Summary: Willem and Roubani discuss gods and monsters in the Head.
Date: PHD113 (10 Aug 2009)
Related Logs: Related Logs (Say None if there aren't any; don't leave blank)

Kharon - Head

The static crackling of water hitting shower floor echoes throughout one corner of the head for some while as it is wont to do. Clouds of steam billow up from the top of the stall in question amidst the sounds of sloshing and scrubbing. Finally, there is another sound. Someone's singing in the shower. It's not concert-trained, but precise enough and pleasingly clear in its cadence. Even if it's in the shower.

"At ten times seven, my glass was run, And I, poor silly man, must die,
I looked up, and saw the sun
Was overcome with crystal sky.
And now I must this world forsake
Another man, my place must take." It's a little bit on the sad side, but the overall melody, while minor key, is more peaceful and resigned than any kind of dripping tearjerker.

There's been another shower going for a little while. In true naval style it comes on, then turns off for a while, then comes on again. Then turns off for good, somewhere in the middle of Willem's singing. By the time Roubani emerges from his shower stall, he's already dressed in fatigue pants and a T-shirt, as modestly covered as one's going to get when just out from under shower spray. Straddling one of the benches with several stapled papers open between his knees, he's cleaning his fingernails with the sharp edge of one blade of his multitool. A towel across his shoulders catches leftover drips from his shortened hair.

There's a bit of fading in Wil's voice here as the song apparently ends. Comes to a dead stop, as a matter of fact. There's nothing but the sound of throat-clearing from his stall, aside from the sound of the spluttering shower-head. Something else starts up. "I am my father's son, and his deeds cannot be undone." It sounds good enough but ends in a sudden burst of silence. "Frak. That's not the way it goes. Let me…" Apparently he is knee-deep in an arguement with his own internal muse. The shower head goes off, a pale arm reaches over the top of the stall door and snags the towel stashed there. Price emerges a short while later clad in said towel, his hair only half-dry and apparently subject to a lazy drying attempt.

Roubani's dark eyes come up when the noise far away becomes the noise much closer, one slender brow cocking into a slight arch. The knife's paused in his hands, tip of the blade still under his fingernail.

Strolling over to the sink lazily, Wil brings a pale hand up to his copper-tinged hair, brushing a few stray drops of water out of it, frowning in the mirror and tracing a hand over his face. "Every day I'm getting older." He mutters to himself under his breath, accompanied by a sigh that flows from his lips. His eyes narrow in the mirror on what looks like one Junior Lt. Roubani. "Poet," comes the next, louder murmur obviously intended for an audience other than himself.

Roubani's lips twitch a little. He looks back down at his nails, or maybe at the open papers he's attempting to study at the same time that he grooms. "Price. Bravissimo."

There's cough there. Is that a laugh? Maybe. "You know how it is. You get something jammed in your head and you have to -hear- it to exorcise it. Even if you make a fool out of yourself while doing so." Likewise, a twitch of the lips, although he keeps his head down through most of it while he goes through the process of digging out a can of shaving cream and a cheap, standard-issue razor. Oh, this might be irritating.

"I'll take your word for it," Roubani's soft-spoken voice replies. The knife makes a soft plick as it scrapes against his fingernail, and he rubs his fingers together to flick off some dislodged dirt. "I try to show mercy to my fellow man."

There's a splutter of laughter somewhere in there as the razor is lifted and Wil holds the instrument aloft as he gazes at the mirror. "Point taken. The Head's a dangerous place for delicate sensibilities, I guess." Laugh finished, the pilot applies the blade to his face and begins a steady stroke though the layer of white fluff. "That's noble of you, though." The last part is delivered straight enough.

Roubani almost smiles, wonder of wonders. He finishes that fingernail and turns one of the pages on the bench before starting on the next haven of dirt. "Thank you." His nose crinkles slightly as he examines his nail. It's torn too, the product of long days of engineering labour. "How has Red been these days?"

Like some old, wizened god christened with a beard of fluffy goop, Wil turns a moment to squint in the mirror. "Gods, I'm getting old. I didn't have these. I swear." Another several flicks of the razor in neat strokes and he responds. "Strange. It's been strange ever since the explosives were found. Even stranger, in a way, since we got our berthings back." A matter-of-fact shrug is delivered in the mirror as he amends, "At least we're out of your hair and you won't hear my snoring as much. And the couch will be free." This last was a relatively light-sounding statement, but the following one wasn't. "Something about losing your home, losing your home -again- and then losing your home one final time to really cause a shake-up in a man's mind." Shifting his head to further finish the process and turning the water on a gentle stream to rinse out the blade. "And how are you?"

