The Perfect Video
The Perfect Video
Summary: What-ifs and what-might-have-beens.
Date: PHD137
Related Logs: A Cubit Short

The ready room has gone dark this afternoon, its usual brilliant illumination having given way to a few rays of light stabbing out from the slats of its digital projection unit in back. The machine whirs and hums as it spins to life — responding, presumably, to the remote held by the gangly pilot sitting alone in the middle of the second row, whose body and head are aligned to avoid casting any shadow against the off-white screen hanging before him. Judging from the grainy picture slowly fading into focus, he's here to cue up footage: of Kharon, alone in space, frozen in time by the magical power of pause.

Slipping his familiar bag up over the shoulder of his duty greens jacket, the hatch spins open and in steps the figure of Willem, barely illuminated by a stray glow of the projector's light. Having ducked out to retrieve something, he opens his mouth a little bit for a gulp of air and then proceeds further in. There's a stray glance to the screen and then back to its operator. "A little less entertaining than those vids from the library." He takes a stab in the proverbial dark at making a joke.

Said gangly pilot is none other than Timon Stathis, whose new and improved haircut isn't quite obscured by the darkness. As he fast-forwards, less empty space and more solid things begin to appear on the screen until almost all of it is covered by flashes of white and grey — there, a smashed escape pod bearing the Colonial phoenix; there, a sudden flash that might be an explosion; there, the back half of a Viper spinning and a child's velveteen rabbit, its ears singed and charred. Ephemeral images flicker, shift, and vanish like will-o-the-wisps , until at last the massive bulk of the passenger liner Elpis flickers into view from port. And you wonder why he didn't laugh at your joke.

Oh. Well then. Yeah, this isn't exactly funtime pleasure viewing. But Wil's got a bit of a masochistic streak, all told, and even though one wouldn't go far as to say he -wants- to see this footage, he doesn't look away. The Viper pilot ambles up the stairs a bit, his open mouth affixed on the grisly scene the two pilots saw all-too-close just nights ago. "I told the CAG that, you know, maybe if I saw this again I would stop -seeing- it." His voice drifts through the ready room hollowly.

The sound of harried footsteps enters through the hatch; Thorn hurries into the ready room, a freshly lit cigarette on his lips. He shambles down the stairs towards the other two pilots. "Sorry I'm late," he murmurs as an afterthought as he joins Willem and Timon watching the recording.

Timon hits pause, turning and squinting at the men making their way inside. As it turns out, this might not be the best of ideas: he's just gotten to the part where his Raptor slammed cockpit-first into two stray bodies, their legs naught but bone, their faces frozen in horror. He doesn't see them — but Rebound might, and Thorn most certainly will. Then, hoarsely: "I haven't been sleeping much either."

"I don't think you missed much." Willem's head drifts back over his shoulder, catching Thorn's entrance. Or maybe it's the telltale smell of cigarette smoke. In any case, he tosses this line of address out there but his gaze is firmly locked on the footage, otherwise as he navigates. His face is a bit more pale than usual, which is a feat — maybe it's emphasized a bit by the glow of the artificial light. "You too?" He finally addresses Timon in a halting tone of voice. "Y'know, since the war started, I saw a bit. — We saw what was left of the Charybdis Station. As bad as that was, it still didn't prepare me for this."

Thorn stops mid-stride, a stricken expression on his face as the screen freezes just as the hideously grimacing bodies strike the Raptor's cockpit. He and Willem are of a color; Thorn blanches at the sight frozen on the screen. After a moment, though, his footsteps resume, and slowly, reluctantly, he slides into one of the room's worn leather seats with a muted sigh.

"I was worried I'd lost my ability to be horrified after I went out for Merlin," murmurs Timon, his reedy voice raw. In the presence of these men, he doesn't have to go further than that. "I — I really shouldn't have worried." Only now does he turn back to the screen, pushing down once more on fast-forward just in time to see those two corpses careen into space at the force of his impact. Elpis looms ever larger as the camera — or Raptor, as the case may be — draws closer, spinning along her horizontal axis until the view of her side becomes one of her bow.

