|Anika Jereldsen (fly_baby) wrote in kobols_legacies,|
@ 2008-01-30 06:57:00
|Current location:||Shangri-la Sports Bar|
|Entry tags:||(c) jake mackenzie|
Jake leaned back in his seat after bidding the last of his team members from the Tournament of the past two days farewell. Roughly half the team was returning to Avalon this evening as they had duty the next day, and the rest was staying over for the upcoming wedding of CPO Gaither and Lieutenant Kypros. Gaither had been pounced upon by several members of his deck gang and dragged off to an impromptu bachelor party at a bar two decks up, and the other members of the team eventually left one by one, leaving Jake by himself.
He'd politely declined an invitation to the bachelor party, claiming an early morning meeting he had to attend before the wedding tomorrow as his an excuse. The truth was there was no meeting, as a high ranking officer in the chain of command his presence would only have been a distraction. Jake sipped his beer, a pensive expression on his face before he shook his head and banished the ghosts that had been hovering on the edges.
This was a time to think of the living and celebrate the future, not mourn the loss of the past. He'd known Kypros since she'd arrived as a fresh faced nugget aboard Vulcan a few months before the attacks and he was happy for her, it wouldn't do to get maudlin the night before her big day.
"You're kidding right, Skip?" Anika laughed, lightly jabbing Marcus in the side as he teased her about one of the falls she'd taken trying to block the moves Jake was making. "If I was doin' such a bad job of it all why'd you keep me on the damned court, hmm?"
"Because even as poor an excuse for a pyramid player as you are, you're still better than most of the fleet," Marcus retorted, poking her right back. "Besides, I need comic relief on my team and you fit the bill." He enjoyed teasing her almost as much as he enjoyed playing pyramid.
The engineer took a sip of his beer, enjoying the camaraderie of his fellow teammates still flying high after the hard won victory against the team from Avalon. It had been a close game, going into overtime before they'd finally scored the point to pull them ahead of the military team and Marcus knew he'd pay for it in the morning with the bumps and bruises he'd acquired.
A very inelegant snort accompanied a mock glare as Anika rolled her eyes at the man and poked him back again. “Well, someone has to make you look good!”
He was like a combination of a big brother and uncle and they treated each other as such. Though the ‘uncle’ side was on ‘racktime’ right now, the exchanges much more of a brother/sister level as they teased and mock-argued with each other, the high of their win carrying the whole team on a wave of celebration.
She was also secretly aware of his underhanded attempts to keep her within the vicinity of the sole remaining member of the opposition, now sitting on his own in one of the lounge chairs in the bar, his teammates all having slowly wandered off. She couldn’t help but wonder why he didn’t go with them, but wasn’t about to investigate it.
Marcus was also curious as to why the Colonel was off drinking by himself. Some of the military had needed to return back to Avalon from what he'd heard, but the redheaded officer clearly wasn't one of them. Despite Anika's protests there was clearly a pull between them, or she wouldn't have been sneaking glances every so often when she thought Marcus wasn't looking. It took the rare man to get under Anika Jereldsen's skin, which made him all the more curious about Jake Mackenzie.
He glanced at Anika, then over at Jake, and back again. The man was watching a recording of a pyramid game held before the fall that was playing on one of the big vid screens, seemingly oblivious to their presence.
"I'm gonna go invite him over, you'll be nice?"
Anika quickly turned to look at Marcus having been glancing across at Jake just as Marcus had spoken. She glared at him, knowing her cheeks were probably colouring even as she did. “Who?” she retorted, knowing full well who Marcus was referring to. She turned her glance back at Jake and then to Marcus again. “Him?” She huffed. “Why wouldn’t I be? After all he only damned near broke my shoulder with that last tackle!” she muttered, knowing full well it was not Jake’s fault and if anything it was only the man’s quick twist in mid-air that had saved her getting that injury, his teammate having sent him flying in the melee to stop the SL team from scoring that winning point.
Marcus snorted and shook his head as he got up from their table and made his way across the bar to Jake. The other man didn't even see him approach until he was right on top of him, and Marcus hid his amusement as the Colonel started in surprise when he did realize Marcus was there.
"Evenin' Jake," he'd decided that since the Colonel had told them during the game to go ahead and refer to him by his given name that there was no reason not to keep doing it now. "Niki and I are still celebrating the win over at our table, as a worthy opponent you'd be welcome to join us now that the rest of your team has abandoned you."
