The Political Science of Fries
The Political Science of Fries
Summary: Pilots and Commodore drink, talk ambushes, and draw the DMZ over a plate of fries.
Date: 2657.332 (28 November)
Related Logs: None

First and Last

Earlier in the evening Marko is sitting alone at a table in FAL. There's half a plate of fries and a partially eaten burger on the plate in front of her. A glass of something cold and clear is currently getting a sip while she ignores a thin, open book on the table next to her.

The order of Alex's impending presence at Markovic's table are thus: The smell of cigarette smoke, the smell of whiskey, the sound of a chair being pulled, and the thump as he sits backwards on it. In one hand, a thick paperback book with a tasseled bookmark about 3/4ths of the way through. In the other hand, a mug of something hot. In his mouth, a smoke. "Fee fi fo fum. I smell the the blood of a Ser-bee-…um."

Xiang makes her way into the First and Last and proceeds directly to the bar. The ordering of drinks must be done. She's also carted along some reading material. Something vaguely flight-related in her case, judging by the workish look of the thing. A gin and tonic is ordered. It's only after she gets that done that she starts paying attention to the others in the bar. Markovic and Aquilina are spotted, but not approached just yet. She has to claim her drink first.

Dejana doesn't seem to pay much notice until the smell of cigarettes hits her. She stops mid-sip and peers over the glass at him. A smile appears and the glass goes back to the table with his remark. "Nice. Original, too. Which is, as always, refreshing. Doing some light reading, Alexei?" She looks past him to Jia and lifts a hand, waving her over.

"Obviously not poetry." Alex puts the book facedown on the table and plucks the cigarette out of his mouth, crossing his arms on the back of the chair. Smoke's exhaled, drink sipped. It's steaming, probably some manner of tea mixed with the whiskey. "You?" His pale eyes turn as Dejana waves at someone, and he lifts his chin to Xiang.

Xiang notes the wave and returns it in kind, adding an inclination of her head to the Markovic-Aquilina table. Taking that as an invitation, she heads there way once she's supplied with her gin and tonic. "Dejana. They're letting you roam the ship now?" Said with a grin. Good to see the captain up and about. "Alex." His book is eyed with a mild measure of curiosity.

Cap'n Serbo pops a ketchup-coated fry into her mouth and closes the book over a thumb and holds it up while she chews. "'Modern Warfare.' Written by a twentieth century French special operations Colonel named Trinquier. It is about post-colonial war and how to fight insurgencies. Fascinating if totally impractical these days. Some interesting and moderately offensive reccomendations." She passes a stupid grin and sets it back down, opened back to her page. Dejana takes pride in pissing herself off. She probably has arguments with 500-year old dead men in her head. But her eyes linger over his book until Jia arrives. "Not really. I just decided that sitting around on my boot was not the best plan. How have you been, Jia?" She smile brightens as she talks, obviously pleased to see the Lieutenant.

"The torture-lover? That one?" Alex asks, while unceremoniously stealing one of Markovic's french fries. It's popped into his mouth in a rather prim sort of way, getting none of the ketchup on his lips or hands, and a bit of salt is licked off his thumb. Then it's back to his tea and booze, with a pinky pointed at a chair meant for Xiang.

Xiang pulls out the pinky-indicated chair and sinks down into it. Legs crossed, glass set on a napkin on the table. Her own book is an old copy of a tactical flight manual. It's set aside for the moment, though. "Trinquier? I don't believe I've heard of him," she admits, passing a look between Markovic and Aquilina. To Mark's question she replies with a faint smile, "I've been well. And how are you?"

"Aye." Dejana dips her head. "That would be the one. I am unsure how I feel about it but apparently he was very effective with these techniques." She shrugs her shoulders and narrows her eyes at Alex as he chews, doing her best to look mock-menacing. She takes up another few fries, not so careful about her ketchup, and puts them away. "What -are- you reading, anyway, Alex?" She quirks a brow at him before looking to Xiang. "As well as can be expected. I have some good painkillers and mostly it is just the stiffness that needs to be recovered from. The gym is my bane and blessing."

