A Peculiar Condition
A Peculiar Condition
Summary: A conversation about the classics goes wildly off-course.
Date: PHD 112
Related Logs: None


Tap. Tap. Tap. It may be rude, but it's not immediately obtrusive. At least, it's not as obtrusive as it could be. The little rhythmic rattling of a pen twiddled against the open page of a binder. The pen is clutched in the lightly freckled hand of one Jr. Lieutenant Willem Price, narrating the words he almost silently mouths, in a whisper. He's cribbed a page from one of Virgon's ancient writers and is apparently transcribing it straight out of the volume.

The page contains a little side-by-side presentation of the words, in Thracian and in Standard. Wil's voice is an audible whisper as he rattles off the Thracian version.

Timon's been a fairly common sight around these parts for the past few weeks. As part of his light duty assignment, the injured Raptor pilot has been helping to rearrange the stacks — penance, perhaps, for all the time he's spent in here doing precisely the opposite. Now, cane-less, brace-less, and looking none the worse for wear after his misadventures on Scorpia, the pilot's back to doing what he does best: tearing through massive philosophical tracts fifty, ninety, five hundred pages at a time. Remarkably large tome in one hand, notebook in the other, Lieutenant Stathis sits himself down a few seats across from his muttering compatriot.

"Hi," he offers, as if to excuse the noise made by the hard scraping of wooden chair against metal floor.

Matto shuffles in, folder under one arm, a little crunched open by something smallish and non-paper that's in there. A velveteen sack hangs from his other arm, held by a cord of rope around his wrist. He smiles at the other two in a silent greeting.

A few more seconds pass as Wil remains physically and mentally locked and focused on his current task. He leans over further, his eyes narrowed at his own writing.

The book itself is an old piece entirely in Thracian that he is copying as an exercise, it would seem. The would-be scribe runs through a few lines more of a work known as 'Titan's Lament' in Standard vernacular. The piece is a monologue of said Titan, who is leading the poor sap of a narrator through an ethical minefield. He repeats it again in Standard. "Nothing evil has been created by the Gods. We ourselves have manifested wickedness. But we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it." There's more to it of course, but he's not really putting on a performance, here. Timon's approach elicits a bit of a surprised lilt of his head. His identity is -known- of course but there's a complete lack of personal familiarity. His reaction speaks more of curiousity than discomfort with a visitor, though. "Oh. Hello. Sorry 'bout the noise." His pen is dropped upon the paper's surface and he glances around again and notes Matto, who gets a half-smile. "Hey."

Remarkable: that two men so intent on intellectual pursuits have never once spoken to each other beyond the requisite 'Good Evenings' and 'Roger, Rebounds' that characterize informal relations between pilots. "I don't mind," says Timon, rather casually — before dropping his precious payload on the table before him with a loud and resounding thump, cover up, spine visible: Reason: Pure and In Practice. Light bedtime reading, for sure. But Ivory doesn't get to work, not yet. "So how do you figure we do that? Reject evil, that is." He nods to his fellow Raptor driver as he speaks.

Matto passes on by; not so far as to be out of earshot, but not interrupting, either. This conversation sounds like it'll be the perfect background for the completion of the task at hand. he sets the folder down on the table, then the satchel. Then, taking off his shoes and his socks, he settles down cross-legged on a chair, then draws his legs into that confounded lotus position— well, mostly. He continues to listen to the others as he unpacks several stacks of sheets of paper and the PDA that was in there. The satchel opens and he pulls out a couple of pens. Turns on the PDA.

Another sidelong glance is tossed towards Matto as Wil leans, dogtags jingling out the front of the open jacket of his duty greens. The smile remains a moment longer but fades in a quiet nod of acknowledgement. A little 'hmming' sound escapes his lips thoughtfully as he turns back to Timon, the man that he's seen but not crossed much.

In terms of professional expertise in these areas, the ginger-haired Viper pilot is probably much more of a dabbler than he, at least by reputation. Wil's eyes dart to the book he's selected and then behold the man in question once more as he attempts to answer. "How many of these books are asking that same bloody thing? If I had to take a shot in the dark, I'd say to answer your question, stare it right in the face and stare it down but we're kind of straying into poetic territory here." He punctuates this statement with a light "heh."

