Memoir: Experiment One
Zachary - Experiment One
Summary: On a flight to bring a new Rescue Raptor to CFA Leonis, Capt. Zachary Sheperd makes the acquaintance of Eden Ackerman.
Date: 13/01/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Zachary Eden 
Pallus - Failed Kobolform Bivouac Site
7 June 1996

When the rescue call went out from Pallus, the first Raptor to arrive was a combat training unit from Battlestar Radiant. When it touched down, it was quickly obvious that there was not enough room for the team and their equipment. The pilot of the shuttle that brought them to the planet was the priority load, injured when the control panel on the shuttle shorted out and blew up in his lap. They start loading on other members of the team, but finally, there's only two people left and one seat. "The Rescue bird from Leonis will be here soon. I need one of you to stay behind until it gets here. We're full up." he comments, looking from the guy to the young woman. "We can get you on board." the ECO offers to the woman. "We can even make room for you to sit next to me." A wink at the obvious offer as he waits for her answer.

Eden, dirt stained and stubborn as ever offers the ECO a rueful smile, "No, thank you sir. I will be staying behind to watch over the rest of my research, thank you." She says and glances to the man beside her as she takes a step back. "Enjoy the ride." She doesn't even bat a lash at the ECO, turning around to make the walk back to the outpost, dragging off that jacket in favor of tying it around her hips. The fitted sleeveless top looks at least clean where it had been covering before to some extent. She dips back inside without a backward glance.

"Nice try, Virgin." the pilot offers to the ECO as he goes to retake his station. "Can't blame you for trying for it, though." he comments as he chuckles to prepare the bird for flight.

The ECO watches her saunter away and sighs. "Frak." he murmurs. "Shut it, Gatorbait." he comments as he moves to retake his station next to the smelly guy that was going to be in her seat.

The Raptor lifts off to leave, and it's nearly twenty minutes before the 'RESCUE' flight from CFA Leonis comes in to touch down. The back hatch drops down, and there seems to be only one occupant. "Anyone home?" the thirty-something year old Captain offers as he steps down the deck, checking the mission profile he had written down. The Raptor looks like it just rolled off the line. Perhaps even on it's first flight.

The sound of the bird landing is indeed heard inside the outpost and the door, left open shivers with the rumbles of the storm picking up on Pallus. Her head pokes out and she lifts her voice, "Hello! Over here…please. I am going to need some help carrying these boxes to the bird…" The woman disappears back within, leaving him to join her.

Inside she has about eight boxes stacked up and is breaking down a computer at a station. She is tying off a few of the wires and then shifting the screen to make room. Without looking up for when he enters, she says plainly, "If we can't get the screen, we can at least get the tower. Its got all the data…oh and we need those drives." She points to a wall that holds five stacked towers.

"Oh, hey." the pilot offers as he moves to meet his rescue for the day. And while she may be in a sleeveless top that hugs her chest, it's her eyes that he notices first. So blue and bright, as he stands for a moment. And then he nods. "Sure." he finally says with a smile as he goes to follow her into the bivouac.

"We have plenty of time, miss. We're not going anywhere." He takes off his helmet. Clean-shaven, black hair, blue eyes. His nametag reads Sheperd, Z. And beaneath it 'Pie'. Setting the helmet on the table, he lifts the first box to carry out to the Raptor. "What were you working on down here?" he asks curiously as he moves into the back of the Raptor. The ECO station is still wrapped in plasic, as is the seat. Everything is new and shiny. "I was deadheading this bird back to Leonis from the assembly line when the call came in. I was heading that way myself, so I offered to come help out. Guess I was beat to it." She is going to Leonis, right? He hopes.

Following him out with her own box, she adjusts it and hefts it to one arm for a moment. "Kobolforming, Mister Sheperd." Hell if she knows ranks. Climbing up into the Raptor after him, she gets a look around, "I see, well I must be the lucky one." She grins a bit and then moves over to set the box down next to his own. "At least you don't have some leering backseater." She gives him a look and starts back off the bird, her boots lightly sounding on the metal grating.

The wind catches her and she sidesteps a moment, quickly adjusting and crossing to enter the outpost once more. She heads back over to the computer she was breaking down and grabbing the elastic band in her hair ties up the lat of the cords, leaving her hair, messy but free.

"It's Captain, or Zachary, if you perfer, miss." Zachary offers as he continues to move boxes with her. "Kobolforming? I was told that was impossible here. The ground is full of acidic ash from some anctient volcanic eruption or something?" he asks curiously, apparently having read up on the place. Probably did on the way in just to kill time.

