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23 June 2006 @ 12:38 pm
[The Past] Open to Kara Thrace.  
WHO: Lee, Kara.
WHAT: Same old Lee...making life hell for his officers.
WHERE: Galactica's workout room.
WHEN: The night after Kara received her assignment to train new nuggets, several days ago. Downtime.

"--Just be thankful for one thing. At the least the doc no longer has you hopped up on drugs..."

Lee held his arms out, offering Kara some resistance on the black target pads he wore like mitts. Intermittently, he gently swiped for her head, forcing her to do evasive movements. His workout routine was scheduled every other evening; it wasn't unusual to see her hitting the weights whenever he happened to be in the room. It was just that, of anyone, he had the feeling that she preferred working out with Helo or Boomer...

Could it have anything to do with the fact that he made her fly an extra three hours of CAP rotation on top of five straight days of blowing up toasters? Or booked her free weekends to train new nuggets? After all, he was just the asshole CAG that came to Galactica at the last minute.

The pads sucked in and whooshed air with each satisfying blow-for-blow impact. Kara knew how to hit for power, but he could never get her to spar with him. He'd only managed a handful of times to square up with her, gloves on, until one day she stopped taking interest. He never asked about it, and he couldn't tell if the reason became her responsibilities -- or Zak.

Still, he liked training with Starbuck. In this cold and dreary workout space, at least -- in this void where pilots unburdened themselves of stress -- she held nothing back.

"C'mon, Kara. You gonna tell me about any potentials or what?"

The sooner they weeded out the talented nuggets from the mediocre ones, the sooner they could put pilots back on Vipers. There was a major shortage of them in the fleet of late. And not just because Starbuck was a discriminating flight instructor who had a reputation of ripping her nuggets a new one when they failed to make her high standards... Not just because of that...

bitchtookmyride on June 25th, 2006 12:56 am (UTC)
Nothing but the sound of the pads being thoroughly, mercilessly abused and her measured breathing existed between the pair of pilots for a few moments which Kara considered the request for information. Frankly, she thought, it was a bit rude of him to not take into account that she was here, pushing herself to her physical limits, to forget for a few hours about the steaming plate of crap that had been handed to her in the form of "potential" Viper pilots.

"We're frakked if they're as good as we've got," Starbuck decided finally, answering between the rhythmic thwap of her gloves on the pads Lee held. Her face betrayed none of the annoyance she felt over it as she focussed her concentration of making the most of her workout. "A couple commercial pilots...a flight school--uhn!--washout. Frakked."

Ducking a swipe from the pad, Kara huffed and chased Lee's left target with a series of several hard-hitting jabs. She never stopped moving, maintaining a little bounce when she wasn't weaving and throwing punches. It was a distinct possibility that she'd headed directly here after the first day of nugget training because she knew if she slowed down for even a second, it would be sufficient time for her to lose her nerve for being the one responsible for the new cadets. Logically, that any situation akin to what had happened between herself and Zak was very unlikely to present itself again, mostly because she had no intention of ever letting those kind of feelings get in the way of her duties. None the less, it had her incensed.

Kara bounced in one spot for a moment, the thought of Zak having presented itself as sufficient distraction from the task at hand, and she straightened, looking Lee directly in the eye for the first time since he'd joined her in the workout area. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat--the particular one that arrived whenever Lee unwittingly reminded her of her guilt simply by being present--and dropped her arms to her side. A mixture of regret and resignation made Kara's shoulders slump when she turned away and shoved a hand back through her sweat-tangled hair.
viper_instincts on June 25th, 2006 11:21 am (UTC)
Lee indulged their rest for the moment, unstrapping the pads off his hands and catching a breather himself. When he exposed his knuckles, they were as welted and red as Kara's. The workout had been going on for some time.

"Unimpressed with my nuggets?" he teased. "They're our RTF's finest -- hand-selected by yours truly and matched according to your astrological preference... I know you'd never fly with a pilot any farther than you could throw them..."

As if that was some sort of accomplishment. In truth, he accepted the best able-bodied persons who responded to the fleet-wide recruiting campaign. As usual, Lee was failing to see the subtle difference between Karaisms. For all he was used to, she could be sarcastic one minute and totally flipping on him the next. But it wasn't entirely his fault. She was so damned insistent on being ambiguous and uncooperative with him most of the time, it was hard to predict the woman's next reaction.

He wondered briefly if he ought to just shut up at this point, but thought twice of it. Letting her stew in silence wasn't always the best idea. If nothing else, he learned that much. He was also in the right to ask questions off-the-record.

Besides. Starbuck never failed to give him grief whenever he was in a mood.

Lee recalled the student roster, tried to get a feel for the faces of the nuggets she had been eyeballing yesterday. And had the apparent displeasure of meeting. (Alright, so their piloting horror stories she'd relayed to him a few minutes ago were pretty embarrassing.) He was rather shoddy at matching names to new faces. Except one...

"Thought you'd be happier to have someone like that crazy Katrinne girl reminding you of yourself."

He'd met Starbuck only after they graduated war college, but he imagined she wasn't very different from Kat growing up. Only catch was that Starbuck was arguably more insane. He trusted she would work that out of Kat's system.