Roubani turns the sharp blade, using it to cut part of the torn nail off. Such an uncivilised way to cut a nail, but done with delicate precision. He glances up once when Willem goes on again about being old, then back down. "Just fine, I suppose. Certainly not wandering about the internally displaced persons list as you have been." He blows on his thumb, getting rid of the cut bit of nail resting there. "You aren't imagining wrinkles, are you?"

"It could have been worse, I can imagine." Willem quickly fires off with another scrape of his razor, 'thunk'ing the shaving cream into the sink as he smiles a little, distractedly into the mirror. "Displacement wasn't that bad in terms of company. That Ensign, Ferris, who we pulled of Scorpia just got dropped in with us at the same time. He's respectable, I think. And there was the CAG. And you. And Lt. Tanner." Clearing his throat, he finishes the shave job and begins splashing a little water on his face to rinse, before he reaches for his shorts. At least he has a modicum of modesty, slipping them on under the towel. "Heh. I'm not -imagining- anything. I sound like my mother now, it's true, but I guess I inherited her complexion and all the curses that go with it. Stress makes everything a little worse."

If Roubani had anything cheeky to say about Willem's mention of Tanner, one would never know. It's either ignorance or politeness that keeps his face straight. Almost certainly the latter. His eyes stay down while Willem dresses, even if it is the shorts-under-towel manuever. "I don't think you have much to worry about," he finishes fussing over his nails and shuts the knife on the multitool with a sharp click. "Where wrinkles are concerned, anyway. High blood pressure may be another tale." He looks down, hooking the multitool back onto the heavy black belt he's wearing. His feet, still bare, press their toes against the tiles under the bench he's seated on.

Of course, Wil's complete lack of social guile in this situation just keeps him motoring along. Fishing into the bag, he reaches for the standard tanks and pulls them out and over his head, slipping them on over his dogtags. "Yah. It's not like it's a -real- concern. Just shocking to notice the passing of time. How life ages you. I'm not hobbling around like an old man or anything of that nature. Just trying to process the last seven or eight years. High blood pressure? I hadn't thought of that. I can't imagine it killing off anyone on this ship, at the very least." He clicks his tongue. "Sorry. Maybe not the best choice of words. How are you liking the world of Junior Lieutenant, anyway?"

Roubani gently scratches the back of his head. His hair's grown back a little bit from an abrupt, uneven chopping not long ago. "So far it has been little but fretting over whether I'm doing it properly," he says, quiet and dry. That answer seems less important than the previous conversation though, which he goes back to with just a subtle shift in tone to signal the break. "You can't even be thirty."

"Hey." Wil intially tosses this out there, affably. "If the fretting keeps your general success level high I'm not going to criticize it." He stoops down below the sink to tear open his gym bag a little further and produces a set of fatigue pants, which he shimmys into, one foot after the other dancing like some kind of ginger flamingo. He unwraps the towel afterwards and dries his hair with it a little more thoroughly as he continues. His own hair has maybe grown out close to an inch or so these days and is a constant source of helmet hair. "For what it's worth, pretty much -everyone- who knows who you are drops glowing recommendations when your name is mentioned." He pauses a beat, right side of his mouth curling upwards. "That's probably its own reward." For now, though, he turns back to the mirror, idly beholding the man looking back at him. "No. No I'm not. I have a few years before that happens. But I can remember -then- and now so vividly it's jarring. I should be honest. It's not about the age."

Roubani is watching Willem in the mirror as the man talks, his expression giving little away of his opinions. His eyes turn downward when Willem claims good recommendations everywhere, only coming back up when the man finishes out his thoughts. There's a beat that seems expectant. "What is it about, then?" Comes the soft-spoken question.

"I didn't say that to butter you up or embarass you, Poet." Wil can't quite seem to leave it alone without tossing in that one final comment as it were. But there, it was tossed out, and he finally looks back upwards to address his hair with a few quick smooths of his hand as he buckles on his fatigues. "I've been thinking about home a lot lately. And where it was when I left. Where -I- was. Don't misunderstand, I have no qualms about being in the Service. I still believe in the reasons that drove me to accept this life. But, it changed me. And when I look at my face changing I think about that. Just feel like one step further away from home, I s'pose. I guess it's sort of silly."

