What Will Be
What Will Be
Summary: Roubani comes to Timon for help on a lingering problem, and the latter proves adept at inspiration.
Date: PHD117 (13 Aug 2009)
Related Logs: None. Mention of Scorpia happenings.

Kharon - Black Berthings

Black berthings, at some nebulous point in the late night that used to be generally identifiable by pitch darkness outside. Now all times have the same feature, so it's quite lost it's lustre unless one's fortunate enough to be able to sleep. Not Roubani, apparently. Slipping quietly into this foreign space, perhaps recently off-shift judging from the open jacket and laptop bag still over his shoulder, he starts his customary checking of various bunks to see which familiar faces are here.

Timon's a night owl too, though the term has really lost its meaning given the way Kharon's pilots switch up shifts to cover for what's described by brass as 'a dearth of personnel'. Tonight, he's one of the only people not in his bunk, having commandeered for himself a full third of the polished mahogany table in the middle of his berthings. Ivory's ensconced like some royal scribe amidst four open books, five legal pads, and an assortment of black and red pens (ten each, if Poet's counting). The man's quite focused on his work, though Poet's quiet entrance does manage to elicit a wordless wave. Silence > library voice, you see.

Roubani's return wave looks stilted, as if he weren't used to greeting people like that. His hand disappears right back into his pocket where it had come from as he gets closer to the table, glancing over its contents before the man occupying it. "You're quite busy." The uptilt of that last word is so slight that it could easily be either a statement or a question.

Indeed he is. Ivory's been at this for quite some time, from the looks of things. He's covered a full five pieces of lined yellow paper with his trademark scrawl, even writing over the small JAG Corps emblem at the top of each page, and the margins of his books are covered in furious red annotations in an equally illegible hand. "You wanted to see me the other day," he observes, after crossing out a sentence or two from the paragraph he's currently composing.

"Mmm." The soft sound is probably 'yes'. Roubani's busy looking at the scrawl that Timon's making, though, distracted by that until he remembers he was spoken to. He sits down on the edge of a seat nearby, and digs gently in his laptop bag until he finds a CD case, setting it down on the table and pushing it towards Timon with his fingertips. Actually a DVD. Some action flick that looks dipped in martial-arts. "You said if I found a good one, you might want to watch it. I thought this one was suitably not-bad."

"Hardly a ringing endorsement." Timon sets down his pen, reaching for the case with his left hand — because the right one seems to have been run through an ink processing factory, judging from all the black-red spots that cover his index finger and palm. "Are there explosions?"

Roubani's eyes seem to shift, the corner of his mouth quirking. "Maybe one or two."

"No doubt produced by flying fists — or, more likely, green screens." Timon has the decency to look amused, though, setting down the borrowed DVD on top of a book before trying and failing to stifle a yawn. "I'll be sure to give you a written review after I'm done with it, though be warned: I'm quite the snob." He even listens to opera in his spare time.

"Really. You?" Roubani's voice treats the sarcasm like delicate tissue. Hard to tell if it even was sarcasm. He stays where he is on the edge of the chair, resting his hands down on his knees. His silence seems paused, as though there were something else now to be said with the icebreaker out of the way. "How have you been?"

Timon accepts the jab with a tip of his head; his left hand, now free, tugs at a few curls of hair hanging somewhere near his nose. The man needs a haircut. As for the other, real question: "I've been thinking," notes Ivory — sarcasm of his own. Because really, the man does nothing but.

"Something to be said for the comforts of status quo," Roubani murmurs, in mild approval. And now he's stalled for quite a while, which his hands seem to acknowledge by lacing together on his knee. There's a short exhale through his nose. "You've been back on duty since…well, since we crashed. On Scorpia. Haven't you?"

"The sawbones certified me okay to fly a few days ago. Physically, at least." Timon's face contorts in another yawn, though this time he does a better job of keeping it under control. He does, however, brush back a few tears from the back of his hand: because yawning does that. "I tried to take things slow. Flew backseat for Black for my first CAP back in the saddle, just to get back in the swing of things." His thin lips tighten momentarily as shoulders swing backwards. Maybe there's something more to that? But there's no elaboration. "Now it's back to the grind — that's what 'taking it slow' means these days, I guess. Can't afford to keep a pilot off the line for more than is absolutely necessary."

Roubani politely ignores the yawning, even flickering his eyes away at the high point of it. Then they come back. He's quiet for a few seconds, nodding, then asks in his soft voice, "Do you find it difficult?"

Timon shrugs. "Three CAPs with me behind the stick and I haven't jumped us into a star just yet." Which answers the question, sort of. He moves to set his elbows on the table — yes, there's parts of it not covered by his books or his notes — before leaning his chin into interlaced fingers. "When are you coming back?"

