Location: The Temple
Description: Designed to house sixteen officers in some minimum of space and privacy, this is the barracks for the 221st Fighter Squadron. Bunk alcoves and locker banks alternate along the walls, with privacy screens for the bunks retracting in front of the lockers when not in use. The bunk alcoves themselves are perhaps two and a half meters long and a meter deep, certainly not an arrangement for the claustrophobic. In the center of the room, a pair of sofas and a pair of chairs have been secured to the floor around a small table. A small hallway off to the rear of the room leads to a small bathroom and communal shower, while a door to port opens into a small private stateroom for the squadron commander.
Xiang looks like she's just recently come off duty, as she's still in her uniform dress. Sans boots, which have been deposited neatly in her bunk. She's digging around in that particular bunk at the moment, as if looking for something, though her privacy screen is open.
A handful of other squadronites recently relieved from duty trickle into berthings, making their noise where they go. Aquilina has a heavy duffel over his shoulder and a cigarette trailing smoke back through the hatchway, leaving a 'footprint' of acrid gray. As he approaches his own bunk, which already has some of his things jammed into it, he glances over his shoulder at the woman rooting through her things. Pilot's luck, the glance will catch her backside.
Xiang is digging around in her bunk in search of some object or other. She's still in her duty uniform, sans boots, so she's probably just come off for the day. Aquilina, and whatever part her anatomy he might be looking at, is not immediately noticed. "Where in the hell…?" she mutters to herself absently, bending down for better rooting. She finally finds her quarry, stuffed under her mattress. It's a thick book on flight tactics. Something of a letdown probably, given the effort she was putting into her search.
And just like that, a moment later, the scene repeats itself. Korsakov strides into the barracks, one duffel on his back, another in his hand, and a burning cigarette bobbing lightly on his lips. He pauses, surveying the room quickly before heading over to one unoccupied alcove, off in the corner away from the door and not far from the head. Perfect. Kor tosses his bags roughly down on the bunk, not paying the room's occupants any mind for the moment.
Thump. The duffel lands on Alex's bunk. As loudly as a duffel can possibly land on a bunk. He reaches across the mattress for the ashtray already there, holding some old butts from earlier in the day or last night. Smoke's blown off towards the wall and he nods towards the book that tried to flee. "That the one on evasive maneuvers?" Ash flicked into tray. He can see someone else moving around over there, sort of, but not their face.
It's the faint scent of smoke that makes Xiang look up, nose faintly wrinkled. But it's apparently common enough in the bunks that she restrains herself from commenting on it. She looks up at Aquilina, nodding. "That would be the one, yes. I want to review O'Dell's write-up on evasive techniques." She admits, somewhat ruefully, "The sims kicked my ass this afternoon." Kor and his abuse of his bag make her look in that direction. The captain's presence makes her stand up a little straighter.
Xiang's words draw a quick glance from Korsakov, just in time to notice the female pilot stiffen slightly at his presence. His lithic facial expression cracks slightly as he chuckles under his breath. "It's not a srany parade ground, Lieutenant. Stand at ease." Max turns back to the bunk and his discarded duffels. "I'm just moving in."
"O'Dell had such a hard-on for chaff techniques you'd think he had a deployer shoved up his ass," Alex replies, flicking ash off the cigarette again. About to say something else, he's distracted by her straightening up for a superior. Which he doesn't mirror. Especially not after hearing that particular voice, which makes him wave smoke away from his eyes and squint in that direction. "What the fuck? Max?"
Xiang relaxes. Actually leaning against the wall of her bunk, to be extra-at-ease. "Yes, sir," she says to Korsakov. She chuckles at Aquilina's words. "He does get tunnel vision in places but his views on evasive flight patterns are worth a look…" She might have more to say but trails off, shifting a look between the men.
With Xiang's response, Korsakov gives a slight nod and turns back to his bunk. He stiffens, though, as he hears a voice behind him. He turns around to regard the second speaker, and his eyebrows fly up as he stares at Aquilina, his cigarette burning placidly all the while. "Alex," he says finally, his brow furrowing in surprise. "You bourgeois son of a bitch." His tone is sharp, but there's no real venom there, only surprised musing.
Aquilina smirks at the greeting. "Come on, Princess, that's no way to say hello. I haven't fucked the proletariat in years, pinky swear." Likewise, there's not a shred of malice. He's even grinning a tad, for what the expression is worth on his face. "I didn't know you were here. Hell, I didn't know you even passed flight school." A glance at the pips. "…Cap."
And in through the hatch with boots thunking is a shorter, more estrogen-laden colleague of the new arrival. "You know Max… I was -trying- to ask that nice Lieutenant about the location of the-" The words are a mix of different untracable accents that probably have a mishmash of eastern european origins. Her soprano stops short when she looks up, though. Dark eyes glance between the other two occupants with a quirked brow. "Good evening. I think. What time is it on this boat?" The bags over her shoulders look heavy but she doesn't seem to be in any hurry to throw them anyplace, either.
"I take it you two know each other?" Xiang asks Aquilina and Kor both. Somewhat wryly. Their acquaintance is obvious. "What's all this about fucking the proletariat?" She manages to make the word 'fucking' sound almost prim. Almost. There's a hint of dry humor in her tone. Though the arrival of Markovic makes her blink again. "Well. Welcome to the Illuminati. Everyone."