"The first time I ever saw a ship lose structural integrity and decompress," wow, these are precise and clinical terms, -aren't- they? "I had the instinct to just look away. That was before the war, though." There's a bit of an odd, surprised clearing of the Viper pilot's throat before he just continues. "I think I lost that instinct. Or maybe I was worrying about something else." No, the Merlin comment is not lost on Wil, here. He was there for it happening, after all. His eyes remain trained on the footage.

"I've never seen it happen, myself." By this time, Foxbat-4 has docked, if the way the camera shakes and shudders is any indication of what she's been up to; a few seconds later, just like that, she's free, breaking off from the damaged liner to rejoin her comrades in the firefight raging above her. "Some of the other Hawkeyes did. They'd tell stories." Timon smiles faintly, his lips turning thinner and paler as he does. "Then they'd all transfer out, one by one, month by month."

"Last time I un-saw it, I transferred here. Got transferred, anyway." Wil says, succintly and a little quietly as he settings into his chair, sprawling out and crossing his arms in front of his chest as the footage flickers and the light reflects in his glance. And then he asks that question that has been no doubt been bouncing around his head like a pinball over an octagonal-shaped board for days. "What do you think would have happened had we stumbled on this just an hour or two prior?"

"What would have happened? We'd be just as dead as those poor dumb fraks out there, with nothing t' show for it." Thorn speaks for the first time since his entrance, a hint of undirected anger in his voice. "Against two healthy baseships… a frakkin' escort carrier wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference." He takes a deep drag from the cigarette, blowing a plume of smoke through his nose as he falls silent. If he has any horror stories of his own, he doesn't volunteer them.

Timon doesn't have much to add; indeed, it's almost as if he didn't hear what Rebound asked, so intently does he gaze upon the screen. He's looking for a particular frame — which, after a couple more seconds of fiddling, he finds. Fast-forward becomes reverse becomes fast-forward becomes reverse until at last he manages to press stop at precisely the right time. It's the baseship — the living one, a massive and bone-white thing, larger even than the bombed-out battlestar in the foreground, certainly larger than Elpis — and Kharon. It hovers on the screen like some spectral spider, spinning webs of Raiders and missiles in its maw. Only then does Ivory realize his mouth has drifted open — and with an overly-loud clack, he closes it.

"THOSE things didn't seem so healthy by the time we got there." Wil says, a little unsteadily. He lets the matter drift out there a moment, but doesn't really go anywhere with it. Mouth twitching to one side, his eyes narrow, accompanied by little lines on his forehead and by his eyes. This war has probably aged him a couple years in the matter of months, given all that's gone on and how he looked when it began. As Timon zeroes on the desired footage, however, his breath gets caught in his throat as he leans forward, and just plain stares at said living baseship. "I wanted to know how they changed."

Komnenos snorts, eyes still locked on the ominous form of the baseship. "Yeah. When we got there. Don't waste your time on 'what might have beens', Rebound," Thorn growls in response. His face is frozen in an ugly expression as he simply stares at the scarred Cylon capital ship, like a gargoyle on an old stone building.

For once, Timon isn't focused on those might-have-beens Thorn is going on about. Instead, he whispers something that might not be audible to anybody not listening closely: "No wonder the fleet evaporated on Warday." His voice is taut and strained. It's one thing to imagine what encountering a baseship might be like; it's entirely another to actually encounter one — and live through that encounter. He's balding at thirty-two, after all. Should this keep up, he'll be out of hair in less than a year. "Most of it, anyway." Frame still frozen, the pilot zooms in — not on the baseship but on the battlestar, until only a tangled mess of pylons and rivets is visible: a bird's nest of steel, in which, by some absurd decree of the universe, the letters Bellerophon can still be seen. Silence, silence, more silence — and then, quite suddenly: "You think there's more of us out there?"

