Don't Drink the Punch
Don't Drink the Punch
Summary: Eddie spends some time in the Sims and with Kai.
Date: MD039 (01 April 2009)
Related Logs: Odysseus Operation -- Organisational Meeting.

[ Simulators - Hangar Deck ][ CEC Kharon ]
The battleship gray walls in this room are barely visible at all despite it being even larger than the Ready Room. Numerous posters, whiteboards, viewing screens, file cabinets and metal lockers adorn most of these outside edges of this room. The floor, unlike the ready room, is done in the standard steel that the rest of the ship is but the paint on it has been worn and left untended through the high-traffic areas. Near the entrance, it would be readily apparent that this room has become an impromptu hangout for the pilots. A trio of small tables has been set-up in here with the accompanying chairs. Decks of cards can be found scattered around on top of the nearby lockers while a small sink counter is generally home to a line of clean glasses and a stack of plates.

However, dominating the room past the tables are the simulators. Four Viper cockpits, including the outside skin and plexiglass canopy, have been pre-fabbed from plastic polymers and bolted into the floor in the rear of the room, each divided from the other by a thick black curtain. The white skin of a pair of Mark Two's and the gray of a pair of Mark Sevens have been worn down in various areas and tell to years of use and abuse. A trio of large liquid crystal screens create a one-hundred twenty degree view of the simulated world before each individual pilot. The entire set-up is controlled from a pair of workstations behind them which have a perfect view of each Viper's screens.
[ Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close ]

Maybe she's been spurred on by last night's meeting, but whatever the case, Eddie is down here long after her duty shift, still tucked into the mock cockpit of one of the II's. The techie running the program has long since left, leaving it on a loop for Morales who is doing the same sequence over and over and over again: stealth approach to full weapons hot. There's a timer that's been added to her HUD that marks her current time above what appears to be the 'best' time. Four point one still hasn't been broken. This is serious business, it seems, for she's shucked her blue's jacket which is a heap near her console, and if she had sleeves, they'd surely be rolled up.

Kai's entrance is preceded by a jangling of keys and dull thud of boots in the hall, as it quite frequently is. He rounds onto the table with the signup sheet, and rummages for a pen in the pockets of his flight suit— which has been peeled down to his waist, and the arms tied off there loosely. There are a few boxed discs in his hand, probably his own custom flight objectives from the vault of Impossible Missions. Noting Morales name on the sheet, he pauses and lifts his eyes to the Mark two she's currently occupying. Interesting.

Eddie's fist pounds on her thigh as the lastest time flashes up on her screen. Four point three. "Motherfrakker." She hisses under her breath, and starts to power things down again, going back to what she termed lovingly yesterday as 'flying brick' mode. The simulation she's running is just straight black spacescape, no obstacles or even other birds in the 'sky'.

Kai can't see the time from where he's standing, but he can see the exasperation pretty clearly. After watching her a beat longer, he turns back to the sheet and scribbles off his name where he'd begun to sign it. The pen's tucked away as he heads over to the viper Eddie's claimed. Thump thump thump. That's the sound of inevitability.

Eddie's faux-bird is humming along, with just life support, secondary thrusters, stabilizers, and the navigation system going. Her shoulders tighten at the noise of footfalls coming up behind her, and she won't make another attempt with someone looming behind her. "Five more minutes." She grumbles, assuming this person wants this particular simulator for some reason, when there are three others open.

Kai props a booted foot up on the ladder assembly that's built into these sim models, and leans his elbow against the strike craft itself. "Take all the time you need, Morales." That low, lightly accented voice could belong to no other than Captain stonecold Marek. "There's nobody else waiting, and I'm honestly just glad to see you in here, burning the midnight oil. What've you got?" For a score.

Eddie exhales slowly, glancing over to him. There's nothing for her to run her bird into, so taking her eyes off the display and craning around to see him isn't a big deal. Out of habit, though, she keeps one hand on the stick. "I can still get it down to four point one, but no better." And she sounds pissed as hell about it. "Rubix said it can be done in three point eight." Which is how long the system takes, not a human.