Sleepy brown eyes drift over to where Matto's playing at contortionist; Timon winces despite himself but otherwise doesn't react. Instead, to the Viper pilot: "Ah," he says. The syllable is half-whispered, half-sighed. "And in that mystical land, Platitude is king." The substance of Wil's comment he lets slide for now as he sets his notebook down and fiddles in the pockets of his trousers for a pen. "What about the Titan?" Ivory asks when he's found one — so he knows the work, or at least this part of it. "What's he say?"

Matto organizes his papers and looks to the PDA for the place where he'd left off. Finding and highlighting it with one hand, he takes up his pen in the other and straightens his back, doing nothing for now but some long, slow breathing, feeling the breath and life fill him while discussions of Old Questions fill his ears.

"That land's what we always fall back on when we can't find the answers." Wil quips, his quiet words descending in pitch but in such a way that he sounds like he's almost defending the practice. "This stuff's more of a comment on human condition than finding any direct solution. It wasn't even a main focus in school, I just found it comforting." He's not outright ignoring Matto here but definitely giving him a certain degree of space to do his thing, as they say. "The Titan doesn't have any answers either. He just tosses out one contradictory statement after another as it becomes clear that he's basically just screwing with the reader."

He thwaps his pen once against the paper. as he continues. "In other words, Petrarchus himself is screwing with the reader. Or maybe he was on a bender. I don't know, I wasn't there." Considering a little further, the fair-skinned pilot cups his hand against his chin and scratches at it idly. "Apparently this book was banned for years by some factions of the Priesthood because of its content. And I'm not talking about the sappy, yearning love sonnets in the back." He lets out a brief sigh. "So here comes the part where I confess I learned to read it in its native language to try to impress Tauron girls." This last is delivered in all the self-deprecating deadpan he can muster.

Timon blinks at the flood of words, looking as if he's about to speak more than a few times during Willem's speech. Nevertheless, he's polite enough not to interrupt, and when the other pilot's all good and finished up, he allows himself a gentle laugh. "I'm from there," Ivory notes, the sides of his eyes crinkling. "And believe you me, the Tauron girls I've met have all been uniformly uninterested in whatever nonsense verses I know how to spew. You'll have better luck getting a job with a steady income stream — consulting, maybe? Finance?" He taps his pen against his notebook, a thoughtful expression on his face. "Whatever. The point? To them, your ability to recite the first eleven lines of the Aeneid means nothing if you can't afford to show them the high life off-world." The wry observation is accompanied by a slight widening in his smile.

Matto's face sets into a serene little smile, perhaps at Timon's charcterization of Tauronene femmes, which he finds particularly spot-on, or perhaps simply because he's come into the zone. The zone for what? For taking up the pen and twisting it at a midpoint toward the top of it, opening up the ink and then holding his hand poised over the paper, beginning in a slow and methodical motion to inscribe letter after letter upon the paper, taking the transcription slow and easy from the PDA, his breathing seeming timed to the repetitive stroking of the pen as he lulls himself into a peaceful state of mind, mouth slightly open for the breath that comes and goes, his eyes only for the text.

"Huh. Well, I'll definitely defer to your experience." The Viper pilot smiles an ever-so-timid smile across the table at Timon. "From where I'm sitting, I found they were a mixed lot but I don't think we were hanging 'round in the same places when I was stationed there." Wil hunches over his paper again, apparently absorbed in his little translation project in between eagerly-delivered words. Literature. Tactical simulation setups. BLUEPRINTS FOR A STILL(because Matto would have remembered that). Price is ever one to keep himself busy when he's not clocking hours in the cockpit. It results in some tired-looking eyes sometimes, his seem a bit worn at this moment but there's some life to his speech and mannerisms.

"I met some vicious ones. And some that weren't." He lets this statement hang ambiguously as it were. For now, he lets Matto continue on his task. "And you ask what the point is? I guess the point is to display some knowledge of who we are as a people. After a while I realized knowing even the smallest bit of this stuff like I do gave me satisfaction and I stopped caring about showing off."