He watches her hair in the wind for a moment as he slips off his jacket to start to work on lifting more boxes and supplies to move towards the Raptor.

"Captain than," Eden replies and grabs up the computer tower, straining a moment but awkwardly lugging it for the door. "Aye, thank you for that point made. I was hoping to prove that wrong with my grad thesis experiment, but it seems it didn't work." Sore spot to hit, Zachary. She doesn't yet offer her name, instead entering back outside to cross to the Raptor and find a secure place for the precious cargo. SHe has to shake her head a few times to clear her view.

Hunching down, she works at strapping the tower into place.

"Sorry to hear that." Zachary sounds sincere as he works on removing the last of the equipment from the bivouac to the Raptor to store gear. "Just secure it on the stretcher over there." he suggests, placing some of the systems along it and using the straps to secure them down as he goes along. He feels the chill in the air, and he quiets for the moment. He glances back to her, and he frowns, empathizing just a little. She's in a bad mood, and her experiment just fell. He considers, and then asks mainly to himself, "I wonder how well Cinnamon Fern or a Sweet Pepperbush do. They love acidic soil."

And he heads back out into the bivouac site to look around the area to make sure there's no other mission critical supplies that need to be secured.

Taking his advice, Eden sets the tower down onto the stretcher and begins to strap it in. She is rather grumpy to put it mildly. Though his plant references cause her to pause and look up and over at him. Hands press to the small of her back and she arches, popping it slightly as she studies him. "Yeah, they would do rather well here except that it doesn't do anything for the rest of the spectrum of plants." Pause. "How do you know that?"

She follows after him, now fully looking at him.

"True, I assume that only really Calcifuge plants would do well here. But that does nothing for fruit-bearing plants." Zachary offers absently as he collects a few items and kneels down to run his fingers in the dirt. "My father owns a restaurant near Hedon A and M." he offers. "Grows his own vegetables for it, so I learned from him when I was younger and my mother was on duty at the hospital. Another Broken Egg Cafe. Heard of it?" he asks curiously. "They serve omeletes day round for college students."

"Right, exactly," Eden seems perplexed at his level of knowledge. "Ummm I can't say I have actually. But then I don't normally eat out. Student and all, its cheaper to pack in those dried noodles." Her smile curls up further and she rubs at her neck. "Got a few more boxes inside and then I can lock up for the crew to come later." She makes a motion with her hand and then slips off the Raptor, tugged at by the wind that suddenly grabs at her violently.

She skids on the open ground. She manages to catch herself before she flushes, her hands placed to her jacket and hair to keep them in place.

Just behind her as they walked, Zachary chuckles, "Well, if you ever want to eat there, just tell them that you met me, they'll give you a seat of honor and a free meal. Dad and my sisters are always hungry for stories about me." he admits as the wind kicks up. She's in front of him, which shields himself from the wind, but he puts up a hand as she slips, and it settles on her back, holding her up until she regains her footing and he quickly pulls his hand away, as if the feel of her shirt and the skin beneath it was quickly too warm.

"We.. should finish loading up before the storm kicks up." he says, glancing out towards the gathering storm clouds. "Otherwise, we're going have to ride it out in the site or in the Raptor until it blows over."

"I will remember that, though I am not sure how much longer I will be there. I have to type up the rest of my thesis and the results.." ANd she slams into his hand and takes a moment to catch herself, her hand reaching back for his shoulder. Taking a moment, she smirks in thought over stories and slips into the station. "The storms are not long here, but it will slip in fast. We may already have to wait it out." She explains and grabs up the last box.

"Lets go see what your DRADIS shows on the incoming. Grab that last box and I can get the door locked up." As they get near the exit, she lets him slip out and then follows, having to brace for the wind again as fights to lock the door.

While they are still inside, Zachary nods, and leans down to grab that last box. "Can you grab my helmet for me?" he asks her, jerking his head towards where the helmet sits on the table as he heads out, bracing against the wind as he makes his way up the rescue Raptor's ramp to settle the box into position. And waits for her before he moves to the front of the bird and settles into the pilot's seat to start the warm-up sequences, and to bring DRADIS on-line.

The sound of her boarding the Raptor sounds and she sets the box down, stacking them in a line. Dragging fingers through her hair she can be heard coming towards him and leaning over his seat, she offers the helmet to him and then begins to look over the controls. "Interesting…" She muses and then slips into the co-pilot seat, helmet brought to her lap if he doesn't take it. The window outside picks up, dusting dirst and swirling up like a dark storm. "We may have to stay, Captain." She says simply and watches the scene unfold outside.