Lee sat himself upon a bench and wiped his face on a towel.

"I'd have taken on the responsibility of training them myself if I weren't more certain you'd be better qualified," he complimented her quite suddenly. He wouldn't say why he thought that way.

But it was easier to say aloud because she had her back to him.
bitchtookmyride on June 26th, 2006 02:03 pm (UTC)
"Katraine," Kara said, correcting his pronunciation offhandedly. Not that she particularly thought well enough of the woman in question to care overly much about how her name was or wasn't pronounced. It wass more a matter of keeping the CAG up to speed. "Kat. And she's not crazy, she's obnoxious. I resent the comparison."

Grabbing her own towel, Kara swiped it over her face and frowned deeply. "Chuckles is the biggest sissy in the cockpit I've seen in a long time, and Hotdog..." Starbuck paused and huffed an incredulous laugh. "Hotdog is one smug little frakker for someone who washed out of basic training."

Oh yes, she'd named them all already, despite how convinced she was of their complete and utter inadequacy. If she bothered to look deeper, it was her own inadequacies she was flustered over. Maybe if he'd given her better raw material to work with in the first place, she wouldn't be so concerned over how quickly these nuggets were going to get chewed up and spit out by the cylons out there.

"Look, Lee. I'm not pulling some ego trip about the dregs of society you've handed me. I know my damn job, and I'm...touched that you have such a lofty opinion of my ability to do it." Here, she bit back a smirk, but continued seriously.

"But I can only train up a pilot if there's already aptitude there in the first place..." Kara said.

Tossing the towel against the wall, she landed a seat on the bench beside him.
viper_instincts on June 27th, 2006 09:03 am (UTC)
"Yeah, I'm aware," Apollo said, interjecting about said nuggets' shining inadequacies. "They're all smug little frakkers. Just like you were when I met you. And don't think you weren't as obnoxious."

He smirked, pushing his elbow back over his head to stretch out his back muscles. It was when he started chuckling that Lee felt really bad for the unprofessional jab...both at her and her pilots. Unfortunately, Kara had a point. They were all frakked if she couldn't get these children into shape... The crop he'd found was proof that a fleet of fifty-thousand didn't necessarily garauntee ace pilots.

"Where else do you want me to look, alright? I wish I had a squadron of hotshot nuggets who weren't frak-ups, I honestly do. If there's one thing I envy about the toasters...bastards seem to keep coming..."

He flicked her on the ankle with the toe of his tactical boot.

"You're the flight instructor, Starbuck..." Lee went on. This time, he was much less reproachful than the tone she'd taken up with him two weeks ago. "...Act like one."

The CAG dropped his arms, rolled his shoulders back, and eyed Kara steadily. It was clear that the harder he tried to keep a straight face, the more obvious it was that a smile was forming.

"Besides, the more afraid they are of you, the chance of them actually frakking up is less likely..."

He frowned seriously.

"You should really, y'know...consider flashing that psycho smile of yours..."
bitchtookmyride on June 28th, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC)
"Well, Lee," Kara began in a tone that was as patronizing as she could conjure, "The difference between me being smug and obnoxious and them being smug and obnoxious is that I... have always had the skills to back it up."

Contrary to his concern about the point he'd expressed being unprofessional, Starbuck was entirely amused by it, if only because she knew what she'd said was true. Flight school had been the easiest thing she'd ever done, and she'd shown an aptitude for flying from day one. She had an intuitive feel for flying, and she loved planes more than just about anything. What she'd been trying to tell him was that she couldn't train or scare that into these nuggets.

Although, if he was going to push at her sense of duty and smear her own words back in her face, it didn't look like she had much choice in the matter. "Alright, alright!" She jabbed his side lightly to make him desist with the rapid-fire convincing. "I'll train your frakking nuggets, sir." She jabbed once more. "And when they get their asses kicked out there, it's not gonna be because I didn't do my job right."

At his suggestion, Kara leaned back and eyed him seriously right back. "My psycho smile?" It was obvious she was biting back just such an expression. "Which one? This one?" The amusement she'd been holding back was unchecked and her features split into just such a smile, only rightly described as impish. Or... psycho.
viper_instincts on July 15th, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
There was no denying Starbuck's prowess behind the cockpit - either piloting the Mark II or Mark VII. Sadly, there was no denying the fact that she made everything more complicated than they needed to be, either.

"Well, you've certainly given this a lot of thought," Lee offered hopefully. He wasn't the eternal optimist that some of his peers were, if anything, he was a realist when it came to dealing with Starbuck. She hated being lectured to almost as much as he thought lecturing her might do some good. So far, he hadn't proven the theory yet. She was usually too quick to fall for one of his speeches.

There was also the possibility that she'd resort to calling him stupid.

Lee threw his elbow in the way to block her attack, sparing his side the blow. There was going to be no beating up on a superior officer here today. The considerate friend in him, however, let Kara get everything out of her system before speaking again.

"You look criminally insane," he lifted a brow, falling prey to her awkward, if slightly attractive, smile.