PHD 281: Ghosts in the Machine
Ghosts in the machine
Summary: Villa stumbles unto Epi's hideout. 'Ghost' stories are shared.
Date: PHD: 281 (Monday 25, 2010)
Related Logs: Insurgency logs

[ Storeroom - Deck 10 ]
One of the smaller storage units, this one is more like just a glorified closet compared to the hundreds of others throughout the ship. Servicing the berthing areas of Deck 10, the shelves are stocked with the spare linens that get rotated out when the others are in the laundry. Blankets, sheets and pillows are all stacked neatly in their labeled slots, the air in here fragranted with the standard military issue detergent used to wash them. Shelves line the perimeter of the room, and there's a center bank of them which creates two aisles to either side. In the back corner, a few crates are stacked which someone has assembled to be a crude table and stools that's out of direct eyeline from the door.
-=[ Condition Level: 3 - All Clear ]=---------

Ahhh, the storage room. This isn't exactly somewhere most folks expect to find, well, another living person. But it would appear that, this morning, someone is in here. Marine senses would probably twig to the fact that Villa Is Not Alone in the room. In fact, if he looks around all the corners in the farthest part of the room, he'll find where Epi has set up a couple blankets on top of a pallet of boxes, up high, complete with pillow. That's where she's perched now, dressed in her sweats and tanks.

Villa is out on patrol on this deck, which means, he inspects every little corner of the rooms he enters. The storeroom is one of the loneliest spots he is known to check on. "Hello, pillow cases and blankets," he greets the items in here before moving further into the room. The make-do bunk gets a raised brow as he walks closer to it. His rifle swung in front of him, for good measure, as he sees there's 'someone' in here with the cases and sheets.

Epi looks, well…right now, she looks rather like a tiny feral cat whose lair has been found. The light's such that he can see it's a person, though her face seems to be filled with a pair of dark, almost glittering eyes. Her hair's tousled, as if she's been sleeping here. After a time, she's recognizable as another Marine, probably the smallest on the ship. She's quiet for a moment, just watching him, and then offers, "They'd say hello back, I bet."

Villa has begun raising his firearm to bear on the form he was seeing, but when he recognizes the female figure, feral as it may be, he lowers it. "Gods of Kobol, woman, you scared the daylights outta me," his tone much more softer, yet raspy. "This is no place to rest, little one," he inspects the makeshift sleeping area a bit closer now and adds, "Mind telling me why you decided to make this your…lair," he chuckles some. He's probably /seen/ Epi around marine country, but with so many new people coming in, he can't pin a name.

She gives him a wry little smile and dips her head, coming out into the light a bit more. "Morning, Sarge," she says quietly, looking a little chagrined. "Sorry for scaring you. This…" She looks around for a moment. "Trouble sleeping. I won't bother folks here."

Villa locks the safety in his weapon and leans on the crates. "I see," he says, digging into one of his tac vest's pockets. "You're the one they refer to as 'shortstack', aren't you," he asks, as he takes a small carb bar and offers it to the gal, "Take half and tell me what's haunts you," he directs with a smile.

To say the woman looks haunted is an understatement, but she tries to smile and be personable. It's a small smile, but there. "Corporal Epiphany Jarot, also known as Shortstack or Boom, depending on who I've pissed off. Demolitions." She takes the bar and shifts over to make room for him, pulling her knees to her chin. "Right now, just about everything does. Did you go over on the mission?"

Villa likes to take care of people, especially marines. His weapon is removed and placed butt-first over the deck before he hops into Epi's hideout. A nod to let her know he got her name and he offers back, "Dominic Villa. Medic." He gives the petite soldier another look before answering, "No. I stayed shipside." He looks around the room as he adds, "Getting combat jitters, Jarot?"

Epi pauses in taking a bite of her part of the carb bar and just cocks her head slightly to the side, blinking at Villa. After a moment, her lips purse a little and she manages a real grin. "The last thing I've got is combat jitters, Sarge," she says with a quiet laugh. "Take a look at my med file sometime. Kharon's CMO was going to put me on the Dutch Elder frequent flyer plan if I got hit again." Finally she takes the bite, resting back against the bulkhead. "No, nightmares, actually. I woke up screaming after the mission, and figured I was best off sleeping out of the bunks for a day or two."

Villa laughs after Epi mentions what he CMO of the Kharon teased her about doing, "That's a good one." When Epi moves back to savor her food, Dom looks back to her, "That's very considerate of you, Jarot, but I would have preferred you dealt with it in MC and not come shacking in these lonely parts of the ship." He's always acting like big papa when it comes to troubled folks.