Aquilina turns the book over so the title's visible: 'Cien años de soledad ' - Gabriel García Márquez. He puts the cigarette back into his mouth, cherry flaring a soft orange as he takes a drag from it. The menacing look? Soon as Mark looks away he's back in her food, stealing another fry. "Gave you a good physical therapist, I hope? Hard to find a balance with them. Either got axes the size of the ship to grind or they're bleeding hearts who cry when /you're/ in pain."

Xiang smirks a little at the food-stealing, hiding the expression behind her drink. Her eyes linger on the cover of Aquilina's book a moment. Studying the characters. Then back up to Markovic. "That's good, Dejana. Well, better than it could be, I suppose. I'm glad to hear you're recovering. You're certainly missed out on the flight-line."

The Captain looks to the book and tilts her head. "My spanish is awful. You will have to educate me on what that is." She lifts a fry and gestures to the book with it before popping it back. "No therapist. I have been wounded more than once and nearly as seriously the last time. The incident I mentioned to you last night about my CAG on the Bunker Hill." She dismisses the idea in her head and looks to Xiang. Marko needs nobody to tell her how to heal!! "Please, help yourself to the fries, Jia. But hands off the cheeseburger for it has a scheduled demolition." She winks to the other woman. "Thank you though. I have seriously missed yourself and Alex, here. Not to mention the flying. Never fear, I intend to go out and get shot at again with the rest of you!" She waves a fry into the air as if to make the point even more. Some ketchup finds itself airborne and heading for the floor - which is ignored. Sloppy eater.

"No shortage of that," Alex says, with regards to getting shot. "They've gotten more aggressive just in the last two weeks than I remember for several months. Eager for an arse-kicking, have to hand it to them, eh?" The fry's dispatched while Mark's looking at Xiang and he mouths theatrically to the Asian woman, pointing at her with his fingertip and then himself. 'Forty-sixty split'. A dramatic nod to Mark's plate, then his expression drops right back to normal like a switch being hit. "One Hundred Years of Solitude." The book cover, apparently.

Xiang grins and takes a fry, once she's invited to pinch them. She nibbles hers sans ketchup. "I'm ashamed to admit, I haven't read much classical fiction since I left university," she says with a nod toward Aquilina's book. "I don't think I ever got around to that one at all." She winces, and nods in agreement, at his words about the Kilrathi. "I've never seen them like this. Though I can't speak from much experience. My last posting was at Luna Base. Earth-sector defense. A much less…offensive ballgame, to say the least."

"Not anymore than that motherfucker Kessel has coming to him." Its said primly and ladylike, even holding a little smile with the words. "But when you have time, would you mind giving me a rundown on what they have stepped-up on?" The book gets a curious glance. "Sounds interesting. I think I had been told to read it once or twice back in uni." To Xia: "I will take your words for it. Trusting your Lieutenants to their words, and all. But I will be interested. Would you mind if I poked around your gun camera footage? I do not want to be rude and intrusive."

Aquilina shrugs at the talk of the book. His mind's going elsewhere now. "That ambush," he says, after tapping his cigarette into the ashtray. "I've been studying the hell out of it since we got back. They're never pulled one quite like that before, and they did nearly the same shit on Pip this last time out on the recon."

"Certainly," Xiang says with hesitation to Markovic, at her request for footage-review. "Though I wasn't on either mission Alex is referring to. Those would probably be more illuminating. I wouldn't mind taking a look at them myself, actually." A look to Aquilina. "Just to see what I'm getting myself in to, if the Kilrathi really are launching new tactics at us." Another fry is swiped, and washed down with a sip of gin.

Marko picks up the burger's remnants and takes a bite as the two talk about the Kilrathi. She listens while she looks at what she's just taken a bite out of, eyeing the contents absently until she finishes. "You think they have taken to baiting us with easy targets, though? It makes sense but I must admit I have not seen that or heard of it before, either." She settles back in her chair and lifts the glass. "So Lieutenants, what does that mean and how can we exploit it?" she asks with a hint of challenge.