"Evaporated? I don't think so. We killed one of those things. Look. How many Battlestars did we have, not including random mothballed ships like this beloved bucket we're sailing on?" Wil suddenly sits up, his head craning around to watch the slow crawl of the camera throughout the floating graveyard that was the scene of the Bellerophon, the Elpis, and the other support ship's last stand. His reaction to Thorn is simply gentle, as an aside. "Everyone says not to waste time on it. But what are we wasting by wondering? Really. Maybe something will be uncovered that we can catch for next time. If there's a next time."

His throat rumbles a bit more as he shifts his seat, momentarily pulling his attention off the macabre scene to the elder Raptor pilot. "I want to think there are. If the Bell lived this long, maybe there are others. Maybe even crewed by people we remember."

"Wonder all th' frak y' like, then. What's it going t' change?" His voice is still gruff as he answers Willem. It's not Rebound's fault, really; seeing this once put him in enough of a mood, so one can only imagine the effect it's having a second time. "Idle speculation isn't the same frakkin' thing as real analysis."

"It evaporated, Rebound." There's unusual sharpness in Timon's voice as he repeats himself; apparently, Thorn's not the only one who's twitchy this afternoon. "Most of it. You saw the list. Triton. Columbia. Solaria. Atlantia." At the mention of that last, something catches in Ivory's throat, which even a few coughs doesn't manage to clear. "It was a stupid thought," he says at length. "Idle speculation." This, with a look to Thorn — anything to avoid the screen. "Comforting, sure, but idle all the same."

Carrying one of the heavy Viper manuals from the ready room's shelves, Roubani heads into this den of wings on quiet feet. The sliver of light that appears when the hatch opens no doubt heralds someone's arrival into the room, and that that person doesn't immediately make noise might even give more clue as to who it is than a voice would have.

"Was the Bell on that list?" Wil says, as he, ahem, sits in his chair on the end of a row by the aisle and sprawls out, tapping a booted foot rapidly but otherwise quietly, as he first and foremost immediately addresses Timon. "Really. I'm wondering about margin for error, here. Of course it's comforting and stupid to think somewhere, -someone- survived in the face of this." He gestures upwards and points at the mess upon the screen with an upturned palm. "I don't know." And then his head snaps towards Thorn's vague direction, indicating the next words are for him. "As far as 'real analysis' goes, who bloody well knows what's going on? Most of the puzzling out and decision-making occurs at command-level. We're not command. We're just," he produces a binder from his bag and idly fiddles with the cover, snapping it open and shut, "Kids. Mooks sitting in a frakking ready-room staring at someone's death certificate trying to figure out who signed the bloody thing."

Anton's jaw tightens noticeably as Timon mentions the Solaria in that list. He finally manages to tear his eyes away from the screen, looking back towards Willem. Smoke pours from his nose as he speaks. "Just because we're not the frakkin' muckety-mucks sitting on the bridge doesn't mean we don't have a part t' play. How do we know even half of what we've learned so far? Battles we've fought, readings we've taken. I'll be damned if anyone calls me a bloody 'mook' after all that. Just do your frakkin' job and don't waste anyone's time daydreamin' about a fleet of battlestars coming t' the rescue."

Timon winces in discomfort as the hatch opens and light spills in — or maybe he's grimacing at Thorn's outburst, on which he has (surprise surprise!) no comment. It'll take him a while for his eyes to readjust to the room's relative darkness once Roubani finishes closing the door, which might be why Rebound doesn't immediately get a response. "You know — " OH NOES. This is Timon-speak for 'An irrelevant story will soon follow.' RUN FOR THE HILLS.

"You know, I read some polling data once," is what Ivory comes up after a moment of contemplation. "'Lowest incumbent approval ratings one month prior to Caprican municipal elections.' Turns out a few decades ago there was a mayor — Abe Shale, or Slate, or some other rock that starts with 's' — with the support of two percent of his city. Which, with an MoE of plus-minus three — well. His own mother might not have approved of his performance. All of which is to say: we're the two percent." Another tight smile. "And we don't have mothers who'll vote for us without question."

