AWD #174: Truths Laid Bare
Truths Laid Bare
Summary: Crossing paths in the head, Holtz and Atalanta share a frank conversation on several subjects, both personal and professional.
Date: 29/6/2013
Related Logs: None
Holtz Atalanta 
Head
The Head is the area on the Battlestar to find showers and bathrooms and this is one of many throughout the ship. Male and female crew members share the area equally as space is at a premium on fleet ships. There are half a dozen shower stalls and enclosed toilets as well as urinals along the wall. The room, an L shape dogleg, has the entrance open into the sink area. There are four sinks on the left and four on the right sitting back to back in the middle of the room.
AWD #174

Some of the crew play cards to relax. Some run. Some drink. Some swim. Some play music. Some read. Franklin? Franklin showers. Often. More often than she really needs to. If there was one thing that she missed aboard the Rubaul — something she missed even more than the 'three hots' so many recruiters used to lure kids with no other options into the Fleet — it was the ability to shower every day. A steaming hot shower is better than a steaming hot meal, as far as Franklin's concerned. And with real shampoo, no less? Not leftover bar soap she has to rub into her hair? The Orion may as well be running a spa. No wonder she makes a ritual of the process, taking part whenever possible. It's her second time there in one day; the upcoming survival maneuvers has given her the meager excuse she needs to come back before packing up her bags and making her first trip down to Piraeus. The fact that the bathroom was largely empty when she arrived? Even better. The water cuts out, showerhead turned off, and a betoweled CAG peeks her head out from around the shower door to make sure that's still the case.

Not this time. A shirtless Holtz enters the head a moment after Atia turns off the water in her shower, shaving kit slung under one arm as he heads for the sinks. His gait is a slow, relaxed shamble, and as he crosses what looks like a deserted head, he starts singing quietly in a low voice. "I just took a ride… on a silver machine… and I'm still feeling mean…" He drops his pouch next to one of the sinks and leans over, examining his face in the mirror for a moment before splashing some warm water on his face and reaching for his razor. The singing trails off after a little while, but he's still humming the tune.

Damn. She doesn't swear — not quite. It's just uttered in her head before she lets out a quick, sharp exhale at someone else walking into the room. Clearly, she's going to have be careful in her execution of this particular maneuver. Without looking around the shower stalls to see who it is, she tiptoes out past the door — which is no easy task in wet flip-flops — over to where she's left her bag. One hand dives blindly in, digging out the bare basics as quickly as she can. Her shower shoes are quickly abandoned in favor of slipping something on under her towel as fast as she can manage. Her sports bra?? Her sports bra requires this awkward, shimmying dance as she tries to pull it on over her towel, then slide the towel out from being trapped underneath, resulting in an audible elastic 'snap'. It's pretty damned funny, really.

Holtz hears the commotion from the shower section, the razor moving up towards his cheek freezing as he hears the snap of the elastic. His dogtags bounce lightly against his chest as he straightens and looks around. A tiny, sardonic smile tugs at the edges of his mouth as he calls out in his rough Tauron accent, "Whoever's there, you don't have anythin' I ain't seen before, trust me." He shakes his head with a quiet snort of laughter as the razor scrapes a line of stubble from his jaw.

By the time that she comes around the corner, she's pulled those hideous olive green fatigues on and is button them at her waist. Both hands occupied, she's got her dopp kit tucked under her arm, where she can press it against her ribs to keep it in place — ribs that are plainly visible. She's thin. Too thin, and not in that way that some lucky women were simply made by the gods and nature and their parents. She's probably ten pounds lighter than she ought to be, ten pounds lighter than they'd let her be if she were walking up to a recuiter instead of walking up to the sinks. They'd send her home to put on some weight instead of sitting her in a Viper, if it were peace time. No wonder she's become so insistant about searching for survivors. "While I'm sure that you've had the opportunity to enjoy the view with any number of women, that doesn't mean that I want you to see it, Major," she says serenly, her tone completely contradicting the awkward, hurried dance she'd been doing a moment before.