At the initial protestations, the first even hint of a smile creeps onto Roubani's face. It's brief and tinged with a sympathetic sort of tic. "I appreciate it," he replies softly. Then it's moving onwards. He's been sitting for a while, finished with his fingernails, which the efficiency centre of his brain registers after a moment or two. As Willem speaks he stands up, pulling his leg over the bench and bringing his toothbrush over to a nearby sink. "I don't suppose it is." He turns on the sink, wetting the toothbrush. His eyes stay on the bristles. "Where was home?"

"Glad. I wasn't just trying to be polite." There's a flash of teeth as Wil half-smiles back into the mirror, letting out a brief one-syllable chuckle, as if he's laughing at some private joke. It fades a little bit as he bends down to reach for his socks, discarding the towel next to the bag. "You think?" He addresses the other topic now with a slight narrowing of his eyes. One sock, and then the other, as he answers. "Libran. Lysandium, specifically. It wasn't the absolute -biggest- city in the Colonies but it was fascinating. Layers of architecture which went back for centuries. It was a lucky wonder of urban planning. It was clean, constant variety in the weather, some coastline. A giant botanical garden laid out like a maze, with statues of the Gods overlooking various corners and nooks and crannies. When I was a kid, I could have sworn they were real." He clears his throat a bit abashedly and offers, "Sorry if I went off on a tangent there. Sure, it had its problems and I -know- that Libran got fat off banking money. Maybe at the expense of others. But it was easy to forget."

Roubani works on his teeth while Willem talks, as he has quite a bit of time available to do so. Bristles scrub against enamel, foam spit out in a big, neat plop and washed away. His dark eyes lift once, glancing at the other man in the mirror next to him and then back to the running water. "It sounds beautiful." And then there's silence, except for the water. He splashes the toothbrush under the tap, readying it for another pass through his mouth. Silence. Then, quietly: "Do you ever wonder, Price, why it is that they've destroyed so much…yet they haven't destroyed us?" His eyes come back up, brow lightly ticked upwards. "Skill of our combat teams aside, let's be realistic."

"It was. I thought. What fond memories do you have of home? Eh. Maybe you can tell me in a minute. If you want." Willem begins as he too reaches for his own toothbrush and coats the bristles with standard, Fleet-issue tooth goop. He proceeds to methodically scrub up and down after wetting the brush and goes through the motions of scrubbing for a minute or two as he listens to Roubani's own words, brows knitting as he just gazes into the mirror. Spit. Rinse. He looks down at the sink and taps the brush against the edge, turning the water off after one last rinse of the bristles. The attempt at a grin that follows is a little wry, and a little sad. "Do I? I probably wonder too much. I think about that every waking day. Maybe the Enemy" it's spoken with such a weight that it should be capitalized should it ever be written, "is toying with us. Just wants one last remnant around for study or sport. Maybe it's good fortune, or as some might say, the Gods' grace. One small gesture of mercy in the wake of the most horrible thing imaginable." His voice droops a little with a little wordless rumble proceeding his last idea. "Or maybe our lives were paid for by the blood of all those others."

Roubani swishes the wet brush around his mouth and spits again, then cups his hand under the water. It's sucked in and spit out, then the tap shut off. He may be the one wearing prayer beads around his scarred wrist, but the mention of grace and tabs paid just gets a faint grunt. Could mean anything. "Study," he repeats, baring his teeth briefly in the mirror and then softly sucking them. "Study what, I wonder. It's a romantic notion, but I can't say it makes much sense."

There's a bit of a distant 'thousand yard stare' on Wil's part as he just gazes in the mirror for a moment, silently as his forehead wrinkles, tracing the lines in it with his index finger. His lips remain pursed. "Romantic notion." He breathes out a little, leaving a bit of condensation on the surface of the mirror. "I've been accused of that before and worse. Of course it doesn't make much sense. Then I think about another idea — that a force with the raw numbers to mass a concentrated attack on pretty much everything we -have- can't seem to throw enough at us to knock us down. We're one ship, not even a Battlestar. That doesn't make much sense either." His shoulders shrug languidly. "Or rather, it makes as much sense as any of the other ideas I was throwing around. I don't know what to believe."

