Lux Aeterna
Lux Aeterna
Summary: Kaye and Xiang have a musical discussion.
Date: 2657.333
Related Logs: Light and Sound

Deck 5 - The Temple

The rest of the 221st - those who aren't asleep, that is - has long since cleared out of the room, dashing up to the hangar deck to welcome back their comrades with the intent of decamping to the bar. Aisling Kaye, unsurprisingly, didn't join them, instead begging off with the one excuse that flies with pilots: the fact that her fighter nearly got shot to pieces not one hour ago. She's sitting alone in her bunk, blank letter paper on her lap, and the faint sounds of something orchestral filter out through the massive headphones she's got around her ears. Red-green flannel pajamas - perfect for the season - make her look even paler than she is.

Xiang hit the showers first off once she was back from their little excursion with the pirates. She's out of it now, dressed down in off-duty sweats, long hair slicked back behind her ears and hanging loose to dry. She steps back into the bunks proper, angling toward her own cubby. Though she pauses as she passes Kaye's. "Aisling? You alright? Your fighter took a good deal of punishment out there."

"Hullo." Kaye's voice is a little louder than usual - she probably can't hear herself through those headphones, which, all too reluctantly, she flicks off with a touch. They're pushed down to rest around her neck as she sits back in her bed, paper crumpling as she sets her music player down on top of her lap. "I brought her home," Mouse continues after a few moments of thought, now at a more proper volume - that is, one that requires Xiang to lean in closer if she wants to hear. "I - I don't know. Better than the other one, I suppose."

Xiang does lean, idling against the wall near Kaye's bunk. "That's as good as one can manage sometimes. Better, that you managed to salvage the fighter." She pauses a beat, then admits, "I'd never lost a ship until patrol a couple nights ago, against the Kilrathi." It's not said with any particular pride. If anything, it's admitted quietly in a vaguely self-critical manner.

Mouse slides down in her bunk, her bandaged left hand trapping the paper against her body as she makes herself more comfortable. Her slight frame is almost entirely swallowed up by her comforter, which she now wraps around her as she turns on one side to face the other pilot. "Was she a nice one?" Kaye ventures after a while - hesitantly, as is her wont.

"She was, yes," Xiang replies, a little abstractedly, as if she hadn't thought of it in quite that context before. "She'd been with the ship for awhile, I think. She looked like she'd been worked over by the mechanics before. But she was a fine Stiletto. Fast acceleration, smooth turns…" She shrugs, abruptly switching subjects. "What are you listening to?"

Kaye looks entranced as the other woman speaks; unconsciously, she's drifting forwards as if she wants to internalize every word. It takes a while for her to realize that the conversation has shifted, and her fair cheeks color as she figures out she's been staring blankly at the deck. "This?" she mumbles, biting down on a bit of hair that's fallen over her face. As if she needed an excuse to stumble over her words. "Oh - oh, it's - " Mouse ducks as she slides the headphones off her neck, offering them - they're cordless - to the other pilot with a shy expression that doesn't quite become a smile.

Xiang takes the headphones, bending down a bit so she's more properly 'in' Kaye's bunk. Though she doesn't sit without an invitation. She puts them on, head tilted to one side as she listens to the beginning strains of the music through them. "That's lovely…I can't even imagine being able to sing like that…What's it called? I'm ashamed to say, my classical music knowledge is rather lacking."

That invitation certainly won't come, though Kaye /does/ loop some more of her comforter underneath her legs - offering a small, clear spot at the foot of her bed should Xiang wish to take it. As Verdict listens, Mouse does her absolute best to avoid looking nervous, though she can't stop herself from pressing down on her paper with a balled fist. "It's part of a Requiem," she explains when prompted, rocking back and forth in time to the beat. "/Lux Aeterna/. It's Latin." And in a hushed voice more suitable for the chapel than a warship, she offers the English translation:

"May everlasting light shine upon them, O Lord,
with your saints forever,
for you are merciful."

"It sounds better when they do it," Kaye says wistfully, placing unused (but now quite wrinkled) paper up on the shelf.

Xiang takes the scooting as an invite. It's rather more comfortable than leaning. Her brow furrows as she listens, as if trying to pick out the words. "Oh, yes, there it is…" She grins ruefully. "Latin sounds prettier when it's sung like this. I learned a bit of it in school. I was on the pre-law track for awhile at university. Legal-speak tends to suck the poetry out of it, however." She keeps her own voice low as well, albeit not as low as Kaye's. Her ears are still half on the music in her head. "Is this the piece you were telling Torch and I about? The one we were going to…colorize?"

"No," says Kaye, who - blushing harder - scoots back further, giving Verdict from more room. "That's - that's another one, with piano and no singing, unless you count the piano as singing, which you might, so - " Mouse pauses to take a breath; run-on sentences tend to do that to her. "Dad wanted to be a lawyer," she says at length. "He couldn't make it."

"Both my parents are lawyers." Xiang leans her head against the wall, settling in, though her posture always has that faint stiffness to it. "My father's a judge back on Earth." She says that with some pride. "My mother…she doesn't practice. I don't think she ever really did, except way back when she was first starting out. She works in politics. Lobbyist. For the defense industry, mostly." She speaks of her mother with less pride, and doesn't dwell on the subject.

"Oh." Kaye blinks as Xiang makes herself at home, pulling her knees up to her chest in an attempt to make herself as small as possible - which, really, isn't so difficult. "Dad worked for defense, too," she offers. "But he was a security guard, so - I don't think he was - I mean, we weren't - " Hazel eyes look around desperately for an out from the hole into which she's fallen, and finding none: "On the same level," she finishes with a rather self-conscious cough. "I wasn't saying we were."

