|primitive_soul (primitive_soul) wrote in kobols_legacies,|
@ 2008-01-23 19:00:00
|Entry tags:||(c) alice starkweather|
Alice had been told that the Shangri-La was elaborately designed, set up for her passengers to relax in a fair amount of luxury, but she was unprepared for the reality when she first stepped off of the transport. She got a brief tour from the guide, who showed her how to get to her quarters, then was left to her own devices. She'd had no leave time in over a year, and the last time she'd taken a break from her duties she'd spent it on-board the Avalon because she'd been unable to cope with even the idea of a lot of strangers. But the tournament had sounded like fun, even if she'd only be watching, and she was trying to work her way out of her self-imposed shell.
Feeling dwarfed by the larger open space, the mechanic made her way down the wide corridor, having decided to visit the main biodome. She meant to try and catch up with Gaither, since he'd invited her to his wedding. Maybe she'd try and get through dinner with him. It could be her first test, provided he wasn't in a coma from the games. And this was the first time she'd been out of coveralls in...months. Gods, she felt almost like a person again.
Alice took a deep breath, tried not to feel like everyone in the room was staring at her. Just keep breathing, that was the trick to it.
Dani had taken a shuttle over to the resort liner after finishing her shift for the day, wanting to see Rhys play in the pyramid tournament. She'd watched in satisfaction as the team from Avalon had defeated enough opponents to qualify for the semi-finals the next morning and the young woman had no doubt that the team would go on to play in the final round and win the championship. He'd needed to stay behind with the team for a short while, and with Bethany and Anika both working she was left to her own devices. Rhys had promised to meet her here in the main dome when he was finished and they'd get something to eat.
She'd come to the main dome to sit and relax in the pleasant surroundings of fruit trees and flowers for a little bit. Here in the midst of all this nature in the dome it was easy to pretend that they weren't on board a ship, that they'd made it to safety after all.
The dream of snow was still with Alice as she stepped inside the doors of the biodome, and for a second she had the dizzying sensation of being back home. Her mouth opened slightly, and she looked up at the fruit trees with a pang of homesickness so sharp that it literally hurt. There and then gone, leaving her with the desire to turn and flee, but instead she took another deep breath and proceeded on ahead. Not all memories were bad, not all memories had to hurt.
She moved down a carefully tended path, noting that the plants were well-cared for. How much work must it be to maintain an area like this? She knew engines, but this sort of maintenance was beyond her. Even the air smelled right, tinged with just a touch of earth. She would have to ask if it was against the rules to take the riper fruits from the trees.
She'd been thinking nothing in particular when she recognized Lieutenant Kypros sitting by herself. Maybe this was how things started to change, both for her and in the larger world; taking the time for something that appeared so frivolous on the surface.
Dani spotted Alice coming down the path, seemingly lost in thought. She wasn't sure the other woman had spotted her, or even if the mechanic would recognize her in a civilian outfit. The black maternity top she had on was one of the few Bethany had managed to find her that fit halfway decent, and had strings in the back that she could let out and keep wearing for a while longer as her belly continued its steady expansion. What she was going to wear aside from sweats or fatigues in another six weeks she had no idea.
She didn't get up, it had been a long walk from the recreation deck to the dome and her ankles were killing her. Instead she simply nodded politely as the other woman came closer, letting Alice have the choice to walk by or stay and talk.
She'd been thinking nothing in particular when she recognized Lieutenant Kypros sitting by herself on a bench next to the path, and for a moment she was actually startled. Foolish of her not to realize, of course, that the other woman should be here given Gaither's presence, but she was so...large. Alice paused briefly, then offered a polite smile of her own before approaching.
"Lieutenant," she said, uncertain of whether to salute, what with the pilot being out of uniform. "Hope you had a pleasant trip over, that the ride wasn't too bumpy."
"Starkweather," Dani replied warmly, returning the smile and ignoring the stare toward her middle. "It wasn't too bad, though the seats weren't quite to my liking since I wasn't at the controls. Please, I'm out of uniform and off duty, call me Dani." She figured since she was going to be Rhys's wife she should try to be on a first name basis with the members of his people, at least off duty.
She gestured toward the spot next to her, "You're welcome to sit down if you like, it's very peaceful here. I imagine people wouldn't want to leave sometimes."
"Thank you." The bench creaked a little under Alice's added weight, and she added, "It reminds me very much of home. I imagine they get a lot of visitors here." It was possible that the silence that followed was only awkward in her own head, and she broke it after only a couple of beats.
"I haven't seen Gaither to thank him for the invitation yet, so I guess I should thank you first for asking me to be at your wedding. I missed him getting his promotion, but I'll be at the ceremony. I'm very happy for both of you."
Happy and a little jealous. It took courage to start over in this new world they lived in, and Alice wondered if Gaither had thought of what it would mean to be a father in the coming days. Still, she couldn't help but envy them the labor of parenthood, both the physical and the emotional parts. "Is this your first time aboard the Shangri-La, Lieu...Dani? I can't imagine the work that went into putting this boat into use."
