I'd Rather Feel Pain
I'd Rather Feel Pain
Summary: Sparro, Thea and Komnenos discuss different things.
Date: Day #81 (7/11/09)
Related Logs: None

[ Black Squadron Berthings - Deck 1 ][ CEC Kharon ]

IC Time: Post Holocaust Day #83 OOC Time: Fri Jul 10 22:45:28 2009

The hatch to this berthing has a top-down stencil of a Raptor covering the whole doorway with the tail of the aircraft at the bottom of the hatch. Opening in, this berthing has the trappings of many other Raptor squadrons through the fleet. The standard three-bunk layout adorns most of the walls, pictures and paintings covering the rest where nothing else required has been emplaced. There is a hatch in the back the moves to a private Head for these officers. That standard dark blue curtains hide each bunk from the common area to afford each pilot and ECO their own privacy. One varied addition to these quarters is a standard-issue green parachute draped from the top bunks of each of the three rows. Normally left rolled up, these can provide additional shade against the dull white light provided overhead. Meanwhile, the Raptor crews have a central wooden table done in a mahogany.

The berthings are quiet, though people are -clearly- happy about everyone being 'home.' Thea's seated at the table in her tanks and sweats, a clean bandage peeking out from behind the straps. There's a bottle of brandy next to her, with exactly the amount missing as is in her glass. It would appear she's catching up on paperwork.

The hatch opens, and Sparro walks in. Seeing his Captain at the table, he laughs gruffly. "Working out how to pay for yet another Raptor?" His smile is fond. "Good to see you back, Thea."

Legacy looks up and smiles, eyes crinkling at the corners. "Heya Birdman," she says, the smile warming. "Yeah. They're going to be taking this out of my pay for a few hundred years. Better than me scraping the paint of the belly of one," she says dryly. "How're you holding up?"

Taking a seat across from Thea, Sparro shakes his head. "Terrible, I'm having to ration my cigs, and just when I was worrying about one of my favorite nuggets. Even got out the old statue and asked Ares to keep an eye out for you."

Her lips quirk at one corner and she jerks her head toward her locker. "Bottom shelf," she says quietly. "I have a stash." Even though she doesn't smoke. "We did ok down there, all in all. I had the group until we found Karim, then he took over." Karim Marek, CAG. The love of Thea's life, and the man who broke her heart. Twice. The first was ten years ago when she walked away from him. The second recently, when she found him again here on Kharon.

Sparro frowns a bit at that. "The boy is like a bad cubit… just keeps turning up, no matter where you go." He sighs. "That wasn't nice. But… bah, I need a cigarette." Standing up, he walks over to her locker, and gratefully pulls one out, quickly lighting it with a lighter that he had for years. "Thanks," he says gruffly, then sits down across from her again. "So… did you two, er, talk down there?"

"It was over before we got down there," she says quietly, lifting the glass to her lips. "We've been talking for three months. But before we left…I realized I have to let go." He knows how in love with Kai she was. For six years after him she lived the pilot life, screwing around, having fun. But it tapered off to nothing, to just work. "He's a good man and he'll be a good CAG." That's another thing - Kai was promoted over Thea, despite having no command experience. And a bad record.

Sparro snorts at that. "A good man would have had more sense than to just…" taking another look at Thea, he shrugs. "Aw, frak it. If you say he's good, then he's good. But I'd rather a Raptor CAG over some Viper hotshot any day. I signed on with you, and the old man." He shrugs. "I'm just glad you two got back before they started talking command structure. Too many fleet jockeys look at my age and start wanting to put me at a desk doing paperwork."

She gives him a tired smile. Since getting back, she's spent most of her time in sickbay with the injured pilots. Sleep? A few hours. "He's our CAG, for better or worse," Thea says with a quiet sigh. "I think you were safe. Rabbit took over as CAG and got us home."

"Yeah. Another Viper jock." Maybe the old man just felt like being cantankerous? Standing up, he walked over to his bunk and pulled his guitar out from under it, then sat across from Thea again, strumming it softly to tune it, cigarette held between his lips. "You lot got pretty banged up down there. Toasters not as hospitable as you'd like?"