Again the razor stops, and Holtz's eyes widen a touch as the head's other occupant finally reveals herself. He watches her for a moment as she crosses over to the sinks, trunklike arms bracing himself against the metal surface before finally giving a single rueful shake of the head. They make a curious contrast; her almost too thin for her own good, him with a frame that barely looks like it should fit in a Viper cockpit. "Course not," he mutters softly, clearly amused by her sense of modesty, his lips twitching again in an oh-so-thin smile as he leans his tattooed torso back over the sink. The blade in his hand scritches softly against his cheek as it clears away another line of stubble.

One brow — the color dark enough to border on a shade of light brown that doesn't quite match the wet blonde hair hanging past her shoulders — hikes upward. Go ahead, Holtz. Say something about it. See what happens. It's practically a dare. She sets her kit down on the edge of an empty sink, resulting in a clatter from the few items that are left inside. Either she's not particularly prone to overgrooming, she's all out of supplies, or she's hoarding them like a miser somewhere in her bunk. (Probably the third one.) Fingers fish out her comb, which she drags through damp strands, trying to work out whatever tangles might left after her shower. She doesn't say anything. Not at first, anyway, but her eyes are occasionally flicking over not to him, but to his reflection in the mirror.

The blade in Holtz's hand is an old-fashioned straight-razor that's clearly seen a number of years; the blade itself is gleaming and spotless, obviously well maintained, but the horn-like material in the handle is dull and smooth, as if worn down from years of use. Holtz keeps his head stock still as he runs the sharp piece of metal up and down his face, but his peripheral vision catches her sidelong looks at his reflection. His eyes slide for a moment over to her own mirror as she works at her hair. But, probably wisely, he says nothing in response to her raised eyebrow.

"Why do you try to hide them under your clothes?," she asks, shattering both the silence and the impenetrable wall of 'impersonal' which she's made a point of building around herself ever since she first set foot on the ship. It's a prying question, no doubt about it. It may even stray across the line of propriety and straight into territory belonging to the rude. She's likely referring to his tattoos, but really, he could interpret the question any way he likes.

The question clearly surprises Holtz; his head twitches in her direction, the razor slipping and nicking him in the jaw. He winces, uttering a short, sharp hiss of annoyance; the blade clatters against the sink as he tosses it down. Blood drops down his face onto the metal until he pulls out a hand towel, pressing it against the wound for a few moments to staunch the bleeding. "I didn't think I was," he replies after a long stretch of silence. "Hell, anybody that goes to the fitness center's probably seen just about every bit of ink I've got." The tone of his answer is guarded, almost monotonous. "Besides, ain't like uniforms leave me much choice in the matter, yeah?" His jaw clenches as he pulls the towel away, hand reaching out for the razor once more.

There's surprise at his reaction — apparently, she didn't think he startled quite so easily. Really, she ought to ask him if he's alright, but given his tone, there's obvious hesitation. Franklin opens her mouth for a moment, about to, before she closes it again. Green eyes flick back to the mirror. "There wouldn't be any point in trying," she continues. "I can hear exactly who you are in every syllable the comes from your mouth and see it in every step that you take." There's no criticism in the statement; on the contrary, it sounds like quite the compliment.

Holtz exhales, the blade in his hand hovering a few inches from his face before he finally drops his hand to rest against the sink. A line of blood again forms where he'd cut himself, but after the pressure he'd applied it's congealed enough to keep from dripping down his face, merely forming an angry red line across his skin. "I told you I came up through the ranks," he says a moment later. "Ain't many Tauron officers in the Fleet. Especially after that nasty bit of business with the Pacification." He straightens again, turning towards her and folding his massive arms over his chest. "Don't misunderstand me, I'm proud of who, of what, I am. And like I said, there are times when it suits my purposes t' show it off. Some damn fool starts runnin' his mouth, you flex the muscles and flash the ink, maybe he starts thinkin' better of it. But other times…" He sighs darkly, his chin jutting out in almost a confrontational manner. "Lotta bluebloods and Academy pukes in the ranks what don't like the thought of jumped up dirteaters tradin' green pins for gold. So yeah, maybe I cover 'em up sometimes. Some people, they see the ink, and that's all they see, you know?"

