Soup & Stories
Location: Officer's Mess
Timeline: PCH 15 - 1415 Hours
The day so far had definitely been long, having gone over the records of each member of the Air Group after all took some time. She knew all about the old Achilles Air Group but quite a few pilots had now been added to her command and wanted to know as much as possible about them as well. As she walked into the mess she mostly noticed strange faces, some of the Achilles had also been transferred but those were few and far between. After grabbing lunch she noticed one face that she did recognize, the ship’s XO. Alethea walked to her table. “Colonel, mind if I sit here?”
Amaris looked up from her bowl of soup after being addressed and met the eyes of the new CAG. The woman had only been promoted that morning and she hadn't had time to get to know her yet. She had, of course, studied her service record thoroughly. She didn’t respond for a moment, taking time to examine the other woman’s disposition and uniform. “Please do.” she responded simply, a slight smile forming on her face as she indicated the open table.
Alethea nodded and sat down at the table. She had of course heard things about the Colonel and the kind of environment she mostly made her career in. Alethea had never met Admiral Cain but she had heard plenty of stories. In life however, she had learned to never take stories and first impressions and stick with them. After taking a bite from her sandwich she looked back up at Amaris. “I don’t think we have been properly introduced yet beyond the meeting.” She said. “Captain Alethea Graystone” She added, extending a hand.
The last several weeks hadn’t been good to Amaris when it came to her personal feelings and she felt an increased desire for solitude. The need to be social at the moment caused her some strain and she was reminded that she could simply leave if she chose to. She knew, however, that it was important for her to get to know the crew; the new CAG was a good place to start. She offered a smile that was quite rare and far more delicate in its beauty than many would expect. She was normally so cold, her expression now almost made her look...human.Colonel Amaris Kendall.” she said, shaking the woman’s hand. Everyone was so terrified of her that no one else had considered sitting with her in the mess at the very least, let alone touching her. It felt nice.
“How’s your first day on the job?” she asked, picking up her spoon again.
Alethea admittedly was a bit surprised by the smile herself, though it was a nice surprise to be sure. “It’s been eventful certainly, but not in a bad way. Though I imagine I will need to insist on discipline a lot more than I am used to with some of the pilots” She replied before taking another bite.
“Yes, they seem a very…” Amaris began, spooning some of the hot liquid. “distracted group of pilots.” she said, lifting the spoon into her mouth. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a table of crewmen inclined in their direction. Clearly, someone eating with the XO was a spectacle in her case, even if it was a senior staff member. Their eyes made her feel alone; like a monster who shouldn’t have company. She looked over at them with her typical cold expression and they all turned away as soon as they saw it. She returned her attention to Alethea. “Kilmartin seemed very good at barking them down, but I notice he didn’t have them in shape before today, so I wonder.” she said next. “What are you planning on doing about it?”
Alethea glared at the table of crewmen, it seemed her department wasn’t the only one that needed to learn respect for proper command structures. “Honestly, I’m still figuring it out. My old CAG back on the Orion would ground them until they learned a lesson but we can’t exactly lose pilots. I’m probably going to keep the primary troublemakers under close supervision and set those acting properly as an example for the rest” She said, in her mind working out how to exactly make it happen before she realized she was basically rambling at this point. “I keep going on about the Air Group though, I imagine you aren’t exactly having an easy time either with the rest of the ship after everything. How has your day been?”
There were many crew aboard who knew her and respected her with more than fear, but all of them respected her from a distance. That’s what happened to Kendall’s. Everyone in the family except Darius had that happen. He, on the other hand, was a magnet for people. She suspected he would be in the middle of whatever trouble the CAG would have; he had a way of floating into chaos. “My hay hasn’t been any more challenging than any other.” she responded, not really answering the question. “There’s lots of paperwork and brainstorming in this role; two things I’m very good at. Another part of my role is ship discipline.” she continued, looking at the woman across from her. “Don’t be afraid to use me as a resource. Our service department would be glad to teach some of your pilots how to scrub the waste tanks.”
Alethea smiled at the thought. “Now that would be something nice to see, I might invoke that back-up.” She replied before taking a sip of water. “So you served under Admiral Cain right? That must have been an educational experience”
“I did.” Amaris responded, knowing that many people had mixed feelings about her father’s band of razors, most famous of which was Helena. “I served aboard the Pegasus for a four year tour before I came here. I was tactical officer, and then Officer of the Deck.” she said, remembering with a slight grin. “Helena was like a sister to me. My father practically adopted her after the Cylon War. She was something like a big sister to me.” she looked into the middle distance for a moment, still.