Epi's head cocks slightly a little and she shakes her head, chuckling softly. "It's better that I'm not in Marine country, not with what I've seen," she replies, then lifts a shoulder. "It was hellish over there."

"It always is, Jarot. It always is," repeats Dom. He turns around slightly so he can have a better look at Epi. "Feel like talking about it," he asks gently. Sigmund Freud mode on.

She leans back against the bulkhead, looking past him for a moment or two. "You've probably heard that the ship was covered in blood inside. We had to slide through what seemed like rivers of it. Crawled over piles of bodies." The bar gets put aside, her appetite gone. Eyes close as she rests her head back. "It was like being back in my Momma, from what I understand it's supposed to be like. You were in the safest place in the world, and it was full of death."

Villa sighs a bit, "That's a horrible sight." He ponders that for a few, "You wanna talk to Psy about it?" He queries.

A brow quirks and she grins over at him. "Classified," she says, shrugging delicately. "I'll likely go find Lieutenant Salazar at some point and bend her ear. She and I have seen some pretty rough shit together. But when I wake up from the nightmares like that, I find it's better if I'm alone somewhere for a little bit. Can you imagine the crap I'd get for shaking up the squad? I'd have codes run on me every damned night." Well, there's some teasing. She's not her usual bouncing on the balls of her feet self, but she -is- a little more relaxed. "And how about you? How do you deal with it?"

Villa nods at the 'sekret squirrel' stuff and smiles. When he is asked about how he deals with that sort of thing, he answers, 'Well, it helps to think that you where there to do a job and try to focus on what you did wrong or right. You know, just pushing away all the gore and guts involved and just being objective about the mission's purpose." Having no clue as to 'what' really transpired out there or how it 'looked' gives him an edge here. "I just don't think on how it affects me and just go over the actions I made while I was there." Simple is his middle name right now.

Slowly Epi stretches her legs out in front of her, reaching up with one hand to rub absently at her shoulder. Trained eyes would see the map of scar tissue that starts just below her ear and disappears down into the tanks. "That's what I usually do," she admits. "But there are times when it's difficult. We had our issues over on Kharon, but I can't imagine what it was like for you all here and what happened with your last CO. Our S2, the one before Lieutenant Nikos, who is…" Man, this is convoluted. "Long story short, the guy who was our S2 went nuts and killed the CAG before having to be put down like a rabid dog." Gee, much like the Hestia's former CO.

Villa lofts his brows at that. No one in MC talks about what happened in the bay, and hearing that the Kharon had a similar event happen makes his skin crawl a bit. "Zeuz, that's… unfortunate." He refuses to curse, even if the situation merits it. "That's a nasty mark there, Corporal. Does it bother you any," asks in that medical tone he’s been known to use.

Epi blinks owlishly at him for a moment, and then glances over to where he's looking. "Oh, not really," she says, shaking her head. "Once in awhile it twinges a bit, or itches, but that's the scar tissue. I've got…a few more of these." Then, with the aplomb of a Marine, she leans back and lifts up the hem of her tanks, though not beyond a modest level. He can see the mass of scar tissue on her stomach, disappearing up along her right side. "A cylon tried to gut me. Made the innards outards." Yep, battlescars. Gotta love 'em. "And please, call me Epi or Shortstack off duty? You say Corporal, and I keep expecting Nikos to be standing behind me."

Villa follows along the scar marks with his eyes. He's seen his share of exposed female skin, and regardless of how cute Epi might be, he keeps civil. "I bet the boys love hearing you tell the story of how you got that cut," he chuckles lightly, "Must drive them wild."

Epi snorts delicately and pulls the shirt back into place. "Not hardly," she replies, laughing. The wounds don't appear to be more than 4 months old. "The only one who appreciated it had just gotten out of prison, and that's only because he hadn't seen female skin in so long he'd forgotten what a rack looked like." At least she's reaching for the carb bar and her water again. The bottle's offered out to him. "The worst were the rounds I took from a raider." Yes, she said a Raider. "Bastard hit me while I was on the SAM. Cleared the objective and walked back to the Raptor before finally admitting that, damn, it hurt. Do you ever get into that combat…well, trance, I think it's called?" Her brows furrow like two little wooly worms as she tries to think of the word after 'combat.' There's a reason she's demo and not in the brain trust.

Villa follows every nod with a smile, as Epi goes all out history on him. He must enjoy her company or else, he'd have aimed for the door long ago. "You know, now that you ask, I don't," he admits, "I am usually ducked out of sight and only fire when fired back directly…and that hasn't happen very often." A look back to Epi and he says, "Tell me more, Epi."

