Various And Sundry
Various and Sundry
Summary: A long, wide-ranging, and possibly cathartic conversation in the wake of Merlin's death.
Date: PHD122
Related Logs: Takes place a few minutes after Moment of Silence; refers to the events of Sneak Attack - Air Wing
Players:
Roubani..Timon..Castor..Willem..Matto..Ariadne..

LIBRARY

It's oh…so quiet. Shhh. Shhh. There's almost no-one in here, undoubtedly just the way Roubani likes it. He's sitting on one of the couches tucked away in the tall shelves, the vid player nearby turned off. A book's lying open on the cushion but most of his attention is on an open notebook in his lap, pencil busily scratching on the paper.

"Thought I'd find you here." Timon's voice is oddly stilted as he makes his entrance, and his usual wan smile upon seeing the younger officer is nowhere to be found. He's just finished changing out of his blues, if the spiffy jacket clutched under his hand is any indication, and he looks positively exhausted: baggy eyes, droopy eyelids, the works.

A moment later Leda comes into the library chasing after Timon. He has a yellow pad of paper in his hand and he is apparently looking for someone as his eyes scan the room. For his part he is quiet but he is also here on a mission. Target accquired and Castor begins to walk toward Timon as he gives a nod to Roubani. He then says, "You left this." Has Castor read through the notes, hard to say, but there is a look on his face as he offers the pad to Timon.

Roubani looks up from the notebook, and the tangled array of mathematics in long columns. Problems that seem to add up to more problems, symbols and numbers. "I try not to disappoint, sir." He moves one of his feet, aware that it fell asleep at some point in the last few hours of sitting still, and gently jogs his ankle to try and wake it back up. His eyes flicker off Timon towards Castor at the sound of the other voice.

"Oh." Timon blinks a bit as his eyes focus on Castor, struggling to place the face. "Thanks — Leda, right?" He doesn't wait for confirmation, though, instead taking the pad and dropping himself into a couch near Roubani. His words signify gratitude; his posture — well, nothing, really. Tabula rasa. "I wanted to ask you a question," the man begins, after a pause. "Don't have to answer it if you don't want to — I'll understand."

Castor says, "You're welcome and yeah, it is Leda." He then stops and listens for the question because right about now he is thinking something is off with Timon but he doesn't know the man well enough to judge, still, the writing is on the pad.

Roubani glances between Castor and Timon, as though unsure if Castor is somehow a part of this unusual request. Slipping the pencil into a coil of the notebook, he tilts his head slightly at Timon. "Of course."

No — Castor's not, but if Ivory minds the presence of another, he doesn't really show it, instead settling into his couch and propping his left leg up on top of his right. The jacket he spreads over his lap, its collar covering his belt. Only then: "Who was Merlin?" he asks.

Castor will let Roubani handle this one since no one asked him but for now he is listening and trying to figure something out. For his part his simply waits to see what will happen next.

Roubani takes the time to at least process the question, eyes lifting briefly as he thinks back. "He had a bunk, I believe, in the second row of red. At least that's where I can recall it being. Other than that I didn't really know him." Sorry Tim, he doesn't sound guilty about that.

"Yeah." Timon's mouth doesn't quite close, upper lip hovering a few millimeters from bottom lip when he finishes the word. His left hand clutches his legal pad close to his shoulder as his right starts toying with a few exposed buttons on his uniform. "I'm sorry," he says after a moment of consideration. "Stupid question. Forget I asked."

Castor interjects, "Wasn't a stupid question." He says, "Did you know him well?" Castor asks in sympathetic but concerned tones. "Because to be fair, I didn't know him that well either."

Roubani crosses his legs, regarding them both. "Lieutenant, I'm sorry that the SAR was unsuccessful. I'm certain you're telling yourself that it's your fault, in one way or another." His chin tilts down, brow raised at the droopy lids and baggy under-eyes the man's wearing. "Whether we had known him or not wouldn't have made it any better, would it."

"I knew him about as well as I know you," responds Timon — and to his surprise as well as anybody's, there's actually some heat in his voice: lukewarm, to be sure, but it's there. "Sorry," he offers almost instantly. "You didn't deserve that." Wide fingers move to massage his temples. Poet's regarded with half-closed eyes that look not so much sad as enervated, though he does manage a faint smile. "Drop the 'lieutenant'," he says, like he always does. "And no. Believe it or not, I don't think it was my fault. I'd just like to — " Ivory stops to consider what comes next, and the ensuing silence stretches on for so long that it's almost as if he's forgotten he was talking.

Castor nods his heads as if it were nothing, clearly Timon is under a lot of stress and Leda is one of those types that wants to make sure things are mellow and everyone is okay he does for emphasis, "No worries." He then looks over at Poet for a moment he nods in agreement but as Timon speaks he says, "just like to what?"

Roubani doesn't finish Ivory's statement either, not one to make assumptions. The changing emotions in the man don't quite spark as much sympathy as they perhaps should, his eyes even as he watches the man stop and start. His silence waits for Timon's answer.

"My old CO used to keep a billboard in his ready room." Ivory's fingers press harder against his head as he speaks. "Covered it in clippings: from papers, magazines, newsletters — never the big ones, either, but the local ones, with circulation of roughly a hundred souls. Terribly written profiles, usually — " Timon can't resist the chance to editorialize. " — of the men we saved." There's a brief pause. "And lost. To stop us from counting them as wins and losses. As statistics." His words are halting, their usual fluidity absent.

Castor listens carefully and after a while he says very softly and calmly, "Go on. please."

Roubani says nothing either. The look on his face is still just even, and he thankfully doesn't vocalise whatever it is he might be thinking. He listens and watches.

"Yeah." Timon taps his index finger against his skull as he exhales. "Merlin," says the Raptor pilot, toying with the word. "Ensign Jake 'Merlin' Fisher, VFA-One-Two-Five. Second row of red." Yet another pause. "I guess that'll have to do."

Castor says, "Well, wait. Maybe you have an idea there." He then studies Timon, "Maybe we could start a billboard in the ready room?" He offers as if to help, "We won't have news papers but pictures or personal effects?" His tones are sympathetic because Timon is making a point about not keep statistics but there is a need to remember the dead. You could talk to the CAG about it. Listen, I don't know you so well, but clearly, this has you torn up a bit."

Roubani just keeps watching the two of them in their reminiscing, silent. One brow is slightly arched.

"No," says Ivory abruptly. "No board." Castor's comment about his mental state is ignored, though his lips do tighten ever so slightly, thin and pale becoming thinner and paler. "But thanks for returning my notes." Was that just a hint of discourtesy in his voice?