"Don't lose hope," says Stathis mildly. "As Kissybear there can tell you, I'm no expert with the ladies. In fact, to lay all my cards on the table, I'm talking about my mother and the two girls who asked me out in senior year of high school: gold-diggers all, sure, but — as Roubani might say, this study has a terribly small n." So there's apparently some merit to Ivory's reputation as perhaps the only virgin within the ranks of the sinful oversexed club to which all Kharon's pilots belong. But Timon will say nothing further on the matter for now, instead running his hands along the edge of his book in search of one particular dog-eared corner. And as he looks: "So how about it?" There's a hint of teasing in his thin and reedy tenor. "The first eleven lines."

Ariadne steps in, arms laden with books. She's presently employing her chin to keep the topmost in place, leaving the center of the stack to bulge out precariously, signaling imminent disaster. Looks like she's either recently borrowed half the library, or has a LOT of late returns. There really should be a god who smites for that sort of thing… Just then, of course, the prognosticated book explosion goes off. So maybe there is.

The priestess fumbles and manages to keep about three of the books from hitting the floor—which is to say, not many. Sucking in a breath and half-muttering words no holy woman should ever say, she stoops to collect the fallen volumes, cheeks crimson. "Sorry," she murmurs to the room in general.

Matto pauses in his transcription at his name being invoked, but still doesn't add to the conversation, his own reputation being rather as virginal as Timon's, if rather more full of cuddles. At least he seems to get along with women. His eyes turn toward the book explosion. Except… that one. Oh, come, now, Kisseus. She did apologize. So he sets his pen down carefully and untangles his legs from one another, sliding down from his chair to crouch on the floor and help her collect the fallen library.

Wil's ears flush a bit red at something Timon said prior. Maybe it was the math joke. Or not. In any case, he backtracks to the issue that the Raptor pilot just dismissed. "Oh-ho, trust me. I'm doing all right for myself. I'm learning. It's not about that anymore. As I said, I gave up on the knife-wielders and temper-flarers and reptilian acquisition fiends. I like nice girls. Really. Save that 'tempestuous affair' stuff for the tragedies as it only makes for entertainment unless you're living it. Trust me. And you're also talking to a guy who used to skip gym class in a religious school with a complete thug girl under the bleachers who was just hanging out with him to partake in cigarettes he swiped from his mother." This little insight into the junior-grade juvenile deliquent that is now a Junior Grade Lieutenant completed, the shy smile returns again.

With a wave of his hand, he sort of dismisses the challenge, bemusedly. "But anyhow. Yah. With -that- work it's not about the verses but what they're saying. I read it as a kid and we all got the idea that Achilles was the big bad hero." The cork pops and the first f-bomb comes out of the bottle. "But frak Achilles. I always wanted to be Hector. Say what you will about Hector's terrible end, nobody got out of that story alive. I—." And then, well, there is a rain of books and the Priestess pops into view. With a slight loll of his head, Willem just grimaces a little bit at she who was 'Making it rain,' as they say. "Uh. Don't suppose you need any -help- with that," he offers in a flat, yet earnest tone.

The God of Libraries and Smiting had once been Timon, armed as he'd been with a mighty cane from Sickbay and a broken left hand. Now, though, the pilot is mortal once more, and he'll leave the reprimands to whatever unfortunate fellow happens to be staffing the Library in his stead. For a moment, he considers going to help and even pushes back slightly from the desk. But no, Matto looks like he's got things under control for now, and it'll take more than a stunning damsel in distress to tear Timon's attention from his philosophy. One fingernail slips into the gap in pages he's been looking for, and it doesn't take long before he finds his place. In the meantime: "Wrong work," he says, after Willem's lurid description of his childhood liaisons is complete. As usual, though, there's no malice in his tone, which is as mild as the springtime rain. "But I don't blame you. I've always liked Homer better anyhow."

Ariadne freezes, then very cautiously draws her hands back as Matto helps retrieve the books. "Mr. Matto," she says quietly. "That's very kind of you. But… I can manage." As long as he's touching the books, it seems, she's careful not to.

"No, thank you," the priestess says—this to Wil, though her eyes don't leave Kissy. "I appreciate it, Mr. Price. But I'm fine."

