Old-Time Religion
Old-Time Religion
Summary: Technicians, tattoos, and the temerity of an unbeliever: another afternoon in the lounge.
Date: PHD060 (17 June 2009)
Related Logs: None

OOC: Timon entered here.

Details begin to be filled in, and the bird is given its beak, a stalwart prow with a top flourish like a curved quail feather. "Yes. It's good. Sometimes. Sometimes being around people… just makes me tired, though, you know?" Nine speaks softly to Randy as she draws.

Randy sits at a table with Nine, munching on cheesy doodles with a deck of cards resting on her fight magazine and she just watches Nine draw with a slight arch of an eyebrow. "I guess, yeah. I never hang out with people that often, never did before either…but we lived kinda away from most folks."

Two people who don't much like the company of other people? Timon'll make it three. The lieutenant's entrance is marked by an all-too-noticeable creak-and-clang as he opens and shuts the fire door barring the lounge from the hall; with a muttered "Sorry," the Raptor pilot makes his way to the machines along the back wall, hands clasped behind his back. "Somebody needs to oil that thing," he says by way of apology. Water? Or the glorified hot water that passes for coffee aboard this godsforsaken ship? He can't decide.

Randy studies the drawing quietly before just looking back to Nine with a hint of a frown, then looking back to the bird. She picks up her bag of cheesy doodles though and her fight magazine to just offer. "I see you." She starts to get to her feet, quickly saluting when she notices Timon but offering to Nine with a pause. "It looks nice, by the way." She gestures towards her own hair. "Your hair that is? Like that, still um. Is nice." She sighs. "I have to get back on duty, you need anything?" She starts walking backwards towards the exit hatch, nodding politely to Timon. "Sir."

One antisocial person leaves, another enters. Evidently just returned from a meeting or paper pushing of some kind, Kai's outfitted in a tidy set of duty blues this afternoon. He's got a folder under one arm and a pack of cigarettes already being tugged out of his pocket. No coffee cup, today; maybe his last experience with the caffeine quotient of the lounge's brew has soured him on the experience.

Nine leans forward over the blueprints for what seems to be a mechanical bird coming into focus on a sheet of drafting paper, one hand on her lap, the other holding two colored pencils at cross-angles. She looks up toward Randy and offers a shy but happy sort of smile at the comment. "Thank you," she says, quiet-voiced. "I'm okay. Thank you," she says, again. "Good bye," she tells him, too.

"Good day, soldier." Ivory's not a fellow who cares too much about the niceties of rank, and the pilot offers only a half-hearted nod in return. His thoughts, it seems, are on other things, if his furrowed brow — more creased than usual — is any indication of his mood. At length, he finally decides on what he wants, moving over to the water fountain with mug in hand — he, too, has no interest in the crap that the Kharon's coffeemaker dispenses. Timon's expression turns sour as he watches the translucent liquid flow into his cup, calcites and all. "Spider." That last's to Kai, whose recent promotion seems to have escaped his mind.

"Afternoon, Ivory. How's shit?" You could call Marek a congenial man, but you'd be wrong. The words are delivered somewhat abrasively, as is his way, though without rancor. A couch cushion not far from Nine is dropped into it gracelessly, with a tiny wince whose source isn't clear. Folder slid to one side, he lights up— and takes a long drag, before dropping his head back against the couch.

Nine goes quiet, her attention going back to her schematics as she begins to annotate the basic components more fully, adding a key and some detail inserts of how some of the joints will be constructed. If it ever gets built.

"I'm told the correct response to that question is — uh. Smooth and lump-free." That's as crude as Timon gets, and a sheepish grin appears on his face as he vacates the area around the soda machines in case the new CAG wants to use them. The fact that Kai has already sat down doesn't seem to register, even when the pilot moves to take a couch opposite the Viper squadron leader. "You?"

There's a chuckle from the viper jock, and a lungful of smoke that chases the husky little sound. "What, are they quizzing you on this stuff?" Red squadron, presumably. He reaches across to ash out his cigarette, blue eyes briefly cutting toward Nine and her scritch-scratching on paper. "I'm good. Starting to remember why taking on nineteen year old kids in sparring matches, is a poor idea."