"If I had some bread, they'd have been useful," Thea mutters quietly, taking another sip of her drink. "I think I counted 18 or 20 that we encountered, not counting the ones at the ends. Pistols are useless against them." Something flashes in her eyes, then she looks down to the guitar.

"That's why I rarely bother," Sparro says, a twinkle in his eye. "Bullets are for vipers. Give me some heavy ordinance any day… just push a button and BOOM." He strums again, checks a string, strums a third time. Noting her glance, he smiles. "You got something you want to hear, boss? A song from home, maybe?"

Her eyes go distant for a bit as she just watches his fingers. "Anything you want to play," she says after a moment, lips turning up in a little smile. It's faint, though - doesn't quite reach her eyes. "It's just nice to hear some music."

A chord strums, and his voice changes… it is difficult to imagine this is the same gruff voice that sucked down that cigarette so fast. "Oh my lady waits for me, at the colony, by the sparkling sea, she waits and waits though she never sees, she's waiting there today…" Slow and sad. The old blighter almost ALWAYS played the sad stuff…

Thea relaxes back in her seat, closing her eyes as she wraps one hand around her glass of liquor. She's not drinking it quickly, but it's probably a safe bet she wants to.

Going back to playful strumming, Sparro looks up at his boss with a smile. The tune shifts into an old, old Gemenese lullaby.

And now it's time for Thea to sing. She's got a quiet, un-trained mezzo-soprano voice - one that's perfect for something like a lullabye. Strangely enough, halfway through, she stops, face paling a little. A good gulp of the alcohol goes down, and then she sighs, quietly. "I didn't have time to tell you before the crash, but I'll tell you now." Reaching into her tanks, right over her heart, she pulls out a picture and slides it toward him. It's a young girl, about fifteen, smiling and bright-eyed. "My daughter. Sabrina. My biological daughter. Her mother was one of my best friends, and couldn't have children of her own. So I donated what she needed. I got the letter from Sabrina after the attacks. After…" she was dead.

The strumming stops as Sparro reaches across the table to pick up the picture. "Cute kid…" he says, sadly. "I'm sorry, Thea…" He pauses, then puts down his guitar and walks around the table, sitting next to her and handing the picture over. "I'm so sorry…"

Thea smiles up at him, a little wryly, and tucks the picture away again. "The lullabye brought it back," she says, leaning toward him a bit. "I told Karim I didn't want children, way back then. He didn't, either. But I've always wanted children of my own. Just took the world ending for me to admit it."

Rank etiquette be damned. Sparro leans over and wraps his captain up in a hug, eyes closing and he squeezes her tight. "It's amazing what the end of the world does to our perspective."

Arms wrap over his and she leans in. Normally she doesn't accept hugs from subordinates, but since the end of the world, well, that rule's been bent a little. "How are you doing with it," she asks softly.

Sparro chuckles softly. "I'm not. Everyone always said I'd get mustered out eventually, and that I was in denial signing up for all these tours." He sighs. "Now I won't have to… guess that shows you gotta be careful what you wish for."

Thea's sitting at the table, brandy on the top, most of a glass empty. Sparro's got her wrapped up in a hug, and she's got her arms wrapped over his, leaning in. The two are rumored to be old friends, though their working relationship has been 100% professional. "Looks like you're in it for the long haul," she tells him with a quiet laugh.

"Always was. It was the idea of after that I could never deal with." Giving one last tight squeeze, Sparro starts to untangle himself. "Besides, someone has to keep an eye on you Captains, going and getting yourselves marooned in enemy territory."

"Not interrupting anythin', am I?" comes an accented voice from the door. Komnenos just finished laundry, judging from the bag of clothes draped over his shoulder. "Captain, Lieutenant," he greets the pair a little more formally as he goes to his bunk, tossing the bag on his mattress. As usual, there's a cigarette hanging from his lips, though it's little more than a butt as he stamps it out in his ashtray once a hand is free.