"Not the bait, but the attack itself. Running in Sarthas while our backs are turned." Alex says, glancing at Xiang and then back at Marko. "Sneakier than before; last time I got jumped like that they did it with fatter capital ships with an itchy trigger finger. Saw them coming five minutes away. This time they let us get going, started our boats leaking before they brought the tidal wave of little buggers in." He explains all that, then yanks another fry. "Got to stop bringing our attack eggs in one basket."

Xiang purses her lips, toying with a fry she's holding between her fingertips. She tries to twirl it as if it were a pencil. Which just gets her fingers greasy. She eats it before replying to any of that, mulling it in her head. "How do you mean, Alex?" She tilts her head slightly, listening to him.

"Well in a sense, Alexei, the bait is the attack. They are forcing us to the decisive defensive by aggressively defending your intended target, yes? In this way they can nibble at and suppress our attackers before bringing in their hitters - at least that is how I see it." Marko takes a sip of the glass and spiders her fingers on the brim as she sets it on the arm of the chair. Her eyes flick to Jia then back to Aquilina. "Follow the thought, Mister Aquilina. How would you solve this problem?"

Aquilina shakes his head at Markovic, then divides his attention between her and Xiang as he talks. "They weren't defending the target. That's my point, it was never about the Dorkir. They just let us take fire until we were limping, then brought in the wave. /Sarthas/, not heavy-hitters. They were counting on numbers and speed, not brute force strength. The Marciano destroyed them when it finally got there. It wasn't intended to be an extended fight for them." He lifts his chin, scratching at his jawline. Slight five o clock shadow going on there. "Same thing with Pip, they brought in a shitload of Sarthas, zipped them in under the radar. We need to not put ourselves in positions were the entire outbound force can be surrounded. Bait the baiters. See who's the…" He smirks. "Master-baiter, so to speak."

Xiang sniffs softly, lips pursing. The faint crinkling around her eyes the only sign of amusement she allows herself to show for that. Master-baiter indeed. "Weakening us, then pouncing. Cats." She picks up her glass, idly swirling the liquid inside before sipping at it. "You're on to something, I think. Put them in a position where we're luring *them*, instead of the other way around."

Markovic nods, laughing at the end while she sets her drink down. Don't want to spill that. "Awful, Torch. Just awful. But what you are saying is the same as what I am saying. The 'heavy hitters' is just my term for the attacking force meant to wipe out their target quickly. And yes, that is what I was hoping to hear from you. Possibly send in a small force on the next bait attempt by them. Meanwhile we hold a large strike force in reserve to overwhelm the kitties." The glass is lifted towards Alex and a sip taken. She nods to Jia, then. "Exactly. Allow the enemy to think they have won the surprise. When another twenty Stils show up, the psychological victory is already won."

"Fucking cats." Alex punctuates that with a good swallow of doctored tea. He pulls the last small drag from his cigarette and exhales as he mashes it out. "And how do we determine what's a bait attempt and what isn't, Dejana. We can't send out a large force on every strike run." Can they?

"Indeed." Xiang doesn't swear herself, but that's added as a general sort of approval for Aquilina's profanity toward the cats. A small nod to that last as well. "Not without exhausting our own forces eventually, I would think. We can't keep everyone in the stars for every patrol. But perhaps if we hit them hard enough a few times, they'll be forced to change their tactics. I wish we knew if they had some specific goal in mind. Or were just baiting us to try and wear us down."

The Serb is thoughtful for a few quiet moments as she looks to the cheeseburger as if trying to devine its wisdom. Then she looks to the fries. She tilts her head and looks back to the pair. "Recon in force?" the Captain offers lightly. "Think of this cheeseburger as a tempting target for a bunch of roaming packs of hungry enlisted." She lifts the burger above the plate to chest level. "Here it is minding its own business. But then a squad of Marines walks by and notices the greasy patty floating here all fat and happy, yes?" She waggles the burger temptingly. "They go fangs out and roll in hot because they see a tempting target. But they don't count on these french fries down here out of sight because they are too focused on the burger. Just as the burger returns fire the fries get ornry and begin hitting the Marines. Now-" she tilts the burger at each of them in turn "-what if those Marines walked right on by at the edge of vision and ignored the burger. They continued on and called for some of their own Alert 30 friends to come out and take down the french fries while the Marines tackled the burger? See where I am going with this?"