"Eden Ackerman." She finally offers in an offhand way before blue eyes settle on him and she offers her hand.

"Looks like." Zachary agrees. "I can usually fly in a storm if needed, but it's not something I like trying to cowboy into to impress a pretty woman." A small smile, before he accepts the hand in his own. "Zachary Sheperd." he offers as he shakes her hand, his stromy blues meeting her eyes as he powers up the redundant systems. Without the ECO station running to generate heat, it will start to get chilly in the craft as the lighting starts to streak across the sky and the first large rain drops splatter on the glass of the cockpit. "It is a plasure to meet you, Miss Ackerman."

Pulling her jacket off from around her waist, she pulls it on and wiggles into it as the storm breaks out in its beautiful display. Eden's smile becomes something of awe and reverence. "It may not be worth colonizing here, but it can be beautiful in its danger." She says, leaning forward to get a better view as she wraps her arms around her. "It drops temperature fast.." Her head tilts ands he glances over at him, her smile still there. "I am oddly, going to miss this place. There is a beautiful little cove up over the other ridge, used to go up there and watche the storms."

He starts to pull off his jacket to offer to her, but she seems to have it under control. Zachary watches her reactions for a moment, and considers. "Hold on." he comments, and brings power to the engines, and warms the bird up before he pushes it gently up with his fingers on the control. The raptor shudders slightly under the wind, but he keeps it low as he guides the Raptor forward. "Show me where it is?" he asks her as he searches for a good landing spot.

At the Raptor shudders, she grabs at the sides of her seat and holds on tightly, letting out a startled gasp that melts into a broader grin as her surprise wears through. "Yeah…sure…" Zachary gets a long look and then leaning forward she points through two large plateaus. "There should be a place to set down there, there is a network of caves.." She explains and then looks back to him once more. Blue eyes consider him and a rather pleased look crosses her face as she settles back once more.

Zachary would catch that look if his eyes weren't locked on the DRADIS and the screen ahead. The rain pelts the windhsield, and even with the wipers going on full, it barely keeps the windows clear of the storm. As he spots the cave, he turns the Raptor, backing it to the entrance of the system and lowers to the ground. "Want me to drop the hatch to get out?" he asks her.

"You aren't a half bad pilot, Zachary. I have to admit, I didn't think you could park this bus in here." She leans out to get a better look and then nods, "Yeah, I can show you the area where we watch." She says and unstraps herself, rising and sliping out between the seats to head for the hatch. There is an excited, expectant look on her face as she hugs her arms around the front of her, pressing inward as she prepares for the cold air.

"Well, half-bad pilots don't become CSAR pilots, Miss Ackerman." Zachary offers with a chuckle. "One second." He opens a small compartment and digs out a pair of those foil survival blankets and a large lunch box, with a large water bottle on the side of it. He finally moves to her, and lowers the door into the cold air, stepping a little closer to her subconsciously.

Turning to look at what he's grabbed, she can not help but smile and then study him. Eden shifts then, stepping outside as she glances over her shoulder. "This way, Captain. Watch our footing." True to her warning, its uneven,the rocks of the cove shifting beneath feet as that odd colored water laps at their feet. She leads him out, towards a grotto with an outcropping strewn with what might be scrub brush.

"Sure thing, Eden." Zachary offers as he tries to make his way along. He's not the most sure footed person in the world as he slips and nearly falls a few times as he almost reaches for her, but stops himself as he follows her into the grotto, and lets out a low whistle. "Is that a sage brush?" he asks, gesturing towards the bush as he follows along with her.

"Closely related, yes.." Eden admits and then turns to grab him as she seems him falter and her hand is warm despite the cold. Her grip is firm and sure. "Too much time in a pilots seat, Zachary." She teases him and then helps guide him into a flat stone, large and warn away by the wind and motions. "Here is perfect.." And if on cue there is a brilliant flash of lightning, filling the small little grotto with brilliance.

His hand grips into hers for a moment, and a light tinge hits his cheeks. Maybe from the warmth, maybe from her tease. "Yeah, afraid I have two left feet when it comes to dancing." he admits as he lets her lead, the lighting illuminating the two of them for a moment as he studies her, and then goes to unfold one of the blankets to set it on the ground. Not sure what she may want to do with the other one, he offers it to her, and settles on the ground, making plenty of room for her, should she choose to join him.