Melia saunters into the Temple, looks rather surprised at the amount of people gathered here. She's dressed in combat bottoms, and her tank tip her own boots sounding loud on the decking. "Hiya kids." She drawls, apple half way to her lips, she takes a huge bite, then leans against the door eyeing up the new arrivals or would that be sizing them up.
Korsakov's stony facade finally shatters completely, and he utters a growly laugh in Aquilina's direction. "Sharp as ever, eh?" Korsakov's accent, for its part, is total St. Petersburg. "Yes. I passed. Somehow." A small, sarcastic smirk accompanies a heavy Slavic shrug. His reunion, however, is interrupted as Markovic comes up behind him. "Try to keep up, Dejana," he admonishes the other pilot softly as he starts pulling things out of his bags. "Old joke," he replies tersely to Xiang a moment later. There's a quick look from Aquilina to Markovic before he continues his multifaceted conversation. What a multitasker. "I thought I was leaving Earth behind. Seems half the people I know followed me out here."
A few seconds later, Korsakov stiffens at the sound of a new voice. Curiously, he turns to look, and frowns slightly, advancing towards the entrance. "Kids?" He raises a bushy eyebrow at Melia; there's no visible rank on the woman's outfit, but she looks like a marine, not a pilot. Curious. "You are?"
"I didn't follow you anywhere." Alex turns to put his back against the bunk edge, leaning back against it. "Conspiracy, that's what this shit is." He seems to remember the rest of the room now, partly recovered from some covered shock, brushing the side of his thumb past his nose with a head motion at Xiang that might mean 'sorry', or something. "Old days. Long story, he wore the dress." His pale eyes flick to the hatchway and the two other arrivals.
"Kiss my ass, Maxim." Markovich nods once to Xiang. "Many thanks, Lieutenant. Been here long, yourself?" The blonde finally moves herself past the hatchway and over towards the bunks. One of the empty ones gets a quick sniff from her and a one-shoulder shrug. One after the other, her flight bag and personals get tossed up onto the top bunk near Xiang's. Baggage tossed, she extends a hand to Xiang. "Captain Dejana Markovic." Her voice is quiet, friendly. With the call from the hatch, she stops and casts an expectant look to Melia.
Xiang turns her eyes to Melia. A polite nod is offered to the Marine, though those eyes also narrow a touch. Puzzled. "Lance Corporal." Her tone is cordial. Rather formal, but it's hard to tell if that's habitual for her or anything in particular aimed at Melia. "Is there…something you're looking for in our bunks?" She looks down at her stocking feet, as if just remembering she's not 'fully' dressed, though otherwise she's still in her duty uniform. In her confusion, she's thrown off introducing herself just yet.
Melia takes another bite of the apple. "Who are any of us." She says with a mithless smile. "I mean we all ask, who am I, what am I doing here. What is the meaning of my existance." She's being very thoughtful for a marine, as all eyes turn on her she pauses her lips and gives another grin. "Oh pardan me." She finally says to Xiang. "I just needed something from the CO's bunk." She says pointingto Picketts room off the main area. "And I came to meet all you fresh new people, I was hoping for rookies." she sighs suffering. "They are so easy to get a raise out of…Alass I'm Melia Yama, Lance Corporal, Platoon's Engineer." She seems rather proud of this.
"Not a good omen if the CO's sending around crewman like fetchit monkeys, is it." Aquilina's lips pull back from teeth in a smirked grin. "Least I hope you're not just going around shoplifting, cause last I heard that was still illegal." He drags a drag off the cigarette, ash drifting idly to the floor unnoticed.
"Lance Corporal Yama." Korsakov's thick accent deepens as he stops somewhere near the marine. The cigarette is removed from his mouth so he can speak clearly. "I am Captain Maxim Korsakov. I am to be executive officer of Illuminati squadron." His head moves slightly in Xiang's direction; clearly, it's meant just as much as an introduction for the room at large. Those that don't know him already, anyway. "I would remind you that the 'rookies' you speak of are pilots — and officers, Corporal." His eyes narrow. "And I can assure you that you do not want to… 'get a rise'… out of me." Korsakov flicks his wrist, and ash tumbles to the floor. "Your presence here is not unwelcome, and I certainly won't interfere if you are doing something for the CO. But…" At this point, he fixes his eyes on hers, going for her full attention. "If you — or anyone else, for that matter — disrespects my pilots to my face again, I will skin them alive." His head tilts to one side, and his tone softens. Lecture over. "Am I understood?"
"Too Nietzschian for me," Markovic sighs, shaking her head. "What are they teaching Marines these days, Maxim?" Her faux-depression drawing the words into the dramatic as she looks to the other Captain. "Next thing you know they will be shoving the 'God is Dead, so kill as many as you like' mantra down their throats. Unhealthy, I tell you. Unhealthy." Her accent only plays to the mock-serious tone she carries. But Maxim is on an enlisted gettin' his hide-chomp on so the blonde falls silent in his direction. Her good humor seems to fade towards something a little sour before she looks to Xiang again. "Anyway. Hello."
"He doesn't…usually," Xiang is quick to defend her CO to Aquilina, though Melia's presence obviously still puzzles her. "Well, all right then, Lance Corporal. And I'll make certain to inform Major Pickett you came by his bunk." She seems reluctant to take it any further than that, as there are higher ranking pilots in the room. She appears to like Korsakov's words, however. Though it's difficult to tell. She keeps her expression carefully schooled. "Oh. Hello, sir." Xiang's tone is rather abashed as she turns to Markovic. "I apologize for my rudeness but I was…distracted." She stands up a notch straighter. "First Lieutenant Xiang Jia, sir. Welcome aboard."