Click. Roubani's small maglite makes a controlled circle on the floor to guide his way. A brow perhaps raises at the talk going on, but it's impossible to tell in this darkness. And, since the trio is quite absorbed, he remains quiet as he sifts his way through the room, a lightly bobbing firefly of light being the evidence of his presence.

"I -do- my job, Thorn." Willem says, suddenly, after a lengthy pause and a torrent-like anecdote from Timon. But Thorn spoke first, and gets addressed first, and there is actually a faint edge of annoyance to his voice that's really never directed -at- a person. "And I will continue to do so. Unless you think I don't. In which case, I've never been one to shy away from criticism." This is punctuated by a bit of a disgusted sigh as he tap-tap-tap-tap-taps his fingers against the cover. "Believe me. I'm ALL ears." The sound of his tone here is resigned, though. Annoyed, yes, but his heart's not really in it, as it were. Shifting his head, he catches sight of the flashlight but moves instead to address Timon.

"If we're the two percent, who's the Mayor?" He may or may not be attempting to be a smartass, here.

There's A Look from Thorn over at Timon as the older man goes off on a slight tangent, but other than a cocked eyebrow and a look of 'what the frak does that have t' do with anything', there's no reaction. He turns back to Willem, lips drawn tightly. "I didn't say that, Rebound," Anton replies quietly. "Just… forget I bloody said anything. Who am I t' stop you from thinking." There's a glance over to the side as Thorn notices the bobbing beam of the flashlight, but he can't quite make out the identity of the person holding it. Judging from the new arrival's silence, though, it probably wouldn't take too many guesses.

Ivory doesn't rise to the snark Rebound so obligingly dangles in front of him; instead, he shades his eyes from the light the newest entrant to the room has just clicked on, doing his best to figure out to whom that light belongs. Nope, no go. Instead: "Thorn, we all have to escape somehow," he murmurs under his breath. If he could tap the ECO on the shoulder, he would; at this point, he settles for turning around in his seat. "Poet said something to me, once, about something totally different: 'Whoever it makes feel that the right thing has been done, I would never begrudge them that.'"

Touching tribute. Except that the sound of his callsign snags Roubani's attention, and BAM, his shin goes into some sharp edge of a chair. Air goes sucking in through his teeth as though preparing to make a very loud sound of pain and then…it turns into a sharp sigh. And a soft clearing of throat over there, mild embarrassment. "Ahem. Pardon me."

"Likewise. I wasn't calling you a mook, Thorn. Or anyone, really." Wil finally pipes up as his head lolls slowly from side to side. The annoyance is gone, at least in this statement. "Just a general feeling of helplessness that came out a little wrong. I don't know, I don't have any answers for why -we- are here and so many other ships aren't, so I keep looking for them. On my -own- time." He confesses, and smacks the binder down on his knee. As the skulking flashlight intruder(tm) is identified by a tell-tale voice, his shoulders roll back. "Speaking of — Welcome, Poet."

"Copy that, Rebound," Thorn says, the tension ebbing from his tone as the conversation calms. "Hells, I'd be lying if I said I never asked th' same bloody questions after we found the Bell. I just… don't want t' get my hopes up for salvation that never comes, y' know? Especially now that we know we're not the only Fleet ship t' survive the holocaust." Another glance over at the flashlight wielding newcomer… it does rather look like Roubani's silhouette, now that the man's gotten a little closer. "Oi, Poet."

Poet gets one of Timon's trademarked waves, which may or may not be visible in the dim ready room. His hand is bathed in blue from the projector, casting an altogether out-of-place silhouette on the screen. If he were more the whimsical sort, he might ask for volunteers for a game of charades. Instead, he merely passes his remote to Thorn before sitting back in his chair. "Go back to the beginning of our docking run." Wil's comment elicits only a wan smile not devoid of sympathy — a smile swallowed up by encroaching darkness, sure, but it's there. He gets you, man. When Thorn piles on, though, Ivory can't keep quiet any longer. "We weren't the only ship, no. But maybe we are. Now, I mean." Brown eyes look intently at the wrecked battlestar before him. "Hope is nice. But what does it say about me when things like this make me feel like I've got less of it than more?"