Jake looked up in surprise at the other man's words. He hadn't noticed Marcus approach, having mostly been absorbed in the pyramid game on the vid screen. The game between the Picon Panthers and Virgon Vigilantes was one he hadn't seen before, surprisingly, and he'd allowed it to hold his attention with nothing better to do at the moment.
He considered Marcus's offer and nodded, "That would be nice, thanks for the offer. Your team fought hard, you earned your win."
Jake let the waitress know where he was going so she wouldn't think he'd skipped out on his bill and ordered another pitcher of beer delivered to their table.
While Jake was busy doing that, Marcus returned to the table and smirked at Anika as he sat back down. "He'll be right over, don't thank me."
“Thank you?” she hissed so only he could hear. She downed her drink, hating that again her stomach was betraying her along with her eyes as they darted across to where Jake was talking to the waitress. “Just don’t know what you’re thinkin’, Skip, but reckon you got all sorts of funny little dreams runnin’ round in that head of yours,” she added. “Must’ve been those blows you received this tournament!”
Marcus's expression was serene. "I don't think I've got any funny little dreams running around in my head at all. Maybe I just think he's a good guy who looked a little lonely. He's awful young for his rank isn't he? Must be a little difficult for him sometimes." Marcus had some sympathy for Jake if that were the case, he was young for his position on Shangri-La and he doubted he would have gotten a Chief Engineer's slot for another five years no matter how experienced he was if the war hadn't forced it on him.
Besides, he was enjoying the chance to nudge Anika a bit. It was for her own good, even if she refused to admit it.
The man in question approached the table, glad for the chance for some human interaction. "Marcus, Anika," he greeted the two with a smile, "thanks for the invitation."
"No problem at all," Marcus replied, standing up and offering the other man his chair. "Have a seat, I'll move over."
Anika looked up and smiled, eyes widening momentarily as Marcus offered the man his chair. She knew he did that on purpose and the payback, whatever it might be, was going to be long and well-worth it, once she’d figured out what it would be! She shuffled her chair over, Jake doing the same to make room for Marcus to bring another one in. She managed to hide the wince as the muscle in her thigh complained about the movement and quickly settled back into her chair to take the weight off it.
“Many of the team staying for the wedding tomorrow?” she asked the colonel, reminding herself to call him by his name.
Jake was surprised at how eagerly the other man gave up his seat, and scooted closer to Anika as Marcus brought in a new chair. He acknowledged some of the other players that were still at the table with a smile and a nod, then returned his attention to the woman that had occupied a few of his thoughts lately when he'd had an idle moment.
"Three of us, including the Groom, are sticking around. Some of his deck crew came in and kidnapped Gaither for a bachelor party in another bar somewhere. I think the women in her squadron are having something similar for Kypros, but I don't know."
"Yeah, Bethany told me what they were doing," Anika replied, "and I was asked to come along, but in all honesty I don't know that I could really handle it right now," she found herself admitting to him, and couldn't believe it. "Spoke to Dani earlier and said I might not be real good company, and spend my time nursing a few aches and bruises, but to party on regardless!"
Jake nodded. "It was a hard fought game." He grinned at her and gestured to a scrape on his forearm from where he'd landed on the deck earlier in the tournament. "You gave me a few aches and pains to remember you by, that's for certain!"
I don't think I would have been good company either, they wouldn't have been able to be themselves around me." It was an unfortunate fact of military life, and he wasn't the same sort as Kypros to have no regard for the regulations prohibiting fraternization between officer and enlisted outside of official events.
The pitcher of beer arrived and Marcus took it upon himself to refill everyone's glasses.
“Nothing more than anyone else!” Anika replied quickly, realising it probably sounded a little too quick, so adding, “we treat all the opposition the same,” with a wide smile as she picked up her glass and emptied it before Jake then refilled it.
Jake was pleased to refill her glass, "I'm sure you do." He murmured as he leaned towards her to pour the beer.
Marcus was watching all of this with interest, and nodded as Jake turned to fill his glass. "She's telling the truth, we treated you all the same," he told the Colonel. "The last game was hard fought, but we wanted to win very badly. It would have been the same no matter who we played."
The man was about to say more when a technician in a grease stained pair of overalls came in, obviously looking for Marcus. He made his way over to the Chief and spoke quietly in his ear. Marcus cursed and looked over apologetically at both Jake and Anika. "I'm sorry, but I've got to go. There's something I've got to look at, curse of being the man in charge."