Melia goes to look over towards Aquilina, her smile deepening just slightly. "Oh trust me I don't fetch and carry for the Major, that's what you guys are for." She gives a low chuckle, then turns serious as the Captain Korsakov starts to address her. An elegant brow is lifted and her slightly Asian eyes widen a little as he goes on, she tilts her head to the side giving him her ear, before she aha and nods her head. "Your giving me a lecture." She says, going to look all business like. "Your'll have to excuse me sir." She says. "Dumb marine, took a minute to register." She says giving him a hopless look. "I see, I see, right." She says at the right intervals "No sir, of course sir…And Sir I'd like to see you try and skin me sir" She says, with just a hint of smugness in her tone. She looks towards the others. "They teach us how to get your asses off a rock and from behid enermy lines, remember that next time you get your asses shot down, with respect sirs. Now I aint giving the best inpression here, but get use to see me around here." She shoots Xiang a smile. "You do that sir!" She adds. "Now if you guys, need anything let me know, I aint into all this pilots Vs Marine shit, we're all fighting the same war, so you need anything let me know I've been on this pile of bolts since she got refitted a few years ago, so I know her well."
Aquilina is looking more amused by the milisecond at the 'conflict', if one can call it that. It only manifests in a smirk and then he's back to his cigarette, looking over at Markovic and flicking a two-fingered salute that way. Then to Xiang, who's actually closer that loud-voice distance, he nods. "Xiang, you said? Alex Aquilina, 1st Lieutenant." He offers the hand that isn't holding a cigarette. Which is his left, but whatever.
"I don't have to do anything on your say-so, Corporal." Korsakov's 'officer voice' is back, and he rewards Melia's cheek with a deep scowl. Yeah, there were other people talking to him, but he's sort of distracted at the moment, obviously. "You are not on a planet, and you are not behind enemy lines. You. Are. In. My. Barracks." His accent continues to thicken as he speaks. "As such. You will keep a civil and respectful tongue in your head while you are here. Or I will remove it. So, again. Am I understood, Corporal?" A craggy brow lifts skyward. "I strongly suggest that the next words from your mouth are 'Yes sir' and we can leave it at that."
Dejana taps a pair of fingers lazily to her brow, lips quirking into a quick smile with Xiang's greeting. She falls quiet again, waiting for Melia to finish. She has her own sort of bemused expression. Eyes flick between the two as they discuss the matter of an enlisted having open access to an officer's quarters. She decides its not her fight and cuts a quick smile to Aquilina and Xiang. "So where are you two from? And do either of you know if this ship is wet?" AKA: Can we have booze here?! If she's listening in on Korsakov getting his anger on anymore, she doesn't seem to pay much attention.
Xiang stares at Melia. Her own Asian eyes are very wide and puzzled at all of that. She takes a deep breath, lets it out slowly, and leaves the Marine to be handled by her superiors. Her expression is tight with disapproval, however. But she smooth it as she turns back to Aquilina. "Pleasure," she says, still rather formal, but she smiles slightly at him. She reaches out and clasps his hand, grip firm by brief. "Yes. You can call me Jia if you like. Verdict is my call sign, but we aren't on duty at the moment." The call sign is admitted in a rueful sort of way. To Markovic she replies with a faint smirk, "The First and Last serves as our 'bar' of sorts, sir. I can show you where it is later, if you like. I've been posted here about three months. I was on space station recon duty prior to that." She makes every effort not to look at the dressing down Kors is giving Melia, though she's undoubtedly listening to it.
Melia seems to consider this for a moment, as she looks towards the CO's room and items she's needing from there they'll learn soon enough… "For the sake of the Major, I'm going to have to be cival, so yeah I can give you a Yes sir." She says then looks towards the others, she flickers her eyes to Dejana. "Bar is open and has usual stock of stuff, just make sure your sober for duty…We have a card game every wednesday also, feel free to drop by." She says her eyes going to turn back to the Captain, waiting for his next comments.
For the moment, Melia's acquiescence is mollification enough for Korsakov, and he nods curtly, his eyes still narrowed to slits. Stubborn as hell he may be, he just doesn't have the energy to continue any further. "Very well, Corporal. That will do. For now. Carry on." There's warning in his tone, but for the moment, he's done. The cigarette comes back up to his lips. "Thank you for the invitation," he adds in that gravelly voice a moment later.
"A bar, on this bucket? Good for them, finally figured out Russians can't fly for shit when they're sober," Aquilina smirks and shakes Xiang's hand, likewise brief before it's withdrawn. "Alex, if you want. 'Torch'." His callsign also goes unexplained, as he glances at Korsakov with a smirk and then back to Markovic. "TCS Orlando. Also known as the TCS Marlboro because it smoked so damn much. Didn't catch your name, sir."
Markovic nods in approval to Xiang, a single nod for Melia and she looks back to the aznpilot. "Everyone calls me Needles." She pronounces it 'Neeeduhls' with that accent. "Just finished a tour of duty via the Naval Academy with the Captain over my shoulder. We used to teach fighter weapons up at Saint Johns." There's a big smile on her face at Alex's remarks about Russians. "You, my young friend, are wise beyond your years. Captain Dejana Markovic." A hand extends to him, then.