Castor looks at Timon for a moment and then he says, "Right. Well, your welcome for your notes." He then says, "And you know if you ever need someone to talk too." He gets the hint and he begins to leave because right now pissing off people is not part of his agenda. He throws a hand up to Roubani, "Take care Lieutenant."

Roubani remains on his silent kick, observant of the interaction between the two older men. If he approves or disapproves of the tacks either one takes, it's impossible to tell. Castor gets a nod on his departure, a slight movement of his head. "Be well."

The Viper pilot's offer is met with an incredulous smile Timon can't quite control — though, bless his awkward heart, he tries, he really does. The result sounds not unlike a cough, which echoes altogether too loudly amidst the stacks. Even all these books can't quite mute the sound. "Thanks again," is what Ivory comes up with, before lidded eyes swing back to the taciturn lieutenant opposite him.

Roubani lets the moment pass between Timon and Castor however it's going to. He looks back at the notebook on his knee and absently rubs the pad of his ring finger over some extra-heavy graphite line he'd made, softening it. "Why did you ask me that question?"

"Thought you might have known him, is all." Timon kicks his foot a bit higher in the air as he sinks further down in his couch. His sigh almost seems contented. "There's nothing to unwrap here, Poet. Sometimes a duck really is a duck."

"It is true," Roubani says, fixing a small mistake on his page. "There is nothing like dying to make everyone suddenly run around in a sleepless tizzy trying to make a person out of you." Erase, erase. "I think I shall have a provision in my will forbidding that."

Ivory clicks his tongue against his teeth, letting his breath hiss through the gap as he puts on that inscrutable mask from before. "Nothing like it," he agrees, voice neutral.

Roubani puts the pencil back into the spirals of the notebook. "I apologise, I will attempt to be a little less morbid." Lest Timon be unable to handle it under the mask.

There's a quiet 'Mm' as Timon thinks, picking idly at a few blue threads poking out from the hem of his jacket. "I take it you disapprove of this project," he ventures.

Still looking like he just rolled out of bed, there is a whirr at the hatch as Wil slips into the library, poking his head inside its environs with narrowed, red eyes. His head pops around the place with an uncanny series of little, twitchy shifts.

"No." Roubani replies, keeping his voice quiet. "It's ultimately for the living, not the dead. And whoever it makes feel that the right thing has been done, I would never begrudge them that."

"Rebound," Timon mouths, glancing over at the sound of the hatch. He's careful, though, not to speak, instead sinking even deeper into his couch. That frayed blue jacket still covers his lap, on which is set the legal pad he'd forgotten. Only when Roubani's finished does he talk — or, more specifically, 'Mm' again in acknowledgement. Then: "Jake 'Merlin' Fisher," the pilot murmurs once more, shaking his head. "May you live forever."

Wil's face is a little pale, and drawn. He's apparently not here to check out more Thracian poetry, yo. Ambling slowly across the floor he catches Timon and Roubani, pretty much making a beeline for the pair. His hands are tucked behind his back. Upon closing the distance to their seating area, he clears his throat softly.

Roubani keeps his due promise not to begrudge, even if he doesn't quite seem on board with Timon's sentiment. Further opinion remains where most of his opinions do - bottled. At Timon's mouthing and the appearance of another pale person, his eyes shift that way and he nods to Willem at the throat clearing. Whether the other Lieutenant sees Timon sinking, who knows, but he doesn't call attention to Timon's presence.

"I was up by the hangar earlier today," is Ivory's spoken greeting. A hand gestures at the empty seats surrounding him, as if inviting the man to take a seat. "Saw them painting a few more silhouettes on your bird." Timon doesn't quite get to the logical conclusion of that statement: 'Nice work'.

"What's -that- supposed to mean?" Somehow, somewhere, Wil was searching for an appropriate greeting, or something to break the silence. There's a definite pointed quality to the statement, for all its library-appropriate softness. "I don't really keep score." This said, he edges towards the proffered seat and settles into it gingerly. There's a nod to both the men. "It's not like those meant anything anyway, given what happened." His lips purse into a bit of a frown here as he admits. "I think it's time for a bit of an apology, anyway."

Roubani raises an eyebrow slightly at Willem's opinion of the night. "So Black meant nothing." His eyes flicker between the two of them, as if he expected that both shared this sentiment, and his lips purse.

"It means you still have a bird, Rebound." Timon's voice is mild, though his eyes don't blink when they seek out Wil’s gaze. "How is she?" Changing subjects like it's his business.

"That's not at all what I meant. Of course Fingers mattered. We went after her first, after all, but losing just one was too many." Wil gesticulates with an upturned palm of his right hand, pursing his lips. "We didn't fail, but it wasn't a success. It doesn't matter how many Cylons you shoot if someone dies." He leans back in his chair as he says, a little shakily. "How is who? Fingers? Apparently she walked out of medbay after conning the staff, or so Demitros told me." The right side of his mouth quirks upwards, apparently not in any huge measure of surprise.

Roubani looks at Wil for a while as though he can't believe what just came out of the man's mouth. Words kept back though, he looks down at his notebook, scratching his eyebrow with his ring finger.

"So she's ambulatory, at least." Timon threads his hand through the cuff of his jacket, twisting its sleeve up and into his body. "That's good." A little puff of breath comes out from his cheeks, which bulge with air before returning to their standard size. Roubani, in the meantime, gets another curious look, though Ivory doesn't push. Instead, to the voluble Viper jock: "What was that about an apology?"

"An apology. You came inside to do something noble and were greeted by someone who just got up and has perilously little tact to begin with. Someone who hadn't even been briefed on what happened. And Lieutenant Leda, who meant well. Right thought doesn't always translate to right action. We should have given you a little more courtesy, it was good of you." He shrugs lopsidedly, maybe just a tad.

An eyebrow arches at Roubani as Price neutrally eyes the man, a bit calmer now after he got this out. "What is it, Poet?" He's asking for it.

Fortunately for Willem, it seems Roubani has decided that honesty is not the best policy given their states. He waves it off, literally, instead focusing on Timon for his response to Willem's apology.

"There was nothing noble about it." Timon's expression is drawn as his fingers flick against the inside of his jacket, toying with the underside of its buttons. "Selfish, almost — to pay my respects to a man who likely didn't know I existed while he lived." His laugh is hollow. "The visit was for me, Rebound, not for him. So I might know the man I left."