Kai looks bemused as she rattles off the numbers. "It can, if your brain's built from integrated logic circuits, Ensign. Give it another try. Easy on the stick. Some people think flying's harder in atmo, but I actually find zero-g to be quite a bit tougher. There's no air resistance, so you have to watch your transitions more carefully. Especially in the mark twos, they're finicky."

Eddie sucks at her back teeth, and straightens out again. Of course, now you have to add in the Crap Factor of having your squadron leader on your six. No pressure, Eddie! For the hell of it, and to brake some tension in her frame, she pulls the Viper in a barrel roll or two before levelling back out. Of course, just working on secondary thrusters, the manuevering is shoddy at best. "Alright. Weapons going hot in three…two… one. Targeting. HUD. Ammo live." She runs through the words and the motion and the big red numbers on her screen flash. Four point four.

Maybe this was his plan all along. To make her so flipping nervous, she'd tank her score even worse while he was watching. Except that he looks neither pleased nor bothered, when he sees the number flash across the top. "Not bad," he offers. "But you're still too tense. You're working her too hard, let me-" He pauses, within range to sling a leg over and climb in, if she climbs out first. The question's clear.

Eddie looks over her shoulder then does a double take at the sight of Kai mounting the machine to take over. "Maybe I just need a smoke." It /has/ been several long long hours without one. Whatever the case, she's throwing her legs over the side opposite the little ladder, and hopping off to let Kai give it a go.

Kai isn't quite clambering in yet. He's at least giving the Ensign a chance to say 'no way', but when she throws her legs over the other side and begins to hop out? He takes it as invitation enough. "Not around the sims, Morales," he warns. As if she needs to learn that lesson twice. The discs he'd been toting around are tossed onto the floor of the bird, and he buckles himself in by force of habit before resetting the program. "Got something on your mind?" is followed up shortly after, while he inputs a few extra variables.

Eddie props a foot up on the base of the machine, then swings up behind his chair, standing on something that looks relatively safe and is if could hold her weight so she can watch. "Just that I got this biiiiiig old fat challenge in front of me, and I'm restless until I can crack it. Four point one is great and all, but if I can't do it consistantly?" Apparently she forgot about the cigarette thing. "And then that's in flat black space, not with an enemy staring me down." Its not good enough, that's what it is.

"Four point one's a solid score," Karim murmurs absently, as he finishes inputting a few more variables and adjusts some of the default settings. No life support, standard mark two package without the improved telemetry and automatic overrides, and a few enemies to make things interesting. "Flying isn't something you can 'crack', Morales," he adds, voice distracted now as he starts up the sim and curves his hand around the stick like he was born knowing how to use one.

Eddie folds her hands over the back of his seat, propping her chin ontop of them while she watches him add in a few more factors. "Its just like a video game. Keep practicing and eventually you'll beat the mega boss. Just gotta figure out the timing." She half mumbles, as if not really realizing she's talking at all. When he moves, its like watching water cut over rock. Fluid and simple and.. "Three point nine." Natural.

Maybe that's the trick. He has almost no tension when he 'pilots' the thing. The slightest motion has his bird responding like there's a wire going from his brain to the rudders and thrusters. It's almost more a feat of acrobatics than anything else; some pilots are amazing shots, Karim makes movement look like art. "It's not at all like a video game," he answers after a long pause, shutting off the display after the three point nine blinks once or twice. He may be a lot of things unsavoury, but he's not a showoff. "At least, it never was to me. I tried to boil it down to numbers, to mathematics, but.. there are too many variables. Too many ways to throw the numbers off, sometimes just a change in deck crew and someone who serviced your bird a little different that day." He hesitates, then begins unbuckling himself again.

Eddie hops down off the back of the machine. "You sound like Rubix." Comes her initial response to that. Clearly, she doesn't have the head for numbers or much of one for strategy planning either, if yesterday's meeting was any indication. She's like a bull, lower your horns and go in straight for the charge. Maybe she should have been a marine. A hand lifts to comb back through her locks, pushing the pieces of hair that naturally want to curl back from her forehead and away from her face. Stooping, she snags up her duty jacket, apparently calling it a day as well.

"Dear gods, I hope not," Kai answers lowly, powering down the simulation as he speaks. "Unless I've turned into a physics major in my sleep. Only class I damned near failed, Morales." It's a rare tidbit into his personal life, and a drolly-given one at that. Silent thereafter, he climbs out of the mark two and lets himself down smoothly. No leaping off; his knee's probably still a little sore.

