Here, Now
Here, Now
Summary: Kissy, Thorn talk.
Date: PHD67
Related Logs: Closer to the Heart (sort of)

The laundry room is mostly deserted at the moment; only a sole figure leans against the wall, smoking a cigarette as the machines on the wall rumble and churn, doing their work. Anton Komnenos hasn't done laundry in a while; he's got several machines going and still his bags are half full, lumpy with crumpled up dirty laundry. He slouches in boredom, occupying himself with blowing smoke rings as the machines work.
Matto just did laundry a couple of days back; why he'd be in here again is anyone's guess. But nonetheless he peeks on into the hatchway, "Hey, guy," he calls to Thorn, "What's digs?"

Seemingly lost in thought, Thorn is startled at the sudden sound of Matto's voice. He recovers quickly, though, greeting the other Raptor man with a nod and a small smile. Another smoke ring passes his lips. "Laundry," he says, rather unnecessarily. "Been putting it off for far too long."

Matto watches the smoke ring for a moment, a small smile edging onto his otherwise less than jocular features. It takes a decent amount of willpower not to try to grab the thing, or poke it, or otherwise molest the poor creature. "Yeah, we know. We were a couple weeks out from having to declare your locker a biohazard," he teases half-heartedly, "Have you talked to the Legsykitten, yet?" he asks, then, perfectly serious, brows furrowed in concern.

Puff, puff, puff. That one gave Thorn a pause; he looks away a moment, sobreity on his face as he keeps cranking out hazy, wispy little rings of smoke. "No, I haven't yet. Wasn't planning t', either." He thinks back to the other night, the scene on the hangar deck right after the recovery mission to Periander IV and the emotion thick in the air on the hangar deck as the wayward Raptor — and the bodies of Dot and Crowbar — were finally returned. "Rather seems she's got enough t' think about at the moment, without me throwing more on the fire, what?"

People wander out, and people wander in, all to the tune of tumbling machines. One of those people wandering in, is the CAG. He doesn't have a basket or bag of laundry, but rather a dress uniform that apparently needs drycleaning. "Afternoon, Lieutenants," he offers in polite greeting, feet carrying him to the back where the signup sheet is located.

"Yeah, that's —" Kissy turns aside a moment and taks a deep breath, then leans against the wall next to Thirn, arms crossed in front of him, "That's kind of what I meant," he goes on, nodding slightly to the Captain with a wanly vocalized, "Hey." He looks back to Thorn, then, "I tried to talk to her after all of that. She seems —" he trails off, looking into Thorn's eyes as if trying to communicate what he means telepathically, or at least find some glimmer of recognition there if Thorn's noticed the same thing.

If he has recognized it, there's no sign, but then again Komnenos is somewhat notorious for his inability to read between the lines when it comes to other people's emotions. He has enough trouble dealing with his own. "Afternoon, Captain," Thorn says to Kai as he walks in, uniform in hand. He pays only fleeting attention to the CAG; the older man seems to be doing his own thing for the moment, and after offering the obligatory courtesy he turns his attention back to Kissy. "Seems…" He trails off, making the word into a question all its own. He lowers his voice a bit. "Tried? If you tried and couldn't make any headway, I don't see how I could do any different."

Kai drapes his uniform over one of the folding tables nearby, and starts patting down the pockets of his fatigues for a pen. Once he's managed to procure one, he starts jotting things down. His eyes lift only momentarily when it becomes clear whom the pair are discussing, then return to the task at hand.

"She just seems…" Kisseus finds himself groping for words, the back of his head rolling against the bulkhead as he looks up to the ceiling of the laundry room. "Off," is all he comes up with, after a while. "Can you tell me about it? The mission, I mean?" he asks in a quiet voice, head rolling to one side to look at Thorn again without bringing his head away from the wall.

Thorn shrugs noncommittally. "The mission? Went off without a hitch, as far as the plan went. Came in, the Viper jocks picked off a few bulletheads on the ground, then we came in. Poet and the enlisted snipes fixed up the bird, Cat recovered the bodies and flew it all back t' Kharon. When we got back, though…" he trails off, thinking about it again. "You could've heard a pin drop in that hangar when we got back; it was eerie. I think it got all of us, really. A few of us left, but most of us stayed on the hangar with the bodies until the sickbay people showed up for them." Thorn shakes his head ruefully. "It was messing with all of us, but it seemed her especially," he repeats, this time with the qualification. "Didn't know what t' say, so I just kept my mouth shut. Same as the rest."