As per his gesture, Roubani is more or less skipped over for now as Wil narrows his eyes slightly, gauging Timon's response. "These things are never -for- the people gone, really. This can be turned on its head. It's easy to grieve for people who you had some strong connection to, some strong feelings. To give a damn about someone you really never met, though? Someone who was a person in the abstract? It's humanizing someone's identity."

Again there's no comment from Roubani. He gently erases another part of the mess he'd been writing in his notebook.

"Maybe." Ivory shivers at the sudden draft that sweeps through the room — Kharon's air-recycler has just kicked into overdrive, its whirring now incrementally more audible than before. The man extracts his hand from his jacket before pulling it further up his arms, peering over at what Roubani's working on as he does. "I never did tell you that story I promised, did I?"

"Magic doorknob." Wil suddenly murmurs, leaning back in his seat and glancing between the two men. He shifts in his chair enough that one can easily get the sense that he is faintly uncomfortable. "No, you didn't. Is this an appropriate time?" Again, the right side of his mouth twitches.

Scratch scratch goes Roubani's pencil. He's probably still listening, he does that. No interruption, though, as it's storytime and something on his page needs shading in.

Apparently, Timon thinks it is. "Some damned foolish nonsense my mother read me the day before she sent me off to college." Ivory scratches at a spot on his neck, leaving behind white streaks that soon turn an angry red; his eyes don't leave Poet's drawing, the contents of which cause his brows to furrow. "The bullet points:

"There once was a precocious boy of five, who desperately wanted to grow up. One night, a divine messenger arrived in his room and offered him a gift: a magic doorknob, which the spirit claimed could open the way to the future with a single clockwise turn. The boy did so — and instantly found himself fifteen, star of the varsity Pyramid team, with a beautiful girlfriend and decent grades. He's thrilled for a week; then wants more. Another turn and he's eighteen, on the verge of college; yet another and he's twenty-two and graduated; still another and he's thirty and happily married. You get the idea."

"Cheating your way to the good parts. The stuff you tell yourself you want." Wil notes, in a subdued voice as he murmurs to himself. He even lets out a soft, single-syllable chuckle in spite of himself. "There's probably a lesson there about treating people as 'things,' too. Probably less ponderous than the story I told in the laundry that night. I remember the context you brought it up in too, Ivory." His voice drops as his fingers silently drum upon the table. Pat-pat-pat-pat.

Roubani's pencil continues scratching. You expected anything else?

"You do, huh." It's not so much a question as it is a statement. But Timon doesn't start debating the meaning, not yet; instead, he simply fast-forwards through the rest of his tale. "Anyway. To make an excruciatingly long story short, the boy turned thirty-five, forty-five, all the way to eighty, when his very last turn brought the spirit back into his bedroom. 'What did you think?' the spirit asked. 'I wish I had more time,' the boy replied, before crumbling into dust."

The drumming speeds up. Slows. Speeds up again, in an alternating pattern as the story winds down. Wil nods wordlessly at Timon's initial statement. "I could ask myself whether I felt more like the narrator in 'The Secret Miracle' or the boy in 'The Magic Doorknob,'" he finally muses aloud, before making a classic fools' statement. "But they're just stories. Right?" His voice is utterly unconvincing.

Roubani's eyes drift up from what he's been doing, watching the top edge of his notebook. There's not a word though, lest it interrupt the flow of the conversation.

"Just stories." Timon's smile is colored by a hint of regret. "I had a nice little pre-packaged moral to go with that one when I brought it up, you know, but I forgot." He hehs quietly, emphasizing the nonsense syllable with the tap of finger against neck, brow furrowing as he contemplates Poet's drawing. "I'll probably remember later and have to track you down to bug you about it." He does, after all, have a reputation to uphold. Another few seconds pass without comment; then: "Somebody asked me to dinner the other night."

"I think I recall it." Wil says, with a twitch of his nose and a quirking of his features that isn't quite a smile. "Or at least I can infer. And, hey. Dinner? What do you mean 'dinner'? As in —" He trails off, though, prompting the Raptor pilot to speak.

Now they're mantalking. Which is a touch awkward to keep pretending you're not there for. Roubani turns the page in his notebook to a fresh one, taking advantage of Timon's attention being elsewhere to look at his profile. Hairline, brow, nose, cheekbone, and then his pencil starts scratching softly on the blank page. He doesn't seem to care if Timon's looking at it. And that is a strangely self-satisfied smirk on his face.

Yeah. You heard him correctly. "As in — dinner." Timon's attention is nowhere near Poet — or Rebound, for that matter. Rather, he keeps his eyes trained somewhere on his lap, on which he's demurely placed his hands. He'd cut a strikingly appropriate figure in a habit of burlap. "And no, before you say it, it wasn't my ECO."

"Scratch my first guess." Wil says. "Thorn doesn't strike me as a fine dining companion. Not that we have fine dining." He places a finger upon his chin. "It wasn't that kind of mousy Comms Ensign that Thorn and I kept running into, was it? When she found out there was a guy on this ship who was working on a doctorate while in uniform I think she swooned and was going to spontaneously combust." Each one of these little statements would clearly be presented as jokes, and in Wil's case, as clever and snappy as he could ever hope to get. Unfortunately, the tone and the timing are all wrong and each one falls flat. "Good luck whoever it is, I guess." This part at least sounds genuine. He sighs, leaning back in his chair, giving a sidelong glance to both of the men at the table. The look given Roubani seems, well, slightly paranoid.

"Mmm." Roubani makes the quiet sound in his throat as he sketches, oblivious to the paranoid look he's getting from Wil. Cat ate the canary, baby, yeah. "All hail the power of prayer."

"No," Timon murmurs. He, at least, has the good humor to look amused at Rebound's succession of what could charitably be called 'jokes', lacing his fingers together before pressing down on his knee. "Not mousy at all." If ever Ivory has grinned, this is it — but then he catches sight of Roubani's secret little smirk. "Do you know something about this?" he asks, a little too lightly.

"Poet knows much about many things. I think we can all agree on that," says Ariadne cheerfully, choosing precisely that moment to step through the door. She's smiling, apparently in a splendid mood. "Good evening, gentlemen."

Wil ain't got a clue, though. Not for the first, or the last time in his life. He just shrugs and goes back to his generally pensive ways, and his pensive mood, leaning back in his chair. His brow furrows a little bit as he eyes the hatch. No, he still ain't got a clue.

Roubani gives Timon a charming smile. He glances up as Ariadne's voice filters in, pencil paused on his notebook. "Sister." Not calling out too loudly, that'd be totally rude in a library. "Good evening."

