I'd get up to greet you but I think that would be classified as a crime.

Terminus was alive with Anniversary Week celebrations and August found it a tad annoying. He understood the need for celebration, the need for station-wide morale to be boosted just as a matter of course, given that thousands of people were living out in space surrounded by vacuum instead of sky and dirt, but it did make for crowded streets and walkways and cafes. That morning, he, in a horrible lack of planning, had run out of coffee after his first cup so, with a sigh, he donned his uniform, buttoning it up to his neck, and left his small apartment in the quietest part of the Gasworks to remedy the situation. He went to a small shop first, one that sold teas and coffee of every variety, and choose his favourite brand, middle of the road but strong and bitter, and stashed it in a reusable tote bag he'd brought with him, before deciding to head down the street a bit to Felicette. Since was already dressed for public, he might as well take advantage of the time outside his apartment, after all.

It was busy, but he ordered a large coffee and, after a moment's worth of consideration, a muffin that might have actual real cranberries in it, and then surveyed his seating options. He had bulletins to read from ADF Command, system-wide updates that were sent to all commanders and captains at his level, and he was expected to read them all, at least to skim, so he was aware of the vast array of moving parts that came with protecting the system and ensuring that the GLF stayed quiet. Enabling the privacy mode of his tablet to ensure that the screen would look blank to anyone looking over his shoulder, he settled in on the corner of a very comfortable couch, eating his muffin in little bites when he remembered it was there. After about ten minutes, he had to shift just a bit to compensate for a very large orange cat that jumped up onto his lap and he idly scratched her behind the ears as he read.

Good thing he had worn his least favourite uniform, the one that was just a shade or two lighter than the newer ones due to multiple washes, because orange cat hair on navy blue was not a good look. August didn't mind, though, because her low, rumbling purrs were soothing, her weight was comforting, and he continued to read while taking sips of his coffee until someone came into his line of vision and he glanced up to see Lieutenant Hygrace in quite horrible pajama bottoms, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. "Elizabeth." He greeted, using her first name because neither of them were on duty; just because he was too stuffy to allow himself to be seen in public in civilian clothes didn't mean they had to interact like they were on the bridge. "I'd get up to greet you but I think that would be classified as a crime." He explained, gesturing to the cat on his lap.

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2018-10-29 09:37 pm UTC (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This
Liz loved her brother. She did. And if she said it enough to herself the urge to lob what used to be a perfectly good coffee maker at her little brother’s head might eventually pass. There were very few things in life that Liz was really particular about. She liked a lot of things; she liked white t-shirts, red bean paste pastries shaped like fish, and when calculations worked out to a Mersenne prime. She liked running laps on real solid ground instead of a treadmill and having her own apartment even when the smell of fuel exhaust and sulfur from the shipyards came through the ventilation. But she could live without them - could, and had. Well, except the Mersenne primes. For obvious reasons. 

She could not live without coffee. Already she felt a headache building, though whether that was the start of withdrawal or from discovering that her ancient but faithful coffee maker had been ‘upgraded’ beyond human comprehension by a little brother who had zero sense of boundaries or self-preservation, she could not say. Usually Liz had the most patience with Howie, but even she had her limits. 

(“I have a degree in theoretical physics and I can’t work this what the actual fuck did you do.”” “Theoretical physics isn’t mechanical engineering.” “Theoretically, I’m going to hit you… physically.”)

So desperate decaffeinated times called for desperate barely decent trips to the nearest cat café, apparently. She was so focused on the end goal, the shortest possible distance between no coffee and coffee, that she barely noticed the people around her as she went to the counter. It was only after the cup was in her hands, the smell alone to enough to kick her higher brain function back into action even if it was still too hot to drink, that she took stock of her surroundings and the people in it. She was halfway to a recently vacated table (she was going to need at least two very large cups of coffee if she was going to be able to deal with Howie) when some hitherto sleeping part of her brain kicked into action and she spotted a very familiar shade of navy blue out of the corner of her eye and paused instinctively, before stepping backward to do a very obvious double take that confirmed that yes, that was Commander Laux sitting on a rather cozy overstuffed couch in full uniform eating a muffin in meticulously small neat pieces with a fat orange tabby on his lap. Because why not today? It wasn’t even 10 am yet.

Of course, stopping in place to stare at someone was uh... less than subtle.

“Commander,” she returned, with as much mock gravity as she could muster in her red p’uokka patterned pajama pants and oversized hoodie, not quite able to keep the amusement out of her voice. Deciding to just fully commit to the ridiculousness of the situation, she raised a hand still half swallowed by the sleeve of her sweatshirt into a brisk salute. 