He wasn't nervous about leaving Anika alone with Jake. The woman could look after herself and they were in a public place, but he knew she would pay him back for all the tormenting he'd done tonight. He'd have to check his bunk tonight before getting in it, there might be an unpleasant surprise.
Anika watched Marcus excuse himself and leave. If it hadn’t been for the fact the rest of the team was there still she would have felt a little more nervous, but also much more suspicious of Marcus. She wouldn’t put it past him to try something like this, so obvious to her had been his ribbing, and when he’d made her mark the man through all the matches they played she knew he was pushing her buttons. What she didn’t want to admit to herself that while she would certainly be giving him payback at some point in the future, she was also not going to kill him. She might kill herself, her own body refusing to ignore the facts of who and what he was, and the man being out of uniform not helping any.
She lifted her glass to the team captain along with the rest of the team as they cheered him and he left the bar. She took a long swallow, the cool ale sliding down her throat comfortably as her eyes darted across to Jake. “So how well do you know this Rhys?” she asked as she lowered her glass again and automatically licked the small puff of foam from her top lip.
Jake raised his glass to Marcus in salute of the winning team captain as the other man left the room, but he quickly returned his attention to Anika. There was something about her that attracted him, he'd freely admit it if asked, but how bad the attraction was he couldn't say. She was beautiful, he'd have to be dead not to notice that, but he was just as attracted to the mind behind the pretty package.
He watched her as she licked the foam off her lip, transfixed.
"Rhys?" Jake blinked as he realized she was talking to him, and then what it was she'd said. "Oh, you mean Gaither. I don't know him as well as I do Kypros. I've known her since she reported aboard Vulcan before the attacks. But Gaither's a good man, knows his stuff and takes care of his people. We just promoted him to Chief Petty Officer after Chief Troy was killed in the last attack."
“She’s really missing flying,” Anika noted about Dani, not sure she could go without flying herself. She managed to bite back the automatic comment and dryness the mentions of rank usually brought forth. “So, you’re going to give her away, Bethany was telling me. Is that a ranking thing, or because you’ve known each other for so long?” Anika was curious, not sure if there was some military thing that meant Dani had to have him do this, or what.
"I know she is," Jake's tone was sympathetic. "It's been rough for her these past couple months having to stay behind when everyone else is out there doing what she can't. I know how she feels, I don't get in the cockpit nearly as much as I used to. But at least I get out there every now and again and she doesn't get to at all."
He took a deep sip of his beer and then rested his chin on one hand, watching her. "But once the babies are out she'll have to make a decision about whether she really wants to get back in the cockpit or not."
"I'm giving her away because she asked me to, no other reason." He was deeply honored to perform the task for her. "I think she and Rhys are cobbling together a bunch of different traditions from Virgon and Aerilon for the ceremony and reception."
“It should be interesting,” she agreed, remembering some of the things Bethany had been telling her in the few times they’d had time to talk. Between the final training sessions before the tournament, the flying she’d been doing bringing people to Shangri-la and their own business runs she’d not really kept up with the arrangements – her sister the one who was into this sort of thing.
“I can’t even imagine not being able to fly, let alone then having to make a choice between it and something else,” she muttered, taking another mouthful of beer. It was another big difference between her and her twin. Bethany wanted kids, lots of them, and Anika knew that secretly her sister sometimes wondered if she would ever find a partner who was more than just a mere bedmate.
"I'd been thinking of leaving active duty, before everything went to hell." Jake found himself confessing. "Bridget...my wife and I . -..we'd been talking about having kids. I wasn't sure if I did, but Bridget wanted to and I didn't want to be an absentee dad if we did." Why was he telling her this? It had to be the booze talking.
She looked at him for a long moment. Everyone in the fleet had lost loved ones, especially the military. Many of the crew on the Shangri-la were so much luckier than many others. The mere size of the ship had meant that often the crewmembers had family on board, the whole being employed as the company had found it made for a more stable environment over the long-term and greater loyalty to the ship and it’s operations when it really was ‘home’ to the crew aboard. It was why there were teachers and children among the ship’s compliment, along with the large contingent of passengers from all walks of life.
“Where was she? When the attacks happened?” she asked, the question one that was common.
"Casperon," Jake drained the beer as the memories of that day came back. Not the day of the attacks, but the day the recon photos of the Colony's capital city came back. It had been nuked into a smoldering radioactive crater, there was no way she could have survived. "She was a teacher, loved kids. I like to think that she didn't even realize what happened, that there was a bright flash and everything was over."