With an aching knee, Roubani's now found the empty space of shelf he was looking for. The huge manual's slid back into place and the tiny flashlight beam bobs around to face the chairs, still aimed at the floor. "Evening." His quiet voice uses that rather than all three unnecessary callsigns. Efficient. His eyes are turned towards the screen as they talk about hope and survival, and the little light (perhaps fittingly) clicks off into darkness. "The Bell?" He murmurs the question, setting his non-bashed knee down on a chair.

Poet's question earns the first immediate answer, on Wil's part. "Yah. The Bell. And the Elpis. And the," He gestures towards the still-unnamed wreckage of one Light Frigate on the screen. Wonder if it ever had a name. He leans forwards in his seat a little bit as his eyeballs scan the wreckage. "The apparently upgraded Cylon Baseships." This is spoken with all the gravity and horror their floating hulks could inspire. "But yeah, we don't know. And that's both a blessing, and a curse."

"Certainly looks that way, doesn't it?" Komnenos takes the remote control from Timon, tapping the rewind key. The screen flickers again, and the recording resumes moments before the requested bit of footage. "I'm inclined t' agree. It's been long enough… if there were more survivors, I'd think we'd have seen more than a single broken battlestar by now." With that, though, he simply shrugs and leans back in his seat, watching the video.

Exhale. "Yeah," is Timon's answer. Whether that's in response to Wil or to Thorn or to Poet he doesn't say. The only clarification that will be forthcoming is a long, languid sigh; then, the pilot rubs at his temples with his thumbs, wide fingers pressing against his forehead as he stares at the screen, eyes unblinking, Elpis' blue-silver hull a blank grey and white on the tape.

Roubani settles further into his chosen seat, darkened maglite tucked into his front pocket. The screen casts a soft glow onto his face, shadow deepening around his eyes as they subtly narrow. If there's comment to made about further survivors, he doesn't make it. For now, anyway.

Wil simply stares as he leans forwards. "My dad's stationed on that class of frigate." He says, not commenting on the prospect of 'more' or 'less' survivors. Just a comment. "What are we looking for, Ivory?"

Thorn falls silent for the time being, smoking his cigarette and watching quietly as he watches the Raptor once again pull alongside the larger ship, latching on. He imagines the scene on the inside simultaneously, remembering a pack of jittery Marines as they prepared to disembark.

Timon doesn't respond, at least at first. He's seeing yet again what he saw that evening — his narrow escape, his gruesome collision, his improvised landing, and everywhere the detritus of battle. Only when Foxbat-4 finishes undocking does he look up, his voice a little shaky. "You think about getting there one or two hours earlier, Rebound," he says, expression suspiciously blank. "I think about getting there one or two minutes earlier." One finger gestures at the passenger liner as she dips out of the frame — slowly, ever so slowly, until all that's visible are the plumes of oxygen and plasma leaking from the ship.

Roubani is in quiet mode, but that's nothing new. As Willem and Timon exchange thoughts, his attention stays on the screen, as hard to read as ever. His eyes track the passenger liner, then shift back to the middle.

"Hours." Wil tosses out, hesitantly. "Minutes." He adds, a little faster. "Time doesn't matter, anymore. Once you're past a certain point." And just like that, his hand comes down on the binder's cover with a loud *THUMP* as he just picks it up and throws it against the wall of the Ready Room with a peace-breaking *THUD*. "It's all the same. We might has well have gotten there years later. We were a day late. In the end, maybe we pulled off some fifty people, and kept those Baseships from bringing in reinforcements, but we were still a day late. And a cubit short." His voice is oddly calm when combined with the senseless temper tantrum attached to his action.

"Fifty is greater than zero," says Timon, who despite all his self-control still twitches in his seat when Rebound explodes. There's no reproach in his tone, which for all his efforts remains frayed around the edges. "And given that pulling off fifty people might very well be the equivalent of doubling the number of humans alive and accounted for in this galaxy — " Okay, maybe a little bit of reproach. Did Ivory just — raise his voice? Piano to mezzo-piano, sure, but — yeah. He did.