"That you're trying to destroy my girlish figure?" Alex asks, blandly, as he feels the need to grab a few more fries by the time she's done. He bites off about half of the grouping, chewing with his mouth shut before he replies. "In other words, 'be more prepared'. It's as Jia says, we'll exhaust ourselves pulling this on every strike target we see. But perhaps if they saw that we were onto them. Like Alinsky said: 'Always remember the first rule of power tactics; power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.'"

Dante arrives from the Crew Services.
Dante has arrived.

Xiang is sitting at a table with Markovic and Aquilina. Markovic has a burger and fries, and the other two pilots are sharing in those fries quite freely. Xiang nibbles on one herself, chasing it with a sip of clear liquid from her glass. A little nod to Aquilina. They seem in serious conversation, despite the food, drink and off-duty area. "I suppose it's just a matter of making them think we have that power without stretching ourselves too thin for too long."

Dejana smirks. "If it were so easy to destroy your figure I would have set upon this path of Tactical Cheeseburger many moons ago." She waggles the bruger at him once more before taking another bite. Taking her time chewing, she thinks over the rest. "Aye," she finally says in agreement. "I heard it in more layman's terms as 'Power perceived is power achieved' but that is a very good observation." She sets down the last bite of burger for the time being. "But we do not need to physically put birds in the air. All we must do is keep a set group of fighters on Alert 30 or 15. No need to have pilots sit in cockpits, just be ready to go. They can sit here on the Majestic and scramble when a target is sighted." She picks up another ketchup-coated fry and waggles it at Xiang. "Da. And if we wanted to really get nasty would could have something like an encrypted transponder on each CAP. When someone calls tally, a few capitals could jump in and have a field day."

Aquilina is sitting backwards on his chair. A stubbed cigarette is in the ashtray by him, and he's got a mug of something in hand. All three at the table have books, set about one way or another on the tabletop. He gives Dejana a smirked grin. "'More layman' than Alinsky? The irony's killing me, Dejana." He takes a swallow from the mug and nods to both women. "I see what you're saying."

Xiang has finished her drink and she forgoes any more fry-swiping. She wipes her hands with a napkin then folds her fingers together, propping her folded hands on the table as she listens to Markovic. Looking the attentive student as she takes all of that in. A slight grin crosses her lips at the prospect of capital ships leaping down on unsuspecting Kilrathi. "We should run this by Archangel and Hammer, I think. Perhaps Colonel Valentine as well, if we can get a moment with him."

Dante takes just a step into the First and Last, at first. That seems to be all the guy is really looking for, to see his face. His eyes go from table to table, stool to stool, and face to face. He smiles a bit to himself and then he finally takes a few more steps inside, followed by another few more, and then he walks up to the bar and speaks to the bartender. A person paying attention to him might observe him peering his ear towards the sound of Markovic's voice. It gets his attention and then there's a Dante walking directly towards the pilots with a shot of scotch in his hand. On the rocks, twist of lemon. "Vicious and stubborn."

The Captain, in sweats and a ratty grey t-shirt with the nearly washed away print of 'TCS Rueben James' in the left breast, shrugs to Aquilina. "Well I think the way I heard it is a touch more approachable to someone who was only learning English at the time." She winks to the man and looks to Xiang. "Well Jia? Then perhaps you and your friend Torch here should write it up? The three of us can go present it and I will simply be there to help explain if need-be. We can take it to Pickett." She nods a few times and notices the ship's CO approach. The woman is up out of her chair a little carefully before she nods to him. "Yes they are, sir. I just wish we had more pilots like them." She smirks at the edge of her expression, indicating Xiang and Aquilina.

Aquilina has his face back in the tea mug, making a soft but pointed belch at the end of Markovic's words that was probably on purpose. Putting the mug down, he folds his arms on the chair back that's in front of him. "Right, then. Operation Pussywhip starts tonight." A glance up at Dante and a salute with two fingers at his temple. "Sir."

