Baby Step
Baby Step
Summary: Kai supervises Roubani's first time in a simulator since his accident.
Date: PHD123 (OOC Time: Thu Aug 20)
Related Logs: Directly after Curiosity

Kharon - Simulators

Roubani has been here for about seven or eight minutes, his name written down on the sheet in a block of time to use one of the simulators. He's standing near the fake cockpits, jacket off and draped over a chair by the rest of his things. His T-shirt chest reminds the room that he is property of NAVY, arms folded loosely just under the bold black letters as he looks at the quiet machines.

It'll be another ten minutes or so, until Kai steps through the hatch. He, of course, has had to strip out of the flight suit, shower and change into a set of fatigues. His open jacket and tank tops are still sporting a few damp spots, in fact. It's the sort of thing he's liable to get on someone's case for— if they were on duty. Which he isn't. "How do you feel?" he asks somewhat brusquely as he approaches Roubani. The computer console is left alone, his hands slid into the pockets of his BDUs.

"My stomach hurts," Roubani replies, quiet and matter of fact. His head makes a slight turn to acknowledge the man's presence nearby, but his eyes stay forward. "That happened the last time I stood here and looked at them, too."

Kai nods slightly as he comes to a halt beside Roubani. He, too, looks toward the nearest viper cockpit, but makes no move to approach it just yet. "You need to hurl?" he asks bluntly. That doesn't sound accusatory, or patronising in the slightest. It's a simple question.

"Already did," Roubani says, a hint of dryness that manages to brush up against humour. "I believe in preparedness."

Kai actually chuckles at that. It's a soft, somewhat husky sound. "All right, let's take a walk around, then. Rather have the real thing for this, but the hangar bay's chaotic enough right now, it'll probably just make matters worse for you." He starts off for the 'viper'. "What scares you the most?"

And, well, Roubani hasn't flown a Viper in months now. They hardly need more crashed birds up there right now. His arms stay folded as he starts to walk, not dawdling but not in a overly enthusiastic rush either. "Being overwhelmed," he answers after a moment. "Losing control of it."

Kai walks on in silence for a few moments, hands in his fatigue pockets, shoulders slightly hunched as they circumnavigate the cockpit. He doesn't appear in any kind of rush; normally he'd expect the junior officer to keep up with him, but this time it's him keeping pace with Roubani. "I had a CAG tell me something, once, a long while back. I think it was on the Achilles. Big bull of a woman, Captain Sweet if you can believe that." His lips twitch a little.

"Fate is a cruel beast," Roubani comments to that, drily. His voice is a little tense as his eyes flicker from point to point on the cockpit they're walking around, but it doesn't overwhelm his speech.

Kai withdraws a hand from his pocket, and trails his palm over the plain, unadorned and somewhat dinged steel that forms the cutaway cockpit of the viper. A few pilots have scrawled things on it, and had their vandalism summarily cleaned off; the ghosts of sharpies past are still visible in a certain light, though. "I was having trouble nailing one of the advanced training programs, where you're thrust, with a wingman, into a surprise attack. Outnumbered ten to one. No matter how quick I was on my guns, no matter how fancy my flying, I boxed out every time." He rounds the back of the cockpit, and glances toward the snipe. "Every time." Two more steps. "I told her I couldn't do it. There was too much going on, and even with the reflexes of a machine I'd still be overwhelmed."

Roubani for his part doesn't touch the simulator's casing. He takes it in with his eyes, looking upwards as they round towards the half-dome covering the top of the thing, then past it towards the controls setup and the seat. It's that that he's still looking at as he nods to the ongoing tale, showing he's listening if not watching.

Kai scratches again at the tip of his nose with his thumbmail. Must be itchy today. "So she said to me, 'knowing what you do, that the odds are stacked against you, and there's no way to come out of it with a win, what are you trying to accomplish?'" He lifts one shoulder slightly, his hand retreating back to its pocket as they start to round the other side of the cockpit. "I didn't have an answer for that." He looks over at Roubani for a moment. "The point of the program, was to accept you wouldn't make it out alive. To put every ounce of what you had, into swimming out to sea, because you knew you'd never need it for the return trip." He comes to a halt by the steps that lead up into the sim. "Once I figured that out, I was able to complete it. Perfect score. All targets eliminated."

Roubani allows his own walking to stop when Kai does. His eyes finally shift to the man and watch him for a while. "Was that before or after you broke your leg?"

