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Subtle Currents

Posted on 20 Sep 2017 @ 5:14pm by Lieutenant Gemma Alexander & Ensign Aurilia Moretti

Mission: The Finnean Crisis
Location: Talons
Timeline: MD6 || 1500

It had been a good day, tense but no one died or shot at them so Gemma was counting it as a win. She'd actually managed to get to her quarters without interruption this time, and finished unpacking. Then she'd decided she had enough of her own four walls and headed to Talons. She wore black pants, boots and a dark green t-shirt which off duty, was about as uniform as she got. Of course she had her ever present com badge, like an extra appendage it was. Her hair loose but tied back since she so rarely could wear it that way in the cock pit it was a favorite off duty style. She headed to the bar to grab a drink, weaving smoothly around the mid afternoon crowd letting the babble of voices wash over and around her.

Aurilia sat at the bar wearing a black vest over a white shirt with a image of a Peregrine falcon on the front of it, a pair of black pants that hugged her slender curves and a pair of black boots that came halfway up to her knees. Instead of something alcoholic, which was still a temptation to her, she had a root beer float cupped in her hands. She leaned in to take a sip of it and sighed. "Remember, Aurilia. Just think of Luc," she told herself. "You don't want to have the gentle giant mad at you."

Gemma caught sight of Aurilia's drink first, "That's bloody brilliant..." She turned to the bartender, "One of those with Barq's" She ordered then turned to Aurilia, "Sugar and ice cream, love those but you got to get the right combo. And if you do alcohol you have to make sure it's still root beer based or orange if you're a creamsicle fan ...." Then she paused, "Or should I say sorry if you wanted to be left alone?"

The slender redheaded pilot jerked and looked up when she heard the female voice and tried to focus on what the woman was saying. She shook her main of red hair and gestured towards the seat near her. "No, no alcohol," she said with a sigh. "I already lost my wings once because of it and I have more to lose this time." She studied the other woman for a minute before her callsign came to mind. "Archer, right?" she asked.

"Sorry to surprise you..." she held up her hands briefly in an apology before taking her mug, then she had a seat next to other pilot. "Yes and you'd be Tango." They'd flown together and talked a bit but mostly it was in passing what with all that was going on lately, it had been a bit busy. As for the other, she knew Tango had been grounded but not why. Now she knew "As for the alcohol well, it's not an easy thing to overcome." She took a drink of her sugar diary goodness. "For what it's worth you're a grand pilot." She had met a few who had one problem or another like that, each dealt with it in their own ways. Least Tango appeared to be constructive with it.

"It's no big deal," Aurilia half lied. "I have a great supporter and he would do anything to help me move past it," she said. "He already dumped my collection and he's so gentle and supportive. I couldn't ask for anyone better. So how long have you been flying?"

Gemma respected the others privacy and left the alcohol alone only saying, "Someday, mayhap you will tell me more of this paragon of virtue" She smiled, took another drink and then considered the question. "Well including the holodeck, civilian craft, and simulators since about 16. Actual Starfleet modern combat craft, maybe 6 years, you?"

"A year and a half real time, but fifteen years subjective," Aurilia said after taking a sip of her float. I've had my sights set on being a pilot since I was ten years old and saw Nova Squad performing when my parents took me to an air show. After that, i dedicated every hour I could to learning everything I could about it. When I got out of the Academy, I was with the 401st Fighting Fangs. How about you?"


“Me? It was my Granddad. He was forever doing crazy things like taking a 10 year old up in a hot air balloon…” She smiled at the memory, “Mom was really upset, what if I fell and all that…” She picked up a spoon and went for some of melting ice cream, “Gliders too, parasailing, he had a fondness for anything without an engine. Said he liked the quiet. Me? I just liked to fly and spend time with him so it all worked out.”

"I've never done gliders or hot air balloons, but I've done a lot of shuttle, runabout and fighter flying," Aurilia said.