It's subtle, but Roubani seems at once heartened and disheartened by Timon's answer. He appears to consider it for a long time, then glances down at his hand as he lifts it to brush at the end of his nose. "When they are satisfied I can fly again. Which I…" He lets his hand drop again and lifts his chin, sounding a bit self-deprecating, "…that was my first time even back to the simulators since back then. I couldn't even get in one. I felt so nauseous."

"Why?" Timon doesn't bother sugarcoating the question. Brown eyes flick upwards to catch a glimpse of the man's face, shadowed though it might be. His own is barely visible, slipping in and out of semi-darkness as a few waking ECOs pad lightly to the door.

"I don't know, my heart just…began racing." Roubani admits, not very willingly. "It wasn't even my mind, really, it was my body that remembered." As though the visceral had dearly betrayed him somehow.

Timon considers the reply for a good five seconds, shoulders sagging forward ever so slightly as he does. "I never got around to asking you," he wonders at last, "how you hurt your arm." Which means, presumably, that he's asking now.

Roubani's eyes flicker to Timon's rows of pens and stay there. "We had gone out to look for a malfunctioning buoy," he begins quietly, after a brief silence. "The Raiders came, and I wasn't fast enough. They were so quick. They shot out my engines, and then one wing and then the cockpit…there was an explosion. That's the last I remember until Sickbay."

"Nobody's fast enough," Ivory notes, lifting his chin so his ink-stained hand can emphasize the point. His wide palm sweeps downward, perpendicular to the table. "And with all the lead that flies out there, in those dogfights, yours and theirs — " The Raptor pilot clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth; then: "Do you believe in luck?"

"In a way," Roubani murmurs. Non-answer as it is, that's all he provides. His eyes shift back to Timon, one brow raising slightly.

"I don't," the pilot confesses, answering his own question. "Or, I should say, I didn't used to. But — well, I've been thinking." As he said. "About Paros, Scorpia, the Colonies — fresh fruit — " That one comes out of nowhere, and it's accompanied by the barest whisper of a chuckle. "I've had a lot of time on my hands."

No sarcasm this time. Roubani's brow stays lightly arched over his darkly-circled eyes. "What do you mean?"

"You know — " Timon opens his mouth, a story no doubt on his lips, and then he thinks better of it. "You're a religious man," he says, instead of whatever parable was about to fall forth. "Have you heard of the Clockwork Galaxy?"

"The theory that the universe is a perfect machine, wound up and left to run by the gods?" Roubani questions softly.

"Are you fond of the idea?" asks Ivory. Apparently, Poet's hit the nail on the head.

Roubani half-smiles, just a little bit. "No. My theory of it all is a little more involved, I guess you could say." A pause. "Are you?"

"I'm not fond of the idea of gods to begin with," Ivory confesses, a sheepish little smile on his face, though the confession probably isn't all that surprising given Timon's status as a Skeptic (capital 'S'). "But my point was more — well." His hands gesture at the books and papers scattered across his side of the table — the tools of scholars, about whom he's now talking. "We've spent countless generations trying to understand it all. To find the tablets of Fate, if you will, and read them, and — with the power of reason — unwind what's been woven." The pilot sighs, leaning back in his chair. "Maybe there weren't any tablets to begin with."

Despite the prayer beads around his wrist, Roubani looks neither shocked nor disapproving at Timon's choice of words. "Maybe not." He languidly shrugs one shoulder. "I believe the gods don't discourage such discourse, such questioning. And it is good for the mind, and for faith. But in the end it is nearly irrelevant. What will be will be."

"My mother was religious," is what Timon says to that. What relevance this has to anything being discussed is as yet unclear. "When I was growing up, she used to take me to the Temple of Athena every fortnight for services — to clear my head of worldly corruption, or at least that's what she told me. I just liked the smell of olives."

If Roubani is drawing any lines yet between this veer in the conversation and earlier, he keeps it to himself. He's as patient with the Lieutenant now as he ever was. "A pleasant scent," he offers quietly. His ensuing silence seems to invite Timon to go on as he will.

"The acolytes used to hate all the questions I asked," Ivory recalls, eyes half-closed, a distant look on his face as he traverses once more the invisible atrium of a long-lost place. "I was about as annoying at twelve as I am now. Maybe more: my voice didn't break until a few years later, after all. Eventually, they brought in the head priestess to knock some sense into me." He smiles, not unkindly. "She refused. Said just what you said, back there — 'What will be will be.'"

Roubani can't help a faint smile at the pilot's self-aimed jab in there. Perhaps he can relate. By the end it's faded again, into something more pensive. "And what did you think of it?"