"Alex has the tactical idea of it, not me," Xiang says quickly. Brows arch at Aquilina's title for the operation. She clears her throat. "Colorful." Markovic calls her attention to Dante. Her posture instinctively straightens, and a quick touch to her brow at the sight of the commander. Mini-salute for the off-duty area. "Commodore, sir."

Dante waves his hand in a completely dismissive fashion, mostly at Xiang, but a bit at Markovic as well, as though he finds the miniature salutes and standing to be a nuisance. He's sort of amused as well. His voice is a tenor twang of southern discomfort, "Yeegh, stop that. If you can't blow everything off in the bar, where you gonna do it, anyway?" He drags a chair over from the next table and essentially invites himself right down. And then he reaches for one of Markovic's french fries, "May I, Captain?" It's not like he's waiting for a response, though. "Heard you guys talkin'. Reckon you got more opinions than a bug's got eyes."

Dejana clears her throat. "Sorry, sir. Used to inflated egos around the O Club back on Earth." She eyeshifts and retakes her seat, gesturing to the plate with a wave of her hand. "Help yourself, Commodore. But if you touch the rest of that cheeseburger there might be more than opinions," she ventures with a chuckle. "But somewhat, sir. We were discussing the merits of changing attack patterns against the Kilrathi. ..Using their own baiting against them and making them bleed when the TCSF and Navy bushwhack the shit out of them." She reaches for the last of her burger. Nomnom.

"Fucking hell, that messes everything up," Alex says emphatically, when Dante goes for a french fry. "I didn't hear a Triple Entente proposal, you know. You get part of France's cut now; suck it, Russia." With that he's reaching for fries too, apparently self-designated the UK. Poor Markovic. "We were looking at that ambush a couple days ago."

"Force of habit, sir," Xiang says with a small inclination of her head at Dante. Her arm is lowered, hands folded back on the table. Brows are lofted at Aquilina. "Am I France, then?" She sounds unsure exactly how to feel about this. But she doesn't dwell too long on that, nodding to that last. "Yes, sir. The Kilrathi seem to be developing a love for baiting tactics."

"They're pressing a logistical advantage," suggests Dante while reaching across europe for another potato stick. "Caught us with our pants down at New Constantinople and then they kicked us in the balls. Losing Perry was a logistical disaster for the sector. Might should be playing it the way they are. Reckon y'all saw something when you looked?" asks the Commodore with curiosity.

"Call me Russian again and you will see more of my Rugby skills, child." Its a good-natured threat, but probably not empty. Dejana chomps off a small bite of the burger and points a finger at the plate. "Besides, I think 'Austro-Hungarian' might be more accurate on multiple accounts - which is disheartening to say the least." Her brow furrows, expression contorting in something akin to frustration. A glance to the bar gives the idea that she may be thinking of ordering more. "Well the way I have been taught is that you never play to the enemy's tactics by either imitation or unintentional consent. There is usually a proportional relationship between the perceived gains of playing to them and the actual potential for loss." She doesn't comment on having seen anything. Her attention falls back to the plate and she chomps down on the rest of the burger and goes about chewing it happily in silence.

"Mais oui," Alex makes a motion like spinning a moustache as he looks at Xiang, then snorts at Markovic, jabbing a finger at Dante. "He's Russia. You can be Germany, if you're cordiale." Get it? Another fry stolen, slight smirk. He has to take a second to unravel what Dante's saying, the accent thickening the English as it goes through his head. "Not talking about imitation so much as Subversion-Containment, if you will. I was telling Markovic and Xiang here that the kittens seem to have switched tactics, where ambushes are concerned. Instead of banging the drum full force and bringing in their fat capitals to a knife fight, they lured us, blew holes in us, then surrounded us with a wave of weak Sarthas. Relying, no doubt, on our being too injured by that point to fight back."

Xiang makes a soft "Hmph" sound in response to Aquilina's French, chin arching. A more serious nod at the rest of what he says, though. "Lieutenant Aquilina was also saying Captain Jenthson had encountered something similar during a sortie with his squadron, Commodore. So perhaps there's a pattern there worth studying."