“That definitely must have been nice, I could have used a few stable personalities like the Admiral in my past” Alethea responded. The stories she had heard about Cain were quite different from Amaris’ experiences though the latter did make sense. One could never truly be the monster scuttlebutt implied. “I take it military was where you always envisioned yourself going?”
Amaris grinned even wider. “In my house, there weren’t many other options, Captain.” she said. “My father was very insistent about that from an early age. Darius rebelled by becoming a viper pilot and slacking off. Two of my other brothers chose completely different careers. Dad was always disappointed in them. To think, he had failure sons; one was a Doctor, the other was Attorney General in the Tauronese Government.”
Alethea’s eyes widened. “How different families can be, my father always envisioned me as taking over the company. I think he considered disowning me when I made clear I was going to join the Colonial Fleet instead. But so Lieutenant Kendall likes to slack off, eh? Definitely good to know”
“He does. Don't let him.” she responded. “What about you, Captain? Why did you join Fleet instead of making lots and lots of money?”
“I will definitely keep that in mind” Alethea said with a smile, one that disappeared as the question that she should have expected followed. “I was originally set to inherit the company and the fortune from my father, I did an apprenticeship under him but being in that position gave me access to data. Company records. I saw what Graystone Industries had done and how they created the frakking toasters in the first place. It was too much so I gave up the apprenticeship and became the mean girl I’m sure most of the crew has seen in tabloid. This changed when on a night out I saw some officers at a bar. They were so happy yet strong, I started talking with some of them and realized just how powerful an institution the Colonial Fleet is. That night I signed up, first as the ultimate act of rebellion but once I was in. The Fleet has become a new family, it’s made me in the person I am now. They could offer me the keys to Graystone Industries if it still existed tomorrow and I would refuse” She explained, having gone on much longer than she anticipated.
Amaris listened actively, clearly taking in what the other woman was saying and nodding her understanding. She wondered how far the rebellious streak had gone; she’d never been much into tabloids. Additionally, she wondered if it was still a compulsion for the woman. “But you didn’t just join the fleet, you became a Viper Pilot.” Amaris responded. “Why did you choose that instead of a route more suited to what someone would expect from a Greystone. Maybe you’d be good at computers?”
Alethea had to consider the question for a second, she had never really thought about it. “I guess, perhaps because it would be the expected direction. If I had pursued something in the direction the company was in I likely still would have received advantages on the way there by virtue of my name. Becoming a Viper pilot meant fighting for every assignment and every promotion. I guess I wanted that fight rather than have something handed to me. If that makes any sense”
“I don’t think that being in those roles means one gets special treatment.” Amaris said, furrowing her brow for a second, and then backing off again. “But I take your point. So, it wasn’t for any particular love of flying that you decided to get in the cockpit?”
“Oh no, I just meant that my name would grant me special treatment in those roles, not that the roles are given special treatment” Alethea corrected herself. “Not at first, though as I learned to use them and appreciate the defiance of nature itself that is being able to master spaceflight in a vehicle so small and doing so safely. It is one of the reasons I’ve grown to love the Mark 2s and 3s even if I don’t use them, there is just something about the manual control.” Despite not having planned to become this fond of flying, she nevertheless had become as passionate about spacecraft as any other pilot.
Fame and notoriety because of the work of their parents was a trait she and Amaris seemed to share. Amaris found some silent comfort in the knowledge that there was at least one other person onboard who had also finally escaped their parent’s long shadow. She listened as she scooped the last bit of soup into her mouth. Once she had swallowed, she picked up her glass of water and finished it in one sitting. “Let me know if you need anything.” Amaris said, looking at the CAG directly. The statement was unusually open ended for her.
By now Alethea had come to the conclusion the stories about Amaris had been blown out of proportion, sure she definitely was a person committed to the military way, but for fraks sake they were a military. “Thank you Colonel, I will” She replied with a smile. She was definitely starting to warm up to the Solaria.
Amaris nodded, silently and expressionlessly content with the conversation. She felt that a small connection had been made. Just as she was about to speak, however, the watch on her arm rang out with a quiet alarm. Reaching her small brown hand over to it, she deactivated the noise and looked back to her conversational partner. “I’ve got to get back to paperwork, Captain.” she said “it never ends.” with that, she lifted herself up to a standing position and picked up her tray. Before she stepped away, however, she turned back toward the CAG and offered a very subtle grin. “This was...nice.” she said, and then turned to leave.
“It never does indeed” Alethea replied, witnessing the Colonel get up. She responded to the grin with another smile. “Yes it was, Colonel. We should do it more often. Good luck with the papers” She replied.