“I won’t hold the lack of formality against you, sir,” she said, warm and dry, nose wrinkling up as she pulled a quick face; absolutely self-aware. “Especially since that cat has clearly laid a sovereign claim, that as an officer of the ADF, I am bound to respect.” 

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2018-10-29 11:29 pm UTC (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This
August automatically cataloged details without even really being aware of the process. Pajama pants that looked soft and worn, obviously loved, Elizabeth was swimming in an oversized hoodie, half-zipped, the collar of her t-shirt underneath stretched out enough that August found himself contemplating the curve of her collar bone momentarily before she mustered some gravity and gave him a proper salute that was made slightly comical by the fact that her hand was still drowning in the sleeve of her sweatshirt.

August, never one to let a salute from his crew go unanswered, even when he was off-duty and had a very large tabby cat on his lap, lifted his hand from where it had been idly scratching behind her ears to return the salute. A disapproving meow came from his lap and he dropped his hand back quickly, good humour filling his gaze as he allowed himself a slightly wider smile. "She knows how to assert her rights." He told Elizabeth, hand smoothing down the cat's back. "It's a good thing indeed you respect her sovereignty. Wouldn't want to earn her disapproval."

There was a beat, then, a slight awkwardness in the air. August was used to being somewhat detached from his crew, which, on his usual commands where his crew numbered in the hundreds or low thousands, that was simply a byproduct of quantity. But, now, he had a very smaller crew and had to develop relationships with them, particularly his bridge crew. They'd worked well together in their previous two missions but this was something new. She was in pajamas, after all, he had a cat on his lap, and she wasn't Erron, who knew him well outside of the command structure.

There was nothing for it, though, but to lean in. He gestured to the opposite end of the couch, cat-free for the moment. "From the looks of all the cat hair, that looks to be a popular spot, Lieutenant. You should claim it before it's too late."

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2018-11-01 10:31 pm UTC (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This
“Uhm. Sure,” Liz said after probably too long a pause, staring probably just a little obviously. It was kind of like one on those dreams you have that make sense at the time and it’s only after you wake up you realize how truly, spectacularly weird it was that the helmsman had been a golden retriever that spoke with a deep Russian accent. Commander Laux, sitting on a homey cat-scratched couch, tabby on his lap, tablet in his hand; the orange fur against the navy of his uniform and the rather nice smile she’d only ever seen in quick, barely there flashes before. It was like some surrealistic painting come to life.

Not quite sure what to do with herself in this super awkward situation, muscle memory kicked in and she sat down very properly at the edge of the couch, the way her mother would make her sit at dinner — back straight, feet flat, knees together — before she realized how silly it was to be sitting like she was at some fancy Babylon dinner party while in a cat café wearing red p’uokka pajamas and shuffled around a bit until she was properly curled into the corner, facing August.

So… you come here often?” she asked finally, mouth an impish ironic twist over her cup of still too hot coffee. Having it close was more security blanket than anything. Liz drank her coffee so black and strong it could properly fuel the Endeavour if they ran out of gas and there was at least 5 minutes before it got down to a first degree burn level of heat, but the smell reminded her poor withdrawal addled brain (there was a reason she didn’t think ‘you what you need? Pants’ before leaving the house this morning) that salvation was at hand. And it gave her something to do with her hands.

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2018-11-01 11:54 pm UTC (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This
It was awkward, August knew that, but there was no way around it. If Elizabeth sat elsewhere in the cafe, they would be hyper-aware of each other, wondering if the other was watching. Now that she was sitting down on the opposite end of the couch, they would actually have to converse, which was even more fraught, but August thought it was better than the alternative. Besides, she was the one responsible for charting and recording their trips beyond the Gateway and she was the one responsible for getting them back to familiar stars. Forming a rapport beyond the command structure was not a terrible idea.

She sat up straight first, the way the military high command and their spouses did at formal, society events, and August was reminded who she was and where she'd grown up. She was a Hygrace, cream of the military crop, and he was a factory rat from the shipyards. And, now, they were exploring the unknown together. Or, rather, right now, they were imbibing caffeine in the company of many, many felines.

"Not that often, no." He said, his smooth voice vaguely amused as he lifted his mug up for another slow sip. "I ran out of coffee." He explained once he'd swallowed. "I use our shore leave to catch up on all the non-urgent reports from all across the system. I realized, this morning, that I hadn't seen the sun," Metaphorically, of course. "For about two and a half days, and I could probably stand to have some contact with others while I got my coffee fixed. Others just happened to come in the form of this very needy cat." He withdrew his hand from her to pop one of the last pieces of his muffin into his mouth and she bumped her head against his arm, prompting him to return to giving her the attention she wanted with a rueful little smile. "What brings you outside before your third cup?"