Roubani was fine until Willem started throwing things, then the loud sound makes his shoulders tense up. "Price, for gods' sake." He's not a man who says something like that every day. But, smiting avoided for the swearing, he goes on. "You're not the saviour of humanity. Neither is the squadron, nor the Kharon, nor any other war machine. We are going to lose people. It's going to be their day whether you get there or not." He exhales tensely through his nose. "You've done this before, you know. With Fingers. If what you do save matters so little then there's no point at all…to any of this, to any of us. Don't do that to yourself."

"Yes, Poet. I've done it before. And I'll probably do it again, if only in my head. All of it. Because it's the same old thing. We end up picking through a graveyard." Wil inclines his head, at a faint angle. Well, he got Roubani to talk. That was an achievement, at least. "And right now the 'same old thing' is the last thing I feel like thinking about. Excuse me." It's half an apology, generally-directed, and half just a statement of resignation. He turns over his shoulder back towards Timon specifically, as he rises from his chair to abashedly pick up the thrown notebook and assorted loose papers that went flying.

"Ivory, you know, I think I now know why I wanted to watch this thing. Beyond 'strategy.' It was because at least here, I'll be able to turn it off."

Thorn simply watches silently from his seat as Wil flings the binder across the room. There's no condemnation in his eyes; like he's got any room to judge a man for having a temper. His eyes follow Rebound as he crosses the room to pick up his papers. The cigarette is dropped, his boot grinding the butt into the floor.

"Poet's right, Rebound, and I say that knowing he was probably talking to me as much as he was to you." Timon sighs again as he leans forward in his seat, head clutched in his hands, elbows digging deeply into his thighs. "But I will also say this: it's in our nature to ask the what-ifs, the what-could-we-have-dones, and — you know. All those idle things." One hand tugs at his now-shorter hair: it's an unfamiliar feel. "Anyway. My point: you should be glad you can't turn it off. Because once you do — " The pilot pauses, collecting his thoughts; then, in a voice so low it might as well be a whisper: "Well. What are men made of?"

"I used to pride myself on not being a wall-puncher. This sort of thing makes you look like an idiot, doesn't it?" Wil's smile is wan in the projector's artificial light. "No. No, as usual you're right. You -both- are." He doesn't really include Thorn in this but, well, Thorn's off being Thorn. Not a conscious exclusion. "I -know- this. But maybe I'm having a hard time adjusting to that fact so if an impotent little man's childish little explosion gets thrown out there now and again, at least I can cling to the fact that it's not -at- anyone." He starts to slowly bound towards the hatch. "I know this too, Ivory. Can't turn it off, because it's always on." He clears his throat smoothly as he repeats, "Excuse me. I really shouldn't be here right now." And with that, he meanders out the hatch.

Roubani gently rubs his fingertips over his left eyebrow. He's very still, outwardly composed as ever, even if there's something a little too controlled about it. "I would venture," he murmurs to Ivory under his breath, "That they're made of hypocrisy. I know I am." He shifts his shoulders carefully, crossing his legs. "Thorn, you alright?" Decently casual, making sure the man hasn't fallen through a pit over there.

Thorn looks up at Willem as the red-haired pilot retreats, and then over at Roubani a moment later, blinking as the younger man addresses him. "Um. Fine." He quietly gives his stock reply for such questions. "Just… I've had this conversation in my own head too many times t' want t' get involved in it again." Another look back at the hatch. "He's right… it's hard not t' ask those questions, even after you've managed t' convince yourself they're just a waste of time." Thorn's fingers begin idly tapping the armrest of his chair. "It's always on, indeed."

"He's fine — he's smoking, right?" There's a strange and uncharacteristic brittleness in the laugh that follows. "Hit the switch if you're getting up, Thorn. I guess we'll have to watch this film in more palatable chunks." Timon's gaze follows Wil as he exits — long enough that he forgets to close them when Rebound opens the hatch and actual light filters in. Ow. Only after he's done blinking and rubbing his eyes does he turn back to Poet. "Something on your mind?" he murmurs, equally quiet.