Anika nodded, for a moment her heart going out to the man, and silently praying to the ‘ladies’ that indeed that was what had happened for the woman and that she was now settled happily in their embrace. “I hope so too,” she murmured. “Lotta souls set free back then,” she added. The terror and fear on so many people’s face, etched into their being was unforgettable and she pushed down the memories of her own escapes when her ship had been discovered on the surface. There was only so much and so many it could carry and the few times she’s managed to get down and back again when the fleet was trying to rescue as many as it could were times she didn’t want to remember.
Jake nodded, not wanting to remember those dark days but being unable to avoid them entirely. He signaled to the waitress for another round of drinks for the table, to cheers from the others sitting there, and returned his attention to Anika. "That was another reason I didn't go to the bachelor party...too many ghosts."
“Oh? What, memories of your own?” she asked. She hadn’t been sure but Marcus had mumbled something about having ‘the boss’ there might put a cramp in the night, so she’d just thought it was that.
"Yeah, besides not wanting to put a damper on things." Jake leaned a little closer. "Bridget and I met when I was at the academy, we got married right after graduation." He shook his head, not really wanting to talk about it. "Look, why don't we talk about something else rather than old ghosts?"
It was better to look ahead rather than constantly look behind. Three years had passed for him to get to the point where he could say that with a straight face, and he didn't want to backslide.
The booze had him buzzing now, and he couldn't stop looking at her.
The sudden change of subject made it obvious to her that there was a helluva lot of pain still being carried, and no small flame, for his wife. His dead wife, she corrected herself silently. Despite her problem with the military regime she wasn’t impervious to the pain of someone obviously still hurting.
“OK, we’ll talk about the new ghost, also known as the former might of the Avalon’s Pyramid team!” she said, shifting the gears to add a touch of teasing humour to the comment, trying to change the mood in him as he requested. “Definitely took a trouncing today!” A few others of her team who were still around heard the pick up in their conversation, and turned to agree. A few of them held their glasses out to Jake, thanking him for the match and the celebratory drinks, which they were very obviously all enjoying.
He grinned at the applause and hoisted his freshly refilled drink. "A trouncing was it?" he asked humorously, "being beaten in the final game in overtime by one point a trouncing?"
"We'll have a rematch one of these days, and then we'll see who gets trounced."
“Any time!” she laughed, joined and supported by the others. “And no, I guess in comparison to a 32 point thrashing a one point defeat isn’t really a trouncing. More like a mere dakking!”
"A drakking," Jake muttered dubiously, but he went along with it. He took another sip of beer and shifted again so that he was looking at Anika rather than the others.
"You seemed to get a special thrill at blocking me, why was that?" Jake was curious to see if he was imagining things or if she felt a connection too. He was tired of living in the past and he was only human, he wanted to feel alive again.
She was taking a mouthful of beer when he asked and managed to swallow it without spitting it across the table. Just. After finally swallowing it she wiped her mouth and looked at him, now able to do so without blushing too, which had been the threat for a moment there. “Blame that on Skip!” she told him, not lying, as the captain had kept on her case about marking her man - the phrase he used with everyone and the player he directed them to play against, but when he had said it to her he’d always managed to insinuate a tiny different tone into his voice, that she knew was damned well there to prod her.
“I just play for keeps, too” she added, tossing her head a little. “Don’t you?” she asked, head tilted just a little as she arched an eyebrow and studied him.
Jake leaned forward, arching an eyebrow of his own. "Blame it all on Marcus huh?" He wondered what she'd do if he tried to kiss her. Still, buzzed as he was, he wasn't quite that drunk to do it in front of the gods and everyone. There was definitely something there, he could see it in her eyes.
What it was he wasn't sure, but he'd seen something. "I play for keeps, it's the reason I'm still alive." He murmured just loud enough for her to hear. "Do you play for keeps at everything you do?"
“Always,” she told him, holding his gaze without flinching. “It’s the reason I’m still alive,” she added, using his own words to lend weight to her statement. “Cylons ain’t real fussy what ship they shoot at,” she added quietly.
"No, they aren't. The toasters are equal opportunity killers." Jake replied in an equally quiet tone. He'd lost too many good friends to the Cylons over the past three years, not including all the loved ones killed in the Attacks.