"Thank you Alice, we're happy to have you with us at our wedding. Rhys considers you to be a friend and we want to share our happiness with our friends."
Dani shifted her position to try and get comfortable. "As for the ship...I've been on several times the past few years, whenever I've had leave. It's a beautiful ship, I've always had a good time here and I've made some good friends among the civilian population. From what I understand it nearly put the cruise line that built it out of business when it was under construction because of all the cost overruns. The crew is the largest of all the civilian ships, almost as large as that of a battlestar."
"Is this your first trip on the Shangri-La?" She was surprised that the other woman hadn't made it over before now.
"This is actually the first leave I've taken in over a year," Alice admitted with a shrug. "At least off of the Avalon. Not used to seeing a lot of new faces, I guess. But with the tournament and Gaither's wedding, there was more than one reason to make the trip." It couldn't be that uncommon for an average crewman to not leave her ship, could it?
"When are the children due?" she asked after a brief silence, because she couldn't not ask at this point, it would have been rude. "Both of you must be very excited. I'm sure it'll be a relief to get the wedding out of the way beforehand, though."
"In about sixteen weeks," Dani brought her hands to her stomach and caressed it lovingly. She'd been scared at first, and the rate she was expanding was still a source of amazement and a bit of concern, but mostly she was excited. "We are excited...it's been a struggle and I can only imagine what its going to be like once they're born. Of course, twins tend to come early or so the doctor says, so I don't really know how long I'll manage to carry them."
She shifted again, it was so hard to get really comfortable these days and Dani imagined it was only going to get worse before the children were born. "I think it will be...I was torn for a while about when we should get married. Part of me wanted it done before they came out and part of me wanted to wait until I had a figure again."
And Alice couldn't say the next thing, the part where she was jealous, and so instead she turned her attention to the trees that grew within the dome. "I wonder if they moderate the temperatures to approximate the seasons," she said, clearly thinking aloud. "I suppose its impossible to make it snow indoors, but if there's one drawback to living on-board a battlestar its that the weather never changes. Winter was always my favorite season."
Her stern mouth relaxed very slightly at the corners, threatening a smile. Winter was bleak if you looked at it in a certain way, but snow was always beautiful.
"Did Avalon's team do well today?" she queried. "I missed the first round because the transport was late, but I'll be seeing the other games."
"They made the semi-finals, only lost one game so far." Dani was pleased at the performance of her soon to be husband and the rest of the team, they were playing hard and putting up a hell of a fight. "I didn't get to see all of them either, but I caught their last two, they're playing really well."
Dani winced at a particularly strong kick from one of the babies and rubbed her stomach some more, trying to convince her offspring to take pity on their poor mother.
"Virgon was a warmer world than this, we didn't have a 'winter' like you describe, more like Spring, Summer, and a long Autumn." She looked at the trees, pondering Alice's question about the simulation of seasons. "Maybe they have seasons, but I don't think they have a very long fallow period though. There's too strong a need for the fruit in the fleet."
Alice remembered fresh fruit; the sugar-sweet of red apples, the tang of oranges, the way bananas smelled. The threatened smile almost peeked through her usual dour expression as she looked down before re-directing her gaze towards the other brunette.
"There'll be more fruit one day, when the war's over." Because she had to believe that, believe that there was a safe place somewhere, because otherwise it would have all been for nothing, wouldn't it? There had to be something amid all this hardship and personal loss to balance things out.
"I do hope you enjoy the rest of your leave, Dani," she said, having at least mentally become more accustomed to the idea of using the other woman's given name. "I'll probably see you at the games later, and at the cermony of course. It was nice talking to you today."
"When the war is over," Dani agreed. She wasn't sure the day would ever come when the war with the Cylons would be at an end, but she looked forward to it just the same. A day when her children wouldn't have to live in fear of extermination by the mechanical creations of their ancestors. With luck they might never see a Cylon.
She didn't bother to correct the other woman about her leave, it didn't start until the day after the Pyramid game and she'd have to return to Avalon for a shift scheduled early in the morning.
Dani almost asked Alice if she'd given any more thought to trying out for flight training, but decided not to. The other woman was obviously trying to relax and enjoy herself, and Dani would respect that. She'd gotten the other woman to come out of her shell a little today, and that was victory enough.
"II enjoyed talking with you too, Alice, are you leaving? I hope I'm not chasing you out of here," Dani protested, not wanting the other woman to feel she had to rush off because of her. "Rhys should be along soon if you wanted to say hello."
"No, actually," Alice said, rising from her seat. "I had intended to go further into the dome and sit for a while. I wouldn't want to interrupt anything between you and Gaither." Which was both the truth and a polite lie, since she wasn't sure she'd be able to deal with both of them at once. Just the little glimpse she'd gotten of them that day in the hangar deck said they were very much in love. Talking with one of them alone was enough for one day. Later, she'd try again with both of them, but not now.
"I'll be sure and catch up with you later to thank him personally for the invitation," she added with another reserved attempt at a smile. "Both of you are very lucky."
She took her leave then, headed further into the recesses of the biodome. To sit where it was quietest and think, so that she could make sense of the new path she was being put on.