She was quiet for a moment focused on the ice cream float before putting the spoon down, “As for service, served with the 357 Red Dragons and the 435 Rattler’s before here.” She lifted one sleeve to show a tattoo of a drawn arrow on a longbow, “Got one for each unit too, my way of remembering those I served with.” She took a drink then continued, “You have any tat’s? I know a few guys who are good with needle art if that’s a thing for you…” She offered.

"No, I never felt a need to put a mark on my body to represent something," Aurilia said as she took another drink of her float. "I have all my memories in my head and that's enough for me. That and having the ability to fly a fighter. I never dreamed of having so much freedom as when I'm in the cockpit of one of them with the vastness of space around me."

Gemma shrugged good naturedly "To each their own" She said, taking a drink of her float then using a napkin to wipe the ice cream off her face, "That's the best part isn't it? The freedom, just you and the craft. Gives one a perspective for sure." There was a grand beauty to space, when comms were quiet and all one heard was the humming of their craft and the sight of infinite space surrounding them, "Wish we could be out a bit more to be honest, maybe Rocco will auth some field practice when this blockade is over..." She said hopefully.

"It would be nice to get out just to get out and fly," Aurilia said a bit wistfully. "I'd still be grounded if the old ship hadn't lost a few pilots. They needed me when we made the run for Deep Space Eleven. All I had was that old Peregrine, but she's served her purpose. Some pilots would probably shun me, but I think she was better than the Valkyries."

Gemma nodded, "That was a hell of a thing..." She said remembering the sheer wild chaos of it all. "The Peregrine's a grand Dame and make no mistake, there's a reason after all we still use it after two decades but I think things like Duranium Hull and ablative armor matrix on the Valkyries gave them a solid edge too. Course the Peregrine was meant more for a heavy hitter role than the lighter Valkyrie." She finished her float, "It takes all kinds to kick the the bad guys in the gibblies, me I'm just happy if it flies but gotta say the new ones are seriously shiny."

"The new Gryphon's look nice and they fly smooth, but the test of them will come if we ever get in combat," Aurilia said. "Not that I'm looking forward to combat, but that's the only real way to know if they can stand up to them. I heard Jax helped break them in."

Gemma nodded, "Yes he did some, whats the phrase? Right, aggressive negotiation a bit like you with the fly by." She grinned briefly then continued, "Fortunately they backed down, the Old Man would not have been pleased if otherwise." She leaned on her elbows on the bar top, "Simulations work well enough for now, not the real thing mind but I think it'll shake out the cobwebs until we can get some field training exercises going. We could hit the sims sometime if you've a mind too." the bartender came by to see if they wanted more to drink, Gemma shook her head and glanced at Tango.

"That sounds good to me," Aurilia said. "I could use some more shake down time instead of going hot the first time I get in one of the birds. That makes for an unpleasant experience. Yah, the Captain and Rocco might not be happy, but it worked and no shots were fired. You up for a sim later?"

"True that." She replied then thought about it. "Always, lets see Beta shift should be done using the training sims about 1645, figure time to reset. Looking at 1700 unless you wanna hit them another time, its all fine to me." She said, willing to go with the flow.

"Two hours sounds good to me," Aurilia said with a smile. "As far as I know, I haven't been scheduled for anything this evening. I'm going to have to let Luc know, though. He might wonder where I'm at."

Gemma grinned, "Luc? The big guy in medical? Would that be the one you were talking about before?" She gave a sly smile. "Good for you."

"He is good for me," Aurilia said with a shy smile. "I have...had a drinking problem and he took it upon himself to be my white knight. Every time I was ready to fall back, he was there for me. He's a really gentle guy for being so big."

Gemma smiled, genuinely happy for the other pilot, "Sounds like one hell of a wingman." She replied, giving the highest praise she had. At their core wingmen was the closest bond a pilot had after their fighter, this person watched your back and protected you come what may.