The priestess receives a painstakingly casual "Hello" before Timon gives Rebound and Poet what he hopes is a surreptitious signal to be quiet: one hand disengages from the other before gesturing up and down, almost like he's patting somebody on the head, or inviting somebody to sit, or smoothing out a few wrinkles in the jacket on his lap. Yeah. Chances are, neither man will likely know what to make of it. "You were about to get to the moral of the story, Rebound," offers Timon gamely, tacking once more. Man-talk session, over.

The priestess blows a kiss in passing. It could be meant for one of the men — or for all of them. And then it's into the stacks with her, disappearing from sight. But probably not from earshot.

"And the moral of the story is?" Wil ventures, in a weary tone, still brushing at his unkempt, post-sleep hair and rubbing his eyes. He catches the Priestess. "Sister." He says, guardedly, in a soft tone of voice before his eyes drift back to Timon. Wheels in the head they keep a-turnin' turnin'.

Matto hops in at about that point, taking the leap over the raised bottom lip of the hatch with a sprightly enough succession of lifted feet. One hand holding a book to his side, the other free, he spots Timon and in a pace and a half accosts him with a bearhug. "Hey," he greets his fellow Ghostrider.

Roubani, for all his difficulties in Social Land, can at least grasp the fundamentals of bro code. There's still something a tetch smug about him, but he gets back to his drawing with nothing more said on that matter. His eyes then flick back up from Timon to Willem and back with a raised brow. "I believe it was your story that still had us with bated breath." And then whoosh, there's Matto with his bearhugs.

Timon does his best to avoid the impending blush, and while he mostly succeeds, his ears don't quite get the memo, turning a faint pink barely visible under his floppy brown curls. "Price was just about to infer," Ivory begins, and then there comes a Kisseus to knock what wind he has remaining out of him. "Good to see you too," he says from where Matto and Matto's book have pinned him, and there's fervent relief in his voice.

"My inferences are usually garbage. Ignore me." Wil quips, waving a hand, dismissively. "My mother had a 'jump to conclusions' mat in her office and used to make little jokes about it." He's otherwise silent now, other than with a little nod up at Matto and maybe a terse smile.

Matto returns Darling Willem's smile in a quiet fashion, while not yet releasing Ivory from his affectionate grip. "Your thinkmeats are just unique, Darling," he tells the former, before addressing the latter, "How you doing?" If he senses that his hugging's interrupted something, he also senses that it's something Ivory was glad enough to have interrupted, so he doesn't feel too bad or make any effort to get the conversation back on track.

Roubani doesn't look too bothered about the interruption. He's watching Matto and Timon, and peripherally Willem, as they interact. As Matto addresses Timon he glances moreso at Willem, mouthing soundlessly, 'Jump to conclusions mat?'

Ivory glances over at the stacks with stolid nonchalance, as if trying to gauge just where the priestess has gone. Is that a look of regret? His hands, though, settle on his fellow Rider's back, tapping awkwardly a few times before he makes a small noise in protest — the man's book is jabbing rather painfully against his lower arm. But aloud: "Better," Timon avers. "These two gentlemen have been kind enough to listen to me ramble on for hours." He's only marginally exaggerating.

"Charmer." Wil tips his head upwards at Matto as he murmurs this in a perfect deadpan voice. "Nice to see you, Kisseus." He adds once more before drawing in a breath and falling silent. He peers about the original pair at the table and eyes Roubani, simply explaining, "Pop culture kitsch. Something she snagged from her close proximity to the corporate world. It was easy to mock." Of course, as he looks at Roubani he totally misses Timon's crush-look towards the Priestess. Clue Fail, once again.

Matto smiles softly, then more brightly at Timon's answer, "Good," he nods his head, then disengages and steps back, "I'm glad. How's Toes holding up?" he asks as follow-up, presumably for the same reason as he asked the first question. He tosses the book a few spiralling inches into the air and then catches it again as he settles into a chair not far from where the Poet's drawing. He offers Willem another smile and a nod of reciprocation at the greeting, then turns to look at the Poet with very much a similar smile of greeting, though the look is tainted with curiosity as he notices the drawing/s.

On the new page of Roubani's notebook are a couple spheres drawn, made 3-D by shadowing below and around them. He has a thing for drawing distorted reflections these days, apparently. In one, he's been working on some image in the middle but it's difficult to tell what it is. A face, maybe. He gives Willem a curious look at that explanation, and gently rips a sheet of paper out of the back of his notebook, leaning forward to set it and his pencil down on the table between them. "Like what?" Prototype request plz. He settles back as Matto's sitting down, offering over a smile that's teeny tiny as his smiles tend to be, but warm.

Not a crush-look — well, fine, it was a crush-look, but one imbued with all of Timon's precious gravitas reserve. Regardless, Wil's lost his opportunity to evaluate it, as it's gone almost as quickly as it appears. As for Thorn: "Last time I saw him, he was busy burning through his fourth pack of cigarettes." A response that shouldn't surprise anybody who knows the man. "He'll be all right," the pilot murmurs, unfocused eyes lighting on Poet's sketches, hands smoothing out the crinkled pages of his legal pad — long forgotten.

"It's basically a silly game. Jump on a box, do what the box said. Most of the boxes had inane suggestions like 'Could be', or 'accept it.'" Willem attempts to describe such a cultural artifact in the most basic descriptive terms possible, and fails.

"Enh. I'm not good at making sense today." He admits. "I think I need a shower."

"If you take a shower, chances are good you'll make less scents," Kisseus points out to Darling Willem, opening up the book he's holding somewhere near the front of the text.

Roubani closes his eyes after Matto speaks, squeezing them shut. That one hurt. He lets off a sigh that sounds too long-suffering to be real, and nods at Willem with mild sympathy at the whole making sense issue. Unsure if that's a signal that the man's about to depart, he offers in softer, more serious tone, "I'll see if I can't get some tea over to Red later." Promises of things such as tea must be kept.

"Hopscotch for the corporate stooge," says Timon, chuckling at the notion — and at Matto's subsequent pun. His thumb ruffles one corner of his pad, lifting up a stack of flimsy pages before letting them flutter back down to their original position. Eyes dart back over to the stacks and linger there for as long as he thinks he can get away with it (and maybe a little longer).

