Culture Clash
Culture Clash
Summary: In which Matto intercedes for his friend and learns the difference between "metropolitan" and "culturally aware."
Date: PHD 175
Related Logs: Before Unconventional Warfare

Matto steps into the mess with a purpose. From the way he ignores the chow line, however, that purpose isn't the normal one of getting fed. The directedness of pace doesn't quite suit his usually lackadaisical frame. The look on his face isn't its usual smile of mild warmth or joviality, either. He doesn't look quite -serious,- but it's edging toward that.

Panda is seated at a table, finishing off his breakfast while leaning back in his chair to yak with some of the 'deck office' ratings. "So yeah, we was there, she was just… boom, out, in your face and short little Chaggi he says with these real big eyes he says…" His voice pinches into a nasally sound. "Goys, we gotta go and whatever you do don't look up his skirt."

Matto spots Panda over yonder and his look of intent concentration melts a little bit into something more compassionate. His limbs loosen a little bit and he ambles closer to the table; he might even not stand out too horribly if he were carrying a tray or something to make him blend further into the mess hall environs. His vaguely troubled features brighten with a smile as he comes up alongside the younger Ajtai. "Hey, Pandorian," he greets, looking down to his face, then around to the others, "Hey, guys." A friendly hand is set on Panda's shoulder by way of tactile greeting, if he's let to.

"Hey boss!" Panda smiles to the background music of raucous laughter; the punchline is contextual, though not indecipherable without it. The Marine gestures to his tray, a bit of overtoasted bread left. "I'm just finishin' up, uh, you on a diet or somethin'?"

Matto returns his eyebeams to the Ajtai, smile fading into something displaying a hint of concern. "Diet, huh? Uh, no," he realizes what the marine means, "I was actually just looking for you. You doing okay?" he wonders, tilting head to the side a little as his hand gives a supportive sort of squeeze to the shoulder.

Dorian lifts his head and tilts, squeezing eager fists together beneath his chin. With batting eyelashes and an innocent smile he gasps, "Aww, li'l ol' me?" The act is dropped quickly, with a laugh, the man reaching over to pat Matto's hand before rising to his feet. "I'm fine—better than fine, I'm a Marine, hear! URRAH?" he calls out, looking quickly about to catch any instinctively echoed urrahs, of which there are a few. Then: "Let's take a walk."

Matto tips his chin up, mouth opening with the force of a laugh at the antics, but he settles down again, stepping back away from the Marine and turning to the side, inviting him to walk along, "Let's do," he agrees cheerfully enough.

"You know I was gonna be a firefighter when this was all said and done," Panda says once the rush of officers heading to chow subsides and they're more or less alone in the halls. "I mean, the Composite Recce are awesome units, but the odds of getting back into one are just… no offense, but not worth another tour in the fleet."

Matto strolls through the corridors at an unhurried pace, only hastening along if Panda seems to be setting one quicker. "That's a very selfless profession," he notes. "-I- couldn't do it, that's for sure. Bad lungs," he adds, by way of explanation. "Or were you just hoping to get onto a calendar with the hat and no top and have all the ladies coming around mid-swoon?" he chuckles, playful.

"Oh frak that, hell no sir, that shit ain't for me," he says in a breathy, low laugh. Pandorian lets it ride a few more steps before the follow-through: "I was thinkin' more bachelorette parties, birthdays, sausage appreciation festival, y'know, the fireman circuit, right right?" The grin is unsubtle, perhaps manic, fitting well with his bouncing eyebrows.

Matto levels a gaze at Pandorian, chin dipping toward his chest and eyes rolled faintly upward to keep the stare on the level. "You don't have to sir me, you know. At least not when my boss isn't around," he adds with a cheeky grin. "It's just Kissy, okay? And yeah, I know what you mean," he adds with a beaming sort of grin, turning at a stairwell and jumping up them in a series of long, lanky leaps, then turning to stroll another corridor with the same sloth as before.

Panda tilts his head, confusion on his face. "I didn't call you… oh!" Eureka! "I did, I mean, that's just, y'know, that's just an expression, y'know?" He bounds up the stairs too after Matto takes that first three-in-one hop. The challenge, if inadvertent, is met. "I prefer to give everybody plausa, plauser, plausitatious deniability." The young man's face is left with that twisted screwing of the sort who knows they didn't get the right word, but can't think of it either.

"I think 'plausible,'" Kissy replies, "But, y'know, we're the ones who get to write the dictionaries from here on out. We could make it plausitatious if we want," he adds with a grin. "No more conforming to the conventions of the Colonial tongue, yah?" he like as not loses the race up the stairs, but he doesn't seem to mind, at all. He continues to meander in his own usual way toward a quiet spot to chat, the corridors up here all deserted. "Can I talk to you about something, Pandorian?" he asks, pivoting the conversation lazily about to a new topic, a subtle note of distress underlying his words.

