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Storm Small Talk

Posted on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 @ 4:12pm by Ashe Zachariah & Warrant Officer Callisi Veera

Mission: Double Bind

Ashe watched as Callisi worked with the shield generator, adjusting something, tweaking something else. She shook her head slightly. "I've never been able to get my head around this technology stuff," she said wistfully. "That's why I never made it into the Academy. I failed out of the basic aptitude testing." She laughed. "Probably a good thing, I'm not sure Starfleet was ready for the likes of me anyway. So, what am I supposed to do? Just like, stand here and watch the storm?"

Callisi adjusted the equipment with the latest numbers, like they went over in the briefing. Simple and direct, as long as you had a grasp of the basics. "I wanted to be a pilot as long as I could remember. When it came time for me to serve my Three, I jumped at the pilot aptitude tests and aced them. High marks across the way." she recalled, welcoming the distraction, "I flew grey ops deep behind enemy lines, dropping troops and providing evac. It was one of those grey ops that, well, that I got hurt."

Hurt. Such a simple way to put it. A single word for a single event, a single choice, and a lifetime of isolation. A lifetime of looking in the mirror and wondering if the decision was the right one. but not having the resolve to do anything about it. No choice was the right choice, but sometimes she still felt like she made the wrong one.

"As for what you can do, keep watch on the storm and watch the temperature. You'll get cold before I will." she noted, "So, I guess the most appropriate reply would be..... stand there and look cute."

Ashe laughed softly and shook her head before turning her attention back to their surroundings. They were one of the last groups assigned and as a result their location found them bordered on one side by an ocean front that was a short distance away. "I imagine, when it's not covered in snow and ice, this area is quite pretty," she mused. "It looks like there's a playground down there near the water. Too bad we can't go play on the swings," she quipped with a grin.

"I like the snow. It takes everything that's wrong, out of place, or unpleasant and covers it up. Makes it uniform. Makes it pretty." Was she talking about the landscape, or herself? She was silent for a moment as she continued the final calibrations. "We didn't get a lot of snow where I lived back home, but there was plenty on the base I was stationed at for basic."

"Playing on the swings does sound nice, though." she offered with a smirk. "When this is all over, we'll need the time to relax. A playground would be a nice change of pace."

"I always said that adults underestimate the value of a great playground. There's something about being on a swing or a roundabout, holding on for dear life as the wind whips your face and through your hair, but still wanting to go faster. It's nice to be able to just let loose and be free, don't you think?" Ashe mused.

Callisi gave a snicker, "I used to be a starfighter pilot, then a grey op shuttle pilot. Let loose, fly fast... that was my day to day." she offered. "Though, never heard of a roundabout. Sounds fun, we'll have to try it after this is all behind us." she was silent for a moment, "Hand me that spanner?" she motioned to the required tool.

Picking up a screwdriver, Ashe handed it to Callisi absently. "I got my first broken arm on a roundabout. I was four. My Dad spun it too fast and I fell off, but, you know, thinking about it I don't think anyone ever didn't fall off those things. My mother hated them, she called them 'kid killers'. She was furious when she found out he let me on it."

The rabbitess inspected the tool, and shook her head, "No no, the spanner. Next to this one." she handed the driver back. "Though, that roundabout sounds dangerous..." she smiled, "... Can't wait to see it in action."

"We have things in our playground like that, back home. Swinging bars, overhead grips, hills to climb. We used to pretend we were warlords of camps on the hills, and whoever took the castle on the top was the emperor. And we'd toss each other down the hill to stay emperor, so... yeah I can relate to the notion of playgrounds meant to injure children." she snickered.

Setting the screwdriver back down, Ashe picked up the requested spanner and examined it for a moment before handing it across. "So what was it like doing grey ops? You must have had some pretty interesting missions?"

"Quite a few." she said, claiming the proper tool and handling the physical adjustment with it, "Mostly just deep drops of troops and supplies behind contested lines. I used to fly a type one Blink Fighter, until I moved over to the grey ops missions, where I was moved into a blink recon shuttle. Smooth as booze, they said. Same blink capacity and stealth handling as a type one fighter. I *miss* flying that shuttle." she grew wistful for a moment. "But yeah we'd drop troops in to take out terraformer stations, or secure choke points for ground superiority. I'd carry in eight or ten drop troops, and they'd hop out of the back of the shuttle, bolters blazing the whole way down, drop an air-gel pack moments before they hit the ground, and just bounce off running."

She smiled, remembering the good times. However, all good things come to an end, "It was on a grey op drop and retrieve that I got... hurt." she paused, "My position took some fire, chipped the canopy, send a shard right into my eye. Onboard medic drone did its job, patched me up, and fixed my eye. Best we had on hand was replacement repair parts for the drone, so..." she paused again, "I got a drone's eye."

"Command was concerned about it affecting my performance, so they gave me fewer missions. What they did give me, I pushed myself to achieve above and beyond. It was never enough, so when the option came to do cross officer transfer with the Federation, I jumped at the chance. Yes, we consider the Federation to be a bit soft, but a lot more accepting."

Ashe frowned inside her EV suit. "I'm sorry," she said quietly. "I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like."

"The worst part of it is the looks. When soldiers, friends, and family look at you different because of a choice you had to make. Oh they try not to look like they notice, but looking away is the same as looking at in our culture. I..." a pause, "I'll talk more about it later. I think it'll help, but if I talk about it now, might get dust in my eye and it's hard to get it out in this helmet." a cover, but at least she opened up to the notion to talk.

"You're a good friend."

Ashe grinned. "I'm a bar tender, trust me, I'm good at listening," she quipped. "Hey, look, the eye is heading our way, I guess that means we're about half way through yeah? Another good conversation and we'll be out of here in no time and back on the ship. I don't know about you but I'm thinking a sauna sounds amazing right about now."

"Hey, that's not f---" a pause, "Oh, you meant the storm's eye." she hated that she went from friendly to self-defensive in such a short reflex. "Sorry. I ... I didn't mean it. Yes, some time to relax would do us all good. More then I thought before, it seems." she admitted.

Ashe reached out and rested and EV suited hand on Callisi's arm momentarily. There was no words said, just a slight nod and a smile of reassurance, even if it couldn't be seen.

Her hand fell away and she dropped back to the sit in the snow again, resuming her post as semi useless companion. "I have a great holodeck program. You ever had a hot stone treatment?" She shivered, imagining the warmth on her bare back momentarily before looking back at the cold snow around her. "I'm sure we can even reprogram it to provide a masseuse to your liking, or, well, rather we'll get someone else to reprogram it... unless of course you like your masseurs with two heads, sharp teeth and a mean bite! And yes, that is the voice of experience."

"If they aren't afraid of long ears and broad paws, they can have all the heads they want." Callisi's mood improved, not just from Ashe's word but from the gesture as well. "Besides, two heads sharp teeth, you just described my Dalacari therapist." Callisi looked over and offered Ashe a smile. A rare, full, honest smile. Not held back by concern, protocol, or expectation. Not restrained by fear or doubt or insecurity.

Something as simple as a smile, rarer than raining diamonds.

"I'll book us a holodeck when we get back to the ship. Sauna, massages, hot stone treatments, the works, so long as it's warm?" Ashe offered.

"It's a date." Callisi responded, before finishing up the adjustments to the unit she was working on. "We're done here." she declared, closing up the panel and powering up the unit, which hummed to life.

Ashe sighed and pulled her knees up in front of her. "Well, I guess all we can do now is think warm thoughts and wait."


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