PWD #21: So Excited!!!
So Excited!!!
Summary: Kelsey gets cornered in the Mess by Cassie and Bennett. Or is it the other way around?
Date: 14/12/2012
Related Logs: Just after Rec Room Digressions
Bennett Cassie Kelsey 
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.
14 DEC 2004

True to her word, the young woman wandered off to the mess with her mug of cocoa. She gets herself a plate with a hot dog and corn niblets and settles off to the side as she reads a well-folded piece of paper with a smile on her face. The hotdog has been cut up into tiny pieces and she eats them by hand, like the corn, despite the grime in her hands that just will not ever wash away.

Food overwon the need for chatting it'd seem as here comes Cassie who is rushing into the mess and through the line, looking like a woman who hasn't eaten in ages for how much of a rush she's in. Thankfully the food is good as she's heaping it on, her appetite almost monsterous. Once her tray's sufficiently filled and several glasses of 'juice' is gotten she turns to find a place to sit. Kelsey's noticed and she wanders her way, the slow amble a contrast to how fast she moved before now. "Mind if I join you," she asks, not minding at all that there are other seats available.

Kelsey is oblivious to other people in the room. She probably hasn't been around long enough to make friends yet. And that, given how she seems to smile, seem to be just a-okay with her. Kelsey is pretty in that youthful way, but has the beginnings of a few worry lines. But they're only telltale and completely vanish when she looks up to Cassie. "Oh, right," she laughs and gestureto the chair. "Sure, sir! Have a seat. Don't-" she starts folding up the pages, "-mind me. Just reading fresh mail. So you fly? Have you been around long?" Bright-eyed and outgoing. The kind of real warmth that drugs just can't force out of a person.

The papers are allowed to be cleared before she sits, her tray set before her in a manner that should not interfere with Kelsey's reading. A piece of fruit is poked at with a fork before it's speared and eaten. "Hmmm. I'm new here, actually," Cassie answers while poking another bit of food, answering before eating. "I arrived yesterday. What about yourself? Been here awhile or are you a new face as well?" As she talks she systematically sets her glasses to the side, within easy reach.

The letters are folded away and she tucks them carefully into her pocket. She eats a few bites of her cut-up dog and listens, smiling. Lots of energy in this little one. "Oh, like, totally new," she laughs happily. "I came on at seventh fleet anchorage and have been trying to get situated and everything, sir. Its crazy. This is, for real, my first time on a battlestar. I'd never even seen outside a movie or tv show until like two years ago." Cheerleader. Had to be. /That/ kind of infectious energy that cynics hate. "Its exciting, sir. I'm surrounded by all these like super successful people and I feel like a vampire, just RAWR trying to feed on it for my own selfish, nefarious ends."

"Orion's my first Battlestar as well. Been on training ships and stuff but nothing nearly as big as this." A bit more of the abundant amount of food is eaten before Cassie speaks again, her fork used to gesture, trying to indicate the ship as a whole. "There probably are a whole bunch of successful people here but I'm sure you are as well." Pep talks. Not exactly the easiest for her to make with but she's trying. "I think the important thing is to not compare yourself to others otherwise you'll just weigh yourself down."

Kelsey shrugs happily. "Success is all in the mind of the person who is putting that effort down," she recites primly. "My goals are not the same as anyone else's, but that's okay. I think there's lots of awesome people on this ship and I wanna have what they have." Cassie can probably almost /hear/ 'when I grow up!' on the end of that. "But!" Kels holds up a piece of hot dog and dances it through the air while she speaks. "I'm going to do it one day. I wanna be that person that other girls like me can look up to. I wanna be a mentor. Nothing would make me happier. To me? That is my success. And I'm gonna do it, sir." She finlly plops the hotdog slice into her mouth and smiles while she chews. Either this girl knows tragedy in unreal ways and has worked past it or she grew up as sheltered as a rich little Caprican Princess. "I'm Kelsey, by the way, sir. Kelsey Wescott. I just got promoted to Petty Officer! So coooool." Three years in. Girl must've signed up at 17 or 16.

