PWD #12: Tea and Sympathy
Tea and Sympathy
Summary: Cole and Iphigenia have tea while discussing his family.
Date: 23/12/2012
Related Logs: None
Cole Iphigenia 
Viper Squadron Berthings
The berthings for the Orion's Air Wing are the same as what one would find on any other Mercury-class Battlestar, though they are distinctly different from the rest of the bunks on the ship. These bunks are separated not into sections of sixty, but by squadron. That means that there is a little more room to move around with only twenty to twenty-five pilots in one bunkhouse. Some officers have brought a small rug to sit in front of their bunks, but the tables and chairs are standard military issue. At the rear is a small couch that was probably new when the ship left anchorage and seems to have been kept carefully clean. The crest of the Lucky Strikes has been painted onto the wall behind the couch, as well.
PWD #12 Dec 12, 2004

The invitation was for tea and company, the location picked as a mere convenience for the Pilot who is somewhere between shift and sleep. Ari looks fresh out of the shower, sitting at one of the communal tables with a rather peculiar kit sitting out in front of him. A carafe of hot water sits on the table, and two hearty stock mugs already have cheap metal diffuser bombs in them, though Ari hasn't started steeping just yet. Instead, he's working on the task at hand which seems to be threading coarse pieces of animal hair into a burlap vest with a latch hook, alternating that with thin strips of wire. A cigarette is poised in his mouth and he's squinting against the smoke that rises up from it's tip with both his hands busy with the weaving project of his Cilice.

Iphigenia makes her way in with only a brief chat with the pilots outside the berth. "Ari?" she calls out, and offers a smile of greeting. "Thank you for inviting me, I - " she pauses, and peers at the work he's doing. Her brows furrow a little bit before smoothing into a pleasantly calm expression.

"Hey, Sister." Cole glances up, offering her a smile that's only lopsided because he's talking around the filter of his cigarette. He hitches his head for her to come and join him at the table. If he's doing anything that someone might think is out of sorts, he doesn't seem to care. "You what? You wanna pour?" He switches his tool to his other hand so he can pluck the cigarette out of his mouth and ash it before it dribbles onto his N-A-V-Y t-shirt. "By the way, you looked fan-frakking-tabulous the other night. I didn't have a chance to say. King of Fools." He shakes his head with a hint of laughter. "Fitting." And with that, he goes back to the latch hook, drawing another scratchy hair out of the oilcloth it was wrapped in.

"Wasn't me." Iphigenia says as she moves to take hold of the kettle. She grew up around servants trained in serving tea with the sort of elegant air that she now displays. "I don't know how to describe it, but I hope you can believe me when I say it was the will of the gods."

"I, of all people, believe you. Even if it was just Hermes putting that tricksy thought into your head. It was fun to wear the laurel. Enjoy myself." Ari's brow knits together as he threads in the next piece. He's worn the vest before during various stints of his previous 18 month tour, so he's just filling in a bald spot under the left armhole of the vest. It must rub there a great deal. "Sorry I didn't pour yet, didn't want the water to get cold. Sit, sit."

"It most likely was." she admits with a chuckle. "Quite alright. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I'm glad you allowed yourself to enjoy it." She takes a seat with the sort of straight backed, demure training of her youth. "You know, I haven't seen one of those since seminary."

"Oh?" Ari asks in a bit of disbelief. "I guess they are a bit old-fashioned." He holds his handiwork up to the light, then tosses the garment onto the table. Happy enough to pause in his work for now, he takes up his cigarette and leans back in the chair to prop his knee against the lip of the table. "I have no shortage of enjoyment in my life. Take this for example." Meaning tea and conversation, of course. "Or torturing young Ensigns and smack talking my wingman."

Iphigenia smiles faintly, a brief flick of her fingers conceeding the point. "Oh? Do you mean Nags?" There's a chuckle. "She didn't seem to think you'd be interested in the temple project at all…but then I do have a hard time getting an idea of what she's thinking. A very clever woman, I can imagine she's sharp as a tack in a bird."

"No shit, Nags is on board? As in /the/ Nags?" How many other Nags are there that know Ari and what his predilictions may or may not be. He cranes his head around, as if expecting to spot her. "We must be on opposite shifts. I didn't know she signed up for the second leg. Huh. Hot damn, I'm going to have to short sheet her bunk." Finally, Cole reaches for his tea, tucking two fingers into the handle and wrapping the rest of his large hand around the body of the mug. "But she's gotta be a Jig by now, at least." Sipping without blowing on the tea first, he makes a grimaced face. Definitely hot. "Nags knew me…well. Before."

Iphigenia blows on her tea ever so delicately. "She said she was your wingman. But if you haven't seen each other for a bit, your reunion is surely going to be interesting." She sips carefully. "Did she…does she know Maggie?" Careful with those tenses, Gen.

Ari's eyes flash with 'DANGER, DANGER WILL ROBINSON' before Iphigenia corrects herself. Just like that, the moment of emotion is gone. "Nags and I were deployed at the time, and I transferred out shortly there after to be with Magpie. Didn't have time to look her up since, so no. My old CO met her once. ONCE." Janitor laughs into the depth of his cup before taking another sip. Still hot. "I'll never know what she said to convince him to sign our martrimony request from, I haven't spoken to him since, either."

Iphigenia admits quietly, "She's been in my thoughts quite a bit of late." She doesn't press the issue beyond making that statement. She'll clarify if he asks her too, but for now she keeps pax. "You know, I thought Talkshow was about going to pee himself when I crowned you. But later he told me it was the right decision."