Melia goes to wonder off towards Picketts, bunk she's in there for a few minutes noises can be heard and swearing. She's lost something, a few minutes later she return going back to the group at large. "Welcome onboard btw the Major is on a CAP I'm sure he'll want to meet you all when he gets back." She checks her watch. "In about an hour."
"Did the two of you also serve together previously?" Xiang asks Aquilina. "You and the Captain there, I mean." Her question is accompanied by a respectful nod in Korsakov's direction.
At Alex's comment about Russians, Korsakov merely rolls his eyes and mutters something in said language under his breath. It sounds at least vaguely insulting, though the words aren't quite audible. He nods to Melia as she reemerges from the Major's quarters. "Thank you, Corporal," he says cordially, almost as if their little spat hadn't happened. "I look forward to it." With that, he turns away from his bunk, advancing towards the other pilots. Unpacking will just have to wait for now.
"Knew him a long time ago," Alex answers Xiang, simply enough. "Before he knew what a uniform was. God, they grow up so fast." He wipes the tip fo his pinky by the outer corner of his right eye. Then to Markovic, "Good to meet you, sir. Going to be doing any training up here?" To the departing Melia he nods.
Melia debates weather or not to hang around seeing her first impression was perhaps not the best, she gives em all a little one handed waves. "I'm off down to the First and Last, for a few rounds of pool, if anyone want to join me feel free." She says.
Markovic nods to Melia. "Thank you, Lance Corporal. We look forward to meeting this Major as well." There's some unspoken question that she looks like she has, but leaves it alone for now. Her attention falls back towards Alex and the question posed towards him. "Yes, I noticed some banter there when I shoved myself through the hatch." Her arm lifts and hangs off the edge of her bunk. There's a flickered wave to Melia and that's about it. To Alex: "Nyet. I think my days of changing diapers and wiping snot are over. For now. Back to the combat for me, personally."
Xiang inclines her head shortly to Melia as she goes, her attention on the pilots. Korsakov, in particular. "Pardon me, sir, I don't believe we've been properly introduced. I'm First Lieutenant Xiang Jia and you're very welcome aboard the Majestic." She clearly approves of her new superior.
Korsakov accepts Xiang's hand with a slight smile. "Spasebo. Captain Maxim Stepanovich Korsakov, callsign Hammer." He nods to the other pilot. "Pleased to meet you." There's a sidelong glance at Dejana, and Korsakov snorts in agreement. "It's good to be back with a combat squadron, I will say."
Melia leaves, heading towards the TCSF Officers [O].
Melia has left.
"You sure that's what you're with, Max?" Aquilina asks Korsakov. His pale eyes have followed Melia out the door, turning a bit chillier once she's gone. "Because - and pardon me, sir…" That goes to Markovic, first. "…-but that's no shit I've ever seen before that didn't end with someone taking a serious timeout."
Markovic seems content to let them exchange courtesies with her own input. With the XO's sidelong look, she cuts the man a quick wink shared between friends. With Alex's words there is a soft snort and shake of her head. "If you want to offend my sensibilities, Mister Torch, it will take more than cold words." There's a smile as the words roll off her tounge. She looks to Max for his thoughts, though.
"My callsign is Verdict, sir," Xiang informs Korsakov with that same mild touch of wryness. "But we're out of the cockpit now, so you don't have to call me that." Really. You don't have to. She makes that very clear. His hand is clasped briefly, firmly and dropped. Her dark eyes follow Melia out of the room, smile fading from her face. "I do thank you for dealing with that, Captain. But I do feel I must make you aware of…that is…" She trails off, lips twisting and nose wrinkling as she seems to search for a way to put…whatever she's trying to put into words. Or she just smells something icky.
Korsakov sighs heavily, shaking his head. "I don't know what just happened," he says to Alex. "But I do know that someone is going to have a major problem if it happens again." Max frowns. "I do not enjoy repeating myself." A browraise is directed at Xiang. "Verdict?" he asks curiously. The question is left aside, though, as she continues, and that craggy eyebrow creeps up once more. "Speak freely, Lieutenant. When we're off duty, I expect all of my pilots to do so."
Aquilina pauses at Xiang's hesitation. Wait for it. He snorts quietly, asking in an unserious tone as he ashes the dying cigarette. "What, is she fucking the CO?" He didn't mean that. Really he didn't.
Locke arrives from the TCSF Officers.
Locke has arrived.
Markovic is the pillar of strength. Nothing phases her. Evar. So when Alex mentions fucking the CO, she snickers. "Oh, Lord-" she crosses herself quickly "-say it is not so. Not in combat. Max, you remember when Lieutenant Commander Forrester back at Saint Johns got caught plowing that ejection seat tech? The E-2?" She begins laughing some more, head shaking. The last few words might be hard to understand through the accent and her oh-so-serious giggles.
Xiang takes a deep breath. "I haven't been here long, sir, and I'm not one for gossip, so I can't to the specificities of their…relationship…" She clears her throat delicately at Aquilina's little input. A shrug. That's not how she was going to put, it clearly, but it's not so much disputed. "…I've noticed the Lance Corporal spends a great deal of time in Major Pickett's bunk." It's just kind of put out there as an observation. He can draw whatever conclusions he likes from it. She tries, very hard, not to smirk at Mark's story. But she fails.
