Summary: Xiang and Aquilina bump into each other in the Observation Lounge. Locke wreaks some revenge.
Date: 2657.314
Related Logs: Strange Faces

Observation Lounge

It's getting on later into what amounts to the 'evening.' If such a thing exists on a space ship. There's a crewmember here and there but the lounge is sparsely populated tonight. Xiang is one of its occupants, though. She's seated in one of the leather chairs, a heavy and technical-looking book open in her lap, skimming over the pages and occasionally sipping at a cup of coffee. Her hair is down, which is about as 'casual dress' as she seems to get.

Circadian rhythms be damned. There is evening if one declares it, and apparently Alex is in the same mode, carrying something small and wrapped in clear plastic in the crook of his arm as he heads onto the observation deck. Along with some kind of book, though it's a thin one and very bendy. And a mug. This takes up the total of his armpower, especially as the mug appears to be steaming.

Xiang's attention on her book doesn't seem that deep. Her eyes flit up to the window on occasion, a slim frown on her face. While her glance is upturned, Aquilina is spotted. "Alex." He receives a slight smile and nod of her head in recognition.

"Jia." Alex dumps down everything he was carrying onto a table. Including the mug, which sloshes hot water over the rim and dots the faux wood with droplets. "Too loud in the bunks, or just couldn't stand the smell?"

"I've gotten used to the smell," Xiang replies with a trace of dry humor. She takes a drink of her coffee before replying to the actual question. "Too loud? I suppose that's it. I need a break from my bunkmates now and then." She adds quickly, realizing how that may sound, "No offense meant. I just mean it's not much on quiet. And I do enjoy the view here." Dark eyes rove back to the expanse of space outside.

Aquilina pulls a little white square out of his front shirt pocket, tearing the top off. A teabag, the string of which he uncoils before dunking it into the hot water. "The view /is/ better here than in berthings most of the time, I'd agree. Just don't say that in front of the squadron. You know how fragile egos are."

"Delicate creatures, fighter pilots," Xiang replies with a slight chuckle. The tea bag is eyed with some interest. "That's a better idea than mine. Coffee keeps me alert, but I haven't learned to love the stuff." She pauses a moment, regarding him, before asking, "Are you all right? With the patrol the other day and all." And the ball of fire his ship narrowly avoided turning into.

"I can't stand coffee. It makes my skin crawl." Alex licks his thumb as it ends up in tea water, then rubs his hands together like someone preparing to feast on the finest beef, looking back over at her. "Yesterday? Oh yes, I'm fine. I can't say the same about my controls or how healthy I will be after deck tracks me down, but I'm quite alright. What about you? They did have it out for you near the end, there."

<FS3> Locke rolls Stealth: Good Success.

Slipping into the dark room quietly, the Spook enters, sticking to the shadows of the dimmly lit room.

"It's an acquired taste," Xiang says. Though, from the nursing speed of her sipping, she hasn't acquired a deep affection for it. "It got me through some all-nighters at university, at least. Coffee is utlitarian. Tea is a pleasure. And it's hard to find really good tea aboard ship." She nods at his answer, then shrugs at the question. "Fine. My hull took a beating, and I don't think I've made any friends among the greasemonkeys for the state I brought the ship back in, but it looked worse than it was. I was lucky, I think." She's sitting in one of the chairs, talking with Aquilina. Otherwise the lounge is sparsely populated tonight. Locke's entrance is not noted by her, stealthy bloke that he is.

"The average cup of well-brewed tea is comparable in caffeine to the average cup of coffee," Alex points out, raising an index finger. "Coffee is simply masochism in a cup." He hasn't noticed Locke either, sneaky bastard that the intel officer is. The mild humour dissipates as the conversation roots more strongly in the events of last night. "Well, good. Someone had mentioned you might have been injured. I wasn't sure."

Sticking in the shadows he takes the room into view, spotting Aquilina…he grins…he decides to give him hopefully the scare of a lifetime. He comes up behind Aquilina and proceeds to say in Kilrathi, "Ah ha! I told you I would be seeing you again." as he places his left hand on his shoulder. But does he scare Aquilina? Only one way to find out!

"Everything's attached," Xiang says with a slight grin, holding up her fingers. As if to demonstrate she's still in possession of all her digits. The attempt at a joke is short-lived, though. Her underlying manner is serious. She seems about to say more. But then the spook attempts to spook Aquilina. She still doesn't notice Locke until he speaks, but she wasn't the target of his spooking, so she just blinks in surprised.

Aquilina had tea in hand. A nice, big cup of steaming tea, which in an instant is no longer 'big'. But it is still steaming, and with … "Fucking wanker!"…interjected into the split second as he literally jumps about two feet up and away from the chair, a good bit of it splashes all over him. And probably Locke too. That's /really/ hot.