He's likely accustomed to most people being cowed when his temper flares — when it's aimed at them. She simply resumes pulling her comb through her hair, focusing on the ends of it. They're still dripping slightly, even as the roots of her hair begin to dry and lighten. "Assumption is a road that can be travelled both ways, you realize," she says softly, before finally setting her comb aside. One hand reaches up to twist her hair into a rope and a stream of water pours down her fingertips. The rope is twisted into her usual bun and then she snaps a brown hairband around it to hold it in place. Only then does she look up from her task, resting her eyes not on his reflection, but on his face.

"Personally, I don't care what people think," Holtz spits, jerking a thumb at his chest as his lip curls in a slight sneer, his eyes meeting hers uncompromisingly. "But my career means a lot to me. It's as much a part of my identity as where I'm from, yeah? Took me a while to realize it, an' by then it was almost too late, but — " He trails off with a shrug. Finally the razor is lifted once more, and he turns back to the mirror with features clenched as he goes back to clearing the last unshaven parts of his face.

"It's a compromise that you don't need to make," she says, before leaning into the mirror to inspect her skin. One finger presses into the skin at the corner of her left eye, dragging it down. She's just old enough that fine lines are beginning to appear there, hints of what's to come, should she survive that long. "The wrong compromise to make." Her mother would be horrified at her sudden lack of manners. There's a beat, before she says, "I'm going back to Persephone. I know that you think the Cylons have taken over the station; I disagree."

Holtz cranes his neck to look at her for a long moment before turning his attention back to his own mirror, his expression sober. A soft grunt escapes his lips, but then the conversation turns to business, and he nods slowly. "Just because they didn't shoot at us, don't mean it ain't the Cylons in control," he points out. "Wouldn't be the first time they did somethin' that don't make sense on the surface." He shrugs. "But I figure if we're goin' back there, we'll find out one way or t'other, yeah?

"It's entirely possible that it is the Cylons, which is why I refuse to risk half the wing finding out. Either way, the station needs to be dealt with. Having that technology in their hands, with access to our computer systems and all of the information they contain — records of stations, ships, communication codes — is dangerous." She goes digging into her bag again. Hmmm. Deoderant? Deodorant. Just one quick swipe under each arm. She's trying to make it last. "But I don't think that it's the Cylons. We were within range. They could've fired on us. They should've. If the crew was dead and the guns were on full auto, they would've. But they didn't. I think, more likely, that because we went in cold, they didn't know who we were — and can't afford to waste the ammunition without being sure, after the Cylons attacked the outpost. There was that hunk of Raider flying through their airspace."

Holtz grunts. "Maybe." He doesn't sound entirely convince, but he does at least sound willing to entertain the idea. Another handful of water is splashed against his face, and the blood-flecked towel again comes up to wipe it away. There's a last look at his reflection; apparently satisfied with what he sees, he turns back to face Atia, leaning against the sink. "Right. So, what's the plan? Who's goin'?" It's apparent from the tone of his last question that he thinks he knows at least part of that particular answer. After all, he is a logical choice.

"Given the fact that we may very well be making a suicide run at an anti-aircraft defense station designed specifically to take out ships sized like ours, this is going to be volunteers only. Two Vipers, minimum. Four at most. Lieutenant Agrippa has volunteered; I'll be going with him, apparently to his chagrin," she intones dryly, one corner of her mouth edging upwards as she starts looking for her bobby pins. They're all held on one single strip of cardboard, the edges frayed from repeated usage.