And Ari doesn't ask. Because when you open a window, there tends to be a nasty draft. Instead, Cole focuses on Talkshow. "I was far far too lenient a King of Fools in that regard. But the man needed to get the stick known as his ex girlfriend out of his ass and learn to loosen up before he kills someone." Pot? This is kettle calling.

Iphigenia looks faintly amused at that. "He's working on that, in so far as I know." She can't discuss too much of the man's personal life, but most people know about him and Ceres. Gen just can't afford to gossip, as much as she might like to. "You were surprisingly mild in your rule. I expected rafter-swinging and demands for the filthiest songs people knew. I was quite sad that I didn't get to offer up my sorority days version of 'Big Ass Lil and Picon Pete'."

"Well, there is always next year." Ari speaks of the thought of next the next Saturnalia. "Little over 16 months and I'll have served out my jacket and boots on the ground. Then I'll go to meet Magnola, and you'll have to have tea with some other Fool." He lofts his cup up at that, toasting at the notion.

"What will you do? I confess I've been curious about that." Gen admits, returning his toasts.

"Sing my way into the God's good graces. I've served my time for the Colonial military. The rest? I owe to her. What about you? I'm told after three years on this boat, they let you pick and choose your next posting. Where will you go, my little Soul Sister?" Ari contemplates his conversation partner while he leans over his tea, still drinking it with abandon.

"I don't know." she admits. "I like the Orion. And I think it's important that military personnel have the support they need that chaplains help to provide. You can't say that the planet below isnt…something spiritually significant."

"Am I being selfish?" The question is posed honestly, and directed to his knee more than it is Iphegenia. "I've given the service sixteen years of my life. My wife. My children. I just want to go home." His hand tightens around the cup of tea, blanching his knuckles white.

"For wanting the recompense you're owed for your service? No." Iphigenia replies frankly. "I'm not sure why you would even think that. There's nothing wrong with feeling entitled when said entitlement is actually owed."

The line of Ari's jaw tightens, as if he's setting his back teeth to grind. So much anger and guilt resides just below the surface, covered by a shiny layer of thin veneer. After a moment that lasts ten seconds or so, he slips his knee off the edge of the table and slides his mug back on its top. "Will you help me get this on?" Hands are already moving to strip himself of his dual layer tanks.

"I will." she says, "If you can articulate for me what's driving your anger right now first." She probably already knows the answer, but making him speak it - well, it's important. She sets her tea down, rising and moving to carefully take the shirt.

"I feel myself slipping and I don't want to ruin my chance to be with her again." Cole almost hisses the words, by the time the shirts around around his neck, he's no longer peeling them off, he's ripping them off. Balling them with angry twists of his hands, he whips them in the direction of his nearby bunk. "If you won't help me, I'll do it my bloody self."

"Stop." she says quietly. The shirt is in her hands now. The tone is so gentle, and there's something of the lash to it. "Stop and listen to me." This is the priestess talking now. There's only so much she can convince him of and she knows it.

Cole scrubs at his eyes with the heels of his hands at her words, then the palms smooth back until his fingers link together behind his head. He's not skinny, per se, but rather lanky overlaid with musculature of a hard life and a long military career. The xylophone of his ribs stands out purely by his position of capitulation alone. Saying nothing, he just stands there and waits.

Iphigenia's volume is lowered and meant for his ears, because she doesn't want anyone overhearing, and her tone is intent. "She will be waiting for you. She will be there, when the time comes, as has happened before, and will happen again. There is no doubt, none, of the truth of that. This," she shakes the shirt carefully in her hands, "This is for you." She doesn't clarify what that means, but only adds, "Hold your arms out."

"You can't atone if you don't know you've sinned." Ari responds, his voice softened with none of the ire behind it any longer. Just tired. The man just sounds tired. Heavily, the requested limbs fall away from their hitch behind his head. Like a child, he holds them out to be dressed in the scratchy garment of penance by the priestess.

"And how did you sin, Ari?" she asks quietly as she helps the shirt over his head and along his arms. She doesn't not keep it from biting into him.

"Blackness turned to grey and soon Orpheus stepped out joyfully into the daylight. He turned unto his love, but still within the cavern was she. He saw her in the dim light, and held out his arms to clasp Eurydice but in that instant she was gone. Slipping back into the darkness with one faint word.: Farewell." Ari ducks his head into the opening, waiting for the scratchy material to settle about his torso before he moves to take Iphegenia's hands.

Iphigenia's hands, by the time she is done and has settled the shirt along his torso, are trembling. What they tremble from is not evident from the serenity of her expression, but once the article of clothing is in place properly and her hands are taken, she lifts her gaze to his, silent.

Ari turns her hands over in his, smoothing her fingers out with this thumbs until he exposes her palms. Reverently, he lifts them one after another and places a chaste kiss in their center. "Don't be angry with me. I still need you to guide my soul back to her."

Iphigenia is silent for a long moment. So many things need to be said, but he is not ready to hear them. He may never be. "You don't need me to do that, you know." she informs him, almost sadly. "She and your child will be waiting on the shore. If I could give you my certainty of this as a gift, I would."

Cole takes her hands in his and presses them together in a steeple before gently releasing them. "A little over sixteen more months." With a wink he turns to find where he tossed his shirts off to, in his moment of anger. He's already rolling his shoulders and looking mighty uncomfortable in his Cilice, but he'll cover up the garment lest he make anyone else feel uncomfortable for it. "I need to hit the rack, but thanks for coming by to have tea. Next time, I promise to be better company."

"I'll trust you at your word." she says, stepping back. "Sleep well." With that, she withdraws, her expression shifting once her back is turned and she is making her way out of the berth.

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