There are no secrets in the microcosm of a spaceship - not so long as the crewmen can chat between duty shifts.
Timeline: Between GS phase 41 and 43.
Summary: There are no secrets in the microcosm of a spaceship - not so long as the crewmen can chat between duty shifts.
The Archangel is an unusual ship in unusual circumstances, but some things, no matter what, are simply universal. For example, the conversations that take place around the tables in the commissary while the crewmen take their meals.
"Where are we headed next?" one wonders, poking disinterestedly with a fork at the contents of her tray. The ship may be state of the art, but cafeteria food is still cafeteria food, and better not remarked on in too much detail.
"Resupply." The crewman next to her sits with his elbows on the table and his chin in his hands.
She gives up, and puts her fork down on her tray, reaching for her cup of water instead. "Think we'll get some better food this time?"
Across the table, another crewman snorts in amusement. "Not likely. From what I've heard, we're headed to some old abandoned colony."
"What kind of resupply can we get at an abandoned colony?" his seatmate asks dubiously.
The second crewman considers that a moment, then shrugs. "Maybe it's only mostly abandoned."
"Got to be better than the Debris Belt, right?"
"Yeah," the first one has to acknowledge the point. "I guess they're kind of making all of this up as they--"
Her seatmate sits up straight and cuts her off with a nudge as Captain Ramius walks into the commissary, and the conversation drops away into silence as the four of them think uncomfortably over what they were saying and what their commanding officer might or might not have overheard.
Not that it matters much. The captain seems too preoccupied to pay too much attention to the four crewmen at their corner table. She only gives them a polite, distracted nod before heading across the room to retrieve an empty water bottle and begin filling it.
She is twisting the lid back on when Commander la Fllaga sticks his head in through the open doorway, glancing briefly around the commissary and then making his purposeful way across it, walking up behind her to reach past her with his other hand resting on her shoulder.
Without looking up, she puts the bottle she just filled into his hand. He takes it with a grin, and because the opportunity is right there he ducks his head to breathe in the scent of her hair before he steps back and goes strolling out like a man who owns the world.
As the crewmen watch, the captain fills another bottle, secures the lid in place, and strides briskly out of the commissary to whatever business is waiting for her.
Silence remains for a few moments after she has gone, as the four crewmen look at one another.
"When did that start?" the first crewman eventually wonders aloud.
"Are you kidding?" laughs the second. "Chief Murdoch had a pool going on it by the time we got to Alaska."
The third one looks between them in confusion. "When did what start?"
"Commander la Fllaga and the captain," the fourth tells him.
"Didn't you see their faces when he and Lieutenant Badgiruel were leaving at JOSH-A?" puts in the second.
"I was too far away," says the fourth, sounding a little regretful. "He sure didn't stay gone very long, though."
"But..." The first frowns. "Aren't there regulations about that?"
"There are regulations about deserting during combat too," the second points out; "would you rather have been vaporized? I don't think it really matters any more."
"Anyway," the fourth one agrees, "they've gotten us this far."
"What are you guys talking about?" the third crewman demands.
"I heard that Neumann and Tonomura and Chandra walked in on them on the bridge back in Orb," says the fourth, and makes a vague gesture in the air with one hand. "All over each other."
The second crewman grins. "Explains a lot, doesn't it?"
"Wait, you mean the captain and the commander are--"
"Come on," the fourth interrupts, gathering up his tray. "We're due back on duty."
The four of them dispose of their trays and start out of the commissary, the confused third crewman still protesting, "No, seriously--!"