Matto gets an eyebrow (tm) from Wil. Somewhere, high upon Mt. Olympus, there's a rimshot heard throughout the clouds. Pan, the original Animal, is laughing as he goes apeshit on the kit. Timon nailed the 'Mat' in one, it seems, and he gets a nod. Finally, Roubani. Roubani brings up the tea and Wil purses his lips to one side. "Thank you." That's his only reply. A general wave is given towards all three and he rises from his to go rinse himself scentsless. Also, one would note that he takes a -wide- berth through the racks making a pointed effort to avoid the Priestess' last known location. And with that, he bounds for the hatch.

Matto is far too amused with the content of the pages recently opened up in front of him to bother much about the fallout from the horrid punnage. "See you later, Darling Willem," Kisseus does call, though, then he squints into the stacks, "Where'd Bo Peep get off to?"

Roubani offers Willem a muted half-smile. Absently, his eyes shift to Timon, catching the look towards the stacks. The smirk doesn't return, slumbering under a mantle of politeness now, and he says quietly to Matto, "I'm sure she's just gone to look for something." Looking back to Timon, he draws the man's attention before it can get too obvious where he's staring. "Ivory. How is your work going?" A slight nod to the legal pad.

"Thanks for stopping by, Rebound." There's gratitude in Timon's expression despite the fact that his voice can't seem to manage more feeling than its usual mildness; he even stops fiddling with his notes to tap two fingers against his forehead in casual salute. But the pilot doesn't look over at any of the others until Poet's gentle tug snaps him out of it: apparently, he too has been wondering where the priestess went. "Awfully hard to do a literature review these days," Ivory observes. "But I suppose I can sum up the state of the current debate by saying 'Nonexistent'."

Nothing more from Wil but the hatch. Bamf!

Matto's interest is picked up somehow and carried off by the flow of conversation. Not quite a magpie-level problem with attention, but he's easy enough to push onto one topic or off of the other, "Current debate on what?"

Roubani sets his notebook down on the couch cushion, pencil atop it. His silence has a subtle contrast from before, where he was quiet out of the sensation that he didn't belong with the two talking. Now less awkward, he listens for Timon's answer.

"I'm starting with the debate between explanatory versus constitutive theory," says Timon, who floats those terms and then shuts up. Because really, this question likely won't excite anybody who isn't, well, him.

Matto isn't easily excitable. He's quiet, too: but it isn't that sort of blank 'eh?' stare that one might expect from someone who has no idea what Timon's talking about. He watches Ivory expectantly for a short moment, then goes ahead and asks, "What's that?"

And thus do Roubani's ears turn faintly red when the threat crops up that Timon will probably think them both idiots for not understanding. He scratches his nose with his pinky, eyes mirroring Matto's question.

He doesn't think they won't understand: he just doesn't expect them to remain awake for the explanation. But Matto's question is really all he needs. Ivory clears his throat as he enters teacher mode, not even bothering to look down at his notes. "To begin with a glittering generality, it's one of the most central questions facing political philosophers today. For the longest time, we assumed that the world was external to theory. Our job, then, is merely to uncover regularities in human behavior in an effort to explain the social world, much like an actual scientist — " This is accompanied by a rather mischievous nod to Roubani. "An actual scientist examines and explains the physical world. But recently — maybe over the past two decades, two and a half decades — that's been changing, as more and more people work up the cheek to suggest that the very concepts we use to think about the world help make the world what it is. If that makes sense."

Matto narrows his eyes, "I'm not sure," he puts out there, as to whether it makes sense or not. "Wouldn't that be sort of like wondering whether gravity works a certain way because there's a formula for it or whether the mathematical formulae we have to define it are simply our definitions of it? Or am I missing something?"

"Not entirely true," Roubani comments softly, as to Timon's examination of 'actual' scientists. Because it wouldn't be like him not to be ornery and argue with the man. "Mathematics, after all, in its pure state refers to what? Nothing physical at all. As I believe the quote goes: 'As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.' Physics acknowledges that too…" As Matto's line of questioning has just brought up, in a way. Rather than answer /that/ straight off the bat he concedes back to Timon. For now.

"Pardon me, Poet." Ivory looks a little chagrined. "I don't mean to generalize — except to say that it's a lot easier to observe something like, say, gravity, than it is to observe the social world. Let me put it this way." The pilot reaches for the pen and paper Poet previously set out on the table, all thoughts of Merlin or the priestess temporarily forgotten. With almost careless strokes he draws out a square, which with two bold cuts he divides into four.

"One day, the CAG discovers that ten packs of cigarettes are missing from his locker. All the evidence points to Thorn and Rabbit, but he doesn't have enough evidence to punish either. So he puts them in two different wardrooms, forbids them to talk, and then makes each one an offer: stay silent and get implicated, watch your accomplice get off scot-free while the wrath of the gods is rained down upon your head. Implicate your accomplice and stay silent, on the other hand, the reverse happens. Your classic prisoner's dilemma."

Matto remains silent, at this point, watching the paper and listening carefully, but not interjecting.

Did Timon just call Roubani's lifelong love /easy/? That might've gotten ugly indeed if the man hadn't gone on. A slight nod indicates he's familiar with the particular dilemma, but like Matto he doesn't interrupt.

If Timon notices his poor choice of words, there, he doesn't bother to correct it, instead scrawling the game's four outcomes into the allotted spaces in his grid. "Let's play it this way. You're Thorn or Rabbit. What do you tell the CAG? Do you confess all, or do you stay loyal to your partner-in-crime?"

Matto quirks both brows upward, "Wait, so, did we actually do it?" he makes certain.

"Both of you are guilty as sin," Timon clarifies. "Equally so, for the sake of this scenario, even if in real life it'd likely all be Thorn's fault."

The question from Timon makes Roubani pause a moment. A glance at Matto, then back at Timon. "Are we roleplaying…them?" There's a hint of a smirk in there, but it fades in the interest of what comes next. "And it won't work if we can hear what the other saying."

"Good point." Timon tears his paper in half, leaving only the diagrammed bit on the table; the remains are torn in half once more before they're offered to each of the pilots.

"Okay, and the choices are take the blame or assign blame to the other one," Kissy just makes sure he's got the right of it, taking one of the halves of paper and scrounging for the pencil nub he habitually keeps in a pocket.

Roubani feels the need to clarify the first point, "Stay silent and cover at risk of either being ratted out by the other, or walking free if the other is also silent. Or assign the blame to the other at risk of either him staying silent and you going free or him also ratting you out and both of you fall." He picks up his own paper and reclaims his pencil, making a mark where his choice is.

"Poet has the right of it. Or, to use the lingo, to cooperate or to defect." There's no condescension in Timon's words or expression — just avid interest, as evinced by the fact that he's allowed his jack to slide back down his arms. The man leans forward, looking questioningly at his peers as he does.