Matto holds out the stack of books he'd collected, only to have the other stack of books retreat back toward the priest. He quirks a brow in her direction, but accepts the snub with no evident hard feeling. He pushes up with his legs and stands, turning the books over partway in his hands to look at the spines briefly before he puts them down on the table near where he was working, and goes to settle in again at his writing.

"The stories run together. Aeneid was an epilogue." Wil snaps back defensively in a tone that is positively dripping with comic petulance in response to Timon. Unlike the Raptor Lieutenant, he makes no immediate move from his seat beyond a sympathetic lean as Matto fills the role of 'helpful'. No need. He gives Ariadne a calm, almost clinical glance as she goes about her duties with a slight, sideways twitch of his lips. He taps something below his chair, an olive green military-issue satchel. "You might want to see the quartermaster, uh… These make your life easier." This is the last immediate contribution Rebound makes to the cause that is 'being helpful' although it sounds genuine enough and not sarcastic. A little more wary eyeing might indicate the fact that he is slightly intimidated by the presence of the young woman. As he just said, he -did- go to a religious school. "As I was going to say." He resumes an earlier line of thought as he points at the paper in front of him, "I got absorbed in this little project. You been spending a lot of time here?"

"Yeah. You can thank the sawbones upstairs for that," Timon replies absently, brow furrowed, only half-listening — which is undoubtedly why he doesn't rise to his beloved Vergil's defense. "You?" For a while, the only sound coming from his side of the room is the rough, quick scratch of pen against paper. His script is small, fluid, and nearly illegible; it seems he's making annotations of some sort in the margins of his text, which — God of Libraries and Smiting be advised — is most assuredly his. Only when he's finished with his paragraph does he work up the will — courage? — to stand, heading over to the unstaffed desk at the back of the room and jerking his head for the girl to follow. "I'll check those back in," he offers. "Looks like the guy who's supposed to be here is taking a smoke break or something."

Ariadne shuts her eyes a moment, seeming to breathe in relief as Matto handles that awkward little moment with grace. She stands with her now-more-manageable armload, moving to the same table where Kissy stacked the other volumes. She hovers a hand over those tomes, hesitantly, then draws it away. Her fingers curl up like a shrinking flower; her shoulders twitch very slightly, almost imperceptibly.

She turns quickly, blinking at Timon, startled out of a reverie. "Iuhm. Ithank you?" she stammers, blushing. Then, smiling, "That's very kind. I'd appreciate that." She glances back at the books on the table. "If you wouldn't mind getting those?" Is that relief in her voice? It would seem so. Very profound relief.

Matto watches the internal debate within the priest with some idle fascination, actually, musing to himself on what a difficult decision picking up a stack of books presents her. The mischief in him almost wants to play with her, some. He wonders what on earth she might do if he licked her. But these playful thoughts are shoved away in favor of ones more respectful of the woman's beliefs, and he looks over to Timon, standing, again, "I'll get them," he offers, taking up the already-grossified books and taking them over, keeping a respectful distance from the woman.

Wil's eyes dart towards Ariadne's hands with a little bit of wary tension. She's not -holding- a ruler, is she? Nooooo. He remains in his seat, studying her and the two Raptor pilots with a click of his tongue as he mulls over Timon's question for a moment or so. "I make a habit of heading down here. Despite the stereotype, at least -two- people in our Squadron are functionally literate. Serves me right for pulling a ship without a functional observation deck." He says this as Timon moves to perform his other job as, well, God of Libraries. Smiting. Etc.

"Oh." Timon's not used to this sort of chivalry, and so it's with a slightly sheepish look that he abruptly u-turns — before, once more, Matto beats him to it. He stands where he is for a long moment, pale and gangly, awkward as the nine hells, until Wil's self-deprecating humor offers him an out he takes with profound relief of his own. "Arma virumque cano," he says, a faint grin on his face — hopefully, Rebound gets the jab. "Nice to meet another bookworm. I'm Ivory." Then, he backtracks yet again, sitting himself down on the small stool behind the librarian's table. One hand reaches for the stamp and inkpad stored in a recessed compartment; critical eyes squint as he checks the date.

Ariadne looks… well… a little distressed as Kissy takes up the books again. But it's just for a moment, and it's replaced by a small smile. Both the Raptor pilot and the priestess seem to be working mindfully to respect one another. Perhaps it's strained, but it's fully engaged. "Thank you, Mr. Matto."