Legacy straightens as she sees Thorn come in, and there's a warm, welcoming smile on her face. "Evening Thorn," she calls quietly, though pauses when his formal tone registers. "Not at all. I was just telling Birdman about my daughter." A finger brushes over the front of her tank top, as if checking something beneath. "Bird and I go fairly far back and I hadn't told him yet." She looks over at Sparro, lips quirking. "I went down with the best," she tells him quietly.

"Even a JG should know better than to ask that question," Birdman says with a smile, giving Thea another pat on the back before walking back around the table to his guitar. "It's good to see you back, Thorn. Rumor has it you had some fun down on that rock, as well. Any of our people NOT get shot all to hell down there?"

"Yeah, I had my share," Anton replies with one of his quirky little smiles. He's unpacking his laundry, shoving it haphazardly into his locker. OCS habits die easily, in his case. "Bloody toasters did their best t' turn us all into pincushions… I don't think anyone got off scot-free," he continues with a little chuckle. It's a bit easier to laugh about it now that he's home safely. He waves vaguely at the scars still on his face. "And I was even one of the lucky ones."

"You did a good job down there, Thorn," Thea says quietly from her seat, watching the ECO. "You lived. That was the important thing. And you damn near killed yourself to get the message to the ship."

"And that's all anyone can ask for. Whatever you did down there, I'm glad to have you back here. A good bear is hard to find." The voice is full of fondness as he sits down and grabs his guitar again. "How were the locals? I heard tell they could be a bit fussy… one of the enlisted mentioned they're all cooped up in the cargo hold."

Thorn flushes a bit at the sudden praise; he's never been good at accepting compliments gracefully. "If not me, then somebody else," he replies, a bit uneasily, suddenly finding an excuse to look anywhere but at one of them for a few seconds. Sparro's question, though, gives him an out, and he finally looks over at the lieutenant. "Fussy is as good a word as any," Thorn continues with a short barking laugh. "They even had a politician down there with them. Picon delegate to the Quorum, if you can believe it." He snorts, closing his locker as the last of his clothes are put away. "Solid enough sorts, some of them, though."

Thea sighs quietly at the mention of the politician and shakes her head. "She's now aboard with us," the woman murmurs, nose wrinkling. "We have a -politician- aboard." Said in the same tone most pilots would use for a Marine. For some reason, though, Thea's attention is on Thorn, watching him.

Noticing Thea's curiosity, Sparro grins and starts up a tune a bit less depressing than those before. "Ah, good. She can tell us how to spell all those taxpayer cubits. Lords know, we need THAT nowadays." Had he missed something? "You find something special down there, Thorn? Did you have the sense to bring it back with you?"

Anton's starting to give up trying to interpret Thea's looks; she's no Marek when it comes to inscrutability, but she can give the CAG a run for his money some days. That look, though, almost seems to suggest an impending conversation in the near future, or so he thinks. Then again, he could just be looking for fault where none exists. Wouldn't be the first time. He just shrugs in response to Sparro's question. "Other than a hole in my shoulder, nothing," he replies, more dry humor creeping into his tone.

"Can't say I wasn't looking, though," Komnenos adds a moment later, with a quick glance of his own over at Thea.

Thea's quiet for a long moment, then her lips turn upward ever so slightly. "Oh, that reminds me," she says, taking another sip of her drink. "Thorn, you and Ivory are going to be tasked with something now that we're back. You two will give a presentation of no less than thirty minutes in duration, of proper protocol during official meetings where both military personnel and civilians are present to the Riders. It will be an excellent refresher course for everyone." She looks up at Thorn for a long moment, catching the meaning of his look. The smile fades into something more akin to sadness before she looks back to her glass, hand reaching for the bottle to refill it.

Birdman beats her to it, and soon he is carefully filling her glass. "Gah… etiquette detail. That sounds like fun." Glancing up at the ECO with an almost wicked grin, Sparro continues playing the light tune. "Must have been a hell of a couple of weeks. Wish I'd been on the mission to pick you guys up… instead I got scheduled on CAP."

