he couldn't use the company tonight. And he wants her to crash with him. "Fine, I'll clean up. You're such a girl."

"You're frakkin' right I'm a girl." she retorts. "Go shower. I'll be here."

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