Interesting perspective, that and it's one Cassie can appreciate, being a bit of a part-time philosopher. It really gives her something to poke at and look at from different angles and even analyze. That gains Kelsey a smile of appreciation from her. "A very good way to look at things," she says as she lifts her glass, the contents of which is given a bit of a look. It's purple, whatever it is, but it's cold and sweet which is exactly what she needs. "And such a positive outlook is a good thing as well. It's not always easy but if you can keep that about yourself then there really is nothing you can not achieve." The glass is drank from and drained in no time, the drinking vessel than set down. When the younger personnel member introduces herself she offers her hand, Cassie smiling broadly. "Pleasure meeting you. I'm Cassiopeia Pitera. You can call me Cassie… you know. When it isn't going to cause a fuss for you to."

"Thanks!" Kelsey perks with that same smile. "My mom told me that stuff growing up. Its not whether or not other people are happy with you, its whether you are happy with yourself. Like, when you lay down at night, right? Close your eyes? Does your mind fret at the speed of light? Or does your mind smile? Momma said that if you keep at it, you'll be okay. Never quit on your goals or yourself. I almost did once and it was total Sucksville." She rolls her eyes at herself and eats another piece of hotdog. Her hand brushes on her jumpsuit and she reaches to shake hands. Yep, burns and callouses. "Pleased as peaches, Sir Cassie." Her hand goes from the shake to a sketched salute, all in good fun. "You're obviously awesome and successful. So I'll RAWRVampire on you also if that's okay. Hopefully some of that will rub off through contact and osmosis." Not a normal word you hear from an enlisted. And..used comfortably enough to be joked about.

Bennett has arrived.

Sitting off to the side of the mess hall there's a fresh-faced Air Wing JG in her flightsuit and an energetic young lady of about 20 in her orange coveralls. They're off the shoulder and tied around her hips at the arms. She's all grins and smiles, gesturing as she talks to the JG. Cassie has a big plateful of food. Kelsey? Kelsey has a hotdog that's been cut up into little pieces along with corn niblets.

Bennett filters into the mess hall right on the tail end of the evening's dinner traffic jam. She looks to be headed out on patrol in the very near future: she's zipped into a fresh flight suit, and her still-damp hair has been wound up into a neat bun. Mug in hand, she veers toward the coffee table to grab a refill of hot water, then fetches a tray and a plate.

Shaking her head, Cassie can't help but to smile, obviously amazed by this young woman. "Quit is a dirty four-letter word in my book," she says while pushing away her tray, the majority of the food gone as it was all but inhaled in between bouts of her talking. "When we were kids we were encouraged to try whatever we were interested in but we were never allowed to just up and quit. If something wound up not being for us we were allowed to explore other avenues of interest but we were never, ever, allowed to just throw up our hands and stop." A quick glance around has her noticing a fellow flyer and she watches, Bennett gaining a fair amount of Cass' attention. "It is nice to meet others who have the same outlook. Don't often run into others with that kind of mindset, you know?"

The little PO3 nods along happily, eating a few more bites of her hotdog with the same smile. "Yep! I know how that goes. But, like, my mom just told me to try everything once. Quitting was okay, as long as the effort was honest. I ate a lot of /really/ bizarro food before I was five. Some?" Eyeroll. "Ew. But I found some great stuff, too! My mom used to remind me about that whenever I would hesitate. 'Kelsey! Remember how you didn't wanna try sprouts?' Sigh, yes mum." She laughs. "Its how I got into like half the things I looove." She watches Cassie's attention go off towards the other pilot and Kels watches her too with the same smile. "She's one of them. The successful ones. That's gonna be me one day. Heads are going to turn." This is obviously a fact.

