Fit for Duty
Fit for Duty
Summary: Roubani and Komnenos convince Timon to get some sleep.
Date: PHD072
Related Logs: None

Abandoned Warehouse, Paros: Cylon-Occupied Scorpia

The sounds of muffled footsteps and creaking floorboards preceded the return of a small group that had gone out to scavenge. The lead Marine even went with Timon's secret knock thing, rapping his knuckles in cadence on the door until another Marine got up to answer and let the group inside. As everyone begins to settle in the fading afternoon light, Roubani is sitting by the wall laying out the things he'd grabbed and shoved into his packs and pockets, assembling them in a neat row on the floor and picking through them.

Timon sits down gingerly next to the Ensign, dropping his cargo to the ground with more care than he treats himself. His flight suit's pockets are too shredded to be of much use; as a result, he's surrounded by not one by six plastic bags, all of which are marked with a large black smiley encouraging their bearer to "Have a Great Day!" Taken, no doubt, from the remnants of a supermarket too cheap to bother emblazoning its name on its merchandise.

In contrast, one of the things Roubani had to grab was a T-shirt from the store next door to wrap up some fragile booze bottles. The slogan? Fittingly, 'Shit Happens'. He keeps his eyes down on everything as he sorts through the stuff that at one time most of them would have termed junk. "Lieutenant." A murmured greeting.

Timon nods in silent greeting as he begins unpacking his goods. He'll start with a pair of nearly-empty bottles of whiskey valuable not so much for what they contain but rather for the fact that they're fragile and (vaguely) aerodynamic. Next are three tubes which once contained tennis balls for the jetsetting crowd; now, they're filled instead with gasoline found leaking from the back of an abandoned station wagon with two wheels and no seats. And last but certainly not least, he throws down some discarded clothing of his own: four socks and a pink dress shirt encrusted with blood. "Bag one. What'd you get?"

Roubani has some bottles of liquor in varying states of fullness, mostly clear and evil-smelling. A can of butane meant for zippo lighters, some mostly-empty books of matches. From the rubble of a drugstore, a partially melted jar of gooey petroleum jelly and a ripped bag of cotton balls with only a few left. He empties that to the floor, reaching for one of the other packs. "I don't know how much is usable. I only remember from books that one might desire things like this."

"Intellectuals playing at insurgency," Timon murmurs, brown eyes narrowed to filter out the dull light that streams through the warehouse's broken windows. The storm of the morning has given way to an intermittent fog that now seems well on its way to being burnt away, though the floor is still damp from the early rainfall. "Count the number of advanced degrees in this room. Folks like Zarek would get nightmares just thinking about us leading the masses to freedom and justice." With a snort — and a wince; he's just leaned over a bit too much on his leg — the pilot turns to bag number two, which in this case is devoted mostly to a mutilated stereo system forcibly removed from aforementioned station wagon. Along with two speakers, it comes with a veritable bird's nest of copper wiring that has managed to do a number on the thin plastic in which it was stored.

"One shouldn't make jokes about such things." Roubani's tone is perhaps a little too serious there. But he is from Sagittaron. He keeps his eyes on his hands, dumping out the second bag. No wire on his part, but a little bit of soap powder in a box. And…cocoa powder. "Carbon source," he mutters, as to that last bit.

Timon makes as if to reply but thinks better of it, reaching over for the third of six. "Extension cord, fifteen feet," he announces, setting it down like some thick orange snake on top of the wires. "And from the same appliances store — " In rapid succession, Ivory removes a crowbar, a can opener, and — is that a toaster? "I thought it'd be ironic," he deadpans. "Maybe Sunshine can make something of the coils." Only then, much more quietly: "You holding up okay?"

Roubani glances at the toaster for a moment, then sits back on his heels, shoving his hands into his jacket pockets. Things clank as he digs through them, and he withdraws a handful of batteries, in different sizes. Not in packs, so who knows if they work. They're tossed down and his hand heads back into pocket to dig more. "I'm fine, sir. Your leg?"

"Pouring peroxide on it every few hours." Timon hisses under his breath at the memory of past and expected pain. "As they say, you don't have to outrun the bear; you just have to outrun the guy you're with. Worst case, I'm the speed bump that lets you all get away." He'll let that morbid thought hang in the air as he goes back to his loot. Three flares of varying lengths and colors are placed a fair distance away from the gasoline. None of them look like they're in very good condition, and the last thing Timon wants is to set the team's precious supply alight. Opposite them is placed a canister of compressed air and two boxes of nails, both of which bear the trademark of a hardware chain whose reach had extended to ten of the twelve Colonies.