"Before," Kai answers quietly. That subject, however, isn't belaboured; he glances away from Roubani, and into the inert cockpit for a while. The computer hasn't been switched on, so the screen's currently black. "Ready to hop in?"

Whether or not that was the answer Roubani had been hoping for - if indeed he even had been - is unclear. He just nods once. His body is so tense it's a wonder he didn't squeak as they were walking around, but there's not a second of hesitation before the single word. "Yes."

Kai glances back, and touches the younger man's shoulder lightly. "You'll be fine." It's spoken with certainty. And again, it doesn't sound patronising. "Get settled, then we'll go over the controls." Maybe he thinks Roubani's forgotten. Though more likely, it's just an effort to remind him he's in charge of the thing.

Roubani's shoulder is a piece of stone, but there's no impulse to flinch away from the touch. He unfolds his arms, stepping past Kai without a word. There's no glance back at the CAG as he stands at the step-down into the cockpit, brushing his palms over the fabric at his hips. His weight shifts from foot to foot once and then forward, a hand raising stiffly to grasp the edge of the dome as he climbs down. There's something in the way his foot remembers to pivot just so to land him in the seat without an extra hop, and his head ducks at just the right angle without having to look up to check if he's about to smack himself in the temple. They say you never forget how to ride a bicycle.

Well, it's like a bicycle that moves really, really fast, and has a few million cubits' worth of expensive equipment up front. Same difference. "Yoke," he explains, leaning half-in and half-out, once Roubani's settled himself, to tap the useless control column with the tips of his fingers. He doesn't explain what it does; that's not the point of this 'session'. Roubani already knows how to fly. "Rudder pedals." He indicates each one with a nod. "Engines." He taps one of the fused consoles. None of these things actually work of course. They're just there for show. "Number one, number two, number three. Power is oscillating-" He has a bit of trouble with that word. "-so you control them in sequence." Next is, "Elevator trim." And then, "Air brakes. How're you doing?" With the queasiness, probably.

There are times you might interrupt and say you know this stuff. This isn't one of them. Roubani's eyes flicker from point to point, and there's not even a comment on Kai's issue with the scientific term. He nods at the question. "I'm fine." For now. His fingertips touch over the row of 'controls' once Kai's done. They hesitate over 'engines', tapping that one a couple times. His shoulders move as he breathes, his eyes going to the section of the panel that would be flashing red if those engines were severely damaged.

"Slats," Kai continues, in the same bland monotone that makes his briefings oh so exciting. "Spoilers. Comms." The connection point is tapped with his knuckle. "Now, if you're in a mark II, you don't get the flight envelope protection. You don't get the stick shaker. But you're also a hell of a lot less likely to frak up a landing because you couldn't feel it, and foul up the deck. Once you're cleared again for flight status-" When, not if. "-I'll ease you back in with a mark II." There's a glance at his watch.

Roubani is still looking at the quiet alert light when Kai starts again. Then his attention turns, following the direction again. "Alright." That doesn't seem entirely aimed at Kai. He might be talking to the machinery in front of him. "Once someone tried to put cupholders in those, you know." His shoulders roll, an uncomfortable movement but it forces some of the tension to calm down.

"I'm sure more than a few someones have." Kai pulls out until he's leaning against the outer shell of the 'viper'. "I get in and find a sticky yoke, I don't ask any questions." Then, "Get comfortable. Remind yourself how to reach everything. I'm going to grab some coffee." He starts off toward the counter. "We'll run through a program next time."

"You just had coffee," Roubani says, with the absolute barest hint of a smile. "Perhaps we ought to suggest underdash urinals instead." He looks back at the controls, running his fingers over them again slowly. Tap tap absently on that engine one again.

"It was mess hall coffee," grunts the CAG, with a sort of quasi-defensiveness about him like he was hoping Roubani might forget that little detail. "Which, as everyone knows, is shit." As opposed to the watered down viper fuel they have in here. "Number one's your main propulsion," he offers, over his shoulder. "It load balances between two and three. So you'll almost always see a failure in it, before the others." It's probably just idle commentary. An effort to take the mystique out of the system. He fiddles with the coffee machine a few moments. For a man who knows his fighter aircraft inside out, he has a remarkable amount of difficulty with.. pretty much everything else.

"It's the second button from the top," Roubani cross-comments quietly, without looking over at the man's coffee trouble. "Releases the carafe." His eyes stay on the controls, flickering across the board as he follows along. His hand touches the propulsion control, pushing on it and pulling back.