Kai finishes scrawling on his slip of paper, and pins it to the uniform before sliding it across the counter and onto a rack. "It's the first loss the wing has suffered. They were her people." His eyes flick over to the pair again, then down to the floor as he tucks his pen away. "She's taking it pretty hard." And so is he, if the dark circles under his eyes are any indication. He doesn't wear his heart upon his sleeve; the tension about him is subtle.

"Yeah, she and I were talking before the call went out. I'd have gone, but I'd flown two CAP shifts and was about to collapse with tired. The Kitten told me to go to sleep," Kissy sighs, "So… I did. I woke up and it was like she was a completely different person." He pauses, listening to the other Captain, then, eyes focusing on Thorn again, "Are they… still in sickbay, for now, then?" Sickbay here being a euphemism for the morgue, of course. "Are they, um… letting people visit?" he wonders.

Komnenos shrugs helplessly, a wounded expression on his face. "I would assume they're still down there. As for th'… ah, other question…" Thorn clears his throat nervously. "That I don't know, haven't been." His eyes begin flicking around, looking anywhere but at the other two, as some lingering bit of shame or guilt begins to surface. "I… I think I saw enough on th' surface. And in the hangar."

Kai lurks for a moment or two before approaching the pair. He could easily just slide on out without another word, and was probably tempted to. The viper Captain is not known for his sociability. "Yes, the bodies are in the morgue until a service can be performed for them." He looks to Matto, and then to Anton, where his blue eyes rest. "And what Captain Legacy needs, right now, is for her squadron to hold together. I hate to say this, but Dot and Crowbar were lucky. They died to protect their people, and we were able to bring them home to us. Not all of us will have that opportunity; for many of us, there won't be anything to bring back. We'll be a splatter on a windscreen, or lost too far away. I suggest you keep that in mind. We're going into battle, and it isn't going to be pretty."

Matto lifts his head from its listless droop against the wall behind him, looking straight ahead at Kai while he says his piece. "We'll hold alright," he tells the other Captain, then even manages a smile, "We always have before. Crowbar and Dot might have been the first team out, but they won't be the last. We'll just have to keep flying until the rest of us join them. We'll have to put up a notice for the last team out to lock up the berthings before they go," he adds with a sort of morbid little chuckle.

Thorn nods carefully at Kai's words, and his shoulders seem to square unconsciously. He isn't sure if he agrees about Dot and Crowbar's supposed luck, but the CAG makes a good point, the way good officers always seem to. "We'll keep going, sir; we have t'." He echoes Kissy's sentiments. "It's going t' be either us or the Cylons, sir, that's the only way t' look at it."

"You will," Kai agrees on the heels of Matto's assertion that they'll hold out. He claps the younger pilot on the shoulder, and squeezes gently. "I have faith in you. And so does she. Just keep it together for her, and for Dot and Crowbar." His lips flicker in a smile that doesn't quite take hold, and he starts to trudge off for the hatch. "Take it easy, Lieutenants."

"Hm," Kissy nods briefly in agreement, not seeming to mind the shoulder squeeze at all, very tactile person that he is, himself, though coming from the CAG he's not quite sure what to do with it. Usually with any of his squadronmates it'd be grounds for a hug, but in Marek's case he simply lifts the corresponding hand to apply a gentle pressure to just above his elbow, in a supportive or possibly grateful gesture. "See you, Captain. Will you be about for the wake?" he asks him, on his way out.

"And you, Captain," Thorn replies, his face a mask of stone. As Kissy asks the CAG about the wake, one of Thorn's dryers buzzes in completion; he goes over with a basket, rotating dry laundry out and wet laundry from one of his washers in. He's occupied there for a few seconds before starting the fresh load and walking slowly back to where he'd been before.

Touchy feely, Marek is typically not. Matto's probably wise to be uncertain. The Captain pauses when the wake is mentioned, and turns slightly to watch Kisseus from askance. "Wouldn't dream of missing it," he answers evenly, with a trace of something difficult to define in his voice. "If you could post something in red berthings, or on the whiteboard in the ready room, I'd appreciate it." He watches the ECO for a few moments, then nods to the pair and ducks on out.