Roubani pulls a box of birthday candles out and sets them down, all pretty pastel. They're even trick candles, according to the box. A roll of duct tape. A little sewing kit with needles. Things jostle and clank together as they tossed down on top of each other. "You don't much like being in charge, do you." That's said very quietly. Not with any particular opinion of it, just put out there.

Poet's observation is greeted with an almost inaudible humph; for a while, the only sound to be heard — apart from the snoring of catnapping Marines — is the crinkling of Timon's next bag. Its perpetually-happy face contorts into an unrecognizable black smear as Ivory yanks out an as-yet unopened carton of electrical tape, two egg timers, and the corresponding batteries to match — thank the gods for buy-one-get-one-free offers. But the silence soon grows too deafening for a man accustomed to talking. Roubani will get his answer. "No," says the lieutenant, looking back out the window (glare be damned). "I hate it. But someone's got to do it."

The acrid smell of cigarette smoke announces the new arrival even before the sound of his steps does; Anton Komnenos has always been able to walk quietly, a legacy of a life spent in a world where the university library was a more frequent stop than the local grocery store. Thorn stops abruptly at the entrance to the room with a small frown; he almost didn't see what they were messing around with in there. He takes one last drag before disposing of the cigarette, then walks in. He's missed most of the conversation, but he does manage to overhear that last bit. "And that someone is you, Ivory. Like it or not."

The yawning silence doesn't appear to faze Roubani one bit. And why should it? In silence is how he spends most of his time, and is likely what lets him come out with random things like that when he does open his mouth. His pockets still have things weighing them down but for now he settles back on his heels and rests his hands down on his legs. On his right hand, the bottom part of the brace he still wears is visible, keeping his motionless pink and ring fingers held together. "I understand," he offers to Timon under his breath, without looking at him. "I trust you." His lips barely move, and as Komnenos comes over he goes quiet, looking over what's been pulled out of their haul so far.

If he hears Roubani, Timon doesn't show it, instead doing his best to appear puzzled by this sixth and last bag. He's still in that blasted flight suit of his — the man seems almost loathe to take it off — and he's not in much better physical condition. A day's growth of stubble tickles his neck as he gazes straight down, hunched over in the corner, his nose still hanging at an awkward angle. "I can't for the life of me remember why I didn't think to bring power for these at Homes Galore, but — " Out from the bag comes a garage-door opener and its receiver, plucked from a yuppie's flat, and not one but four portable phones. Their brown coat has turned pink and red — blood and rust, no doubt. "And Thorn — " Still, Ivory doesn't turn. "Did you go outside for a smoke without a buddy?"

"Who says I went outside?" comes the perturbed reply. Thorn isn't looking much better himself; his hair is still matted and bloodstained, and he's showing even more stubble than Timon, but that's likely because he doesn't shave as often as Timon does even when razors are available. "I was in the other room." Thorn's brevity never fails. His brow still furrowed, he clarifies. "Trying t' rig up some detonators, but I've not been having much luck. Was going t' have Jules help me. After a quick smoke break, of course." A frustrated sigh follows. "I'm a glorified computer tech, not a bomb-building revolutionary." After a sullen pause, he nods at the contents of the now-opened bags. "Been shopping, what?"

Roubani looks over the electronics as Timon pulls them out. He reaches down and rolls some of the batteries over, probably only enough to power two of the phones and maybe the opener if they're lucky. As he does, his ripped fatigue sleeve tugs back a little, showing the string of prayer beads around his left wrist.

"Right." Timon leans back, eyes closed, gesturing expansively with his hand at the fruits of their labor as he does. "Soak it in, gentlemen." That's said slightly louder than his usual library-only voice. "With this and whatever else Chief and Stranger find, we get to fight off a horde of rampaging Cylons." Even though his posture is relaxed, there's still a fair amount of tension in his voice — indeed, his arm trembles slightly in the air before he withdraws it from sight, placing it behind his head to act as a pillow of sorts against the wall. His face is ashen, now that it's been washed clean by the rain of all the accumulated muck and blood; the bags under his eyes look blacker than ever. The pilot looks sapped of strength, held together only by preternatural force of will — and even that, it seems, is fraying.

Having heard Timon admit to hating being in charge as he entered, Thorn had come in with a sudden desire to pull aside Ivory and chew him out for saying something like that in front of an ensign. Any anger on his face is replaced with concern, however, as Thorn finally comes around and gets a good look at Ivory's face. "You look like shit." No, he doesn't beat around the bush, does he? Thorn frowns, studying the other Raptor man for a moment. "So… how are you feeling, there, Ivory?" he asks in a guarded tone.