"Believe it. I'm told there's an exam this weekend, no extra credit, no partial credit." Timon's voice is mild and bland as he runs with the CAG's analogy, sipping rather daintily from his overfilled cup as he does. Having wet his lips, he sets down the dented silvery metal on the seat next to him before removing a ragged flight manual from a pocket of his flight suit, one covered in his trademark tiny scrawl. His other hand pats at first his left and then his right thigh pocket, looking in vain for a pencil. "I heard, sir. About the match." Brown eyes twinkle; news travels quickly among the incestuous community that is Kharon's cadre of pilots. They, too, glance toward the slender woman sitting nearby, though he's no so bold as to say anything in the way of greeting when he can't so much as figure out her rank. "My esteemed GIB tried to steal my tags and throw them into the pile. Only stopped when I pointed out to him just how much he depends on me being in prime physical condition to, you know, live."

Nine is drawing, yo. And not seeming to may much mind at all to the Officerial types, for the time being, her soul sent down deep into the craft.

"Better start cramming," the Captain answers in a gamely fashion, cigarette brought to his lips again with a flicker at the corners of his eyes that almost became a smile. "And I hope the scuttlebutt didn't include accounts of my screaming like a girl, because I assure you, you won't find any solid testimonial to support that claim." His tone remains dry, and utterly deadpan. As to the GIB, "You've got to make sure your bear knows who's boss. Give him half the chance and he'll be trying to run your show."

Ah — found it. Timon chuckles quietly as he produces a worn-out nub of a pencil from the bottomless depths of his flight suit, one whose eraser bears the marks of a month of constant nibbling. His other hand is already leafing through his manual's dog-eared pages, navigating by touch and not by sight. "Now that you mention it, a little sparrow told me you cried after every left jab and wept after every right. To say nothing of the uppercuts." Ivory matches the CAG's deadpan tone and raises him a wry smile, one that doesn't fade after Kai offers his unsolicited advice. "I do my best to keep him in check. But you know what they say about two minds being better than one, sir. Though I'm told that too many cooks can spoil the soup." A beat. "I despise aphorisms, you know."

"I don't have the slightest frakking clue what an aphorism is, but if we're still talking about soup, it can't be worse than what the mess hall churns out." It's murmured around another pull of smoke, and though the warmth in Kai's voice is evident at having someone to verbally 'spar' with, his expression yet remains solemn. "Found some mistakes in there?" he offers after a short pause, wherein he studies the flight manual Timon seems about to start annotating. The Captain's leaned forward slightly with a rustle of clothing, elbows on his knees now, instead of flopped back against the couch.

Nine sits back from her work again and finally turns her head to regard the pilots on the couch behind her with a silent stare. Because she's socially graceful like that.

Timon glances down at his flight manual to make sure he's found the page he wants — Mark IX Communication Drones — and, with a satisfied grunt, he starts to read and underline. "Aphorism. Noun. A concise statement of a principle; a terse formulation of a truth or sentiment. See also: hogwash somebody makes up when they have nothing of meaning to say." Ivory's reedy tenor has softened considerably as he splits his attention between his reading and his CAG, though observant ones might notice him keeping tabs on the others in the room with flickering eyes. "Tastes better than split pea, I'm told. Though with the demise of all reputable institutions of higher learning in the Colonies, we'll have a hard time figuring out where to obtain some." The lieutenant brushes back a stray lock of hair before erasing a few notes. "Just brushing up on this stuff. Keeps me sharp. And hello there." That last statement, ambiguous as it is, seems directed at Nine.

Kassia comes wondering into the lounge area and straight up to where the drinks are normally stored and made, she grab a mug and perpares herself a coffee. Once made she picks it up and takes her first sip, awwww heavenly. As she turns she notes a few other people in the lounge, a smile if thrown their way as she makes her way towards the sofa.

"… hi," 9 replies, her voice as quiet as it normally is. She tucks away the two colored pencils in her hand into their individual pockets on this black arts apron sh's wearing slightly cocked to one side, hanging against her leg.

Kai's eyes drift over the title of the section as it's flipped to, making note of it, perhaps. Mind, it's upside-down to him, so it takes him a second or two to parse. "I had a feeling I was going to get a lesson in vocabulary, whether I wanted it or not," he points out in between drags of his smoke. He, conversely, has little occupying his attention; the raptor Lieutenant seated opposite him, and a meandering sort of interest in the snipe curled up nearby with her sketchbook. "I have a pilot who attended culinary school, if you can believe that. I shit you not. Lieutenant Black. You might look him up some time."