Matto looks down at the piece of paper, having to re-evaluate briefly, tapping the butt end of the pencil stub on the paper before he leans over and scrawls something on it, folding it and sliding it over toward Timon again.

"The difficult part of this is not at all what I would do. But what I think Kisseus would do," Roubani murmurs, with a faint smirk aimed at the younger Raptor pilot. He passes his paper back.

Matto quirks both brows, "Or what you think Kisseus would think Thorn would do," he grins.

Roubani interjects quickly, eyeing them both. Paper not given over yet. "Wait, are we roleplaying?"

"It'd be more fun if you were," says Timon, looking hopeful.

Ariadne wanders out of the stacks, her nose stuck in a book — what, did she get lost back there? "I have no idea what the two of you are doing, but my brain hurts already."

Matto reaches over to rest a hand on the Poet's forearm in a calming sort of gesture, "I just answered the question, myself. I dunno what Thorn would do, honestly. Well, I -think- I know, but I'm not sure. But I should probably stop talking, 'cause we're supposed to be in different cells."

"No consultation is permitted," Timon affirms, "lest the wrath of Spider come down upon your head." The priestess gets a distracted wave: if her appearance sets Ivory's heart aflutter, he doesn't show it, so intent is he on the outcome of this little simulation.

Ariadne takes a seat beside Timon, whispering, "Why are they in cells? What have they done?"

Roubani doesn't flinch when Matto touches his arm. Maybe he hasn't noticed it. Or something. "Right. Well. I haven't said 'frak' nearly enough to feel like I'm really into this, you know, but I shall try." He glances at his paper in a way Matto can't see, thinking. Then something bugs him. "Just a moment, Ivory — evening again, Sister — we've established the reward for both silent, or one talking and the other not, but what happens if we both talk?"

"We're playing a game," is Ivory's droll response to the priestess. Then: "Right. Both of you talk, the CAG divides the punishment equally: both of you spend, say, three days cleaning the Air Wing's head. If both of you stay silent, on the other hand, he can only dispense a single day's worth of punishment. But if one of you talks and the other one doesn't, the snitch walks away while his accomplice does hard labor for a fortnight."

Matto doesn't seem to be encountering any extraneous thoughtbubbles given the new information; either he's still content enough with the answer already given, or the game's beginning to lose his interest. He remains quiet while his counterpart finishes up, not wanting to contaminate the proceedings any further. And, just to keep himself from giving anything further away, he goes back to reading his book.

Roubani is giving Timon a strange look. One can almost see the grid being drawn in his head, calculating the new payoff matrix. And then transferring that out of his own head and into someone else's. "Rabbit, hm?" He tilts his head at the paper and crosses out what he'd written, rewriting. Then it's passed over.

What if they both talk? "Well, it means someone's rude," the priestess opines, sensibly. Then she tilts her head and puzzles over Ivory's qualifications. "Well… why would anyone choose anything other than not talking, then?"

Matto’s just been reading, since; though he looks up as the Poet seems to be done. He looks up expectantly, "So what's the verdict?"

Ivory receives and reviews their papers in turn before announcing the result, placing their respective answers on the table. Matto's says 'Remain Silent'; Roubani's, on the other hand, has 'Remain Silent' crossed out, under which he's written 'Got you. Still Silent.' "Both of you are roundly praised for your loyalty and dismissed with warnings," he says, looking both pleased and disappointed at the same time. "But while I'm glad to have you both on my wing, traditional political philosophers would say you both have no chance of survival in the dog-eat-dog world of inter-Colony relations."

"Ivory," Roubani says, as he crosses his legs. "This game is only partly about your personal convictions. Even if you were a cur, this depends on your accuracy at predicting the action of the other, not the goodness of your heart. I would say men that are good at reading others are exceptionally well-suited for a dog-eat-dog world. Moreso than a man who wouldn't stop to realise things are intertwined."

"The more people are loyal to one another, the less dog-eat-dog the colonies become," Ariadne says, turning a page of her book. She glances up at Roubani, a smile tugging at her lips. "That, too. But I tend to like my rationalizations warm and fuzzy."

"Yeah, well, we should have thought of that before I went stealing the CAG's cigarettes," Kisseus points out, turning a brief and playful smile onto the Poet. "It wasn't really about loyalty. No offense, Poetryslam. I mean, if you look at the different outcomes— a) no punishment, which, sure, great. B) punishment, which is, y'know, fine, because we -did- it. If the cigarettes weren't worth the punishment, we never should have taken them in the first place. So either way staying quiet comes up a win. Maybe I'm not the optimal participant in a dog-eat-dog world. But that's why I called Thalattra home." Or… part of the reason why. But, yeah, Thalattra was a great place to live if you were a damned dirty barefoot hippy with -ideals- about stuff.

"Neither of you are," says Timon, "which might be why we get along." He hopes. "But to go back to something Poet said — that's precisely my point." The pilot has gotten remarkably animated, his hands gesticulating wildly as he talks. "Proponents of explanatory theory, with all their empirical tests and psychological evaluations, assume that they've got people all figured out: individuals will simply do what's in their best interest, they say, and the interests of others be damned. Using this criterion, defection is the best — the most rational — decision, as it provides a person with the best outcome regardless of what his counterpart does. But what explanatory theorists don't consider is the impact of such a prediction on the world around them. To put it another way, they fail to realize that in making such an assertion, they commit themselves to thinking about the Other's action in a very specific way — a way that makes defection not one of a pair of choices but the only logical choice." The pilot's words and gestures increase in speed as he goes on, at times coming perilously close to thwacking Ariadne in the head.

Roubani waves a hand at the notion of it being about loyalty. Don't be silly. "For my part, as Hale I reasoned that Thorn would stay silent. I could certainly have ratted him and walked, myself, but let's face it. We see each other every day. Would walking be worth the strife between us, given that we fight together? And possibly strife from the rest of the Raptor crew, since Thorn does have an awfully big mouth. Or is the better option to take punishment alongside him, therefore cementing a relationship. Easy. Now. Had the circumstances been different, and we were not in fact in danger of seeing each other after the fact, and not in fact facing not a few days cleaning the head but years in prison or perhaps a death sentence…" He turns up a hand in lieu of a shrug. "I would propose, without getting long winded about Nash equilibriums and Pareto optimums in the interest of not boring you to death, that circumstance must also be considered."