Roubani still says not a word, not interrupting the two but watching their interaction. He doesn't make the messy show that some people do of trying to look busy, shifting so he's on one knee instead of two and seated back on his bootheel. If the young man is exhausted, afraid, or feeling unnerved by Timon's admittance back there, none of it shows. His shoulders are straight.

"Did you know I almost decided to study classics instead of philosophy?" Timon's response is not a response. "And so their spirits soared," he murmurs, his reedy voice lapsing into the trademark singsong rhythm of the stage, his free hand marking time in the air. "As they took positions down the passageways of battle all night long, and the watchfires blazed among them. Hundreds strong, as stars in the night sky glittering round the moon's brilliance blaze in all their glory when the air falls to a sudden, windless calm … all the lookout peaks stand out and the jutting cliffs and the steep ravines and down from the high heavens bursts the boundless bright air and all the stars shine clear and the shepherd's heart exults — so many fires burned between the ships and the Xanthus' whirling rapids, set by the men of Troy, bright against their walls." Brown eyes flicker open to glance over at the other men before shutting rapidly once again. "Know the verse?"

Thorn's arms cross, and he leans back on his heels; Ivory's non-response told him about what he had expected. "Can't say that I do," he responds with a glower, "but the classics were never required reading for me." One of his feet taps idly. "Might I have a word, Lieutenant?" There's nothing mocking in his formality this time; in fact, his tone doesn't seem to be brooking any argument, and he's moving to pull Ivory to the side of the room even before the man can answer.

"I do," Roubani's voice finally pierces his own silence, in the way that the gentlest touch can sometimes shatter glass. "I have only rarely understood why men so rely on other men's turns of phrase in dark times. A man sees through his own eyes. He writes his own story, he says his own prayers. And he fights his own fights." His voice remains soft. "Our world is here, sir. And by the gods we damn well aren't dead yet." Thorn's then tugging Ivory for a conference and he stands up, holding up a hand. "Let him rest, sir. I'll leave you be." Unless he's stopped, he'll then start away.

"You want me to inspire the men, Thorn, and — 'stop frakking feeling sorry for yourself, you frakhead.'" Timon tries and fails to imitate his ECO's gravelly accent, but he succeeds in staying right where he is. Besides, he's not yet made his point. Apparently, he retains his penchant for going on for several minutes before saying something definitive, though he does pay enough attention to the goings-on to point straight down at the floor — sit, Poet. You're not getting away with a hit-and-run. To the departing ensign: "And you think I'm giving up, I'll wager."

Thorn gives Roubani a quick look as he gets up and sits back down; well, if Timon wants to give him a front row seat, who's Thorn to say otherwise? "Forget th' inspirational shit, forget the don't give up shit. You're being frakking stupid, is what I think," he says in a hissing whisper as he glares at Timon. "Look at you. You're not sleeping enough and you look ready t' collapse. You may think it's a joke on the ship, but it's not a bloody joke here." He waves a hand angrily. Whisper turns to soft growl. "Are you paying attention? You are in charge here, like it or not, and you have a responsibility t' the rest of us. I don't care what's going through your head… you keep it there. But I'm not going t' get my arse shot off on this blighted planet because my commander was too frakking out of it to give the right orders. So pull yourself the frak together. Sir."

"I do not, sir," Roubani crouches down as Timon tells him to sit, his heels flat on the floor. "Men that give up simply do it. But you, well. So long as you are still quoting long passages of the Iliad I know you still have a well's worth breath in your lungs and that you intend to use it." He even smiles slightly, then glances up at Kom, then back at Timon. The words between superior officers don't bother him. "And unfortunately, sir, I must agree with Lieutenant Komnenos' observation. You don't look well, and we have a job to do tonight. We are strong enough that you taking the time to rest isn't going to hurt us. I promise you that."

"I'm not frakking tired." Stubborness! Indeed, Timon's tone is steel sheathed in velvet; for the first time, there's evident pride in his words. "Did they ask either of you why you wanted to join the military when you enlisted?" he asks after another pause. That's rhetorical, of course. "They asked me. I said I was broke, unemployed, couldn't finish my degree." He jerks his thumb toward the slogan on Roubani's scavenged tee. "Brass decided I didn't have the nerve to kill anybody so they sent me to Camp Kilo the first chance they got. It's basically been SAR for me ever since. Never lost a man — did you know that? Birds, sure; frakking shitheaded flyboys must have downed three squads' worth of Vipers in the oceans of Aquaria. But no men, not one." He almost looks combative now, as if daring them to speak up.