"Hi," Timon says. Back at you, Nine — yeah, he's got no idea how to deal with the artiste in their midst — while tipping his pencil toward Ensign Nevice in greeting. His gaze wavers only slightly from the page he's on. Perhaps frustrated by the lackluster performance of his eraser, Ivory drops all pretense at neatness and starts scribbling dark lines over his marginal notes. Then, to Kai: "I'll have you know, sir, I garnered truly remarkable evaluations during my tenure at Caprica U. One especially articulate student of mine wrote, I quote, 'He treated me like a kid, which I guess is better than being treated like a graduate student.'" The pilot shakes his head, eyes still glued downward. "Wish I had attended culinary school. I could have poisoned him for that."

Soon enough another denizen of the more technological classes has escaped either the deck, or the Engineering department. Either way there no mistaking him-once you have. Man has more art on his body than Leanato put on a canvas. One slightly smudged finger moves along the flat of Walt's nose as he pauses in the doorway, going on up to press those wire frames back on up to perch rightly on his nose. The Mechanic taking time to survey the room-and perhaps find himself someone he knows. But as it goes, the more familiar faces are pilots-though he's never said a word to them. Least he can remember. A grunt and the PO is reaching in his pocket for a rather battered and sorry looking pack of smokes.

A wandering step, and Walt's got himself moseying further into the general lounge in the way an explorer might start his foray into the bush.

Kassia smiles over at nine her coffee mug to her lips as she lets her eyes wonder over the forms of Timon and Kai, she sips the drink the lowers it, before her head goes back to the couches back and she curls up content and happy for a few moments. She doesn't join in the conversations around her yet, not knowing what they subject is, kinda makes it difficult, she'll listen for now.

"Caprica University? I would've thought Delphi for certain." It's not any kind of judgment, really, upon Timon. The Captain's tone is mild, perhaps a little distracted this afternoon. He lifts his eyes finally to spot Kassia curled up at one of the couches. Yep, definitely distracted; he probably didn't see her come in.

Nine has the social skills of an intoxicated jellyfish. She blibbles, is what. "You taught — at — " she begins, the cadence of her words slightly faltering as she realizes too late that she's actually engaging in conversation, and the attempt almost aborts. "There?" she finishes, once Kai says the name of the place, "I went— well… I sort of almost went there. Kind of," she backs away from her claim before she ever actually made it. "Tempe Campus," she murbles by way of explanation. Engineering school. Still really pretty good. Just without the prestige of the Real Thing.

Back goes that battered eraser into Timon's mouth, freeing up his hands to grab the cup from the well-worn seat beside him. He sniffs its contents critically as he swirls it back and forth: complex, earthy, with a hint of tar and a dash of leather. The pilot doesn't sip again. "Two reasons, sir. One, the professor — and I use that term loosely — I wanted to work with was at CU." See-You, is how he says it. "And two, the Dean of Delphi's philosophy department was a radical. The long and short of it is: I couldn't get in to Delphi." A diffident shrug. "Not that it ended up mattering." Then, to Nine: "You talk." Timon's just awkward enough to sound amused. "I'm Stathis. What'd you study?"

All it takes is a spark- flick of life in order to breathe fire, and thus take in nicotine, tar, and sweet, sweet tobacco. Cigarette, hangs limply in Walt's lips, as finally a direction is chosen, path charted, and the old engine begins to move. Coffee first by the looks of the cup nabbed up, followed by the addition of black goodness, cream and two sugars. There's a method to good Lounge coffee, and that is but one variation of it. Its brought up, as he takes a huge long drag on his cigarette, smoke coming from his nostrils like a cartoon bull. A smell of the coffee, and a sip, still hot, but not burnt or blistering.

Eyes focus on the couches and rather those congregated and talking-colleges? He never went to one, but that doesn't seem to stop the PO from meandering over in the mean time. One hand going for one of the chairs at the table where the snipe is perched. Grunt-groan and eased down. So much noise for one man to sit, but when Walt does it-to relax? You can bet ever little tweak and hurt has to uncoil. Like a great big steam engine coming to a rest.

Diffidence is met with mild amusement on the viper jock's part, as he listens to Timon's explanation of things. Kai's cigarette is toyed with between his fingers almost as much as it's smoked, thumb flicking at the filter now and then to feather ash into the dented little tray he's pulled closer. "I always thought Delphi was for pretentious asses, anyway." His cigarette touches his lips, blue eyes lingering upon Nine for a few seconds before lowering again to his watch. "Afraid I've got to be off. Enjoy your reading, Lieutenant." He steals a couple more pulls of his cigarette before extinguishing it, and starting to his feet. "Petty Oh," he offers wanly to the technician who settles down nearby.