Bennett hasn't spotted the viper pilot or her upbeat compatriot just yet. She's in the midst of trying to navigate the dinner line while being jostled by bigger soldiers filtering in and out. Once she's finally loaded up her plate with potatoes, vegetables, and what looks ostensibly to be bechamel sauce, she veers off toward a table and plunks down her tray. It happens to be immediately next to the one Cassie and Kelsey are seated at. They're offered a pleasant smile as she settles in and rummages about in her fatigues pockets.

Now that is a bit of a departure from what it was they have been talking about but it's taken in stride, the slight change in conversational direction not even getting more than a blink. "Yup! Your mom sounds like a pretty smart lady. Did right by you too, it seems. Good." Her forearms come to rest on the edge of the table yet while she looks around, giving Bennett a nod and a smile. "Getting off of a CAP or getting ready for one," she asks, her tone held as evenly when the query is posed as it has been while she's been talking to Kelsey.

Kelsey can't help but watch Bennett. When the Raptor lady smiles, Kelsey beams and waggles her fingers back. "Evenin, Captain Saint Clair." Its about as professional as she can manage with a grin. Looking back to Cassie, though, Kels nods once. "She did her best. I did plenty of messing up but she was right all along. One of those thing you learn too late, right? Shoulda listened to those who have been there and done that," she laughs. "Oh well. Lemons and lemonade or something, sir." She eats another little piece of hotdog and her gaze drifts from Cass to the other officer.

Bennett's smile shifts to a grin at the waggle of fingers from the little technician. "Wescott, right? Petty officer three." She gives the girl a sideways, slanted look like she's not one hundred percent positive of that. To Cassie, she replies softly, "Getting ready for one. I'm skids up in fourty-five." Blue eyes flicker briefly, appraisingly, over the viper jock, like she's trying to place whether she knows her. Meanwhile, she fishes out a teabag and plunks it into her mug of hot water.

"Ah. So that means we should expect you to shovel it in like a marine so you won't be late, sir?" Cass grins crookedly before going for her last glass of drink, this one sipped from instead of guzzled down like the first. "Reminds me. I got to check the flight board, figure out when I'm up." Properly fed and everything has her feeling a bit lazy suddenly and she takes a moment to stretch, arms over head and legs stretched out as far as she can without kicking anyone else.

Hey! The Raptor Captain knows her name! "Yessir!" she chirps. "Kelsey Wescott, sir. I'm Raptor avionics and weapons. I did your pre-pre-flight two days ago, too, Captain." Even for something so minor, she takes pride in her work and its plain as a sunny day. And her attention to detail is probably maddening to some. She then quiets down and looks back to Cassie while she drinks from a large tin that looks like hot cocoa is within. "I wish I could go with you. Flying sounds like fun. My gramma used to tell me stories. She was an ECO in the Cylon war. Did lots of crazy things in those old Predators. She made me send her a picture of me sitting in the back of one for my first deployment. Dad says she's real proud of that photo."

"Butch," the captain offers up with a bemused smile. "My callsign." She tastes her tea, dunks the bag a couple more times, then lifts it out. "I don't actually think we've met — this is a bigger Wing than I'm used to." Her laughter is warm, musical and a little self-deprecating, and her attention shifts back to Kelsey as she digs into her mashed potatoes. "I'm good with names," she points out with a wink. "And I'm especially good with the names of technicians who take such good care of my bus. That con-div nozzle was giving me trouble for days, so.. thank you." The sentiment seems genuine, if gently spoken.

Cassie smiles, enjoying listening as Kelsey and the Captain speak. It's like getting little glimpses into what and who they are. When she's spoken to she offers Bennett a hand, her eyes held easily to the higher ranking officer. "Redeye. Pleasure meeting you, sir," she offers with a bit of a nod. "I hear you on the wing, sir. This is definitely the largest I've been a part of. Guess that's the hazards of being stationed on a ship this size. Got more slots to fill and all that." Kelsey's regarded as she is complimented, then. "Is that right? Man, I hope that us Viper jocks have as good of maintenance people as it sounds like the Raptor personnel do," she adds, furthering the compliment given.