Laughing, the priestess ducks a bit more elaborately than necessary to avoid a thwacking. She's been listening, though — and continues to listen — to Timon. And that might very well be fondness in her eyes as he waxes hyper-enthusiastic. Roubani also gets his measure of attention as he speaks. It's sort of like a tennis match. Her head turns this way. Her head turns that way. She has nothing to add, but she's certainly not uninterested.

Matto smiles brightly at the Poet's explication of the Rabbit's train of thought, though he does add, "I'm not sure how many points he'd be looking to score with Black Squadron, anyhow," he teases the Rabbit in absentia; yes, Kissy might not be angry with him anymore, but that's not to say he's -forgotten.- Oh, no. "But circumstances need to be taken into account for physics problems, too. A hell of a lot of them, right? It might be simplistic to say that all persons in this situation will give answer x or y… but if all the facts are known, I'd suppose an outside observer could make a good guess. All the facts of the situation as well as the background of each person involved."

"Good points both, Poet, Kissy." Timon's left hand comes to rest on the priestess' shoulder after a particularly wide-ranging gesture — and he doesn't even notice. "Of course circumstance matters: if staying silent means risking death, maybe that'll tilt your decision calculus more in favor of defection, in the same way that a very lenient worst-case punishment might do the reverse. And if we're talking about repeated trials, or social consequences outside those established by the parameters of the hypothetical, the choice surely becomes quite different. But my point is merely to challenge this one assumption of explanatory theory by arguing that the very concepts we use to think about the world help make that world what it is. Because at the end of the day, to describe and predict the results of inter-Colonial interaction — interpersonal interaction — as 'dog-eat-dog' forces us into a paradigm in which you, and you, and even you — " Nods to the pilots, while Ariadne's shoulder gets a gentle squeeze. " — are canines, all."

Roubani squinches up his nose faintly as Matto reminds him of that Hale thing. Oh. Right. "I suppose it would be less 'scoring points' than 'not losing any more'," he murmurs to Matto, drily. He looks back at Timon, listening to that whole thing with a couple of nods and yes, one absent glance at the man's hand creeping onto the young woman's shoulder. Which seems to make his attention drift for just a little bit, pulled back with a visible movement of his head as Timon draws to a close. After a very long moment his chin turns towards Matto and he says, mildly, "Did he just infer that she can be a bitch?"

Matto is tipping his head to the side as though to admit the point, "-That- makes sense. Jumping into an argument with unproven presuppositions is… well, it never ends well, does it?" He laughs aloud, then, head lowering at the Poet's comment.

Ariadne's eyes go saucer-sized — she quickly looks down at her book. Ivory is touching her — of his own accord. Who is this man and what has he done with Timon Stathis?? "Actually, I don't think there was any inference whatsoever — I believe he said I am a bitch." Her tone is not just dry, it's desiccated. "Of course he's right." She does her best to keep the smile from tugging at her lips — with her attention on her book, she might succeeding in hiding it for a moment or two.

If you think this is bad, Ariadne, you should see Timon when he's talking about the need to be incredulous toward metanarratives. Timon withdraws the offending hand like it's been burnt, placing it quite safely on his legal pad — the other one, too, for good measure. "Anyway," he concludes, altogether anticlimactically, "that's what I'm working on." There's a long sigh as he realizes he's run out of words. "Sorry about that," he mutters. "But thanks for playing along."

Roubani smiles a little at Ariadne, which she probably misses with her nose in the book. To Timon: "Well…you never actually explained what either explanatory or constitutive theories are, or what they're doing opposing each other in this debate of yours. We've got the same terms in physics and I confess I've spent the last thirty minutes trying to decide if they have anything to do with what you were talking about and I've decided it's probably a very hefty 'no'." He takes a breath and continues. "But I don't want to tire you out." The awkward physical withdrawing of Timon's isn't commented on. He rests an elbow down on the couch arm, resting his temple against his fingers.

"Technically, I think he was disagreeing with those people who were working under the assumption that Peep's a bitch," Kisseus points out with a mild little smile, quirking both brows at the Priest, "But, y'know, if you say so." A little cheeky grin. "I'm guessing that the Explana…torians? are the ones who think that social theories are just our conclusions based on watching social behavior, and the… Constitutionalists? Are the ones who think that the social theories can be the creative force behind the behavior itself? I'm still not sure that the difference betweent he two would come up nil if the theories were defined to account for every factor— but since accounting for every factor in the human psyche is going to be more or less impossible, that's… not likely to happen anytime soon." Kisseus, of course, thinks nothing odd of one person touching another. Touching is healthsome, in his worldview.

Ariadne absently reaches up and pats her abandoned shoulder, as though to console it — 'That was nice while it lasted.' Or maybe she's was just scratching it a little. The cassock's probably itchy. Then, in a gesture of restraint and maturity, she sticks her tongue out at Kissy. Cheeky grin, indeed.

Timon's actually scooted over to the right in order to put as much space as he can between the priestess and himself; when Roubani talks, though, he looks up, more than a little surprised by the sudden outburst. "I meant — what Kissy said. Or, to put it another way: the former believes that our world exists apart from theory; the latter believes that theory helps construct our world. I was just trying to show why I buy into the latter, is all. My intention wasn't to bore."

"I…confess I don't even see how the former could be true," Roubani replies quietly. "So I suppose better you than I writing such a debate." There's a slight self-mocking in that. If he notices Timon scooting, that goes politely ignored as well. He is, after all, the man who will take a longer route to where he's going if it means not risking bumping anyone by walking through a crowd in the way. He listens to Kissy's explanation of the difference and makes an 'ahh' face. "Interesting. In physics, a constitutive equation is the relation between two physical quantities that is specific to a material or substance, and approximates the response of that material to external forces." Gods, they've really brought out the geek in him tonight. "I suppose there might be some linguistic-symbolic connection in there somewhere, but I'm too dense for that." Ariadne's pulling a face at Matto gets a little smile. "You're so quiet. How are you, over there?"

Matto looks back toward the Poet a moment as he professes discontent with the prior option, and, looking puzzled a second, "I thought that in the example that you gave you proved that theory doesn't help construct our world, but only helps construct a false set of explanations about our world: people theorize based on the notion that the world is dog-eat-dog. That doesn't -make- the world dog-eat-dog, it makes their theories basically flawed."

"I'm fine," Ariadne assures Roubani, smiling. "I'm enjoying listening to you three, even if it's with half an ear. Doing a little research of my own." She holds up a book entitled, 'The Mysteries of Demeter.' "I'm afraid this wouldn't add much to the present discussion. But I am enjoying the company — truly."