With his scared faced stretching he grins, and in his usual kilrathi accent voice, he repeats what he said, though only in english, "Ah ha! I told you I'd be seeing you again." The grin on Locke's face doesn't betray that he was splashed with hot tea, quite the opposite, his grin gets bigger…in fact, one would wonder if he had any nerve endings left in his body after his enslavement. "Sit down, you look like you just deficated yourself." with that he gives a slight chuckle.

Xiang is almost more startled by Aquilina's reaction than Locke's sudden appearance. She intakes a breath sharply, jolting back in her chair. Her coffee, fortunately, is sitting safely on the table and out of her hands. The beauty of drink apathy. "Wang ba…!" she gasps. She clears her throat, regaining her composure. "Ahem. Lieutenant Commander Locke. Um. Hello." It's the only response she can really come up with. She winces as Aquilina's spilled, hot, tea. "You quite all right, Alex?"

"Fine, Jia." Alex looks down at his soaking wet (steaming) shirt, picking at the dampness with his fingertips, then gives Locke a cranky look. "Fucking with a man's teatime. You desperately need a hobby, sir." The cup's set down, near empty as it is. "And I need a towel. That was rather exciting."

Locke still grinning, he walk around and says, "Good evening Lieutenant. "Looking to Xiang," and then looking at the other Lieutenant, "Perhaps this will help." outof no where he pulls a small towel out of no where and tosses it to Aquilina. "And how are you to fine officers of the Terran Confederation doing this evening?"

"A bit startled, sir, if you don't mind my saying so," Xiang replies to Locke. She reaches into her own pockets, perhaps in search of a handkerchief, but Locke's towel looks handier than whatever she's packing. "I'm well enough otherwise."

"I am a little wet, thanks," Aquilina eyes the towel as Locke produces it, and smirks as he takes it. "Is your name Katayev or Ford Prefect? I am not sure I dare ask why you're really going round carrying a towel."

Leaning in close to Aquilina, "If i told you I'd have to kill you…" with all seriousness returning to his face as he says it. "Or you can think that i'm just psychic. Doesn't matter to me." as he says that last sentence, he turns to look at Xiang and winks as in, he's really joking…or is he?

Xiang's lips curve upward into a slight smirk, which she exchanges with Aquilina and Locke both. "Perhaps he does this often," she suggests dryly. "And how are you, sir? I hope there's nothing suspect lurking in the dark corners of the lounge." It's half a joke. Half not. With the intel officer about, one can't be sure.

Aquilina just snorts, going about drying his shirt off. He glances up and at the PA box from under his brows as someone goes on about…pie. "Right, then. Your department up there, sir? The pride must be staggering." He smirks at Locke and waves out the towel and drapes it over the back of his chair, mopping the bit of tea that sprayed there too. It got all over.

Shrugging off Aquilina's comment he sits down in a chair with out being asked, "Perhaps, you can show me how to jump that high…that extra height might come in handy." Locke noticed the pie announcement…its all going according to plan with the commander. "You know, I hear someone on this ship makes a pretty good fudge pie with ice cream…in fact he serves it warm with a scope of vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate syrup and chocolate flakes." he looks to the two pilots, "Doesn't that sound good, no?"

Xiang also looks all of puzzlement at the chatter over the comm. "Pie?" It's murmured more to herself than anyone else. Not so much a question to them as to the universe in general for clarity. Which does not appear to be forthcoming. Ahem. "Indeed it does, sir." Xiang can't help but agree to approval of chocolate pie. "I must admit I haven't had occasion to try it myself yet."

Aquilina is about to say something about the jumping, perhaps, but the conversation staying on the pie has him giving both of them a wary look. He picks up his mug, glancing into the tea left at the bottom - not much, and settles in to drink it anyhow. "Sounds lovely," he replies, in that manner of someone who hasn't the slightest idea. "And as though someone passed Bribery 201 at uni."

Locke nodding his head in approval, "Perhaps…if I went to a university…but where I came from, there was not a university for a mere human to attend." Thinking about his pies again, he goes, "I do like pie."

"I skipped that one, I think. Sophomore year was enough of a bitch without extra electives," Xiang quips in reply to Aquilina. Though she looks somewhat abashed about her uni joking when she hears Locke's reply. No more collegiate jokes from her. Ahem. "The cooks on this ship do seem quite competent. Much better than my last posting. I swear, some of what was served on that station made me long for gruel."

Aquilina doesn't look the least bit abashed. But then again he doesn't exactly have a face well-suited for the expression. "I can't complain. What was the story about Aphrodite's son?" He sips his tea, resting one elbow up on the back of his chair. "They were sitting under the branches of a tall tree Aeneas, Ascanius, and the rest of his band. Serving food on loaves of bread. Then " The stiletto pilot quotes from memory. "When the poor fare drove them to set their teeth into the thin discs, the rest being eaten, and to break the fateful circles of bread boldly with hands and jaws, not sparing the quartered cakes, Iulus, jokingly, said no more than: Ha! Are we eating the tables too?"

