|jake_mackenzie (jake_mackenzie) wrote in kobols_legacies,|
@ 2008-01-19 14:07:00
|Entry tags:||(c) jake mackenzie|
Jake emerged from the locker room feeling refreshed after a long shower and a change into one of his few sets of civilian clothes.
He'd participated in five different games of pyramid that day, and knew he was going to pay for it in a few hours once his body had a chance to wind down for the night. Even though he kept in excellent physical condition his muscles weren't used to playing pyramid that intensely for so long, having only played in causal pickup games since he'd graduated from Gladius Cross more years ago than he cared to think about at the moment. It had been fun to play in these sorts of conditions again, to feed off the energy of the crowd and to have fresh opponents to play against where you didn't already know their every move.
The Colonel spotted Anika Jereldsen coming out of the opposing team's locker room and he gave a friendly wave. "Hey Anika, you guys put up a hell of a fight in there, good game." He'd greeted her before the start of the game and offered to be on a first name basis with the pretty civilian pilot, figuring 'Colonel Mackenzie' would be a mouthful to try and use on the court. The woman had been a formidable opponent, he'd been surprised at how dangerous someone seven inches shorter and several pounds lighter could be.
Wishing she was going back to her room, or Bethany's and knowing a rubdown from Sephy would be a godsend right then Anika was instead on her way to the hangar. Bethany had agreed to ferrying over some high-rollers from Babylonia for the finals the following day, and a few others from ships lying further out in the fleet. So instead of relaxing she was flying, there not being many civilian shuttles up to carrying this caliber of passenger. Her head jerked up when she heard Jake's voice. Yeah, yeah, get used to it sunshine, he said to call him that! the small voice inside her head told her before she had a chance to ignore it.
"Thanks, weren't too shabby yourselves," she returned, their teams both having made it through to the playoffs the next morning followed by the final in the afternoon.
Jake smiled, pleased at the compliment. "Thanks, I'm looking forward to the rematch tomorrow. It's a nice change of pace from a pickup game. There are only so many pyramid players on Avalon and after a while everybody gets familiar with everyone else's abilities. No surprises, no challenge to elevate your game even higher."
He fell into step beside her, not really paying attention yet to the direction. Shangri-La was a massive ship but was laid out well enough that it was hard to get lost in the public areas, not that he'd want to try and navigate the warren of passageways and access tubes that were off limits to those not part of the ship's crew.
"How's that ship of yours doing? No other problems aside from the control rod?"
Her face hardened a little at the reminder of the sabotage that had been done, and gave a small cold, smile at the word from Marcus that the deckhand wouldn't be attending the tournament, he was 'little the worse for wear'.
"No, no more problems," she told him. "Gave her a real going over when I got back, and Skip cleared her." She hesitated a moment, then added, "thanks for getting that rod replaced so quick."
"Good, I'm glad to hear it," Jake said truthfully. The cold smile caused him to quirk an eyebrow but he figured the less he knew about that the happier he would be and didn't follow up on his curiosity. He'd liked her smile earlier during the game, spotting her in an unguarded moment when she'd high-fived a teammate about scoring a point. That kind of energetic, happy smile, was one he wanted to see more of. Anika Jereldsen was the sort of woman he'd like to get to know better.
"It was no trouble about the control rod, a simple fix like that makes life easier for everyone." Besides, it got the ship off the deck that much faster, which made her happy and the deck chief happy, the latter making his life simpler. "I'm looking forward to seeing it in action one of these days."
She quirked an eyebrow at him, curious as to whether he actually meant it. "Seriously?"
She was used to pick up lines and that was a fairly common one amongst pilots.
"Seriously," Jake replied, surprised himself that he actually meant it. "I'll admit that your ship is no Viper but it still looks like a fun one to fly."
"And you haven't seen the half of her!" she retorted, sensing again that he did actually mean it, despite her doubts. Whether it was the tiredness, or the fact she'd been around so many military males all day, 2 teams worth during the matches, she was feeling a little numbness of her usual disdain and caution.
"Who knows when I'd ever get the chance, but it would be nice to fly for fun again one of these days." His tone was a bit wistful as he said it. The last time he'd flown 'just for fun' had been before the war began. Since then it had been either combat missions, patrols or training flights, and while flying of any kind never got old it was a different kind entirely than flying just for fun.
She was so tempted to suggest he come fly shotgun, but the run back had no empty seats, one of the captains already having specially requested the co-pilot's seat. "Well, never know your luck in a .. lost fleet!" she laughed.
He quirked an eyebrow again, watching her laugh with a small smile on his face. The woman's demeanor changed completely when she laughed, it suited her.
"A lost fleet? We know exactly where we are." He smirked and shook his head when a thought occurred to him. "Maybe I'll get a chance one of these days...but in the meantime what would you say to getting a bite to eat? I hear most of the teams are going to meet up at the Grange for a meal and a pint or two. We could continue this conversation over some house brew for a while."
"Lost to the rest of our world, if there was anything left of it," she murmured. After three years they were no nearer to finding anywhere for the tens of thousands of people who were currently existing in the hulls of what were both their homes and unwitting prisons. She shook her head and blinked. "Nevermind, just feeling a little tired," she offered, changing the subject immediately to his invitation. "I'm back on duty, so to speak," she told him. "Have to go and pick up some passengers from a few of the ships and bring them in for tomorrow's games. I'd suggest you come ride shotgun but the seat's already been bagged by the captain from Shenandoah."
Jake was tempted to pull rank on the Shenandoah's Captain, but that would just add to the bad blood that existed between some of the civilian captains and the military. He nodded, surprised at himself that he was more disappointed than he had a right to be. After all, it was just dinner.
"Raincheck, then? For both the spin in the ship and a bite to eat?"
Anika managed to keep her stride, despite the surprise, and found herself nodding. Which surprised her even more. She kept her head facing forward, the appearance of nonchalance being maintained as they turned toward the lifts to the hangar deck.
"Sure, why not?" she actually managed to get herself to say at last.
"Then we've got a plan," Jake wasn't even sure why he'd asked, but he was pleased she'd said yes. After all, aside from the hour he'd spent on the pyramid court he hardly knew her.
But he'd like to know her better.
They came to a stop at the lifts and Jake turned to face her directly. "It's a shame you'll be full up on the trip back, but I'll hold you to the raincheck. I'll see at the rematch tomorrow and make sure you get some sleep tonight."
He grinned at her and leaned in until there were only a few inches separating them. "You'll need it to be at the top of your game...I'd hate to think you were holding back when we kick your ass."
She held her ground, despite the initial gut reaction to pull away, putting it down to the tiredness and the 5 matches she'd played that day - 3 of the teams from military ships. What irked her more was the fact she was again finding that she wasn't minding the closeness so much, and it made her grimace inside at herself.
"We'll just have to wait and see whose ass is going to be kicked, won't we?" she retorted, "and tomorrow we might actually start playing for real." The last was delivered with a smirk atopped by a wide-eyed innocence.
Jake chuckled at both the retort and the expression on her face, and he pulled back reluctantly. "Until tomorrow then, have a safe trip and pleasant dreams." He brought his fingers to his temple in jaunty salute and turned to make his way to the Grange. There was still a meal to eat and a pint to drink before getting some rest for tomorrow's games.
This was one rematch he was definitely looking forward to.
She stepped into the waiting lift and after the lift door closed she leaned back against the wall, the jaunty body posture of a few moments ago letting go as she closed her eyes and thumped her head back into the wall.
"Get your act together!" she muttered, but half-heartedly, wondering for a long moment whether either would ever happen.