Stepping into the room silently as he always prefers to do, the spook continues his rounds, getting intimate with the interior design layout of the ship. After all, if he was blinded for some odd reason, he should be able to navigate the ship without sight and by sound, and knowing the distance between doorways is always a good start. The scared face man makes no notice of the converstations being had by the pilots. He stands near the door way taking in the sight of the room.
"Bozhe moi." Korsakov snorts derisively, taking a pull from his cigarette as he nods to Markovic. "Da, I remember. They tossed him off the flightline so fast, he still has the skidmarks." There's another weary-sounding sigh. "I will not stick my nose into my CO's business on my first day aboard. If there is something illicit going on between them…" He shrugs. "… someone will find out sooner or later. Those types of relationships do not end well." Engrossed in the conversation and facing away from the hatch, there's no indication Korsakov notices Locke's entrance.
Aquilina eyes Xiang for a while after she comes out with that. His eyes shift to Markovic, then Kors, then back to Xiang, then upwards. To the ceiling he asks, loudly. "What, is she going to walk back in with a million dollars with my name on it?" Pause. He looks at the door and spots…! Locke. Disappointedly, "Shit."
Markovic's smile deepens with Korsakov's remarks about the commander. "True, but damn it was funny. He was so mad when those photos appeared on the internet? Then the Navy couldn't ignore it. The endless mileage of jokes at his expense would make the best comedian cry." As the other Captain's mood turns more serious, she allows the smile to fade away and there is a simple nod. "Wise choice, my friend." Alex's dissapointed use of Code Brown gets a glance from Dejana. "Something we can do for you, sir?" she calls to the man in the doorway.
Xiang nods to Korsakov. "That seems prudent, sir," she says simply. She doesn't immediately notice Locke's entrance, either. He's quiet, and her attention is on the other pilots. When Markovic draws her attention to him, however, she glances in that direction. "Oh, Lieutenant Commander. Good evening, sir. Is there something we can do for you?"
Fresh out of post-mission debriefing, Pickett wanders his way along into his squadron's bunkroom, taking a little glance around as he makes his way through the door. Whether it's in search of new faces, or missing ones, that he doesn't seem to be telling. "Evening, Illuminati" he greets the squadron simply.
Korsakov nods to Xiang, but says nothing else on the subject. Another harsh chuckle erupts from his lips, this time to Markovic. "Remember Lieutenant Chen? The little pizda had enough jokes to make a comedy routine." At the sound of a 'sir' being directed to someone new, Korsakov turns away from Dejana and starts as he sees Locke standing there. He straightens slightly, offering Locke a nod. "Commander." The taciturn Russian pilot offers nothing past that, though, as yet another person arrives. Korsakov puts out his cigarette before he approaches the major. "Major Pickett. I am Captain Korsakov." The squadron's recently arrived XO - very recently, if the partially unpacked duffels on his bunk are any indication - extends his hand.
"'Shit' actually means 'Commander, sir' back home," Aquilina throws that out to Locke, dead serious. He gives Locke a two-fingered salute that hovers between casual and not, then glances at Xiang, and then finally at Pickett. Another one. "Evening." Kors seems to know who the man is, and a glance at tags and pips confirms. "Major."
Markovic watches the LTCMDR walk the room with some mild interest, not bothering to hide the stares at his face for the first few moments. After that, her gaze falls away and settles on Korsakov with a soft shrug of her shoulders. She never gets to his comment about Chen because hey! The Major is here! She straightens her posture, folding her hands behind her back. "Evening, sir." She's standing beside a top bunk that has two bags marked 'Markovic' on it. Apparently she's arrived with or close behind Korsakov.
Xiang makes a soft "Ah" sound and nods to Locke. "I've been here three months and I can't say I know half this ship so well as I should, sir. I assume Intelligence has a better eye for that sort of thing than I do, though." Her own posture straightens at Pickett's entrance and she inclines her head to him respectful. "Good evening, Major."
Turning his head as Aquilina explains his comment, seeing the two finger salute, he replies with, "Lieutenant, it has been my experience when someone says the word, shit. They are doing one thing, and that one thing is shitting their pants because a Kilrathi special forces unit was waiting for them before they were slaughtered like pigs." Returning the salute, except he uses his remaining 3 digits, all except his right ring finger which is missing all together. Locke continues to walk the room, as he has made it to the other end and is walking back towards the door on the opposite side, returning his attention to the room.
"Full of good cheer, aren't you commander?" Pickett replies, before he points towards the floor, indicating the deck below. "I beleive you'll find the naval berths are in that direction, since you seem to be slightly misplaced." That done, his attention turns towards the Captain who'd just spoken to him. "Pleasure to meet you, Captain" Pickett replies, reaching out to shake the offered hand quickly, but firmly. "I take it you lot are the replacements they've been promising us for god knows how long?"
"They say language is ever-evolving, sir," Aquilina replies to Locke, giving him a half-grin that kind of curls his lip. Back to Pickett he looks, finally putting out the dreg of a cigarette he had left. "Looks like it, sir. 1st Lieutenant Alejandro Aquilina, "Torch", TCS Orlando."
Korsakov nods. "Captain Markovic and I just transferred in from the Fighter Weapons School in Nova Scotia." There's a Look directed over at Alex. "And like a… bad penny? Aquilina over there always seems to turn up." Max smirks slightly at the lieutenant in question before turning back to Pickett. "I am glad to be back in a combat squadron, Major, and I believe the same goes for Captain Markovic."