"I do my best to create controversy out of nothing," says Timon to Poet, sotto voce — and then Matto has to all get him started again. "But surely you'll grant me that the decisions you make are colored by your assumptions? Theorize that the world is full of self-interested individuals who only look out for themselves and, soon enough, the only wise thing to do is to bring a knife to every social gathering. A self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will." And as for the physics stuff: "Is there a such thing as an explanatory equation?" Because he really doesn't know — and he certainly knows nothing about the Mysteries of Demeter, judging from the way he cranes his head to read the material on the back cover.

"Yes, but it's rather what you'd expect," Roubani tells Timon, drily. "It refers to mechanical causal workings, the 'why' mode, the cause and effect dynamics within a constructed reality. Then we also have the "hermeneutic" —" He fingerquotes there " — category and really, don't get me started there." He seems to pause there, throwing a glance to his watch that might or might not have been to actually see the time. "Well. I promised to be somewhere in a few minutes, so I suppose I ought to go. Ivory…a pleasure as always, I missed this. Sister, take care of yourself. And Kisseus, if you'd like some tea later you know where to find me." The last gets a little smile as he stands, picking up his notebook and pencil.

"-My- assumptions color my decisions, sure. But the average assumption of the average social scientist doesn't really fuss me one way or the other, I don't think," Kisseus replies. He eyes the book a moment, "Oh, they finally came out with it in book form? I thought they kept that stuff strictly hush-hush. I was waiting for the movie, myself," he chuckles softly. Then, turning his head to the side and then upward, he nods. "Okay. See you later, N."

Ariadne smiles warmly at Roubani. "It's always a delight to see you, Nadiv. Lords go with you." She smirks mirthfully at Matto. "They do. This is an extremely watered down, anthropological perspective, I'm afraid. But it's the best I can do, for now."

"I'll have to get you started on that sometime," says Ivory, stretching — carefully, of course, to avoid any further untoward collisions. "Anyway, thanks for listening — and for deploying the 'power of prayer', if my hunch is correct." On that, though, he doesn't elaborate, nor does he respond to Matto's comment — for their sakes, maybe, more than his. Instead, after cracking his back to his satisfaction, he returns his hands to his jacket, twiddling his wings with the flat of his thumb. In the interim: "Should you really be reading that?" the man asks the priestess. "It sounds like smiting might be an unintentional side effect."

Roubani ain't sayin nothing as to Timon's hunches. Free hand goes into pocket and he's off, looking content.

The priestess frowns slightly, looking down at the book and passing her hand over the cover. "I can't say for certain," she sighs. "It's difficult to determine the will of the Lords." She looks up, between Matto and Ivory. "But the Cult of Demeter is dead. She has worshippers, but no followers to preserve Her deepest mysteries, to preserve Her essence." She shakes her head slightly. "I met a remarkable young woman whose mother was a member of the Cult. Her mother was going to initiate her, but… was killed. And I think… I believe that the Lordess would not want her Cult to die."

She looks pensive. "I'm not supposed to know the secret rites… but it's becoming increasingly clear that I may have to."

Matto yawns a little, lifting up an arm for the purpose of yawning into the inside of his elbow. "Oh. 'Scuse me," he murmurs. "I went to see the Bitch's Mysteries… a long, long time ago," he remembers, shaking his head. Presumably this was before the great schism between the two. In any event, he doesn't elaborate. Of course. "If you don't know them, pardon me for asking, but how are you supposed to -get- to know them? Don't you need to have them revealed to you?"

Ariadne will get no help from Ivory, here, as there probably isn't a God or Goddess in the galaxy with the patience to have a conversation with him. He'll let the experts talk this one out, gaze dropping instead to his legal pad and the writing scrawled on it.

The priestess nods, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. "I'm rather hoping that they //will/ be revealed to me."

Matto stares, a little bit confused, then, a hand rising to the back of his neck, "… Oh."

Dum-dee-dum. Timon taps recently-picked-up pen against paper without writing down a thing. Eventually, though, his curiosity gets the better of him: "How does that sort of thing happen, anyway?"

"Oh. Well…" Ariadne looks a little awkward. Perhaps she's simply used to these conversations being awkward for others, and helping out by laying it down in advance. "Well. It depends. Sometimes you can visit and Oracle and if the Lord or Lordess really wants to talk to you, they'll channel themselves through the Oracle. Sometimes the Oracle can talk to Them for you. And sometimes… if you're very, very fortunate, devout, fast and… do some other things… then you can get a direct line, so to speak. But it's rarely a conversation, per se. More like divine revelation."

Matto scratches along his jawline, sussing out the depth and scrabbliness of his stubble as he listens, quiet, for now.

"I'm absurdly envious," murmurs Timon, tapping harder. "Stop eating food for a few months and have a dissertation handed to me, footnotes and all." The man pauses suddenly, reflecting on what he just said. There's a beat, and then — "Sorry. Didn't mean to make light of the situation. Long day."

Ariadne's lips quirk wryly. "That's alright. We all have our religions, in a way, and we all have our religious ecstasy." She stands, book in her arms. "It's been a long day for me, as well." She pauses. "Will you both be able to come to the memorial?"

Matto perks up a little bit, "Sure— I mean, I'll try, when is it?"

"That joyful moment is likely a decade away, at my current rate of progress." Then — "What memorial?" Because Timon's been in here all day.

"You'll probably find the memo in your berthings later. It's three days from today at 22 hundred hours. On the flight deck," Ariadne replies.

"Oh. Yeah, yeah, I'll come," Kisseus replies quietly, picking up his stuff, "I'd better get on home, in any case; see you later, Ivory?"

"I'll — look out for it." Abruptly, Timon too is moving to stand, his jacket about to fall to his feet before being snagged out of air by the sleeve. It's folded haphazardly over his left arm before he bends to pick up his pen and legal pad, an uncommon frown on his usually placid face. "Which reminds me — I have to go over some more schematics with Thorn before tomorrow morning," he says, utterly unconvincingly, as he walks toward the hatch. "And yeah, I'll see you. Thanks again for putting up with my ramblings." That, at least, seems genuine. Ivory, after all, is one of the worst liars on the ship, having inherited more than knowledge from all his open books.

Right. Well. Ariadne manages a blithe smile for both men, seating herself again and tucking her legs up beneath her. "Good night, gentlemen," she says, opening the book and focusing on a page.

Timon pauses on his way out the door, looking back at the priestess, before thinking better of whatever he was going to say. The pilot continues out with even steps, his expression impenetrable as it rarely is.

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