Hawk Squadron: From Gue'la to Warrior Pt. 14
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Ralus smiled. "Yup."
Ralus and some of the other Hawk's sat around a small table inside the lounging area by the human barracks. Opposite of Ralus was Stromf, followed by Cameron and Galeo. All of them had just finished their debriefings and were thoroughly exhausted, deciding the best course of action was to keep each other awake before the mission.
That being that the mission, about two hours away, had given them another excuse to get together, although if they really had to, they could have just made something else up instead. They had been through hell together, the whole unit, but some of the Squadron felt it was a good idea to catch up on sleep before they headed out. And they were probably the lucky ones.
But since they were heading out into the unknown, the few laughs they could get in before they were shipped out was something none of them wanted to miss out on. And the lounge wasn't all that bad a place to do that in. During training it was fairly full, after drill most cadets would come in and talk, shoot a game of Quarks, have a drink and talk, laugh, whatever they felt they wanted to do.
Today however, it was very empty, most graduates having left to go to their respective assignments.
"What'd you do?" Galeo leaned in.
"So that afternoon when I arrived, I had a large bag. He freaked out when he opened the bag and I said, 'Hey, I brought your irons, didn't I?' And this old guy said, 'Yeah, but I didn't mean for you to bring actual clothes-straigthtening irons!'" Everyone laughed. Ralus reclined a little, "So then I sat there and explained to the guy that having an iron along would be great for steam-cleaning the golf balls after they got dirty, and he looked at me and asked, 'Where would I plug it in?'"
Everyone laughed some more.
"Well, I guess he had me there. So I ended up getting fired, and I actually owed the owner money for a new set of clubs." Ralus finished.
"You brought a bunch of irons? What happened to them?" Cameron asked.
"I had to throw them all away while the owner watched."
"You had to throw them away?" Cameron raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, but what the owner didn't know was that they were all his wife's!" There was some more laughter before everyone fell silent.
"Yeah," Ralus fell glum, "That was right before I left my homeworld."
There was an eerie silence, in which Ralus assumed he'd sparked. Luckily, a man in the rather distinct uniform of the postal service on base entered the room carrying a large olive-colored bag.
"Mail call!" The man checked his bag, pulling out a large, brown box. "Package for Max Power?"
Stromf shot him a look, "Are you asking?"
"No." The man said.
"Must be the wrong Squadron." Ralus said.
"Yeah, uh, maybe you might want to check the other squadrons here." Cameron rubbed the back of his neck, and Ralus noted that some color had left his cheeks.
The man looked it over again, then up at Cameron, "But it has your service markings, sir."
"Gi'mme that!" Cameron grabbed the package and shoved it behind his back, his face a bright red. But Ralus quickly snatched it.
"Wow, it does!" Ralus laughed.
"This can't be right. Nobody's called me that since grade school."
Ralus studied his friend, "Max Power?"
Cameron shrugged, "It's a pen name."
Galeo looked at him intently, "Jack Steelnuts?"
Cameron gave a mock look of disgust towards Galeo, "Uh, no."
Stromf eyed him curiously, "Biff Strongpeck?"
Cameron raised his hands defensively, "Guys, please."
"Russ Fistpunch?" Ralus nudged him.
Cameron winced, "Stop it!"
Galeo gave a mock salute, "Yes sir, Lieutenant Crushstomper!"
Cameron shook the package eagerly, "I hope there's a knife in here, because I'm going to stab you all."
As the night waned on, after Cameron had left with his package in tow, a new face entered the lounge. Ralus recalled seeing her earlier. What was her name again? Kaerin. She came in at a fast pace, walked over to the coffee machine and inserted some small, blue plastic disks which the Tau used as a form of currency. She tapped the console impatiently before making her selection - whatever it was - seeming off in a daze.
Ralus could hear the machine groaning, churning and pouring her coffee into a paper cup. What was interesting to note was that she was incredibly inattentive. It wasn't until she took her first sip of coffee that she looked over at the table where the other Hawk's were sitting, that she had decided to walk over. But her sudden pause in motion, and her hurtful gaze made Ralus shift uncomfortably.
At first Ralus thought she was looking at him, which he found odd as he didn't feel he was that unattractive. But a whimper coming from Galeo pinpointed where she was really looking at.
"Galeo?" She placed a hand on her chest lightly, as if she was having difficulty breathing.
Ralus and Stromf switched glances back and forth from Galeo to Kaerin, "Umů" Stromf said, "I think they know each other."
Galeo stood up, "I thought I'd never see you again."
Kaerin turned her expression from surprised to vengeful, "That would have been the way I preferred it, after the junk you pulled." Galeo started to approach her but she held up a hand to stop him, "I outrank you, don't make me do something you'll regret."
Galeo growled, "It's not my fault you couldn't take a hint. Why does everything have to be black and white with you? I offered you friendship and you enlisted!"
"You have three seconds to leave, Gue'vesa'la, before I start getting very angry."
Stromf smiled, "Okay, now I have to see this."
Galeo took the hint unwillingly, shaking his head, walking out the door to a destination unknown. Ralus looked at Stromf, "I think you're right about them knowing each other, but the way this is going, the Commander may still have a chance with her."
Kaerin finally turned a glare at Ralus, "Are you always this obnoxious?"
Stromf raised a hand, "No, usually he's worse. I've threatened to shoot him a few times."
"It's true, he has."
Kaerin arched her expression, "I don't blame you."
Ralus looked rueful, "What can I say, I'm adored by all. Everyone wants a piece of me."
Kaerin rolled her eyes, "Why did I get this squadron? I run into people I never want to meet."
Ralus smiled, "We love you too. Would you like some local ale?"
She snarled, spun around and exited just as fast as she had come in. Ralus looked over at Stromf who was trying to contain his laughter. "I think that went well," Ralus said, "What do you think?"
Stromf cleared his throat, "I think she hates you."
"No, I mean, what do you think about her and Galeo?"
Stromf considered, "It could be a problem. There is definitely some old attraction there, but nothing I'd worry about. It was located more around Galeo, anyway. He was trying to project something towards her, but I'm picking up a fake vibe. Either way it is something we should look into."
"Old relationship gone sour? Think we should tell the Commander?"
Stromf shook his head, "No. This is something we should keep between us."
"Maybe we can make it all better."
"Possibly. Although she seems to totally hate him."
"Good, we can all be hated as a team. This could be a new bonding experience for everyone. I can see it now, we'll all hate each other to the point where we actually need to be around them emotionally. It will bring us together like a family, albeit an incredibly disturbed one."
Stromf smiled, "Reminds me of my childhood."
Ralus snorted, "And how!"