Timon gets a more substantial smile from the priestess. Warmer. Perhaps simply gratitude for the distraction, but the difference is notable. "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ivory. I'm Ariadne." She tilts her head. "Ivory's your callsign?"

"Troiae qui primus ab oris—" Kisseus finishes the hexameter without really thinking about it. Otherwise he remains as quiet as he's been since his arrival, a far sight from his usual chatty self. Perhaps he hasn't quite left his meditative state of scripture. He puts the other stack of books somewhere near the first, when he gets up there.

"O Muse, recount to me the causes." In Standard, but Wil snaps it off all the less. It takes a moment or so of mulling over. "There's something shockingly beautiful about the way the ancient mind worked. Muses. Heh." Another one-syllable snicker as he taps the pen's cap-end idly against the paper. "Whatever. There was no justice for Troy. Either Troy. Maybe we, as a civilization, shouldn't be naming things after famously destroyed cities. Not that I believe in 'bad luck' as it were." No. He gives Matto a little sidelong, bemused glance as he too chimes in with the narrative. "So, Ivory. Rebound. But you probably knew that. I was in on that little jaunt to Scorpia where we apparently had to drop you off." There's a slight apologetic slant to his tone that might be able to be detected. Suddenly, and quite sharply his gaze flickers from Raptor Pilot to Priestess as he adds, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's where we picked you up, Sister?" The most tentative of smiles accompanies this question.

"Ta, Kissy." Timon gives the man a mock salute as he reaches for the first of the girl's books, opening it to the title page and scrutinizing the date it was last checked out. Which means — "Oh," he says again. "Returns." He drops the stamp and inkpad back in their hole before reaching for a marker, the acrid smell of which causes him to wrinkle his nose. The pilot doesn't register that he's been talked to; his greeting, after all, was more meant for Willem than for the other bookworm in the house. It's only when he finishes checking in two more books, esoteric religious texts all, that his brain processes the woman's words. "Yeah. I could tell you how I got it, but then I'd have to kill you." Ivory gives her a wan smile — it seems he, too, has noticed how silly that sounded, albeit quite belatedly. "Sorry. I heard that in a movie Roubani made me watch." He opens his mouth as if to say more, but then Rebound talks and his expression grows distant.

"Sing, O goddess, the anger," he murmurs, sotto voce: "Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled … " Timon stops mid-line, as if all of a sudden becoming aware of his surroundings.

"Hm," Kissy acknowledges the thanks with that simplest of pseudosyllables. Then, a hint of a grin twitching at the side of his mouth, he steps back a little and re-phrases for Timon, "Higgledy piggledy, Peleus' progeny filled up with rage at his country and king: now of his canine- and avian-nutritive multihellenicide, please, Goddess, sing."

Ariadne turns slightly to include Wil, dipping her chin affirmatively. "It was," she replies. "I'm originally from Caprica, however, Delphi, to be specific. That I was on Scorpia… it was interesting timing." Her smile is quiet and reserved, though dimples appear at Timon's facetious threat. "You might find that more difficult than you think. Never fear. I'll find out eventually. My spies are everywhere."

The priestess is silent during the exchange of classical recitation, however. She listens and looks from speaker to speaker, but that's all.

"I visited Delphi." Wil says, flatly towards Ariadne in one of those tones of reminisence. "Wanted to go to school there. Speaking of timing, that would have been bad in the long run." He comments, a bit awkwardly, almost visibly wincing, the pale man's ears going a touch red as they are wont to do. "Uh. Sorry. In any case." He brings his arm up to cover his mouth as he clears the throat, watching the two Black Squadron poets going at it and he simply shakes his head.

"I keep asking how people became pilots here and I wonder when I'll stop. You two. Although," he makes an edging gesture with his chin at Timon, "I'm not surprised you and Poet are friends. Is this what goes on in your berthings when I'm not around?" Again, a gesture between Timon and Matto. "I don't want to talk about the horrors I witness on a daily basis."