And then he opens up that small box, and pulls out a half a sub, chicken salad on wheat, a bag of carrots, a few fresh brownies, and that bottle of water. "It's not much, but dinner is served?" he asks with a small smile. "If I knew we would end up camping here, I would have prepared a better meal."

Looking to the food, Eden keeps the other blanket and then lowers down next to him on her knees and laughs softly, "Had I known you were going to invite me on an impromptu picnic date I would have cleaned up." She smirks a bit, "It works, its just fine, thank you. I had not even realized I was hungry," she admits softly.

Her eyes settle on the food in his hand and she grabs for the carrots. "This will do." She says and begins to nibble on one before looking towards the storm. "They don't last long but they are destructive and beautiful."

"If I realized I would end up on a picnic date with you, Eden, I'd asked more properly." Zachary says and gives her a warmer smile. Splitting the sandwich with his hands, he sets it aside in case she wants it anyway and opens the water. "Uh.. I didn't have any extra cups, so we're going to have to share. You first though." he offers.

Settling back and crossing his legs under him, the Raptor pilot watches the storm in all of it's glory, but his eyes inevitably keep drifting back to her. He reaches for a carrot absently between strikes, his fingers brushing against hers as it dips into the bag. "It is beautiful." The storm. The grotto. Her. He can't truly decide which one he means.

"Well you will have to remember to do that next time, Zachary or I shall be cross with you." Eden doesn't seem at all shy about their little exchange, even when he brushes his hand to hers to get a carrot. She does eye his salad and relents. Taking up the half he left her, she commits to it, taking a bit. "This is really good." She says, absently lifting her hands to cover her lips when she talks with a full mouth.

"Thank you." She gives him a warm smile and then says, "Much better than the backseater on the last bird."

"Most pilots seem to be like that, fly by the moment, land in the offered port, all of that." Zachary lets out a little breath as he takes up his half of the sandwich. "I'm more of the committed type. It's why I took a ten year gig at Leonis. Puts me close to home, gives me a chance to do what I enjoy." he shrugs his shoulders, and glances to her. "But on the behalf of all pilots of the Colonial Fleet that do not properly know how to act to a beautiful woman, I sincerely apologize." he smiles warmly back at her, and the words are true and sincere.

At her compliment, his smile grows more. "I made it myself, Eden. So thanks. I went to college. Graduated in culinary arts." he looks amused for a moment. "And then discovered my calling."

"And now you are flying…do you have an oven on that bird?" Another light tease, especially after his apology, she clears her throat. "Oh its nothing, was just a innocent attempt at flirting with me that came off more as leering really." She looks back out over the scene unfolding.

"Tell me how you discovered your calling?" She prods him for that bit of info as she eats, shifting to relax back and truly join him.

"Crashed and burned, huh?" Sebastian asks, leaned next to her, not quite touching as he offers the bottle of water to her. "And no, no oven in there. I keep that hobby to myself for the most part, even if I ended up with the callsign of Pie." he says with a chuckle.

"I was walking one day, and I saw a rescue bird sweep in with wounded. My mother was on duty at the hospital and I went to see what was going on. It was just.. watching that bird fly and land and go again. And I knew that I wanted to do that. To see the stars. To know what it's like to help someone. Not to just be the next owner of the Broken Egg." he lets out a breath. "My dad was disappointed when I joined up. I think he's gotten over it. So, what made you to decide to want to be a scientist?"

Taking the water, she thanks him again and washes down part of the sandwich as she listens to him. "Pie." That makes her laugh, "I love pie.." Her eyes look back out over the natural phenomenom while he explains.

"One of those bright eyed boys. Wanting to reach the stars…." She lets her voice trail off. She looks down at her dirty clothes, "I liked to play in the mud as a kid." She wrinkles her nose and dimples show in her cheeks before she waves it off. "I love to see the true definition of adaptation, of how natural life can hang on when there should be now ay it can. I can't handle blood…but plants. Well that is something I enjoy and well I married the two really. I love my studies."

"Is that all you're married to?" Zachary finds himself asking. It's a brazen question and he quickly realizes it as his cheeks darken and he shoves a carrot into his mouth as he turns his attention back to the storm. He looks down, not sure what else to say at his faux pas, and coughs. "That was.. well.. I'm sorry. Out of line. Throw a penalty if you need to."

Lips part in mild surprise for a brief second before Eden laughs. Its a delightful sound that sends a sparkle to her eyes when she can open them again, "Oh dear me…well at least it was somewhat more direct than that backseater." Pausing, she considers, "I don't live my job, Captain…but yes it is the only thing I am married to at this point." She lifts her left hand to wiggle her fingers. "This experiment was effectively my baby."