Komnenos nearly groans without thinking, but he sensibly manages to stifle it. It's not hard for him to guess why he was lucky enough to get that detail, and the rueful expression on his face seems to suggest he knows it. There's no protest, though, as he simply nods. After a moment of consideration, he goes back to his locker and comes back with a bottle of his own, square-shaped and mostly full of greenish liquid. A glass comes out as well, and he joins the pair at the table, slumping down into a chair and pouring himself a hefty glass of the stuff. "I think I could use one myself," he says in explanation. He drains the glass in one gulp and promptly refills it. "I bear no responsibility for any casualties suffered during that time," he continues, voice a perfect deadpan.

Thorn's easy capitulation gets a smile of approval from the Captain. Apparently he handled it to her satisfaction and she is pleased. There's no screaming, no smashing of glasses, just a very slightly smug Cat. "You were where you needed to be, Birdman," she says quietly, smiling. "And I'm glad you were. We needed good people up here, protecting our home."

Sparro laughs out loud. "Kid's already sounding like a politician. That lady from Picon is a bad influence." A few hard strums, then the pilot stands and walks back over to his bunk, storing the guitar underneath. "Yeah, yeah, boss, I know. Doing my duty, holding down the homefront. Still would have liked to see some grass, though. You miss it, every now and again. Unless of course you got to meet it a bit faster than is wise…"

This time, Thorn doesn't bother to hide his groan. "Perish the thought, Birdman," he replies airily. Another look over to Thea; if it was a test, it looks like he passed this time. He knows better to think it might get him out of his new job, though. He takes a small drink from his glass, savoring it unlike the first. After a moment, he gestures with his bottle, offering it to the other two. "Ambrosia," he says by way of explanation. "The real stuff, not a cheap knockoff."

Thea shakes her head, lifting her own glass. "I can get one for you Birdman," she says quietly, asking. "You two talk, I'll get snacks." And up she stands.

Birdman whistles through his teeth. "Someone got their pay before heading out on R+R, thank you kindly, Thorn." Leaning back a bit, he takes a chance to stretch. "So one of those enlisted guys mentioned putting up a Pyramid Court where the civvies are staying. Thought some games that they could watch, maybe play in, would calm down the cabin fever a bit. Maybe put some teams together… Enlisted, Air Wing, Marines… what do you think?"

Komnenos fills Sparro's glass with a shrug. "Was saving it for a special occasion. I'd say escaping a radioactive hellhole qualifies," he replies simply. "I think Lieutenant Hale was the one putting that together," he replies to the Pyramid bit. "Not a bad idea, but then anything that helps people blow off steam is worth a try." He shrugs, and smiles with a hint of self-deprication. "Was never much of a player myself, though… I was always more the academic than the athlete." Another shrug. "Might be fun t' try, though."

Legacy glances over at the mention of Hale, but returns with a glass, keeping quiet for now. Odd, she's keeping her own counsel. Of course, the poor Cat looks ready to curl up in a sunbeam somewhere and sleep for a week.

"Oh? I'm gonna have to start paying more attention when the Viper Jocks talk… specially when they keep making one of 'em CAG…" He gives Thea a smile, then with a broad grin, Sparro raises his glass. "To the hours before our next CAP shift…" he says, smiling. His eyes shoot over to the schedule. "Twelve…" he says triumphantly.

Thorn doesn't miss Thea's reaction to Hale's name; he didn't miss their reunion on the hangar deck, either, which he suddenly remembers in glaring detail as he shoots a curious glance over in her direction. It passes just as quickly, though, and his attention goes back to Sparro as Komnenos raises his glass along with the older man and takes a pull. "Only twelve? Not many more of these for me, then," Thorn says with regret… for more things than one.

"Which means you have an hour left to drink as much as you can," Thea tells the two of them with a slightly quirked brow. Everyone knows, of course, that she has a fairly strict 10 hour rule before flying.

Throwing down the drink, Sparro smiles, then stands. "Blessings on the both of you, but I'm gonna be hitting the rack. If you need to practice your etiquette talk, Thorn, be sure to do it on the other side of the room." Turning to Thea, he salutes. "Good to have you back, Captain. Now all we have to do is teach you to fly. The point is to NOT hit the ground…"

Thorn, of course, remembers the rule, but there's little he hates more than going on CAP with even a hint of a hangover. Staring at a DRADIS console for hours on end is one thing, but it's another when all the dots and blips and lines are spinning and swimming. He's been through that enough to not want to repeat the experience. Besides, he's not going to kill off the prize of his stash in one night. "Will do, Birdman," he replies with a jaunty wave as the pilot retires. And then, three becomes two.