"Poet's a good officer," Timon says softly. "Anyway, Rebound, if you ever get tired of that madhouse, feel free to drop by. And Kissy, must you? You have a diploma." As if that fact requires the Raptor pilot to conduct himself with the mien of a scholar. His tone is fond and not in the least exasperated, but the continued talk of Scorpia has — well, suffice it to say that Timon has become markedly quieter, redoubling his attention to his duties. The screech of marker against yellowed cardstock — Kharon still uses library check-out cards — is muffled by the library's recycled air, as are the rhythmic thuds of closing book covers. No story about how he became a pilot seems to be forthcoming.

"It's… mostly this, yes, but with less clothes on," Kisseus tells Willem with a chuckle, coming more fully out of his shell now that he's mangled the proem of the Iliad into a charming duodactyl. Full four dactyls shorter per line! He shuffles bare-footed across the floor back to his chair, where he perches once more, returning to his pen and his cautious transcription into gorgeous calligraphy of what would otherwise be a very bald and unconvincing narrative. Err. Boring and snore-inducing essay.

"The University was an excellent school," Ariadne replies to Wil. Her voice is gently melancholy, but warm. Reminiscing. "I attended, myself. It was quite an experience. I hadn't been out in the world much, until then." She watches Timon at his work, keeps half an eye on Kissy. It's not a mistrustful eye, specifically. Just… tracking him. It seems important, to her, to be aware of his relative position.

A muddled, daresay conflicted look appears on Wil's face as he considers Ariadne's words for a minute or two. "Yah. That. This was the life I chose." He says simply with a little shrug of one shoulder as he starts to consolidate his things on the table, suddenly mindful of all the space he is taking up, looking away from her and at the two Raptor-men again with a slight sigh. "That's what I've heard about your digs." He finally says. "More or less. But I should visit more, never mind that." He continues to explain, "I'm a creature of variety and curiousity. I like getting sauced in my rack watching Jupiter Black stub out cigarettes on men stupid enough to hit on her as much as the next cretin but the endless song and dance gets old after a while. Why I keep myself busy and try to get out of there as much as possible."

Timon's no bon vivant even on his best days, and so it is that he stays silent while everybody else reminisces. Every so often, he'll gaze past the stack of books on his table to check whether or not his philosophical treatise is safe, though he doesn't allow that latent worry to distract him from his duties: only about fifteen more books to go, from the looks of it. His motions are automatic, even — gasp! — robotic, though he does chuckle slightly at the description of daily life among Kharon's Viper crew.

Matto scrunches up his nose at the description of Marty's sister's abuses, his chin rolling toward a shoulder as she makes a face. "Yeah, I can see not wanting to be around for that. Hey, speaking of, have you even seen Marty around? Like, how's he doing? Did Basket Case devour him with her vagina or something?" His Leontinian accent comes through harshly on the word 'vagina,' more so than on the other words, making it come out something rather like 'vergina.'

Ariadne drops her gaze, alternating her view between her hands (folded on the counter) and Timon's (scritch, scratch, squeak goes the marker). Another glance is darted at Kissy, just to make sure he's over there behaving—which he isn't, of course. But at least he's stationary. "Vagina dentata," she muses. "That must make Dr. Beckett's life interesting."

Wil's delivery of it all is just matter-of-fact and maybe, maybe he's pegged Timon for a refined type and shoots the man a look of sympathy just in case he went too far, as he is wont to do. Matto's question earns an initial look and then a blank, horrified stare as K-Bear just crosses some line either invoking a hypothetical situation or even a memory that he tries very hard to metaphorically floss from his brain. He winces, eyes narrowing a little. "Uhhh. No. They're both around. Dash was on that last op with me playing 'shepherd.'" He tries very, very hard here to remain calm. "As for Case? She's around too much. I don't know if word got around about the 'underwear prank.'" He trails off, lip quivering in a bit of righteous indignation here. Which again breaks as Ariadne speaks. A cascading series of awkward, horrible images to him finally weigh down on the poor Viper pilot and he just splutters. It might be a laugh. It might be a coughing fit. Really, though, it's sudden and is very much both.