"It comes down to this," Roubani says. He has the type of voice whose volume can easily feel like he's keeping it lowered just for the moment's particular intimacy. Until one remembers that he's always this soft-spoken. "They had enough nuclear power to pound through colonial forces and pour hell onto entire planets…we've seen it ourselves. I've seen it." His guarded eyes flicker to Willem's mirror and then back to his own. "Yet they don't deploy that amount of power against one little carrier. Not even the fraction it would take to blow enough of a hole in our hull that we would never recover." He picks up his hand towel, wiping off his fingers. "Perhaps they've temporarily run out of nuclear bombs, and they're using what they have while they rebuild. Which sounds as absurd as anything else that might be proposed, I suppose. You sound as though you've figured other reasons."

All the while that Poet goes through the hypothetical scenario, Wil goes through the mundane tasks of adjusting his socks and stooping downward to put his boots on, interrupted by little breaks of just staring into the mirror. Those words are beheld, processed, maybe reflected on a little with nothing more than a slight adjustment of an eyebrow and slow pursing of his lips. "You're likely always one to be better with numbers than myself." He begins, with a slight half-shrug of one shoulder. "But I'd reckon a shortfall of ordinance to take care of one Escort Carrier and two Squadrons to be something approaching a cosmic joke. Still, you're right. It's as likely a possibility as anything. The idea I presented was just that. As absurd as anything else. Don't give my words too much weight." Now those lips flash a half-smile. "Now what I'd -like- to believe. I'd like to believe in providence or mercy here, on the part of the Gods. The last bit of what is sacred to us in isolated pockets on Scorpia. Maybe other worlds. And right here." The 'like to believe' statement is telegraphed. It's the sound of a man who desperately wants to believe but just can't quite make that leap. But, he's trying.

"Do they have to be separate," Roubani muses under his breath, as he lifts the towel off his shoulders to scrub it through the back of his still-wet hair. "Do you know the old story of the man in the flood?"

Whatever Willem's answer to that musing is, it comes across in quiet, wordless pondering with another glance into the mirror as the boots are laced up. "Which one? I think there were several."

"A man is caught in a flood that drives him to the roof of his home," Roubani talks quietly as he runs the towel over his head. "One of his neighbors swims by with a rope and calls to him to grab hold, they can swim together. He shouts down no, you go, for the gods will save him." Fluff goes the towel. "The waters continue to rise and later his neighbors float by on a raft and shout to him to come down, they will take him to shore. He tells them no, for the grace of the gods will save him." He rubs the towel briefly over his face and goes on. "Then a helicopter comes and its occupants throw down a ladder, calling to him to climb up. He tells them no, his faith is strong and the gods will save him. So, the waters wash away everything and the man drowns. As he meets with Charon, coin in hand, he throws up his hands and laments that the gods were nowhere to be found. Charon just sighs and says well, they sent you a man with a rope, a raft, and a helicopter. What more could you possibly want?"

Tying his shoes, the Libran pilot calmly stands and listens to Roubani narrate, nodding his head in an absent manner, here and there. Whether appropriate or inappropriate(and he is often one who straddles the line between these two), the final reaction on Willem's part is a small twisting of his mouth into a grin that manages to break the relatively pensive, sombre mood that has defined his presence throughout the conversation. "What I'd want is a bigger helicopter. But other than that, that was dead-appropriate, Poet. No, seriously. I…I get it, I think." He's about to say something else but shuts his mouth firmly and quickly.

Roubani flicks his eyes up in a subtle roll at the helicopter thing. But a corner of his mouth also moves, making the whole thing quietly goodnatured. He regards Willem for a few seconds after the man goes quiet so suddenly, pulling the towel around his shoulders. "I should get changed for work," he remarks idly, collecting his toothbrush and then the papers he'd left on the bench right nearby. "Perhaps we can talk again soon."

"Likewise. CAP and all that.," Wil rattles off easily enough although he gives the other man a slight glance, complete with a tilt of the head before he goes back to finish off his bootlaces and slap on his watch. "We should. If we can. In the meantime though?" He clears his throat in such an awkward way that should be clear that he seems a bit shaky about saying this. It's still heartfelt. "I think I'll mull over what the Gods may have given us. In lieu of the helicopter. And a rope. And a raft." The smile that follows is tenative and bemused, and he doesn't add any further words, beyond a simple, "Be safe." And with that, the pilot quietly excuses himself with his gathered gear and heads for the hatch.

Roubani doesn't push it. There's a faint half-smile, but the only words are: "You as well, Price." And then he too is out the door.

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