Xiang tilts her head as she listens to Aquilina's digression into mythology. Her brows arch. That's a surprise. Not an unpleasant one, though, judging by her expression. "A devotee of the ancient Greeks, Lieutenant Aquilina?"

Aquilina scared off Locke with that one. Or the man just had pie to get back to, who knows. "An elective, I guess you could say," his clipped accent replies, and with a slight smirk pulling at one corner of his mouth. "Are you a fan of it?"

Xiang shrugs. "It's familiar. I /did/ take that class at uni. Greek and Roman Mythology, that is. It helped make the Latin a bit less dry. I must admit I was never very partial to it. Zeus spent a bit too much time turning into animals and buggering mortal women for me to take him seriously as the mythological lord of the universe. I'll put my money on Nuwa over him any day."

"Zeus is one of the duller of the pantheon, I must say," Aquilina replies, shaking his head. "But I do have to hand it to the Greeks, they made deities with flaws who could be just as much of a prat as the next man."

"Maybe, but some of them aren't particularly respectable," Xiang replies primly. "Still. It wasn't dull. I'll give them that. So, you're a scholar of mythology who somehow ended up in the Space Force?"

"If only a man could be a scholar paucis verbis," Alex says, drily. He finishes off his tea, pushing the cup aside. "I'm a lowly chemical engineer. And what about you? Obviously you read, that's a step up from most."

"Not so few words as that, I suspect," Xiang replies. And, very dry herself, she answers, "I was pre-law for a couple of semesters. Before I decided that wasn't the direction I wanted my life to go. The credits transferred easily enough into political science, though. That's what I ended up getting my degree in. That seemed *slightly* more applicable to the military." A shrug. "Slightly."

"Political science," Alex says, in a way that makes it hard to discern his actual opinion of the discipline. "And yet you're out flying stilettos rather than waging war from a desk?"

"Officer Candidate School wanted a BA in something, and I'd had enough of Zeus and his minions," Xiang replies. "I didn't want to be behind a desk. Our society, our lives, everything we are is under threat by the Kilrathi, and I wanted to do my part to stand against it. I met far too many people growing up who were all too willing to talk about supporting the war effort, but they weren't putting their own lives on the line to do it." She pauses a beat, shrugging. "I qualified for flight training and…here I am."

"Ah, you're one of those types?" Alex says, a corner of his mouth curling in a brief grin that shows teeth. "Turn up your nose at the poor bastard who makes sure you've got clean socks every day?"

Xiang's eyes widen a touch at that. Show of mild surprise. They then narrow, chin arching a notch. Mild offense. "Not quite. But take it however you like." She sniffs, providing no explanation. "What about you, then? How did you end up in this line?"

Aquilina looks rather satisfied at having gotten a rise out of the reserved young woman, if the added quirk to his grin indeed means that. There's a ghost of it left even once it's mostly faded back into seriousness. "My father served the effort. Contractor, granted, but I never expected to stray. Nor did I want to." He glances at his mug as though hoping one look at it would summon more tea. Failing that, he lifts his chin again and glances at the ceiling. "He would talk a great deal about remembering times when there was no war, and I always thought how strange that must be."

Xiang's eyes do some more narrowing at Aquilina and his grin. She a sniffy "Hrmph" sound. But her chin-dearches, composure assumed again. And she is interested in his answer. "I can't even imagine a time before the war," she says, tone abstracted, as if she's trying to picture it.

"Suppose it doesn't matter so much as whether you can imagine a time after it." Aquilina stands up as he says that, picking once more at his damp, damp shirt. "Shit. Really ought to not walk round looking like I tried to learn to breastfeed." He snags his cup, and that plastic-wrapped thing he'd walked in with. A sandwich, from the look of it. "Have patrol tonight, do you?"

"I'm due to go out on third-shift," Xiang confirms. "In a different Stiletto, most likely, unless the technicians have worked miracles on my bird from the last outing. You?"

"Negativ. Went earlier, free and clear." Alex looks unabashedly happy about this. "Say hello to Pickett when you see him. He got knocked about a fair bit. And take care of yourself, hear?"

"I'll do my best," Xiang says. Third shift isn't that far off, so she stands. Time to prep for that. One third of her coffee is left, but it's long gone cold. Which makes it even less appealing. She wrinkles her nose and picks up her cup. That'll be dumped somewhere, most likely. "Major Pickett wasn't injured, was he?"

"No, just banged about." Alex shakes his head, pausing to light a cigarette before collecting his book too. "He's fine." He lifts his empty cup in farewell. "Enjoy patrol. I've an extra teabag or five if you ever get rid of that filthy habit." He nods to her coffee cup, as the cigarette gouts smoke up around his head. "Ciao."

"I may take you up on that. The tea, that is." Xiang moves out of the vicinity of the smoke. "Later, then, Alex." And off she goes.

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