Archive : MD26 : Observer Effect
Observer Effect
Summary: Mess hall meetings. Chewing tobacco, red pens, and nerdy jokes.
Date: MD026
Related Logs: None.

Mess Hall

Dinnertime. Roubani has done his absolute best to find a corner where his elbows aren't in danger of bumping anyone else's, which took so long that his food got cold. Sitting between two empty chairs, he's stirring a bowl of lukewarm soup, most of his attention on an open laptop on the table.

Eddie has a bag of laundry slung over her shoulder when she presses through the doors into the mess hall, giving a scowl back into the hallway as if she's expecting someone to be following her at her heels and a cuss or three looks ready on her tongue should that someone actually be there. For a moment, she actually looks more irritated that that someone is /not/ following her. Glower. Grumble. Skulk towards the chow line.

Lakuna arrives from the Hallway - Deck 2, Midships.
Lakuna has arrived.

Or.. are they? The viper squadron captain waltzes in not too far after Eddie, nose buried in papers while his other hand's busy unfastening his duty jacket. No rest for the weary; it seems Karim's got work to do on his lunch break. The food queue is skipped in favour of a table where he can plunk himself and his papers down before worrying about some caffeine. Lucky, lucky Roubani.

Roubani's dark eyes are flickering back and forth around the screen, the glow changing. Watching a movie? The sound is turned way down, if it is a video. "Captain Marek." The Ensign folds his blue-covered arms on the table, moving his head so he can see past the screen.

Eddie goes through the line, if only to palm a cup of coffee and sulk back out. Seems she's not in the mood to be social, or maybe just catching sight of Captain Marek is enough to make her lose her appetite. Head ducked low, she's slipping back out of the mess hall. At least to drop her laundry. Maybe she'll be back.

"Ensign," is offered crisply in reply. So this is what passes for conversation amongst the pilots, apparently. Kai's papers are shuffled into a tidy stack, and a red pen pulled out of a pocket of his jacket. The FAIL pen, yes indeed, he's undoubtedly going to relish this. Eddie's given only a passing glance as she slips on out, not so much as a raised eyebrow.

Eddie heads through the exit labeled <H> Hallway.
Eddie has left.

The door to the Mess Hall opens and Lakuna saunters in. Her gait is unconsciously brash, sultry in an animalistic sort of way. She carries a coffee mug with her, and lifts it occasionally. Standing in line for food, she turns a flickered glance to the fleeing Ensign. The mug is lifted in acknowledgement, though the Captain remains where she is in line.

Roubani raises an eyebrow at the appearance of the red pen. He watches the Captain working for a minute, then an electronic male voice from the laptop abruptly announces, "Queen to f-7." The volume is loud, and Roubani quickly taps the mute button.

Kai lifts his eyes from his marking of.. homework assignments? It's not entirely clear, save that whatever they are, they're handwritten. Roubani and his electronic chess set are mused upon for a few moments, and the disembodied voice probably draws a couple of glances from curious lunchgoers. "Winning?" he asks conversationally, voice low.

Lakuna moves forward in the line, the coffee mug raised a few times more by the time she makes it to the front of the line. Each time she lifts it, the person ahead of her sort of twitches, as though wanting to turn around and say something. The electronical voice makes it's announcement and Lakuna sparkles a grin toward Roubani. Kai asks the requesit question, so Lakuna remains silent. Gathering her tray and… Another mug of coffee… She turns to seek a place to sit. Lifting the cup she brought, she can now be seen to spit some noxiously golden brown something or other into the cup. Her lower lip is puckered outward a bit where the chewing tobacco clearly rests.

"Maybe," Roubani replies. He tips his head up so he can scratch his chin, looking at the screen now. "It's trying to skewer my queen and h-pawn to smother me, but it's being so aggressive that it's too transparent. Very human of it." He doesn't make his own move yet, looking away from the screen and back at Kai's pile of work. Spotting Lakuna as well he seems to straighten his shoulders for the oncoming brass.

Maybe Roubani really does have a brass-attracting magnetism about him, judging by how many seem to stray into his vicinity. Kai smiles a tiny, lopsided smile at the qualifier used by the other pilot, and sets to scribbling quietly for a few moments. The tobacco chewing Lakuna is, for the nonce, behind him and thus outside his field of view; not that Roubani's shoulder straightening isn't noticed. "How's the grub today?" he murmurs in lieu of asking further questions about chess, since the kid seems to have lost him at 'h-pawn'.