Eddie shaking out her blue's jacket, she drapes it over her arm with little more care or ceremony. "Only damn near, huh?" That almost gets him a full blown smile, but it comes up as just a little smirk, tugging one side of her lips up unevenly. "Physics. Math." She says, making it sound by tone alone that they're the same thing as far as she's concerned. "Still a video game, if you ask me. Only in this one, you only get one life."

Kai has his gaze averted, so he doesn't spot the smirk, and gods forbid he be able to summon one in return. Jingling through his keys briefly, he produces one that opens the panel under the bird's nose, and slips a screwdriver out of his unzipped flight suit to fiddle with something in there. It doesn't take long. "Whatever gets the mission done, Ensign." A pause, and a flick of blue eyes toward her. "Whatever you walk away from."

Eddie watches him for a moment, while he fiddles with things. Maybe she's just holding out hopes that he'll get electrocuted underneath there. "What does that mean? Whatever you walk away from?" She says dryly, half expecting it to be some sort of admonishment.

Kai doesn't answer immediately. He's either engrossed in what he's doing, or contemplating her question. Probably the former, since he finishes his adjustments and closes the panel, and locks it again before speaking. "It means, I don't care what road you take to get there. So long as you get the job done, and live to tell the tale." He starts thumping off to the next viper, this one a mark seven, while jingling through his keys again. "I've met, and trained, more than my fair share of pilots who could recite their textbooks backwards and forwards, but put them in a viper, and they'd never make it out alive."

Eddie sticks around for whatever reason. Maybe its because she hasn't been dismissed out of a duty area, or because she actually /likes/ conversation from time to time. "At least I've progressed from being able to fight my way out of a wet paper sack." She walks along the line of birds as he moves to the next one to tweak it or .. "What in Kobol are you doing to the machines?"

"Rigging them to explode on the next mouthy Ensign to set foot inside them," Kai answers drolly, flipping open the next access panel. Nope, not a smile in sight.

Eddie folds her arms acrossed her chest, taking up a classic defensive pose. "You do that, you might as well just hand us all paper cups of tropical powdered drink mix that you've spiked and tell us all to drink it so we can 'ascend'. At least it'd be faster then picking us off one by one."

Whatever he's actually doing, must be some very minor adjustment, as it isn't taking the Captain long. The panel's flipped closed again, and he rounds past Eddie to see to the last one, which seems to give him a bit of trouble. "That's stage two, Morales," he replies in a murmur. "Hope you like punch."

Eddie tracks the man with her eyes, as if he's a new puzzle that she's trying to figure out. "I'm not sure if you just have a dry sense of humor, or if you actually carry around a big bag of disdain for anyone who happens to be of lower rank. Sir."

Oh, she's not going to get her answer that easily. After a bit more fiddling, Karim manages to twist the little nut he was aiming for, and flips the panel closed before locking it. Again, Eddie's perused by a pair of startlingly blue eyes that seem ill-suited to a face that's older than its thirty five years. "You're a smart girl, Eddie." First time he's used her name, rather than a dry rendition of 'Ensign' or 'Morales'. "Give it some thought." A notepad's pulled out of his flight suit, and rested against the viper's flank as he sets to making a couple of notes.

Eddie can only sigh in answer to that. She might be smart-assed maybe, but when it comes to reading people, she tends to err on the side of 'everyone's gunning for me'. "You're bags gonna be mighty empty by the end of this tour." She says quietly, then her body straightens with some approximation of attention. "Permission to be dismissed, sir?"

Kai pauses for a moment in his scribbling. Just a moment. It might not even be noticeable, especially if Eddie's wrapped up in her worst case scenarios. He resumes a moment later and speaks without looking over his shoulder at her, "Granted." Pause. "Take that smoke break and get some rack, Ensign."

Ooooh. Sent to her /room/! Eddie shakes her head a bit, unable to hold back a laugh that sounds a little gravelled and a little like its not born out of humor. "Sir, yes sir." Shrugging back into her duty jacket, deft fingers start to lace the buttons back secure so she's not walking the halls with her arms showing.

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