The blonde woman standing quietly finally makes herself known when her name is mentioned by Korsakov. "Major, Captain Korsakov speaks well for my thoughts on the matter." Her thin lips curl at the edges into a smile. The voice is halfway between serious and cordial. But she says nothing else for the moment, eyes remaining on the other Captain or the Major.
Attemping to give the Major a friendly smile Locke says, "Indeed I am, but not by accident." his kilrathi accented voice states. At last he makes it back to the start of the room. Before he leaves he turns around and says, "Oh…and Lieutenant." refering to Aquilina, "I will see you later." Hopefully that will confuse him a bit, after all,what fun is it if you can't bullshit.
Xiang stands rather quietly in the background while Pickett gets to know the new-comers. The interplay between Locke and Aquilina makes her brows arch. She extends a curious look with Aquilina. To what does /that/ portend?
"The novelty wears off quickly, I assure you" Pickett replies to Korsakov with a slight chuckle. "But, I'm sure you'll discover that for yourselves soon enough" Pickett replies. "While I've got you all here, I suppose I might as well save you the individual meetings and just give you the basic welcome speech"
"Did you just call me cheap, asshole?" Aquilina asks Korsakov, without a hint of actual malice. Speech time, for which he folds his arms comfortably to watch Pickett. Though not before he catches that from Locke. See…? Bugger. "I'll wear my frilly things, sir."
Max's brow furrows slightly at Pickett's first remark. "You'd be surprised, sir," he states flatly in that Russian burr of his. "After three years of dealing with cadets, I very much want to shoot something with live rounds." He casts a mockingly supercilious glance down his nose at Aquilina before turning back to Pickett and giving the major his attention.
Locke grins, "Oh, you will not need that." His face hardens and eyes Aquilina, oh yes…the fun he would have torturing freshmeat. Locke then proceeds to turn around and leave the room.
Locke leaves, heading towards the TCSF Officers [O].
Locke has left.
She inhales as if she's on the verge of saying something, but backs away from it. Markovic is decidedly the silent type for now. Her hands remain folded behind her back while the Major indicates he'll be saying a few words.
"Right. Here's the deal." Pickett explains. "I know every squadron operates a little differently, so I just want to make sure we're on the same page. I am not one of those officers you see attached to a regulations manual. The law of the land around here is that if you do your job, I will take care of you." Pickett explains, before adding in a slightly less cheerful tone "And if you don't do your job, I will take care of you." Pausing for a moment there, he continues, the smile returning to his face. "After all, New Detroit does always need escort pilots for transports of radioactive waste, or so I'm told…"
Xiang deposits her flight manual back in her bunk, as it's clear she's not going to get to it for awhile. She still keeps quiet, listening to Pickett's intro speech with a faint smile.
Aquilina eyes Locke's back, but then his attention's back on Pickett. Another cigarette's fished from his front pocket and stuck behind his ear as he listens, one foot braced back against his bunk rung.
Korsakov nods along with Pickett's words. He seems to like what he's hearing well enough. "There won't be a need for that, sir, not if I have anything to do with it," he replies resolutely in response to the latter bit.
Markovic? She's impassive. For all her face betrays right now, she could have just heard a weather report.
"And if anyone's uncertain as to just what 'your job' consists of, I'll direct you to the table" Pickett adds with a wicked little grin, pointing towards the table in the center of the room crafted from Kilrathi durasteel. "And, that's about it, really. Since I'm sure you've all got things you'd rather do than stand around and listen to some asshole Major talk at you for hours. Welcome to the Illuminati."
Xiang sits down in her bunk, but only long enough to put her boots on again. Then she's up, bunk closed, and steps away from it. "If you sirs will excuse me, there are a couple of things I need to see to. But welcome again. Very glad to have all of you aboard."
Aquilina glances at the table, then smirks at Pickett's signoff. To that he even lifts a real salute. "Sir." It's dropped sharply, then he lifts his chin upwards at Xiang. "Catch you later, Jia."
Korsakov inclines his head to the Major once more. "Thank you, sir." A small smile to Xiang. "And you, Lieutenant." With that, he's moving back to his newly staked out claim, and returns to his previous task of unpacking. Fun.
Dejana nods to the end of the Majors words and finally allows a smile. She moves a few feet to him and extends her hand. "Pleasure to be aboard so far, sir." That voice is a mishmash of eastern european accents. "I'm not your XO, but let me know if you need anything." She's all business for the moment, but the lines on her face indicate she's probably prone to quite a few laughs in the day-to-day. There's a nod to the departing Xiang, too. "Good to meet you, Lieutenant."
Pickett reaches out to shake the offered hand. "Pleasure to meet you, Captain" Pickett replies to Markovic. "And I'll make sure to do just that. Though for the moment, I'm content with being able to stand up and stretch out. Nothing quite like six hours in a stiletto cockpit to make you appreciate being able to move around"
Xiang inclines her head to Aquilina. "Alex," she replies kind, to show she's retained his given name as well. "Sirs." And off she goes.
Xiang leaves, heading towards the TCSF Officers [O].
Xiang has left.
Aquilina retrieves the cigarette from behind his ear once Xiang flits off, lighting it with the lowest setting of his low-tech plastic lighter. A pretty bright purple lighter with a flower on it, to make the act that much more devoid of dignity. It's tucked away and he holds the cigarette behind his teeth as he yanks out some personal belongings from his own duffel. "Major, they got a library or anything to read on this bucket?"