Roubani shrugs at Ivory. "There usually is." But the subject's changed along with his posture; he folds his arms loosely, content with the semi-darkness that the room and screen provide. "What was that someone said… 'I have found a way to watch perfect video in my head. High-definition, infinite loops, instant replay.’" A slight shift in his tone. "’It is called having regrets.’" His thumb scratches the tip of his nose. "Something like that."

An odd and not altogether friendly look spears Timon in the back of the head as Thorn stands. He clicks the screen off with the remote still clutched in his hand before tossing it down on the chair. "Right, then," he mutters to himself as he moves towards the aisle.

The offensive light coming from the doorway is dimmed faintly by another form stepping into it and then through. Indistinct with the force of the backlighting, it could be just about anyone. But once that anyone wraps his arms around a grumpy-looking Toes who's wandering his way, the options become rather more limited. "Hey, Toes," he offers, not quite chipper, but getting there. "What's on in here, stuff from the SAR?" Snugged.

"Huh. I haven't heard that one." Timon accepts Roubani's change of subject with his usual passivity, standing up and slipping out of his chosen aisle to tug the metal handle at the bottom of the screen. With a satisfying fwipp, it rolls back up into the ceiling — just in time to announce Matto's arrival. "Afternoon, Kissy, and yeah. We were watching it." Emphasis on past tense. He's about to say more, judging from the way his mouth opens — but then he thinks better of it, having caught the last second or so of that odd and not altogether friendly look from his ECO.

"The two of you, I swear," Roubani murmurs in the dark when the screen shuts off, in a reproachless tone that's not unlike something you'd hear out of your grandmother. As the lights come on, it makes him turn his face ever so slightly and squint away from the ceiling. Then towards Matto. "It seems to be breaktime. But I forgot to bring any tea, mea culpa."

Thorn blinks as Matto appears almost out of nowhere to enfold him in a hug. "Mmf." He returns the hug briefly a moment later, though. "Uh, yeah, Ivory wanted t' look over a couple things from th' flight recorder." He's been delayed, and he seems to be in a mood; a few moments after the hug breaks, out comes another cigarette, the tip set aflame with the flick of a silver lighter.

Matto rubs the top of Toes' arm up near the shoulder with a few brisk rubs of what might be called encouragement. "What's the matter?" he wonders, "I mean…" he backtracks a little; yeah, the scene out there was pretty bad. He flicks eyebeams over to where the film had been playing, then briefly to the other two, his usual jovial smile a heartfelt but pathetic creature as he greets the other two with momentary eye contact and then looks back to Toes, "You okay?"

"Rebound called us an old married couple," says Timon dryly, feeling his way back to a seat in the first row — so as to avoid having to make his way between seats, it seems. Still dim in here, after all. "I took issue with 'old.'" He doesn't look back at Thorn or Matto, content only to sit and listen as he tries to stave off the sudden wave of exhaustion that threatens to overwhelm him.

"He meant 'dignified', I promise," Roubani murmurs, with no malice. His profile faces Matto and Thorn but he seems to be giving them a little bit of privacy to talk, folding his arms on the desk. There's a really long pause. "Do you need anything?" It's offered rather ineloquently, but in the haltingness is also a particular sincerity.

There's a squint from Komnenos as well as the lights come up. "Fine," he echoes himself mildly, to Matto this time. He's not so grumpy as to be rude, though; he doesn't duck around Matto to flee, but just leans against the wall, puffing on his cigarette as he studies the other Raptorbunny. "You look like hell, though," Thorn adds flatly. Tact, thy name is not Anton.

Matto's eyebrows both quirk at the information, and he gives a little laugh, "Well, thanks," he answers, poking a teasing finger toward Thorn's ribs. "I'm fine," he assures Toes, then, more seriously. And he seems to mean it, even. "Or, I feel fine, anyhow. I'll be sure to make myself pretty before I come in, next time," he chuckles.