Concentrate on the future Jake, not the past. "So you'll be at the wedding tomorrow?" he asked, more to confirm what he'd already gathered than out of any real concern she wouldn't be.
“Yes, I’ll be there,” she confirmed, taking another mouthful of beer and swallowing to wash away the shadows that had started to edge in around her again, grateful for the shift back again. “One o’clock on the dot, and with my dancing shoes on!” she added, knowing that it will take a huge amount of work to be capable of doing even the easiest of dances the next day, given the state of her muscles already after just a few hours of sitting in the bar. .
Jake nodded and filed the information away. "I'll look forward to it," he told her, meaning it. He downed the rest of his beer and flagged the waitress down to pay off his tab.
"If you're ready to head out yourself I'd be happy to walk you back to your cabin if you wanted." he offered.
Anika had just finished the beer in her glass and looked at him for a long moment, then nodded. "Yeah, wouldn't want to get mugged on the way," she rejoined, teasing a
lot little. She wasn't about to admit that the idea was one she'd liked, even to herself. She was doing it to make sure he didn't get lost on the massive ship.
"Sure, got to watch out for muggers and other bad sorts." He played along before he paid off his tab and waited politely for her to do the same before standing and making ready to walk out of the bar with her. Sure she knew her way around the ship, but that didn't mean he couldn't be a gentlemen about it.
Besides, it would be nice to have her to himself for the short time it would take to make the trip.
“Never know on a big ship,” she replied, smiling, continuing the conversation after she’d taken care of the tab. “Where abouts is your cabin?” The crew quarters were in a different area to the main guests decks.
He waved farewell to the other members of Shangri-La's team as they realized he and Anika were leaving, and walked beside her as they exited the bar.
"Ummm....let me check," Jake fumbled with his wallet and pulled out the keycard to his room. The young Colonel peered at it and read the room number. "Deck Five, Section H, room 513." It wouldn't do to admit that he had no clue where that was, so he peered over at Anika, "Whereabouts do you need to go?"
She waved good bye to the team, stage whispering a 'gotta play porter now!' to them and receiving a string of retorts and winks, all in jest. None of them had ever known, or heard of anyone ever reaching ‘base camp’ with Anika, the closest being a kiss on the cheek after a great game. Once or twice a few had tried to start rumours but had then had to deal with a particularly irate Marcus who’d put the stoppers on any of that sort of thing before it got out of hand. So while there were a few eyes following her and the Colonel as they left the bar there was also the wealth of experience that had them all sure that the Colonel was just as likely to join the ranks of those who’d attempted and failed to conquer the slippery slopes of this Jereldsen twin.
“Just about the opposite direction!” she laughed, her thigh feeling the sudden movement was a little unexpected and started to twinge. “Probably better I walk you to your door, that way we won’t have to send out search parties,” she told him, indicating the direction they needed to turn as they reached the end of the corridor.
Jake ignored his own aches and pains that had made their presence known the past two days, and chuckled along with her. "I thought I was supposed to be escorting you, not the other way around." He'd noticed the barbs and winks among the other members of Anika's teammates, but thought nothing of it. Maybe this would go somewhere and maybe it wouldn't , but he'd enjoy the journey nevertheless.
"I've always been able to find my way around as long as I've a map or a compass." He smirked at the memory of the summer after his junior year of high school when he and two friends had been forced to hike out of the Iron Mountains of Canceron after their canoe capsized and was lost in the currents. Those three weeks had been some of the most terrifying of his life before the Colonies fell, but he'd managed to lead his friends to the nearest ranger station and safety.
He turned the corner in the direction Anika indicated, keeping pace with her shorter legs so he didn't move past her.
“Sorry, Guest Services ran outta those a year ago and we tried getting people to return ‘em but seems they like ‘em as souvenirs!” she told him, then giggled a little. “Least that’s what they told me – did you get one in your Guest Kit?” she asked, looking up at him wide-eyed and innocent.
Jake stared at those eyes and felt something lurch inside him. Did she have any idea the effect those eyes had on the opposite sex? She had to, he decided.
"No..." he leaned in toward her and slowed his pace. "Instead I was told I'd have my own personal tour guide, and a very pretty one at that."
“Hmm, you were, were you?” She reached behind him as they stopped, pressing the button on the wall for the lift. “Should I ring Guest Services and find out where they are then?”
"I think she's standing right beside me," he murmured as he leaned against the corridor wall, waiting for the lift to come. Through it all he kept his eyes fixed on her face. "Didn't you get the memo?"