"A security guard is more honest work than a lobbyist," Xiang says, tone soft and decidedly rueful. She steers away from the subject of family, running a finger along the cord of her headphones. "Can I hear it? The piano piece you mentioned, I mean. I've been thinking about what you were both saying. About the colors. I've never listened for that sort of thing at all."

All Aisling has to say she says with a nod, retrieving her music player from where it's fallen (a little nook between her mattress and her wall) before cueing up the song. Her face glows blue in the reflected light of the screen as the iconic solo piano chords of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto ring out in Verdict's head - and her own, so familiar is she with the work. It's the tolling of a bell, perhaps, or the great green roiling of some ancient sea that resolves with three crashing octaves into an explosion of arpeggiated sound.

Xiang nods in thanks as Kaye switches up the music, half-opening her mouth to comment on it. But something in the other woman's expression stops her. So she just sits quietly and listens, dark eyes flitting this way and that as she tries to hear the piece with a studious sort of concentration. At first she tries to tap her fingers in time with it, as one might with a pop tune, but she gives up on that eventually. The pattern of the notes is a bit too intricate for head-bobbing.

Kaye is perfectly fine with listening in silence, sitting as still as she can possibly sit to avoid disturbing Verdict. But as the music continues, the orchestra trading off variations upon its sweeping opening theme with the soloist, a subtle change comes upon her: eyes closed, mouth slightly open, the quiet woman seems transported, shoulders stiffening as the symphony in her head builds up to a tremendous climax before abruptly tapering away. Then, unaccompanied, comes the piano in blue-grey e-flat, its delicate yearning melody causing an imperceptible "Oh!" of rapture to escape from her lips as she relaxes into her pillow. And Mouse doesn’t even have headphones on.

Xiang finds herself watching Kaye as much, or more, than listening to the recording as it plays. Eyes widening a touch at her reaction to the music in her head. She does seem to react in perfect time with it. She clears her throat softly as the piece winds to an end. As if reluctant to startle Kaye out of her reverie. "That's remarkable. To memorize something so intricate, I mean." She's sitting in Kaye's bunk, pair of headphones on, and the two seem involved in some sort of musical conversation.

"I had to," says Kaye, who speaks only when she can't stand the ensuing silence any longer. There's a strange note in her voice as she rocks forward to place her chin on top of her knees, the hem of her pajamas riding up her midriff before she pulls the fabric back down with her bandaged left hand. Regret, maybe, or sadness, or solemn remembrance, or some combination of the above. "Did you like it?" she wonders after another awkward pause.

Having grabbed a shower right after the mission, Kell decided to delay his sleep by visiting the Mess Hall for some grub. After eating just enough so he is no longer hungry, the young rookie returns to the 221st's Barracks and heads towards his bunk. On the way, he spots the two women on a bunk, sharing music it seems and gives them a nod but doesn't say anything to interrupt.

"Yes. It's lovely. Though I think I'll have to listen to it a few more times to properly get it. It sounds quite complex." In a good way, from her tone. "You can play this, then? I never even managed a proper scale on the violin without screeching." Xiang showered after returning to the ship from their adventure with the pirates, and is currently dressed down in off-duty sweats, still-wet hair loose and tucked behind her ears. She spots Draygo as he passes, returning his nod and offering him a faint smile as he reenters the bunks.

Mouse nods - in greeting to the other pilot, and once more in response to Xiang's question. "I'm sure you could have been good," she offers, not looking anywhere near Verdict's general direction. Slender finger turns off her music player before setting it down on the shelf on top of the paper. "I could teach you some songs if you wanted, but we don't have a piano and I don't think you'd want to, anyway." Kaye peers up Xiang for an instant and a half before breaking eye contact again. "I'm not a very good teacher."

Listening with half a ear, Kell reaches his bunk and reaches in to grab his sleeping gear which amounts to basically a pair of shorts. He begins to remove the blouse of his uniform, undoing the buttons before pulling it off, leaving a white t-shirt on. He then works the buckles of his belt to his uniform trousers before undoing them. The young rookie seems to have no qualms undress to his t-shirt and boxers in the barracks when others are around, probably having done the same at the Academy when he had to share bunks with his classmates.

Kell does offer an idle observation, glancing briefly over his shoulders to the two, mainly at Kaye, "Sometimes the best players aren't good teachers, and vice versa, the best teachers aren't the best players either."

"I think I'm better off listening than playing," Xiang says ruefully. "I was a horrid music student. I do want to see the results of…whatever technical color scheme Alex manages to work this into, though. I can at least help you…transcribe it. In terms of the colors and so forth. I think I should listen to it a few more times, however. Absorb it a bit." She tilts her head outward at Draygo. "Do you play anything, Kell? My mother tried to force me into violin lessons when I was a girl, but I was quite terrible."

Kicking off his boots and then the uniform pants, Kell tosses his on-duty garb onto his bunk before putting on his sleeping shorts, taking his time to do so and finishing this task first instead of answering right away. He isn't sure how the two reacts to a guy changing nearby, even though he doesn't think much of it, but he has enough tact to not tarry. Finally, he turns around to sits on the edge of his bunk, grinning at Xiang, "Sorry Verdict, I'm am musically inept. I played football in the Academy and grade school, not a delicate instrument… though, guitars and their bands always looked intriguing."

Kaye, on the other hand, has serious qualms about watching. At the first hint of skin, she's averting her eyes, and when the Man Who Is Getting Naked actually /speaks/, she turns her back entirely. That may or may not be a whimper. "You can borrow my player if you want," she mumbles, holding it out in her hand somewhere in Jia's general direction. "I - I really don't think I need it." The other woman receives another shy, fluttering smile before Aisling settles into her pillow. "I'm happy you came back," she says - hardly a whisper at all, and then she's overwhelmed by sleep before she can say anything else.

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