Holtz snorts, rolling his eyes. "Might've guessed," he replies, his tone an echo of her own dryness. "From that, I take it he tried to get you to give it to him all by his lonesome, yeah?" His face dry, he sweeps the towel over his hands a few times before tossing it back into his kit along with the razor and the rest of his gear. "Sounds like you still got a couple slots open." A shrug. "Sign me up."

"Along with a small cargo of emergency supplies for him to bring the survivors, though I don't know where he expected to store them in his Viper." A pause. "He's arrogant, in that way that young men are. He flies well, but he thinks too much of himself and makes mistakes because of it. I don't doubt he earned the bit of brass they pinned to his chest, but it's already gone to his head. In his evaluations, he survived — just barely. So did the civilian passenger. Everyone else died under his leadership, including his wingman." She simply gives Holtz a 'look' as she says that. With how little they know each other, she already expects him to catch the meaning of her pointed silence.

"I like a bit of arrogance in a jock," Holtz muses, "but he takes it too far." He shakes his head, a slightly cross expression on his face. "The next pilot his age I meet who's actually as good as he thinks he is will be the first." No, he doesn't miss that look of hers, and he's not so oblivious that the meaning escapes him. He doesn't respond to it, though. "He'll be flyin' wing a while yet, I think."

"Who is he currently assigned to?," she asks, turning fully towards him. "I've seen records of him flying with McBride several times, but I was generally under the impression that McBride was your wingman." She starts slipping bobby pins into her hair without really looking into the mirror. She knows which pieces of hair need to be tamed simply by running one hand over her blonde locks, feeling for the uneven parts where the ends threaten to escape their confines. "Which is an interesting combination in the air, I'd expect."

"Usually he is," Holtz confirms. "But McBride's gettin' too senior to be flyin' wing for anyone but me, Cole, or the command staff. Agrippa flew his wing a few times when I wasn't out there." He frowns, his brows crinkling in thought. "Bigmouth, I think. Not an ideal arrangement, but the squad's been light on senior officers." There's a chuckle at her last. "You'd think, but it works. We got paired up right before the attacks, and been flyin' together ever since, just about. He'll tell anyone in range I saved his ass thrice-over from bein' Raider bait that day. Which, you ask me, is a bit of a stretch…" He smirks. "But not by much."

"You're as arrogant as Agrippa." The accusation is laid out in front of him without apology. Hell, she doesn't even blink as she says it. "But it's a little more tolerable in a man your age. A little." Not much, judging by her tone. It appears they disagree on how much arrogance is appropriate in a Viper jock. "McBride overthinks everything he does. He doesn't trust his instincts. But otherwise, yes, you're right about him. He ought to be leading a flight, not flying tagalong. I know that Lieutenant Colonel Petra is planning on transferring more pilots over from the Rubaul; maybe it will change the structure of the wing enough to allow for it."

"Maybe," Holtz simply shrugs in the face of the accusation. He certainly doesn't seem to dispute it all that much. "But unlike him, I think I've earned it. If fifteen years in the cockpit, four of 'em spent trainin' new jocks at Nike, doesn't give me the right to a little pride then I don't know what does." Frankness is met with frankness, his arms folding back over his chest in a defiant gesture. When it comes to Phin, though, the two majors certainly seem to be in agreement, Holtz nodding along with her assessment. "I used to think it was that overthinkin' that would get him killed, but it hasn't yet. The kid'll surprise you."

"He was the only one of the jocks I evaluated that was willing to knowingly sacrifice himself — and what was left of our flight — to ensure the safety of the civilian liner." It's obvious that, as much as they may be loathe to consider such possibilities, she has an enormous amount of respect for a man willing to die for his people. Perhaps more than she should.

Holtz doesn't seem surprised by that revelation. "And did it work? His gallant self-sacrifice, I mean?" There's a bit of skepticism in his tone that would seem to indicate he doesn't hold quite a lofty opinion of such selflessness as she does, but he awaits the answer nonetheless, head tilted in curiosity.