As Max starts shoving t-shirts and uniforms and such onto hangers and into his locker, he pauses to light a cigarette. Nicotine flow safely in place, he's back to work, though Korsakov's head does incline at Alex's question, and he pauses long enough to look to Pickett for the answer.
The blonde Captain allows a smirk. "Amen to that, Major." Both hands are pocketed into her uniform. "I used to have a ritual of kicking the skids every time I got out to help get the blood flowing once more. Get the feeling back in my legs, and all." There's a quick shake of her head. "But yes, you know where to find me. When should Korsakov and I expect to be put on the rotation roster?"
"There's a small one on deck eight, I believe" Pickett replies to Aqualina. "If there's something that's a particular interest to you, you might want to bring it up next time we're at New Constantinople or Oxford." That answer given, his attention turns towards the blonde. "And I'd take the evening to get some rest. War starts for you tomorrow" Pickett comments. "No point in putting off the inevitable. I'll try and rotate assignments so I have a chance to fly with you all before long, and learn how you operate"
"Will do, sir." Alex looks a lot brighter about all this at the thought of books. Awwwyeah. Smoke curls up thickly towards the ceiling as he pulls the cigarette out of his mouth and exhales upwards. "Looking forward to it."
"I hope there's some Chekhov or Dostoevsky," Korsakov mutters as he finishes putting shirts away. "Military types have little appreciation for proper literature." The rest of his clothes will wait for now, it seems, as he takes a few steps back to the major. "As Captain Markovic said, sir, I am completely at your disposal. Then, as I am the XO, I would not expect anything else." He smiles crookedly.
"It is just round two for me, sir. Been there, done that. They did not allow us positions at Saint Johns because we have parents with connections." If Markovic even -has- parents. Its dubious. Her inflection seems to flirt with the idea that she may have dealt with enough of those people for her liking, though. The Captain moves away and back towards her bunk and makes a quick move to jump onto hers. The larger sack is reached for. She nods a few times with the Major's intent to fly with each of them. With Kors' remarks about the reading material, she gives a soft laugh. "What? You haven't read The Brothers Karimazov or Crime and Punishment to your satisfaction? Didn't they push enough of that down your throat back in the Rodina?"
"Afraid I've little time for literature myself" Pickett admits. "Though if anyone's looking for a copy of 'Forged in Fire: The Yan War and the forming of the Terran Confederation' I'll be happy to loan out my copy once I'm finished with it" Pickett explains, before he adds "Though I suppose you might find it a little dry." Looking to Korsakov, he tells his XO "And we'll go over what I'll need from you in more detail once you've had a chance to settle in"
"Solzhenitsyn, Tolstoy, Krasnikov, Filenko… any proper author will do," Korsakov says mildly over to Markovic. A stream of smoke filters through his lips as he meets Pickett's eyes. "Of course, sir," he acknowledges.
Aquilina hauls his empty duffel up and heads for his locker. A couple clangs later and the bag's shoved inside without much ceremony, door shut and locked behind it. He might've done some of that clanging with obnoxious loudness while Korsakov was talking, but it's hard to gauge. "Will keep an eye out for that roster, sir."
"That's a shame, sir. Never have any time to wax philosophical? Read some Voltaire or Plato? I will even meet you half way with I Ching or Sun Tzu." So the little eastern european does know how to get playful. But she nearly rolls her eyes at Korsakov. "Please, Max. You need to broaden your horizons, my friend. Think outside the frosty bun of Mat Rooskiya."
"If you'd like culture, how's this grab you?" Pickett comments, looking thoughtful for a moment as if trying to recall something, before remembering and reciting "No proposition Euclid wrote, No formulae the text-books know, Will turn the bullet from your coat, Or ward the tulwar's downward blow. Strike hard who cares — shoot straight who can — The odds are on the cheaper man." An amused little grin offered at the end of it, he concludes. "I suppose I prefer to keep my readings more… grounded in my profession"
"Kipling, isn't it?" Korsakov asks, nose crinkling as he tries to remember the quote. "No appreciation for the warrior-poet, eh?" He smirks. "But then, I am not terribly kulturniy myself. I stick with what I know… when I have time to read at all."
"Think Euclid and textbooks are useless in war, sir?" Aquilina replies, as he comes back over to his bunk near the others. A slight smirk. "Tell that to Oppenheimer." He sits down on the edge of the bunk, ashing his cigarette. "Max, you still don't have a thing in your library that isn't cyrillic? I'll find you something to read. Granted it might be Marquez, but that's the way I roll."
"Well that is sort of keeping with Voltaire's thinking, sir. He was the one who said 'God is not on the side of the big battalions but on the side of those who shoot the best.' Sun Tzu said similar things in The Art of War. There's some that don't think either one are applicable in this century but I would wager the weights of Voltaire and Sun Tzu on the course of history more than any other two individuals with published thought. Truly the power of the pen - or in Master Sun's case, the brush." Apparently the Captain has done her homework. She's busy pulling personal stuff out of her sack while she speaks: a small purple pillow, a rubber-banded stack of photos, a legal ped, other personal junk. She does look up to Alex, though. "But Oppenheimer's discoveries and work, arguably, had such an effect on the private sector that one could almost say it brought more peace than anything. Many of the Cold Warriors of the twentieth century would say theories of destruction prevented many more deaths."