Dante chews his (Marko's) food and leans back, pitching back his chair on hind legs, "Some of it's got to do with that logistics thing I was talking about. Our eyes," Dante gestures to his own two eyes with the index and middle fingers of his left hand, "ain't what they used to be, now. Getting better all the time, but they still got better odds of pulling a fast one on us. Hell. Could barely even get medical supplies delivered here." He listens to the pilots, peering at each one of them, especially Aquilina while he gives his detailed description. "Glad you made it out of there. Might be something to it. I'll let tactical know our sparrows think there's something up, tell them to pull the flight vids. Could be nothing. Could be a lot more 'n that.

"Gehen zu Holle, meine wenig Bumsenkopf," the Captain retorts with an extended middle finger and a grin. That is probably the extent of the Serbian's German skillz. She see's her opportunity then and steals some of the UK's precious potato harvest. She licks the ketchup off her fingers and reaches for her drink with the other hand - something clear. A hand goes into her pocket and comes out with a pair of pills and she pops them, chasing it with the beverage. Speaking of medical supplies. There's a knowing glance to Aquilina but she bites her tongue in front of the Commodore. "Likely you will see our plan of action submitted up the chain before long, Commodore. But if you want to try extending sensor range there might be some ways to do that remotely. And quietly. It all depends on what can be salvaged and whether or not the Deck, Engineering, and a couple of vengeful pilots could come up with," she offers before sipping the drink.

"The Irish starved for those, you know," Alex informs Germany, prissily. The glance after the pill popping's met and held, green eyes then flickered to Dante. But if she isn't talking, then he isn't. Even if he has to take a long swallow of doctored tea to do it. He licks his lips, sitting back a bit so he can fish out his cigarettes from his front pocket. Nodding to the ship CO. "Flight vids are all yours. They're definitely making a habit of it, like Jia's said." A pause, lighting his cigarette, then he looks at Marko as smoke billows up. "What if we don't extend our sensors. Not that it wouldn't help, but." He holds up a finger. "What if we went the other way 'round and looked into jamming /them/. They can't call in reinforcements without, well…being able to call in reinforcements. Think there might be way to cut them off from that? Surround them with a dead zone, something like that?"

Xiang has no German skillz, but Markovic's delivery earns a soft chuckle. She retreats a little from the French Fry Line, in proper French form. She nods along a little with Aquilina words, sucking one cheek in thoughtfully. "It may keep them from reeling our pilots into their net, at least. But would the deadzone affect us as well? I mean, can we jam them without restricting our own communications with our reinforcements?"

Dante shakes his head and downs his scotch in a single gulp, then sets the glass on the table, "Well, when we lost Perry, it was like being at a casino and forgetting to count the cards. That's really the problem. We lost our intelligence and we ain't gonna make that up on this carrier, no matter how talented her crew are. So when intel gets sent down from tactical, now, we never really know what's gonna jump out at you. Don't know what's where or what it's shaped like." He listens a bit more, and then he smiles thinly, but likely perceptibly, "You ever wonder what the fleabags do when they sit around on their ships? I always imagined them burning holes into things with their eyes."

Dejana chuckles at Alex, shaking her head. She mutters something under her breath in Serbian and sips her drink once more. Her brow quirks with his suggestion, then. "Oh now that is an interesting idea. It also poses the idea of misdirection." She tilts the drink towards the male Lieutenant. "We could put out lots of noise and chatter in an area. Make them think we are preparing something large. Meanwhile we plot their jump characteristics and mine the area heavily. We do not even have to be there to get our giggles!" She grins. "But I do enjoy this idea of ambushing them. Does anyone know if it is possible to jam navigational systems on their big ones?" She looks around the table. A finger to Xiang as she brings up a very good point, and then a raised brow to Alex. With Dante's comments, she shrugs. "Until we can get a replacement for Perry, sir, we will need eyes. We do not just make neat holes in felines. If you want some aggressive recon done I can plot out a mission with the TACCO-" the Tactical Officer, "-and grab a few insane people like me to do it." She does not cast a glance towards the other two pilots, refusing to volunteer them for what she is suggesting. But the woman smirks away with his remarks about the Kilrathi free time. "I think they have too much litter to risk that. Litter is dusty after all."