“No, apparently not,” she laughed. “But then I haven’t been back to my cabin yet,” she added, having slept the night in Bethany’s bed after collapsing there after the pick-up runs she’d had to do. “Must be under the door.” She leaned against the wall too, mimicking his posture.
It was on the tip of Jake's tongue to ask where she'd slept the night before, but he thought better of it. Firstly it wasn't any of his business even if he might want it to be. Secondly he didn't want to make her mad at him.
"Guess so..." Jake stared down at her, wondering what he should do next. He was completely out of practice at this sort of thing, having not courted a woman he had just met in more than a decade. "Maybe you should give me a tour of the ship, just so I know my way around. I hear this place has swimming pools..."
“Maybe I should, tomorrow,” she replied, pushing off the wall as the doors slid open. She led the way into the lift and pushed the button for deck 5. “After the wedding, if you like, I can take you on a tour. Have you seen much of the ship before?”
"Not much of it outside the conference center and the wardroom before this week," Jake admitted freely, following her inside the lift and resting his back against the rear of the compartment. He would be in the shower for at least thirty minutes, just letting the hot water sooth the aches and pains away. "When I first became CAG, then later the Admiral's Chief of Staff, I was up to my eyebrows in work getting up to speed. I don't think I took a full day off the first year and a half, and I've mostly stayed on Avalon since.” There had been a few trips to Babylonia when the need became too much, but those had been rare indeed.
"A tour sounds good, after the wedding then." By the time the reception was over he'd be in the mood for some kind of distraction, he was certain that the ceremony and feast afterward would bring back old ghosts with a vengeance.
“Well, you know the saying, all work and no play makes for a very boring life!” she told him, leaning against the wall too. The car came to a stop on its way up, the doors opening and some other guests entering. She moved closer to him, giving them room, as the doors closed again.
"That's why I organized a team for the tournament," Jake replied, moving closer to Anika as the others came into the lift to the point where there was only a hand-span’s distance between them. "We'd all gotten too engrossed in the day to day grind and it was time to change that."
She nodded, not looking up at him. “Need to keep perspective. Might’ve been the end of the world, but not of life, and Pyramid still has to be played!”
He watched her, curious at the reaction. What was she afraid of? Hell, she was Virgonese for crying out loud!
After a moment Jake shrugged and turned his attention to the other passengers. "It's good for morale, same as this wedding. It reminds people that life continues, even as we look for someplace to start over."
She almost didn’t hear him over the internal battle that was taking place in her head at that point. It had started as a bit of turmoil when they entered the lift, and been upgraded to full on conflict when the other passengers had caused her to be standing right next to him. If Marcus had been there he’d have probably been wide-eyed and noticing the difference. Anika normally had no trouble at all flirting, putting on the act, and chatting up any man. Marcus had seen her do it to most of his crew in her ship’s hangar, especially when she needed something done. So if he’d seen this he would have been nodding smugly to himself that he’d been right on the money about how much of an affect this Colonel was having on her.
“We ever gonna find someplace?” she asked, the question having more than one meaning to her, but not to any other listener. The conversation in the lift quieting as all the heads in there turned to look at Jake, waiting for an answer.
"I hope so," Jake replied quietly, sensing that there might be another question behind the one spoken. In either case, it was the only answer he had. "Humanity wasn't meant to live their lives inside metal hulls, we need to get our feet on solid ground again, take walks in the rain and see a sunrise. We're looking, but it seems worlds like the Colonies were few and far between."
She nodded in agreement, as did all those others in the lift as it slowed and stopped at their floor. They filed out, giving the man and woman a smile as they did. As the doors closed again behind them Anika found herself staring at the floor and shook her head, pushing away the memories his words about ‘walks in rain and sunrises’ had stirred up.
“Guess we’re lucky to have the metal hulls to get us there then, huh?” she finally commented once the doors were closed again.
"Definitely," Jake nodded as the lift started up again. He made no move to increase the distance between them. "Once we do though, I don't think I'll be volunteering for space duty again. I've had my fill of it." He'd never expected to spend his entire career in space, and in moments of reflection he'd thought he might like to teach one day. The instructors at TMSA had always had his greatest respect, passing on their knowledge to the next generation of fleet officers. There would be a strong need for qualified instructors once they found a place to call home. That and many other jobs that would need doing.