“Some sleep would be nice,” says Timon, who closes his eyes — just in time, too, to avoid the lights flicking on. Coming from anybody else, that answer would most assuredly be a deflection. But from Ivory? It has the ring of truth. “How about you?” It’s spoken in the same spirit as Roubani’s ‘particular sincerity’ — really, it is — but the pilot can’t resist a faint smile when he hears Thorn’s question and Matto’s response, unabashed eavesdropper that he is. Gravitas, out the window.

"My pillow back would be nice," Roubani murmurs, giving Timon a bit of a look. "I believe your lady friend borrowed it. I am holding you responsible until it reappears." Slightly dry, but dead serious. He lifts his chin towards the door, tone softening. "You ought to get some rest."

"Don't bother on my account," Komnenos replies to Kissy in a deadpan, wincing slightly in mock discomfort as the other man jabs him in the ribs. "'Sides, I think most of us are lookin' like nine kinds of hell these days, eh?"

Kissy Matto: Where Gravitas Goes To Die. His grin comes back out into full view, and he gives Thorn another idle sort of half-hug, "Well, you always look like a million cubits to me, Toes," he replies, half-facetious, half-flattering. Finally pulling away and heading back toward a seat where a couple of his notebooks have been piled, picking them up. "Someone took your pillow, N?" he then asks, just sort of tuning into that part of the room's conversation.

It's dead, and Matto killed it. Well, Matto and Roubani's perfectly-timed reference to a certain blonde priestess, but the point remains. "I'll see what I can do, but don't get your hopes up. You're drastically overestimating the amount of leverage I can exert." Timon gathers up enough courage to open his eyes, hissing under his breath as blinding light filters in. So much for that; back closed they go. "How'd that happen, anyway? The pillow theft, I mean."

"I said was holding you responsible, Ivory. Not filing an insurance claim," Roubani says, mildly. "I believe in you." His deathly serious expression cracks only by one brow quirking upwards, as he looks back over at Matto and Thorn. "Someone did, yes. Ask Ivory about it. Or better yet don't, I'm not sure I want to know."

"Crap," Thorn retorts succinctly, but not without a hint of humor. "I'd give me ten, maybe twenty." His voice is as dry as a good martini. He looks over at the other two as their conversation becomes audible. He snickers lightly at the mention of pillow theft, but holds his tongue. For the moment.

Matto tosses a grin Thorn's way, then, nose wrinkling, "That sucks, N," he points out, "He slash she didn't get anything else, did they?" he wonders, settling into the seat a couple down from where his things were, near to the aisle and within conversational range of all parties.

"I've seen neither head nor tail of that pillow, I'll have you know." Timon looks genuinely confused as forces his eyes open, shuffling to his feet only to find that his left leg has fallen asleep. There's another hiss of pain as an arm shoots out to steady himself; then, slowly, he trundles over to the hatch, moving to the corridor opposite Matto and Thorn to avoid breaking up their conversation. Looks like, in the epic matchup between Ivory and Sleep, the latter has won. "Or anything else of Poet's."

Roubani is still how he'd originally perched himself on this chair, one leg folded under him so he's sitting on his knee. Half-sitting, really. He lifts a hand, pointing a silent finger threateningly at Timon. Watching you, homez. He sniffs quietly, shaking his head at Matto. It's a tiny movement, keeping up the draft of humour through the general tiredness blanketed over the room. "Not yet. I shall have to make sure when I go home."

"Speaking of home…" Thorn stifles a yawn as he pulls his body away from the patch of wall he'd been leaning on. "…I'm tired." Simply put, that. He dodges around Kissy, heading for the door. "Night, people…"

Matto returns Nadiv's headshake with a surreptitious little grin from the back, not bothering to open either notebook but settling them on his lap, one knee lifted to plant against the seatback in front of him. "Night, Toes," he calls, looking about ready to settle in for a nap, himself.

"You shall have your judgment, Poet." Timon allows himself a tight smile before he slips out the door, steps labored and uneven, letting Thorn head out before he does. "Good night."

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