Wescott smiles happily, lifting her chin. "Thank you, sir. I'm sure it was messing with the pitch and throwing the stick into a little slug." She hesitates a moment before piping up, "Sir, is it true you used to fly CSAR?" There's some wide-eyed wonder to the young woman. Its like her first time away from home or actually away from normal civilization. That natural, youthful exuberance. But Cassie's words bring her to a bashful blush and she takes up a spoon to eat a small bite of her corn. "So was it really hard to get to be a pilot? Stay up real late studying? I know everyone says its tough but like you hear all sorts of things about some of the Academies being party schools. I don't know. Obviously. I'm just trying to, I dunno. Look at what's out there." A pause and she grins a little sheepishly. "I've never actually /talked/ to pilots before. Or, you know, had them say things back to me," she whispers.

Bennett doesn't press the issue when Cassie addresses her as 'sir' again; she's probably accustomed to it, given how long she's been in the service. Which.. is difficult to discern, based on looks alone. "Redeye," she repeats, grasping the viper jock's hand firmly and offering a squeeze rather than a shake. "That's an interesting call." A mental note is possibly made there, and she withdraws her hand in order to retrieve her fork and tuck back into her food. Of course, Kelsey pipes up about CSAR right in the middle of a mouthful of potatoes, garnering an unintelligible 'mrphhmm' from the bus driver. Thankfully, the conversation moves on, and she's spared from having to answer the question directly.

Cassie ruminates after that question is posed; not wanting to be dishonest, she hovers on being brutally honest at the same time she wants to be encouraging in case Kelsey has it in her heart to fly someday. She eventually figures out a way to be both honest as well as gentle with her wording. "It is a lot of work," she points out, "and a lot of long hours put into studying and practicing and everything else. But the end result…" Thumb and forefinger pluck at the front of her flightsuit, doing so getting the pilot to grin quite a bit. "It's all worth it. Every bit of sweat, tears… the missed parties… once it's all said and done all of that will not even matter, let me tell you." Putting her chin against the back of her hand, she casts a sideward look at Bennett and laughs. "Remind me to tell you the story as to how that got to be my callsign someday," she quips, forgetting the 'sir' which by now is habitual usually.

Kelsey apparently knows better than to push a point. She takes the cue to say no more and looks back and away. Perceptive little thing. But watching that handshake, her eyes drift between the two older women and she inhales and little bit of that personal intensity shows in her eyes. "One day," she mouths, nodding confidently. But her eyes look back to Cassie and she listen intently. A grin flashes at the end. "That's so awesome. Well, like the famous Virgan script says, 'anything you gain too easily, you esteem too lightly.' If I were going to fly I'd want to be proud of the challenge. After poking around a lot of the ECO systems it doesn't look too bad but I'm sure the practical applications are a little more than 'Hrm, geez, well that's a neat design that does this /and/ this' and so on and so forth." Girl seems to use a lot of words that go beyond those that most flunkies use after they join at 17. "I don't know, though. I was going to go to Meldenhoff U on Libran," a rather expensive school!, "-and do a lot of comp sci work. Get into security and be back on the bleeding edge when we start doing networks again. But flying? The more I'm around the planes the more interesting they are to me. I dunno. Maybe its a passing thing. I'm only 20 so, like, bound to have fifty billion interests, right?" Yeah. She's excited.

"I will be sure to," replies Bennett with a twinkle in her eyes, which only eventually abandon their careful study of her Lucky Strikes counterpart. Her lashes lower as she tucks another forkful of mash into her mouth, then lift as her focus shifts back to Kelsey. Left, right, left, right, like a ping-pong match. It's almost enough to make her dizzy. "Kelsey," she offers gently, unable to help but smile at the PO3's infectious enthusiasm, "you sound like a really smart girl. And I think you've got just the right idea, seeing what's out there and what interests you, and I'm fairly sure a degree from Meldenhoff would get you noticed." She dabs her mouth with a napkin, letting that much sink in before adding softly, "Besides, if you keep up your good work on our buses, I'd be happy to put in a word for you with Command."