Lakuna notes the obligatory straightening, but waves her mug of tobacco grossness, "Don't sweat it, kid. We're all off duty here, yeah?" Licking her lips, she claims a nearby chair and sets her tray on the table. Leaning over, she spits the tobacco plug out into the mug, then pauses to be sure the tobacco isn't going into the coffee mug. A nod and she sets the tobacco mug off to one side. Lifting a napkin, she wipes her mouth on it, then takes up the coffee mug with the coffee in it and takes a sip. This is swirled about her mouth, then swallowed, "Coffe doesn't suck. Here's hoping that the grub's decent." A fork is claimed, flipped into position and used to spear a likely looking piece of… Well, it could be meat.

Roubani almost smiles at Kai. "Not a chess player are you, sir." He looks back up and gives Lakuna's tobacco mug a look of lingering distaste as she goes through the routine with it, pushing his half-finished soup bowl away. Maybe he's done with it, or maybe he just doesn't want to risk any unidentified wet bits flying into it.

Kai pauses mid-sentence as Lakuna sits down, along with her friends the tobacco wad, and the cup into which said tobacco wad is spat out. Lovely. "Afternoon, Captain," he offers politely. Rank before beauty, as they say, the Ensign is answered second. "I've played once or twice. I'm afraid I don't have the head for it." The almost-smile is returned, Kai's crinkling a little at the edges. "I'm sorry, Captain, I don't think we've met." He tosses his pen down and offers a hand to Lakuna. "Captain Karim Marek, red squadron." As in, viper jock.

Lakuna munches the meat thing and nods, "Not bad." Swallowing, she sets the fork down again and reaches over to clasp Kai's hand, "Pleasure, Captain. I'm Captain Elizabeth Lakuna. Don't call me that, though. Lakuna or Beth. Or Liz if you must." Her mug of disguesting fluids is ignored while she talks. "Red, huh? Good to know you. I'm your cover fire. Weapons." Yes, she plays with the big guns. By the gleam in her eyes, she does love her job. Nodding to the Ensign, she clears her throat, "You any good, kid? With chess, I mean? I haven't played since I was in college."

Roubani looks embarassed by the question. "I'm not too bad. It's just practice." He taps a key on the laptop and speaks directly the screen. "Queen to e-5." He folds his hands, looking back at Lakuna. "Weapons, sir? I guess you're the person I'm supposed to hope never has to do their job."

"I'll call you Captain, if you don't mind, when we're on duty," Kai answers easily enough, releasing the woman's hand and pushing to his feet shortly thereafter. "Excuse me. I'm going to grab a bite while there's a lull in the lunch crowd." He winks, and ambles up to the counter to see what's in the offing today. A perceptive eye might notice he favours his left leg, ever so slightly.

Lakuna chuckles just a little at the embarassment though it is not intended unkindly, "Fraktastic, Ensign. We'll have to russle up a board and give it a go. Though I don't follow any method or anything. Play for fun, I do." She leans over to take a few more bites, then lifts her fork to use as a baton while she talks. "Yeah, that's me. If I have to blow anything away, the viper jocks have fraked up." Her tone is mirthful and holds no rancor. Looking over to Kai, she chuckles, "Yeah, that works too. Thought you meant when we're off." THe wink is returned and she calls over one shoulder, "The meat stuff isn't bad. But don't bother with the beans. I swear they're going to give me gas."

Roubani smiles a little at Lakuna. "How do you play chess without method, sir? It's a game of strategy. Unless you mean you just turn the guns on the board, which granted would be a explosive endgame." He glances up as Kai heads for the food line, giving the temporary farewell a polite nod. "Good luck, sir."

Kai fetches a tray, and sifts through pans of mashed potato, leek and string beans with an industrial sized spoon while the pair chat.

Lakuna finishes eating, including the certain-to-be-offensive-later beans. She shrugs, "Just go with the flow, Ensign. It's for the joy of the game. If I win, I win and if I don't I don't. Either way, your brain gets a workout and I'm amused. What could be better?" Rising, she wipes her mouth on the back of her hand, then pulls a tin of chewing tobacco out of a pocket. A new plug replaces the old. Claiming her tobacco mug, she carries the tray and empty coffee mug, one stacked upon the other, to a disposal unit. Lifting the mug in a silent farewell to both Roubani and Kai, she ducks out and hurries off.

Roubani is left staring at the spot where Lakuna's tobacco mug just was. That might be nausea on his face. He thins his lips as the computer spits back at him. "Knight to e-5."