Timon, refined? No; just more comfortable discussing things like the provenance of rights and the meaning of justice than — well — this. Timon chokes on nothing but air when Matto floats his question for public consumption, though to the man's credit, he recovers quite rapidly. When Ariadne muses aloud, his expression is carefully neutral, as practiced hands stack the remaining books into a single pile that — while precarious — is in no real danger of toppling over. And though he won't readily tell the story, perhaps his proficiency here is some hint as to the provenance of his callsign: for indeed, Ivory has literally two decades of experience shelving and reshelving a half-ton of books. Carefully, so as to avoid toppling over a few minutes of hard work, he moves to find the library's only cart, slipping in and out of the shelves.

Matto gives a laugh, himself, at the horrible image conjured up by the priest, evidently finding it grotesque enough to be counted among the humorous, like a vile comedic mask of a syphilitic old man with a silver nose, or like the deformed King Fool in a town parade. "Verum hoc est melior et mundior… nam sine dentibus est," more quotations from some old text. Alluding, for those in the know, to a man's anus rather than a woman's vagina, but the same imagery applies.

Ariadne moves to intercept Timon at the cart, protesting softly, "I can reshelve them. Or at least let me help." The clean books and the contaminated ones are all mixed up together now… but maybe the hot ones have had time to cool. In any event, she picks up a few, offering the ivory tower a smile. "Thank you." She shoots Kissy a look of barely constrained mirth. Who knew the priestess was so ribald?

"And to think I was going to go grab something to eat." Wil tosses out there, lazily, in the middle of a sigh. "And there went my appetite." He's literate enough to catch some of this, at the very least. He rumbles another cough with a polite cover of his mouth. "If I make a run for it now, maybe I can escape before it gets worse, eh?" As he speaks, he stuffs the paper he was working on back in the binder. A slight glance is given at the library goings-on, but you know what they say. About 'too many cooks?'

"No worries," says Timon, rather stubbornly, having returned from a short, successful hunt with the library's sole cart trundling along before him. "Only one of these, see." Quickly, efficiently, he begins moving the books Ariadne hasn't taken — and there are a lot of those — from the librarian's desk. Having decided (perhaps unwisely) to help out, he's now determined to finish what he started without troubling the priestess overmuch. In the meantime, he shoots Rebound a sympathetic look. "Can it get any worse?"

Not from Kissy's direction. Amused enough with the comic poems he's mulling over, he finally gets back to the business of finishing the second transcription of this text. 'Cause that needs to get done, and in style.

Ariadne relinquishes her few books to the cart, then, smiling faintly at Timon's stubbornness. "As you wish. Thank you again, then." She looks over at Wil, studying him a moment. "Please don't leave on my account, Mr. Price. I won't remain for long." Apparently she's sensitive to the fact that she makes the ginger-haired pilot somewhat uncomfortable.

This provokes a sudden twinge in Wil. Something like the twinge of a cello string that just went 'snap!' No, actually it wasn't Ariadne's statement. Not even the general foul off-color statements that have been conjured up regarding certain…indelicate images. It was Timon's question. He snaps up straight in his chair and begins as he scoops the binder and papers into his satchel. "Ivory, Ivory, Ivory. If there's one thing I've learned? -Never- ask that question. Last time I remember saying that, a week or so later I smashed my Viper into Tau's landing deck." And suddenly, quite imperceptibly, he laughs. It's a short, quick thing. "It's the most awe-inspiring feeling to be hauled out of a wrecked hunk of metal knowing you haven't and are not going to die. It grants you a lot of perspective. So, yeah." The Libran finishes now, sounding a bit more calm, "It can -always- get worse." He ambles out of his chair and gives a nervous, if apologetic glance to Ariadne. She may be on to something, but he comments politely enough. "Nah. It's fine. Besides. I have somewhere to be."

Rebound's explosive reply is quite unexpected. For a very long moment, Timon doesn't respond, as if mulling something over in his mind. Then, simply: "I know the feeling." He smiles — a fragile one, liable to be blown away by even the faintest puff — before nodding to the people around him: old friends and, hopefully, new. "Anyway, I, uh." There's the smallest of stutters in his words. "Have to shelve these." And with that, he's off to do just that. For the next few minutes — likely the next half hour, actually, judging from the sheer number of books Ariadne's just turned in — he'll be puttering about the library, his cart's rubber wheels squeaking periodically against the cold metal deck.

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