"There's a first time for everything, Lieutenant." Immovable object, meet irresistable force. "And I don't plan on letting myself or anyone else here be th' one t' break your cherry." His eyes narrow as Timon tells his story. "Cry me a frakking river. That was your job then; this is your job now. T' keep yourself — and by extension, the rest of us — alive. You're not helping in the least by working yourself t' the bone. Don't you get that?" Thorn's tone is bordering on open disdain now. "The past doesn't matter for shit anymore. This is all we've got right here — the now. And right now, we're marooned on a planet and counting on you t' get us out of here, damn all the luck. So will you please quit raving and listen t' me?" There's no disdain in his voice anymore, though. The end of Thorn's last little speech sounded almost pleading, or as close to pleading as that voice can sound.

"You're making this personal. It's not about you." Roubani observes, with not a change in his soft voice at all. "The past is the past, a man so prideful as to believe the past makes him invincible is the downfall of his men, sir. We have to be ready. So do you." What Komnenos said, partly. He just stays succinct.

"So quick to jump to conclusions, Poet. It's not like you." Timon's voice remains level though he's enunciating every syllable with exacting precision — and sometimes with more than exacting precision. Yet in the face of Thorn's outrage he remains unmoved. And then he continues on. "I could have quit after making LT. Taken my honorable discharge and pension and ran. Stayed in because my Captain guilt-tripped me into signing the papers. And what came of it?" He smiles — almost beatifically. "A few hours ago, I ordered you to shoot dead anything that stood in the way of your survival, up to and including innocent civilians if necessary. And I'm as sure of those orders right now as I was sure of those orders when I gave them. Rest assured, gentlemen, I'll do what I have to." Now he's speaking in a near-whisper. "But yeah, I hate this job. Because a few hours ago I gave up forever that windless calm, that boundless bright air."

Thorn is slightly mollified by Ivory's reassurance, but he's not satisfied just yet. "Hate it or not, you're stuck with it. You could have gotten out, but you stayed. Now deal, damn you." His eyes glitter with ire. "You still aren't getting it. This isn't about giving the tough orders. I know you're nails. I've seen it in a Raptor cockpit. The fact that we're still here after that furball proves that much." Thorn's head shakes slowly. "Take a look in a mirror at your reflection. No, really, I'll wait. Then come back and tell me if, in our situation, you'd want that guy t' be the one with the responsibility of keeping your arse alive, when it looks like he can barely keep himself conscious."

"I shall pray I am wrong, then. It is far more desirable than my being right," Roubani replies, not sounding very convinced. Perhaps that aforementioned trust is taking a chipping around the edges, as he shakes his head slightly. "You are resisting solely getting a little rest when your men are concerned for you. When they rely on you. And when they will follow your example in the future."

"Yeah, yeah, I get it." That's a white flag right there — or an Ivory one, as the case may be — accompanied by a slight grin that only emphasizes the lieutenant's hollow cheeks. "Though I will note that the only reason I started spewing nonsense about the classics instead of going to bed was because the pair of you started asking me whether I liked being in charge. That, and — " Timon frowns. "That, and I needed to say it, I guess. To stop thinking about what I told you to do." At that, he simply flops down, tilting to the right while shifting his legs to the left so he can lie prone. "Go make me some bombs, guys. Don't wake me until you've got something that explodes on command."

Chalk one up for the irresistable force. Well, it's not exactly a surrender on Timon's part, but in any case Thorn is proven right for once, and he'll take it. He nods curtly. "Fine. Good t' let you get it off your chest. Now sleep, and I swear if I find you up before I have someone wake you up, I'm relieving your sorry arse." With his parting shot away, he searches for a cigarette as he makes for the door. "Come on, Poet, you heard th' man," he says to Roubani, gesturing to the door. "Let's see if Sunshine can give us a hand with those detonators."

Roubani's face says quite clearly that he believes none of Timon's excuses for not sleeping. "Mm. As you like, sir." He stands up from his crouch, one of his knees making a soft pop from being bent like that for so long. A gentle roll of his shoulders and he steps back over to their haul from earlier, glancing down at the pile. Lists. Carbon source. Catalyst. Carbon source. Absorbent. Igniter. His eyes flicker to Komnenos as the man seems to think he's deaf, and nods. "Yes, sir. I'll be there in just a moment. Just counting what we've got for the effort."

Believe him or not, it's the truth — for indeed, Ivory's a philosopher at heart, and nightmares are especially potent weapons against those who subsist on skepticism and doubt. Then: "I'll take a sleep-deprived me over a fully-rested you any day of the week that ends in 'y', Thorn." Always with the last word — a minor victory Timon cements by promptly falling asleep to make no rebuttal possible without waking him first.

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