"I thought it was asinine." Was that a chortle? "Told her that to her face, too: 'Asinine mysticism' — those were the words I used. 'The asinine mysticism of irrational belief." A brief smile lights Timon's face at the memory. "Now, though — maybe she was onto something."

Asinine. That makes Roubani chuckle very softly, as he tips his head a little at the last. "Men don't change easily."

"No," Ivory murmurs in agreement, "we don't." He's silent for a while, tapping his tongue against the back of his teeth as he thinks. "I was arrogant back then; I'm arrogant now." And the Cylons inflicted just a tiny bit of damage on the Colonies. "It's the hubris that comes with being a rationalist — cogito ergo sum. But after all that's happened — " Timon stops once more, trying to find the words. "The universe feels a lot bigger now than it did when we stood astride twelve worlds like the Colossus of Rhodes," he says at last. "And I think I'm okay with a little less knowing and a little more being."

Roubani is listening carefully, or so his dark eyes on Timon's face would suggest. The tension at the corners of them softens subtly, smoothing out a couple premature lines. "And where would you fit doing into that?"

"Being is doing," Timon rejoins, perhaps a bit too glibly — a fact he acknowledges with a soft exhalation of breath. "But before I allow you to get me going on that wonderful tangent, there was a point I wanted to make, if you'll be patient with me for just a moment longer?"

Roubani makes an ever so slight moue with his lips, the kind people do when they've just barely headed off opening their big mouths. Success, and they purse gently against smiling. "Please, go on."

"You know this already, Poet, but get into that simulator." Ivory's voice remains mild; if he catches Roubani's stifled interjection, he doesn't show it. "I'll even give you all the barf bags you need. And if chance — beautiful, terrible chance — decrees that on this day at this moment your plane will be filled with bullets, I'll go out there and get you, the doctors will slash and mend you, and after a few months we'll do it all again."

Roubani is silent a good few beats. A slight tic upwards of his brows, a subtle tilt of his head. "Yes, sir." A faint emphasis on the second word. Timon may have been the one giving the pep talk, but Roubani sounds strangely proud of the Lieutenant next to him. "I shall do my best not to have to hold you to that. Insurance being shot as it is."

"'They give birth astride of a grave,'" Timon murmurs in reply. "'The light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.'"

"'I can't go on like this'," Roubani muses in quote, letting a beat go by before giving the pointed response from across the stage. "'That's what you think.'" He scratches his fingers through his hair, which is still shorter than it used to be but now slowly growing the curls back.

"You remember more than I do." Poet 1, Ivory 0. "The only reason I know the line is because I spent half my sophomore year practicing it in front of a mirror." Timon shakes his head, though his expression is more fond than bitter. "They gave the part to someone else, anyway. Apparently I wasn't sad enough for the role." Cue the wan smile. "Now, I think everybody is Pozzo."

"Cruel, intellectual oppressors?" Roubani asks, murmuring. "Or blind men that cannot see the suffering in others, and thus ourselves are condemned to suffer?"

"Neither," is Ivory's reply. "Both. And a third thing, too, if you'll permit the conceit: passengers, say, on a celestial current, whose path not even the wisest among us can know."

"But how some try," Roubani replies, thoughtful and mild. A little silence goes by, then, "Thank you, Ivory. This was most helpful."

"Give a chimpanzee a typewriter and ten years, and even she might produce a few kernels of wisdom here and there." Timon scratches at the bridge of his nose, falling back on self-deprecation to get himself out of the compliment. Reflex. "Thanks for the movie," he says, after a slightly awkward pause.

"Should you decide after seeing it to become that stern yet loving, avuncular man of peace in a violent land," Roubani replies, soft and grave, "Don't you dare blame it on me." He gently tugs at the zip of his laptop bag and starts to stand.

Timon humphs under his breath, already reaching for his pen, though there's no annoyance in the sound — just mild amusement, and perhaps a little more. "See you out there," he says, pointing a finger to the sky — or where the sky should be. And then it's back to his writing, as he begins a sixth page: the literature review.

"Yes, sir." Roubani pulls the strap of his bag over his shoulder and, after politely pushing in his chair, slides his hands into his pockets. Almost a step away, but he is unfortunately a man with a curious mind. "What…are you doing, anyway?"

"I'm working on my — " Timon stops himself before he can go further, canting his head sideways not unlike an owl. "Just making up for lost time," he says, with a secret smile. "It's been a while since I've tilted at a windmill."

Roubani doesn't push. He just smiles a little. Pursing his lips, he starts whistling, a few notes clear before he turns around and the tune follows him out the hatch. No lyrics, though someone familiar with the song could bring them up instantly. I am I, Don Quijote… Which fades until it's gone.

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