"You mean like Korsakov?" Alex asks Dante, drily. "Don't know, sir. We could try the old Trojan Horse maneuver and send over a nice gift of a torpedo full of fleas." He pulls a drag off his cigarette, tilting his head up and blowing a demented-looking smoke ring before destroying it with the rest of the exhale. To Xiang and Dejana he shakes his head. "Don't know half enough about comms to say. There's a Lieutenant who might know - O'Neill. Red hair and a big mouth, cum hoc ergo propter hoc." Then to Dejana he smirks and cocks a long brow. "Now that sounds like fun."

The litter comment gets a quiet chuckle from Xiang. "I've never really thought about it, personally," she says, as to speculations about Kilrathi habits. "I try not to think too much about what they might do at their leisure. Families, hobbies…it's hard to even imagine the cats having such *normal* things." An uncomfortable, when you spend your days trying to kill them. She clears her throat lightly. She adds to Markovic, "I've never been called insane, Captain. But I'd be quite honored to come along on any endeavor you might have in mind."

"So I reckon this jammer business is something y'all have some skill in? Engineering before OCS?" Dante lifts his glass, devoid of anything but ice cubes, and swishes it around in his hand, "Never one to say no to anything, especially when it sounds like trouble. "With regards to recon… to suggest is to volunteer, so, lemme see here." He pulls a small pad of paper from his pocket, and a pen, then starts to get something down on the pad, "We'll run it up the flagpole. I ain't been too eager to risk our pilots on recon when the 8th fleet is still getting back on its feet from New Constantinople, but it ain't a bad thing, and if you're willing to put in the service, maybe I'll do y'all a favor and bring it up to the CAG for you." The distaste in his mouth is nearly palpable. He doesn't have to say it. He hates the man. It's in his eyes.

Dejana nearly snorts her drink at the remark from Alex. Its a tough fight to keep the drink down, her face turning red, but she finally swallows it. "Oh, dearest Alexei. That was spot on. I will have to tell you about an attempt to pick up a girl back at Saint Johns that ended in a look like that from him." To the other pilots volunteering, she nods. "Fair enough. I figure if we load-up lightly and take a few Stils we could press pretty far. Keep it fast and under the radar. Three is a good number, too, for support purposes." With the CO's words, she laughs light and shakes her head. "Me? Lord, no. I am an idea person. Philosophy major at the Uni of Warsaw." But her brow rises with the potential of the recon. There is a minor fist-pump to the side and she grins. "Fucking outstanding, sir. Glad to have a CO like you, Skipper."

"I don't want to hear about Maxie's Angels, Dejana. I really don't." Alex gulps down the rest of his tea, which is mostly whiskey sunk to the bottom. Back to the cigarette, and an approving look as Dante says he'll go to bat with Valentine. "Brilliant, sir. I'll owe you a shot when we get back."

Xiang shakes her head at Dante. "I know little about the technical aspects of communications work, sir, but I am fully trained in ECM operations. You majored in Philsophy?" A grin to Markovic. She seems unsure if this is a joke or not. Another slight throat-clearing as to Maxie's Angels. She so does not ask. "In any case, I'm at your disposal." Said to both Mark and Dante.

"Don't be that glad, Captain. I'm pretty much a bastard." Dante brings the 'empty' glass to his lips and drinks the melted ice mixed with traces of scotch and chuckles to himself, "But I'm our bastard, so I suppose that counts for something." He stands, "Really should be on my way, though. I got about ten different flavors of bullshit to chew through tonight, and I don't even have a sugarcone to help it go down."