“What would you do?” she asked, curious, wondering what a high ranking military man does if he’s not working on a battlestar. She looked up at him as she asked, the curiosity over-riding the earlier internal conflict.
"I don't know for sure," Jake admitted honestly. "I'll probably have no choice but to spend some time up in space, but I've thought about maybe teaching. Someone's got to train the next generation. There's always the civilian sector too, it'll be a huge job building a new home from scratch and someone's going to have to manage it."
"I'm too senior to be a test pilot again, but that was fun duty. Wouldn't mind doing that again."
“Someone’s gotta train the new test pilots, don’t they?” she suggested. The lift slowed again as it reached Deck 5 and the doors slid open. This was where the fun started, navigating the corridors of rooms and suites. “If we still have anything left to fly by then of course.”
"Hopefully it won't be that long," Jake said fervently as they started making their way through the maze. "Once we find a habitable planet hopefully there will be enough minerals either in the crust or in an asteroid belt that manufacturing new ones won't be a problem."
There would always be the Cylon threat...and part of Jake thought they were safer in the ships that could jump away at the first sign of trouble than stuck on a planet where they would have to defend a fixed position against all comers.
"As for what I'd do when we do find a planet we can call home...I guess that will depend on the circumstances of the time and where I'm most needed."
“Yeah, guess it will!” She inhaled deeply and mentally shook herself out of the mindset she was slipping into, pushing away memories and nodding. “Can’t see us being able to call anywhere else but here home for a long while, even if we found something real soon!” They wheeled around a corner, stepping aside as a group of revelers, players from another team that had played in the tournament, swarmed around, calling out congratulations when they saw the other two players. “Great match! We’ll be up there next time!” echoed around the corridor as they passed by.
"You never know," was Jake's only comment at Anika's thought about how long they'd be stuck in metal hulls. "Shangri-La doesn't seem like that bad a place to call home, for a starship." There certainly was more cubage for personal pursuits than on a Battlestar!
As the other revelers swarmed around them Jake grinned and nodded. "We look forward to it! You guys played great!"
“Probably the best ship in the fleet for a home,” she admitted once the revelers moved on. “Those who are on Babylonia might wanna argue but…” She shrugged lightly before continuing. “… can’t go swimmin’ in a rain forest over there!”
"Swimming in a rain forest?' Jake arched an eyebrow at that. "I knew the tropical dome has a waterfall, but they let you swim in the pond?" That sounded heavenly.
"Babylonia's not a bad ship, but unless you want to gamble or indulge in recreation of a more carnal nature there isn't much going on there."
“Yeah, they agreed to let people use it for swimming about six months ago when they managed to get the filtration system able to work with a new UV sterilization system. There’s a limit of course, but best time to go is when it’s in its ‘night mode’ as most people go to one of the other domes in daylight mode then.” She was tempted to ask if he’d ever gone looking for Persephone or one of her girls, but decided against it.
Jake nodded thoughtfully, the mind already picturing the possibilities. "It sounds like it would be a fun thing to experience with the right person." He left it at that, not wanting to insinuate anything to a statement that could have been perfectly innocent.
They turned down another corridor and Jake checked his keycard "We're getting closer...I think this is the right corridor."
As she’d mentioned the rockpool she thought about the warm spa that was down there and how good it would feel now, especially on her shoulder and thigh. Bethany was sure to be occupied with Dani and the other ‘girls’ and any final preparations for the wedding, so it might be a good time to go and spend a half hour there or so. “Not bad for a newby,” she teased. “Two more corridors and a left,” she confirmed.
"I've been finding my way around starships since I was a child," Jake informed her with a bit of a smirk. "I think we lived on eight or nine different colonies in ten years as dad was moved from post to post, and we took cruise ships a few times. Then there's been all the time I've spent on ships since joining the fleet. I think I can find my way around, but it's always nice to have help, especially such pretty help."
She didn’t miss the comment and again almost rolled her eyes at herself she was so amused at her reaction, her usual anger and aversion somewhat softened by both the past two days and the copious quantities of beer. “Well, we like to help those in need,” she replied with a grin and a saucy wink. “We’ve not lost too many over the years, but it’s always a sad sight to find a passenger who lost their way and can’t seem to find their cabin. Especially when they’re already suffering another defeat!”
"I can see it now," Jake intoned, taking on the speech patterns of a Fossil Islands surf bum. "'Dude, like, where's my cabin? I'm totally bummed at that last game man, we totally blew it.'"