Kai's over the shoulder glance only catches the tail end of Lakuna, quite literally, as she ducks out the door with her plug mug. That's what they call a personality, in the navy, anyway. As in, someone who should be serving in the Marines. A few more moments are spent portioning out potatoes, green beans and overcooked meat, before Marek returns and sets his tray down beside his papers. "Nice," he comments vaguely as he settles into his chair. Of the food, the chess move he can't see, or the weapons Captain who just vacated their company. Who knows.

"King to f-1." Roubani comments towards the computer. His eyes are still on Kai. "Don't think too hard on it, sir. She might blindside you when you don't expect, and lay her eggs in you."

Kai spears some green beans on his fork, and makes a bit of a face. "I'll watch your back if you watch mine," is deadpanned before he takes a bite, and chews mechanically.

"I've got your port, sir," Roubani replies, matter-of-factly. "But I'm afraid your ass is a responsibility above my paygrade."

A less unflappable man might be choking on his food, with that remark. Kai, however, manages to finish chewing, swallowing, and digging at the back of his teeth with the tip of his tongue whilst watching Roubani with faint bemusement. "You'd damned well better believe it'll become part of your paygrade, if I start hatching, Ensign." His grin's drowned in a sip of decaf.

Roubani tilts his head. "You'll have to catch me first." The computer beeps, the voice declaring: "Knight to d-1." The Ensign doesn't even look at the screen, talking back to it without missing a beat. "Rook to a-2."

There's a quiet snort, and Kai's mug is set down red pen o'doom retrieved, and clicked open. "I don't have to," he replies mildly, holding his gaze a beat or two. "I know where you sleep." Smile. Scribble scribble.

"Are you sure about that?" Roubani is now half-smiling, sort of. "The mere act of observing a phenomenon changes its nature, you know." Again, a beep, and that tinny voice. "Queen to d-8." To which Roubani replies, "Knight to g-3."

"The uncertainty principle, of course," Kai murmurs, riiight on the heels of the 'you know'. "I should have guessed, you were a physics major." A mouthful of mashed potatoes follows, and a few words marked in the margin, explaining how his student is wrong, wrong and more wrong. All quite clinically, of course.

"It's the observer effect, actually, sir." Roubani now does smile a little more. "It's related to uncertainty principle, but they're distinct formulae." He waits for the computer to chew on its next chess move, looking down at the papers Kai is working on.

Kai lifts his eyes, piercingly pale under those beetled brows of his. He's silent for a few moments, just watching the young man across from him with something resembling bemused incredulity. "I always hated physics," he concludes, as if this were the root of all ill in the world. And then he ducks his gaze and writes a little more before flipping the page. "What made you decide to become a pilot?"

"I always hated red pens," Roubani returns, mildly. He smiles a little and reaches for his glass of water. "Chance to study the Vipers, sir. Service will probably look better on a grad school application than my degree itself will. You know Aera Cura." The jab at his home city's university is delivered without real venom.

"Touche," mumbles the Captain, tone edging on distracted as he pores over something particularly bizarre on the next page. It's a set of tactical doctrines he's going over. Answers to worst-case scenarios, and suffice to say this one seems to have boggled him momentarily. Noting something down, he retrieves his coffee cup in his pen hand and takes a brief sip. "So you're a reservist, then?" he ventures, glancing up at Roubani again. At which point, his watch beeps. Twice. He finishes off his coffee and starts gathering up papers. "Afraid I'm due for a debriefing." So much for lunch.

"No, sir. Active." Roubani offers no explanation for that. He pauses, watches the man gather up his things, then says, "So Heisenberg is pulled over by a policeman whilst driving down a motorway, the policeman gets out of his car, walks towards Heisenberg's window and motions with his hand for Heisenberg to wind the window down, which he does. The policeman then says 'Do you know what speed you were driving at sir?', to which Heisenberg responds 'No, but I knew exactly where I was.'" He smiles, proudly. "Have a good evening, Captain."

Kai flicks off his pen and tucks it into a pocket. One last, towering forkful of mashed potatoes is tucked into his mouth while Roubani tells his joke, and the fork clatters back down on the plate before as pushes to his feet. He, thankfully, uses a napkin to dab at one corner of his lips, instead of the back of his hand. "Evening, Ensign," is offered during a lull in the chewing. Expression quizzical, he fetches his tray and turns to go. He's likely going to have to puzzle /that/ one out for a few.

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