"He is," Aurila said. "When the old Black Hawk went down, I circled the planet several times until I was able to locate him in my Peregrine. I thought he was dead." Her voice choked a bit at the end.

Gemma immediately patted the other woman gently on the back briefly, her face sympathetic "There now, that must have been a shock to think you lost someone so dear when you'd only just gotten to know them. Just remind yourself he's here, alive and huggable, savor each moment. The fear fades." Never completely goes away but that's why some combat personnel tended to try to live in the moment, especially pilots. There may not be a tomorrow and well they knew it. She herself tried not to dwell on the chaos and death of that final desperate battle of the old Black Hawk, though sometimes it seeped into her dreams.

Aurilia flinched away from the pat on her back and looked at the other woman. "I know," she said simply. "But you never get used to it. If you do, you die. Fear keeps you alive."

Gemma caught the flinch and leaned back back a bit, giving space, some people weren't touchy she got that. "True enough in its place." She agreed seriously. Then she thought about it for a second, "To be fair also with portions of luck and ability. Bit of a tripod I suppose." she said thoughtfully, leaning on her arms on the bartop.

"Luck has nothing to do with it," Aurilia said. "You survive or you don't survive. I'm a survivor and that's what I'll keep on doing. Others get too cocky out there thinking they're the best. I go out knowing I could die and do everything in my power to ensure that I don't die."

"I have a different experience" She said gently, "Example: pilot sneezes, his hand shifts on the controls and the craft moves just enough to clear a torpedo aimed at it. I've had this happen to a squadron mate. 1991 a pilot, Lt. Gallagher, survives a partial ejection from his craft when he should have died. There are many other reports passed down so I'd say luck plays its role though its the only role you can't plan for. I would agree though because you can't account for it best to focus on what you can do. And aye, arrogance could get you killed. Me? I'm with you, leave no stone unturned or training undone. And as a bonus its an excuse to fly so never bad there."

"I could call most of that fate," Aurilia said simply. "I'm not discounting luck if that's what people want to call it, but everything happens for a reason. If it's not your time to go, it's not your time. I prefer to go in hot, stay hot, and get out as fast as humanly possible. I don't even want them to see me coming and when I leave, there's nothing left.

"Either way." Gemma said after a moment to absorb what Aurilia said, "There's a force we can't account for so we do our best to cut down on what's out of our control by training..." Then she smiled, "And preferred combat styles. I doubt many would argue with 'They can't hit you if they don't see you' style of combat."

Aurilia laughed. "No, they can't," she agreed. "As for the force we can't account for....well, if it's meant for us, we'll either benefit from it or die because of it."

Archer rapped on the bar with her knuckles, "Hear, Hear." She said by way of agreement then had to wave off the bartender with a grin as he came over to see what they wanted because of the bartop rapping. "Either way, all we can do is the best we can and may we live to be old, bold and clever pilots." She lifted her empty mug in a brief salute to Aurilia before putting it back down.

Tango returned the salute with her glass and smiled. "I won't drink to that," she said. "But it makes a hell of a toast. It was nice talking to you, Archer. Maybe we can get together with some of the others one night and have a jam session?"

Alexander returned the smile and gave a brief nod before asking, "I play violin, what do play?" Mostly she preferred classical music of different types but was always willing to learn a new form.

"Huh?" Aurilia asked, apparently thrown off the topic. "Uh, I play drums, but when I say jam session, I was thinking about a bunch of the pilots getting together and BSing. Do you know if anyone else plays instruments on the ship?"

Gemma laughed, "Yeah well that's fun too, I'm always up for that. Jaxer plays the bass, not sure who else has a knack." She said the last sentence after a moment of thought.

"If you find anyone else who plays, let me know," Aurilia said as she paid for her float. "Anyhow, it's time for me to go see Luc. See you later, Archer."

Archer grinned, "Well can't interfere with that, see you in the sims in a few hours but if you need to cancel I totally understand."

With a smile, Aurilia headed out and went to find her guy.

 

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