"Oh yes. Yes you do, Alex. One night. Over drinks. When he is here for it." The Captain gives a sagenod and wink. But she chuckles to Xiang. "Aye, Lieutenant. Philosophy, believe it or not. I was on a rugby scholarship. Intended to get married to someone I met in college. Instead a recruiter found me in the quad one day." She shakes her head with the admission. "I should have done something relevant to.. something." But the words about communications get a glance away to the plate of fries. Marko may be plotting more Tactical Cheeseburger. Eventually her gaze is pulled away by Dante and she grins. "Ah that is okay, sir. Commodores do not get to command fleets and ships by being fluffy bunnies. But thank you, regardless. We will get to work in case the fleet decides it wants to spitball some pilots into the unknown."

"Stop by the lab first, stock up on the activated charcoal," Alex says drily, waving the cigarette. "Ciao, sir." While the attention's on him, he steals Markovic's last fry. Woe.

Xiang grins at Markovic. "I'm a Poli Sci graduate myself. I had to take a fair few Philosophy classes. We should talk about the finer point some time." Her arm twitches, but she stops herself from giving the commodore a parting salute. Contenting herself with a polite inclination of her head. "Good luck, sir."

Dante nods and mutters, "Probably more goddamned meetings in hell than a boardroom." as he paces out of the First and Last.

Dante leaves, heading towards the Crew Services [O].
Dante has left.

Marko gives Alex the Stink Eye for his treachery. "One day, I will drink your last beer and you will know my wrath." Eyes narrow and she reaches for her own drink. After her sip she nods to Xiang. "I would love to, actually. I could use the practice. I did a lot of cross between fuedal Japanese and some classical European. Could be fun." She grins at the idea before settling back into the chair. Her eyes slips between them. "So. We volunteered for a suicide mission. Where shall we go to get into trouble in this sector, mm?"

"No kidding," Alex tells Dejana, mildly. "I've smelled the gas that beer gives you." New cigarette found in some pocket, he pulls that purple flower light of his out and flicks it to life. "Could head out to the far corner of the recon arc Pip was on last night. Was so heavily guarded even where we headed to that there's got to be something tasty out there."

"Suicide mission? I don't think it's as dire as all that if we keep our wits about us," Xiang says. Or that's what she'll keep telling herself, at least. She looks down at her glass, but it's long been emptied. A little nod to Aquilina. "That does seem a logical place to start. I should review Pip's footage of that jaunt, I think. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet."

"And you will know his name is the Lord when he lays his vengeance upon thee," Dejana quotes obscurely. "And the Lord works in mysterious ways, Mister Aquilina." She shakes a finger at the Lieutenant with a grin and reaches for her glass again. "That might be a good idea on the way back here. Getting into the area may be difficult, but if we flank them on the way home we may even be able to score a few kills when we blow through at V-max." She takes a looooong breath and taps a fingernail against the glass a few times. "We need to decide what the goal is first. Are we looking for what they have in their strike force? Are we looking for supply routes? Are we looking, strictly, to intercept comms and be covert? Are we looking to just get in their rear and raise almighty Hell?" She lifts her brow with the questions while she stares at the plate. Then the Captain stands suddenly. The glass is set down and she looks between them. "You two figure out our goal and I want to know exactly why we are doing that particular type of recon. I just realized I need to check on something. I will try to get back soon." She taps her temple with a pair of fingers and grabs her ignored book as she moves off.

Aquilina just lofts a brow at Markovic's quoting, less a critical look than a shrug with his expression. He nods then at her request and sudden flight, scratching his brow with his ring finger as he looks over at Xiang. "What do you say, Jia. Plan over dinner? Cake or death sort of thing?"

Xiang nods a short nod to Markovic as she goes. Then offers another to Aquilina. "No cake, I think," she says dryly. "But planning over dinner sounds like a fine idea. It's a date, then." Also said dryly. She stands. "I should be heading back to rack myself. I'll catch a few hours and get up early, I think. Spend some time with the vids before I'm due on patrol."

"When men say that, it usually means something completely different." Alex appraises her final comment and then stands, turning the chair around to face the right way. "Cheers. Have a wonderful time, whatever you…you know. Do."

Xiang lofts her brows at Aquilina. "I'll take your word for it," she says, as to what men may mean. "I'll do my best. See you later, Alex." With that, she's off.

Aquilina smirks, putting cigarette back into his mouth and heading out as well, remembering to snatch his book back off the table before he does.

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