"Sure thing, Captain," Kissy replies, folding his arms again and going back to his lazy-looking slouch, though his slouching partner has momentarily disappeared. He looks to Thorn again when he gets back, "How're -you- doing?" he goes on to ask, having worried enough about their own Captain for the moment.
And then, his slouching partner is back as abruptly as he'd left. "Me?" Thorn asks, seeming momentarily surprised. "Well, I'll be a lot better when this bloody laundry is finished," he replies after a thoughtful drag on the cigarette. He's missing the point, though, and he probably knows it. "You thought my locker was bad, you should have seen my apartment during grad school. Now that was a biohazard. Lucky I don't have as many clothes t' soil as I did then." He chuckles hollowly, shaking his head.

Matto's face lights a little with one of his customary grins. "You know, you should talk to Ivory about setting up a laundry rotation like Poppy and I have. We take turns every week, so we all get our things cleaned every week but only have to do laundry every other week. It's a pretty sweet deal. Plus there's no way better to seal that special relationship between Pilot and ECO than washing each other's underthings twice a month."

Thorn nods thoughtfully. "You know, that's not a bad idea," he replies. "Always hated doing laundry, myself… although I'm sure Ivory would like nothing better than t' have t' wash my underthings every other week." He can't help answering Kissy's sudden grin with a mirthful smile of his own. He goes back to stonefaced mode fairly quickly, though, as he finally answers Kissy's original question. "I'm doing well. Really. There's nothing like a good bit of rack time t' clear one's head, even if there are still some… unresolved issues I probably need t' deal with at some point. But all things considered, I'd have t' say I'm holding up."

"That's good to hear. Kittenface is going to need the lot of us to be strong for her through this," Kissy tells him quietly. "I do have to wonder if Spiderman isn't right, after all. About Crowbar and Dot being the lucky ones," he specifies. "I mean. We're pretty much slated to never know peace again in this life. I don't know if there's anything peaceful or otherwise to be had on the other side, but—" Kissy shrugs, that smile tugging at one corner of his mouth, "At least they've gotten out of this damned bloody war. There've been nights, you know, where I just wish I'd go to sleep and never have to wake up and face all of this again. Maybe it's just a flight of fancy, but I'd like to think they've made it there. Gotten some peace away from all this crap."

"There were nights after Warday when I wondered much the same thing," Thorn responds equally quietly. "That maybe the people that died on the Colonies were the lucky ones, and that maybe I'd be happier if I just died. I would ask myself, 'Why? Why even bother?' I've got no one left, nothing much to live for, and it's obvious the Cylons won't bloody well stop until every last one of us is dead," he continues softly, matter-of-factly. "I thought that maybe living wasn't worth it, and maybe I should just end it all before the misery became too much t' bear." After a sigh, a drag, and a helpless shrug, he continues. "I don't know if I believe in anything after this life, but I do wonder if Marek isn't right. If nothing else, they're free of this cycle of hatred and murder." Thorn shakes his head. "I just don't frakkin' know who the lucky ones are anymore."

"Yeah. Poppy and I talked about it for a couple of days. Scrounging some pills from somewhere…" Kissy shakes his head, "But, you know… for now, at least, we still have one another. We still have… well, we don't have much, but we can enjoy ourselves for the time we have left… just in case there isn't anything on the other side. We can not give in to hate and rage. We can take the time we need to be at peace with ourselves before we go."

"So we do. For now." Another sigh. "For all we know, we're all that's left of humanity at this point, though. It's hard not to give in t' hate or fear… Lords know, I almost did." He winces. "It's still hard. But you're right. For the sake of our own humanity… you're absolutely right. Otherwise we become that which we're trying t' defeat." He says the words as though they were a revelation. "I used to think, 'I don't care if I die, as long as I take some of those cyclops motherfrakkers with me.' But that's not enough, is it?" Thorn shakes his head slowly, answering his own question. "It's not enough anymore. If I'm going to die out here, I don't want t' be remembered that way, angry and alone."