Kassia eyes briefly flicker open as the door goes again and Walt walks in, it takes her half a second to pop them both open and just stare at the walling master piece, it's only when she catches herself that she finally stop. "Nice, Tattoos." She finds herself saying, before she nods her head over towards Kai when he briefly looks her way. "Any meaning to em, or they just there to look…Hmmmm impressive?"

Nine looks toward the Spider as he gets up to go, but then back to the Real Caprica U student, looking a little nervous, as if she knew she were in the presence of her betters. "Um. Electromechanical, and I was given a Fifth Year Grant for an Automation project."

Walt waves over to Kai as it seems he is to be leaving the merry little meet. Two fingers up and off in a knuckled salute. "Captain-Don't go breaking my brids.." a tease there, even if the voice doesn't give the inflection. Smile's lost too as he is sipping his coffee again. A sniff and he's looking over to his right arm where the falling sparrow hangs there, a chuckle for a moment "Thanks.." muttered back over towards Kassia- eyes peering over the rims of his glasses before he's taking another long needed hit on his cigarette. "..Sparrow falls are counted, in but what breath a man- counts his hairs or lives-only the fates devise." Yes, he did just recite a Psalm right there, before the other hand motions to his left arm. "And Zeus the almighty, working on his lightning. Patron god to us Mechanics and Craftsmen besides being All-father to the gods.." a murmur and smoke as he quiets down for a second, letting them collegiate speak. "I got more of em.."

There's that pencil-tipping salute once more, as Timon bites down hard on the back of his long-suffering eraser. "Are you saying, Captain, that I'm not a pretentious ass?" Ivory's solemn expression breaks into a soft smile. "Once I learn you some philosophy, you'll quickly change your mind." Then, more seriously: "Good luck with everything, sir." That's goodbye for now, and greetings to the PO. Nine's explanation, for its part, is met with an impressed whistle. "Never had the mind for that stuff," he says, looking harder and more critically at the wisp of a girl before him. "I'm trying to get Roubani to teach me now that he's grounded until he can bribe the sawbones to recertify him for flight. Wouldn't mind another teacher, as long as you promise to go easy."

Kai's gaze briefly strays toward Nine as he departs for the hatch, perhaps catching the tail end of something she says. But, the busy bee has somewhere else to be. "Wouldn't dream of it," he tells Walt with an admirable poker face. And with a faint little smile for Kassia, and a one-handed buttoning of the top flap of his uniform — the other hand's occupied with his file folder, after all — he ducks out. Nope, Timon doesn't get the satisfaction of an answer to his question; rhetorical though it may have been.

Kassia peers at the PO's tattoo now he's a little closer. "You have more?" She asks, her eyes widening and then she waves her hand. "I'm afraid to ask." She says imagining the man dropping his pants and showing her a picture of the love goddess on his ass cheeks. "Hmmm, well I'm sure they are just as pretty." She says going to glance over to the other group as she sips more coffee.

Nine looks kind of embarrassed by the whistle, looking down toward her knees, "It's not really that hard, you know, it's not like… big ideas and… all that. It's just… making things go," she shrugs. "Everything -wants- to go, you just have to give it the path to let it do it." One might ask how someone with the equivalent of a Masters degree ends up a Petty Officer, third class, changing lightbulbs for a living. But without her marks of rank, those questions will have to go unasked. "If… if you want. I… um, I don't really have a good hand at teaching. But I can show you some of my toys."

"Yes, sir. About three more." Walt adds. Though no, none of the PO's bathin' suit areas are pierced or inked. He's not a crazy godsdamned fool. Another slow drag of his cigarette, as he blankly stares at Kassia. A laugh, dull, like the bottom of an oil drum booms along softly. "I wouldn't classify them as 'pretty' but they're well done-yeah" A glance over to his neighbor's sketchbook, as bespectacled eyes try to glean whatever it is she's drawing or colouring. Because he is snoopy like that, before he is blinking and looking back between her and Timon. "Wait-what?"