Thea smiles up at Birdman, dipping her head. "Sweet dreams," she says quietly. Then she turns her attention back to Komnenos, simply studying him for a time. "You doing ok, Anton," she asks, voice low and quiet. It's not for anyone else - just him.

An eyebrow raises; hearing his first name in Thea's mouth is new, but not unwelcome. Of course, it's rare for anyone these days to call him anything other than 'Thorn' or 'Lieutenant Komnenos'. "You keep asking me that," he replies mildly, matching her volume. "Any reason I shouldn't be?" He suddenly reconsiders his earlier position, and pours himself another drink. A cigarette is lit as well; luckily for him, the smoke carries away from the Raptor captain.

She watches him light the cigarette and pour the drink, then looks back to his face, a brow arched ever so delicately. It says more than words do.

"Yes, I'm fine," he finally replies with a sigh. "No, I'm not fine. I don't know… it's complicated." He looks up at her, exhaling smoke through his nose; opposing sets of blue eyes meet each other.

"Do you want to talk about it," she asks quietly, leaving the decision in his hands. She doesn't push - that's not her style. She simply waits, relaxed.

"Yes. No," Thorn replies, again ambiguously. "You've got a knack for the hard questions tonight," he continues, a humorless smile pulling ever so slightly at his lips. He takes another pull from his freshly refilled glass, and follows it with a particularly hard drag. "I think I probably said all I can possibly say down in the Osprey clinic, what?" he finally finishes, his face reddening slightly. It's harder not to think about than he thought it would be.

"Is that the only thing on your mind," she asks, keeping her voice gentle and soft. No, she doesn't jab at that particular wound, not tonight. Thea takes a slow sip of her drink before speaking again. "Or is that the one thing just weighing it down the most?"

Thorn, for his part, knocks down the rest of his drink and promptly fills the glass once more. Hell with it; he's still got an hour in the clear. "Now that everyone's back safely, I don't have much else t' think about at the moment," he replies softly. "Other than the fact that things are a bit tense with Ivory, but that'll blow over. This… not so easily."

Thea dips her head slightly as she watches him. "I've been where you are, somewhat," she says quietly. "You know about my past with Karim. You know about the tears I've cried. You know that he doesn't want me." She sighs softly and shakes her head. "I wish I could tell you it gets easier. I wish I could tell you that it doesn't hurt. But I know it does. It just takes time, and being open to finding yourself."

"You're right, it doesn't make things any easier." Once again, the glass is swiftly emptied, but this time he doesn't refill it. "It's always easier t' say when it's coming from your side of it. But then, I guess you're starting t' find that out for yourself, aren't you?" That's accompanied by a wince of regret; the alcohol is starting to loosen his lips perhaps a bit too much. Time for a hasty retreat. "I'd better hit the rack, I think," he says finally, slowly standing.

Thea just watches him. He couldn't have hurt her more if he'd slapped her across the face. For a moment, she's somewhat breathless. But she nods, once, and looks down to her glass, just watching the liquid. "Sleep well, Thorn," she says, voice somewhat rasped.

Even in his current state, Thorn can see the effect his words have had. "I'm sorry," he whispers. "I'm sorry, you're sorry, we're all bloody sorry," he continues, half to himself as he turns away. "That's what makes this all so bleedin' tragic." he mutters, looking around wildly before he finally trudges off towards his bunk.

The one thing Thea will not do is let Thorn see that he's made her cry. Whether it's stubborn pride or a desire to shield him, she simply turns her face away, letting her hair take care of the rest. The rest of her drink is tossed back.

Thorn's too preoccupied to notice, anyway. He hops unevenly up to his rack and slumps down onto his mattress, pulling his curtain shut behind him. Briefly, a choking, raspy, and strangely sad sound can be heard, but it only lasts a moment before it's replaced by the slow, rhythmic sound of a sleeping man's breathing.

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