The little bundle of excitement that sits across the table from them has Cassie's head swimming almost. So hard to keep up just about but she manages to make heads-or-tails of it all and can follow all of what is said from point A to Z eventually. "Hey. If it gets to that point, count me in as well. I mean… I dunno if the opinion of a Viper pilot will count for anything but if you need a good word look me up." Enthusiasm is contagious and now she's about to bounce right in her seat, only stopping herself from doing so since the Captain's there. She does not want to look unprofessional.

Wescott is really just pausing to breathe before saying more. Real pilots! But then Bennett speaks up and she turns her head and that smile might as well be tattoo'd on her face. "Thanks sir, for the idea with Command.I'll appreciate any help I can get, but that school is waaaay beyond my reach now," she dismisses with a gentle toss of her hand. "I'll do some community college courses. Get a degree. Get a job. Save money to pay up to a better degree. It'll take me some years but I can do it. Hopefully by the time I'm thirty. My experience here will help me lots, too. But thank you for the kind words, Captain." When she breathes in, her shoulders swell with pride. Her head tilts as she looks back to Cassie and she turns a bitred once more. "Aww, sirs. You all are the best." She bites her lip and tries REALLY hard not to hug people. "Any recommendations are good and will help me lots. But the support means whole battlestar loads." Her gazegoes between them as she says the last.

Bennett can't help but chuckle at Kelsey and her mile-a-minute mouth. Her kind of eagerness is just not commonplace on a station like this — and she's not about to point that out. For perhaps the second or third time since she's sat down, her eyes take note of the chopped-up hot dog on the girl's plate, but that too gets left unmentioned. "Well," she muses, easing back in her chair to sip her tea, "I waitressed for a couple of years before I got accepted to Fleet Academy. The money was decent, and I met quite a few of the officers being so near Radix." She grins. "Don't thank me yet; it's going to be a long eighteen months."

"The important thing is to be sure you're willing to give your all. One hundred and ten percent and not one itoa less. If there's ever a time when you doubt you can put that much in then don't even bother." Rising, the Raptor jockey gathers up her stuff and excuses herself politely. "Be right back." And she goes off to where the trays and everything's deposited, Cassie done for now.

Her plate. Oh, right. Kelsey kinda sets it aside and leans forward with her cup of cocoa. Its cold by now but dangit, she's going to drink it anyway. "Yeah, I know what you mean, sir. You do what you have to do. If you just sorta pbbbth on yourself then you have nobody to thank but yourself, sir! But there are steps and steps take patience and sticking to a plan." Yes, this she is very sure of. But a long eighteen months get her to /auuuugh/. "Gods, I know. I'm already /really/ homesick but?" Steps and patience. "Work through it. I hope by the end I'll have been able to make a name for myself. People will call for Wescott when they need something taken care of licketysplitz, Captain." But with Cassie getting up, Kels nods happily. "Yes, sir! No I've been down the Doubting Dottie path and there lies trouble. I can't expect anyone to help me or follow through so I do everything for me and my family on my own. Everything else is delicious vanilla frosting with coconut shavings."

Bennett's eyes lid just a fraction at the mention of vanilla frosting and coconut. "Mmmm." Wait, did she just say that out loud? Clearing her throat lightly, she finishes off her tea and slides the empty mug onto the table. "It'll get better," she reassures the girl, with a wispy smile. A light touch to Kelsey's shoulder before she goes to work scooping up the last of her vegetables. They, too, are cold but she seems not to mind. "The homesickness, I mean. But you.. you're so young to be so responsible. Your mom..?" She sort of trails off, letting the uncertainty become a question in itself.

Eating implements put away, the table is returned to although she doesn't sit. There's a lot to do and little time for Cassie to get it done, or so it feels like. "I should get my lazy butt in gear," she laments, sounding sincerely regretful that she can't stay and chat more. "Will see you both around later." The pilot is then gone.