"Got a favorite, PO?" Timon takes a sip from his cup, his face contorting as he chokes down the ship's purified water. Perhaps he's exaggerating for comic effect. "Of the gods, I mean. Pride of place, yeah?" Yes, he's been listening. His voice is nonchalant, as if he's asking about Walt's favorite Pyramid player — or, more likely, his favorite book. "And whatever you can do, Mistress of Making Things Move, would be very much appreciated." If he gets the double-entendre that's set the deckhand’s imagination afire, he certainly doesn't show it. "Have a name, or do I have to keep referring to you by that clunky title?"

Kassia nods her head slowly. "I always wanted to get couple myself, one on my lower back and one on my shoulder." She says with a pauses of her lips. "Wonder if it's possible to find someone whom can do em, though I suspect supplies might be an issues." She glances over at Nine. "Seem we have a few artists though."

"Nine," the self-same replies. "What are you called?" she wonders, though her back twists and she turns around to see someone snooping at her bird rather unexpectedly (at least, to her). She leans forward over her drafting book again, though she doesn't add anything to the blueprints for now.

Walt is broken up from what he is peering at, apparently-that which Nine was drawing. A glance up as words catch him offguard in his snooping. Of course with something like that Walt would be interested. Where as he is certified to handle both electronics and mechanics-he is first and foremost a Mechanic. And designs like that? Well- they only go on to stem and stir his imagination. "Huh?" asked once before Walt is steering that bland gaze on the officer. "Yeah- you could say that." a grunt and a sip of coffee-cigarette all in controlled order. "But- I come from a long line of creators and artisans- so we hold to our deity as such." A kiss of his teeth and Walt simply shrugs as he glances back to Nine "How about you sir- you got a god you follow?" though words are for Timon eyes are for Nine's bird.

Kassia goes back to sipping at her drink for a few moments before she's on her feet, she pads over to the sink places her cup in there, run the tap and rinses it out before it's placed face down on the small draining board. She's then quietly making her way out, leaving the rest to the technical talk.

"Tattoos hurt." The lieutenant offers that trenchant observation with an airy wave of his hand, which soon rises to pinch his nose as he chugs the rest of his water. When he's done: "They call me Ivory," says Timon, bushy eyebrows rising as he adopts the girl's strange phrasing for his own. "Don't ask. And I don't really bother with the gods, much, really." Probably not the wisest thing to say to a professed believer, but he's a pilot, dammit, not a diplomat. "They're used to my kind. Academics; skeptics; doubters," he adds. "Probably have a nice dark corner of Tartarus set aside just for me and my ilk. Ensign Nevice." Ivory's in stream-of-consciousness mode this afternoon, it appears.

Walt nods once over towards Kassia-for a second, and it would seem the PO is glancing back towards Ivory with a bemused look upon his face. "Says only the one who has not had one done-or can't handle the pain." A roll of that inked shoulder-which sends Zeus' hoary hair into a ripple of waves, motion and clouds converging. Curious as to the name-Ivory, but knowing pilot names-he is not one to push. He's heard about as worse AHPB :Always Humping Picon Bi-well you get the picture. A chuckle for a moment and he's reaching his hand out for the ashtray by the pilot's table so as to knock the monster snake he has going. "I don't see how academics plays into it. Sure-skeptic and doubters. But scholars?" a shrug.

Nine is a little self-conscious of her blueprints, evidently, the way she sort of half-leans over it as to obscure the bird from view. "I always liked piercings better," she murmurs quietly. "But they made me take all of mine out before I came on board my first assignment." Sad snipe. Someone looking at her face closely could likely see the tell-tale signs of once-pierced areas of her lips, nose, eyebrows, ears. Yes, she used to be a regular porcupine. "And the Scriptures say the Lords don't require belief. Only respect," she points out. "When Pentheus denied that Dionysus was a God, Cadmus told him— not that he should believe… but simply that he should let others believe."

"Can't handle the pain, no," the Raptor pilot agrees. Timon's not one to whip out a tape measure every time he's challenged about the size of his junk. "A couple of guys dared me to get some body art back at Tencher." That would be Tencher Air Base on Caprica, home of one of the bigger OCS programs in the Fleet. "Picked out something nice and special for me. Didn't think Ed, Larry and Moe had it in them to translate — well, I'm not going to say it aloud — into Old Gemenese, but." The end of the story he leaves hanging. Instead, on the subject of religion, territory he's far more comfortable covering: "'Academic' is synonymous for both of them, PO. And if I remember the end of that delightful old fable correctly, Pentheus got torn to shreds by a bunch of angry Maenads, mother included." A noncommittal shrug, here. "Not the death I had in mind. Go forth and worship in peace. Leave this doddering fool to his fate." He pauses, chewing thoughtfully on his pencil.