"And it didn't work this time. Doesn't mean you can't try again." Zachary's cheeks are still slightly red from his faux pas and it shows as he takes the water bottle and drinks from it before passing it back. Though her laugh does much to calm his nerves and he smiles. "I just wanted to make sure if I asked you on a proper date you would not have to break that bad news to me." A smile at that as a blast of cold air rushes through the grotto for a moment before retreating and there's a loud crack of thunder right next to the cave.

"Maybe, but it won't be funded and I don't have that kind of money." Eden admits and shrugs. "We will see what position I get after graduation. Maybe there will be room." Her blue eyes settle on him, blinking as brows raise rather high and she smiles faintly. "Ahhh well I could shoot you down for other reasons but I have a feeling I would be making a huge mistake given that you cook and everything."

"How much of your experiment can you scavenge?" Zachary starts to ask, and then turns to Eden, blue eyes settling on her. "Really, Miss Ackerman?" he says in a teasing lit as he considers her, his stormy blues meeting hers. "…you think I would be so craven as to invite you to my apartment for a home-cooked dinner, soft music, and candlelight. That is a third date scenario, clearly, when you are considering sealing the deal with a kiss." A chuckle at that as he studies her face, and his fingers brush over hers before pulling back a little.

"Well I have all the results but its going to change at a new site so its just the set up and controls really." But she can not help but smirk at him, a soft laugh escaping her. "Well drat, than I am out. No cooking, I am going to have to pass." She teases, their flirting possibly becoming more with the brush of his hand and mention of a kiss. "And what makes you think I am going to kiss you, Captain?" She considers him, one brow arched.

"Well, if we have not kissed by the third date, then I would start to wonder if you were interested in me. We could meet at my father's place after hours and I can cook you a meal there. That would be a good second date, if this was considered to be a first, which we seem to be debating." Zachary offers a smile and a chuckle at that. His fingers stay away from hers, letting her decide on the next action as he studies her eyes.

"Hopefully you would find me charming and my cooking irresistable and my conversation fufilling and you would consider what it would feel like to press your lips to mine to see if your heart flutters and you get those butterflies in your stomach." He laughs, and shakes his head. "But that depends on me getting a yes for a proper date. And that's a huge hypothesis at the moment. How would your thesis read on that, Eden?"

"I do hope you are referring to me as the control, Captain. I believe you are the one blushing and biting your lip." Eden points out, amusement on her face though there are hints of her own blush that she manages to keep somewhat hidden. Her smile grows and she studies his nearness before she hmmms thoughtfully. "Well I guess, in the name of science. How do you think the variable will react now if the control were to touch?" She reaches a hand out for his cheek, brushing her fingers lightly but only a brief second before dropping them. Yes, she's teasing him.

A breath nearly hitches in his throat, and Zachary offers a smirk. "I believe it would cause the variable to react in a favorable manner." he comments to her, his eyes bright as he allows his fingers to settle over hers again. "And it would wonder what task it would have to carry out to gardner further positive encouragement." he chuckles a little, eyes light with amusement that nearly crinkles his eyes.

Finding his fingers once more on her hand, Eden glances down to his and she wets her lips. "Well that depends I suppose. I am not sure what we are testing for this first day. That would depend on the variable entirely." Its a test, she holds her ground but perhaps expects more. Her eyes search his and amusement still is very evident painted upon her face.

"It's your experiment, doctor. Your thesis." Zachary's fingers curl over hers for a moment and then he remains locked in on her. And something about the fullness of her lips, the way that the wetness is reflected by the lightning outside, and he leans closer to Eden, his arm sliding to cup around her neck, caressing the skin and presses a gentle kiss against her mouth. It only holds for a second before he presses it further, but not going deeper, not until she shows that reaction to the idea.

Eden makes a soft sound and then the woman hesitates and presses back in, reinforcing the kiss a moment. She does not deepen it but pulls back just a little to murmur, "Not a doctor yet by the way…but you can feel free to call me that if you like." A smile causes laugh lines at her eyes to crinkle before she adds. "So I think that is a good place to start in the experiment of dates.."

"…so the experiment is a success?" Zachary offers, and smiles. "I'll call you doctor when I get the invite to the graduation ceremony." he says, his hand pulling through her hair before he settles back to watching the storm start to slacken up. "We should be able to head home soon. Should we plan our second experiment for say.. tomorrow night?"

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