She chuckles a little at that, head tilting to the side. "Medic, right. I'm used to Elder. He's normally the bull leading the charge. Old grump transferred over to the Navy and now has his commission." A touch of bitter? Maybe a little. "So, why the Marines?" Gotta love the abrupt subject changes.
"You betcha," admits Villa. If he senses Epi is bitter about Elders’ commission, he doesn't show it. To the question, he replies, "Well, my drill sergeants found out I was better than average at shooting stuff, so, they slid me into a better battalion to sharpen my skills further." A look to the lights in here, and he sighs, "The medical field study was just to please my folks since they were not too keen on letting me drop colleague for the Corps." Probably sad he's parents didn't live long enough for him to become a real MD.

Epi props her chin on her knees, simply watching the man across from her. "What did YOU want to do with your life," she asks quietly, head tilting slightly to the left. "What did your parents want for you?"

Villa hitches a shoulder, "Dunno, Jarot. I guess they just wanted a career man and not a ground pounder." He sucks loudly on his teeth and waves a hand to dismiss further details, adding, "I don't see them being content with the way I did things, but why bother talking about that now." He frowns looking at the ground, "No use pestering the dead for their approval." For the first time here, he's actually expressing himself in a sad way.

"But it's not," she points out quietly, gently. "It's remembering their wishes, honoring their memories. Just because they had something different in mind for you doesn't mean you were wrong or they were wrong. It simply means you're living your life in a new direction."

Villa shakes his head, scratching his nose, "I was the prime example of what a son was to be, Jarot." He looks back to the tiny marine, locking onto her eyes as best the dim light here allows him to, looking a hint irritated, "I knew it. All the people around us knew it. They didn't admit it. Ever." He sorta snarls back to her, but it’s more of disgust towards his dead relatives than anything else. "If they would have just once… just once, showed they appreciated and recognized the things I did, all things would be diffe…" He stops mid-speech and turns away. Epi might have touched Villa's only nerve inadvertedly. "I.. I'm sorry, Jar… I…" he sighs, "I'm sorry." Doing his best to gather his thoughts now.

Epi finally unfolds enough to reach out, fingers very lightly brushing his arm. He is, after all, a Marine. "There's nothing to be sorry for," she says softly, quietly. "They apparently had trouble being parents and recognizing a good thing. Not everyone's cut out to be a parent. My father certainly wasn't, and I'm glad that he wasn't in my life. For some reason, they needed to push you. It could have been because they loved you or because they were doing the best they knew how, or because they were idiots. Any way you look at it, though? They must have done a damned fine job. Look at you now."

Villa rubs his eyes a bit. Damn that repressed anger hurts. "Thanks," says the man with a nod to her last words. The brush over his arm doesn't go unnoticed and only adds up to soften his frustration. "Here, let me show you I mean it when I said I was sorry," and with that, he leans over and gives the marine gal a nice friendly hug. Atypical marine, he is. After he pulls out, he smiles and winks to Epi. If she wants to rip his head off because he hugged her, now would be the time.

Epi seems to be somewhat atypical herself. Not only is she perhaps the tiniest Marine aboard, but she also seems friendly and not really the biting type. Though surprised, she hugs back, and then, settles against the bulkhead again. "You have nothing to be sorry for, Sarge. We can't choose our families, but we -can- choose what to do with the lessons they've taught us."

Villa nods once to Epi. Whether he accepts those words as true, remains a mystery. "I dunno about that, Corporal, but I am sure as hades glad to be here, helping out as best I can and making the best of the time I still got." With that, he pushes off the makeshift bed and grabs his rifle once more. "Oh and," he looks back to Epi with a smirk, "Report back to MC when you have sorted your demons out, or else, I'll have to move here with you, just to make sure you don't fall to them."

Epi chuckles quietly at that and lifts a shoulder. "I'll…get back there, eventually," she murmurs. But there's something haunted in her eyes. It's the look seen in the eyes of first responders and war veterans who have seen too much of what they shouldn't have. "Probably in a few days, or Nikos will have my ass." Her head tips back. "Get some rest Sarge, hmmm?"

Villa nods at that. He's seen that look too often in soldiers and it upsets him to see it in Epi, but, given the fact that her status is somewhat 'classified', he can't press for details. "I will," he states and heads for the door. "I'll spy on you later if I can." With that, he steps out. Not more he can do now, it seems.

Epi settles back into her makeshift little nest for the time being, reverting, somewhat, to feral cat mode. "Night Sarge," she calls quietly, tipping her head back against the wall, eyes finding the ceiling, searching for the answers that just won't come.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License