Walt is still bird sniping or something, as he simply keeps trying to peer at the markings and draw ups, but luckily for Nine- Walt is easily distracted as he will mostly look at someone when they are talking to him and vice versa. Mostly. "Do I look like a priest?" offered back towards Timon, sure one can bring to light the plight of said deities, Dionysus, or Zeus for that matter- but it seems Walt on either end is not some evangelist, or looking to convert the unwilling, or skeptic. "Pass the ashtray sir, I don't want to break my snake on the table-personally.." a bit of smoke speak, and Walt's looking back to the thing at hand-which seems to no longer be book smarts-but rather religion. "However, didn't Pentheus also not respect, technically one could say he frakked up there due to' outlawing- an then trying to imprison Dionysus-that he kinda went on way by respect.." Might as well clear it up

As for the tattoo or body art- Walt's just grinning- and leaving it be.

9 nods in agreement to Walt, "Pentheus didn't let the others worship in peace. He made war against those who followed Bacchus in the dance, and put them in prison." Nine turns to face Ivory again, "If he had let them give the God His due honors, he would not have been punished for his impiety. He only had to leave those who wanted to worship in peace to do so, which— you seem more or less pleased to do." She even smiles a little, then looks toward Walt, "Did you ever get holes poked in you?"

Timon obliges, replacing the ashtray with his mug as he leans toward the colorful — literally! — crewman nearby. His flight suit rustles a bit as he moves: for whatever reason, the man hasn't bothered to change after CAP. Then, it's back to his reading, his pencil dropping at last from his mouth to rest rather comfortably in the palm of his right hand. Here and there, he'll underline a few things, change a few others — ever the multi-tasker. "Pentheus was a moron," he mumbles, licking off a speck of something that's gotten caught in his teeth. "Got Thebes right well chuffed off, too, if you'll pardon the idiom. No wonder Plato wanted academics to rule the world." Ivory shudders, though whether that's due to the thought of philosopher-kings or body piercings he leaves vague.

There's a blink. A removal of glasses, and a blink again before Walt is looking back towards Nine. A soft sound in his throat giving the notion that perhaps the PO 3rd Class, has no real response to that before, he is rubbing the side of his nose. "Well.." quiet for a moment. Consideration perhaps-or he is trying to really figure out where that question came from. "I've had a nail shot into my leg once- if that counts..As for a piercing…No. I never thought of getting one.." A shrug there, before he's looking back towards Ivory "Gotta have both if you ask me." and he's looking back to Nine for a moment "I got duty comin' up soon- evening CAP's and all-but if you got time.." a motion towards Nine's book "I'd like to look at your schematics." quiet for a moment "And if you want, of course.." And then he turns and ashes in the offered-mug?

"That counts, that definitely— oh," Nine reddens. She doesn't blush like a human woman blushes, instead her pale skin goes all blotchy and red along her cheeks and then down her neck, as if she were breaking out in hives. She closes her book and holds it up to her chest, "Oh. Oh, um, maybe. They're not… not anything, or ready, or… I need to copy them out clean…" she keeps talking. Yeah, she totally hides her porn in there.

Walt nods, as a slight grin shows for a moment before he is looking back to Timon "Keep her easy-sir." and a nod of his head to Nine, who simply gets a knuckled-and cigarette salute. "We'll talk on it then Nine." which means Walt will be looking for her. And with that the rather tall and colourful PO ducks out.

"Ow," says Ivory, though his tone doesn't suggest anything beyond mild interest — or disinterest, as the case may be — in the deckhand's story. "Happened to somebody I know, that. The nail, I mean. They had to send him to a doctor, too: turns out he hadn't been keeping up with his immunizations, and tetanus can do disturbing things to the human body. Shut him up for about a week, which meant none of us had to hear about his pet dog." Timon's eyes go distant and unfocused. "Wonder what happened to him," he murmurs — and then, snapping back to reality: "Call me Ivory, PO. Everybody does."

Nine, too, is given a lazy wave. Then it's back to his flight manual, for a pilot's work is never done.

Nine swallows and nods at Walt, then, "Good night, Ivory," she murmurs, and skitters off.

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