Panda snaps his fingers. "That's the word." To the rest, though, he's just shaking his head. "Naw, words gotta mean stuff, they're important. They're like magic sorta." He lets out a nervous laugh, oblivious to where he's being lead. "I'm just a dumb frakkup," the man smirks, reaching up to rub the side of his nose with his thumb. "I wouldn't want me writin' any kind of dictionary or encyclopedia or, frakkin, I dunno, whatever." To the last question he just shrugs and quips, "Thought we were."

Matto turns by the entryway to Parts Storage, turning his back to the bulkhead and tucking his hands behind his back, leaning there and looking at Panda with a quiet, almost sorrowful seriousness coming over him. "I wanted to talk to you about Marty," he breaches the subject. "He's bound and determined to go through with this foolish thing, Pandorian."

Panda's eyes immediately narrow, his nostrils flaring. "Good." The voice is lowered and harsh, dancing the line between anger and threat. The Marine rounds on Matto, planting his feet wider, knees bent. As his arms fold across his chest Panda states flatly, "You've got something to say about it."

Matto keeps his own posture pre-eminently non-threatening. He's not puffing up or trying to out-piss the Marine. He keeps slouched back against the wall, arms behind his back in a posture of physical impotence, though his eyes stay on Pandorian's, nothing harsh nor keen about the stare, which is open, warm and frank. "I need you to be the more sensible person here, Pandorian," he tells the Marine gently. "I know it hurts," he adds, lower eyelids raising slightly to narrow his eyes from underneath in a look of shared pain rather than one of anger. "But we need to keep things civil between us. We need all our fighting strength to stay alive. We start fighting amongst one another and… we're all dead."

Enter Matto, the Marine Whisperer. His physical minimalization keeps Pandorian from feeling threatened, though the man stays on edge. "Alright, Kissy," he says softly after a deep, long breath. "Where you from? You're a city boy, aren'tche?"

"Thalattra, yah," Kissy replies, sympathy still there in his look, though his lips pull in a quiet smile of gratitude when Pandorian agrees with him. He doesn't say anything more on it, though, going along with the new course of the conversation, "What about you? You're from…" he never really quite knew what the most PC term for that particular location was.

"Leonis. Ajtai are an old steppe clan." He uncrosses his arms, but only to point an accusing finger. "I don't expect you to understand, just listen. We got rules and we got pride. There's duty to clan and family that comes before anything else." Panda huffs out a breath, twisting sharply and beginning to pace. "What I am supposed to do?!" he all but whines, snapping his hand down in frustration. "A man wants to court my sister, you want me to turn my back on the stars of our forefathers?"

Matto shoulders against the wall, other shoulder peeling away first as he slouches forward, waiting until Pandorian passes on one length of his pacing and coming to set a gentle hand on the top of his shoulder, nothing confrontational, a supportive squeeze. "I don't want you to ignore your sister. I don't want her to get hurt any more than you do, Pandorian," he tells him. "Tell her how you feel. Watch out for her. Watch out for -him-. Tell her when you get worried. Or maybe you'll find Marty coming to be like a brother to you, in time," he shrugs his shoulder, helpless. "Look, when all of this started… I told her what I though about it," he says, and, from the falling tone of his voice just there, it probably wasn't anything good. "She took my concerns into consideration, weighted them with what she was feeling, and decided that she wanted to try and make it work anyhow. That's not my decision and it's not yours. Aphrodite will as she will," he notes, invoking the Matron Daimon of Thalattra and Columella, "And sometimes she brings the greatest pleasure, and sometimes she brings the greatest pain, and sometimes… all -we- can do is be there for the people we love, and support them in their decisions. -BE- there for her, Pandorian. But don't let it come to blows. Hitting never helped anyone."

The hand on his shoulder stops Panda's stride and gains Matto a sharp glare, but it does freeze the moody Marine. He listens and begins to shake his head more and more halfway through. To be fair, though, Pandorian does let Matto speak his mind on the matter. That's where fairness starts to crumble. "Alright Kissy, this? This thing you're trying to do?" He shrugs Matto's hand off his shoulder in annoyance. "This shit is why I don't trust You People." The last words are nearly spat. "You're so out of touch, your spirits are trapped in concrete, you…" His heel slams against the deck as Panda twists away to stalk off. "Get outta my face or get in line behind Martin."

Matto takes his hand back as it's shrugged off, tilting his head to the side as he tries to have his thinkmeats catch up to Pandorian's, in vain. "What do you mean, Pandorian?" he asks. It's a simple, honest question. "What am I trying to do?" he asks him, just trying to get caught up around the invisible turn in the conversation that Pandorian took without his knowing it. He doesn't move to follow, his voice doesn't rise in tone or timbre.

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