Kelsey waves to Cassie with a smile. "Nice to meet you sir!" She then shrugs to Bennett. "If it gets better, it does. I'm assuming its going to /suuuuuck/ this bad the whole time, sir. But I'll deal with it. I gotta." The rest has her look bashful and she dips her head. "Thanks, sir. But some things make you grow up faster. And, heh, no, not my mom. Sorry." She fidgets as she reaches into her pocket. "My momma and dad both do okay for themselves, but they're takin care of mine. Every penny I earn here? Its goin to her college fund up to sixty thousand and then the rest is goin to my parents for takin care." And nothing for herself? Kelsey shows the small photo to Bennett. "My little Miss Melissa. She's three and a half now. Sooooo little here. She's like almost too big to carry now. Give's mommy's shoulders a big ol workout, she does."

<OOC> Kelsey says, "Thurr ya go for the photo."

And just like that, Bennett's heart nearly stops when Kelsey passes the photo over. Long fingers reach out to accept it, then stop in midair when she sees what's depicted. Her blue eyes look wide and lost, and a little bit glassy for a few seconds.. and then she remembers to breathe again. "She's.. lovely." That much, she does sincerely mean. Her fingertip grazes the edge of the photo before her hand withdraws to her cutlery. "She really is." And a smile spreads across her lips, and almost manages to light up her eyes. "Three and a half? Wooow.." She pokes at her food but doesn't really eat much more; instead, she's watching Kelsey. Maybe she's trying to figure out just how old she is. Maybe something else entirely, that she's not quite comfortable talking about in the mess hall.

Proud mama! Kelsey watches in silence, knowing that look. "Aren't they amazing?" she asks the Captain in a whisper. "But thank you, sir." She takes the photo back and gives it a small kiss before tucking it back into the zippered pocket that goes over her heart. Kelsey just nods to the comment and look, though. Her eyes drift backdown to her mug and she gives a light shrug. "I found out when I was 16. I had a three point six-eight GPA. Cheerleading. Scholarships. I had her just after I turned 17." She tilts her hand forward. "I'm twenty now. I was going to give her up, but gooosh. You hold them in your arms and… and that's your kid. I couldn't give her up, sir. My parents were supportive, but that was it. My parents couldn't afford me and the baby. So?" She lets off a long breath. "I got my GED and enlisted. Every weekend I'd be home. Every night I'd wish I were. My mom is doin her best and so am I. But we don't quit on each other, sir. Cowgirl up and accept responibility." She sips at her mug once more and finally looks back to the Captain. "So I'm here. One day I'll be more. For now, I'm on this step in my life."

Bennett's smile grows warmer and more diffuse as Kelsey speaks about her daughter, and the girl would have to be blind to miss the fierce stab of love that glitters in her own eyes. Love, and something else — admiration? She's so absorbed in the conversation, that it isn't until the word 'responsibility' is mentioned that she thinks to glance at her watch. Shit. Fifteen minutes. "Darlin'," she murmurs, suddenly incredibly informal, "You don't need to be more. It's good to have dreams, but.." She starts to say something, stops, and gives Kelsey's hand a squeeze. "I've got a patrol to make, so I've got to get going." Her mug's hooked on two fingers, her tray collected as she eases back to her feet. "We'll talk again soon, okay?"

Kelsey smiles. "I do have to be more, sir. If not for me, than for her. I will raise her right and set an example." That's not just a saying, no, that's very real determination. She knows she screwed up by getting pregnant, but this is her path and she is determined to make this path her bitch. "Thank you, sir. I look forward to it. Fly safe." Even left sitting alone, the little PO3 seems so intensely full of life. Her chin resting into her palm, she leans forward a bit and sips at her mug before reaching back into her coveralls for a set of folded papers and she very, very carefully unfolds them to read for the thirty-sixth time.

Bennett drops off her tray and her mug, and tugs up the zipper on her flight suit as she ambles for the hatch. The last thing she spots before she heads off is Kelsey, bent over that creased-up bit of paper. Blowing a breath out her nose, she turns and jostles her way out.

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