Kai glances over briefly, but otherwise keeps his attention on the procurement of coffee. The machine's set to brew, a cup slid off the shelf and checked for relative cleanliness. He's not terribly picky about it.

Meanwhile, Roubani's hands continue to roam over the Viper controls. After a while his palm rests on the thrust control, settling there a few seconds before pushing it forward, a little more roughly than he'd intended. His hand stays wrapped around the horizontal black piece, gripping it tightly.

Kai is only watching Roubani in fits and spurts, by this point. This exercise is for the snipe's benefit, after all, not his own. He rests his hip against the counter and slides a pad of paper out of his fatigues, along with a pen. A familiar pen, with a familiar little light on the end of it. A few things are jotted down.

Roubani's hand is still around that small black grip, his knuckles whitened. It slowly eases, though he doesn't withdraw his hand. "Do you recall the first time you flew a Viper?"

"I do," the Captain answers around a sip of coffee. He still doesn't turn around.

"Of course you do. You fell in love." Roubani peels his fingers off the grip. Botton here, button there, slider here. Weapons controls. His palm turns up, fingertips flicking the protective covers over those two switches up and then the switches themselves with his knuckles. It's supposed to be a smooth motion, but he fumbles it. Covers down. Do it again.

There's a brief pause after Roubani speaks. More for reflection, than consideration. "I did," he answers quietly. Coffee cup in hand, he wanders back over to the cockpit and takes up a lean against the shell once more. "But you don't have to love it. You only have to want it." He sips. His eyes are on the weapons controls. "Better than a good frak." That's murmured a bit lower.

"Good to know." Roubani flips the covers up again. Fumble on switches. He pushes them back down with a click, bracing his fingertips on them to do it yet again. "Is there not a single thing you don't like about it? Or is it a true fairy tale romance."

Kai, for whatever reason, looks vaguely amused at Roubani's reaction. He doesn't really smile, but there's a touch of mirth at the corners of his eyes. "I never said it was perfect. She doesn't keep you warm at night, and she bitches when you treat her rough. But there isn't anything I'd rather be doing." That isn't quite true. But maybe it's close enough. He drains the last of his coffee.

Flick. The plastic covers pop up and Roubani's knuckles hit the switches perfectly. If the sim were on it would be 'weapons hot'. He gives Kai a slight look, but it's faintly amused. Briefly. It flickers on and then back off, and he goes back to his measured fiddling with the controls. It's a while before he talks again. "What did I do wrong that night? At the buoy?" He sounds like it's a question that's been following at his heels since the day he woke up in Sickbay.

Kai hasn't addressed that night at all. Maybe it's been intentional. It probably has; he's rarely one to push an issue. "You weren't fast enough." The answer's straightforward, though his tone is oddly gentle.

Roubani's head makes slow nods. A couple times. He looks neither encouraged nor dismayed by the answer, he just looks again at that engine failure light, which of course is still dark. "I don't want to fail again."

"I should have ordered you to break, before I did." It's spoken with a jagged suddenness, like something that's been mulling around in Kai's head for quite some time, that he's finally had the nerve to speak aloud. Blue eyes slant away, and then back again. This time, they're on Roubani rather than the engine console. "The failure was mine. You're a rookie pilot, I should have known better." After a breath, he glances at his watch again. "I've got to go suit up. You're welcome to hang around here, but you get either my permission, or Lieutenant Valasche's, before running anything on your own."

Roubani looks up as Kai makes that sudden statement. There's a long silence, but it isn't addressed. Not this time, anyway, as Kai's watch-glancing heads off anything else. He nods once. "Your permission for one of the Lieutenants to run something in the meantime, should they have the time before you or Valasche do?" Running on his own, yeah…not yet.

Kai glances back at Roubani. There's another of those pauses after the younger man speaks, and then a small nod. The Captain's expression is, as always, inscrutable. "Sure. That's fine." Definitely something left unsaid there. "Have a good evening, all right?" He raps on the viper's outer shell with his knuckles once, then starts to turn away.

"Thank you." It comes after a beat. Roubani doesn't move from the seat, eyes fixed on the controls as Kai turns to go. "Go safely."

Kai doesn't offer anything more, whether he heard the thanks or not. He trudges off for the hatch, after dropping off his empty coffee cup on the counter.

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