"It is" Pickett confirms to Korsakov. "Arithmetic on the Frontier" he further clarifies, before he gives a little chuckle. "And it would seem just my luck to end up alone in a squadron of intellectuals" he notes with amusement. "Someone at personnel apparently has a sense of humor"
"There are certain truths of war that remain the same, no matter the century," Korsakov chimes in. "Voltaire, Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, they realized this. Tactics and technology come and go, yet their ideas endure to this day." His shoulders roll in a Slavic shrug. "That alone would seem to validate their concepts well enough." More clothes come out of the duffel, and Max finally tosses the empty bag aside.
"You could say just about any scientific development brings peace, ultimately," Aquilina gestures at Markovic with one finger. "If one can claim to weigh the deaths of 100,000 people against a boost to the private sector in any way shape or form. But that's too too far into the human capital debate for this hour. And this sobriety level." He drags off the cigarette, exhaling and giving Pickett an upwards nod and a smirked grin. "If you weren't in hell before, right?"
Markovic shrugs. "Clausewitz was good, but I think he took too much away from Immanuel Kant. Its sort of like polluting the mind with too many ideas once you get forward in the march of history. Back to basics, for me. Plato, Aristotle, the others mentioned. But I completely agree, Alexandrovna." She removes a few of her own clothes from the bottom of the sack, discreetly disposing of a few items behind her for the moment. Alex gets a quick laugh. "Mister Wise Beyond Years, you are on. I will have this discussion. You will perish. I'll even supply some of the booze." Oh yes, she's serious. Putting her own bag aside, she reaches for her other bag and looks to Pickett. "Bah. It is the luxury of junior officers to debate military philosophy and strategy, but the weight of the application falls on the staff level, aye sir?"
"Something along that line" Pickett replies, giving a little grin. "For the most part, they just keep me around to make Kilrathi women into widows." He admits honestly. "Well, and occasionally pretend that my job is reconaissance, of course" he adds, almost as an afterthought.
Korsakov snorts. "You read too much, I think, Dejana." He looks to Pickett with an amused grunt. "Stilettos are shit for reconnaissance, anyway, sir. I prefer the former, personally." Max smirks. "That is, after all, the whole reason we're here, when you cut to the heart of the matter."
"You will undoubtedly make me your bitch /ad vitam aeternam/, sir," Alex informs Markovic. "But I can't say I don't find the idea oddly titillating. Fine, soak me in liquor and light me aflame with merry wit, but none of that fucking vodka." Cigarette's ashed again, and just to bury Culture Talk Time in that deeper of a coffin, he belches softly. "What's the last engagement this boat was in, Major?"
Markovic laughs, sticking up her middle finger. "Poshol na khui, Maxim." She even blows him a kiss afterwards. "You are the one talking about finding good literature. Don't complain because I found something fun outside Tolstoy." Her grin is positively evil. To Alex: "Alright. Matches, grain alcohol, and discussion. I'll even bring a pen to explain things on napkins." There's a curt nod before looking back to the Major in expectant response.
"They might be shit, but they're what we've got. Expect to spend a fair bit of time sitting on your ass flying through the official middle of nowhere" Pickett replies. "And the last major engagement was at New Constantinople. We'd been laid up repairing for a while, since we managed to stop three torpedoes. They'd had us running a few patrols into Perry, just to probe the defenses there… but with all the jumps we've been making lately, I think it's safe to say we'll be seeing more action than just testing the defenses shortly"
"K' chyortu, Dejana," Korsakov says the Russian phrase all too pleasantly for it to be anything polite. A smirk spreads across his lips as he goes back to work on his cigarette and his unpacking. "I remember the drill, sir," he replies to Pickett. "I haven't been out of the cockpit that long, myself."
Aquilina checks his watch during the talking, listening otherwise. He nods to Pickett and stands back up, stretching out his back. "Looking forward to that too." He makes a tip of an imaginary hat to Markovic. "Sir. I'll see you at the bottom of a bottle soon." The same hand is then put out in front Korsakov. "And Max. Good to see you again, fucker."
"Been there, Max. Its called Belarus. Two weeks of my life I will never get back." Yep, she's serious. She looks like she might be about to break into story - again - but falls short. She holds up a finger, though. "Another time. Horrible. It involves a friend of mine, her pet weasel, and a very large hairy man named Borislav. Remind me over beers." Dejana + Beers = Storytime!! An equation for life. She doesn't seem too interested in the commenting on operations, though. Likely she has her own ideas but those are hidden away for now. She taps two finger towards Alex.
"Well, I'll be grateful they didn't send me someone who's most recent flight qual was an armor-plated desk, then" Pickett replies to Korsakov with a little grin. "At any rate, if you all will excuse me… I think I'm going to hit the fitness center, and enjoy being able to do something more than sit motionless for a while"
"And you, you govniuk," Korsakov replies to Alex, returning the handshake with a grin. Another pull from the cigarette, and it goes the way of its brother minutes before. "Fucking Belarus," Max replies with a sigh and a knowing shake of the head. "I'll hold you to that, though," he responds to the promise of storytime. Pickett's grin recieves an answering smirk of his own, and then he's back to his bunk. "I'm going to take the major's advice and get some rest," he announces as he clears the last of the loose junk off his rack, and shoves the duffel back in his locker. He'll finish unpacking tomorrow, it seems. "You know where to find me," he finishes dryly as he crawls into bed.