Matto's smile softens into something warmer as he watches the revelation come over Thorn. It's a nice thing to see. "No… we're better than that. It's too late for the human race. We're done," the words have a quiet finality to them. "And as for us…. well, we won't rush out the door. But we won't overstay our welcome. The best thing we can do for humanity now is to show the universe that we've evolved a little bit beyond the brutes and apes, and that we, like the best and most polite of guests, know how to make a graceful and genteel exit."

"I hope you're wrong about that. I really do," Thorn replies, with another shake of the head. "The idea of the extinction of the human race is… No. I would think we've got more left in the tank than this — after everything we've accomplished in our history, our civilization — but if we don't, then, well… maybe we deserve what we get. But if you're right — if this is humanity's final twilight — then I can only hope our end is noble enough t' be a lesson to whoever or whatever follows us."

Matto takes a deep breath, "Well… how many ships have we seen since the attacks? We've seen what's left on Scorpia, and… well, with weather pqtterns moving water around the continents, even the habitable places are probably going to become irradiated in the next ten to fifteen years. And that's one of the less ravaged planets. Even if a handful of ships are out there, and -if- we can somehow beat back the Cylons… we still won't have a place to live, and there'll probably be so few of us left that repopulation would be impossible." He pauses a moment, "I suppose the Cylons are our real next generation. We made them, after all."

"And I thought I was supposed t' be the squadron pessimist," Komnenos quips drolly. "The Cylons. Successors of humanity. Enough t' leave a bad taste in your mouth," he continues, solemnity returning to his tone. "The universe is a funny thing. For all we know, the last of us could be dead tomorrow, or we could all live long and fruitful lives, never to see a Cylon again." Up springs one of those quirky little half-smiles again. "Nothing is set. Hell, it's what keeps me able t' go these days; knowing that each new day brings the possibility that something can change, that tomorrow might just not look as bleak as today after all." He pauses, considering. "I've been fairly disappointed, so far, but if I've managed t' learn one thing these past couple months it's that if you don't have any hope left, life is meaningless."

Matto raises both brows quietly, "I dunno about that. I'm prety sure that none of us are going to survive for long. I don't think that means that the time we've got left is meaningless. On the contrary, it makes it all the more meaningful. It's kind of like I always thought it would be to catch a terminal disease. A wake-up call, as it were. Live now, live like you've never lived before, 'cause this, guy— this is it," Kissy smiles a little. "And not every day is going to look bleak, no. Outside of three or four instances, we haven't been bothered by them at all. They could show up tomorrow and kill us all. All the more reason not to waste today."

"Not that I ever planned t' live a full human lifespan, anyway," Thorn replies, gesturing with his cigarette in a bit of morbid humor. "I don't know, maybe we're just arguing semantics now. I see what you're saying — and why not? 'Live like there's no tomorrow' takes on a whole new meaning when there could indeed be no tomorrow. And frankly, with things being as uncertain as they are, you're more likely to be right than wrong. I guess it's just harder for me t' come t' terms with that fact… I've always been more than a little nervous about the thought of dying." Another bit of slightly deadpan understatement; Anton's always been scared as hell by the thought of his own death, but constantly living with that thought in the back of one's mind maybe makes it a little easier to deal with.

The morbid joke elicits a small smile from the pilot. "I guess I've had a lot of practice with this mindset, myself. Could you call it cheating? I dunno, but I've been living my life on a purely day-to-day basis since I was eleven. Not under threat of death or anything as dire as that, but— well, you know, I finally got a stable roof over my head again when I was seventeen. And by then the habit was more or less inculcated into my skull. Live for now, 'cause tomorrow could be worse. I guess I didn't have that far to go from that to this." He pauses for a moment, "I guess I'm kind of nervous about it, too. But in the end I guess I'll find out what it's like when I get to it. I don't want to spoil the time we have left in worrying about it that much. I'll worry about death when I'm dying."

"Heh," Thorn replies to that last part with a grunt that could be charitably called amusement. "True enough." He's in a chain-smoking mood, it seems, as he lights a fresh cigarette with the smoldering ruins of the first. "See, it was always the opposite for me. When I was young, my parents were constantly trying t' prepare me for college. When I was doing my undergrad, I was thinking about grad school - when I wasn't in a chamalla-induced haze, that is," he adds uneasily. "In grad school it was thinking about what th' frak I was going t' do after that. I've always seemed t' be focused on anything but the moment." Another pause as he works on his new smoke. "I guess that's why the thought of death worries me so much, because it reminds me that there's not always going t' be a future." Thorn sighs. "I don't know how well I can handle that."