"It did, yes. The civilian liner managed to escape, once its FTL drives were spun up. The flight was lost, of course, including both Lieutenant McBride and myself." And then she smiles, however slightly. "But it was only a simulation, Major. I assure you that your wingman is still in one piece." Ohh, Lords. Is she teasing him again? Outside of the cockpit?

Holtz looks a little bemused at her smiling remark, as if he doesn't quite believe what he just heard, his own lips quirking slightly in response. "Good. Otherwise you'd owe me a new one," he replies finally, a quiet, throaty chuckle escaping his lips.

The smile becomes a smirk as he actually laughs. Careful now, Holtz. Laughing at a Caprican's jokes? That's treading on dangerous ground. Finally convinced that she's not going to leave a big wet spot on the back of her tanks, she turns on her heel to head back to where she's left her belongings — it's then that he can catch the flash of a tattoo on her back, the black lines just barely peeking out from behind the crossed T of her sports bra. "At the moment, Major, that debt is the other way around. You're the one that owes me a wingman."

An eyebrow peaks once more as he catches sight of the tattoo on her back. He almost doesn't believe he's seeing what he's seeing — one of the Caprican elite with a tattoo? Shocking! — but he's seen enough ink in his time to recognize it for what it is. "Fine," Holtz calls out after her as he turns to zip up his shaving kit. "I'll tell Lieutenant Agrippa he's got a new lead," he deadpans. If nothing else, she might be able to teach him a little humility.

She slides her tanks on, pulling them down over her head carefully, so as not to disturb her neatly arranged hair. Rather than leaving them hanging out, she tucks both of them in, stuffing them into the confines of her belted fatigues. "If that's what you consider the best arrangement," she calls out over the shower stalls. "Then so be it." She'll fly with Lieutenant Agrippa. "Are you going to the survival maneuvers down planet?"

"Mm-hmm," Holtz replies with a nod, running a quick hand through his own somewhat scruffy head of hair. "Was going to catch the next shuttle down, in fact, as soon as I was done in here. Ain't gonna pass up a chance for blue sky overhead and grass under my feet. You?"

"I haven't set foot on solid ground since two weeks before War Day," she replies. Good Lords. Six months. The woman has been trapped out in the black for six months. More than six months, actually. "I need to pack a small bag — not much. It would be counterintuitive to go to survival maneuvers with a pack full of supplies and extra socks. Then I'll be catching the shuttle down to Sheridan. It's summer in the northern hemisphere now, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Holtz affirms. "Climate's not too far off from Caprica, actually. Summers're fairly cool." By his frame of reference, anyway. Compared to the heat of a midsummer's day on the Hypatian outskirts on Tauron, Caprican and Piraean summers are nothing. "Terrain's pretty mountainous around the settlement, but you can get a nice breeze goin' through the valleys if the wind's blowin' right."

With absolutely no warning whatsoever, she starts to laugh. Not to chuckle or to chortle or to snicker, but to laugh — honestly laugh. In the largely empty room, what with all of its metal and tile, the sound bounces off the walls, echoing and doubling back on itself. There's really no explanation for what it is she finds so particularly funny.

Holtz just watches her as she breaks into her fit of laughter, confused. "What's so damn funny?" he asks crossly, arms crossed as his brows furrow in a slight scowl. It's been one surprise after another with her today, it seems.

She shakes her head as she slings her bag over one shoulder, her half-dried towl over the other. It's a clean, crisp white — likely one of the missing pieces from her kit that was recently replaced by the Orion's quartermaster. "I've just realized that for my newest assignment, the Fleet is sending me on vacation."

"Uh-huh," Holtz replies mildly. "Sunny with a chance of Cylons," he quips, snorting as he picks up his shaving kit and tucks it under one arm. He heads for the door, the dogtags against his chest flashing under the overhead lights as he walks. "See you down there, then, Major."

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