He chuckled and winked at Anika, "If I'd had a few more beers in me it might have gotten to that point."
His impersonation made her laugh, so close it was. “Only a few more, huh?” She grinned. “And to think we were so close! You know you really should come to the next ‘variety talent quest’ they have here, you’d rock!”
"Well, I don't drink all that often, aside from the occasional glass of ambrosia after a rough day. You know as well as I do that too much booze hurts your reaction time." He left unsaid the reasons for wanting his reaction time to be unimpaired, not wanting to spoil the mood.
At her compliment he puffed up just a bit. "I didn't get the callsign Jester for nothing. I always enjoy making people laugh." Though the incident that had gotten him the nickname had been unintentional...but Anika didn't need to know that.
“Yeah?” She openly studied him for a moment. “Somehow it just doesn’t sort of… match, y’ know? Jester and Colonel Mackenzie. One sounds like fun, the other?” She shrugged. She didn’t think she needed to explain what she thought of the military and its restrictions.
"I haven't always been 'Colonel Mackenzie', Anika," Jake shrugged. "At the start of the war I was just 'Captain Mackenzie', one of several Viper squadron CO's. I went from Captain to Major to Colonel in less than eight months. It wasn't an easy transition. The 'Colonel' as an XO, either of a Battlestar or as an Admiral's alter ego, has to have a certain reputation among their subordinates - at least as far as his public persona is concerned. I heard a great quote from one of my father's friends...'if the crew doesn't hate the XO then he isn't doing his job.'" He was a bit surprised at how open he was being with Anika, but she was a civilian. There was no conflict with the chain of command or worries about gossip getting back to the rest of the crew.
"I'm not sure I completely agree...but it's my job to be the heavy sometimes so the Admiral doesn't have to be."
“That sucks.” She didn’t really know how long it took for any of those promotions and therefore wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or not. After the attacks there’d been a lot of ‘rearranging’ on all levels as their world was blown away and their lives turned upside down. “So, up there, with the Admiral, how do you ever get to have any fun? If every except her are you … subordinates?” She suddenly had a thought and her eyes widened a little as she looked at him sideways. Were he and the Admiral… ?
Jake caught that look and immediately shook his head. "Oh no...get that particular thought out of your head right now. The Admiral and I have become friends, of sorts, over the past few years, but that's all." He wanted to stomp on that idea and bury it as quick as he possibly could. That path led to insanity, in his opinion. Besides, how could a person ever have a romantic relationship with one's boss and not have it end in disaster?
"The Commanders of Avalon and Pacifica outrank me, and I guess you could call the XO's of those ships my peers. I still have friends in the airgroups, and then there's Jilleen- Major Simmons- we've known each other since the Academy. I guess the relationship between us is kind of like that of you and Marcus, except that now I'm her boss."
It was a lonely existence at times, which in addition to mourning the loss of Bridget was one of the reasons Jake had buried himself in his work for so long.
His quick dousing of the idea worked and she gave him a wry smile. “Sorry, just … yeah. Still, you know what they say about all work and no play. That can be just as bad for reflexes as too much booze.” She also snickered at the idea of her being Marcus’ boss. That was something she didn’t think would go down real well with the Shangri-la’s chief and she told Jake that as they turned the last corner into the corridor his cabin was on. “Though the thought of telling Marcus to ‘tighten her up’ a little would be interesting!” referring to her ship.
"I can imagine," Jake chuckled. "I've given myself time off, it's just usually been spent on Avalon. Though now that I've seen a hint of what Shangri-La has to offer I'll have to get over here more often."
They walked down the corridor in comfortable silence until they reached the hatch to his cabin. "Room 513, this is the place." He inserted the keycard in the slot and the hatch slid open with a barely audible whine from the mechanical servos.
The Colonel turned to look at his tour guide. "Thanks for the conversation and the guide, you helped me find it faster than I would have on my own."
“Anytime,” she replied, smiling. She was about to salute him but didn’t want it taken the wrong way, so just tilted her head instead. “Sweet dreams, and I guess I’ll see you at the wedding tomorrow!”
"I look forward to it," Jake replied earnestly. "Pleasant dreams Anika, rest up so you can wear yourself out dancing tomorrow." He smiled at her and then stepped through the hatch. It would be time for a shower and then to bed.
"You're on!" she told him with a laugh, grimacing inside as her thigh twinged louder than before now it had stopped and was able to make itself felt. Think the rockpool hotspring is the next stop in that case!