Matto turns to his side, finally, pushing an elbow upward against the wall, his arm pushed down behind his neck as he regards Thorn, "Maybe you just need a little help finding your center in the here-and-now," he tells him thoughtfully. Oh, yeah, for a moment it's perfectrly obvious that he was raised by the shoeless hippy free-love vagrants who habitually haunted the streets of the Twin Cities. Which would account for the vaguely Leontinian lilt to his speech patterns. "What are you thinking about right now?"

Thorn's eyebrow raises; he's obviously skeptical, but willing to go along. "Right now?" he asks doubtfully. "Well, let's see… whether or not I'm going t' strangle you if you go all existential or whatever on me, for starters," Thorn retorts playfully. "More seriously, I don't know if I can pick out any one thing to say. I mean, my thoughts are just one big muddle right now. I'm thinking about what Marek said about luck, about whether or not the human race really is on its deathbed, about the captain, about…" He trails off, spreading his hands helplessly. "I know that probably doesn't help you at all, but I've always been told I think too much." He spits the last bit out with venom, almost as though it was a curse.

Matto listens to the list, "I'm not a shrink, after all, but thinking too much seems to me to be preferable to the other option. What about this?" he reaches out to take Thorn's cigarette, holding it vaguely as if he were going to smoke it. He doesn't, of course, and the image is moderately incongruous, a 'what's wrong with this picture' effect. "Do you think about smoking when you smoke?"

Thorn purses his lips thoughtfully; he's not quite sure yet where Kissy is going, but he nonetheless watches with undivided interest as Matto takes the cigarette from his hand. "Well, no, of course not, but smoking is like second nature t' me these days." He cocks an eyebrow. "What're you getting at?"

"Do you like smoking?" Kissy wonders… on his way to the point?

"Well, yes, I suppose," Thorn answers. "It helps me t' relax, and sometimes just slows things down a bit."

Matto nods quietly, looking over the cigarette and then handing it back, "Why don't you try just… smoking. And just thinking about the smoking? You know? What about it you like… how it makes you feel. Just you and the smoke and your breath, in and out… nothing beyond that."

"Hm." The light of comprehension is slowly starting to dawn in Anton's eyes, but he's still not completely sure he understands. "All right. So you're talking about just thinking about the moment, then, for the moment's sake, and nothing else?" Of course, for all he knows he could be overanalyzing again, but he's feeling closer to understanding than he did before.

"Yah," Kissy replies affably enough, "Exactly. Enjoy yourself, enjoy your moment. Your thoughts will come sneaking back in, I'm sure, but… you might enjoy yourself more while you're thinking about them."

"Ah. I think I understand, then," Thorn replies with relief. Smiling, he punches Kissy's shoulder playfully. "You're a pretty sharp cookie, Kiss, y' know?"

"Ow," Kissy comments at the punch, though it's said with a laugh to show that it didn't really hurt. He rubs his arm a little, "I try my best," he admits. "After all, if we're not here for one another, who's going to be, huh?" he asks, quirking both brows into the punctuating syllable of the rhetorical question.

Komnenos answers with a grunt and a nod, recognizing a rhetorical question when he hears one. The two sit in silence for a moment, as Thorn thinks about what was said. As if on cue, the laundry machines he was using buzz in completion, and Thorn stamps out his cigarette as he goes to retrieve his clothing. He stands, but hesitates. "I mean it, you know. I've enjoyed our chats these past few days; you've been a big help and you've given me a lot t' think about." He pauses and shrugs.

Matto presses his back to the wall again, "Hey… I'm glad to help. You're awesome to talk to, too, you know? And having someone to spill things with is great. I mean. Not like Poppy and I don't already share everything, but— having a fresh perspective, you know? It's been nice," Kissy sums up with a warm smile.

"Yup," Thorn affirms. With that, he goes to gather up his laundry. "See ya around, Kiss," he says, lighting a cigarette on his way out and dragging his laundry bags behind him.

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